1. Aldarion

    Aldarion Active Member

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    Social consequences of reconquest

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Aldarion, Jun 14, 2020.

    OK, I am doing background on history of my setting, and now am writing background on Fomorian invasions - which, in my world, replace barbarian invasions. Now, important parts are these (based on combination of Irish legends about Fomorians and history of Western Roman Empire and barbarian invasions):

    So what occured to me is that above is rather similar to Muslim conquest of Iberia and later Spanish Reconquista. But there are some questions:
    1) Military organization. I was originally going for Byzantine thematic system, since we do not have foreign elites taking over domestic population. But is that realistic? Seeing how there would have been local warlords which either cooperated with Fomorians or else managed to resist them (e.g. mountains), would this lead to development of feudalism or would the Empire be able to coopt them from the start? Or maybe there would be some mixture of thematic system and proper feudalism, seeing how central government never really disappeared though it was reduced in size? So maybe central army + thematic provincial armies + magnates retinues? What about possible religious military orders (I imagine "demonic-looking beings from under water would rather help their appearance)?
    2) Social and cultural impact. Would Fomorian invasions lead to development of kinda-sorta chivalric ideals or warrior ethos? I do not imagine these would be concerned with honour as such, considering the context, but there might be some code developing anyway. Or maybe - considering how dangerous they were - invasions would lead to emphasis on avoidance of direct military confrontation, and focus on diplomacy? Or maybe even both?
    3) Political impact. What is the likelyhood of the Empire splitting into two or three different states and having to be forcibly reunited later? And when would that happen?
    4) Anything I am missing here?
     
  2. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber epic gamer Contributor

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    What is the nature of the Fomorian's conquest? Is it imperial in nature? What degree of control is exercised by them over the conquered areas? Because how you answer this question answers the rest for you. If it is a complete occupation, then I as, as a Fomorian leader, would slaughter/dispossess the nobles and appoint my own men to rule the conquered lands. I would pull down the castle walls. I would dismantle the political systems that could foster resistance to my rule. I wouldn't leave potentially hostile warlords with any kind of power, because it would frankly be stupid to do so. And let's be honest here, would the humans actually be willing to cooperate with a monster race from the sea? They must rule with an iron fist or not rule at all.

    This would leave the peasantry and dispossessed minor nobles as a resentful populace, ripe for rebellion. I can't imagine any sort of organized military, rather an underground guerilla movement striking at depots, armories, etc. Think William Wallace, Francis Marion, the French Resistance. This is to me the more interesting scenario in terms of a novel.

    However, if the Fomorians are forced to cooperate with locals nobles and warlords because they don't have enough power to effectively exert control over the conquered lands, then I can imagine organized revolts, and in this scenario I think more than a hundred years would give the warlords enough of a taste of independence not to want to go back to the Empire willingly. The reconquest might be slow, if the Empire is strong enough to even attempt it. Remember Justinian's attempt and its long-term effects. Consider also the impacts of heavy Fomorian colonization in certain regions.

    It seems that the Empire at any rate would be changed forever. It seems likely that a period of rest and consolidation would be necessary. Tactical withdrawal, shoring up of defenses. Can the Empire even adopt an offensive mindset after so long on the defensive? Are the people willing to engage in more endless war after such a long one has ended?

    I don't know if I'm understanding or if this was helpful.
     
  3. Aldarion

    Aldarion Active Member

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    Rather helpful, thanks - and gave me quite a few new ideas. And yes, I am definitely thinking of writing a story (or a number of stories) set into that period.

    Conquest was imperial in nature, first and foremost, with indigenous population being forced into slave work - most importantly, mining metals and also agricultural work. I am basing a lot on this. Basically, Fomorians will have a) used captured slaves for menial work and b) imposed a tribute on remaining population - a combination of typical feudal tribute (but either 1/3 or 2/3 of produce going to Fomorians themselves) and Ottoman "tribute in blood" (taking boys from families for purpose of enslavement). So yes, a complete occupation.

    Reconquest / liberation as I imagine it was actually more similar to Spanish reconquista or Croatia post-Ottoman Hundred Years' War (so era of liberation - 1593. to 1699.), with standing Imperial army advancing from unoccupied territory and being assisted by local population, while also establishing governmental and military organization in areas from which Fomorian influence was removed, and using these areas as basis for further advance. And yes, there will have been an underground guerilla movement. Which would likely lead to widespread appearance of local militias post-war.

    So what I am thinking is that it might lead to:
    1) Heavily centralized state with professional military - but one that is rather strapped for cash relative to manpower requirements and thus has to economize. Which would then lead to something like Byzantine system of stratioka ktemata or pronoia.
    2) Major focus on cavalry and on fortifications. Fomorians dwell underwater and are larger than humans, so I imagine that they could move much more quickly than human infantry. Which means that any field army would have to be dominantly cavalry, while infantry is mostly relegated to defense of fortified cities and strongholds. If that is correct, next question is ratio of heavy to light cavalry, irregular cavalry (hussars) etc., but for that I think I'll just look at Ottoman Wars-period Hungary.
    3) Relatively unstratified society.Arab expansion led to disappearance of old elites in Byzantine Empire, and new elites formed only gradually and were centered on a) Imperial court and b) military itself. I could see that happening here, especially as old elite lost their lands and lives to Fomorians - and to Imperial government desperate to raise additional revenues for military.
    4) Importance of cities. With fortified places so important for both reconquest and defense, cities would likely have their own militias and a significant degree of autonomy. I am not sure how it would work in otherwise Middle Byzantine political and military system. It would definitely be logical in a defensive mentality - which as you point out would be likely to develop as a result of wars against Fomorians.
    5) Importance of military and military service. Society would likely become heavily militarized, with military service being seen as one of more socially acclaimed occupations.
    6) Heroic epics. These could be quite important for maintaining historical memory in occupied areas, and could thus become widespread. Oral tradition in general would be very important.

    Any other ideas?
     
  4. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber epic gamer Contributor

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    My only question now is why the Fomorians have allowed a human feudal system to remain in place at all? The humans must be hostile towards them, and the existence of that military power structure would be very threatening to their control, especially if the barons are cooperating with the underground.
     
  5. Aldarion

    Aldarion Active Member

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    There was no feudal system to begin with - society pre-Fomorian occupation will have been akin to that of Late Roman Empire. That tribute will have been introduced by Fomorians themselves and is not dependant on existence of barons. And from what we discussed before, I figured that Fomorians will have removed any large landowners anyway, especially those who formed their own militias during Fomorian invasions.
     
  6. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber epic gamer Contributor

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    Ah, I see. Yes, makes sense.
     
  7. Lazaares

    Lazaares Senior Member

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    I'd suggest you consider a wild-west like approach. In the way that the further a re-conquered territory is from the imperial heartlands, the more lawlessness and self-rule there exists. You mentioned the Ottoman Empire; they had this exact situation where some of their outlying territories were acting almost wholly independent at times. Perhaps a few cities with military governors that act as "safe havens" in the territories, trying to branch out and pacify the lands. Perhaps even some of the militias organized into groups maintaining spheres of influence on the fringes.
     
  8. Aldarion

    Aldarion Active Member

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    I am thinking more along the lines of outlying territories having local elites be more influential than in "core" territories. But even there, elites would likely be military in nature - provincial governors (think Middle Byzantine strategoi who commanded themes) first and foremost. Which could with time give rise to landed aristocracy, but question is how long would that take.
     

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