An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Yes that is true,but many of andreas's faults were personal ones and we got to see them because we had many pov chapters of andreas but not many of iskander,and about the battles while most if not all your points are correct you forgot that the best trait of a great commander is luck so a wind "assisting" him is possible but besides thoses point it was a fairly solid critic
 
[So I’m disregarding the pre-edit comments on cannibalism because I hope the second edition addresses those, so I’m just responding to the comments on other topics/aspects.]

Alexios handed him another. Demetrios lifted his quill, then paused. He read it again, then a third time. Then he looked up at Alexios, who was failing to not smile. “You wrote this, didn’t you?”

“What gave you that idea, your Majesty?”

“It’s a proposal to import a bunch of piranhas from Brazil, feed them a bunch of German sausage so they get big and like the taste of Germans, then release them in the Danube which they’ll swim up, eating every German in sight.”

“Yes, that is the idea.”

Demetrios stared at him for a moment, Alexios looking at him blankly, and then Demetrios’ face split into a huge grin. “I love it.” A pause. “Not exactly practical, unfortunately.” He set it off to the side. “But thank you, I needed that.”

“You’re very welcome, your Majesty.”
Why not mutated sea bass, while you're at it? (Points to whoever gets that reference...)
 
ImperatorAlexander: There are new tourmai coming online in lower Macedonia and Albania, but it’s a low. Until/unless the Allies take Ohrid they’re penned up in Upper Macedonia so they’re not that big of a threat. Furthermore while it’d be nice to hit the Allies in the rear, a Roman army starting in lower Macedonia would have to fight its way up the height of Serbia before it would pose a threat to Blucher’s supplies where it would run into Belgrade’s fortifications. If a flank attack were to be made on Blucher’s supply line it would most likely be based out of Serdica/Sofia.

Boa: I’d put the Romans as slightly ahead. The Romans are clearly ahead in the amount of territory they control in Island Asia, but the Bengal Viceroyalty is bigger than Taprobane. At this stage the emphasis is on control and access to trading posts rather than who’s painted more of the map. And the various native powers are still key players. In Java the Romans/Mataram and Triunes/Semarang are fighting but one could debate who in each pair is using the other the most.

Curtain Jerker: Welcome to the show. Glad you enjoy it and thanks for the support.

Now, regarding Iskandar, the OOC problem is that I didn’t intend for him to be so prominent in the story. His significance grew out of the Eternal War storyline which was the result of me taking the Great Uprising and seeing what the consequences of that would be. So originally he was just going to be one more Ottoman Sultan/Shah, albeit of the most competent type, but not a major player ITTL. Which is why he wasn’t nearly as well-developed as Andreas Niketas, for example, even though he ended up becoming the Persian version. But your criticism is justified; all of this is to provide the explanation for my bad.

However, in defense of my creation, regarding India, here is the relevant section:

[1612: As the Romans once again place Belgrade and Smederevo under siege, this time with larger artillery and supply trains and more cooperative weather, Shah Iskandar faces the assembled might of the Indus valley at Bahawalpur. The Persians number 35,000. The size of the Indian army varies from 55,000 to 150,000 depending on the source. By the end of the day the Shah is master of the field.

Onward he surges, taking Delhi seven weeks later. Reinforcements arrive from Khorasan to swell his army to fifty thousand men just in time to face the hosts of the Ganges river valley in all their might and majesty, “a force not even Xerxes in all his glory could summon.” The two armies collide on the outskirts of Aligarh. Rank after rank of armored war elephants are met by the roar of Ottoman culverins and despite a moment of concern when Rajput cavalry break through the Persian right flank, when the sun sets once again Iskandar has routed another great armament. Not until one reaches the banks of the Narmada river and the realm of the Vijayanagari Emperors is there a force in all of India that can stand up to the Shahanshah. ]

So note the size of the Bahawalpur army is “depending on the source”; I’m being deliberately vague on the size, but the sources could range from the ‘reasonably sober’ to ‘insanely wild’. Also note that in the Xerxes phrase, I’m quoting…somebody. It’s a dramatic poetic phrase, but also vague and unspecific, so whatever ITTL source I’m ‘quoting’ is not necessarily the most accurate. Historical sources can often be incredibly wild and dramatic when it comes to army size; you referenced Herodotus for example. On a final note, the Indian armies are never referenced as a single polity, but solely by their geographic origin. These aren’t united forces, but coalition armies whose components probably don’t get along very well with each other.

Having said that, now this is another my bad since I’ve never specified my ‘voice’ in this TL. Am I an omniscient narrator or a future ITTL history book? I’m not sure myself. But when I’m being deliberate vague, using phrases like ‘based on what source you use’, or quoting something from ITTL, those statements should be treated with the skepticism one would apply to OTL historical works.

Moving on to First Nineveh:

1) Yes, it’s convenient, but Napoleon said the best virtue a general could have is to be lucky. Sometimes generals get lucky. There was an OTL battle between the Byzantines and Bulgarians (800s?) where the Byzantines were winning. Then the Byzantine general needed to relieve himself so he dismounted next to a tree and started doing his business. His mount broke free and started running down the Byzantine lines. The Byzantine soldiers, seeing their commander’s horse with no commander, assumed he’d been killed, panicked and started running away even though they’d been winning. So the Bulgarians won the battle, which was a big engagement by Byzantine-Bulgarian standards, because of a freak turn of events.

2) Similar to above, as you noted.
3) Firstly, there’s a big difference between war gaming something and doing it in actuality. Carts break, a contractor used substandard barrels, donkeys get sick, a bridge breaks, etc. The Romans can plan logistics but they’re not perfect. They’ve got really good logistics…for a pre-industrial society.

Furthermore Iskandar is really good at logistics himself. From 1588: [For now the campaign stops at Merv but the Shah immediately sets to work transforming the city into a forward operating base. Arsenals, warehouses, and barracks are built across the suburbs while work gangs reportedly numbering almost a hundred and fifty thousand strong toil building roads. Roman spies declare the finished product the equal of any Roman highway] At Nineveh he has the advantage of barging all his supplies up the Tigris River. The Romans might be able to use the Tigris for part of the journey, but their bases of supply aren’t along the Tigris. They first have to be carted from Syria/Anatolia. So Iskandar has a clear advantage in logistics here because he can use water transport to a far greater extent than the Romans.

Finally in the various other theaters, Iskandar is using much smaller armies. At Aligarh he has fifty thousand men, half of what the Romans are fielding at Nineveh.

4) Don’t have a good excuse here. I thought Iraq was smaller than that when I wrote it. But presumably he’d arranged river transport in advance, figuring that if he ended up not needing those troops in the south he’d want to make sure he could get them north ASAP. And it’d be reasonable to assume they’d let Iskandar know they’re coming so he could slot them in where they’d do the most good. Given how the Romans and Persians had been fighting hard, if everyone is exhausted someone who’s just tired has a big advantage.
5) Again that could just be a matter of luck. The Ottoman officers were taking casualties; it was just that the Roman officer casualties were exceptionally bad while the Ottomans were just the ‘usual bad’. I don’t detail everything.
6) Gabras is in the middle of a giant battle, trying to command amidst the smoke and confusion and carnage of a gunpowder battle. In the rush to get things moving, details might slip one’s mind, even very important ones.

Also from 1622: [The Roman commander is newly promoted Domestikos of the East Alexios Gabras (the Megas Domestikos is sick with what historians believe to be colon cancer; whatever it is will kill him at the same time as Iskandar advances on Mosul). He has had a long and illustrious career, much of it spent fighting in the east. He participated in the initial attack on Mecca and was a long-time commander of the Jeddah garrison. He served as Strategos of the Chaldean tagma during the post Dojama-Al Khalis campaign under Domestikos of the East Alexios Philanthropenos, he who successfully disengaged his forces from the teeth of Iskandar’s triumphant soldiery during that debacle. Philanthropenos, descendant of that great general, the terror of the Turks in the late thirteenth century, had been the original commander slated for this task, but had died rather suddenly in late November of last year.]

Note that Gabras was not slated to command originally; he’s in charge because the original commander died. Prior to Nineveh, he was a tagma strategos. He’s gone from commanding 10,000 to 100,000. So naturally he’s shaky.

The temporary exposure of the forces on Mount Alfaf was supposed to be short, and because of the dust clouds Gabras had every reason to expect that Iskandar wouldn’t even notice the opportunity before Gabras’ own attack crushed the Ottoman flank. He gambled, and lost.

7) Bahzani was able to fund a village church that must’ve been made of stone, of quite good construction since it was stout enough to stand up to light cannon fire. Presumably it was richer and just better built than Bahzani. And notice how the battle there seesawed back and forth, with both sides contesting portions of the village repeatedly while Bartella was ‘one side has it, now the other’. Bahzani must’ve been bigger and/or more spread out then Bartella, which meant any fires started wouldn’t pose as big of a problem as when Bartella went up.

Finally, yes Iskandar won First Nineveh because he was lucky. I admit that, because I wrote it that way. If First Nineveh was played out over and over again, Iskandar would lose most of the time. But there was only one roll and he won it.

Regarding Second Nineveh, Gabras can’t be too forceful. If he attacks Iskandar hard, there’s a good chance the Kaisar gets killed by mistake. If there’s fighting in the Ottoman camp with bullets and cannonballs firing, fires starting, panicked animals running around, it’s very easy Andreas gets it by accident. He had near misses as it was.

Regarding Depalpur, here is the relevant section: [Although the Kephale of Surat hears about the battle of Depalpur, and shortly afterwards that a Tibetan army raiding Kashmir has crushed a Persian contingent of thirty five hundred, and immediately rushes a report to the Katepano of Taprobane, not an inkling of this reaches Baghdad for quite some time and not an inkling comes to the ears of the Romans.]

I was referring to the Romans in Baghdad there so it could’ve been better worded on my part. But at this point the Roman peace envoys are in Baghdad, Iskandar’s turf. So naturally Iskandar hears of it a lot sooner since the Roman report has to be routed through Constantinople back down to Baghdad while the Shah does his best to keep them in the dark.

Regarding the Roman cession of territory, remember that the morale is to the material as three to one. At this stage, the Romans (wrongly) believe that Iskandar can’t be beaten. They don’t see the lucky breaks or the cracks in the east, just an unstoppable juggernaut, and they act, while demoralized, on that pessimistic view. Remember all of the negotiation is done on Iskandar’s turf while the Kaisar is still his ‘guest’. It’s natural they’d think the Shah has the whip hand.

As for Iskandar and shortcomings, let’s take a look at his legacy. He conquered a good chunk of India, his main goal and focus of his entire adult life, but was unable to secure or really even control most of it much of the time. It was then lost within a matter of months after his death. And when he died, the Vijayanagari offensive was already moving. He died before having to face that real unstoppable juggernaut. Which might be his biggest stroke of luck, dying before he could be defeated. Imagine how Napoleon would be viewed nowadays if he’d died in spring 1812 before the start of the Russian campaign or Heraclius if he’d died after the return of the True Cross but before the Arab invasions.

Also almost immediately after his death the Turks and Persians pull knives on each other and back different sons of his. Clearly there are certain internal issues in the Ottoman Empire he failed to address.

Finally here is his introduction from 1588: [The man who personally sets the detonation charges is none other than Shahanshah Iskandar I Komnenos. The grandson of Osman Komnenos and Aisha, daughter of the last Osmanli Sultan, he is only twenty years old but has already gained a reputation for both bravery and ruthlessness. His grandfather died just two months after Mohammed Amin and was initially succeeded by Iskandar’s cousin, the grandson of Osman the Great via another of his wives. Iskandar did not think much of that and overthrew him in a palace coup, during which he overawed the janissaries by sheer force of personality.]

So the only reason he was Shah in the first place was by murdering his cousin in a palace coup. So a brilliant (and lucky) general, skilled diplomat, but definitely not better than Mother Theresa.

But after having said all of that, you have a good point. Iskandar ended up being the Persian Andreas Niketas, but without the personal dark side of Andreas shown quite often when he was the star of the show, which weakens his character.
 
Which might be his biggest stroke of luck, dying before he could be defeated. Imagine how Napoleon would be viewed nowadays if he’d died in spring 1812 before the start of the Russian campaign or Heraclius if he’d died after the return of the True Cross but before the Arab invasions.
In fairness, the Ottomans weren't utterly broken like the two examples you mention. Aside from the loss of India, Ibrahim (I assume Iskander would have handled the situation much better if he remained alive) made it out in one piece with a fairly favourable position.

I suppose what's done is done, and we can only look forward to what will happen next. With that being said, Ibrahim's army being smashed in the Levant and him being humiliated would be a nice balance to Isakander's over the top successes (and far less damaging than Napoleon/Russia and Heraclius/Arabs too!).
 
In fairness, the Ottomans weren't utterly broken like the two examples you mention. Aside from the loss of India, Ibrahim (I assume Iskander would have handled the situation much better if he remained alive) made it out in one piece with a fairly favourable position.
Aside from the loss of the Indian territories I reckon Ibrahim got off pretty lightly. The OP Isakander veterans scarred off the Indians and netted him a fat cash stack. Plus he dealt with his younger brother very quickly, nipping any prolonged civil war in the bud. He was in such a comfy position he could invade Roman Syria with such a large force.
 
In fairness, the Ottomans weren't utterly broken like the two examples you mention. Aside from the loss of India, Ibrahim (I assume Iskander would have handled the situation much better if he remained alive) made it out in one piece with a fairly favourable position.

I suppose what's done is done, and we can only look forward to what will happen next. With that being said, Ibrahim's army being smashed in the Levant and him being humiliated would be a nice balance to Isakander's over the top successes (and far less damaging than Napoleon/Russia and Heraclius/Arabs too!).
Iskander would have "routed another great armament" when a bolt of lightning (on a clear day, naturally) struck the Vijayanagara command pavilion, incinerating everyone inside.
 
Having said that, now this is another my bad since I’ve never specified my ‘voice’ in this TL. Am I an omniscient narrator or a future ITTL history book? I’m not sure myself. But when I’m being deliberate vague, using phrases like ‘based on what source you use’, or quoting something from ITTL, those statements should be treated with the skepticism one would apply to OTL historical works.
I won't pretend to speak for the author, but I've always thought this TL did a great job of combining those two approaches, with the event descriptions and "timeline" parts being written by a later scholar and the narrative sections being omniscient, giving the reader a "real" look at the event in question. A couple of chapters with begun with quotes like
"They were either all relatives of Andreas Komnenos, or named Charles,"-one of my students, on monarchial characteristics of the early 1500s, Iason Iagaris
which are hilarious and support that idea. The narrative sections are thus unknown to the in-universe historian and explain to the reader why Kristina engraved a duck on David, Andreas' sword.

The forum readers get the best of both worlds this way and it allows B444 to focus on the most interesting parts without feeling the need to have every event explained in detail. Specifying the voice might just make things complicated.
 
JohnSmith: Better example might be Gustavus Adolphus then. And as for Ibrahim not suffering too badly from the Vijayanagari counterattack, remember that Vijayanagar is in southern India. It’s a 2000+ kilometer walk from Vijayanagar to Lahore. So there was never a chance of Vijayanagar really breaking into the Ottoman heartland; just to get to OTL Pakistani territory is pushing it.

Babyrage: Ibrahim being able to whack his little brother quickly though has nothing to do with Iskandar, and is a mark against him since he didn’t do enough (or anything) to prevent a succession war on his death. Much like Basil II has to get marked down a peg or two since he made absolutely no plans for succession after his death.

Regarding the Iskandar veterans, they’re based off of Alexander the Great’s veterans from OTL. Reportedly they were the ultimate weapon of the period during the Wars of the Diadochi, capable of kicking the crap out of men half their age.

JackExpo: Thank you. :) Yeah, the narrative sections are omniscient and may (or more likely) not known by future historians ITTL. On the timeline proper I’m fuzzier. But whenever I’m being poetic and vague, or saying ‘based on what source’ or ‘supposedly’ or ‘it’s claimed’ that’s a cue to take whatever comes next with a pinch of salt.

I just noticed your signature. :D Love the callback. How long have I been oblivious to it?
 
1632: The Sinews of War
1632 continued: By October the Roman Empire has, between its army, navy, and various garrisons, a quarter-million men under arms, the total not including forces active in eastern waters. It is a truly stupendous achievement, yet given the sheer number of fronts even that is not sufficient to ensure crushing numerical superiority in any one theater.

Some of the new manpower comes from pre-existing militia units which are forcibly inducted into the army. The kephalates of Cilicia and the Antioch-Aleppo region as well as the kephalates around Lake Van field the best militias in the Empire with some battle honors going back to the Time of Troubles. They provide many recruits for the Armies of Syria and Mesopotamia while the Teicheiotai, the civic militia of Constantinople, reinforces the Army of the Danube. Though some of the militia troopers are too old to be ideal field troops, they can be used as garrisons or supply guards and come with some military training.

However that is not nearly enough as the Roman military literally doubles in size. One of the most impressive aspects is how quickly the Romans are able to do so. However all that is needed is to ramp up the usual thematic recruiting process. In peacetime each tagma is supposed to field 10000 troops and there are a steady stream of replacements each year, sometimes volunteers and sometimes conscripts if there are not enough volunteers (which is fairly often-the pay of a line infantryman is about the same as an unskilled laborer, not much incentive).

However several of the themes, particularly in western Anatolia, are able to support many more than 10 tourmai. In fact, it has been a common practice for more populated themes to send surplus recruits to less well-endowed districts. So when the war starts, all the themes simply maximize their own normal recruiting efforts, building as many tourmai as their population bases can support. The result is substantial differences in size between some of the tagmata. The Thrakesian by spring 1633 has 32 tourmai on its rolls while the Anatolikon is at 15.

Much of the recruiting is done with the aid of tax records. The ideal recruit is a poor unskilled laborer as his enlistment isn’t a blow to tax returns, although the loss of his labor services on the local economy can’t be quantified so easily.

Paying for the army is a thornier issue with military expenses more than tripling. Aside from the doubling of men on the rolls, there are huge needs for all sorts of equipment which have to be continually replaced as they are used up on campaign and in battle.

In February 1632 Demetrios III issues the first tax bracket system, the first major revamp to the Roman tax structure since the reign of Theodoros IV two centuries earlier. (There have been minor editions such as the cannon taxes, but their effect on the government’s tax revenue is paltry compared to this change.)

Roman taxpayers are divided into four brackets. Anyone who paid less than 16 hyperpyra in tax that year keeps their peacetime rate, which Demetrios thinks is fair since this is the socioeconomic group that is providing most of the new recruits for the army and navy. The other brackets are 17-30, 31-80, and 80+ hyperpyra, with each higher bracket having their tax upped by a larger percentage.

Naturally those in the higher brackets (which make up less than 25% of the taxpaying populace) are outraged but Demetrios promises that this is merely a wartime expedient that will be canceled once the crisis has ended. He is telling the truth as this is not the tax reform system he drew up for Andreas III. He doesn’t think this is the proper time for such major revamping as he has planned; he can’t afford any stalling in the money flow.

Incidentally Theodor hears of the grumbling and sees that as further evidence that if he manages to break into the heart of the Empire, he’ll get the internal support he needs to secure his claim.

Another revenue-raising plan of Demetrios is rather counter-intuitive, the creation of a public post office system. For centuries the Roman government has had its own post system for shipping documents, letters, and packages between outposts and offices but that is supposed to be strictly for government business. But that is rarely the case. The post system is quite corrupt and full of abuses as private individuals bribe postmasters and carriers to ship private materials. The costs are considered worthwhile given the dependency, regularity, and speed of the Imperial post.

Instead of cracking down on this, as has happened roughly every forty years or so as far back as anyone can remember (in his history of the Laskarid dynasty, Demetrios knows of an effort by Theodoros Megas in this area and of his uncharacteristic failure) to little effect, Demetrios plans to exploit this. While government papers take precedence, the system is now open to any individuals who care to pay for it. The purchaser can buy stamps at a post office, the value of the stamps needed dependent on weight of package, distance of destination, and speed requested, and then the post will take care of shipment.

The post goes to anywhere in the Empire where there is a governmental post, so a good swathe of the Empire is covered. However while mail is delivered directly to a government post, private individuals must go to the post office to pick up any mail. Nonetheless it is an immediate success, providing a nice new cash stream for the government even after the necessary expansion of the Imperial post, whilst the public is happy for the new service, with even those who’d exploited the earlier system approving as the stamps are much cheaper than the bribes. The only losers are the postal workers who are rather miffed about the loss of said bribes. Some get the bright idea of ‘losing’ mail as a form of protest; Demetrios has the offenders promptly conscripted and dispatched to either Bulgaria or Syria, whichever is closest.

The profusion of letters from this period, many of which survive to the delight of historians, illustrate the massive expansion of literacy that has been ongoing since the end of the Time of Troubles. It is estimated that in 1635 in the Imperial heartland adult male literacy is around 45-50%, with 27 (out of 171) kephalates with rates of 60%+. By contrast, around 1600 the rate was 35-40%.

It is a good time to be a Roman printer. Books, pamphlets, broadsheets, magazines and newsletters abound, with Demetrios’ imposition of a stamp tax on all of these (coinciding with the postal service opening to the public) making little dent in the demand whilst also adding another revenue stream for the government. Newspapers are particularly popular, the number in the Empire increasing by over a quarter since the accession of Demetrios III. The reason is that Romans want news of the war. With newly developed and constructed semaphore lines linking Constantinople with the Danube and Syrian fronts, supplementing the pre-existing optical telegraphs, such news can be made available (admittedly in rudimentary form) far more quickly than was the case even as recently as the Eternal War.

Demetrios immediately spots the propaganda value of this. He establishes the Imperial Herald, a government-owned newsletter that is designed to be the mouthpiece of the government (and make even more money). Within a month of its first issue, it circulates literally in every heartland city in the Roman Empire with a population of 10000 or more. It includes an advertisement section, with companies and merchants paying impressive fees to get their ads in such a widespread and prestigious undertaking.

Meanwhile the Emperor’s Eyes are kept busy going over all this literature, looking for sedition or espionage. One advantage of the new public post system is that the institution finds all those letters a very useful and convenient mine for information.

But the new taxes and postal fees aren’t nearly enough to cover the Empire’s massive wartime expenses. For that loans are needed. In January 1632 the Emperor and his Logothetes tou Genikou (Chief Finance Minister) Thomas Vatatzes meet with the board of directors of the Imperial Bank. Since its founding in 1553 the Imperial Bank has functioned primarily as a huge safety deposit box, issuing loans based on the money stored in its vaults, its deposit receipts functioning as legal tender throughout the empire and often traded on the market.

Demetrios and Thomas, in conjunction with the board, wish to expand the role of the bank. The bank will take over managing the (massively expanding) national debt to ensure public confidence in the government’s solvency, thereby keeping interest rates low. The government will deposit its savings with the bank, making that capital available for the bank to issue as loans to third-parties, meaning more interest for its shareholders (this is a post-war plan).

Previously the Imperial Bank issued loans based on the bullion stored in its vaults, with the paper value of its receipts having to match 1:1 with the coinage stored on deposit. In order to loosen up the money market, now the bank will be allowed to issue receipts up to three times the value of the coinage actually stored at the various branches. The idea is that it is extremely unlikely that enough people would cash in their receipts at the same time as to exhaust the bullion reserves.

The directors agree to the arrangement and immediately set to work, arranging two large loans to the Imperial government. Besides using their own reserves, the directors use their contacts amongst the financiers and rich merchants of the Empire to add more subscribers to the bank loans. That way the government only has to deal with the bank and a few large loans rather than multiple smaller-scale loans and debt-holders. Simultaneously the new subscribers are willing to accept a lower interest rate on the loans as they have the support of the Imperial Bank to ensure repayment, another boon to the government. Notably Demetrios III has loans with 2% less interest then Henri II and 7% less than Theodor, with his interest rates going up a mere .15% between the first loan in January and the second in June.

Unintentionally this ends up causing a scandal in Lombardy of all places, where King Cesare discovers that the Genoa-based Bank of St George is, through intermediaries, one of the subscribers in the June loan. To add insult to injury, the interest on their Roman loans is smaller than the interest on their loans to Cesare himself. Absolutely furious, his first thought is to seize the bank and its assets. But he doesn’t, as the Bank has substantial assets in Lisbon (providing the capital for the Spanish conquest of Al-Andalus) so while he’d hurt it, he wouldn’t kill it, and the directors would almost certainly seek revenge. He doesn’t need more enemies, particularly since it might trigger a Genoese revolt too, as the inhabitants of that great port city are apoplectic about the collapse of their commercial prospects due to the Roman blockade. They’ve noticed the growing prosperity of Livorno and are getting jealous.

Boosting investors’ confidence in the Roman government are the massive popes (bond) drives that Demetrios starts issuing. When the very first popes drive was launched by Andreas I back in 1471 to defend against the Last Crusade, Andreas issued 2000 certificates. In March Demetrios issues one million, each one with a face value of 4 hyperpyra. Each one is bought up by mid-May. Demetrios issues another drive of 750,000 popes, these with a face value of 5 hyperpyra, in late June, all of which are bought up by mid-October.

While the bank loans are largely financed by the dynatoi (upper) and upper mesoi (middle) classes, the popes are largely purchased by those of the lower mesoi, banausoi (artisanal and small-scale merchant), and upper paroikoi (small-scale agricultural/pastoral) classes. Almost immediately they are being traded on the Roman money market, along with shares of the bank loans in the stock exchanges of Constantinople, Thessaloniki, Antioch, and Smyrna.

The money is quickly set to work, paying salaries and purchasing huge quantities of supplies and materials. One major procurement is a new type of flintlock musket, the D3 pattern type (named after the Emperor) but more commonly known as the Latin-Splitter. It is a 60-inch long weapon (not including the ring ambrolar) weighing ten pounds, with .75 caliber bore although the musket balls it uses are .7 caliber (they’re smaller to make it easier to ram the ball down the barrel, at the cost of reduced accuracy).

Long_Land_Pattern.jpg

A D3-I Model Musket.​

By itself, the weapon is top-of-the-line for the period but simultaneously not a leap forward. However it is designed and manufactured so that the parts will be semi-interchangeable. Manufactured at 27 different plants throughout the Empire, the weapons are all to be built in the exact same dimensions, pattern, and process. Now these are not quite fully interchangeable parts. Everything is made with hand tools (although calipers, rulers, and eye lenses help substantially for consistency) so there is still some variations in part sizes, but musket parts can still be replaced far easier than before often with just a little bit of filing to make everything slot together properly.

The push for standardization for infantry weapons is nothing new, going back at least as far as the weapons depots for the Laskarid theme-tagma system, but the sheer amount of effort to ensure uniformity is new.

This drive also appears in artillery manufacture. Ideally all cannons of a particular size are to have a uniform design to make supplying ammunition easier. But again there is always some regional variation between guns because of the lack of standard machine tools. As a result cannonballs have to be made a bit smaller to ensure they fit down the barrels of all guns that should be able to fire them. As with the musket balls that don’t cleanly fit the barrels, this reduces accuracy.

However now artillery-manufacturing plants are using water-powered boring machines. Instead of a cast that has to be broken while making each cannon and then another made for the next, a solid tube is bored out with one of these machines. Again there are slight variations between the sizes of each bore because the borers themselves are built by hand, but uniformity is greatly increased by this process. This also means the cannonballs can be made to fit in the barrels more tightly, increasing range and accuracy.

Another method of standardization comes from the creation of uniform sizes. All uniforms for the Roman army and navy are to come in one of four sizes, with the various contractors providing one specific cut. The same is also done for the tens of thousands of new boots needed, also divided into four sizes. Obviously this doesn’t ensure that every recruit gets a uniform and boots that fits him perfectly, but is still a substantial improvement.

While substantial raw materials have to be imported, such as cotton from Egypt and iron and furs (for coats and mittens) from Khazaria, the Empire is able to produce nearly all the manufactured goods it needs. This is a legacy of the Flowering, the period of rapid economic growth and cultural/social innovation during the reign of Helena I.

Still, there are limits to this. While a quarter of the uniforms are made in what could easily be termed modern-style factories, where the entire process from raw wool to finished jacket is conducted in one centralized complex, three-quarters of the uniforms are still made by traditional methods. Artisans are making musket parts all to a common model, but they’re using hand tools to do so. Water power is used to power boring machines, the bellows of blast furnaces, and fulling mills but the only “steam engine” of the period is a simple pump of Spanish invention and no one in the Empire knows how to build one.

So when it is proposed that he institute the levee-en-masse Demetrios immediately refuses with the support of the Megas Domestikos. On paper the levee would produce 670,000 men for the armies. However while the Empire has the manpower, it’d be hard-pressed to arm, supply, and feed such a host. Already in October the rate of new tourmai coming onto the rolls collapses as the army runs into shortfalls of new weapons and equipment.

Now with more time the Empire could build and stockpile more weaponry and equipment and probably accumulate enough foodstuffs as well with mass imports from Egypt and Scythia. But transport is an insurmountable object. The shortage of carts and barrels is being made good over the winter but the lack of draft animals isn’t so easily resolved, not helped by the losses of Anizzah stock that played such a key role both at the end of the Time of Troubles and during the Eternal War. Imports from Russia and Arles help some but the requisitions needed to supply all the tourmai existing by October has already caused issues with harvests in several kephalates. If the Empire were to put another 400 tourmai into the field, the mass conscription of beasts of burden needed to support them could very well crash the harvest and gut the tax returns needed to pay for all this.

Demetrios and Mouzalon are in basic agreement about what is possible. Without a substantial increase in draft animals (extremely unlikely to happen) the Empire is nearing the maximum number of troops it can support in the field, although if combat moves nearer to the coast where maritime transport can be more useful that would change. During the winter though, as more weapons are built, new reserve tourmai will be activated and trained, but kept on the coast where they can be supplied by sea. They can provide garrisons and support coastal operations, plus provide immediate replacement for losses on inland operations.

From a report by the Megas Domestikos to the Emperor, dated October 11, 1632: “With the current strategic position of our forces, the maximum number of troops that can be fielded across all theaters without dangerously injurious effects to the war-making capability of the Empire is 275000 to 300000 soldiers. The largest army that can be sustained in any one theater is 100000 to 120000 soldiers. The exception to this is if combat operations were to move to within the Aegean & Marmara basin. Within a 2 day march of those coasts, a field army of 200,000 can be sustained, particularly if suitable arrangements are made in advance. I recommend that the aplekton [1] at Abydos be enlarged…”

[1] Fortified army base, used as major barracks, assembly points, and supply depots/arsenals.
 
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"Within a 2 day march of those coasts, a field army of 200,000 can be sustained, particularly if suitable arrangements are made in advance. I recommend that the aplekton [1] at Abydos be enlarged…”
Interesting. I wonder how far 2 days of marching from Abydos takes you. Looks like Mouzalon wants to draw the Allies really far into Thrace, or he believes they can't stop them from advancing that far. I think a "Callipolis Campaign" by the allies is out of the question, so why is Abydos specifically so important? Maybe a returning army from the eastern front resupplies at Abydos, crosses the Hellespont and plays the hammer to the Herakleian Walls' anvil, destroying Theodor's forces between them? Of course that would presuppose that there are troops to spare in the east, and the timing would be really crucial.

Anyway, interesting stuff in this update. The empire is making some huge steps forward in terms of income and effective money supply. And I doubt any of it will be rolled back once peace returns.
 
Roman Empire is going modern!

-Centralized Banking System
-Fractional Reserve Banking
-Stock Markets
-National Newspapers
-Semaphore Telegraphs
-Tax Brackets
-National Post System
-War Bonds
-Interchangeable Parts
-Standardization of Units of Measurement
-Proto-Industrialization

This is great.
 
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Roman Empire is going modern!

-Centralized Banking System
-Fractional Reserve Banking
-National Newspapers
-Semaphore Telegraphs
-Tax Brackets
-National Post System
-War Bonds
-Interchangeable Parts
-Standardization of Units of Measurement
-Proto-Industrialization

This is great.
and all of this ironiclly amy cause there downfall. How well think about if it that advanced why full on Industrialization until it too late or other stuff
 
and all of this ironiclly amy cause there downfall. How well think about if it that advanced why full on Industrialization until it too late or other stuff
That inertia is actually a blessing in disguise. It means the Empire will miss the First Industrial Revolution but will instead embrace industry around the time of the TTL Second Industrial Revolution. So while the Triunes have to deal with aging infrastructure and machinery and instability from earlier Boom-Bust cycles, the Empire can gear up with new efficient machines and methods and grow like crazy.

Think United Kingdom vs German Empire in the late 19th century.
 
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The transformation of the Empire from a medieval to a fully formed modern state, with everything that entails, is well underway. That may be the ultimate legacy of this war.

Great update!
 
Looks like Demetrios III really is the right man for the job to wage this war. He may not be a great general like Andreas Niketas, but he's certainly talented. Implementing reforms during wartime isn't something most leaders can do.
 
That inertia actually a blessing in disguise. It means the Empire will miss the First Industrial Revolution but instead will instead embrace industry around the time of the TTL Second Industrial Revolution. So while the Triunes have to deal with aging infrastructure and machinery and instability from earlier Boom-Bust cycles, the Empire can gear up with new efficient machines and methods and grow like crazy.

Think United Kingdom vs German Empire in the late 19th century.
in the stage between they will be especially vulnerable and German not a good example because they are the diffrent example. Also won't Russia be a better example with Peter the great doing similar stuff. Why woudln't it go the way of russia a vast multi-ethnicc state with minitory that hate it
 
Let not forget he just hint about the Roman empire falling so something is going to cause something to fall apart
Sorry for the confusion. By 'fall' I meant synonym of autumn. For once, I'm not being cheeky-clever. I changed the wording to 'by October'. Hope that clears that up.
 
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