Empires Clash with Fire and War Elephants! Changing the World, and the Battle of Ankara – Part II
Premium Article Preview: What happens when two great conquerors of the ancient world and their powerful forces go head to head? Two great leaders clashed at the Battle of Ankara, resulting in world changes. In Part II guest author Cam Rea reveals the surprising events at the historic battle that brought an empire to its knees
15 songs to look back on these past three years and celebrate canon johnlock
tracklist: watch me rise // sick of losing soulmates // stag night // cigarette daydreams // battle cry // lionhearted // elephant in the room // faint of heart // nothing’s gonna stop us now // history maker // go hard // uprising // the greatest // we found love // the x-files
When you hear Hannibal now people automatically think of the fictional movie character that was a cannibal due to pop culture, but long before that, Hannibal Barca gave the name its legacy. Hannibal Barca was born in the year 247 B.C. in North Africa which at the time was named Carthage. Hannibal live during a time where there was constant war in the Mediterranean as the Roman republic ruled these lands. Hannibal at young age made an oath to his father to never become allies with Rome and forever fight against Roman Oppression and rule.
Hannibal Became the Military leader of the North African Army of Carthage after his fathers death. He would lead his troops of over 100,000 fearless African Soldiers into many battles during the Punic wars with many of Rome’s Allies, destroying them and occupying their land and establishing dominance on the way to take on the Roman empire. Barca’s had a genius ability to determine an opponents strengths and weakness’ then use them to his advantage. He is legendary for using battalions of tamed elephants during battle and brilliant strategies of attack along with an overwhelming force that had never been seen before in war. In one legendary battle Hanniial annihilated and embarrassed the Roman empire by killing over 70,000 Roman soldiers and only losing 6,000 of his own in one day.
Hannibal Barca would win countless battles against his oppressors, he only truly loss to old age as he was 64 years old when Romans finally captured him after he was betrayed. Instead of giving Romans any satisfaction by allowing them to torture or imprison him, Hannibal Barca took his own life using poison to ensure his legacy as the strong and fearless, leader of North Africa. White Historians try to lie about or hide the importance of this Great Black Leader because of the huge embarrassments he gave to the Roman empire and because he was African. They even try to hide the fact that he was Black at all, Historians try to depict him as a White Man, but his North African Roots and family along with coins depicting a clear image of an African Man on one side along with his famous elephants on the other. Learn the Truth about your Rich History. SanCopha Salute!
The employment of elephants during the southern rebellions is probably fake right? But is there any incident, besides lady Trieu's uprising, that recorded elephants in battle?
Aside from Lady Trieu (and that part of the story might be fictional) I don’t know of any accounts of elephants used in the Three Kingdoms. It isn’t totally impossible, of course - elephants had been used for war in the Indian subcontinent as well as Africa - but I don’t know of any evidence that it happened in the Three Kingdoms.
The Trung sisters are still celebrated in Vietnam almost 2,000 years after they lived, and it’s easy to understand why. Trung Trac and Trung Nhi grew up experiencing tighter and more vicious controls placed on their fellow Vietnamese citizens by imperial Chinese forces. After suffering a very personal tragedy, they had had enough. Assembling an army of 80,000 people and appointing women as high-ranking generals, they drove the Chinese out of Vietnam in the year 40. Many believe the country would never have survived if it weren’t for these warrior sisters, who are often depicted charging into battle on elephants.
Known as Razia Sultan, she was the Sultan of Delhi from 1236-1240. She was trained to lead armies and rule kingdoms, and refused to be addressed as “Sultana,” as it usually referred to the wife or consort of a sultan.
Razia’s father, Iltutmish, appointed her his heir, but after his death, the nobility promoted her brother to the throne instead, as they had no intention of being ruled by a woman. He proved a terrible ruler, however, and he and his mother were assassinated after six months of his reign. The nobles reluctantly allowed Razia to take the throne.
Razia dressed in male clothing, and left her face bare when she rode her elephant into battle. Razia managed to play opposing factions against one another, and gained the support of the army and the common people, with whom she was unafraid to mingle, which allowed her to keep the nobles from deposing her or turning her into a puppet ruler.
However, eventually some of the governors in her sultanate rebelled against her, led by her childhood friend Malik Altunia. He took her prisoner in a subsequent battle, and she agreed to marry him to avoid execution. Meanwhile, another of her brothers seized the throne. Razia and her new husband led their forces to take it back, but were defeated and later killed. Her brother was dethroned later for incompetence.
Though Razia ruled for only a few years, she managed to establish a number of schools, research centers, and public libraries that taught not only Muslim works, but those of ancient philosophers, and Hindu works in the sciences, literature, astronomy, and philosophy.
and there’s this thing about pets. Kids buy pets in-game for their characters, and they get fucking ridiculous shit like a battle-trained pillow with bard powers, or the 150 xp flying laser shark (fuck you, Sharky), or a goddamn flying bunny rabbit that shoots fireballs. And they’re really fucking annoying when you’re trying to quest lead a group (like being a game master in a tabletop game), because you’ll get kids sending their pets ahead to scout, sending them into traps to see what it does, fighting as their pets when they get knocked out or just don’t want to put themselves in danger, and they never remember to say “I feed my giant flying horse” or “I need to make sure my wolf got through the trap safely” or anything. So you get situations like a kid sending his hamster to fight a giant-ass basilisk, and being surprised when it gets fucking impaled, or the group gets captured, escapes into the tunnels, and like 13 trap rooms later some kid goes “my battle trained elephant picks up my sword with its trunk” and you’re like “where the fuck did your elephant come from?” and they’re like “oh, it was following me the whole time.” Like really? Trough the acid pit and the blade trap and the rockfall? Sorry, kid, but you weren’t paying attention to your pet so you didn’t notice when it got cleaved in half by a trap behind you.
A very popular pet (for some absurd reason) is the Fuzzypoof. It’s a little fluff ball (think Tribble), and all it does is purr, and teleport away at the first sign of danger. It does not come back. It cannot take you with it. It’s pointless and stupid and soooo many kids abuse the shit out of their fuzzypoofs.
So this week, I ran a quest that started out in an animal shelter. Specifically, the Shelter for Abused and Neglected Pets of Irresponsible Questers. Long story short, a 14 year old boy adopted 47 fuzzypoofs and signed a magically binding contract to love them, respect them, cuddle them, feed them, keep them safe, tuck them in at night, etc. etc.
So he’s running around with 47 beanbags stuffed into the tactical vest he wears to camp, and each time they pitch camp he has to unpack all the fuzzypoofs, put them to bed, pat each one individually on the head, and say goodnight to each of them by name, then sing them a lullaby. I’m having so much fun.
Mai Bhago: the Sikh Warrior Saint (late 1600s-mid 1700s)
Introducing the eleventh Rejected Princess: Mai Bhago, 18th century Sikh warrior-saint and only survivor of the Battle of Khidrana.
A quick bit of background, since it may be that you, like me, do not know a ton about Sikhs. You probably know that they’re the guys who wear turbans, don’t shave, and consistently get mistaken for Muslim – usually by ignorant morons who are trying to start something. Frustrating as that is, douchebags attacking them for virtually no reason is something that Sikhs have had to live with for the majority of the religion’s existence. Exhibit A: the Mughal Empire.
The Mughals were badasses. Their founder, Babar, had quite the lineage to begin with: descendant of Tamerlane (an Uzbeki warlord known for constructing pyramids out of his enemies’ skulls) on his father’s side and grandson of Genghis Khan on his mother’s. The Mughals continued and refined this legacy. On the one hand they did so militaristically, riding elephants into battle, redefining warfare, and expanding the empire until it encompassed all of present-day India and beyond.
On the other hand, they also advanced literature, culture, and the arts tremendously. They built the Taj Mahal, giant libraries, and had a tremendously multicultural empire. For more info on that, check out Akbar the Great, who – having brought together a huge number of disparate peoples in a surprisingly peaceful, literary, and secular empire, especially for the time – definitely earned the moniker.
Unfortunately, by the time this story begins, the Mughals were being ruled by Aurangzeb, who was neither peaceful nor understanding. He was particularly aggressive towards the Sikhs, partly because of religious reasons, partly because the Sikhs weren’t down with the caste system. In fact, the Sikhs were egalitarian in general, with women considered equals to men.
Which brings us to Mai Bhago. Sorry for the long intro, I just want you to know what she was up against.
Mai lived in a peaceful rural town with her parents. She spent a lot of time with her dad, who, in their daddy-daughter hangouts, taught her what any good father should: how to be a devoted Sikh, how to ride a horse, and how to kill anyone who starts shit with you. All of these came in handy just a few years later, when the leader of the Sikh, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, founded the Khalsa – the warrior-saints.
You see, the previous Guru before Gobind Singh Ji – and there were only ever ten of these guys to ever live, with Guru Gobind Singh Ji being number ten – was executed by Aurangzeb when the Guru was nine years old. Rather than capitulating to Aurangzeb and living a quiet life, the Guru ordered his followers to eschew the caste system, forsake their family names, be baptized as warrior-saints, and kick ass for the lord.
Mai Bhago was one of the first to get down on that.
The following years were very difficult on the Sikhs, with the Mughals waging nonstop warfare on the Guru. As tough as it was on him, it was arguably tougher on his warriors, holed up in fortress after fortress, eventually subsisting on nothing but nuts and leaves. After months of this, with heavy hearts, forty of them forsook the religion and left the Khalsa, in order to return to their normal lives.
Mai Bhago was having none of that. Upon hearing about the forty deserters, she rode to every city around and got all of the women to refuse any hospitality to them. She even rounded up a group of women to take up arms in the deserters’ place – telling the forty to either stay behind and look after the children or sack up and fight. Suitably ashamed by this, the forty deserters had a change of heart and decided to rejoin the Guru’s cause.
Just in time, too – because as the forty (plus Mai) were riding back to the Guru, the Mughals were making another assault on his stronghold. The size of the army is difficult to determine from historical records, with the only source I can find claiming the Mughals had ten thousand men, which seems a bit ridiculous. In any event, it is agreed that the Sikhs were massively outnumbered.
On December 29, 1705, the forty-one Sikhs rushed in to cut off the Mughals anyway. They did several clever things in and leading up to the battle:
1) Positioned themselves in front of the Khirdana reservoir, the only source of water for miles around, and defended it viciously.
2) Laid sheets across bushes everywhere, giving the appearance of tents – and then hid in nearby bushes, ambushing the Mughals when they started attacking the empty “tents”.
3) Kicked up a colossal amount of dust, attracting the attention of the retreating Guru – who proceeded to unleash an incessant barrage of arrows from a nearby hill upon the Mughals.
Eventually the Mughals, battered and thirsty, withdrew. All forty of the deserters died in that battle, as did a large number of Mughal soldiers. Mai Bhago was the only Sikh survivor. From there, she became bodyguard to the Guru. She outlived him and later died of old age herself. The Mughal Empire under Aurangzeb’s leadership began a slow decline and died out a bit over a century later. The Sikh religion continues strong to this day. Mai Bhago’s spear and gun can still be found in Sikh museums, and her house has been converted into a Gurudwara (a Sikh place of worship).
And lastly: although best known by the name Mai Bhago, technically her name, after converting to Khalsa, was Mai Bhag Kaur – Kaur being a surname all female Khalsa take, meaning, literally, “princess.”
As an art note: she is depicted here not just wearing the traditional Khalsa clothing, but that of the Nihang, an elite warrior Khalsa sect. This outfit includes a variety of bladed weapons (the Guru was known to have five weapons on him at all times), electric blue robes, steel-wrapped turbans, and steel bangles about the wrist. I am unsure if she was technically Nihang, but for damn sure she had their spirit.
And yes, she is decapitating that guy. Follow the trail of dust to see the arc of her sword. She has her sword and shield on the same arm, up around her shoulder. Realistically, I should have put the shield on her other arm, but hindsight is 20/20.
Lastly: the Mughal being beheaded has period-accurate clothing, although his helmet is one of an infantryman and his outfit is that of a cavalryman. I wanted to be able to see his face.
[many thanks for Zaid Hassan and the kindly anonymous Sikh who wrote in with additional information that went into edits on this entry!]
THAILAND, AYUTTHAYA : People take part in water battles with
elephants as part of celebrations of Songkhran - the Thai new year - in
the city of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok, on April 11, 2016. The
Songkhran Festival is marked throughout Thailand with water fights
during the days around the new year on April 13. / AFP PHOTO /