Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Pharaoh and The Sun

Thought I'd put out another map while I'm working on that post about my good fanfiction.  This one is an original of mine that I call A Pharaoh and The Sun.  It takes place in an alternate 17th century and among other things:

Atenism managed to last a few Pharaohs longer than it did in our world.  Despite this Egypt still returned to the worship of the traditional Egyptian gods.  However, Atenist are still a notable minority within Egypt and have managed to spread their religion to other nations.  Speaking of Egypt, they've continued to expand southwards.  The wealth of goods and minerals acquired by this conquest meant that even after Egypt's gold mines ran dry the empire was just as powerful as ever.  Egypt now controls an empire stretching from the Cape to the Nile Delta; as well as a canal connecting the Mediterranean and Red Sea.

The empire of Carthage, always a popular destination for Atenist escaping persecution in Egypt, was the first nation to convert to Atenism.  Without competition from Rome, and with the Greek Empire occupied in Asia, Carthage has thrived as a trading empire.  Despite some recent colonial loses to Ghana in South America, Carthage is remains fairly well respect in the international community.

The scattered Celtic tribes were united under a great warrior chieftain, known as Brennus, who formed them into a mighty empire.  The Celtic Empire has adapted many new technologies from its neighbors.  Most significantly, the Celts have developed a system of writing based largely off of the Greek alphabet.  Missionaries from Carthage ensured that it wasn't long before the Celtic Empire converted to Atenism.  Carthaginian shipbuilding expertise has allowed the Celts to establish colony along the eastern coast of North America.  

The Republic of Novgorod has benefited greatly from its alliance with the Celtic Empire.  As the Celts expanded eastward they were able to keep potential threats to Novgorod at a minimum, and trade between the two nations helps to supplement the republic's food supply during its harsh winters.  Novgorod is renowned as a center of culture and scholarship as well as being a regional trading hub.  Celtic merchants have also brought the word of Aten to the snowy republic.  

Judaism, and that's using the term somewhat loosely, is still a polytheistic faith.  The great temple of Jerusalem is dedicated to Baal and Asherah, but all of the gods and goddesses have temples of their own.  Judaism never evolving beyond polytheism meant that none of the Abrahamic faiths ever formed.  

Alexander the Great managed to live longer than he did in our world.  He not only sired plenty of heirs to his empire, but focused on centralizing and maintaining the empire itself.  The Greek Empire has gone on to expand into Central Asia and Italy, and is a major conduit in the exchange of ideas and goods between East and West.  Alexander's goal of reconciling the many faiths and cultures of the empire resulted in the creation of a new religion: the Diamond Path.  

The Diamond Path teaches that there is a universal divine essence which permeates all all things knows as The Truth.  The Truth is unknowable in its pure form, but it makes itself more understandable via four paragons known as the Father, Mother, Son and Daughter.  The four paragons were originally identified as Zeus, Cybele, Mithras and Isis; however they have since been identified with all the gods and goddesses.  The Diamond Path teaches that the various gods are merely mask that the four paragons wear to make themselves better understood by humanity.  The Diamond Path is followed by Greece, Egypt and the Norse.  

The Norse control Scandinavia and the British Isles as part of their Empire of the North.  They've long since given up raiding to become the dominant trading power of the northern seas.  The Norse began colonizing the New World in the 10th century, but they didn't start arriving en mass until the mid 14th century.  Their largest colony is Markland, located along the St. Lawrence river valley.  

Buddhism has found its way west thanks to merchants and missionaries from Bharat and Vijayanagara.  Buddhist have found moderate success in Diamond Path nations due to their willingness to incorporate local deities; and are treated with suspicion by Atenist nations because of this.  However, it was in the Empire of Arabia that Buddhist found the greatest success.  A merchant turned conqueror, in time known as Mohammad the Great, united the tribes of Arabia around a new religion combining traditional Arabian beliefs and deities with Buddhist teachings.  This new faith, known as Zensunni, has proven somewhat controversial among other Buddhist do to its somewhat violent origins.  

Gwanggaeto the Great managed to live longer than he did in our world and united the Korean Peninsula.  Taking advantage oft he chaos of China's Six Dynasties era, Gwanggaeto ceased the Mandate of Heaven and established the Goguryeo Dynasty.  Gwanggaeto expanded into Manchuria and Japan to eliminate any potential threats to the Korean Empire.  Recently, Korea has established colonies on the western coast of North America.  

The Khmer and Srivijayan empires have developed into minor trading powers.  Both nations are closely allied with fellow Hindu nations Bharat and Vijayanagara, and are the primary Pacific trading partners of the Mayan and Incan empires.  Though both Khmer and Srivijaya currently lack colonies in the New World they have sent expeditions to scout for possible locations.

The Mayan city-stated were united into a single empire by charismatic warrior king.  The Mayan Empire stretches from the Yucatan Peninsula to the central valley of Mexico.  In many ways the Mayan Empire can be seen as a more peaceful version of the Aztec Empire.  The Mayan religion places more emphasis on personal offerings of blood rather than mass sacrifice.  Overall, the traditions of the conquered tribes are tolerated as long as they pay tribute to the emperor.  The Mayans have developed an immunity to Old World diseases following an expedition of very lost Vikings landing on their shores in the 12th century.  

Though Egypt remains the dominate power of Eastern Africa, there are several notable empires in Western Africa.  Ghana has grown rich from the gold and salt trade; they also stand of as the center of learning and scholarship in West Africa.  Ghana has recently asserted its power on the world stage by capturing Carthage's former colonies in Brazil.  Meanwhile, the Ashanti Empire remains an economic power house despite its small size.  A more centralized Kingdom of the Kongo is a regional power further to the south.  Though all three are technically Atenist, they're willing to work with the Diamond Path nations if it benefits them.  

The international situation is complex to say the least.  Traditionally, Atenist and Diamond Path haven't gotten along with each other, and over the years there have been more than a few wars of religion.  Having said that, many of these wars were just as much, if not more so, due to secular concerns.  For example, several of the Atenist nations mounted a war to "liberate" Egypt from the followers of the Diamond Path.  However, this war was just as much due to Egypt having recently bared Atenist nations from using its canal.  Eventually, the war ended with the Atenist being expelled from Egypt.  In more recent times the number of wars of religion has decreased dramatically, and both Atenist and Diamond Path are beginning to grow more tolerant of religious differences. 

 Atenist are currently experiencing a schism between those who follow the traditional strictly monotheist version and those who want reform.  The reformers claim that just as rays emanate from the sun, so to do less divine beings emanate from Aten.  Praying to these beings is still forbidden, but praying through them, and having them intercede to Aten, is acceptable.  Critics say this is nothing more than polytheism in disguise; and polytheism is considered the worst of all crimes in Atenism.  Supporters, however, say that it is a great way to reach out to polytheist for conversion.  

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