An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

sorry should have been more specific a current political map of Europe in this timeline
 
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The problem with that, as sensible as it is, is that the only people who'll have suffered internal economic damage, are the Romans, AGAIN - the argument stands that unless the Germans start to feel the pain, they'll not be averse to any war in the future. There needs to be a genuine punitive expedition, and a cost to this war. Theodor must be destroyed for his "arrogance" if you will, and that defeat burned into German and Latin history the same way as Smyrna is a valid strategic objective not just for Long Term Vengeance, but Short Term Vengeance, and to grant prestige to the Sideros name separate from Timur.

Further, we want to prevent this even happening again. Better borders are worthwhile, and the best borders for a Roman-Latin division are the Alps to the western reaches of the Carpathians, and the easiest route through that gap (and a major Latin city) is Vienna. Taking Vienna, and resettling it (and other cities on the Danube) really restricts the land routes into the Empire and provides (for now) a HUGE defence in depth, and a string of fortresses that are easily supplied via the Danube. Fortify the Carpathians and there isn't really an easy route INTO the Empire by land.

Would the Romans ever want to go further? I doubt it. Besides punitive expeditions going any further risks major overextension. But having Vienna become Siderosopolis? That is basically this Empires Carpathian-Vistula border. It would create a frontier robust enough that the army can be better positioned on softer borders.

Germany is likely to suffer tremendously on their home turf. At the hands of the French and possibly other opportunists. And possibly internal division. I doubt anyone will miss the point that that is the direct consequence of Theodor's overreach and megalomania.

Theoretically, it might be a nice bonus if the Romans showed that attacks on the Empire will also result in additional retribution, but is that really worth the cost? Taking Vienna sounds nice, but how would that work in practice? The Balkans are already completely exhausted and thus unable to support any armies marching through. That will only get worse when the remnants of the allied army try to get home and leave as much scorched earth as possible in their tracks. Once the Romans reach Vienna, they are essentially in the same crappy supply situation as the Allies are in right now.

And the borders you describe might be somewhat favorable geographically, but I don't think their are suitable as a Roman-Latin divide. For one thing, you'd suddenly have massive amounts of Catholics inside the Empire: Hungarians, Croats, Germans, Slovaks etc. I don't think the Romans could feasibly hold that amount of land with more or less hostile subjects. Holding those borders would also be a huge drain on resources and manpower, as you are surrounded by hostile, strong Catholic powers of Lombardy, the HRE, and Poland.

Given how much they would have to spend to achieve all that, I think it's much smarter to just have Hungary, Serbia etc. as buffer states.
 
The one check on the Triunes is that if move focus too much on the Rhine there’s the Spanish and Arles ready intervene. Splitting the Triune forces just enough would give all parties a fighting chance, a widen the scale of the war.
 
I can understand the sentiment of "Time to hurt the Latins like they hurt us!" but there's no real practical way to do that and have it not backfire tremendously. Occupation/annexation is out and even torching Vienna/Prague to the ground won't end well for Rome. Sometimes the best victory is preserving your land and throwing the invaders out and calling it a day.
 
The one check on the Triunes is that if move focus too much on the Rhine there’s the Spanish and Arles ready intervene. Splitting the Triune forces just enough would give all parties a fighting chance, a widen the scale of the war.
I think took if the Triune contingent in this war is annihilated, since it makes up so much of the artillery train, that could significantly weaken Triune military ability to the extent that Arles, Spain, and the Empire of All North could be emboldened on land-based combat. This would be especially true if some smashing of Triune navy in the Caribbean can be done, in order to reduce maritime threats and damages that a war with the Triunes could cause to those states.
 
Germany is likely to suffer tremendously on their home turf. At the hands of the French and possibly other opportunists. And possibly internal division. I doubt anyone will miss the point that that is the direct consequence of Theodor's overreach and megalomania.

That is all predicated on the idea that the Triunes will betray Theodor - at the moment they're bankrolling him, and the Romans are sending forces to attack the Triunes income - which could harden their support of Theodor. I wouldn't count on that betrayal. Even if you could, that doesn't send the idea that attacking the Romans was the mistake - but that trusting the Triunes was. Which doesn't meet the objective that more than a few Romans who've been influenced by Demetrios' own writings would demand. That their fellow Christians leave them alone.

Theoretically, it might be a nice bonus if the Romans showed that attacks on the Empire will also result in additional retribution, but is that really worth the cost? Taking Vienna sounds nice, but how would that work in practice? The Balkans are already completely exhausted and thus unable to support any armies marching through. That will only get worse when the remnants of the allied army try to get home and leave as much scorched earth as possible in their tracks. Once the Romans reach Vienna, they are essentially in the same crappy supply situation as the Allies are in right now.

Hence why the Danube is so important here - yes, the Balkans will be exhausted, but importantly there are major waterways to focus Roman control around and repopulation. Vienna by river is a lot closer than it is by foot. As the Mississippi (yay, I spelled that right first time!) was for America, the Danube can be for a Roman SE Europe. The difference between the two however is that a counter-attack will mean that the main army in the Balkans is defeated, making it much easier for the Romans to advance, assuming they can control the river. I've said earlier in this thread, that river controls the war. Controlling the Danube means controlling SE Europe.

And the borders you describe might be somewhat favorable geographically, but I don't think their are suitable as a Roman-Latin divide. For one thing, you'd suddenly have massive amounts of Catholics inside the Empire: Hungarians, Croats, Germans, Slovaks etc. I don't think the Romans could feasibly hold that amount of land with more or less hostile subjects. Holding those borders would also be a huge drain on resources and manpower, as you are surrounded by hostile, strong Catholic powers of Lombardy, the HRE, and Poland.

Given how much they would have to spend to achieve all that, I think it's much smarter to just have Hungary, Serbia etc. as buffer states.

I think we're just having the old argument between restoring the balance, and breaking the status quo. Returning to the buffer states is just that, returning. No material gain for the Romans if they've won, no material punishment incurred on the Latins for a (Note: perceived ITTL) history of unprovoked aggression. What I am proposing isn't even THAT large a punishment considering the perspective on the conflict. It certainly doesn't match to the Frankokratia! But it breaks the status quo, changes the terms of future conflict immensely.

We've seen that buffer states aren't all that trustworthy (Serbia!). So that doesn't seem the wisest method of resolution, a flaw in the status quo. Is it possible to change the status quo without seriously turning back Poland, Lombardy and the HRE? Of course not - that battle has to be won in this war. Exchanging a status quo where SE Europe and the Balkans are a battleground against Poland, HRE, Hungary and Italy, to a natural fortress being the status quo. SE Europe could be Anatolia writ-again in time.

Vienna becomes the bulwark against the HRE, rather than the source of a threat to Constantinople.

Lombardy is either penned in by new fortifications that can't be easily flanked, or outright annexed. (I mean, I'd say take it, and fortify the Alps - it really depends on how well Sicily can do in the south).

Poland - rather than a short border that is relatively open, and where the Poles are the threat rather than the Romans? You change the border from one where the Polish can negotiate passage through Hungary, or via the coast, to one where fortifications ensure that in case of war the Romans can unleash fire on the Polish countryside with little cost, and make an invasion by Poland a major mountain campaign against fortresses - or one with massively exposed logistics.

Breaking the status quo is no small victory, and requires no small amount of success. However, the Romans have been put into a position where EVERY border is under threat, suggesting that the status quo is far too dangerous for the Romans to sustain in the long term without a drastic change elsewhere and that means more than the Triunes going pillaging in Germany - I'm talking Russian conquest of Poland scale change.

The biggest problem with it is, you're right, besides winning, are the people already living there. However, this isn't the first time the Romans have conquered someone who isn't particularly friendly. It isn't unheard of for conversion or resettlement to be the plan.

It is a problem that will last for a very long time. But what does massively change? South East Europe is no longer a major conflict frontier, instead it becomes a bit like a united Britain, or united Anatolia. Peaceful. With that comes trade, growth, immigration, prosperity - all of which tend to mollify people... assuming there isn't some great pogrom that slaughters them.

If resettlement is needed? The relative cultural heterogeneity of SE Europe means that settling a mix of Slovaks, Germans, Croats and Hungarians among Egyptians, Greeks, Syrians, Anatolian Muslims makes them easier to isolate culturally, and as a potential hostile force. (Oh, that would be an twist of alt-fate, Anatolian Turkish Muslims settled in Vienna!) Not to mention, we're raising a big army - it wouldn't surprise me if there are a lot of displaced Latins that need to be put somewhere because the lands are needed to pay the troops.

Do I expect a mass conversion? No. Not unless it was Vladimir Style or nominal at best. It'd probably be those regions closest to the Danube that'd convert, if people weren't relocated.

In short, you're right. Standard, conservative, typically Roman diplomatic considerations agree with you. However, I still think it'd be the wrong approach to take. We've seen how an attack on the Balkans leaves the Romans open in the east. We've seen how an invasion in the East leaves the Balkans open to invasion. Both of which changed the situation slightly - client states in the Balkans, and some border tweaks in the East. This war will have so many resources poured into it, that victory will be either Pyrrhic or Decisive in Europe - and opens the door to a near-permanent resolution in the West. The East is a separate problem, and one that will likely be harder to resolve. The prize isn't a peace. The prize is peace in SE Europe for generations.
 
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I do find it kind of funny that the Latin Aggression rhetoric and anti-German sentiment hasn't had notable effect on the Latin minorities currently residing in the empire, be it the Germans mentioned in the update living in the Taurus, the Nile Germans, merchant enclaves, Latin-rite Eastern Christians, Croatians, Catholics in Sicily, or any other group of Catholic people scattered about the empire who came for one reason or another.
 
I do find it kind of funny that the Latin Aggression rhetoric and anti-German sentiment hasn't had notable effect on the Latin minorities currently residing in the empire, be it the Germans mentioned in the update living in the Taurus, the Nile Germans, merchant enclaves, Latin-rite Eastern Christians, Croatians, Catholics in Sicily, or any other group of Catholic people scattered about the empire who came for one reason or another.

That is interesting - I'd find an update on those groups really interesting, especially their perspective on the war and that rhetoric
 
That is interesting - I'd find an update on those groups really interesting, especially their perspective on the war and that rhetoric
I wouldn't be surprised if one is already in the works or at least being considered. This update was more about introducing the concept, so I think B444 is already planning to demonstrate how it manifests in practice for future updates.
 
I do find it kind of funny that the Latin Aggression rhetoric and anti-German sentiment hasn't had notable effect on the Latin minorities currently residing in the empire, be it the Germans mentioned in the update living in the Taurus, the Nile Germans, merchant enclaves, Latin-rite Eastern Christians, Croatians, Catholics in Sicily, or any other group of Catholic people scattered about the empire who came for one reason or another.

It's the evil papist influence and the barbaric hereditary aristocracies that go along with them not the peoples themselves! The people when removed from that evil influence make perfectly happy imperial subjects! :p
 
It's the evil papist influence and the barbaric hereditary aristocracies that go along with them not the peoples themselves! The people when removed from that evil influence make perfectly happy imperial subjects! :p

I mean, apparently James Bond is descended from Saxons, they could ALSO be Latin :p Latin spys? Sounds loyal to me!
 
I'm interested what could the empire realistically do to forever cull the desire of entire Catholic Europe to wage war on the empire. Are there any historical examples of that?

Sound like something that sounds great in pamflets and helps home front but isn't really achiavable.

Also,



Is snarkynes really necessary?
 
I'll do responses to posts but wanted to announce this before I forget.

Patreon Subscribers:

Firstly, of course, thank you again for your support. It's very much appreciated.

I just posted An Age of Miracles Part 5: Works of Men and God, 1458-1472 in PDF format available for all those in the Megas Kyr ($2) tier. However Patreon changed the way access is granted to creator posts. Previously it was based on dollar amount but now it's based on what tiers are selected. Previously when posting the PDFs I could just select '$2 and up' so that everyone paying a Megas Kyr rate would have access to them. Now though only those signed up specifically to the Megas Kyr will have access, and it looks like there are a few people who are supporting enough but aren't signed up to that tier.

I wanted to let you know so that you can sign up to the 'Megas Kyr' tier and have the materials you're owed for your support.

Thank you again!
 
LordofWhy: I think that’s the unofficial motto of this TL.

RogueTraderEnthusiast: The sack of Buda after Mohacs was a ‘sneak preview’ of this mentality. How much the Romans could get away with is up in the air, but the Latin West overall has gotten off rather lightly (with the exception of Venice) for its attacks on the Romans.

JosefBelz: Well, knowing that you must conquer or die is a really strong motivator… ;)

Wolttaire: The Romans very much would like to give the HRE a pasting on its home turf.

One of the thread-marks is to the 1625 map.

Donald Reaver: Yeah, if the Allies have to retreat back up their line of march, things will turn really ugly really fast.

Anatolia will still be considered part of Asia. The dividing line at the Hellespont/Bosporus goes well back into antiquity; the Romans aren’t going to change that.

ImperatorAlexander: Agreed. Any major Roman counter-strike into central Europe will trigger a lot of explosions.

JohnSmith: Two things going for Demetrios III over Andreas II is that he doesn’t have something like 17+ war wounds plus all the battering a few decades of early-modern military campaigning will inflict on a body.

Important thing to note about administrative reforms: they’re not sexy, or memorable.

Boa: Now I’m depressed too… Yeah, there’s no way I can keep up the current level of detail all the way through to the early 21st century.

Bad editing on my part. James Bond and Agent J are two different people. James Bond is female and the controller for several agents (so a local M, with Eudoxia being the M to continue the James Bond metaphor), whilst J is an agent who planted the bomb on the barge. I wanted to make a Men in Black reference and didn’t think about the confusion it would cause. So I’ve changed Agent J to Agent K.

And the Guild probably does have a few males for special clientele.

That, plus the female partisans, as well as some more things coming up I’m hoping I can work into expanding roles for women in Roman society. Exactly how that will turn out I’m not sure.

HanEmpire: I’m thinking after the war of doing a series of topical & geographical updates that will cover multiple years/decades each in their particular field. Hopefully that will cover all the important things but not get things bogged down in a continuous year-by-year account, while returning to a year-by-year account for major events.

As for how Demetrios III becomes the Forgotten Emperor, I don’t remember…

…I’m not sorry.

Catconqueror: That is a possibility. Historical figures can often be pushed into the shadows, not because they were insignificant themselves, but because they happened to be in close proximity to someone who was just better at grabbing attention from contemporaries and/or posterity.

InMediasRes: The Philippines being the Herakleian Islands ITTL is still happening. At some point I’ll finally get around to making it official. Keep getting distracted.

Demetrios is still engaging in ‘perfidy’ in addition to ‘iron’. The best case scenario in his mind would be to ‘break the cycle’, but beating off this attack is still a goal even if it doesn’t ‘break the cycle’.

I think Demetrios III is getting carried away with his rhetoric; there is a lot of anger in Roman society over Latin aggression (in my opinion reasonably so, although Roman reaction has the potential to over-compensate into its own form of evil-see Andreas I at Venice for Exhibit A). And you’re right that weakening the HRE too much leaves a potential vacuum for the Triunes. Although it could also be said that if the Triunes are too busy trying to keep down the Germans, they’ll be too busy to bother the Romans.

Arrix85: It is quite a tall order, especially since I consider Demetrios’ methodology to be somewhat…shaky.

Curtain Jerker: They have to drop it at some point…on their foot.

I agree with your point, although I’d add ‘then use the interim to beef up so if they do come back you’re stronger than before’.

RogueTraderEnthusiast: Short answer, if he could get away with it: yes.

Remember the phrase ‘Holy Roman Empire’ is an insult to the Romans. To them, it is literally a false empire. For diplomatic reasons they keep their mouths shut, but if it came into their power they’d wipe it out, although what they’d do with the various component states would be up in the air.

One (and definitely not the only) reason why I think that America is in general more militaristic than Western Europe is that the world wars did barely any internal damage to the states. To an American, war is something that happens ‘somewhere else’, which makes it easier to contemplate waging it. For Latins outside of Italy and Hungary, war against Rhomania is something that happens ‘over there’, which makes it easier to contemplate.

A note on the Carpathians: the Vlachs should be holding a good chunk of that mountain range and from the Roman perspective they’re being a perfect buffer state. There hasn’t been any invasion down from Poland directly into Bulgaria and while the Vlachs didn’t hold the Banat, they are keeping the north shore of the Danube secure as far upstream as Vidin, an important advantage.

I don’t really have anything to say, but thank you for your detailed analysis/commentary. It’s very helpful. I also like that this TL fosters such analysis/commentary.

Luis3007: That is the risk, much like Northern India at this point in the TL. The power vacuums left by the Ottoman and Vijayanagari invasions are directly responsible for the rise of Oudh.

Evilprodigy: Yup; Roman identity is very much built on not-a-Latin. There were some trends IOTL in this direction. During the 12th century Latins were more likely to be lumped into one nebulous ‘other’ rather than more nuanced views of earlier centuries. Niketas Choniates in his History talks about there is a huge gulf between them, that they and Latins have nothing in common.

The army also did the same thing in post-unification Italy. That most tagmata gets their troops from their local theme means the Roman army doesn’t break down all regional barriers. But it’s already been stated that some themes provide surplus recruits to other themes. Plus soldiers in all tagmata are trained and treated by the same Empire-wide rulebook; since the army went to fully professional troops there’s a lot more standardization in the troop kit. Before there were noticeable differences between Thrakesian and Koloneian troops, for example. Furthermore, all officers regardless of origin, all go through the same training at the School of War.

With the various Latin minorities, a lot helps that they’re either located in Despotates or in the eastern Asian parts of the heartland where anti-Latin animus is lighter. For inhabitants of the Taurus, the Germans are irrelevant; it’s the Ottomans that are a danger.

TheCataphract: That’s a big reason why Britain won the overseas/colonial race against the United Provinces and France. The Dutch, after their golden age, had to spend so many resources on defending themselves against France, while England/Britain didn’t. And because of France’s continental commitments, it couldn’t focus to the same extent as England/Britain could on colonies. What’s more important from Paris’ POV, keeping Canada or keeping Germany disunited?

Lascaris: Exactly! Plus they’re really good at fighting Persians too!

Stark: Realistically, not possible. Maybe you can maul them so badly they don’t come back for a hundred years, but if the same strategic/societal imperatives as before are in play, they’ll be back. As you said, it’s good propaganda but not good policy.

I, personally, think that smashing this particular invasion into little bits, would give future invaders pause, but it’s not a guarantee. If Demetrios III could look at OTL history and Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and how that ended for him, he’d think that would mean Russia would be forever secure from invasion from the west. Obviously he’d be wrong, but one ignorant of the 20th century could be forgiven for thinking after a debacle like that nobody would want to try again.

Duke of Nova Scotia: It doesn’t happen very often, but it is really nice when I find a historical portrait and go ‘this will work for a TTL Roman’.
 
From a narrative perspective, I think Demetrios III has received the most screen time out of any character since Andreas I himself (with Alexeia I and Andreas II also getting their fair share). It would be a shame to see him go out with a whimper.

Just out of curiosity, what is the TTL Roman view of the first Komnenoi dynasty? I vaguely recall something about the Empire having more gold than iron, but given Demetrios III's history now being one of the definitive views has it changed?
 
Just started Part 5 on the Patreon. Did you make additions to it? It's been a long time but I swear Vlad is being portrayed more sympathetically during the period of Andreas I's accession.
 
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