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|War of Christian Expansion
|Part of Vae victis!|
Egyptian troops sack a city
||Many small states in the Near east|
|Casualties and losses|
The War of Christian Expansion, also known from time to time as The Christian Expansion war, The Expansion Crusade, or simply The Christian war, was a conflict in the near east lasting for eight years. Despite its relative short time span, especially in comparison to Earlier wars in Italy, it would be a turning point for history and culture outside Europe. The fighting would decide the dominate religion in the region, and start a long standing schism between Europe and the Christian nations. It would also elevate Egypt, Persia, and other Christian nations to becoming global powers.
After Christianity had spread to Egypt, Persia, Armenia, Galatia, Capadoccia, these nations became extremely close with each other. In particular, trading routes were established, along with several notable royal marriages. In addition, these nations sponsored various preachers to spread the word of their god across the near east, with some even getting as a far as Italy. These activities facilitated much closer relations, forming a kind of Pseudo-alliance between these nations, though it didn't include many, if any, formal agreements.
As the relationships between these nations grew, they began to undertake small military engagements together. While for the most part, these were minor raids, some of them actively sought to convert people to Christianity. Through the late first century, these raids became more common and organized. They also become a lot more successful at destabilizing their targets - during this time there are records of several states collapsing because of raids. However, soon enough these raids could not satisfy the collective ambition of the Christian states. Because of this, in 114 AD, Egypt began to raise an organized army, and the other Christian states began to follow suite.
The fighting in this war was very fragmented, with Armenia acting independently of the Anatolian states, and both acting independently of Persia and Egypt. As a result, there were at least three, and possibly four, if you consider the Persians and Egyptians and Persians on separate fronts. Some have even argued that these fronts would constitute completely separate wars. Either way, it would be hard to describe the war as a whole, and thus this section is split into subsections based on fronts.
The Armenian front is by far the least known, and probably least important front of the war. For the most part, Armenia simply invaded small states that bordered it, under the guise of spreading Christianity. The fighting, by all accounts, was not intense, and resulted in minimal causalites. The fighting was on and off for six years, until it finally wound down in 120 AD. By this point Armenia had expanded noticeably, and converted several nearby nations to Christianity. In the long term, this would probably be the least important part if the war. Despite this victory, Armenia would fall apart within the next century, to be replaced by a collection of small states.
The Southern Front is by far the most recognized and romanticized front of the war, probably due to the relative size of the conflict. Not only that, but it shaped Persia and Egypt - the Two most powerful and longest lasting Christian Empires in the near east. The front was the first to start, as the Egyptians began to attack the several states that bordered them. Within months, the Persians joined in, and started moving their armies to secure their empire and invade neighboring states. These actions dominated the first few years of the wars, and as a result, most of the states in the near east did not get involved. As such, major fighting did not begin until around 118, when the floodgates really opened.
After 118, The Egyptians and the Persians began to tear across the near east, destroying, and a a lesser extent, converting, everything in their path. Quickly, the war devolved into what amounted to a series of raids and sackings - what little resistance that was scraped up was quickly annihilated. However, despite the conflict being so one sided, it is by far the most famous part of the war. This fame is mostly due to its popularity in literature, notably the poem Warriors, written by an Unknown Author. In more recent times, the conflict has been relatively heavily covered by the Egyptian film industry, and is a popular subject for alternate history novels. Not only that, but the tactics recorded by various Egyptians generals would help shape Egyptian military culture for the next few centuries.
The results of the southern front were also notable, and affected many things. First, and most obviously, Most of the near east was Christianized. Christianity, after this war, would quickly solidify itself as the religion of the region, and use it as a foothold to spread. Most notably, it would soon be accepted by Carthage, which would help form an even more powerful block of Christian states. Moreover, It would reverse Persia's long decline, and allow Persian culture to flourish. A similar feat was accomplished with Egypt, though to a lesser extent because of the nation's earlier adoption of Christianity. Overall, this front is by far the most famous and arguably the most important front of the war, and has the most influence on culture today.
The Anatolian front, while still relatively unknown, was far more important than the Armenian front. Not only did it turn Anatolia - at least the parts that Macedonia didn't control - Christian, but it sowed the seeds of the eventual conversion of Macedonia. And, while this would hardly be relevant for the better part of the next millennium, it would set the stage for the First Crusade. However, despite the relative importance of this front, little is known about the actual fighting, besides the fact that is was pretty bloody. The fighting on this front lasted the longest, and went to 123 - an entire year after the war is considered to have ended. In fairness, the last year of fighting was probably mostly small skirmishes and minor uprisings in occupied territory.
Another, equally important, but less considered result of this front was the eventual unification of Anatolia. Fist of all, it would Christianize most of the area, making it much easier for Galatia and Cappdocia to take what they hadn't already. Not only that, but it would create closer relations between the nations, leading to their eventual (mostly) peaceful unification. Considering the prominence of Anatolia, this is arguably one of the most important effects of the war, and one that is often overlooked. The other overlooked aspect of this front is it's introduction of Christians to Macedonian Anatolia - something that would make the unification effort much easier. Whatever the case, the Anatolian front was very important both to the development of a unified Anatolian state, and the spread of Christianity.
The war would solidify the position of Christianity in the near east, and as previously mentioned, allow the religion to spread. While Paganism had not yet become the dominant religion in Europe, when it did, Christianity would be in a position to directly compete with it. Meanwhile, Egypt, Persia, and Anatolian States, and to a lesser extent Armenia became massive economic and military powers. As they grew in power, they began to overtake the nations of Europe, at least by some measures. As the Christian Nations grew in wealth and power, Christianity began to spread even further - to Carthage and North Africa, and even as far as India. Interestingly enough, however, it failed to spread very far into Arabia, eventually allowing Islam to flourish on the peninsula.
Meanwhile, the near eastern nations that had been conquered began to be converted, and these nations began to grow more powerful as well, though always under the influence of Persia and Egypt. In the short term, this would be surprisingly beneficial to the nations of Europe. After all, rich neighbors meant good trade. Early on, very few saw the spread of Christianity as a bad thing, and as a result, several preachers made their way across Europe. While these Christian Preachers would eventually be driven out by Pagan Preachers, they did give their religion a few footholds in Europe. Overall, the war would spread Christianity, but also began the long standing schism between the near east and Europe.