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Wars of Christian Expansion
As Christianity continued to rise and dominate the cultural and political structures of the Parthian Empire, Armenia, Galatia, Capadoccia, and Egypt, the nations entered a kind of "Alliance." While it was hardly official, the royal families of each nation were friendly with each other, and worked to spread Christianity across the remainder of the Near East. Galatia and Capadoccia were particularly close, with several royal marriages between them. As the second century dawned, the five Christian states began to become more violent with their attempts to expand Christianity. By 114 AD, these Egyptian attacks began to evolve into a full blown border war, quickly joined by the other Christian nations.
Egypt was the first to officially deploy its army, and the other christian nations quickly followed suite. Capadoccia and Galatia quickly began to focus on the Macedonian free regions of Anatolia. Armenia - which was the least devout nation by far - only invaded a half dozen small states bordering it, leaving the Parthians, and the Egyptians to take care of the rest of the near east. Both of there armies, while out of practice, were far more effective than any resistance the disunited states could put up. Quickly, their armies tore through the area, and after 8 years of fighting, most of the Near East was under the control of Christian rulers. The five initial Christian states also greatly expanded their influence, and saw their power, and the power of their region, grow dramatically.
Gaulic Disorder and the Creation of Ambactoismos
Independent of the Christian wars in the near east, the Gauls had their own troubles around the same time. The trouble started in 124, when a small revolt started in Paris. Normally, a revolt like that would have been crushed quickly, but after around 10 years of peace, the Empire was completely unprepared for it. While the the violent part of the revolt died within weeks, riots and other civil unrest continued for years. While various officials, including the Emperor, Welcrew, tried to intervene, nothing worked until 129. In that year, Welcrew asked to meet with various leaders of the so called "revolution," which at this point had spread to Normandii, as well as the less populated space between the cities.
During the council, which was held in Orleans, an agreement was reached: The Gaulic Empire would remain intact, but variously parts of it would be self governing, to an extent. Though it took almost three year to hammer out the details, eventually, 8 "Cheifdoms" were formed, mostly in the eastern half of the nation. This left about 1/3 of the land in the Empire under control of Welcrew, while the other 2/3 was spilt between 8 chiefs. This actually worked incredibly well, at least at first. Welcrew and his successors got the same amount of taxe revenue, and could still raise armies, but were spared the day to day administration of large parts of their Empire. The Cheofdoms, meanwhile, got to enjoy self governance, but also got the protection and infrastructure of the larger Empire.
While it was a good deal at the time, this deal would eventually set the scene for Decentralization, (later known as Ambactoismos) a phenomenon that would dominate most European nations until well after 1000 AD. Basically, whenever a monarch's power grew weak, they would follow Welcrew's example and take their kingdoms apart. While these moves would almost always work in the short term, in the long term they reduced most of Europe into useless states, where most kings could do little to control their kingdoms. In the long term, this would hurt the continent in its competition against the Near East and Asia, and for much of its history set it dramatically behind its neighbors. Overall, this Gaulic Disorder was much more than it seemed - it more or less created the system Europe would use for the next millennium.
The Conversion of Carthage
After the war of Christian expansion, Carthaginian trade in the east Mediterranean became exponentially more profitable. The captured port of Alexandria became an extremely rich city, and while records are lost to history, there is speculation that Alexandria surpassed Carthage itself in wealth. The beginning of Carthage's conversion to Christianity started in around 134 AD, when successful merchants in Egypt began to convert to gain better relations with the local populace. While most of these initial conversions seem to be more abut profit than faith, some were apparently genuine. As a result, the religion quickly became a minority religion in various Carthaginian cities, including Carthage itself. While this didn't have any initial effects on Carthaginian culture, as it grew several notable families began to follow the religion, and in 158 AD, brought it to the attention of Hannar.
When the religion was brought before Hannar, he was icy to the idea. He didn't particularly like the new religion, and saw no reason the confer this nation. However, he second son, Hacor, saw the value in accepting the religion of their largest trading partner. In addition, and probably more importantly to his desicion, he saw an opportunity to gain power for himself. After much deliberation, he was able to gather a group of powerful nobles together to stage a coup against Hannar. In 159 AD, the coup was carried out. Hacor and his allies quickly killed Hannar, and Hacor's older brother. While the precise time frame is unclear, Hacor quickly managed to gain the throne, and secure his position. While there are records of a power struggle for several months after the coup, it is clear that Hacor was able to put any resistance down effectively, leveraging his popularity and newfound power.
By 160 AD, Hacor was in complete control of Carthage and ready to convert the nation. Instead of a simple declaration, as had been done across the near east, he began by converting himself, and sponsoring the building of churches. After this, he began to convert merchants and other wealthy families in greater numbers, essentially making it so that by 170 AD, most members of the upper class were Christians. Slowly, this began to filter down to the lower classes, and through various incentives and some instances of forced conversion, Carthage was largely a Christian state by 190 AD. While this greatly increased its trade with the east, it began to alienate its western trading partners in Europe. While this wouldn't be that bad in the short term, it would eventually culminate in the Second Mediterranean War, as well as generally terrible relations with Europe.
Senone Trade Expansion
While Carthage was converting itself to Christianity for trading purposes, the Senone were expanding their own trade operations. Traditionally, the Senone Republic had been the gateway between the southern trade routes and the increasingly rich Gallic states. This gig had only gotten more lucrative following the centralization of the Gauls, and by 150 AD, the Senone were probably the richest nation in Europe. This wealth lead to a lot of rich merchants, many of them looking for ways to expand their wealth. While at first, they tried to increase existing trade, it quickly became apparent that trading with the Gallic Empire had already reached its highest possible point. In the late 150s, certain traders began to expand their operations to two places: The southern regions of Gaul, largely ignored when trading began, and the massive untapped wealth of Germania.
At first, trade in southern Gaul seemed to be much more profitable - after all, the Gallic Empire had expanded there recently, ad many settlements had risen up. However, Germania would quickly prove to be somewhat of a dark horse. The Germanic tribes had already, to some extent, been trading with the Gauls, and embraced the new source of trade with open arms. Records are sketchy, but some even apparently went to war over the best trade routes. While the land was initially less rich, the intensity in which the Germans pursued trade was unprecedented, and soon Germanic trade overshadowed south Gallic trade. For decades, nothing would come of this except riches for the Senone, but over time, Germania would centralize much the same way Gaul did, except on a slower timeline, and create a religion in the process. The immediate effects would be less dramatic - the Senone simply got richer.
The Birth of Wodanismos
As Senone and Gallic trading increased with Germania, the Germanic religion - later to be known as Wodanismos - began to become more fully formed. At first, this evolution was slow, but the fact that trade now connected the diverse German tribe allowed them to centralize their beliefs, to some extent. Unlike in Carthage, Merchants didn't exactly line up to convert, especially at first. However, as the religion grew and the Germanic people began to form more centralized structures, merchants began to find it profitable to sponsor the construction of shrines and other places of worship. While the purpose of these donations was generally to garner favor with the populace, it lead to the growth of the religion, and helped it further legitimize itself as an institution, rather than just a philosophy. By 180, a small hierarchy had even establish itself, primarily based in what would become Chattia.
As the Germanic religion grew, it was given a formal name - Wodanismos. Still mostly limited to Germanic territory, it became increasingly influencial in shaping Germanic society, rivaled only by the influx of trade. When small leaders of semi-centralized states began to rise across Germania, many used the religion to legitimize themselves and subjugate those under them. The Clergy also became a powerful force, often serving as advisors to tribal chiefs, with some even completely controlling the affairs of notable tribes and settlements. By around 200, a few Gallic traders had embraced the religion, bringing it west to the Gallic Empire. However, for the most part, even by 200, the religion was still evolving, and primarily limited to Germania. It would undoubtedly be a powerful force in centralizing the region, and would eventually spread across Europe.