An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Finally, after five years, I finally made it to the latest update after a few rereads, and desires to read this monstrocity of a timeline and boy it's been a glorious ride so far!

I gotta say Basileus, this timeline and Isaac's Empire are the two primary reasons why am a huge Byzantiophile, hell this timeline is what inspired me to start my own AH Byzantine timeline with a POD back in 1081 Dyrhacchium (Still half assed and not as glorious compared to AAOM though)

Anyway pardon me for bumping this thread but I just want to say how awesome it was to find this back in 2013, and now that you plan to get this all the way till 2018 would be awesome!

Btw I noticed that Turtledove shoutout with James Bond. I'm guessing a James Bond movie series would be what the Romans would do in modern ttl (Maybe even a Persian counterpart eh?) I'd love to watch From King's Harbor with Love.

Also the idea that OTL Philippines gets Romanized makes me giddy given I live there, and I think with the Romans less uhhhh brutal compared to the Spanish friars I'd love to see how the ttl fellas that are my country's heroes would fair.

Anyway enough ramblings from me. Good luck in writing this awesome timeline.
 
I also forgot tell you of a very strange quirk in cypriot surnames..that of the prefex hadji it literally comes from the word hajj and and it was given to people that went on hajj but ofcouse been Christians to them hajj meant going to Jerusalem or mount athos,that said it will not a cypriot thing in ttl but a levatine coast feature also it often added with the papa prefex so it's not uncommon to see in cyprus people with both of them i.e. hadjipapandreou
So in other words i am expecting a character from the Levant with the last name being hadjipapandreopoulos because with that surname you don't need an animus machine to live you ancestors life.
P.s it's andreou not andreaou same with andreoglou
That's also happening on the Greek mainland Xatzikyriakos for example. More uniquely Cypriot is how a multitude of first names got made into surnames, which you don't have in the same degree in the mainland. And when combined with the name retained as a first name, as traditionally all over Greece the first boy would be named after the paternal grandfather and the first girl after the paternal grandmother you get things like Demetrios Demetriou or Andreas Andreou for example.

If Basileus needs a bit more Turkish influence in some surnames given the swath of central and eastern Asia Minor that got re-hellenized after the 13th century another option from OTL are prefixes from Turkish, frex Kara- meaning black and work names again from Turkish. For example Baltatzis derives from baltaci ie woodcutter, or Zaimis from zaim ie tax collector, or Deligiannis ie John (Giannis) the crazy (from Turkish Deli) and combinations thereof and so on.

And of course the other big source of surnames since Byzantium nicknames turned into surnames. Sideros is not a bad example in TTL although in an almost unused form, normally it would be Sideris from iron. Athough you do have Sideros island off Crete and cavo Sidero in Corfu IMS (the latter though comes from Isidoros not iron)
 
That's also happening on the Greek mainland Xatzikyriakos for example. More uniquely Cypriot is how a multitude of first names got made into surnames, which you don't have in the same degree in the mainland. And when combined with the name retained as a first name, as traditionally all over Greece the first boy would be named after the paternal grandfather and the first girl after the paternal grandmother you get things like Demetrios Demetriou or Andreas Andreou for example.

If Basileus needs a bit more Turkish influence in some surnames given the swath of central and eastern Asia Minor that got re-hellenized after the 13th century another option from OTL are prefixes from Turkish, frex Kara- meaning black and work names again from Turkish. For example Baltatzis derives from baltaci ie woodcutter, or Zaimis from zaim ie tax collector, or Deligiannis ie John (Giannis) the crazy (from Turkish Deli) and combinations thereof and so on.

And of course the other big source of surnames since Byzantium nicknames turned into surnames. Sideros is not a bad example in TTL although in an almost unused form, normally it would be Sideris from iron. Athough you do have Sideros island off Crete and cavo Sidero in Corfu IMS (the latter though comes from Isidoros not iron)
Really? I have lived in athens for a year and i have never met a person with a xatzi perfex and i believed that it was more of a cypriot thing but then again athens is a big city and i have lived there for a short time so it does make sense i had not met a person with that kind of surname.
On the first name turning in to a last name thing is true,it's not uncommon to meet a cypriot with the first name be the same as the last for example andreas andreou
 
How do the Macedonian dynasty match ITTL compared to the other major dynasties in Rhomania's history since they are considered one of OTL Rhomania's most successful dynasties but ITTL they have far more competition with the Laskarid and Second Komnenoi dynasty.
The Macedonians compare highly, since the Empire did expand massively under their tenure. But they’re not quite at Laskarid/2nd Komnenid level, since the Empire was in a lot better shape in 867 than in 1204 when the Laskarids established Nicaea as their capital-in-exile. In this aspect the 2nd Komnenoi don’t come out looking as good as the Laskarids. But the Macedonians don’t have the colorful characters like the 2nd Komnenoi do either. Or, to be more precise, there’s much less documentation on their colorful characters. To use an English analogy, the Macedonians are the House of Wessex and the 2nd Komnenoi are the Tudors. Both have interesting characters, but there’s so much more information and documentation available about the Tudors so they’re much better known.

Exactly, Papalexandrou is someone whose ancestor was a priest named Alexandros. Besides this another tip for modern Greek surnames is their ending. Depending on the region of origin you have different endings. For example, usually most surnames from Crete end with the ending -akis (Papadakis, Stavroulakis etc.) On the other hand most surnames from Peloponnese end with -opoulos. For example, Alexopoulos and Giannopoulos, meaning "the son of Alexios or the son of Giannis (Ioannes)".
A very known OTL person with the ending -opoulos in his surname is General Alexios Stratigopoulos which liberated Constantinople in 1261 from the Latins.
Thanks. That’s a really useful tip about regional endings. That’ll be helpful to avoid too many similar names. A couple of names from my list have an opoulos-ending. Gabrielopoulos is one (son of Gabriel, I assume). Harmenopoulos is the other (son of ?). I’ve seen Asemopoulos around somewhere before also. I’m guessing Stratigopoulos means son of a strategos.

I wonder, would it work to have os and ou-endings be a regional thing ITTL? The os-ending could be the “proper” way of doing things in Constantinople plus Thrace and northwest Anatolia, ou-endings perhaps a Thrakesian or Pontic thing?

I also forgot tell you of a very strange quirk in cypriot surnames..that of the prefex hadji it literally comes from the word hajj and and it was given to people that went on hajj but ofcouse been Christians to them hajj meant going to Jerusalem or mount athos,that said it will not a cypriot thing in ttl but a levatine coast feature also it often added with the papa prefex so it's not uncommon to see in cyprus people with both of them i.e. hadjipapandreou
So in other words i am expecting a character from the Levant with the last name being hadjipapandreopoulos because with that surname you don't need an animus machine to live you ancestors life.
P.s it's andreou not andreaou same with andreoglou
Thanks. That’s another useful piece of information. Not just a Levantine coast thing, it might spread up into central/east Anatolia because of the greater Turkish/Muslim influence there. And I pity the poor kid that has to learn how to write that family name at the start of school.

Thanks for the correction.

Finally, after five years, I finally made it to the latest update after a few rereads, and desires to read this monstrocity of a timeline and boy it's been a glorious ride so far!

I gotta say Basileus, this timeline and Isaac's Empire are the two primary reasons why am a huge Byzantiophile, hell this timeline is what inspired me to start my own AH Byzantine timeline with a POD back in 1081 Dyrhacchium (Still half assed and not as glorious compared to AAOM though)

Anyway pardon me for bumping this thread but I just want to say how awesome it was to find this back in 2013, and now that you plan to get this all the way till 2018 would be awesome!

Btw I noticed that Turtledove shoutout with James Bond. I'm guessing a James Bond movie series would be what the Romans would do in modern ttl (Maybe even a Persian counterpart eh?) I'd love to watch From King's Harbor with Love.

Also the idea that OTL Philippines gets Romanized makes me giddy given I live there, and I think with the Romans less uhhhh brutal compared to the Spanish friars I'd love to see how the ttl fellas that are my country's heroes would fair.

Anyway enough ramblings from me. Good luck in writing this awesome timeline.
Glad you enjoyed it! Thank you.

Good luck with your TL. Best advice I have for you is to have fun. If you’re having fun you’ll stick with it. The early parts of this TL are pretty bad but I was enjoying myself so I kept at it and eventually got better. 1081’s a good time to play with in Byzantine history.

It’s fun to imagine TTL Roman versions of modern works. I definitely see a Roman ‘James Bond’ series in the future.

I’m hoping to do more with the Philippines and Indonesia in the TTL future, although I do need to get more resources on their OTL history beforehand.

That's also happening on the Greek mainland Xatzikyriakos for example. More uniquely Cypriot is how a multitude of first names got made into surnames, which you don't have in the same degree in the mainland. And when combined with the name retained as a first name, as traditionally all over Greece the first boy would be named after the paternal grandfather and the first girl after the paternal grandmother you get things like Demetrios Demetriou or Andreas Andreou for example.

If Basileus needs a bit more Turkish influence in some surnames given the swath of central and eastern Asia Minor that got re-hellenized after the 13th century another option from OTL are prefixes from Turkish, frex Kara- meaning black and work names again from Turkish. For example Baltatzis derives from baltaci ie woodcutter, or Zaimis from zaim ie tax collector, or Deligiannis ie John (Giannis) the crazy (from Turkish Deli) and combinations thereof and so on.

And of course the other big source of surnames since Byzantium nicknames turned into surnames. Sideros is not a bad example in TTL although in an almost unused form, normally it would be Sideris from iron. Athough you do have Sideros island off Crete and cavo Sidero in Corfu IMS (the latter though comes from Isidoros not iron)
More very useful information. Thank you. I’ve been trying to vary the Emperor names at least, since reading too many similar names can get confusing really fast.

A surname that means crazy. Interesting, very interesting. Cackles…

I did a quick look after seeing your comment regarding ‘Sideros’. Way back, I put ‘iron’ into Google translate and it translated it as σίδερο (sidero) which I turned into Sideros as the family name. But just now I did that, looked down, and the second listing is σίδηρος (Sidiros). Since it’s well-established I’m going to stick with ‘Sideros’ and just mutter something about butterflies, but really it’s me foolishly relying on Google translate alone.



Thanks again to Aristomenes, Emperor Joe, and Lascaris for further help and commentary on Greek family names. What I’m going to do is if I use a family name that I know exists from Byzantine times, which is what I’ve been doing so far, I’ll just keep on using it. But if I’m creating a new name, I’ll do a posting beforehand of the names so people can check them out so at least the TL proper will hopefully be correct. This is something I really want to get right.

So right now I have Mytaras (from an ancestor with a big nose) and Argyrochoou (a silversmith descended from silversmiths).

Another name I’m looking at is for a person from Didymoteichon. Didymoteichos? What would be the female version? Didymoteicha? Thanks in advance.


Next update should be posted later today. Need to do one more proofread before I post but don’t have time for it right now.
 
Thanks. That’s a really useful tip about regional endings. That’ll be helpful to avoid too many similar names. A couple of names from my list have an opoulos-ending. Gabrielopoulos is one (son of Gabriel, I assume). Harmenopoulos is the other (son of ?). I’ve seen Asemopoulos around somewhere before also. I’m guessing Stratigopoulos means son of a strategos.

I wonder, would it work to have os and ou-endings be a regional thing ITTL? The os-ending could be the “proper” way of doing things in Constantinople plus Thrace and northwest Anatolia, ou-endings perhaps a Thrakesian or Pontic thing?
I'm glad that I could provide help. Harmenopoulos would be written Armenopoulos and it would mean someone whose ancestor was of Armenian origin. You are correct about Statigopoulos.

You could have -os and -ou endings being a regional thing. Another regional ending in modern Greek surnames is -iadis or -idis (-iades or -ides) which signifies people with Pontic or generally Minor Asian origins. For example, Georgiadis, Savvidis, Alexiadis, Sarafidis (deriving from the turkish word sarraf, which means money changer, or banker).

Concerning the person from Didymoteichon, the male person would be Didymoteichos and the female person Didymoteichia.
 
Thanks. That’s a really useful tip about regional endings. That’ll be helpful to avoid too many similar names. A couple of names from my list have an opoulos-ending. Gabrielopoulos is one (son of Gabriel, I assume). Harmenopoulos is the other (son of ?). I’ve seen Asemopoulos around somewhere before also. I’m guessing Stratigopoulos means son of a strategos.

I wonder, would it work to have os and ou-endings be a regional thing ITTL? The os-ending could be the “proper” way of doing things in Constantinople plus Thrace and northwest Anatolia, ou-endings perhaps a Thrakesian or Pontic thing?
Not really. Both -ou and -os are very generic really, although the Cypriots are slightly more... extreme in their use. Also IMS several of the original -opoulos at the times of the Comnenes were assimilated Franks but I could remember wrong. -idis is the most common ending for Pontic and -oudis for Macedonian/Thracian surnames

But general speaking you could get multiple surnames just starting from a basic name. Lets start with Andreas for example. We can get

Andreou
Andreadis
Andreopoulos
Andreakos (Maniot -akos)
Andreakis (Cretan -akis)
Andreadakis (same)
Andreoglou (Asia Minor mostly non-Pontic)
Andreatos (Cephalonia/Ionian islands -atos, perhaps also south Italian Greek in TTL?)
Andreidis (Pontic Greek -idis)
Andreoudis (Macedonian/Thracian -oudis)
Xatziandreou
Papandreou
Kapandreou

...and quite a few more as well.
 
Concerning the person from Didymoteichon, the male person would be Didymoteichos and the female person Didymoteichia.
It could maybe but I don't think it actually would. Its not lending itself well particularly given its size to a surname. Although I suppose we could go a little archaic and make it Didymoteicheus
 
Slightly extreme is somewhat of an underestimate for the -ou suffix in cypriot surnames along with the all time classic of calling our friends "re koumpare" and snubbing the kalamaraes
 
Didymoteichos and the female person Didymoteichia
No, both forms are not really how Greek names would work. "Didymoteichos" would be about someone who would actually be a "twin wall" (or resemble something like this so as to be called such); a person *from* Didymoteicho would most definitely be called Didymoteichites (feminine Didymoteichitissa). But yes, as Lascaris says, it would be unusual.
 
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No, both forms are not really how Greek names would work. "Didymoteichos" would be about someone who would actually be a "twin wall"; a person *from* Didymoteicho would most definitely be called Didymoteichites (feminine Didymoteichitissa). But yes, as Lascaris says, it would be unusual.
A surname like that could originate from a nickname,now what kind of a man would get such a nickname is up to debate
 
Really? I have lived in athens for a year and i have never met a person with a xatzi perfex and i believed that it was more of a cypriot thing but then again athens is a big city and i have lived there for a short time so it does make sense i had not met a person with that kind of surname.
On the first name turning in to a last name thing is true,it's not uncommon to meet a cypriot with the first name be the same as the last for example andreas andreou
Oh for some obvious ones, Xatzinikolaou the TV journalist and admiral Xatzikyriakos from which the Xatzikyriakeio area in Piraeus is named (or rather after the orphanage that is in turned named after his family)
 
No, both forms are not really how Greek names would work. "Didymoteichos" would be about someone who would actually be a "twin wall" (or resemble something like this so as to be called such); a person *from* Didymoteicho would most definitely be called Didymoteichites (feminine Didymoteichitissa). But yes, as Lascaris says, it would be unusual.
Spatharios is right about "Didymoteichos" .
 
Oh for some obvious ones, Xatzinikolaou the TV journalist and admiral Xatzikyriakos from which the Xatzikyriakeio area in Piraeus is named (or rather after the orphanage that is in turned named after his family)
Well i live in egaleo near the agia marina station so i am not really familiar with the city of piraeus although i go once a month to the beach to eat some seafood and i don't watch tv so yeah
 
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I'm glad that I could provide help. Harmenopoulos would be written Armenopoulos and it would mean someone whose ancestor was of Armenian origin. You are correct about Statigopoulos.

You could have -os and -ou endings being a regional thing. Another regional ending in modern Greek surnames is -iadis or -idis (-iades or -ides) which signifies people with Pontic or generally Minor Asian origins. For example, Georgiadis, Savvidis, Alexiadis, Sarafidis (deriving from the turkish word sarraf, which means money changer, or banker).

Concerning the person from Didymoteichon, the male person would be Didymoteichos and the female person Didymoteichia.
I really appreciate it. Interesting. Considering the influence of Armenians throughout history, there will probably be a lot of those types of surnames. There were a few more opoulos-ending names in the list as well. Syropoulos-which I’m guessing is ‘son of a Syr’, which Bartusis says is the transliteration of ‘Sir’ into Greek and was commonly attached to the name of Western Europeans in Byzantine service. There’s a Knenstopoulos too; I can’t even venture a guess as to what that means.

Not really. Both -ou and -os are very generic really, although the Cypriots are slightly more... extreme in their use. Also IMS several of the original -opoulos at the times of the Comnenes were assimilated Franks but I could remember wrong. -idis is the most common ending for Pontic and -oudis for Macedonian/Thracian surnames

But general speaking you could get multiple surnames just starting from a basic name. Lets start with Andreas for example. We can get

Andreou
Andreadis
Andreopoulos
Andreakos (Maniot -akos)
Andreakis (Cretan -akis)
Andreadakis (same)
Andreoglou (Asia Minor mostly non-Pontic)
Andreatos (Cephalonia/Ionian islands -atos, perhaps also south Italian Greek in TTL?)
Andreidis (Pontic Greek -idis)
Andreoudis (Macedonian/Thracian -oudis)
Xatziandreou
Papandreou
Kapandreou

...and quite a few more as well.
Thanks again for the good info and examples. It’s really helpful and this is a good way for me to bring in different people throughout the Empire. Any suggestions for a good common variation for Thrakesia (Smyrna Greeks from OTL)? It’s the most populous theme so it would need its own variation.

I think Cephalonia/Ionian naming carrying over to the Sicilian Greeks would be the best choice, perhaps with some Maniot mixing in there.


Didymoteichon: I think regarding those characters that I’ll stick with my original and just call them ‘[Name] of Didymoteichon’ for now, but then later on they’ll get a nickname that will then become the surname of their descendants. I’m planning for some of the St. Andreas band to do the same (don’t worry, they won’t have anything to do with cannibalism).

Thank you again for all your help. I really appreciate it.


And after all that talk about Greek surnames, now an update where all the major characters are not Greek...
 
1633: The Kings to the North
'Stern toil is his who would the empire gain.'
-Cao Cao in The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (OTL)

'It would have been far better for the Wittelsbachs had Elizabeth been born a man and Theodor born a woman instead."-Henri II, Emperor of the United Kingdoms, unknown date.​

1633
: It is a cold winter in Munich, fitting Lady Elizabeth’s mood. The former Empress of the Romans, still only twenty eight years old, is Regent for her brother over the lands he holds directly: Bavaria, Austria, Saxony, Brandenburg, Schleswig-Holstein, and many smaller enclaves. Because of her gender, overseeing the Holy Roman Empire proper is barred to her. Currently the Archbishop of Mainz, who is per the norm also Arch-Chancellor of Germany, fulfills that duty in the absence of the Emperor. Wolfgang von Dahlberg, who singularly lacks his Cologne contemporary’s ability for mayhem, works well with Elizabeth, to the relief of both.

For this is a most thankless job. Rhomania is, in common eyes, the land of silk and gold, abounding in wealth ripe for the taking. Yet for all the victories in Serbia and along the Danube, very little treasure has come back to Germany. The only thing coming back is an incessant demand for more men, more money, more draft animals, more materials, more, more, more. Even with the winter weather preventing major operations, Domestikos Michael Laskaris is determined to inflict at least one thousand casualties per month on the invaders, and he’s succeeding handily. Although historians are unsure when exactly it appears, around this time the expression ‘going to Greece’ appears in the German language as a euphemism for suicide.

Despite the Papal and Triune subsidies, Theodor still has to tax ruthlessly to get the currency he needs, not helped by the fact that the men he conscripts for his armies also make for the best agricultural laborers. In early April near Grimma in Saxony, a peasant force estimated at 600 strong attacks a press gang hauling 80 conscripts to Leipzig, freeing all the draftees and killing eleven members of the press gang. That is the largest incident but there are several smaller ones also in Saxony as well as Bavaria and Austria. In Schleswig-Holstein, many of those who are to be drafted have started fleeing north into Denmark. Demands for their extradition are ignored.

To give Elizabeth von Wittelsbach her due, despite the difficulties she fulfills her duties as well as can be expected. Theodor is getting the money and men and material he needs to sustain his offensive, even building up some respectable stores in Belgrade, Vidin, and Nikopolis despite several successful Roman sabotage efforts (James Bond’s agents take pride of place but not all credit). But she knows it cannot be sustained for long.

In her private journal she writes on April 4, 1633:

If the war can be won this year, all will be well.
If the war is not won this year, it is even money between everything holding together and a volcano.
If the war is won next year, it is still even money between everything holding together and a volcano.
If the war is not won next year it will be lost, and then the volcano is inevitable and the only question is how many of us are consumed.


It is unknown if she conveys these sentiments to her brother, although historians doubt it. For she knows her brother and knows that he would not listen. He is determined to win this; he’s thrown too much into the effort, too much men, money, and material but also prestige.

The House of Wittelsbach has towered over the other princes of the Empire since the 1300s, even when they were mere Dukes of Bavaria aside from their Imperial title, much less now. Frederick III von Wittelsbach was the only lord of the west able to challenge Andreas Niketas. They led the defense of the Empire in its darkest days against the Hungarians. The Brothers’ War, which consolidated Wittelsbach power both over their own lands and the Empire as a whole, has only increased that aura of might and majesty. To fail now, after having laid so much on the line, would be catastrophic, unthinkable. The only way out is forward.

By the time major war operations can commence in Bulgaria, the Wittelsbachs, previously often a creditor to the other princes, are now humiliatingly a debtor to many of those princes. Those debts are to be repaid from exactions from Roman provinces, yet unfortunately for Theodor the lands he’s seized are far poorer than Roman lands further south. Most of those debtors though are the various Imperial free cities, whose lack of military power means their irritation at the lack of repayment moneys can be ignored for now.

However one debtor emphatically cannot be ignored.

The House of Premyslid is ancient by European dynastic standards, approaching its 800th year. Ruling over the lands of the Bohemian crown, territorially it is the second-largest domain in the Holy Roman Empire after the vast clutch of lands accumulated by the Wittelsbachs. With the title of King, they can look down on all the other princes save again the Wittelsbachs. Aside from the Imperial title, Theodor is also King of Austria (the territory was elevated to a kingdom whilst under Hungarian dominion and Theodor has kept the upgrade). During the early 1300s, two Premyslids were Holy Roman Emperors before the Wittelsbachs gained the title.

Yet it must be said that the Premyslids for the last two centuries have been rather sub-standard. Athena Siderina, channeling her father, referred to a supposed Premyslid family tradition of dropping all newborns on their heads repeatedly as an explanation. A long string of minorities, insanities, and imbecilities have made the Premyslids unable to provide an effective political counterweight to the Imperial Wittelsbachs, which does much to explain the latter’s success in consolidating and expanding their power. It can be said for the Premyslids of this period that they kept their own inheritance intact, but no more.

Yet whatever hex has lain over the Crown of Bohemia these long years would seem to have dissipated. Ottokar V, despite his fetish for giant grenadiers which he has formed into three over-strength guard companies and for whom he imports tall women from Lisbon to Baghdad to be their wives, is neither insane nor imbecilic.

He ascended to the throne in 1616, eighteen months after the death of Duke Karl von Wittelsbach of Saxony ended the Brothers’ War. Like Blucher himself, he originally fought in the Brothers’ War (then as crown prince) on Karl’s side but reportedly was instrumental in convincing his father, Vaclav VII, to switch sides and join Friedrich. Egerland and the Imperial city of Cheb, both fighting for Karl, were the payment for the defection.

Despite his support for Friedrich then, it was purely opportunistic rather than any real change of heart. Ottokar is determined to restore the dignity and might of the Premyslids and Bohemia and would very much like to knock the old family rival the Wittelsbachs down a few pegs.

Although there were several battles in Bohemia, overall the Brothers’ War worked out well for the Crown of Bohemia. Aside from the acquisition of Egerland, the Moravian and Silesian foundries made good business selling cannons, firearms, and powder and Ottokar encourages their development. When the War of the Roman Succession kicks off, those foundries see their business boom much to the delight of Ottokar’s exchequer.

Other internal projects between his accession and the outbreak of the war with Rhomania include the building of roads and bridges to facilitate trade, draining swampland to plant more crops, and encouraging the expansion of woolen textile industries. This is particularly successful in Silesia with easy access to water power. The University of Prague is enlarged and a lens-making industry established by imported Dutch artisans. Soap and lace are other new products that prove valuable as exports. And while the expulsion of the Jews turns out to be economically a bad idea, tightening credit, Ottokar gets a one-time revenue boost from extorting most of their possessions. In 1630 he is plateauing but it is estimated that in the fifteen years since his accession he’s increased his revenues by up to 70%.

The result is a Bohemia more formidable than the rest of the Empire is accustomed. While the contingents from the direct Imperial lands dwarf it, Bohemia’s contribution to the war effort against Rhomania in 1632 is 17,500 men. The next largest contingent provided by an imperial prince is the Archbishop of Cologne with 6000. It is a very well-equipped army also, fielding the most and best field artillery of any unit in the Allied host, although at the start of the campaign their gun-handling is indifferent at best. But the Triunes soon start giving them pointers and the Bohemians are quick learners.

The Bohemian force is commanded by Ottokar’s eldest son and heir, Crown Prince Vaclav, as Ottokar is distinctly uninclined to leave his realm. Ideally Ottokar would be in Bulgaria where Theodor can keep an eye on him, but the King is not some count with a couple of thousand men that can be pushed around at whim. Having his son around seems a good compromise, although Elizabeth knows she needs to keep Ottokar in line.

In 1610 whilst still Crown Prince, Ottokar married Princess Zoe Laskarina Komnena Drakina, granddaughter of King Anastasios of Prussia. She is a highly learned woman, educated in Constantinople and speaking German, Greek, Russian, and Polish fluently on their wedding and learning Czech. Ottokar quickly comes to respect her wisdom and the two make for a formidable team. She oversees a court that becomes renowned for the patronage of painters and sculptors, although apparently her musical tastes are considered somewhat gauche.

He did not marry her for her wisdom though. Ottokar is looking east, seeing that as an area in which to expand his power without crossing swords with the Wittelsbachs, who at this stage are too powerful to challenge. An alliance with Prussia would be very helpful if it came to blows with Poland. Furthermore, Prussia indirectly provides a link with Rhomania given the Prussian royal family’s dynastic connections with Constantinople (Anastasios, the Patriarch of the family, is a son of Princess Theodora Komnena-Drakina, daughter of Emperor Ioannes VI Komnenos and Andreas II Drakos’ step-daughter). While nothing substantial has come of it, the connection with Prussia has gotten stronger when eighty-year-old Anastasios I dies in December 1632 and is succeeded by his grandson Michael, the brother of Zoe.

When King Anastasios dies, Theodor is back in Munich and thinking about marriages for both himself and his sister. His aim is to marry a prominent Roman lady as a means of binding the Romans to his side. Some of the ones he’s considering include Irene, the younger sister of Alexandros Drakos; Aikaterine, niece of Demetrios III (daughter of his sister Anna the Duchess of Dalmatia and Istria); and Anna Laskarina, the daughter of the Megas Domestikos of the East and the great-granddaughter of Her Serene Highness Theodora Komnena-Drakina. There are rumors he’s even considering Athena Siderina (never mind her marriage to Alexandros Drakos). Naturally none of the choices are practical at the moment.

Meanwhile an ideal match for Elizabeth would be King Stephan VII of Hungary, two years her junior. It would solidify the Hungarian alliance, absolutely vital at this juncture, and potentially provide a counterweight to Ottokar’s ambitions.

Stephan is also highly interested. He came to the throne after the disaster of Mohacs at the age of seven. Naturally he wants the territories lost to the Romans and Vlachs back, but more importantly he wants to be master in his own house. The Ban of Croatia, Krsto Frankopan, was his Regent but even now in his adulthood is the true power in the land. A pillar of his power is his close relationship with the Wittelsbachs. But if Stephan were to marry the Emperor’s sister, that closeness would become a strength of the King, not the Ban.

Frankopan is well aware of that and works furiously to scuttle the match. He has a good rapport with Theodor because he tells the Holy Roman Emperor what he wants to hear, bringing up any shred of evidence that supports Theodor’s belief that the Romans will rally to him as their rightful sovereign.

He points out that with Elizabeth as regent of the Wittelsbach lands, Stephan will be, as her husband, far too close to the levers of power in the Holy Roman Empire. Once Theodor is crowned in Constantinople, he’ll undoubtedly have to look east and hammer the Persians back where they belong. What is to prevent Stephan from using his access and Theodor’s distraction to overthrow him in the Holy Roman Empire, finally fulfilling that old Hungarian dream going back as far as the days of Andrew III the Warrior King? Theodor, who knows his history and is well aware of Hungarian ambitions vis-à-vis the Holy Roman Empire in the 1400s and early 1500s, quickly warms to this argument.

Elizabeth is in Munich, but despite the conversations between Emperor and Ban being held in Belgrade, seems to guess their gist. There are a series of letters urging Theodor not to break off the proposal. This is not because of any great love for Stephan, but she recognizes that jilting the Hungarian King could be disastrous. Stephan has a lot of grievances with the Romans, but even leaving aside the Frankopan issue there is also the loss of Austria to the Wittelsbachs to consider.

Theodor nevertheless jilts Stephan, withdrawing the proposal. Stephan is both humiliated and enraged. If he can’t outflank Krsto, then he’ll have to blast him out of the way. But for that he needs allies. And so he turns to Ottokar.

The Bohemian King is delighted at the turn of events and immediately offers his fifteen-year-old daughter Mary in marriage. Acting quickly, Stephan and Mary are wed in Esztergom, the powerful Archbishop presiding over the service. Elizabeth, although she predicted this, is aghast but there is nothing she can do. Frankopan is also horrified, but with him down in Belgrade ensuring that Theodor is well supplied with Hungarian and Croatian troops, Stephan has presented him with a fait accompli.

Still, to smooth over ruffled Wittelsbach feathers, Ottokar volunteers to increase the size of the Bohemian contingent by four thousand. Theodor, who needs more men and the materials that come with them, including the Bohemian field artillery so useful in grand batteries, accepts the gesture. He is not blind to Ottokar’s ambitions, but reasons that with over 20,000 Bohemian troops in Bulgaria the King doesn’t have enough muscle to cause trouble in the Holy Roman Empire.

Stephan’s new irritation isn’t ideal either but Theodor figures Frankopan can keep him in line. Furthermore with most of the Hungarian troops tied down along the Danube, Buda also doesn’t have much free muscle to spare either.

Demetrios III is also getting reinforcements from the north. The war between Novgorod-Prussia-Pronsk and the Empire of All the North has reached a stalemate. The Allied armies here have swept over most of the territory the Great Kingdom of the Rus lost in the Great Northern War and Finland has suffered a few cavalry raids, although some of those have ended disastrously for the attackers.

But while Archangelsk has fallen to Novgorodian arms, the ports on the Baltic have not, chief of which are Narva, Reval, Pernau, and St Petersburg, the last founded by the Scandinavians during the Great Northern War to solidify their conquests. They are all stoutly fortified and the Scandinavians have complete control of the seas. The vastly outnumbered Prussian navy has been blockaded in Riga while raiders based out of Saaremaa and Gotland harry the Prussian coast. The Scandinavians have even attacked the Prussian colonies in the Caribbean.

The only way to take these cities seems to be to blast or mine their way in, which is a slow process. This is a war waged by shovels and cannons; there are a lot of Russian cavalry sitting around with little to do while costing a lot of money to maintain.

Enter Demetrios III, metaphorically waving around the hyperpyra from a third popes drive issued in January, two million popes at two hyperpyra each. The even lower price makes them affordable to almost any Roman who isn’t a landless or unskilled laborer (admittedly that exception makes up a huge portion of the population) and they buy them. Aside from patriotism and the investment, waving a receipt for a war pope is a good way to convince the conscription officials to go take someone else, such as one of those landless unskilled laborers.

The flashes of gold get the attention of the Pronsk Veche and with the concurrence of their Novgorodian and Prussian allies they send seventeen hundred cavalry southward to join the Roman army. Roman coin in turn flows north, paying for more cannons and the transport of shipbuilding material to Prussia.

More men come from Lithuania. Ivan Sapieha, a major political player in the infighting between the Sapieha, Kesgailos, and Gostautai families, has found the water rather too hot for him. So he decides to take a ‘vacation’, traveling to Rhomania with his retainers, two thousand foot and four hundred horse. Right now he needs relief from the political pressure, and if he can return in a few years with Roman gratitude and gold, his position will be far stronger even with his absence.

The Lithuanians and Pronsk cavalry, who get along well together, are joined with the Serbian forces under the command of Prince Durad. And they are reinforced by Arletian volunteers coming to enlist in the Roman army with the encouragement of King Basil II.

The final, and arguably most powerful addition are twenty seven hundred veteran Spanish infantry, blooded in battle against the Andalusi and Marinids. The year 1632 has seen many triumphs, albeit bloody ones, to add to the ranks of Spanish honors. Only Granada and Malaga still hold as the last Muslim footholds in Iberia. So now Ferdinand has the same problem as the Pronsk Veche, too many men and not enough money. And he is concerned about demobilizing his huge (by Spanish standards) army, releasing thousands of suddenly-out-of-work men into the countryside. So sending some over to Rhomania in exchange for hyperpyra is a good deal for him. It is also useful to the Romans, given the veteran-state of many of the foreign troops arriving.

All of these foreign troops are consolidated into one new formation, “the Paramonai (from the verb parameno, “to stand near someone or something”)” [1], named after a Laskarid formation from their re-conquest of Anatolia and disbanded with the establishment of the Laskarid theme-tagma system. The Spanish, Arletians, Serbians, Lithuanians, and Pronsky are all distinct units within the Paramonai unlike the Varangoi, which while composed of mainly foreigners has a completely Roman-style organization. To manage this heterodox unit the Megas Domestikos assigns Stefanos Asen-Palaiologos. Already fluent in Spanish, Russian, German, and Serbian [2], making it easier to communicate with his troops, he is also the grandson of Princess Alexeia Drakina and grand-nephew of Helena I. The dynastic connection is useful in getting the various contingents to respect his authority.

As Stefanos musters the Paramonai at Varna, drilling them to work together, the Allies stir from their winter slumber. The armies are again on the march.

[1] From Mark Bartusis’ The Late Byzantine Army: Arms and Society, 1204-1453, pg. 276. IOTL, a Byzantine military formation from the late 1200s/early 1300s, little mentioned but composed of Greek troops. Please note that with the etymology and translation of the term, I'm quoting Bartusis directly.

[2] All graduates of the School of War must learn either Turkish & Persian or German & Russian, plus Arletian or Spanish in addition to their chosen pair, so three foreign languages total.
 
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Something tells me we will be seeing Bohemia in future updates. Especially given Ottokar seems to be hatching up a plan.

That's a lot of foreigners in one army though, well at least its a great thing Spain is 'lending' a hand in helping the Romans, even if they're just mercenaries. Also another Palaiologos commander eh? Interesting. They may not have been emperors here but its good to see them producing officers at least. The clasing of these two armies is gonna be a fine read!
 
Sad to see Scandinavia losing again but I think they should come out on top here. The same thing happened otl in reverse and otl fell apart for sweden
 
Forces building up on both sides, would not trust the those Hungarians guarding my supply lies much if I was Theodor.

Not sure if she would use volcanos in that writing in her journal. A powder magazine going up from a spark seems more likely and something well known and feared.
 
Hmm, how much damage would a theoretical and giant betrayal of Hungarian, Bohemian and Triune troops during a major battle inflict on the Allied forces? F to pay respect for future losses.
 
As Stefanos musters the Mourtatoi at Varna, drilling them to work together, the Allies stir from their winter slumber. The armies are again on the march.

[1] From Mark Bartusis’ The Late Byzantine Army: Arms and Society, 1204-1453, pg. 276-77. The OTL version may have been a palace guard unit, the name seemingly derived from the Arabic-Turkish murtedd, murtat which means apostate/renegade, suggesting that they were Christian Turks. They are also described as the offspring of Greek-Turkish marriages, suggesting an ethnic rather than military term, although there could’ve been a unit solely composed of Greek-Turkish offspring.
But by this point in history has become a derogatory term also in Greek, it can be found both in demotic poetry and in texts being used as an insult. It's hardly a good idea to name what amounts to an army sized sized formation, "army of the apostates ", worse when most of the soldiers involved do know the term as an insult. So would suggest something else. Although given their size at over 20,000 a regimental name will be hardly practical, this is an army sized formation here.
 
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