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Criston of House Shapper

When did the Andals leave Essos?

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Ok, this has always bothered me. I may be overthinking this, though.



So, the Andals supposedly left Essos due to the Valyrians conquering their domains, but when exactly did that happen? I think I read somewhere, that it was about 3000 years ago, which seems likely, since Andal customs seem deeply rooted in Westeros by now, but I can't find it written anywhere.



So after the Andals lost, the Valyrians then turned their attention to the Rhoynar. But why didn't they conquer the Rhoynar in the first place, before getting to the Andals, which are further away after all. We also know that the Valyrian campaigns against the Rhoynar went slow, but 2000 years seem unlikely.



When Nymeria arrived in Dorne 1000 years ago, the Andals seemed to have established themselves as the dominant people in Westeros, so it must have been quite a bit of time inbetween those 2 conquests. Also, a lot of things had to happen especially in the Riverlands between the Andal Invasion and relatively recent events like Aegon's Conquest.



But what took the Valyrians so long? The book mentions about 7 wars among many, that are described as short and bloody, and the Valyrians were victorious most of the time, so stretched over 2000 years that just seems weird.



Is there actually a reference to when exactly the Andal invasion started and I just missed it?


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There are numerous conflicting dates, and we're never going to get a date that will be absolutely true because of how long ago it was.



And presumably the Valyrians went after the Andals first since the Rhoynar were likely stronger; after all, Prince Garin was winning until the Freehold brought down its full might on him.


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We have dates for the Andal Invasion being 6,000, 4,000 or 2,000 years ago. Furthermore, we know that it was a very lengthy process, taking centuries and maybe even millennia.



By the way, we don't have a good date for Nymeria either. Could be 1,000 years ago - or 1,000 years before Aegon's conquest and such 1,300 in total.



And the Andals never completely left Essos, there are still some remaining around Pentos and Braavos. Fully integrated by now and without a clear link to their past.



Historical timelines in ASOIAF pre-Conquest are damn unreliable. Don't take them for granted.


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A few things to remember:



1) not every single Andal would have left Essos, it wouldn't be one big migration - mentally I've been comparing it to the Anglo-Saxon invasions of England, and even the Viking invasions later. Not every single Saxon came over to England, only the most adventurous, the exiles, and those that didn't have anything to stay for came to the shores of Britain. Many stayed behind in Germany/Denmark/etc. So the Andal invasions likely started before the Valyrians were coming at them; adventurous men and those with nowhere else to go would have kicked off the invasions. Then once the Valyrians started fighting the Andals you'd get more refugees aiding with the Westeros invasion.



2) I thought the book said that Andals could be found on both sides of the northern Rhoyne & headwaters - from the plains just north of Pentos all the way to the Axe just south(ish) of Lorath. I don't have the book at hand right now, but it was Ghis first, then the Sarnori, then the Andals, right? So coming from the East after finishing off the Sarnori they would be right near the area (~ish) south of the Axe and meeting Andals before they've even made it to the Rhoynar. And then add that the Rhoynar are/were stronger than the Andals, which makes it logical to beat back the lesser before attacking the stronger, but still giving the Andals on the West side of the river time to invade Westeros while their Eastern fellows are being slaughtered (giving a reason for the invasion of Westeros to begin in earnest).



3) Time is an illusion. First, even the maesters admit that they aren't sure of the timeline. Second, full on complete conquering and wiping out the native inhabitants (First Men and Children) would probably take longer than 1000 years - in cases like that you would have a lot of resistance. In the case of the Andals though, while there were wars between them and the kings, they generally ended on peaceful terms and with marriages to bind those terms. That would have given the Andals a foothold into the culture and once in they would be able to change it from the inside which wouldn't engender violent rebellions (just mutterings and the odd skirmish) and would give the Andals the opportunity to alter things slowly, generation by generation, which would only end up taking a few generations. Their grandchildren and great-grandchildren wouldn't remember how the First Men had lived before the Andals came - all that would be reduced to stories by then (more truthful than the ones they know now, but still stories). In real life, just look at how quickly the Roman Empire adopted Christianity - while it was slow going to start, within the lifetime of Constantine I (the Great) Christianity went from being the religion of slaves and women to the foremost religion of the Empire. Cultural change is odd that way - given the right impetus a culture can change within one man's lifetime. Given the wrong impetus and a culture will resist it even beyond rationale. And marrying into already established royal family certainly would have helped give the Andals a dominance after a couple generations. Certainly worked for Nymeria! And it didn't take her very long either - the Rhoynar were well established in Dorne within her lifetime. Can't see why it wouldn't work for the Andals.



4) I've seen the Valyrians compared to Rome - and it quite fits. The early Roman Republic was not expansionists - they wanted all of Italy, but after that they were unconcerned. After the defeat of Carthage the Romans were quite distressed over what to do with their newly won lands in N. Africa and Spain. They didn't particularly want them, but neither were they willing to ignore them and leave these lands to the natives (because: money). It wasn't until the later Republic (Marius & Sulla, Caesar) that the Romans began actively starting wars for the benefit of their empire. So comparing early Valyria with early Rome, I'd suggest that they weren't all too keen on expanding at first - their early wars with Ghis seem to be defensive wars (Ghis provoked it) rather than expansionist. And of course, the comparison of Ghis to Carthage wouldn't be amiss there either. Each side knew they were rivals and only one could be left standing at the end of it. After their wars with Ghis they seem to be a bit more observant of their needs and started building some outposts and making war with those that created direct interference with the Valyrians needs. It doesn't seem to be until later in their history that the Valyrians start an expansionist policy in regards to their neighbours. "Short, bloody wars" could be anything from exaggerated border skirmishes to a war lasting a year or two (with a length of 5000 years for their empire, a "long" war would have to be a decade long, at least!). A dozen or more border skirmishes over the course of a few years is a lot of fighting - Romans vs Germans is a good example of that, some major battles with a lot of little skirmishes took a couple centuries worth of time for the Romans (and even then they didn't exactly "win"). Major battles, minor battles, skirmishes and long stretches of something like peace (actual treaties, minor truces, and just plain waiting) could easily add up to 2000 years (accounting for the fact that the entire length of Valyrians reign [5000 years] in our world would be equal to, roughly, the time of Troy until today [3000 bce - 2000 ce] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/30th_century_BCfor more examples of 5000 years ago!).



And no, I don't think they specify a date for the Andals - it wasn't a single invasion force, it was small forces coming over for various reasons to lay claim to whatever they could whenever they could. It didn't seem to me that the Andals invading the Vale had much of anything to do with the Andals that tried to invade the North, it seemed more like the Saxons or the Danes invading England - no single large scale invasion, just little groups coming over simply because they could.


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According to what the World Book and the Blackwood kid say about True History (an in world book), the Long Night occurred 8,000 years ago and the Andal Invasions 4,000 years ago.

The maester who wrote TWOIAF states that the Long Night took place 6,000 years ago (then cites the 8,000 years in True History), while in AFFC the Blackwood kid says some maesters believe the Andal Invasion occurred 2,000 years ago.

I seem to recall a claim of 6,000 years ago for the Andal Invasion, but haven't come across a source.

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Alyssa Arryn supposedly lived 6,000 years ago, so the Andals already had to have lived in the Vale if that was true.



Yandel makes it clear that Valyria caused the Andal migration but we don't really know when it happened exactly - but there is no other explanation given for their migration. As far as we know it was the Valyrians. Which means we have to assume it was after the founding of Valyria which seems to have been about 5,000 years ago - or rather, around 5,000 years ago the Ghiscari had their troubles with the Valyrians at that time but we don't know how much time passed between the founding of Valyria and their first serious quarrels with the Ghiscari - could have been a thousand years for all we know.



If we go with the Fifth Ghiscari War ending about 5,000 years ago then I could see the Andals in the West getting their first serious trouble with the Valyrians only 4,000-3,000 years ago as Valyrian expansion apparently went rather slowly. Volantis could have been founded as early as, say, 4,700-4,500 years ago, but it would still take the Valyrians centuries to creep as for west and north to pose a serious threat to the Andals. Especially since Yandel indicates that the Valyrians first eradicated countless other peoples living in Essos - presumably in all those now greatly depopulated regions north-west of the Lands of the Long Summer.



The story about Qarlon the Great suggests to me that Norvos and Qohor are older than Pentos as I assume it would have been either targeted by Qarlon or felt threatened by him as his realm extended to the headwaters of the Upper Rhoyne. Qarlon was still pushing for an Andal expansion, he wasn't trying to push back a Valyrian expansion. And in light of the fact that Qarlon also had to deal with petty Andal kings suggests that he was living before Hugor of the Hill who apparently united all the Andals in Andalos under his leadership and showed them a vision of their promised land.



There clearly were phases of Andal invasions, but only the Vale, the Riverlands, and the Stormlands were effectively overwhelmed by seaborne invaders - the West and the Reach saw the Andals coming overland, and the Iron Islands were invaded from Westeros itself. We know that Myr may have been an Andalish settlement once, suggesting perhaps that those Andal adventurers eventually settling in Dorne may have been Andals from Southern Essos crossing the Narrow Sea after Myr was founded and the Valyrians began to threaten them on the mainland from their outposts in Tyrosh and Lys.



Considering that the Andals would at first have stood and fought against the Valyrians (see Qarlon) it is entirely likely that they only migrated into the Vale and the Riverlands 2,500-2,000 years ago.



The Rhoynar pose no problem there as they were on good terms with the Valyrians most of the time, and way too powerful to be challenged or attacked until Volantis had become powerful.


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Yandel makes it clear that Valyria caused the Andal migration but we don't really know when it happened exactly - but there is no other explanation given for their migration. As far as we know it was the Valyrians. Which means we have to assume it was after the founding of Valyria which seems to have been about 5,000 years ago - or rather, around 5,000 years ago the Ghiscari had their troubles with the Valyrians at that time but we don't know how much time passed between the founding of Valyria and their first serious quarrels with the Ghiscari - could have been a thousand years for all we know.

I wouldn't put too much stock in that information either. It's as iffy as the dates for Westeros. You could argue about the Valyrians and Ghiscari retaining their written language in opposition to the First Men, but that applies to the Andals as well.

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Yes, but they also were on pretty good terms with the Valyrians in the early years and supposedly taught them - as well as the Andals - to forge iron into steel. And we know how the Rhoynish Wars eventually came about - caused essentially by minor conflicts between Valyrian towns and Rhoynish cities, and eventually escalated by the ambitions of the Volantene nobility and their dragonlord kin.


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I see little reason to doubt the date for the Fall of Ghis (~5,000 years ago). Yandel and Dany's history lessons suggest it, and considering that this was a very important date there is little reason to doubt that it would be more or less faithfully chronicled in the Free Cities as well as Valyria prior to the Doom.



If I remember correctly we don't know exactly how much time passed between Qarlon's fall and the establishment of Lorath as Valyrian colony, no?


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During the first three books, we had no reason to doubt that the Andal Invasion was 6,000 years ago. The other potential dates only crept up in Feast and Dance. The sources for the Fall of Ghis are even scarcer.


These dates would be as faithfully chronicled as the Andal invasion - which differ by 200%.



A period of 5,000 years is just plain beyond any believable scale, from technology to culture to language.



Lorath was founded 1322 years before the Doom, "more than a century" after Quarlon was killed in battle. But no more than 200 years, otherwise that expression makes no sense.


So, Quarlon was killed about 1,800-1,900 years ago.



That ties into my first argument: Lorath being founded ~1,700 years ago, Pentos and Braavos definitely younger, Lys, Myr and Tyrosh likely founded after the war with the Rhoynar. That leaves Volantis, Quohor and Norvos. But the rise of Volantis can't be too much prior to the war with the Rhoynar either and it's the oldest. Let's put the start of the Valyrian expansion at 2,500 years ago, that leaves 1,500 years for the rise of Volantis and a bunch of conflicts. Damn long period for conflict without settlement.


It's likely that the wars with Ghis are thereabouts as well.


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Andals started coming to Westeros 6000 years ago but they still had a foothold in Essos until Qarlon was defeated roughly 1800 years ago. After that, the remaining Andals in Essos were assimilated into the Pentoshi and the Norvoshi. The reason why the first Andals came to Westeros was for raid and plunder.


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BBE,



oh, right, I thought I remembered that we had a hint how much time passed between Qarlon's death and the founding of Lorath. However, I generally doubt that the early Andals ever chronicled stuff faithfully. The early Andals apparently weren't a very civilized culture, and the accounts we have on the early events involving the Andals - like the story about the Conquest of the Vale - seem to be pious legends, written for religious purposes rather than to describe what actually happened.



It is very likely that the septons doing that simply moved events farther and farther back in time to make stuff grander and more important, and to give the Andals a longer history based in Westeros.



But there is little reason to assume that the historians of Valyria and the Free Cities did the same with the Fall of Old Ghis.



Volantis certainly only slowly grew into the city it was around the time of the Doom. It began as a military outpost, and may have thus grown very slowly in its early history. We know that the Valyrians could wipe out many people in Essos and even push the surviving Andals into Westeros without ever rising the ire of the isolationist Rhoynar - so there is really no reason to believe the Valyrians would have been troubled by the Rhoynar while they did not trouble them. And they apparently only began to trouble them rather late.



We don't have to assume that the Tyrosh, Lys, and Myr were founded only after the Rhoynish Wars. Once Volantis had built its Long Bridge the Valyrians could cross the Rhoyne mounted and on foot, and even before that Valyrian fleets and the dragonlords could easily reach the coast west of the mouth of the Rhoyne. My guess is that the Valyrians simply circumvented/ignored the Rhoynar, and began exploring the lands in the West.


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Also, if we look at Rome, their expansion followed the Mediterranean coast long before they managed to push into Germania for example.

Establishing colonies around sea trade routes and thus creeping around the Narrow Sea coast while leaving the likes of the Rhoynar untouched further inland makes perfect sense.

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I suspect that it is not only First Man history that was written down thousands of years after the fact, but also early Andal history. I think Andals were for the most part unable to read or write when they invaded Westeros. Perhaps they had a small group of literate priests when they invaded, or perhaps such a group only came quite a bit after the Andals had already established footholds in Westeros. It seems to me that the early millennia of Andal history are as poorly recorded as anything in the history of Westeros.


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Bael's Bastard,



yeah, early Andal stories are about as credible as medieval hagiography and other pious legends - which means they are essentially fairy-tales, sometimes based on historical characters, sometimes inventing characters from scratch. The Winged Knight could easily be such an invented character - based on the historical Ser Artys Arryn placed back in time and painted in the same legendary colors as the other historical heroes of the other ancient houses.



If we take Qarlon's end as a confirmed date then Hugor of the Hill may have begun the Andal exodus about 1,700 years ago. Whether this means that the Fall of Ghis date is wrong I don't know. We could easily go with a very slow Valyrian expansion westwards, and it taking even longer for the Valyrians to actively threaten the Andals.



Generally there is no hint that Qarlon's realm could have developed while the Andals were already pushed to Westeros as it is said that the first tried to fight - so it makes little sense for them to go to Westeros while they were still clinging to their homeland. I imagine that some of the Andals serving as mercenaries while they were still trying to keep a foot in Essos, but Qarlon was actually conquering stuff and way too overconfident to have lived in a day and age when the dragonlords had already demonstrated their strength to other Andal kings.



If the Rhoynish Wars are any indication then the Freehold was generally somewhat reluctant to unleash the dragons unless Valyria's children were directly threatened. One should expect that Valyria only reached out to Andalos and the lands in the farther northwest of Essos when the peoples in the southwest were completely wiped out/could no yield the slaves the dragonlords so desperately needed.


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What is not being acknowledged here is that there were no doubt other reasons beyond the Valyrian pressure that led the first Andal mercenaries and warlords to venture into Westeros.



For starters, Westeros just being a much more appealing target than the rather drab hills of Andalos. Much like the reasons the early Vikings targeted Britain.



And quite aside from that, the Andals appeared to make a living as mercenaries, finding plenty of work in Westeros. And we see that many of the early Andal conquests in the Vale were in fact the result of such mercenaries turning against their employers in times of weakness, and taking their keeps and daugthers as spoils, while at the same time establishing themselves as lords and petty kings in Westeros.



So these activities could have been going on long before Valyrian pressure pushed the Andals into a full scale migration.



Most likely the early Vale incursions, Argos Sevenstar's attempted invasion of the North, and maybe even some of the early Riverland invaders were adventurers and warlords that targeted Westeros opportunistically, rather than because they were running from the Valyrians.



So the Andal invasion can then quite reasonably be divided into two distinct periods.



1. The pre-Valyrian mercenary captains and warlords that made their moves as far back as 4000 years ago, with many failures, but those who succeeded carved out petty kingdoms for themselves in Westeros.



2. The scaled up migration that happened subsequent to 2000 years ago, once Valyrian pressure added urgency to the invasion.



The Septons and their written records would then also have been more plentiful among the latter, more general migration, while the earlier warparties and adventurers would have fewer and less accurate written records about them, given that the presence of Septons in such groups would have been rather limited.



This allows us to tie all the loose ends together. Allowing an Andal presence in Westeros 4000 years ago or more, while still adhering to the prevailing theories that Valyrian aggression forced the mass migration of the bulk of the Andal population, much more recently.



Note also that in the section on the North it is stated that the Red Kings were subdued by the Starks just as the first Andal longships were crossing the Narrow Sea. This would then have been at the time when the first isolated adventurers and war chiefs ventured over the Narrow Sea. Long before the mass Valyrian enforced migration took place thousands of years later.


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What is not being acknowledged here is that there were no doubt other reasons beyond the Valyrian pressure that led the first Andal mercenaries and warlords to venture into Westeros.

For starters, Westeros just being a much more appealing target than the rather drab hills of Andalos. Much like the reasons the early Vikings targeted Britain.

I imagine also the pickings were easier in Westeros. Essos had far more advanced civilisations to fight it out with if you wanted to carve out your own space and expand your kingdom.

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But there is little reason to assume that the historians of Valyria and the Free Cities did the same with the Fall of Old Ghis.

Why? Why do you assume that?

Volantis certainly only slowly grew into the city it was around the time of the Doom. It began as a military outpost, and may have thus grown very slowly in its early history. We know that the Valyrians could wipe out many people in Essos and even push the surviving Andals into Westeros without ever rising the ire of the isolationist Rhoynar - so there is really no reason to believe the Valyrians would have been troubled by the Rhoynar while they did not trouble them. And they apparently only began to trouble them rather late.

So, a growth period of ~3,000 years without any conflict and then 500 years of war with the Rhoynar? Unlikely. Damn unlikely.

We don't have to assume that the Tyrosh, Lys, and Myr were founded only after the Rhoynish Wars. Once Volantis had built its Long Bridge the Valyrians could cross the Rhoyne mounted and on foot, and even before that Valyrian fleets and the dragonlords could easily reach the coast west of the mouth of the Rhoyne. My guess is that the Valyrians simply circumvented/ignored the Rhoynar, and began exploring the lands in the West.

With Ny Sar straight there at the mouth of the Rhoyne, easily able to intercept any naval trade. Risky. Furthermore, at least Tyrosh was founded to secure passage through the Stepstones - which the Valyrians would only need when they settled the area around Pentos, and maybe the long run to Lorath.

So the Andal invasion can then quite reasonably be divided into two distinct periods.

1. The pre-Valyrian mercenary captains and warlords that made their moves as far back as 4000 years ago, with many failures, but those who succeeded carved out petty kingdoms for themselves in Westeros.

2. The scaled up migration that happened subsequent to 2000 years ago, once Valyrian pressure added urgency to the invasion.

The Septons and their written records would then also have been more plentiful among the latter, more general migration, while the earlier warparties and adventurers would have fewer and less accurate written records about them, given that the presence of Septons in such groups would have been rather limited.

This allows us to tie all the loose ends together. Allowing an Andal presence in Westeros 4000 years ago or more, while still adhering to the prevailing theories that Valyrian aggression forced the mass migration of the bulk of the Andal population, much more recently..

Yes, but not with 2,000 years separating those two phases. There would be far too much of a culture shift to call both waves Andals.

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