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A Turkish Patriarch - The Christian Turks What If?

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  • A Turkish Patriarch - The Christian Turks What If?

    Heres a "What If?" that should be a fair bit different than all the other Germany related ones around these days:

    What if the Turks and Turkic Peoples of Anatolia and Central Asia had converted to Orthodox Christianity during the 8th - 10th centuries instead of Islam?

    Would Russia (Muscovy) have reacted much differently against Christian Khanates from how they acted against the Islamic ones in our time line?

    Would a Christian Anatolia have kept the Crusader states alive longer?

    Would the Byzantine Empire have had a different fate if the nomadic Turks had shared their faith? Might they have been able to bring the Turks into the Empire through strategic marriages, creating a Byzantine Empire that was a cultural blend of Roman, Greek, and Central Asian?

    The migration of the Turkic peoples into Anatolia and Central Asia was one of the more important great migrations: it gave rise to the Ottoman Empire and helped move the borders of the religious conflicts between Christianity and Islam deep into Europe.

    The last vestige of the Roman Empire were destroyed in 1453 when Constantinople fell, but a portion of this drive to conquer the city was fueled by religious fervor. The Byzantines were not only weak, they were ideological enemies.

    But if the Turks were Orthodox Christians, they might have ideological issues attacking the seat of Ecumenical Patriarch. If the Turks were Christian, then the Byzantine Empire would not have faced the crippling defeat at Manzikert in 1071 and thus Byzantium would remain in control of western Anatolia.

    With religion and a stronger Byzantine Empire helping to convince the Turks not to attack west, then it is likely that the Christian Turks would instead have turned south towards the Fertile Crescent and the rich territories of Iraq, Syria, and Palestine.

    Thus it is safe to assume that there could have arisen a Christian analogue to the Sublime State in those lands. A Turkish empire stretching from the Caucasus Mountains and Eastern Anatolia south over the Middle East, perhaps even going into Persia as well.

  • #2
    Interesting scenario. But on other hand quite difficult because of vast possibilities.

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    • #3
      The world we know today would be completely different, it's quit likely that Russia and this new Turk/Byzantine superstate would combine, Marriges and alliances/common faith, in times of crisis.

      The Venetians would have been screwed, and it's likely the Byzanturks would take their place as Med-Superpower.

      Using Ethiopia's plight as causus Belli they could probably storm the Muslim states of north Africa and the Arabian peninsula, and with luck convert them.

      so many possibilities.

      If they lasted to the renaissance ...
      Task Force Regenbogen- Support and Paras

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Tiberius Duval View Post
        Interesting scenario. But on other hand quite difficult because of vast possibilities.
        True, but then, I personally love those more open-ended sort of questions. No need to get into some fact-finding pissing contest where both sides of the debate need to dig around and compare exact figures for just how much rolling stock the Wehrmacht and British Army had in 1941.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Daemon of Decay View Post
          True, but then, I personally love those more open-ended sort of questions. No need to get into some fact-finding pissing contest where both sides of the debate need to dig around and compare exact figures for just how much rolling stock the Wehrmacht and British Army had in 1941.
          We all have our areas of interest.

          A wild liberal appears! Conservative uses logical reasoning and empirical evidence! It's super effective! Wild liberal faints.

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          • #6
            I think Muscovy would have seen the expansion of the Eastern Roman Empire as a threat, especially if this leads to a massive expansion within the Caucasus, Russia would have to do something to curb this expansion, also the Eastern Roman Empire would be certainly rich with agriculture and the many trade routes passing through it, earning itself a tidy sum of money in taxes and tolls.

            On the issue of Crusades, without the seige of Constantinople there would be no need for the call of help from the Byzantines and ther would not be no need for the Papacy to respond in costly penetentiary wars.

            But there is one issue and that is what would the issue of the Inquisition later on, would the Estern Roman Empire allow an Inquisition against the Muslims within it's territory, i would be guessing it may do so.

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            • #7
              Muscovy was not that strong of a power outside it's borders. It's a late comer also. Doesn't hardly show up before 13 and never expanded towards the Caucasus. There for it would have little influence over a TB empire to the south. The opposite might be true that the TB empire might just have taken over the territory of that Moscow.
              "Ask not what your country can do for you"

              Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

              you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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              • #8
                DD,

                Clearly the big 'if' here is whether or not the Turks would behave differently because of sentiment. This isn't my area of expertise, so I'll pose questions instead.

                Did a sense of Islamic fraternity stop the Turks from expanding into muslim lands to their south & east? If so, for how long?

                Were there good reasons why an expansionist power, christian or otherwise, might want to push across the Bosporous? I'm trying to imagine a succession of ambitious sultans looking at the wealth sitting just across the water, the fertile lands and resources beyond & the potential trade routes & saying 'nah, they're fellow Christians'.

                Given that shared religion wasn't much of a deterrent to warring states in Europe, is there any reason to believe Turks would behave differently? Is the assumption that the threat posed by Islam would engender an attitude not present elsewhere?

                I guess my real observation here is along the lines that expansionist powers are more interested in opportunity than sentiment & that if an emerging power in Anatolia saw a once great empire to the west in decline it might just be tempted to pluck what fruit it could, sentiment be damned. Indeed, it could be argued that an expansionist Islam to the south might actually be an incentive to such a power to a) strengthen itself by conquest of a weak neighbour; and b) avoid tackling an expanding Islam until that power was as strong as it could be. Indeed, control of the Balkans, Sth Black Sea & Aegean might be seen as valuable 'strategic depth'.

                Again, no particular expertise here, just wondering out loud.
                Last edited by BF69; 19 Aug 11, 04:36.
                Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BF69 View Post
                  DD,

                  Clearly the big 'if' here is whether or not the Turks would behave differently because of sentiment. This isn't my area of expertise, so I'll pose questions instead.

                  Did a sense of Islamic fraternity stop the Turks from expanding into muslim lands to their south & east? If so, for how long?

                  Were there good reasons why an expansionist power, christian or otherwise, might want to push across the Bosporous? I'm trying to imagine a succession of ambitious sultans looking at the wealth sitting just across the water, the fertile lands and resources beyond & the potential trade routes & saying 'nah, they're fellow Christians'.

                  Given that shared religion wasn't much of a deterrent to warring states in Europe, is there any reason to believe Turks would behave differently? Is the assumption that the threat posed by Islam would engender an attitude not present elsewhere?

                  I guess my real observation here is along the lines that expansionist powers are more interested in opportunity than sentiment & that if an emerging power in Anatolia saw a once great empire to the west in decline it might just be tempted to pluck what fruit it could, sentiment be damned. Indeed, it could be argued that an expansionist Islam to the south might actually be an incentive to such a power to a) strengthen itself by conquest of a weak neighbour; and b) avoid tackling an expanding Islam until that power was as strong as it could be. Indeed, control of the Balkans, Sth Black Sea & Aegean might be seen as valuable 'strategic depth'.

                  Again, no particular expertise here, just wondering out loud.
                  An exceptional post, you are absolutely correct on the warring neighbours, just because two European States bordering each other and are Christian doesn't mean they are not prepared to go to war with each other, this is common in European history, but you hit the nail on the head and that is the rise of Islam and the threat imposed (real or implied) is a galvanising issue for the Christian world, basically they can put down arms long enough to wage war against a common foe, then once that is defeated then go back killing each other.

                  But even if Islam never takes off in the Byzantine Empire and Chrisidom does eventually dominate, it still will wage wars against its fellow Christian neigbours, all the while the Muslims look on and scratch their heads and say why bother with this mob or as usual they end up like the Christians they begin killing each other out of sheer boredom.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BF69 View Post
                    DD,

                    Clearly the big 'if' here is whether or not the Turks would behave differently because of sentiment. This isn't my area of expertise, so I'll pose questions instead.

                    Did a sense of Islamic fraternity stop the Turks from expanding into muslim lands to their south & east? If so, for how long?

                    Were there good reasons why an expansionist power, christian or otherwise, might want to push across the Bosporous? I'm trying to imagine a succession of ambitious sultans looking at the wealth sitting just across the water, the fertile lands and resources beyond & the potential trade routes & saying 'nah, they're fellow Christians'.

                    Given that shared religion wasn't much of a deterrent to warring states in Europe, is there any reason to believe Turks would behave differently? Is the assumption that the threat posed by Islam would engender an attitude not present elsewhere?

                    I guess my real observation here is along the lines that expansionist powers are more interested in opportunity than sentiment & that if an emerging power in Anatolia saw a once great empire to the west in decline it might just be tempted to pluck what fruit it could, sentiment be damned. Indeed, it could be argued that an expansionist Islam to the south might actually be an incentive to such a power to a) strengthen itself by conquest of a weak neighbour; and b) avoid tackling an expanding Islam until that power was as strong as it could be. Indeed, control of the Balkans, Sth Black Sea & Aegean might be seen as valuable 'strategic depth'.

                    Again, no particular expertise here, just wondering out loud.
                    Well the reason I imagine that having the Turks and Turkish peoples being Christian would affect their military power versus the Byzantines is that the Seljuq Empire, which defeated the Byzantines at Manzikert, had most of its territories in Islamic lands like Persia and south west Asia.

                    The Battle of Manzikert was really a turning point in Byzantine power in Anatolia. The Byzantine's loss there meant huge areas of Anatolia were given away and it opened the door for a much larger migration of Turks to the region.

                    If the Turks themselves had been Christian peoples instead of Islamic, then it is fair to assume that they would have been more at odds with the strongly Persian and Islamic culture of the Seljuk Empire. Not only this, but in the aftermath of the 1st Crusade at the end of the 11th century the Turks would have been more predisposed to aiding their fellow Christians against the Muslims in the region.

                    This doesn't mean that the Turks would not still have sought to take lands away from a weakened Byzantine Empire, but one must not underestimate the power of religion in regards to motivating peoples and nations during this period. Our more modern sensibilities like to portray the Crusades as simply another example of greedy conquests for land. This wasn't true: religious inspiration played a great role in motivating thousands of Christians to march thousands of miles to war when most had never been more than 20 miles from where they were born.

                    So if the migrating Turks had been Christian, then there is reason to believe they would have been more supportive of other Christians in the area. Not that they would have been selfless paragons of virtue: if the Byzantines had been weak the Turks would have taken advantage of that. But what eventually became the Ottoman Empire was an Islamic Turkish state with very strong influences from Persia.

                    In some ways one could compare how the Ottomans initially viewed Persian culture in the same way that English aristocrats viewed French culture in the centuries after the Norman Conquest; due to some shared heritage they incorporated lots of the culture into their new nation.

                    Thus if the Turks were Christian and spread over Anatolia, eventually gaining most of the Byzantine territory, then this new Turkish nation would be more strongly influenced by the Byzantines. The written Turkish language would grow to have Greek style spelling, Turkish and Greek culture would slowly mix, and the Turkish nobles would adopt Greek dress as they became less nomadic during the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries.

                    The reason why the Turko-Byzantines would spread south is not because they were devout Christians who would never attack fellow Christians blah blah, its because religious justification for such expansionism would be very strong. While the Crusaders were around the Turks would continue to migrate into Anatolia and, in the wake of Byzantium's loss of influence there, would dominate Eastern and Central Asia Minor.

                    But once the Crusaders lost Jerusalem, it is easy to imagine that the Turkish monarchs would see this as a glorious excuse to invade southwards to secure some of the rich lands of Iraq for themselves in the name of God. One must always remember that monarchs and nobles of the Middle Ages were always looking for justification for war that would stand up and provide support for their claims.

                    Just because a King wanted to go to war with a neighbor did not mean his vassals were always going to follow him. A casus belli was always desired.

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                    • #11
                      If the Turks became Christian not Muslim, the Byzantines would still fall and the Anatolians would still be assimilated as Turks.

                      The biggest change in this scenario would be for the Christian Arabs. A dominant Christian power in the Middle East instead of a Muslim one would be more supportive of them. The result being that Christian Arabs would probably still hold the same percentage of Arab population (25-35%) that they did back during the Medieval Byzantine Era.
                      ´
                      “You need to help people. I know it's not very Republican to say but you need to help people.” DONALD TRUMP, 2016

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                      • #12
                        A stronger Orthodox Church in the East might have seen the latter Crusades & other Renassance religious wars having a Orthodox/Catholic face off.

                        Perhaps with the Orthodox Church surviving so would the Byzantine Greek culture, Thus a modern version of the Greek language & other culture would survive across Anatolia & the Balkans

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