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Background Information (leading up to POD)
In the year 570 A.D., a man named Muḥammad ibn `Abd Allāh was born in the small, Arabic town of Bakkah (Mecca). This unimportant orphan would go on to become one of the most influential men in the world. In the year 610, Muhammad claims to have been visited by the Angel Gabriel, who told him he was the Prophet of Allah. Almost immediately Muhammad went on to spread the message of Islam. However, though some Meccans listened to him, many disliked his message and by 614 the persecution of the Muslims had begun. In 622, Muhammad went to Yathrib (Medina), where the locals willingly joined forces with him and converted to Islam. And so began the Islamic conquests; by the time of Muhammad's death in 632, all of the Arabian Peninsula was adhering to Islam.
The next 30 years saw a series of violent conquests under the reign of the first Caliphs, which saw the creation the Rashidun Caliphate. At its peak, the Rashidun Caliphate covered everything from Afghanistan in the east to Tripoli in the west and Georgia in the north. Truly this was a force of monstrous power, conquering the Christians lands of Asia, such as Jerusalem, Armenia and Egypt. In 611, the Umayyad Caliphate was formed, which conquered the remaining lands on the west coast of North Africa, capturing the ancient city of Carthage, which had been home to the Carthaginian Empire, and immediately sacking it, the city of Tunis being built on top of it. The Umayyads then entered the Iberian Peninsula and, had it not been for King Charles Martel of the Franks, they would have most likely conquered France too.
At this same time, the Roman Empire (Byzantine) was suffering heavy defeats at the hands of the Arab conquests, having lost not only all the Exarchate of Africa, but also Syria and the Levant. The Muslim forces were pushing into Anatolia, and all hope seemed to be lost for the Romans. To make matters worse, the Bulgarian Tsar Simeon I had invaded the Roman Empire in 894 but was successfully pushed back, who then took their fleet up through the Black Sea to attack the Bulgarians from the rear. However, this victory was only lasted a short while, and the Romans were defeated at the Battle of Boulgarophygon. The Bulgarians would continue to invade the Roman Empire, and following Leo the Wise's death in 912, Simeon marched to Constantinople, and although the walls of the city were impregnable, Simeon was invited in and crowned the Emperor of Bulgaria. Following his sudden death in 927, the Bulgarian power collapsed, leading to an era of peace which allowed the Romans to focus on their Islamic enemies.
Under Emperor Basil II (976-1025), the Roman resistance revived, and by the year 1018 the Bulgarian Empire had been incorporated into the Roman Empire. Sadly it wasn't long after that the Seljuk Turks conquered Anatolia. From this point on wards the Roman Empire was on a steady slope downwards. However, on the 27th November 1095, Pope Urban II called together the Council of Clermont in response to a plea from the Roman Emperor, and urged all present to take up arms under the sign of the cross and go on an armed pilgramage to reclaim Jerusalem and the East. The response was overwhelming, with some 35,000 men going to fight the Islamic threat. This crusade was a success, and Jerusalem, along with much of the levant, was taken back for the Christians. From here, the point of divergence begins.
The First Crusade
- 27th November 1095 - First Crusade begins.
- (POD) 19th December 1095 - Peter the Hermit dies after being ill for a while, and so the People's Crusade never begins.
- 15th August 1096 - Crusader armies set off on their pilgramage to the Holy Lands, led by Raymond IV of Toulouse, Godfrey of Bouillon and many other Catholic princes.
- November 1096 - April 1097 - Crusader armies arrive in Constantinople, and are met with open arms by Emperor Alexios, whose army joins them.
- May 1th 1097 - Siege of Nicaea, the Seljuq Sultanate of Rum's capital, begins.
- June 7th 1097 - Seljuq forces surrender Nicaea to the Roman Empire, a large loss to the Sultanate of Rum.
- October 16th 1097 - Siege of Antioch begins.
- August 14th 1098 - Antioch is captured by the Crusader and Roman forces, forming the Principality of Antioch, a vassal state of the Roman Empire.
- 6th April 1099 - Siege of Jerusalem begins.
- 22nd April 1099 - Thanks to Roman forces, the Crusaders enter Jerusalem. A great massacre occurs and all the Muslims in Jerusalem are either killed or exiled - the Jews are also killed.
- 25th April 1099 - Council at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre declares Jerusalem a Catholic Kingdom with Raymond as king.
- 11th July 1099 - The 41,000 men strong Fatimid army heads for Jerusalem.
- 4th August 1099 - The Battle of Ascalon begins.
- 6th August 1099 - The Fatimid armies are crushed by the Crusader forces.
- 14th February 1100 - After months of planning, the Crusader armies, along with the now 79,000 strong Roman army head for Egypt.
- 29th May - 14th June 1100 - The Christian forces arrive near Alexandria, where they meet with reinforcements sent from France and the Holy Roman Empire.
- 16th June 1100 - Siege of Alexandria begins.
- 24th June 1100 - Alexandria captured by Christian forces. All the Muslims are massacred.
- 4th July 1100 - Emperor Alexios learns of Seljuq forces planning to attack Antioch, and so commands his armies to return and prepare to defend it at all costs.
- 21st September 1100 - A Seljuq army of 39,000 men arrives at Antioch.
- 14th October 1100 - Just as all hope seems lost, the Roman army arrives at Antioch.
- 20th October 1100 - The Seljuq forces are desomated. The Roman armies continue onwards to Damascus.
- 11th November 1100 - The 67,000 men strong Roman army arrives at the gates of Damascus. The siege begins.
- 2nd January 1101 - 31,000 Crusaders arrive at Damascus to reinforce the Romans.
- 14th March 1101 - Seljuq forces surrender. Muslims are granted safe passage out of Damascus, though 1 in every 4 Seljuq warriors are blinded.
- 14th March 1101 - With Damascus captured, the First Crusade comes to a close.
The Rise of the Christendom
The First Crusade was an unbelievable success. The great cities of Nicaea, Antioch, Alexandria, Damascus and the holy city of Jerusalem had been reclaimed for the Christians. The Roman Empire was entering a new era - under the Komnenos Dynasty, she would once again become the dominant force in the east.
- May 29th 1127 - A massive pilgramage, sometimes reffered to as the Second Crusade, sets off for the Roman Empire, to defend the Eastern Christendom. The Western and Eastern Churches are closer than ever in the past, united by their strife against Islam.
- August 14th - December 12th 1127 - Catholic armies consisting of both peasants and knights, numbering at a grand 74,000 arrive at Constantinople. They are welcomed by John II Komnenos of the Roman Empire.
- 1128 - 1143 - The greatly weakened Seljuq Empire is pushed east.
- May 27th 1131 - The land of Armenia is liberated from Seljuq control and is made a vassal state of the Roman Empire.
- March 19th 1133 - The Zoroastrian Uprising begins with the burning of a Mosque in Amol.
- January 1134 - Roman forces use the Zoroastrian Uprising to their advantage, attacking the Seljuq Empire while it is in the weakest state it has ever been.
- April 12th 1134 - Zoroastrian forces, lead by Shapur Gara, claim the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. Many Zoroastrians throughout the Seljuq Empire are inspired to revolt.
- September 1135 - Roman forces arrive in the west of Persia, where they are greeted by the Zoroastrians, hoping they will assist them. The Romans take this advantage to create a buffer zone between them and the Islamic World.
- October 7th 1135 - Roman and Zoroastrian forces capture Ctesiphon, the ruined ancient city.
- March 4th 1136 - Bulgarians rise up against Roman rule.
- April 2nd 1136 - John II, fearing a strong Bulgarian invasion, grants the Bulgarians their right to an independent state, but on his terms. An alliance is formed.
- May 7th 1136 - The Bulgarian Tsar Mihailo III sends his army to Constantinople to join forces with the Romans.
- July 29th 1141 - Council of Ikónion. Attended by the rulers of Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, the Roman Empire, Antioch and Jerusalem. The decision is made to create a political union known as the Ágios Christianikós Kósmos, or Holy Christendom.
- October 31st 1142 - Siege of Baghdad begins.
- May 12th 1143 - Baghdad is captured and handed to Shapur Gara by the Romans. A Zoroastrian Shahdom is declared. Reconstruction of Ctesiphon begins immediately, with Baghdad the temporary capital.
- 1144 - With a buffer zone on their eastern border, the Romans focus their attention on the Fatimids to their south.
- July 7th 1144 - John II sends his armies to Sicily and the Italian peninsula.
- April 19th 1147 - With the Catholic Pope's support, the Roman Empire reclaims all of Italy south of the Papal States. John II places his son, Alexios, as King of Italy and Sicily.
- November 27th 1152 - 124,000 of the 312,000 men strong Holy Christendom (HCE) army arrives at Alexandria.
- January - August 1152 - The Byzantine-Fatimid War for Egypt.
- September 6th 1152 - Fatimid armies are crushed and all remaining soldiers flee. Al-Zafir, Caliph of the Fatimids is beheaded by HCE forces.
- September 24th 1152 - Council of Philae. Egypt becomes a Roman province.
- November 1st 1153 - January 9th 1154 - Council of Alexandria. The Orthodox Churches create five archbishoprics within the HCE: Aleppo, Alexandria, Damascus, Edessa and Tripoli. They are self-governing.
- July 1st 1157 - The Grand Principality of Serbia and the Christian Principality of Cilicia joins the HCE.
- April 19th 1158 - Kievan-Roman alliance.
- August 23rd 1158 - May 5th 1159 - Second Council of Alexandria. Church leaders discuss how to bring the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians closer, as to help end fighting between them.
- February 9th 1161 - Roman armies numbering at 176,000 invade Islamic controlled Cyrene.
- June 11th 1161 - The Oghuz Khan Dede converts to Orthodox Christianity. His people would follow in his path, making his state of Adinistan 80% Christian by the 13th century.
- July 14th 1161 - Cyrene becomes the capital of the Roman Province of Libya.
- 1162 - Temüjin (Genghis Khan) is born.
- 1163 - 1194 - Continued raids and skirmishes between Romans and Fatimids.