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The 6th century CE is often considered a part of the "dark ages" in OTL, when statehood, complex economies, trade networks, educational tradition and much more nearly collapse in Europe (and in the lands between Indus and Ganges, too) in the aftermath of the breakdown of the Roman (and Gupta) Empires caused by mass migrations.
In this timeline, it is a turbulent century, too, but one in which the economic, social, political and scientific progress continue and begin to disrupt established power structures.
Rome's two neighbours - the Celtic Empire in the West, and the Sassanid Empire in the East - both undergo massive transformations caused by social movements and state crises. While the Sassanid Empire breaks apart in a long civil war, caused by the rise of the Mazdakist movement, and a dozen successor states take different paths of development, the Celtic Empire faces state bankruptcy and self-confident liberal townsmen, and is reformed into a moderate version of the Roman Republic.
Rome's powerful economy draws on more and more foreign resources and floods foreign markets with its competitive products.
Neither of the states of the world has found a solution against the bubonic plague, though, which kills about a quarter of Europe's and Asia's population throughout the century.
The Slavic tribe of the Sagudates migrates from the salinised fields West of the Hypanis to the land surrounding the Ostrogothic-dominated Nikopolis, at the polis` invitation to work in the newly established agricultural compounds there. This alleviates tensions between Tyras and Hypanis.
Armed conflicts between Western and Eastern Imaziyen slowly peter out throughout the decade. The existence of two separate Ljama`as becomes cemented.
Roman Empire: Rinaldus, professor of philosophy at the University of Mediolanum, publishes his "Meditationes", in which he sharply condemns the epistemological self-confidence and philosophical lopsidedness of the empiricist method of Aegidius, which had become dominant at both Celtic and Roman universities. The "Meditationes" have recourse to the 4th century philosopher Aurelius Augustinus and are considered to be the foundational moment of Italian Rationalism. The opposition of "Alexandrian" empiricism and "Italian" rationalism will dominate the philosophical debate of this century.
Alliance of the Five Nations: A Roman observer stationed at the largest Roman castrum in Vandilia, Partiscum, writes about conflicts between the Vandals and Slavic-speaking groups near the Vandal burgi of Mortzens / Morisena (OTL Cenad) and Tissenbaurg / Castrum Tissi.
East Africa: The first written document of the Kikuyu language (a land contract) using the Greek alphabet, which the Kikuyu had learnt from Ostrogothic trade partners, is signed in the city of Mombasa.
Sassanid Empire: Civil unrest and Mazdakist mass protests continue as regional warlords continue the persecution of Mazdakists. The situations slides out of Djamasp's hands.
Tamilakam / India: Simhavarman of the Pallavas tries to gather allies for a multi-pronged attack on the Kalabhras. Achchutavikranta has gathered intelligence about these plans and manages to mobilise his armies in time against the Pallava. Ten years of war between the Kalabhras and the Pallavas begin, in which both sides require great amounts of soldiers and resources.
Sassanid Empire: Djamasp is dethroned and blinded by a group of aristocratic conspirators. Hormizd is the new shahanshah.
Soninke: Sere Kounda is established at the mouth of the Senegal River, a fortified settlement and military outpost which serves to maintain Takrur control over the local Wolof tribes.
Roman Empire: A federalist majority in the Conventum lends the Republican Censors authority to establish a much more precise census, containing a vast number of new categories of information. Many cities protest against this measure, as they see their autonomy curbed. After two and a half centuries, an empire-wide censorial administration is re-built, with well-qualified clerks. This decision speeds up both the Roman Republic's transition to a territorial democracy and the use of the Devangari numerals in Europe and the Mediterranean.
Sassanid Empire: Hormizd II officially rekindles the persecution of Mazdakism. By the end of the year, over 30,000 (often well-educated) Mazdakist Persians have fled from the empire into Armenia, Sheba and the Roman Republic. Another 15,000 Mazdakists from the Northern and Eastern satrapies have fled to the Turks, to Wei China and to various parts of India.
Sassanid Empire: In spite of brutal oppression, the Mazdakist movement appears inextinctable. Diplomatic trouble with the Chera dynasty in India keeps Hormizd busy, though, and brings a pause in this civil war.
A group of Mazdakist refugees, who had left Persia last year but not found asylum in any of the Eastern African coast towns, lands in Northern Madagascar, where they found the first society based on Mazdkaist principles.
Western and Southern India: Ships full of Mazdakist refugees arrive in Indian port towns beyond the reach of the Sassanid rule. The Chera king Chengkuttuvan, who had broken the traditional ties with the Sassanid Empire after the latter's support for the Kalabhras and turned towards Sheba and the Roman Republic, offers many of them asylum at Korura and enables their employment in the Keralan agriculture as well as in arts and crafts. The Mazdakists are free to practice their communalism and talk about it to the native population, but they must also work for the royal administration.
Other Mazdakist refugees arrive in Korkai, where the Pandyan king accepts them, too.
Sassanid Empire: A new peasant rebellion, led by the charismatic Mazdakist Pakur, shakes Western and Northern Persia. Hormizd sends ever new armies against the insurgents. The costs of war and its detrimental effect on commerce have emptied the royal coffers.
Sassanid Empire: Hormizd II decrees a head tax to finance the civil war against insurgent peasants, Mazdakists and, of lately, also rebellious slaves (mostly of Arabian, Turkic and Indian backgrounds). The dehqans are charged with collecting it in the countryside, while the regional shahs collect the rest in the cities. Factually, only the latter have a chance to execute this order because they can back it with military power.
Sassanid Empire: The civil war continues; no side appears victorious. Commercial and professional urban circles, which had been divided between pro- and anti-Mazdakists, become increasingly opposed to Hormizd's war and tax regime.
Roman Empire: In the Syrian civitas of Dura Europos, a chemist / distiller discovers several useful products of a destillation of petra oleum. The interest of the collegium of the apothecaries is limited, but the provincial Academia Martiana in Halabiya is more interested.
Sassanid Empire: In a common declaration (the "declaration of Samarkand"), the mayors and petty kings of nine Sogdian cities refuse to send the required amounts of tax money and demand to have a say in fiscal legislation. Hormizd must interrupt the persecution of the insurgents in Persia and send troops to the North.
Sassanid Empire: Hormizd II is defeated in Sogdia by the Turkish Chigils, who had been hired by the Sogdians. Back home in Persia, a coalition of moderate and Mazdakist townsmen and insurgent peasants has gained control over Sapahan (OTL Isfahan).
Tamilakam: The city council of Kanchipuram denies the payment of yet another increased tax and also the drafting of further young men for Achchutavikantra`s war against Simhavarman III. With Roman help, the town fortifies itself and declares neutrality and independence. Achchutavikantra cannot spare troops to crush the rebellion.
Scandinavia: A large group of boatsmen from the now wealthy and powerful town of Sørstad desists from pillaging the land of the Geats (OTL South-Western Sweden) and founds a fortified town named Älvsborg. From here, they begin to increase and control the trade with and within the region.
Roman Empire / Pannonia Transdanubensis: The towns allied in the Pannonian Federation officially commence negotiations with the Roman Consuls Titus Veledus and Remus Sabinus with the aim of becoming a Roman margo - like Tauris.
Tamilakam / India: Peace is negotiated between the Kalabhra and the Pallava dynasties. The war has drained both empires of resources.
Roman Empire: Much more powerful, light and portable fire pumps / flame throwers are developed in Halabiya, using lighter substances distilled from petra oleum. Because neither the surrounding civitates, nor the MCM want to buy them yet, the academy's workshops sell them to Mazdakist rebels who want to use them in their civil war against Hormizd.
Alliance of the Five Nations: The Burgundian Thing (parliament-like assembly of nobles and representatives of towns) allows Langobards to join as equal members. The Langobardic Kingdom had not held regular things before 475. This seals the fusion of both nations into one, which bears the name of Burgundy, but whose language is closer to Langobardian Suebic.
Tamilakam: Kanchipuram withstands a Kalabhra attack and has its independence recognised.
Roman Empire: The influential and reformist Censor Theophrastes Lykios institutionalises the hitherto chaotic structures of co-operation between the aedilian infrastructural administration and private construction companies by drafting a legal construction, which would in modern terms be labelled a "private public partnership", which could itself, as a form of trust, borrow money from the Republican Treasury at fixed, low interest rates and lend it to third parties at free interest rates (up to the legal limit of 5 %).
Madagascar: The Mazdakist refugees have integrated several coastal villages with inhabitants of Malay descent into their first fully-fledged Mazdakist society (with a common temple, equal rights for women, and a commonly administrated food reserve).
Sassanid Empire: The civil war, which has cost almost half a million lives so far, does not go well for the old establishment - and the new weapon used by the rebels in the West has contributed to this. Hormizd II is dethroned and sent into exile on Sokotra. The warlords choose Balash II as the next shahanshah.
Celtic Empire: The first Sørstaders (a name that has come to include seafaring "sworn men" with excellent boats and no kings from other Scandinavian settlements like Älvsborg as well) arrive on the Insulae Cattae. Cattic and Celtic presence there prevents them from establishing a colony that follows their rules. Instead, they build several houses and warehouses in a small, but growing town, which is named Pesciara by the Celts and Mor Cala by the Cattae (roughly OTL Lerwick).
India: The Vinukondina seize the opportunity of the Pallavas` weakness and conquers parts of Andhra Pradesh formerly held by the Pallava dynasty.
Sassanid Empire: In an attempt to reassure Sassanid society of its cultural foundation - and to secure the clergy's support for the ancient regime -, Balash takes several measures that strengthen the role of orthodox Zoroastrianism in public life across the entire empire. Dissenters are marginalised, no new temples, churches, stupas, monasteries, synagogues etc. of other confessions may be built, and non-Zoroastrians (Mazdakists officially belong in that category, too, now) must pay a higher head tax.
Roman Empire / Pannonia Transdanubensis: The chiefs of eight Slavic clans finally join in the margo negotiations. Their main interest is the recognition of their land rights.
Sassanid Empire: Balash's policy backfires badly. Across the Indian satrapies, from Taxila to Ujjain, small self-defense groups coagulate into a resistance movement against the discriminatory and exploitative measures initiated by Balash. Where the Persian elite can muster enough troops, they crack down on the rebellion. Thousands are killed.
Roman Empire: The command of the Roman classis sees the advantages of the new fire pumps developed in Syria. A large order is placed to equip many ships with the new weapon.
Sassanid Empire / India: Violent resistance in India takes the form of a ganatantric / republican revolution and spreads to important groups like the Yaudheyas and the Arjunayanas. Then, Kushanshah Vasishka III. builds up his own war offices, channels his tax income into the own administration instead of sending it to Ctesiphon, thus factually declares his satrapies independent and offers protection to all those who put up resistance to the threat of "himsa" (viz: Sassanid intolerance and oppression).
Roman Empire / Germania: Negotiations between the Pannonian Federation and the two Consuls of Rome are concluded successfully and a treaty is signed. The Pannonian Federation is to become a Roman margo with the designated official name "Rei Publicae Romanae Margo Foederationis Pannonicae".
Sassanid Empire: In the satrapy of Assyria, Jews, Christians and Assyrian segregationalists join the Mazdakist Revolution and take control of the ancient city of Ashur. Only two months later, the revolution in the West suffers a severe psychological blow as news of Kavadh's assassination by Sassanid spies reach the Sassanid Empire.
In the East, Balash marches his troops towards Kushana and India.
Sassanid Empire / Kushana / India: The second year of a full-blown war for independence in Kushana and India. At the same time, loyalist troops commit massacres among revolting Assyrians.
Sassanid Empire / Kushana / India / Sogdia: In the third year of the Independence War, the Sogdian cities of Bukhara, Samarqand, Kesh, Tashkent, Andijan, Pandjakent, Parshvab and Talas join the side of the independence fighters. Balash`s measures, and now his war, had disturbed the Silk Road trade, conducted by merchants of all sorts of religious backgrounds, greatly. (The Sogdians do not know that commerce on the Silk Road - the one main source of their wealth - is also disadvantaged by widespread peasant rebellions in Northern China.) Kushan enoys to the simite assure the Sogdian Federation of their support against a contribution of taxes and soldiers.
Celtic Empire / Denmark: Because the Celtic merchant fleet is still an easy prey for pirates in the Kattegat, Caesar Antonius decides to start a campaign aimed at conquering the Danish isles. New divisions of the Celtic Navy, equipped with the new fast longboats, sail into the Kattegat. Everything looks good at first, with some islets easily conquered. But when the Celts encounter the main body of a Danish fleet under the command of Horik, a small king in Lejre, they must learn that having longboats does not yet make one a skillful Viking sea warrior. The Celtic naval detachment is nearly destroyed - and the first part of the legend of heroic Danish resistance is created.
Sassanid Empire: The Sassanid Empire falls apart.
In the East, Balash`s troops and local loyalist militias suffer defeat after defeat, and a great number of city republics and tribal chiefdoms emerges, whose relations to the Kushanshah remain yet to be clarified.
In the West, Syrian border civitates like Edessa and Kallinikos, along with troops from Armenia and Taghlib Arab warriors, help the Assyrians in expelling the last Sassanid loyalists. Sheba annexes the Sassanid possessions on the Arabian shore of the Persian Gulf.
In Choresmia, the Afraghid vassals of the Sassanids convert themselves and their entire oasis state to Mazdakism.
Confronted with so many defeats, the warlords declare Balash dethroned and the House of Sasan bereft of its titles, and rally behind the the Spahbed Perozes from the House of Mihran. In Persia, Perozes continues the civil war for another year.
While in Bactria with his retreating troops, Balash hears of these developments and hides in Balkh, where he has loyal supporters among his troops.
Scandinavia / Prussia: A large hird of Sørstaders and Älvsborgers enforces entry to the Prussian port town of Truso. They burn the ships of their rivals and competitors from Visby and Birka and kill or enslave their defeated opponents. The Pomesanian Prussians of Truso are coerced to swear oaths to trade exclusively with members of the syndicate to which the Sørstaders and Älvsborgers belong.
Eran: A revolutionary coalition of moderate Mazdakists, Christians, Jews, Manichaeists, revolting peasants, and representatives of urban guilds finally overthrows the ancient regime by wrestling control over the cities of Ctesiphon, Gundishapur and Sapahan from the aristocratic troops under Perozes` leadership. Perozes and other members of the House of Mihran are killed or forced into exile, while leaders of the revolutionary coalition declare Chosrau, Kavadh's favourite son, as the first Mazdakite Shah of Eran. The renaming of the old dynasty into a new one symbolises both the reference to continuity and the factually drastic increase of influence of the Mazdakist movement in the new polity.
Kushana / Sogdia / India: At the Conference of Taxila, more than a hundred political leaders from Sogdia, Kushana and North-Western India negotiate the borders between their newly established or restored statelets, republics and kingdoms. They conduct several Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Hindu rituals with which they also swear never to violate these borders or attack each other, and to assist and protect each other in accordance with their abilities, in the spirit of the ganatantrashastras. The Kushana Empire consists of Ladakh, Gandhara, Balochistan, and Sindh, but all parties at the conference support its claim over Bactria, too, which is still held by the last Sassanid shah Balash. The larger and better-known among the other statelets are:
- the powerful city republic of Bharikucha, which controls almost the entire OTL Gujarat as well as the remnants of the Sassanids` Eastern Navy;
- the equally powerful city republic of Ujjain, which controls much of OTL Madya Pradesh,
- engulfed by Bharikucha, the smaller city republic of Valabhipur;
- the Gana Sangha of the Meena with its capital at Kyaranagar in OTL Rajasthan;
- the city republic of Labokia (OTL Lahore);
- the Gana Sangha of Aror (on the left bank of the Indus)
- the Gana Sangha of the Yaudheya with its capital at Indraprashta (OTL Delhi)
- the Kingdom of the Kinnara
- the Gana Sangha of the Dasa
- the city republic of Nalagarh
- the Garhwal Confederacy of the Kuninda
Venedia: Sørstaders found the sister town / colony of Vineta in a land sparsely inhabited by Venedian tribes, intensifying their trade relations with Ranians and other Liutician tribes.
Kushana: Vasishka III. invades Bactria, lays siege to Balkh and conquers it. Balash, and with him the last survivors of the House of Sasan, are allowed to take refuge with a Zurvanite priestly commune in the Afghan mountains. Vasishka installs a satrapic administration in Balkh and returns to his capital Taxila, where he has ordered construction works for a glorious expansion of the city to begin, which will glorify his victory and the regained independence of the Later Kushans.
Roman Empire: An earthquake kills approximately 100,000 people in Cilicia and its largest city of Antiochia.
Scandinavia: Driven by the initiative of the merchants of Visby, the twenty Things of Gutland rally behind King Canute, who is entrusted with military command over a great number of warriors against the threats from Agðir..
Ostrogoths are the first to copy and use the Sørstad ship design of longboats with sails in the Black and Mediterranean Seas.
Eran: The new Mazdakite Eran pacifies and consolidates itself. Slavery is outlawed, a land reform condones the expropriation of the landowning aristocracy by peasant collectives, and a federal council is elected which must consent to any taxation and declaration of war or peace. Chosrau reaches out to his neighbours to repair diplomatic ties,which is of vital importance to the new state, which, following the egalitarian and pacifist Mazdakist maximes, has abolished the entire professional army which had been based on the aristocracy, and kept only an untrained and not heavily armed self-defense system of peasant militias and city guards to protect its homeland. It could not have withstood an attack from any major force.
Roman Empire / Assyria: The Roman Consuls sign a treaty concerning eternal peace, a recognition of the common border, facilitated trade and free movement with the new republican government of Ashur.
Scandinavia: Svear traders from Birka as well as karls and yarls from the region meet in the largest Thing of the Svear in Helgö to discuss ways to protect themselves and their interests against growing pressure from "the Sørstaders". Under the vigilance and blessings of the Helgö priests, they swear allegiance to Visbur, now King of Svíþjóð (Svealand), in a magnificent and bloody ritual. Visbur`s court and hird reside in Uppsala.
Eran: A treaty of mutual assistance and cooperation is signed between Choresmia and Eran.
Roman Empire: The Comitium of the Civitas of Sirmium is the first among hundreds of cities, which would join the campaign later, to decree that taverns must not serve more than a sextarius of wine or a triens of brandy per customer per day in order to reduce alcohol-related violence.
Eran / Kushana: Chosrau and Vasishka agree on the borders between Eran and Kushana and swear an oath of non-aggression. This pact also protects Choresmia, as Eran`s District of Merw lies as a buffer between Kushana and Choresmia.
The Celtic Empire steers into a political crisis. In the Gallic and Iberian South, towns and cities have given themselves democratic structures and oppose high taxation on the imperial level, while the free peasants of these provinces oppose military policies which require frequent conscriptions of peasants. In the Concilium Urbium, they can obstruct new taxation, but because military policy is the exclusive domain of the Caesar, they cannot prevent the empire`s aggressive policies. The Caesars, in turn, already having debased the currency to such an extent that foreign merchants no longer accept them and squeezed out the Caesarian properties to the point of rupture, are forced to finance this by indebting themselves and enforced such indebtments on their military commanders. Interest will aggravate this problem over the next decade. The Celtic (Brythonic, Pictish, Scotian, Hibernian and Celticised Anglian) North, where land is mostly held by aristocrats, supports the Caesars` policies to a certain extent because these territories are exposed to (at least marine) barbarian threats. To strengthen their support base, Caesars like Marius Aquilensis play the "Celtic national identity" card and attempt to restore the powers of the Senate at the cost of the Concilium Urbium.
Across Scandinavia, the new ship design is being copied, and more and more raiding parties gather. Towns and even villages along the coasts, fjords and rivers begin to increase fortifications and organise their defenses.
In the Middle East and South Asia, Chosrau allies his new Mazdakite Eran with a number of Indian republics. He acknowledges Bharikucha`s naval hegemony in the Eastern Arabian Sea, although this finally ends Iranian commercial dominance in West India.
Roman Empire: The mechanical loom, powered by water, is invented in Pamphylia.
Eran / Assyria: Chosrau and the government of the Assyrian Republic sign a peace treaty, recognise their common border and facilitate trade and free movement.
Takrur: An alliance of mildly or syncretically Agonistic-Christian Fula herders and sedentary polytheistic Serer overthrows the Soninke kingdom of Takrur. The former Soninke elite flees to the West, where they establish Sere Kounda as their new capital. Here, they call themselves "Horon" (i.e. "the free people"), which is ironic because they fled from groups loosely allied to the Imaziyen, whose name also means "the free people".
Roman Empire / Eran: The Roman Consuls and Chosrau conclude a treaty of non-aggression, co-operation and trading privileges, which allows Roman (and Ostrogothic) ships even better access to India and their traders with contacts to China unobstructed passage through Choresmia.
Celtic Empire: A peasant and slave rebellion breaks out in Hibernia. After three months, it is quelled by the Celtic army.
Roman Empire: A gaffer from Memphis blows the first battery of test tubes for the Faculty of Natural Philosophy at the University of Alexandria.
Scandinavia: Canute`s Gutlanders and Visbur`s Svear attempt to avenge their defeat at Truso. They attack and raid Älvsborg.
Kingdom of the Antes: Emissaries from all major European and Middle Eastern states are present at the coronation of the new King Idariz in the strong-walled capital of the Antic Kingdom, Voronezh. The ubiquity of Ostrogothic enterprises is one of the main contributing factors to Voronezh`s increasing wealth. Idariz inherits the command over a sizable royal cavalry, which is his main instrument to control his vast lands between Tanais (OTL Don) and Rha5 (OTL Volga) and levy taxes, maintain peace and enforce the King`s Laws in a land otherwise controlled by relatively autonomous Slavic, Antic, Komi and Magyar tribes and dotted with Ostrogothic trading posts along the rivers Tanais and Rha and Roman naval bases along the former.
East Africa: Merca turns from a port town into the capital of a kingdom of the Rahaweyn and the Biyomaal. The kingdom`s main export have become coffee berries.
Roman Empire / Kushana: The Roman Consuls conclude a treaty with Vasishka III., too. It is not quite as favourable for Roman merchants as the one with Chosrau, though.
Scandinavia: Egðir attack Visby and burn the city to the ground.
Traders from Agðir.found the sister town / colony of Grobiņa in Courland in order to trade with the Baltic tribes.
The bubonic plague breaks out in Bactria and Alania at the same time.
Celtic Empire: Caesar Titus Hibernicus enlarges the imperial censorial administration with the consent of the Senate. A majority in the Concilium Urbium, led by the anti-Caesarist Artus Pistorius, denies its budget.
The bubonic plague reaches the entire Silk Road, the Ostrogoths and the rest of the Caucasus.
Scandinavia: Visby is rebuilt.
Celtic Empire: Following a proposal of Titus Hibernicus, the Senate at Lugdunum declares Common Celtic as the second, equal, official language of the empire, beside Latin.
After disputes concerning Saxon vs. Celtic fishing rights in the Mare Celticum (OTL North Sea), Titus Hibernicus has the Saxon King Heinar deposed and replaced by Widukind.
The bubonic plague reaches Kushana, China and the Roman Empire.
The Celtic Caesarial administration and military face bankruptcy. Motions for new taxes are repeatedly repealed by the Concilium Urbium. The last resort for new loans, which allow the payment of the troops and the bare minimum of an imperial administration, is the promise of a conquest of Denmark.
Roman Empire: The medical faculties at Alexandria and Salamis try new ailments (plant extracts gained through alcohol) in controlled experiments with large groups against the bubonic plague. No success so far.
Members of various cults perform endless sacrifices and rituals to soothe the deities, while others pray to the one true God, all trying to stop the plague by religious means. No success so far, either.
The bubonic plague spreads across India and Northern and Western Europe as well as Eastern Africa.
Caesar Titus Hibernicus abandons his censorial plans for the time being.
Celtic Empire: Based on reports by spies, Celtic military engineers manage to copy the modern fire pumps which the Roman navy has installed on all its ships now.
Caesar Titus Hibernicus dies. The Senate elects Marius Aquilensis, the militarist, Celtic nationalist, anti-Roman and anti-democratic governor of Britannia Inferior, as new Caesar.
Ostrogothic sea merchants in the new longboats discover Sere Kounda. The merchant guild "Atlantikoi" establishes trade relations, buying primarily cotton, which is still extremely expensive, for the Roman textile manufacture from the non-Simonist Mandinke, who have come to call themselves "Horon" (=the free).
Kushana: Vasishka III dies, like so many of his subjects, of the bubonic plague. He is succeeded by Kanishka IV.
Roman Empire: Three Latin-speaking towns between the Danube and the Hercynian Forest with a mixed population of Roman, Boian Celtic and Boiovarian Suebic descent, join the Roman Republic as the Civitas Scuttarensis, the Civitas Alcomensis and the Civitas Boica.
India: Pulakesi of the Chalukya clan defeats the Kadambas and declares himself King in Badami.
Celtic Empire: After the Concilium Urbium has repeatedly repealed Marius Aquilensis` motions for new taxes e.g. on vineyards and groves, Marius decides to ignore the C.U. and submits the motion to the Senate in Lugdunum, where he is supported by a majority, for a vote. The Senate approves of the new tax.
India: Pulakesi performs the Vedic sacrifices, which last a whole year and are a clear sign that he means his Chalukya Kingdom to be a sovereign empire.
Celtic Empire: The new Senate-passed taxes meet with stiff civil resistance in the wealthy South. The folllowing argument of the Gallic political philosopher Callatus finds many supporters: The Celtic farmers, craftsmen and merchants have lent the Caesar money - if the Caesar demands higher taxes from the farmers, craftsmen and merchants now, he is not repaying his debts at all. With one hand, the Caesar steals a gold coin from the left pocket of those who are productive, and while he puts the gold pocket back into the right pocket, he claims that he has paid his debt.
In Celtic universities and their departments of philosophy, such economic and political debates inspire new theory-building beyond the natural sciences and the continuation of Greek traditions. The democratic movement finds more and more followers.
The city councils of such important metropoles like Tarraco, Burdigala, Massilia, Londinium and Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensum instruct their guards to protect any of their citizens against "harassments" by the imperial tax administration in the context of the levying of the new taxes which the democratic anti-Caesarists in these towns consider illegitimate.
Bharikucha: At the university of Bharikucha, the second largest in India and the largest secular one, Aryabhata publishes his seminal work on astronomy (in Sanskrit, one of the competing linguae francae - but the dominating one in the faculty of astronomy and mathematics then - at this multilingual university), theorising the rotation of the earth around itself and around the sun, explaining, among other things, eclipses.
Sogdia: Because Kanishka IV. has raised the tribute for Sogdia`s protection, Sogdian ambassadors look to the nomads of the North for alternative options.
The Ashina Bumin Khagan relies on Sogdian intelligence in his successful campaign against the Tiele and the Uyghurs. Sogdian counsellors also advise him to dare to shake off the Rouran yoke after the Ana-kuei's arrogant treatment of Bumin.
The bubonic plague epidemic ebbs off. It has killed seventeen million people worldwide. The medical faculty of the University of Alexandria offers an incredible sum of its foundation endowment money for the first scientist to come up with a cure for the bubonic plague. Standardised procedures and criteria for determining a successful and acceptable cure are formulated - the first of their kind worldwide.
Celtic Empire: Marius Aquilensis has reached for the last straw that could provide his administration and military with funds: war bonds. He and his military leaders obtain enough funds to equip the Celtic Navy´s large battleships and its quick longboats to a great extent with fire pumps. They are expected to bring a victory against the Danes, whose acts of piracy hinder Celtic Kattegat trade considerably.
Armenia: Immigrants from Persia, who have brought Mazdakism with them into the Gregorian Christian society of Armenia, have fuelled the development of a new Christian sect resp. church: Paulicianism.
In Kano, Karbagari, the only daughter of a formerly wealthy merchant, translates the Holy Bible from Amazigh into Hausa. She also founds the first Agonistic Christian school among the Hausa.
Celtic Empire / Denmark: Caesar Marius Aquilensis invades the Danish isles.
The Danish petty King Ragnar of Gudme had been informed about the Celtic build-up, though. He has prepared for the attack by forging an alliance with Widukind, King of Saxony.
Widukind, handpicked and educated by the Celts for his role as monarch of the weak, dependent Saxon kingdom, has turned against the occupants. When Marius Aquilensis begins his invasion, Widukind sets a Saxon army in motion, promising the Caesar to assist him with these auxiliary units.
The invasion appears to go well for the Celts. They manage to obtain control over several smaller Danish isles rather easily. What really happens, though, is that Ragnar orchestrates a withdrawal along well-planned lines, luring the Celts far into the archipelago and concentrating his own forces to their North. In the meantime, Widukind`s Saxon forces approach from the South.
When the Saxons encounter the Celts on the isle of Fyn, they have the moment of surprise on their side. Several Celtic centuria are slaughtered while their centurions still try to sort out why their allies are attacking them. The Celts are forced to retreat towards the North, hoping to regroup, but they are met by Ragnar´s warriors. Caught between two fronts on a terrain they do not know, the Celts are crushed between the Saxons and the Danes. With some of their ships destroyed, only few manage to escape back to the Anglian mainland (OTL Jutland).
After this defeat, the Celts no longer undertake any attempts at expanding their empire for a long while. The Danish victory contributes the second part of the legend of heroic Danish resistance.
For the Saxons, though, the war against their powerful neighbour and overlord has just begun.
West Africa: When Roman sea merchants, who witnessed the huge wealth amassed by the Ostrogothic Atlantikoi association with cotton trade from a new unknown source close to the West African coast, arrive at Sere Kounda, they find, to their disappointment, that the Atlantikoi have not only built a dependence there, but also huge warehouses, in which they have stored the lion share of this year`s cotton harvest ready for shipping whenever Mediterranean market prices are best. The Horon of Sere Kounda advise the Roman merchants strongly against venturing upriver on the Senegal into the hinterland.
As prices for cotton drop again, thousands of jobs in the uncompetitive wool-based Celtic textile business are lost. In the middle of its deep political crisis and military defeats, the Celtic Empire`s economy undergoes a crisis, too, while Roman producers swamp the Celtic market and Celtic money wanders across the border into Roman pockets.
Celtic Empire / Saxony: As planned beforehand, Widukind`s Saxon independence fighters destroy under-manned Celtic outposts and secure strategically important points all across central Saxony. Across the land, fortifications are improved.
Marius Aquilensis finds it very difficult to obtain fresh funds for a campaign against Saxony after the failure of his Danish campaign. He is forced to allow his military commanders to plunder the imperial province of Batavia and allied Frankish kingdoms in order to acquire provisions. After committing this major public relations desaster, his loyal Pictish, Scotian and Brythonic provincial armies swarm into Western Saxony, while the Celtic Classis Anglica, armed with Greek fire, lands in Castra Martellis (OTL Hamburg) and the Classis Britannica lands in Fabiranum (OTL Bremen), two of the remaining fortresses held by the Celts on the Albis/Elbe and the Visurgis/Weser.
Restoring control over the rivers was easy for the Celts, but Widukind`s warriors prove hard to beat. They manage to escape direct confrontation for several months, while burning down over and over again the improvised replacement castra of Celtic landing troops. Funan / Chenla: Bhavavarman, prince in Funan's vassal principality of Isanapura, objects to Rudravarman's claim to the Funanese throne. He marches with an army of Northerners on Vyadhapura and destroys much of the city. The Funanese court escapes to Oc Èo.
Lasika: PONTOS, the largest private-public construction trust in the Roman Empire, begins the construction of a dam (for several mills as well as flood protection purposes) in the Enguri River in Lasika. The dam is designed to be owned and reap profit by PONTOS directly - perhaps the first example of a multi-national corporation in the domain of civil construction.
India: Pulakesi I. of the Chalukyas defeats Avinita of the Western Gangas and reduces them to vassals, making Talakad a sub-center of their empire`s administration.
Celtic Empire / Saxony: After the Celts lose Bremen to a Saxon attack, Marius Aquilensis loses even more support for himself and his war against Saxony.
Driven by an ever-growing anti-Caesarist majority, the Concilium Urbium in Lutetia decides to assume a power that had always belonged to the Senate: It appoints two Consuls (Artus Pistorius and the more moderate Tullius Pulcher) and two Censors, to lead the armed forces and manage the treasury, instead of the Caesar. Additionally, it revokes the potestas tribunicia attributed to Marius Aquilensis by the Senate.
The Senate in Lugdunum declares all of these acts as illegitimate and void.
The Celtic Empire is only one step away from a terrible civil war. The large armies in Gaul and Hispania and the small, insignificant Classis Mediterranaea support the C.U., while the armies on the (OTL British) isles and in Anglia and the main body of the navy support the Caesar and the Senate. Perhaps a major bloodbath is only averted because the latter are bound in the war against the Saxons.
In this situation, Widukind proves a brilliant strategist once again. He sends envoys to Lutetia offering a guarantee of non-aggression and free access to the Saxon rivers, should a new Celtic Empire run by the C.U. and its Consuls accept and guarantee full independence of the Kingdom of Saxony and renounce any demands for tribute or reparation. Lutetia signals agreement.
Without reinforcements or supplies, the (Caesarist) Celtic campaign in Saxony continues with little progress. The military leadership cannot simply assassinate and replace Marius Aquilensis, or switch to the republican side, though, because most of them have personally indebted themselves for the Danish campaign and must try desperately now to find some spoils of the war.
Funan / Chenla: From Oc Èo, Rudravarman gathers a strong army, which reconquers the region around the ruins of Vyadhapura, then marches Northward. In a battle near Tonle Sap Lake, Rudravarman prevails over Bhavavarman, whom he beheads, along with twelve of his army leaders. He marches into a defenseless Isanapura, bearing the heads of the defeated on sticks.
Celtic Empire: The soldiers and marines deployed to Saxony mutiny against their unsuccessful leaders. The new rebel leaders strike a deal with Tullius Pulcher and Artus Pistorius as to their payment. Marius Aquilensis withdraws with a handful of loyal supporters to Anglia, where he is assassinated seven months later.
The army in Gaul symbolically forces a handful of remaining Senators to leave their curia in Lugdunum. Tullius Pulcher and Artus Pistorius sign a peace treaty with Widukind. The Celts only retain three naval bases on the Frisian islands of Borcum / Borkum, Mellum and Novarca (OTL Neuwerk) at the mouths of the rivers Ems, Weser and Elbe. Turks under the leadership of the Ashina clan overthrow the Rouran and found the Göktürk Empire. Being excellent blacksmiths, the Ashina forge a powerful nomad empire which employs the latest weaponry, as it has been developed in the internal wars between the Tuoba/Chinese dynasties.
Funan: Rudravarman creates his loyal follower Brahmadatta prince of Isanapura. The Funanese court remains in Oc Èo, at least until Vyadhapura is rebuilt.
India: The cosmopolitan port town of Cochin, only loosely controlled by the Chera anyway, gives itself a written republican constitution - the first one worldwide in which women (albeit only when paying a minimum amount of tax money, like men) are given active and passive voting rights for the town assembly.
In Vatapi, Pulakesi I. of the Chalukyas founds the first Hindu agrahara (place of learning) with Kannada, instead of Sanskrit, as the language of communication.
Celtic Empire: The Concilium Urbium renames itself into Concilium Constituendum. It drafts the Celtic Empire`s first written constitution, which imitates many concepts and ideas of the Roman Republic's constitution - but in contrast to Rome, the Celts keep the provinces and provincial administration, whose heads are selected by the imperial Council and Magistrates. In the Celtic military, there is no soldiers' democracy as in Rome, and the Celtic armed forces do not enjoy the same amount of self-government as in the Roman Republic. Also, the Celtic civitates are not allowed to employ heavily armed city guards. The constitution abolishes many aristocratic provisions in political, communal, economic, juridical and military matters, and it replaces the Caesarial administration and absolute rule with a system of checks and balances between different magistrates and the Concilium, but it does not compel the civitates, which now formally become the constituent elements of the Empire like in Rome, to take their decisions in general assemblies like the Roman Comitia Civitatum. The Celtic constitution is much more explicit than the older Roman constitution on matters of taxation, a non-political administration of the mint, and economic liberties, due to the strong Callatian influence.
The constitution will stabilise the Celtic Empire in the long run, but leaves its new magistrates with very little funds to begin governing with. It leaves the patchwork of political structures at the level of the civitates untouched: everything from earls in Caledonia and Scotia over a property-based election system in Divodurum to a Roman comitium-style democracy in Clunia exists.
Celtic Empire: The new Concilium Rei Publicae Celtarum meets for the first time, and elects two new Consuls: Robertus Quintus, councillor from Burdigala, and Victorinus Cato, councillor from Aquae Sulis, as new consuls, along with twelve new imperial praetors, three censors (with different tasks) and a great number of aedils.
Saxony: King Widukind founds a reformed Thing, which would serve both as legislature, and as advisory council to the king, but which would no longer play a role in choosing military leadership or in jurisdiction. Rural regional Things and city councils would send permanent Thing members; if the latter acted against the will of the former, the former could replace them with someone else. He announces the plan to have the new Thing codify traditional Saxon law.
Widukind also invites Svear priests from Helgö to teach the Thing members and a wider group of people in the service of the king in the use of the runic alphabet.
Sogdia: The city-states of the Sogdian Federation voluntarily accept the suzerainty of the Göktürk Empire. The Göktürk leadership is heavily influenced by Sogdian ideas and interests. A commemorative stele for the Turkish emancipation from and victory over the Rouran is written in Sogdian.
Kushana: Kanishka IV. mobilises his troops to regain control over Sogdia.
Armenia: A mob of Paulicians, led by the new church's founder, Silvanus, destroy icons, paintings and murals, which depict saints, angels or Jesus, in Paytakaran.
Lasika: The Enguri Dam is finished.
Norse pirates raid Grobiņa.
Saxony: The new Thing, which assembles in Hamburg instead of Marklo, begins its task of codifying Saxon law.
Tauris: The reserve funds of the mutual insurance club of the wealthiest Ostrogothic merchant syndicate, the Atarbaktoi, are esteemed by a professor of political philosophy from Massilia to be larger than the entire Celtic imperial state budget of this year.
Madagascar: From the Mazdakist settlement in the North, the Masdagay language - a mixture of Persian and Malay elements - spreads across the island and becomes the lingua franca between different tribes. Traces of its alphabet, based on Pahlavi, are found in inscriptions all along the coastline.
Kushana / Göktürks: Beginning of Kushan-Göktürk war.
Roman Empire: The bartender of a small inn in the Roman emporium Mosylon experiments with roasting the beans of the coffee berry and mixing them into hot and cold drinks, whole or grounded, thereby inventing the modern cofeee drink. It quickly becomes a big thing all across Aksum, Arabia and the Roman Empire.
Kushana / Göktürks: Taxila is destroyed by the Göktürks, and Kanishka IV. and his sons are killed. After defeating the Kushan armies and plundering several cities, the Göktürks retreat.
Sviþjod / Agðir: A son and a close adviser of the Svear king are assassinated. The assassins leave a message: "Stay off our towns." Around the Baltic Sea, the rumour spreads that one of the secret, allegedly very powerful, in any case mythicised "societies" of Egðirs (syndicates, basically) are behind the assassinations, as a revenge for the raid of Grobiņa.
Celtic Empire: Quintus Alabaster, a professor of philosophy at the university of Londinium and follower of Callatus, publishes a comparative economic history of the Celtic and the Roman Empires, in which he explains Roman economic advances and greater economic power with the abolition of slavery in the Roman Republic. The book fuels a heated controversy about the abolition of slavery in the Celtic Empire and influences the Callatians' pro-abolitionist stance.
Kashgar, Kucha, Karanshahr and Turfan accept Göktürk suzerainty.
This is the moment of perfect synthesis between the city states of Silk Road merchants (shahristans) and the Göktürk nomad warriors: the latter protect the safety of the towns and trade routes of the former, while the former provide them with education (e.g. teaching them how to write about their glorious deeds), food in the winter and luxurious objects for the glorious winners who have gained control of Central Asia.
Roman Empire: Mykerinos, a gaffer / optician from Oxyrynchos, becomes rich by selling small, reliable and relatively affordable magnifying glasses.
Göktürk Empire: After Kyrgyz had attacked and raided Silk Road towns and caravanserais at the feet of the Tian Shan, the Göktürks subdue the Kyrgyz. Like the Magyars four years later for the Western part of the Göktürk Empire, the Kyrgyz at the Yenissei become the most important providers of horses for the central and Eastern parts of the Göktürk Empire.
Roman spies report to the Conventum Romanum from their investigations, inspired by the observations of Roman merchants, about the rising military power of the Göktürk Khaganate, which now controls a territory larger than that of the Roman Republic. A militarist faction in the Conventum - and the representatives of the Taurean margo, who do not have a voting right on these matters, though - supports a cavalry build-up and troop movements into the pontic steppe, and the fiercest hawks even plan a preemptive strike. But they are a minority; the Conventum is dominated by commerce-minded and relatively pacifist factions, who oppose a large-scale draft and an increase in taxation for the war and the build-up.
Eranshahr: At the University of Gundishapur, the Aryabhatiya is translated into Pahlavi.
The Western yabghu defeats the towns of Bactria and coerces them to accept Göktürk suzerainty. To their East, other important trading towns are coalescing into a closer federation named the Shaihr Jaari (city alliance).
Egðir merchants found a colony among the Vepsians at the shore of a lake named Ladoga in OTL. The wood-fortified colony and the lake are named Aldejokia. Egðirs sell a wide variety of products and buy mostly furs. Soon, the fort will also be needed as a stop-over on the way to Holmsgarð (OTL Veliki Nowgorod) and further South to the more developed Ostrogothic-Slavic towns on the Borysthenes.
Franconia: A revolt of peasants and laeti overthrows the Frankish kingdoms. Under the leadership of the devout Lausai Mark the Just, the revolting peasants install a republican government.
Roman Empire / Eranshahr: The Roman Consuls seize the opportunity of the replacement of the ambitious and aggressive Sassanid Empire with the pacifistic Mazdakite State and negotiate a land leasing contract for a naval base at Eran´s southern coast. The naval base at Konarakon will become the backbone of Rome´s anti-piracy missions East of Arabia.
Göktürk Empire: Yabgu Istämi integrates the Magyars as the first Ugro-Finnic people into the federation. They provide a great source of horses, which are constantly needed in the huge nomadic federation and empire. The Magyars, in turn, gain access to Roman alcohol and cheap cloth, luxurious Chinese silk, Sogdian carpets, Arabian pearls and all the other wonderful things traded around the Göktürk-controlled Silk Road.
Celtic Empire: The Consuls Titus Quercus and Vertoricus introduce a motion to abolish slavery in the Celtic Empire. The Council passes the motion with a narrow majority, but against fierce resistance from Anglia.
Franconia: The Frankish Republic`s government secures the support of the Celtic Empire, brokered in a personal meeting between Mark the Just and Titus Quercus.
Roman Empire: Medical scientists from the University of Porolissum, who try to obtain the prize offered by the U. of Alexandria's medical department, conduct a large-scale medical experiment on people infected with the bubonic plague (mostly Slavic farmers from remote villages north of Dacia). Attempting to excel at meeting the procedural expectations, they treat half the probands with a substance extracted from heather via alcohol, and the other half of the probands with a mixture of garum and wine of equal colour, thereby introducing the control group procedure.
The experiments yields no conclusive evidence for any effects of the heather extract. After news of the whole test and its design reach the Slavic villages, a small-scale civil unrest arises, in which the semi-Romanised town of Siniacum was attacked and set on fire before military assistance from Samus (in the Roman civitas of Porolissum) reaches the town and defeats the rabble-rousers.
Roman Empire / Sheba: Roman fleet movements from Aden to Konarakon create a diplomatic crisis between Rome and Sheba.
Bharikucha: The textile-producing shreni of Bharikucha inaugurates its new textile mill, complete with carding machines and water- and wind-powered looms. Bharikucha's competitivity is greatly improved.
Franconia: Slavery is abolished in the Frankish Republic, too, and so is indentured servitude. Land is redistributed in a great land reform, and elections for a democratic Thing take place, in which Mark`s supporters achieve a huge majority. The new Republic cannot and does not want to afford a professional cavalry (knights) and navy; it only keeps a yeomen self-defense force. Celtic military presence, which the Celtic Council reduces anyway to cut down on military spending, is therefore welcome to Mark the Just and his followers.
Celtic Empire: The provincial government of Anglia refuses to enforce the emancipation of all slaves.
Göktürk Empire / Eran: Göktürks invade the North of Eranshahr and raid Merw.
Göktürk Empire / Eran / Choresmia: The Göktürks have besieged and plundered Choresmia, too, before Chosrau`s forces, together with Lakhmid cavalry, arrive and defeat them.
Celtic Empire: Imperial forces defeat Anglian pro-slavery secessionists. Anglia is subjected to direct imperial control for a period of nine years, in which all slaves will be freed and rural structures reformed to remove future threats from anti-republican forces.
Roman Empire: To secure the safety of Ostrogothic West African cotton trade, which is of vital importance to the Roman economy, the Republic builds a naval base at Promunturium Album (OTL Nouadhibou) and stations a dozen ships there to patrol the coast and guard it against pirates.
India: A large group of mainly Buddhist trade route cities in the North (the best-known among them Varnu, Jaguda, Shrinagari and Gilgit) formally unite in a Federation named "Shaihr Jaari" (Dogari for "city alliance"). For their defense, they employ a large group of kshatriyas turned Buddhists, who correspond to the OTL Kabul Shahis.
This division of labour reflects the new age of Indian political and military structures. The age of warring imperial states has ended in the North and given way to urban (oligarchical or democratic) republics, allied to each other. They pay experienced warriors, who have formed self-governed corporations, too, but do not rule of the city states. They own and rule the countryside, where social strata have become permeable: Farmers who can afford the training, weaponry and a horse - all of which are often provided by the Shaihr Jaari in case of military need - can join the warrior associations. Retired warriors, on the other hand, often join Buddhist monasteries. The peasants pay rent either to the warrior corporations, or to the monasteries, but they may join either of them. If they cannot afford upward mobility in the countryside, they move into the cities, where shrenis have become open for newcomers.
Göktürk Empire: The Mari become the second Ugro-Finnic people under the overlordship of the Göktürks. Extending their sphere of influence over them, the Göktürk Empire reaches the shores of the Volga.
Arabia: The Lakhmids demand Iranian material assistance for an attack on the Taghlib to gain control over the Mesopotamian petroleum seep sites. With Chosrau's support and consent, the Lakhmids begin a five-year war against the Taghlib.
Roman Empire: At the University of Antiochia, the Aryabhatiya is translated (indirectly, from Pahlavi sources) into Greek. It revives astronomic debates and resuscitates this discipline in the growing choir of scientific voices at Roman and Celtic universities.
Göktürk Empire / Persia / Sheba: Another Göktürk attack on Merw and Tus. In both cities, merchant factions favour submitting to the Göktürks, while fervent Mazdakists favour a pact between Eran and the Shaihr Jaari. From Ctesiphon, Chosrau calls Sabaean forces for help.
Roman Empire / Kingdom of the Antes: Mezamir, King of the Antes, mobilises all armed forces and alerts Rome as to the presence of Göktürks on the shores of the Volga.
The ultra-libertarian economic policies of Callatian majorities in the Celtic Council begin to show problematic effects. While the Roman Republic engages in great infrastructural measures, improving its roads, aquaeducts, bridges, ports, lighthouses and canals, none of this happens in the Celtic lands if it cannot be afforded by a non-Callatian civitas on its own, and the infrastructure begins to decay. The consuls are continuously forced to cut back on the armed forces - not a single legion is stationed in the entire Hispanian Peninsula anymore, for example. Public poverty goes hand in hand with private wealth: Rich landowners and businessmen outside Anglia have absorbed the shock of the abolition of slavery mostly well, and begin to build representative villas and palaces. Private exploring and colonising missions are begun.
Across the Baltic Sea, piracy and related warfare endanger many towns, and some are destroyed, while others are rebuilt. Both new and surviving old port towns are heavily fortified with stone walls for protection.
In the hinterland, the Saxon Kingdom expands under King Frerk Eastwards into the space abandoned by Burgundians, Vandals, Langobards and others in the Migration Period, while the Prussian confederacy headed by the port town of Truso expands into the same space Westwards.
Roman Empire / Göktürk Empire: Roman ambassadors obtain a guarantee from Yabghu Istämi that the Göktürks will not cross the Volga.
Eran / Sheba / Arabia / Göktürks: Chosrau`s conscript army, local militias, the Shaihr Jaari and Sabaean cavalry together conduct a successful punitive campaign against the Göktürks in Bactria, obtaining reparations for the attacks on Merw and Tus.
Arabia: After they are repaid by Chosrau, the Sabaean generals do not withdraw completely. Instead, they alert Musel Mamikonian, first magistrate of Armenia, and prepare to assist the Taghlib against the Lakhmids.
West Africa: An Ostrogothic exploring mission of members of the Atlantikoi association travels upriver on the Senegal from Sere Kounda. One of them, Nikomachos, will write a book (the "Senegalos") about their discoveries, which shapes the Mediterranean perception of West Africa`s peoples in the late 6th and 7th centuries. In the Senegalos, Nikomachos describes the different polities and their social structures:
- The coastal region around Sere Kounda forms a kingdom or oligarchy whose name he renders as Xolopha. They appear to be illiterate, but industrious. Nikomachos observes a hierarchy with two different groups, both of black skin and similar appearance, but speaking entirely different languages. The "geloaroi" (apparently the descendants of Soninke invaders) serve as the country`s administrating, military and land-owning upper class, while all the rural work - growiing sorghum and vegetables mostly - , is done by the "olophoi", who nevertheless have their own male and female leaders (lamanoi and lingarei).
- About 100 miles upriver, great cattle farms are encountered. The "chalpularoi", cattle-breeders of of marginally lighter skin, live here together with black "sereroi", who work as agriculturalists. Both appear to live together in the capital city of Takrur, where he meets a few people who write in what he recognises as "the Libyans´ alphabet"
- Further inland, where legends locate rich gold mines, Nikomachos observes people of lighter and darker skin working together on cotton plantations and living together in peaceful villages, obviously practicing some form of Christian religion. He recognises Latin words spoken among a mixture of languages he does not elaborate on. Nikomachos` descriptions contrast with both Mediterranean clichés about the Agonistic realm (e.g. that they'd love martyrdom so much that they constantly throw themselves off cliffs, or that they`d share their women) as well as Jolof judgments about them (e.g. that they'd drink blood). Nikomachos tells about literate girls and women and a generally peaceful society. He also creates some myths of his own, too, though, for example: "In the greatest heat of summer, the people of these lands sit in the shade and wait until birds, cooked by the sun's heat, drop from the sky, ready to have their feathers removed and be eaten by the idle men and women of the oasis."
Arabia: Sabaeans and Armenians defeat the Lakhmids. Al-Hira falls. The Lakhmids are dispersed or integrated into other tribes. The land they formerly controlled is now jointly held by Sabaean troops, who build new fortresses, and the Taghlib. Sheba controls the entire North, East and South of the Arabian Peninsula as well as neighbouring Mesopotamia now.
Göktürk Empire: Muqhan Qaghan dies. He is succeeded by his son, Taspar Qaghan, who breaks the alliance with Zhou China.
Roman Empire / Sheba: The Conventum Romanum declares a state monopoly on petroleum and designates a Republican Quaestor with the task of securing and improving production, processing, transport and the provision of the Classis Romana with fuel for their fire pumps, as well as with conducting foreign trade especially with Sheba, which now controls the seep sites in Mesopotamia.
Eranshahr: Chosrau I dies. The Mazdakite Congregation (consisting of Mazdakist herbads, delegates from rural communes and city councils - but not, for example, of representatives of the Balochian, Avromanian, Lakian and other tribes) gathers in Ctesiphon and elects Puran, a priestess and female philosopher, as the new head of state.
The election of a woman - of minor aristocratic (dehqan) descent - as head of state shows both the force of the elective principle in the early Mazdakite State and the re-definition of gender roles by the Mazdakists. Among the surrounding states, only Sheba often has queens, but these can ascend the throne only due to royal lineage and only when there are no male heirs.
Göktürk Empire: Yabghu Istämi dies. He is succeeded by his son, Tardu, who does not feel bound by his father's promise vis-a-vis the Roman Empire.
Eastern Imaziyen: The Eastern Amazigh Ljama`a at Capsa decides to use the "Persian" (i.e. Devangari) numerals in their entire realm.
30-40 Celtic explorers in longboats, led by the magnate Licinius Cicero, start from the Insulae Cattae in search of the legendary Thule. They discover the Insulae Petraeae (OTL Faroe). Licinius claims the southernmost island (OTL Suðuroy). A settlement is built.
India: The port town of Revatidvipa (OTL Goa) becomes a city republic, too, and concludes a protection treaty with Bharikucha.
Egðir found the sister town / colony of Holmsgarð (OTL Veliki Nowgorod) as a fortified marketplace, where their merchant associations buy furs and honey from the Galinds and other Baltic and Finnic hunters and gatherers.
Göktürk Empire: The Göktürks raid and plunder Chrysosydor (OTL Volgograd), a wealthy Ostrogothic colony at the Southern fringe of the Kingdom of the Antes.
Göktürk Empire / Kingdom of the Antes / Roman Empire: The Antic King Mezamir calls on Rome and Eran for help against the Göktürks. Mazdakite Eran has no forces it could deploy and thus refuses to engage in this war. In Alexandria, the MCM strongly advises the political leadership to postpone a Roman engagement with land forces, as they deem the Göktürk cavalry superior and know that Rome`s forces need more time to research, prepare and equip for a confrontation. Rome`s Conventum is divided, with representatives from the North-East and the (merely advisory) representatives of the Taurean margo strongly in favour of a preemptive strike against the Göktürk threat. But ultimately, a majority follows the advice of the military leadership and merely strengthens the presence of the Classis Romana on Tauris and the Tanais River.
India: Kirtivarman of the Chalukyas attacks the Nalas, but he is defeated. The Eastward expansion of the (Hindu, Kannada-speaking) Chalukya into Jainist Telugu lands is stopped.
Eranshahr: The poet-philosopher Reza,is laureated by Puran. Reza's immense popularity, which is not limited to Persian cities since he has found readers in Balkh, Bukhara and Bharikucha, too, is related to the way he gives expression to the atmosphere of change, optimism, but also cultural clashes in the cities of the new Mazdakite society. His epic parodies of heroic tales reflect the growing self-confidence and defiance of a pacifist society surrounded by warlike neighbours; and in his longer poems, reflections about changing gender roles, the occasional annoyances of a more collectivist lifestyle, and the omnipresent religious hypocrisy (to gain influence, it pays to pose as an enthusiastic Mazdakist - a strategy pursued by many people whose religious beliefs may either be non-existent, or rather fall into the categories of non-Mazdakist (Zurvanite or polytheistic-ritualist) Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism or Jainism) can be found.
Reza's popularity is an important contribution to the continuous importance and regional influence of the Pahlavi language after the demise of the Sassanids.
Scandinavia: Another Egðir attack is aimed at Malmhaug this time. Petty King Alf dies in the defense. Malmhaug submits to tribute and taxation conditions impoed by Sørstad.
A decade marked by war - the Göktürk Civil War and the unification of China under the rule of Sui. Also, conflict begins to brew in the Caucasus.
Deep-reaching social and political changes occur especially in China, where, like in OTL, Emperor Wen of Sui reforms the penal code, prepares the administration for a great census, installs the three cabinets and six departments, and has granaries and canals built, but also commits a bloodbath among the princes of Zhou, which is the first among several important circumstances leading to the complete marginalisation of the aristocracy in China over the next decades.
Armenia: Varaz Vzur leads the Paulician faction among the Armenians into victory over the traditionalists led by Musel Mamikonian.
Roman Empire / Ostrogoths / Antes: As Tardu`s men have taken over control over the trading outposts on the Ra from the Antes, Ostrogothic syndicates, whose main occupation has always been business, which is presently going bad, begin to prepare clandestine resistance. Secretly, they knit an alliance with more and more participants, and procure cheap, formerly Sassanid second-hand weaponry.
China: Yang Jian becomes emperor and founds the Sui Dynasty. He will be remembered as Emperor Wen of Sui. He restructures his Empire with only two subordinate levels (states and counties) and his administration (abolishing the nine-rank system).
Göktürk Empire: Taspar Khaghan dies. The empire falls apart into three pieces, with the West (even more powerful than in OTL) ruled by Tardu, the North (predominantly Kyrgyz) ruled by Apa, and the East (religiously most important) ruled by Ishbara Khaghan.
Armenia: An autocephalos, Paulician Armenian Church is founded; Gregorian priests, bishops, monks and nuns are forced to convert or leave the country. The Armenian Church receives a new constitution: All parish priests and bishops are to be elected by the faithful of the parishes. Any other creed than Paulician Christianity is outlawed. Heresy becomes punishable by death. Thousands of paintings, murals, and icons are destroyed. Likewise, the division of power between a legislature, magistrates and judges in the political domain is overthrown and replaced by local assemblies, regional councils and a national council with quasi-unlimited powers. Armenia is quickly turning into a theocratic republic.
Roman military experts in Castra Luhana, Kallipolis, Neapolis Borysthenea and Phanagoria support the anti-Göktürk alliance with training.
Western Göktürk Empire: Tardush Khaghan reorganises his khaghanate, dividing the huge territory, which stretches from the Terek River in the Northern Caucasus to the Tienshan, into ten commanderies ("shads"), the most important among them led by his close relatives, while e.g. the steppe around the Aral Sea is given to shads from the Nushipi tribe. (As in OTL, this division is the reason why this nomadic confederacy is often referred to as On-Oq, "ten arrows".)
Tamgan, Tardush's brother and commander of the Westernmost shad of the Empire, works out a systematic plan for consolidating Duolo / Göktürk control over the sparsely populated, but very lucrative because strategically very important Northern slopes of the Caucasus and the plains immediately to its North. He gathers cavalry both from the upper reaches of the Volga and from near the Terek for an attack on the newly fortified Chrysosydor, aimed at gaining control over the Tanais-Ra passage.
Roman Empire: Chemical researchers at the University of Alexandria discover a method to gain sulfuric acid from alaun.
India: Kirtivarman I. of the Chalukyas attempts to conquer the insurgent Southern Canara clan - and the adjacent maritime city republic of Revatidvipa. But Revatidvipa is assisted by Bharikucha and fends off the invasion. Kirtivarman`s second defeat initiates the process of disintegration in the Chalukya Kingdom of Vitapa, with subservient clans like the Western Gangas, Kadambas and Rashtrakutas reasserting their positions in the following decades. Thus ends the last attempt of a kingdom in Central India to conquer its neighbours and become an empire.
Lasika / Iberia / Armenia: Lasikan and Iberian agents are sent to subvert the new Paulician state in Armenia. The Patriarch of the Gregorian Church condemns the Armenian revolution. Lasikan and Iberian armed forces are mobilised.
Northern Caucasus: The Patriarch of the Gregorian Church and the Kings of Lasika and Iberia have forged an alliance with Tamgan Shad, in preparation of an offensive against the Paulician theocracy in Armenia. For now, Tamgan heads North, though, crosses the Ra and assumes control over commercially important and profitable Tanais-Ra passage. Chrysosydor temporarily becomes Tamgan Shad`s residence. He plans to build another fortress at the Tanais end of the passage, named Sarkel.
The Roman Consuls merely protest and send more ships, but do not order an attack to defend their Antic allies and their Ostrogothic trading partners, who are also Rome`s allies. Antes, Ostrogoths and North-Eastern civitates from Histria over Tyraspolis to Olbia are outraged, and even more join the secret defense league.
Tamgan Shad wants to keep the mainly Ostrogothic crafstmen and traders of Chrysosydor and other marketplaces in the towns (and tax them) - similar to the co-operation with Silk Road cities -, but almost a third of them has left the town by the end of the year already, either taking to sea trade on Taurean ships, or establishing their workshops in the safer and more civilised civitates of the Roman Republic.
China: Emperor Wen sends an army under the leadership of his brother Yang Shuang against the Eastern Göktürk Khaghanate and against the remainder of Northern Qi. Ishbara Khaghan is soundly defeated and the Eastern Göktürk Khaghanate thrown deeper into political and military crisis, while Sui annexes the last part of Northern Qi.
The reformed Kaihuang Legal Codex is produced.
Roman Empire: A member of Pergamon's large glassmaker guild (comprising gaffers and opticians, too), whose name is lost to history, constructs the first monocles (at first, only with convex lenses for the long-sighted, since the market of reading / working aids for the short-sighted is dominated by Egyptian looking glasses).
Roman Empire / Sheba: The Queen of Sheba's royal marine invites the Classis Romana into the Persian Gulf and allows them to build a naval base in OTL Bahrain. Queen Asmera's covert intention is for Sheba's navy to acquire the Roman know-how of fire pumps. Rome cannot spare many ships due to the threat in the Pontic space, but definitely wants to seize the moment, and sends a small detachment.
China: The Guangtong Canal is built, connecting Daxing / Chang'an with the Tongguan Pass.
Göktürk Empire: Ishbara Khaghan attacks Apa's Khaghanate in the North. Apa allies himself with Tardush. It takes months for their large army to gather from all across the Asian steppe, though - time in which the Northern regions are raided by Ishbara´s warriors.
Ostrogoths / Antes / Roman Empire / Göktürk Empire: When word of the departure of Tamgan Shad and most of his warriors comes around to King Mezamir, to Tauris and the Roman Pontic port towns, militias mobilise and, together with Antic warriors, attack and destroy Sarkel, kill the Göktürk tuduns and their guards all along the Tanais-Ra passage and the River Ra, and increase the fortification of these marketplaces. Rome`s political leadership is divided about this offensive, but cannot do much to stop it anyway.
Göktürks: The allied forces of Tardush and Apa defeat Ishbara - first his expeditionary corps, which held Apa Khaghan´s relatives hostage near the upper Yenissei River, then the main body of Ishbara's army in a battle in Dzungaria. Ishbara is killed in battle. His cousin claims his succession already on the battlefield, becoming Baga Khaghan of the Eastern Göktürk Khaghanate without the consent of a Kurultay. He leads the fleeing Eastern Göktürks onto Tuyuhun territory and asks Emperor Wen of Sui for protection.
China: As a lesson from last year's famine in Guangzhong, Emperor Wen orders the construction of reserve state granaries (filled by taxes paid by peasants in kind).
Roman Empire: The cloth market in Carthago Nova is the largest marketplace worldwide, with a turnover of more than 10,000,000 denarii each day.
Eranshahr / Armenia: Puran concludes a contract of good friendship and mutual help with Varaz Vzur.
Göktürks: With help (in the form of horses) from the Tuyuhun and a guarantee from Sui, Baga Khaghan leads the Eastern Göktürk warriors back North and reclaims the holy forest of Ötüken. The Eastern Göktürks now owe the Tuyuhun a lot of blacksmithing products as payment, and Baga Khaghan sends one of his daughters to Emperor Wen as concubine.
In the West, Apa has no other option but to proclaim Tardush as the only khaghan and accept a subordinate role as shad of the lands of the Kyrgyz.
Only 25 years after the Göktürk Empire's historical peak, the Ashina clan is haunted by infights, and the empire on the verge of dissolution. The Eastern Göktürks are vassals of the Chinese; under these circumstances, Baga Khaghan's position is more than endangered, and his rivals are already forging plans for his demise. In the North, Apa - as well as the Kyrgyz - are dissatisfied with Tardush's overlordship. In the West, the ambition of regional shads and Tardush's dangerous personality forebode new bloody conflicts in the near future.
India: A sugarcane refiner from the city republic of Cochin invents rum. His invention reverts the foreign trade balance in the spirits domain between the Roman Empire and South-Western India: Whilst up to now, the Romans exported (wine brandy) which the Indians drank, it is now the Indians who export (rum) and the Romans (and many others) who drink it.
China: Construction of the Shanyang Canal is begun.
Sui conquers Western Liang.
Armenia: Varaz Vzur is overthrown by an even more radical Paulician and militant leader, Vertanes.
Göktürks: Armed conflict breaks out among the elders of the leading Ashina clan in the East. Tardush requires warriors from all shads to interfere in favour of Ashina Yongyulu, who opposes Baghan's submissive policy toward Sui. Apa refuses to participate.
Bagha Khaghan is killed in the conflict, but Tardush does not succeed with his intervention, either. Aided by Sui, the rulers of the East resist his invasion. Instead of Ashina Yongyulu, Ashina Rangan becomes the new leader, bearing the title Yami Qaghan.
On his way back, Tardush leads his warriors to the North. The insurgent Apa Khaghan is killed in battle.
On a simite of leading representatives of the Silk Road cities, the increasing demands of Göktürk shads, who must maintain their armies, from the Silk Road shahristans are debated very critically. Several alternatives are discussed (especially A) an appeal to Sui to pacify the region as new overlords, and B) a co-ordinated self-defense army and an alliance with the Kabul Shahi), but none finds general support. In Bactria, more and more defiant societies form around Buddhist monasteries and guilds, who begin to include equestrian martial arts in their repertoire.
China: Sui defeats Chen. Chinese historiography records this moment as the end of the period of Northern and Southern Dynasties (as in OTL).
The Bajuni city state of Kismayu, the Kikuyu city state of Mombasa and the Shambaa city state of Tanga expand into their hinterland to grow more coffee, the most profitable export product since the abolition of slavery.
China: Emperor Wen applies the equal-field policy across his entire empire. The landed gentry in Chen rebels. The Sui general Yang Su quells the rebellion.
Armenia / Assyria: Vertanes launches a crusade to convert the Assyrians (among them Christians of various sects, Jews, various Zoroanistrian groups and adherents of ancient local cults). He lays siege to Ashur and conquers it, controlling the country and beginning a campaign of (ana-)baptisms and the destruction of pictures of all sorts of deities.
China: Emperor Wen lowers the taxes. Khan Murong Shifu of the Tuyuhun submits to Sui and sends tribute.
Armenia / Iberia: Vertanes launches a second "crusade" to convert the Gregorian Christians of Iberia. Armenian troops outnumber the Iberian defenders, who withdraw from the valleys to the mountains, from where they continue to offer resistance.
Eranshahr: "Aegidian" (= empirical) philosophers of nature, who would be labelled "chemists" in modern terms, at the University of Gundishapur, which has begun to flourish again after the crisis of the civil war years, discover a method to synthesise acidum salis petrae, using sulfuric acid for this process, whose synthesis from alaun had been discovered earlier in Alexandria.
Göktürks: Ashina Yongyulu allies himself with the Xueyantuo tribe and overthrows Yami Qaghan. He becomes Tulan Khaghan. This shows both the weakening of the Ashina clan's leadership and a process of tribalisation which threatens that which is left of the Göktürk confederal structures.
While Yami Khaghan, or rather Ashina Rangan again now, flees to Sui with his entire branch of the clan, Tulan Khaghan ends the submissive policy toward Sui. Emperor Wen orders the construction of the town of Dali for Ashina Rangan and his clansmen. Ashina Rangan receives a title from Wen, and many of his warriors join the regular Sui army.
In the West, Tardush supports Tamgan's renewed reach for regional hegemony in the Northern Caucasus by ordering other shads to support him with warriors.
The Antes and the anti-Göktürk militias of Pontic Ostrogoths and Romans mobilise, too, in response.
Armenia / Iberia / Lasika: Lasikan armed forces invade Iberia to support the Iberian defenders against the Armenian occupants. Lasika`s king appeals to Tamgan Shad for help, too.
Armenia / Iberia / Lasika / Göktürks: Tamgan Shad leads a large number of warriors over the passes of the Caucasus and deals the Armenians several crushing defeats both in Lasika and in Iberia. Vertanes abandons the crusade. The Göktürks are repaid, thanked by the Greogrian Patriarch (although they are Tengrist "heathens") and are declared welcome ( = they may herd their livestock on these lands, and ride through them with their warriors) in the lands of the Nakh, the Alani, the Lakians, Iberians and Lasikans.
Göktürks / Antes / Ostrogoths: Tamgan Shad's warriors burn down the fortified camps and regain control over the Tanais-Ra passage. Tamgan finds out about the fate of his tuduns and plans bloody revenge. Because he does not know yet about the local Roman and Ostrogothic involvement and only encounters Antic troops, he focuses his revenge plans on the latter kingdom.
A military reaction to the new Göktürk offensive is discussed, once again, in Rome. This time, though, a majority in the Conventum Romanum views the Göktürks as a beneficial force in the region since the latter defended Rome's Lasikan allies, where significant amounts of Roman capital had been invested, against Armenia, which is allied with the Mazdakite Eran, which figures in many Roman minds as a fanatic geopolitical wildcard.
The Antes and many Taureans and Pontic Romans don`t want to wait for the Göktürks to advance any further before Rome orders its federal troops to assist them. They take their fate into their own hands.
Göktürks / Ostrogoths / Antes: Tamgan Shad and Tardush Khaghan defeat a numerically superior, but badly coordinated army of Antes and their Slavic auxiliaries, Ostrogothic and local Roman militiamen in a battle near OTL Rossosh. After their defeat, a mass flight begins. Tens of thousands flee behind the safe walls of the Roman naval bases, while the Classis Romana helps others to cross the Tanais (OTL Don) into safer territory.
King Mezamir is killed in the battle, too. In the winter of 595/6, Tamgan`s and Tardush`s hordes besiege and conquer Voronezh, deplete the food reserves of the Antic farmers and cause an even greater migration towards the West.
The first people begin to flee Tauris, too, towards the lands where the Pax Romana guarantees a safer life.
China: Emperor Wen outlaws the private possession of weapons, except in the border provinces.
India: Shashanka rejects Mahasenagupta`s overlordship and attempts to expand his principality or petty kingdom by conquering neighbouring petty kingdoms and the gana sangha of Chandraketugarh (known in the West as Gangarida).
China: Emperor Wen marries Princess Guangha off to Murong Shifu, consolidating the friendly relations with between Sui and the Tuyuhun.
Eastern Göktürks / China: Tulan Khaghan wins the Khitan for a common offensive against Sui's Northern provinces - the Göktürk attacking from the North-West, the Khitan from the North-East. Emperor Wen sends a sizable army led by Yang Su and aided by Ashina Rangan's people against Tulan Khaghan, and a smaller detachment led by crown prince Yang Guang against the Khitan. Yang Su's armies split and managed to encricle Tulan Khaghan's forces, who were utterly defeated. The Sui soldiers killed a large part of the Göktürks' livestock, causing a fatal famine. The Eastern Göktürks disappear from history, many of them fleeing and merging into other tribes.
The smaller campaign against the allegedly weaker enemy, the Khitan, does not go so well, though. While here, too, the Sui armies confront the raiders and kill many of them, their luck leaves them as they advance onto Khitan territory. Caught in an ambush, the crown prince's guard and Yang Guang himself are killed. Panicking Sui troops are chased away by the Khitan.
Emperor Wen, who lost his favourite son in this war, swears himself bloody revenge on the Khitan - but this chance would only come to his successor, his eldest son Yang Yong, who would become Emperor Yang of Sui (instead of Yang Guang, as in OTL).
India: Shashanka is defeated by an alliance of the Guptas with the city republics of Chandraketugarh and Dantapura. Where Shashanka had ruled, a new city republic forms in Karmasuvarma.
Although the Pangothikon has decided a general mobilisation, thousands of Ostrogothic peasants from Sindica flee across the Black Sea.
Western Imaziyen: The Ljama`a at Theveste decides to use the "Persian" numerals, too.
China: Sui experiences its greatest military failure in the first Sui-Goguryeo war, as in OTL.
The bubonic plague breaks out again, this time in the Roman civitas of Narbo. Ostrogothic refugees, who have not yet found a new place to settle down, are not hit by the quarantine in most Roman and Celtic harbours. Hundreds of boats full of refugees sail out into the Atlantic Ocean, looking for a harbour that lets them anchor and a safe place to settle down.
Western Göktürks / Ostrogoths: Tamgan Shad demands tribute from the Ostrogoths, in the name of Tardush. The Pangothikon rejects the claim. The Göktürks ride South-Westwards into Sindica and lay siege to Gorgippia, then Phanagoria. Both sieges fail and must be abandoned. The Göktürks plunder the surrounding agricultural Sindican countryside and retreat into the steppe.
The bubonic plague kills hundreds of thousands of people across the Mediterranean.
Western Göktürks / Ostrogoths: After another Göktürk ultimatum passes by, Tamgan Shad orchestrates the most successful act of terrorism of this century. On board of pirate ships disguised as Lasikan merchants, they reach the Isthmus of Taphros (OTL Perekop) with disassembled anti-siege weapons, which are reassembled on the spot in the shelter of the night, and used to destroy the aquaeducts which lead across the isthmus and provide water for the irrigation of Central and Northern Tauris.
The water shortage makes itself felt quickly. One last time, the Pangothikon calls Rome for help. The Consuls Tullius Flaccus and Marcus Nervus send a delegation to Tamgan Shad and demand reparation for the destruction of the aquaeduct and an immediate withdrawal. Tamgan Shad rejects this and insists on the tributes, which he now defines as a compensation for the destruction of Sarkel and the assassinations of his tuduns.
The negotiations take their time. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Ostrogoths - mostly peasants - flee from Tauris - but because of the quarantine, they are not accepted anywhere in the Roman or Celtic Empires. Although anti-Göktürk sentiments surge, few people are willing to take to the arms after the resounding defeat at OTL Rossosh.
Earlier Ostrogothic refugees / boat people have sailed into the Atlantic Ocean and discovered the Nesoi Porphyroi (OTL Madeira and Porto Santo).
Late in the year, the Pangothikon grudgingly accepts the payment of a considerable tribute to the Göktürks, who retreat from the Isthmus of Taphros.
In the meantime, Tardush installs Musokios as an Antic puppet king.