An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

btw, i'm still enjoying this. :)

Now I'm beginning to wonder,why did the Empress choose Demetrios over her older son again?Her older son was at least a capable general.

'cause bloody wars do not a ruler make,
and generals are born and made to fight.

and when they take the purple with a sword,
most likely too their downfall is the sword.

a line of mediocre emperors
with peaceful reigns and stable, rising lands
are better than the greatest king of old
who ruled a kingdom shattered and forlorn.

in other words, Demetrios may be unstable, but his brother would have made the whole Empire crash and burn. the time for an Andreas Niketas may come again, but now is not that time.
 
btw, i'm still enjoying this. :)



'cause bloody wars do not a ruler make,
and generals are born and made to fight.

and when they take the purple with a sword,
most likely too their downfall is the sword.

a line of mediocre emperors
with peaceful reigns and stable, rising lands
are better than the greatest king of old
who ruled a kingdom shattered and forlorn.

in other words, Demetrios may be unstable, but his brother would have made the whole Empire crash and burn. the time for an Andreas Niketas may come again, but now is not that time.

On top of that, he did the one thing that Andreas I never did: start a civil war. Helena is so scarred by the ToT that she had him executed for that.
 
btw, i'm still enjoying this. :)



'cause bloody wars do not a ruler make,
and generals are born and made to fight.

and when they take the purple with a sword,
most likely too their downfall is the sword.

a line of mediocre emperors
with peaceful reigns and stable, rising lands
are better than the greatest king of old
who ruled a kingdom shattered and forlorn.

in other words, Demetrios may be unstable, but his brother would have made the whole Empire crash and burn. the time for an Andreas Niketas may come again, but now is not that time.

That's some good, apt poetry.
 
After reading what the older brother is,perhaps he would make a pretty disastrous emperor as well,but I don't agree about mediocre emperors would bring rising lands.If anything,mediocre emperors was the cause of the ERE's decline during the 11th century.These guys squandered the treasury on pensions for the nobility and on a building spree of churches--all to shore up support.They also cut land taxes for nobles(including the one Basil II established whereby a rich landowner also pays the taxes for his poor neighbor,which was used to protect middle to small landowners),again to buy support.All of this led to the disaster at Manzikert.
 
After reading what the older brother is,perhaps he would make a pretty disastrous emperor as well,but I don't agree about mediocre emperors would bring rising lands.If anything,mediocre emperors was the cause of the ERE's decline during the 11th century.These guys squandered the treasury on pensions for the nobility and on a building spree of churches--all to shore up support.They also cut land taxes for nobles(including the one Basil II established whereby a rich landowner also pays the taxes for his poor neighbor,which was used to protect middle to small landowners),again to buy support.All of this led to the disaster at Manzikert.

mediocre vs illiterate traitor (Andreas III), you choose mediocre!
 
mediocre vs illiterate traitor (Andreas III), you choose mediocre!
Diocletian,Basil I and Justin I were all illiterate,and the first two were definitely traitors to their previous emperors.Being a traitor and an illiterate doesn't mean you are a bad emperor,but the description of the older brother definitely seem to indicate that he's a short-sighted man with little expertise other than war.Killing him was also necessary to establish the rule of law.
 
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Diocletian,Basil I and Justin I were all illiterate,and the first two were definitely traitors to their previous emperors.Being a traitor and an illiterate doesn't mean you are a bad emperor,but the description of the older brother definitely seem to indicate that he's a short-sighted man with little expertise other than war.Killing him was also necessary to establish the rule of law.

Illiterate traitor in 1570s against your own mother is a slightly different matter. The paradigm has shifted.
 
After reading what the older brother is,perhaps he would make a pretty disastrous emperor as well,but I don't agree about mediocre emperors would bring rising lands.If anything,mediocre emperors was the cause of the ERE's decline during the 11th century.These guys squandered the treasury on pensions for the nobility and on a building spree of churches--all to shore up support.They also cut land taxes for nobles(including the one Basil II established whereby a rich landowner also pays the taxes for his poor neighbor,which was used to protect middle to small landowners),again to buy support.All of this led to the disaster at Manzikert.

i pretty much agree with that. i guess what i meant to say was just that the Empire can't afford any more emperors to take the purple at swordpoint.

Diocletian,Basil I and Justin I were all illiterate,and the first two were definitely traitors to their previous emperors.Being a traitor and an illiterate doesn't mean you are a bad emperor,but the description of the older brother definitely seem to indicate that he's a short-sighted man with little expertise other than war.Killing him was also necessary to establish the rule of law.

yes.

Illiterate traitor in 1570s against your own mother is a slightly different matter. The paradigm has shifted.

and yes.
 
The Flowering: An Interlude, Part 1
ImperatorAlexander: It wouldn’t be easy and we are talking about a generations-long process, but imagine how difficult it would have been for the British to drive the French out of India if the inhabitants of the Carnatic identified themselves as French.
/
DracoLazarus: It wouldn’t have to be the Arletians, but it would have to be a western Mediterranean power. So long as Rhomania has to deal with even a halfway credible Iraq/Iran polity, it doesn’t have the power to decisively intervene in North Africa. It could back a Sicilian effort and even provide significant financial and logistical support. However sending an army of 50,000, which is likely the amount needed, to secure the Maghreb isn’t an option.
/
Roman treatment of Muslims: The Romans brought the Muslim revolt during the Time of Troubles upon themselves, but by this point there is too much bad blood between the Romans and Levantine Sunnis. The Romans won’t trust the Sunnis with free hands as then the Sunnis could stab them, although the way the Romans have treated them it wouldn’t be unwarranted.
/
The Romans trust the ‘petty faiths’ as they are too small and weak to be a threat, need Roman protection against the Sunnis, and have no foreign powers that share their faith to whom they can appeal. The Sunnis fail on all three counts. But I will agree that Andreas Niketas’s conquest of the Mamelukes was a general disaster for Roman-Muslim relations.
/
Frustrated Progressive: However Iskandar is also a warrior Komnenid Emperor, and the last two, Demetrios Megas and Andreas Niketas, died of old age.
/
I’ve never given much thought to what exactly they look like, but something similar to regimental colors.
/
JohnSmith: He has one, a daughter also named Helena, who is married but has no issue as of yet. She has only gotten a couple of offhand mentions so far.
/
Demetrios and the Succession: Demetrios is a mediocre Emperor at best, but the Triumvirate is determined at all costs that another Time of Trouble be averted. For that a clear and stable succession is absolutely important and that is why the hammer was dropped so hard on Andreas ‘III’. The precedent that any lucky general can grab the Imperial throne at sword point needs to die, now.
/
Both Manzikert and Myriokephalon wouldn’t have been that bad for the Empire if they both had not been quickly followed by serious outbreaks of civil strife and succession disputes. Stupid Emperors are a serious problem, as the Angeloi clearly prove, but an orderly procession of mediocre rulers is arguably better than periodic free-for-alls that sometimes produce an Alexios Komnenos and sometimes an Alexios III Angelos.
/
Demetrios only has one daughter, Helena the Younger, but she is a political and intellectual nonentity. If his line fails, the next in line is Helena’s eldest daughter Kristina. Her father-in-law is the Holy Roman Emperor.
/
That said, the coming updates will start showing the transfer to the next generation of players.




The Flowering of Rhomania: An Economic and Cultural Interlude,
Part 1
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The Flowering is one of those common terms used (and abused) by historians and laymen alike, but with very little agreement on what precisely is the definition of the term. The most common and well-known usage is in political history, defining the period from the accession of Helena I to the beginning of the Eternal War. However in Roman economic and cultural history such a distinction makes little sense and is typically defined as the entirety of Helena’s reign.

For all the fighting on the Imperial frontiers, a traveler in the Aegean basin c.1600 could easily be forgiven if they forgot Rhomania was at war. In the Aegean basin everywhere one could look they would find signs of prosperity, the long years of peace having reaped a huge bounty. Izmirli’s initial raid on the western Peloponnesus and his later and even bolder foray was a shock and embarrassment, but even the regions struck recovered quickly.

In a pre-industrial society any economic discussion must begin by looking at the population. Between 1550 and 1620 the Empire’s population made an impressive rebound, passing 17 million by the end of the period. The Morea, Attica, Thessaly, and Opsikia were the main beneficiaries with Thrakesia, the Beautiful Province, and Chaldea as runner-ups. In the Helladic theme the number of towns with more than 7,000 inhabitants rose from nine to twenty.

It was impressive but not unique, Germany after the Great Hungarian War and the Triple Monarchy after the 30 Years War made similar recoveries; all three empires suffered devastating and prolonged warfare on their soil but then enjoyed decades of peace afterwards. Russian political instability after the Great Northern War is a likely factor for why Russia did not enjoy the same boon.

That said, Rhomania did gain an advantage over the two western empires by its greater patronage of immigrants. Estimations vary but it is believed that between three-quarters and one and a half million immigrants settled on Imperial soil (the estimate excludes Egypt, where the Nile Germans were the only group of significance, and Sicily, where general xenophobia discouraged settlement). The exact proportions are also debated but the historical consensus is that the order in prominence was Russians, Vlachs, Germans, and Castilians.

Of those seventeen million, around 4.5 million lived in settlements with more than five thousand inhabitants. Constantinople at 320,000 was by far the largest city but its population was still comparable to its size two hundred years earlier, far short of the half-million on the death of Andreas Niketas. It should be pointed out though that the city was far healthier and safer than it had been a century earlier.

Thessaloniki was half Constantinople’s size, Antioch slightly smaller. Smyrna was the city with the largest growth, passing 100,000 around 1600, an unparalleled height. Corinth meanwhile entered the list of major Roman metropolises with 40,000 inhabitants. Athens too was of a size likely unseen in a thousand years, but it fell far short of Corinth’s standards with 15,000 inhabitants, similar to Monemvasia and Mystra. To the east, Pergamon and Ephesos were ancient cities once again on the rise, whilst Sebastea had ten thousand inhabitants, its highest since Timur’s sack, when the city was twice as populous.

Human and animal muscle is the main power sources for pre-industrial societies and Rhomania was no different. The increased population growth created increased production but the Empire during the Flowering saw increased production substantially beyond what could be expected from a demographic growth. The below figures all represent those increases beyond what can be explained merely by an increase in the labor pool. Naturally they should not be taken as exact figures but estimates.

Between 1550 and 1620 almost every sector of Roman manufacturing saw increases. Iron mining production increased by 50% and copper by 30%, with smaller increases in lead and silver. Steel production, some made from blast furnaces using coke, grew by 60% and bronze by 40%. General wares made from all the metals increased by 85%, the shortfall made up by imports of Russian ingots. Shipbuilding grew by 45%, papermaking and printing by 120%, glassmaking by 50%, soap by 25%, coalmining by 40%, and ceramics, including porcelain chinaware, by 35%. Textiles, in wool, linen, silk, and cotton, far outshone the others, growing by 190%. Cotton was the biggest gainer, increasing by almost a factor of 6.

One factor enabling this was the substantial growth in credit facilities, primarily the Imperial Bank. In 1620 it had offices in seventeen Imperial cities, plus branches in Messina and Carthage. As directed by its founding charter the Bank helped provide low-interest loans to those seeking to specialize in mining and textile production. The need both to maintain a strong armaments industry and to keep up with competing Latin and eastern textile works were the cause. The result had been to encourage innovation and improvements.

What would be recognized as true factories, at least in the textile industry, were present in several Imperial cities by the end of the period although they varied substantially in size. The largest ones combined all the aspects of transforming the raw materials into cloth of all kinds, weaving, spinning, dying, and embroidering all taking place in different sections of the same complex. The largest factories even owned the factors in raw material production such as cotton plantations, mulberry groves, or sheep ranches, and sometimes even the transport, a textbook case of vertical integration.

The biggest factories were in Constantinople, the Imperial factory employing 1500 and the Patriarchal 600 (the Patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria also owned textile factories but combined employed only 350 in 1620). The Patriarchal factory produced most of the clerical vestments and icon covers for the Empire but also exported some wares. Ironically some of the Cardinals of Rome’s vestments were made in the Patriarchal factory.

Private factories were smaller, the largest around 400, but there were over sixty with 50 or more employees by 1620. There were textile workshops smaller than that and far greater in number but they typically did not combine the multiple functions of the factories, specializing in one task. Aside from purely household production, there was also the putting-out system of production, whereby factories sent the raw materials to be woven or spun at homes and then returned to the factory.

This narrative holds true throughout the entire period, but a clear trend can be traced. By 1620, factories had quadrupled their share of production, although that growth clearly slowed after 1600. At first glance, this has the makings of an Industrial Revolution, but it must be pointed out that even in 1620 the factories’ share was probably no more than a quarter of the Empire’s total textile production.

Still this often raises the question of why the Empire did not proceed further down the Industrial path rather than stalling at its 1620 level. One factor is the First World War which caused far more disruption to the Imperial heartland than the Eternal War.

A more important factor however is again the Imperial Bank. Its charter, writ shortly after the Time of Troubles, emphasized mining, metallurgy, and textiles. Agriculture came second. The Empire, with its losses in population, had no issues with food production and as this period progressed Scythian and Egyptian grain became more and more plentiful and the great shipyards of Chaldea insured that transportation costs were quite low.

Therefore there was no such incentive to improve agricultural practices. The Empire was more than capable of feeding itself, at least in good years, and exporting some produce (wine and olive oil exports grew by at least 25% in this period). Furthermore the only New World crop to make it in quantity to the Empire was cocoa, which could not be grown in the Empire anyway and was hardly the basis for a filling diet. There was some improvement, particularly in rice cultivation, but the lack of credit facilities significantly hampered serious growth. There was no proto-agricultural Revolution to support the proto-Industrial revolution, making large scale urbanization and industrialization impossible.

Commerce and trade also grew substantially, although here it was paralleled by similar increases in Latin Europe. By 1575 the Roman merchant marine was the third largest in the world, with the Dutch in first and the Triunes second. Despite the sizeable increase in Roman shipbuilding and a comparable increase in ships registered to Roman owners, not to mention a large growth in the size of vessels, the order remained the same in 1620 and the proportions between the Dutch and Romans were almost identical in 1620 to their 1575 level.

Increased credit facilities helped this increase and the growth in manufacturing likewise by giving Roman merchants valuable export material. The exception to this was some massive losses in eastern spice trade after the Great Uprising, although these were somewhat compensated by gains in other products. In 1620 the volume of cloves and pepper passing through Alexandria had dropped half of its 1590 levels, although cannabis was up by 15%, cinnamon by 25%, and kaffos by 30%. Mace and nutmeg imports, bolstered by direct Roman control of the Banda Islands, also were up by 50%. Nutmeg and mace per kilo were much more valuable than cloves or pepper but the far greater volume of the latter two made them more valuable market shares even with the lower profit per unit.

Venetia suffered even more heavily than Alexandria, clove and pepper exports in 1620 a third of their levels thirty years earlier. It still remained an important port, the main conduit for Roman manufactures to Germany, but the benefits of improved cannabis and kaffos trade that compensated Alexandria did not make it to the Queen of the Adriatic as those items were absorbed by the Roman market.

Another contributor to Roman commerce was a continuing development in Roman economic thought which had been gathering strength since the Laskarid period although Theodoros IV articulated it best. To put it into modern times, the Roman economy was moving away from a command toward a free market. By 1600 the list of Roman goods forbidden for export was practically eliminated.

The main items had been Imperial-grade silks, which made the fortunes of many smugglers, and armaments to non-Christian powers, which was universally ignored by the eastern ship lords. Instead only the most advanced and newest makes of cannons were barred from export. It was a law still largely ignored by the ship lords but it nevertheless drastically weakened smuggling and the black market.

The Roman government still intervened economically, since it was reasoned that a purely free market would be detrimental to the poor and it was the monarchy’s responsibility to secure their welfare. The government limited the maximum profit that could be gained on basic foodstuffs (grain, vegetables) to keep prices down for the lower classes but there was no price fixing.

Other actions taken by the government was limiting loan interest rates to 17.5% and maintaining quality and health inspectors. The latter, whose duties included overseeing the Prostitutes’ Guild-inspected by female physicians-was responsible for keeping the outbreak of the French disease-syphilis-at a per capita rate half that of Latin Europe.

Naturally the government also continued to enact taxes and port duties, but otherwise tried to let the market run its course. Theodoros IV likened the market to a pig that should be allowed to free-range forage so that it can grow large. A larger market yielded a larger cut for the government. Furthermore investment in commerce had lost all social stigmas, even the Triumvirate investing in trade. Money, along with Imperial titles/positions, were the elements that placed a person in Roman society, but what mattered was not how the money was gained but how much there was.

As a pre-industrial society the main support of the Roman economy in this period was agricultural. However by the end of this period it is probable as much as 35-40% of the Empire’s GNP came from non-agricultural sectors, primarily trade and manufacturing. It was not such a radical feat for the Empire as its GNP in the 1100s from non-agricultural sources was possibly 25% (Angeliki Laiou, “Exchange and Trade, Seventh to Twelfth Centuries” in The Economic History of Byzantium, pg. 745).

Although the Roman obsession with court ceremonial had been substantially curbed by the inclinations of the Great Komnenoi, the first three rulers of the Second Komnenid dynasty, the White Palace was still keen to showcase its wealth and power as prestige was an important component in diplomacy. One new method was the Ambassadorial Quarter, a series of palaces built for the use of resident foreign ambassadors and provided free of charge. The sumptuous décor and imperial largesse was impressive and also made it easier for the Office of Barbarians to spy on the ambassadors, an act of which the representatives were quite aware. Entry to the Quarter was effected through a large gateway, crowned by a stone arch. On that arch, writ in gold-gilded letters, in Latin, Castilian, Provencal, French, German, Swedish, Polish, Hungarian, and Lombard, (note the lack of Orthodox tongues or Persian) were these words: We were already old when you were young, and we will be here long after you are gone.

The new architecture was not just for the edification of foreigners. The Hall of History, which has an entrance connecting it directly to the waiting room that served the newest Imperial bedchamber, the Indian Sleep (called because of its architectural motifs based off eastern Roman designs), was finished in 1603. Princess Theodora oversaw the initial collection, a series of paintings and artifacts, including the Black Stone, dating back all the way to the Etruscans.

On the cornerstone of the arch between the waiting room and the Hall of History, made from the green breccia of Thessaly, was writ in silver: A ruler who appoints any man to an office, when there is in his dominions another man better qualified for it, sins against God and against the state. The response to the Vicegerent of God, the Equal of the Apostles, taking advice from the Koran, was the first known use of the cliché ‘a broken clock is still right twice a day’.

The most well-known display in the Hall of History was a new creation, a life-sized statue carved from Prokonnesian marble, of Andreas Niketas, which was stationed at the end of the hall adjacent to the exit. On the flat of his blade, a simple dirk, which faced the viewer’s right as he or she went through the doorway, was writ the most terrifying threat one can give a Roman. Know this, you who would rule my Empire and people. The day will come when you will have to answer to God for your deeds. And when he is finished then you will have to answer to me.
 
It's still a bit too early for that. We'll probably have to wait until the 18th century, just like in OTL.
Depends.If someone can actually invent a steam engine,you can bet there will be industrialization. On the other hand,the author's blaming the lack of industrialisation on economic and social factors.
 

Soverihn

Banned
High productivity, high population, high levels of manufacturing, high wages and colonies. Romania confirmed for best country to invest in.

With all these in mind I'm quite surprised the imperials don't have the largest merchant fleet in the world or more levels of immigration.

It's still a bit too early for that. We'll probably have to wait until the 18th century, just like in OTL.
Maybe not.

Vast swaths of the world are on average richer compared to OTL (Iraq and Persia, Ethiopia, the Levant, Southern Italy, and Mexico to name a few) which means they'll have both more money to invest and experiment in, making the Industrialization feedback loop ever more likely to happen earlier and faster. Also probably means the population is higher worldwide as well, which means there's greater incentive to improve agriculture. Furthermore, in Europe we have the much earlier economic integration of the German states combined with the trend for larger, more centralized states than historically. This means the states in Europe have more capital at their disposal.
 
High productivity, high population, high levels of manufacturing, high wages and colonies. Romania confirmed for best country to invest in.

With all these in mind I'm quite surprised the imperials don't have the largest merchant fleet in the world or more levels of immigration.

My sentiments as well. the Rhomans have the food to support a larger population due to Egypt, food importation outside the empire, new crops.

The current Rhoman heartland population is too small for the level of administration and the available food for the Rhomans, Egypt, importation outside the empire, new crops.

does this mean the Dutch and the triunes are richer than the Rhomans?

I think the Rhomans should have migration problems of too many people coming in rather than too few to fill the spaces.
 
My sentiments as well. the Rhomans have the food to support a larger population due to Egypt, food importation outside the empire, new crops.

The current Rhoman heartland population is too small for the level of administration and the available food for the Rhomans, Egypt, importation outside the empire, new crops.

does this mean the Dutch and the triunes are richer than the Rhomans?

I think the Rhomans should have migration problems of too many people coming in rather than too few to fill the spaces.
Send them to what's left of Egypt.Plenty of space.
 
It's likely a reflection on their priorities.

The Romans don't rely on naval trade as its only life-line.
It may be important for its wealth and logistics, and indispensable for its status as a Great Power, but the Empire could stay strong on its land-based merits alone. It is big and populous enough to produce most of its needs locally, provided it can retool its priorities towards self-sufficiency rather than wealth generation.

The Dutch, on the other hand, would become a regional backwater the instant the ships are lost.
 
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Demetrios only has one daughter, Helena the Younger, but she is a political and intellectual nonentity. If his line fails, the next in line is Helena’s eldest daughter Kristina. Her father-in-law is the Holy Roman Emperor.

Still this often raises the question of why the Empire did not proceed further down the Industrial path rather than stalling at its 1620 level. One factor is the First World War which caused far more disruption to the Imperial heartland than the Eternal War.

Know this, you who would rule my Empire and people. The day will come when you will have to answer to God for your deeds. And when he is finished then you will have to answer to me.

Well, that's some serious foreshadowing...I guess Rhomania will be gearing up for some good old dynastic turmoil soon...
 
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