An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Had a look at the Fifth Empire PDF update. Helena I really looks like a military disaster for the Empire in hindsight. Too traumatised by the ToT, she completely fails to balance Gold and Iron, which is what the Fifth Empire is supposed to be all about. So many opportunities to crush their enemies and protect/strengthen allies lost because of her distrust, and she gets civil war and stagnation instead.
I know hindsight is 20/20 but I'll take a martially inclined dyslexic over a feckless monk any day. Imagine how things would have turned out if the Romans invaded the Ottomans while they were weak instead of starting the War of the Rivers.
 
I know hindsight is 20/20 but I'll take a martially inclined dyslexic over a feckless monk any day. Imagine how things would have turned out if the Romans invaded the Ottomans while they were weak instead of starting the War of the Rivers.
Maybe, but remember that Helena's big success was to set a precedent for all future monarchs' conduct. Andreas the Dyslexic getting the throne and spending his reign beating up all of the Empires enemies would have been good for the Empire in the short-to-mid term, but it'd have also set absolutely terrible standards for the future sovereigns. Just off the top of my head I can list:

-legitimacy of usurping the established succession
-emphasis of martial glory and conquest
-rulers above the law
-acceptance of inter-Roman fratricide in politics
-military dominance over civilian law
-general arbitrariness

With that kind of hot mess leading the charge, the new Drakid Dynasty would've spent its entire reign either fighting unsustainable wars of conquest or killing itself via periodic succession crises. We might've seen a Roman Aurangzeb rise up with a setup like that; a man who'd have wasted his entire life and Empire on pointless wars of religious whim. And before you say Demetrios II, I'll point out that he was an exception born out of brain damage.
Helena's reign might've set the stage for a lot of diplomatic headaches, but that was a very acceptable price for imposing the Rule of Law on the Empire.
 
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Maybe, but remember that Helena's big success was to set a precedent for all future monarchs' conduct. Andreas the Dyslexic getting the throne and spending his reign beating up all of the Empires enemies would have been good for the Empire in the short-to-mid term, but it'd have also set absolutely terrible standards for the future sovereigns. Just off the top of my head I can list:

-legitimacy of usurping the established succession
-emphasis of martial glory and conquest
-rulers above the law
-acceptance of inter-Roman fratricide in politics
-military dominance over civilian law
-general arbitrariness

With that kind of hot mess leading the charge, the new Drakid Dynasty would've spent its entire reign either fighting unsustainable wars of conquest or killing itself via periodic succession crises. We might've seen a Roman Aurangzeb rise up with a setup like that; a man who'd have wasted his entire life and Empire on pointless wars of religious whim. And before you say Demetrios II, I'll point out that he was an exception born out of brain damage.
Helena's reign might've set the stage for a lot of diplomatic headaches, but that was a very acceptable price for imposing the Rule of Law on the Empire.
Some good points. But I’m referring to a situation where Helena entrusts her HUSBAND AND ELDEST SON with an invasion of their great enemy.
No need for usurpers, no need for civil war.
And Demetrios II was well on the way to being a useless priest before his injury.
 
Babyrage: What’s wrong with being known as having an Iron Chin? I’m not planning on first cousin marriages to become common (although considering the various intermarriages between the Roman, Georgian, and Russian royal families ITTL, there have to been some cousin marriages) amongst the Sideroi. But Alexandros Drakos’ bloodline is just way too potent to leave loose, especially when Athena’s children by him are added into the mix. So tying that cadet branch in with the Imperial line makes political sense, even if it is a little ‘eww’.

In defense of Helena I, considering that her husband and eldest son raised the armies of the east against her, giving them a super-army is not a good idea. Especially if she still intends to cut Andreas “iii” out of the succession.

JSC: If Demetrios were leading the Roman armies personally in the war, he’d be much more noticeable in popular history. But he’s a stay-in-the-capital administrator, creating tax reforms and a postal service. It’s not the type of character that gets a lot of name recognition.

And you’re right that the rise of the Sideros dynasty will be an important shift in Rhomania’s history, albeit one much more obvious in hindsight.

Catconqueror: Exactly, and Philip was a capable military commander in his own right. Demetrios doesn’t have that going for him.

Curtain Jerker: It should be lots of fun when I get to that. One issue with doing the TL in chronological form is that I prefer to only have one BIG EVENT going on at a time. Breaking multiple BIG EVENTS in small pieces all next to each other in each year is hard to write and confusing to read. That’s why, out-of-context, the Wittelsbachs and Triunes have had it so easy. I’m busy throwing BIG EVENTS at the Romans and they slip under the radar. It’s no coincidence that ITTL when Rhomania is quiet for some reason, the rest of the world suddenly gets much busier.

I am planning on experimenting with topical/geographical updates that cover multiple years in their field in the relatively near future, which hopefully will help relieve this issue.

Vasilas: You’re welcome. Although now I have to be extra devious in another area, lest you think I’m getting soft…

ImperatorAlexander: Yeah, I consider Helena I to be very good on the domestic front (the Flowering) but definitely pretty damaging military-wise. But then, growing up during the Time of Troubles probably gives one trust issues.

HanEmpire: Exactly.

Christian: Check out the ‘Sinews of War’ update. All of the reforms that’ve happened so far are in that update.
 
1633: Ships in the West
caribbean_pol.gif

1633 continued: The Roman squadron bound for Mexico lands at Tenerife in the Canary Islands for resupply before crossing the Atlantic, yet it has already drawn Triune blood. Two days before sighting the island, Leo’s luck with attracting prize money, a skill that makes him very popular with his shipmates, awakens. The Theseus and one of the sloops each take a Triune Indiaman bound for the east.

The hauls aren’t as great as they would’ve been if the Indiamen had been on their way back from the east, but prize money is prize money, even if the money in question is in Spanish escudos. The Spanish governor, not caring one bit about any neutrality violations, buys the captured ships and cargoes, crews them with his own men, and sends them out east in the name of his profit.

For eleven days the crews lay on provisions, particularly fresh produce and chickens (that will be kept alive for eggs and later fresh meat) but also purchasing cattle that are butchered and salted down before being loaded. But there is some time for fun and relaxation. An expedition of some of the junior officers, including Leo Kalomeros, climb Mount Teide to study the geology, flora, and fauna, and to make stellar observations at night. On the return Leo Kalomeros adopts a Goliath Tenerife Lizard [1] as a pet, a young one only 18 inches long. Named Theodor, the lizard is accepted by his Kentarchos [2] Hektor Kraikos as the animal promises to be very useful in keeping down the insect population aboard ship.

With supplies fully stocked, the fleet, under the command of Kometes [3] Basil Paxamadas, sets sail across the Atlantic. The expedition leadership has been carefully selected for this assignment. The Kometes plus all the ships’ Kentarchoi and Protokaraboi [4] have experience of sailing in the Indian Ocean and every ship has a hired Arletian or Spanish pilot familiar with Caribbean waters. The one exception is the sixty-gunner Ajax whose special pilot is a native of Corfu, one of the few Roman merchant sailors who’re familiar with those waters.

It is a forty-day crossing from Tenerife, mostly long and boring, the monotony ‘enlivened’ by the usual unpleasantness of life on a sailing ship in this era. Despite every effort to eradicate them, pests abound. On the fregata Anaximander the Kentarchos offers his crew an extra wine ration for every thousand cockroaches they kill; to determine the count the Kentarchos has a chest from his Indian Ocean service which when filled to the brim with the corpses counts as a thousand. They earn 17 and a half extra rations. [5] Meanwhile on the Theseus Theodor grows rapidly and happily chowing down on the insect pests.

Arriving in the Caribbean, before proceeding on to Mexico, the Kometes first lays claim to two small islands in the name of the Emperor. Because of the growing economic importance of the region Demetrios III considers it necessary to have an outpost in the region, although defending it is guaranteed to be problematic.

Another reason for wanting a Caribbean colony is that competition from Madeira and the Caribbean has driven the once mighty Roman sugar industry to the brink of extinction. Cyprus and Crete just cannot compete with the higher-quality (because of the growing climate) and vastly more numerous Latin sugar. Attempts to squeeze more out of their Sudanese slaves hasn’t helped and those are getting more expensive as ever-expanding Ethiopian kaffos plantations suck up most of the supply. So it is hoped that a Caribbean colony will help Rhomania reassert itself in the sugar market and possibly the kaffos one as well, and maybe even cocoa too.

There are also some proposals about a Caribbean colony being a source of settlement for demobilized veterans to keep them from causing trouble after the war, although that is hardly conducive for a plantation economy. The principle though seems sound, although Demetrios III, aside from the heartland, is looking more at Rhomania in the East for that.

On June 26, Paxamadas lays claim for the Empire to the island he names St David, after St David the Dendrite, as he is commemorated on this day. [6] The next day he lays claim to the larger island just to its west, which he names St Giorgios after St Giorgios of Athos, a Georgian just like his flag kentarchos. [7] At the deep water harbor on the south side of St Giorgios, he establishes a settlement named Jahzara after the Empress. [8]

One of the skevophora [9] is carrying 122 colonists, 89 men, 24 women, and 9 children, plus provisions and materials for getting a settlement started. Although mostly recruited from the landless poor, there has been care to ensure that those sent know how to farm and fish and some artisans are included. Also in the number are 6 Sudanese Digenoi, mixed-race descendants of Sudanese slaves who’d worked in the Cypriot sugar plantations. It is common for Roman sugar slaves, after earning their freedom, to return as paid overseers as they know the business, and often their descendants get into the trade as well. The six are to provide the expertise for setting up sugar plantations, with the plan to procure slaves from the local traders.

While they get to work, sailors and soldiers from the fleet erect a packed-earth fortress to defend the harbor with naval guns taken from the larger warships, and some of them will stay behind as a garrison.

The colonists receive some unexpected ‘help’. On June 30 the Anaximander snaps up a Triune slave-ship out of Mbanza Kongo inbound for Jamaica carrying 413 slaves. Eighty of those slaves are taken and put to work at Jahzara while the slave ship is sailed over to San Juan, the main settlement on Puerto Rico, a Spanish holding. There the remainder of the slaves are sold to the delight of the planters there, always in need of more African labor. The money from the sale is distributed as prize money, while the Kometes takes the crown’s share and uses it to purchase more provisions and materials both for the fleet and for the colony. Prior to the expedition, Demetrios III had specified that the crown’s share of the prize money could and should be used for such purposes.

With Ft Odysseus raised in at least rudimentary fashion, Paxamadas sets sail west with the bulk of the fleet. One of the sloops is left to guard the new colony along with a garrison of sixty soldiers. Three fregatai, including the Theseus, head east to raid Triune possessions in the Windward and Leeward Islands while the battle-line ships and remaining light vessels move to rendezvous with the Mexican fleet. Sailing north of Puerto Rico (Spanish), Lesser Antillia (Hispaniola-Arletian), and Greater Antillia (Cuba-Arletian), the Romans then swing over to Vera Cruz.

Meeting them there is Admiral of the Fleet Rodrigo Temilotecatl Ecatzin y Tizatlan, Duke of Zautla and Quechula, a member of the highest nobility of the Mexican Empire. He is descended both from a conquistador who accompanied David Komnenos’ expedition and from the Tlaxcalan Lord of Tizatlan, Maxixcatzin, who became one of David’s principal native allies. That is rarefied blood in these parts, for the descendants of David’s expedition and the nobles of Tlaxcala and Texcoco (and now the Tarascan nobles as well) are the highest echelon of nobility.

He only has two battle-line ships under his command, both fifty gunners, the smallest a warship can be and still fall into that category. (Technically, at this point in time the use of ‘battle-line ship’ is somewhat of an anachronism as it is the fierce naval warfare between the War of the Roman Succession and the War of the Capes that leads to the term to denote a ship capable of standing in the battle-line. That said, even at this point it is recognized that a warship that doesn’t mount at least fifty guns isn’t really up to the hardest fighting.) But to support them he has six fregatai and fourteen sloops and brigs and, most of all, nine thousand troops including the crack Davidian tagma. Twenty five hundred of them are African slaves inducted into the Mexican army.

Also included in the list are fourteen Japanese ronin (landless samurai). Expelled after a failed rebellion against the Shimazu, they took service as Roman mercenaries in the Far East under the Katepano of Pyrgos. They then hired onto the Mexican Pyrgos galleons on their return run to Mexico. Once there they served as highway patrolmen, hunting down brigands, earning respect for their valor and honesty. Although the current structure is of a much later day, the Shinto Temple in Texcoco is built on the site of the original small structure built for the use of these ronin and others like them. [10]

The combined Roman-Mexican fleet gets going quickly as Vera Cruz is rather unhealthy for outsiders. Their target is Jamaica, where the primary port of Port Royal is the base for the bulk of the pirates harassing the Mexican coast. Although the individual pirate ships are usually no bigger or better armed than a sloop, there are enough to give two 50-gunners pause. Between the two ‘70-gunners’, one 60-gunner, and four 50-gunners the pirates are hopelessly outmatched and they know it. They scatter before Port Royal is blockaded and Mexican soldiers start treading on the soil of Jamaica.

Only four days after the siege begins, a Triune relief squadron appears on the horizon. Rumors and vague reports of a Roman squadron being sent to the Caribbean had reached King’s Harbor in the spring, prompting Emperor Henri II to arrange reinforcements for his New World holdings. That said, he was reluctant to commit too many forces west given the expense, lack of information on the strength of the Roman squadron, and concerns to keep Triune fleet strength high in home waters in case King Ferdinand tried anything.

So the Triune fleet is slightly outgunned, with six battle-line ships to the Romans and Mexicans’ seven, their flagship Avalon, a sixty-four gunner, the most powerful. That said, Avalon is the most powerful battle-line ship present as both of the Roman seventy-gunners are now sixty-gunners, having given up some of their cannons both to bolster the Mexicans ashore and to arm Ft Odysseus.

Both sides plow into each other, the lighter vessels joining into the fray. Given the small number and fairly small size of the big warships, even a twenty-gunner sloop can make a difference. Tactics are extremely rudimentary at best, both sides’ commander trying with limited success to control the affair with signal flags, but the battle is basically a brawl. The idea of line-of-battle tactics has yet to be really developed.

It is a bloody punch-up with heavy losses on both sides, particularly on the Roman and Triune flagships which slug it out in a personal duel. The Roman flagship eventually triumphs, a boarding party seizing the Avalon, but only after losing her fore and mizzen masts. When night falls the two sides break off by mutual consent, the Triunes slipping away in the gloom to Barbados to lick their wounds.

Aside from Avalon, the Romans also captured the 52-gunner Black Prince and sank or captured four more Triune light warships. In return the Triunes captured a Mexican fregata and sank two more. While ship losses heavily favor the Roman-Mexican fleet, they still took heavy damage and casualties. Out of the twenty-one masts on the battle-line ships, ten were broken and the fifty-gunner Alexios Palaiologos has to have her pumps running constantly for twenty hours after the battle before the leaks in her hull are plugged.

Port Royal surrenders after the withdrawal of the relief squadron, the battered Romans and Mexicans docking to begin repairs. Meanwhile many of the Triune loyalists take to the Jamaican interior, waging a guerrilla campaign against the attackers. Making life harder is the yellow fever, endemic in Africa but a new and unwelcome immigrant to the New World, and malaria that tears through the Roman ranks. The Mexicans hold up slightly better, particularly the African slave-soldiers, but the results are all-around devastating, crippling the Roman squadron. Unbeknownst to them, the same diseases are rampaging both through the colonists on St Giorgios and the Triune squadron at Barbados.

Far to the east, the Roman fregatai are having a far more interesting and healthy time of it. All of the colonies in the Windward and Leeward Islands are less than twenty-five years old, with a good chunk of Europe represented in these waters. The three primary Triune holdings here are Barbados, Martinique, and Guadeloupe and each Roman kentarchos, in consultation with the other two, picks an island for harassment.

The Theseus, as the most powerful of the three warships, is sent to Guadeloupe (a name given to a small cluster of islands, not one larger island as is usually the case). It is the most recent Triune settlement, established in 1624, and still possesses a large Carib population on the island of Marie-Galante. The natives, who ate the first European explorer to land on their shores [11], are hardly easy neighbors and, in the words of Spanish merchant Luis Suarez, “enjoy dining with Frenchmen.”

The Roman fregata first snaps up a pair of small Triune vessels going to cut timber on Dominica, which is still controlled by the Caribs, and then a larger merchantman out of King’s Harbor carrying supplies for Jamaica, a very useful boon to Theseus’ stores. On the approach to the merchantman, Leo notes from the crow’s nest that the ship’s crew must be new as her sails are discolored. That is from the frequent vomiting of the seasick sailors handling the canvas.

Then the fregata runs into something with decidedly more teeth, encountering off the Isla de Aves a pair of Triune sloops, the Octopus and the Stingray, each mounting twenty guns to the fregata’s thirty-two. The Romans do mount bigger guns so the throw weight of both sides is only slightly tilted in favor of the Triunes. But Kentarchos Hektor Kraikos is a fighter, a veteran of many sea brawls in Island Asia, and pitches right into the pair.

Both sides fight hard and well, but Kraikos’ ship-handling is superb and the Theseus’ thick planking holds up stoutly to the lighter guns of the sloops. Disabling the rigging of the Stingray so that she falls behind, he concentrates on the Octopus which strikes her colors. Stingray, having made repairs, returns to the fight unaware her sister has surrendered, and after a gun duel with the larger Roman warship she also strikes.

The crews are put aboard the Triune merchantman, which had been anchored off Isla de Aves during the fight, and then sent to Jahzara. Meanwhile both warships are patched up and given crews from the Theseus. They are under-manned and so not as effective as they could be, but the pair make for a formidable addition to Kraikos’ might. Kalomeros is put in command of the Octopus, a more-grown and substantially larger Theodor accompanying him.

The trio proceed back to Guadeloupe, on their way meeting a very friendly and talkative Spanish merchant captain, one Luis Suarez, who has been looking for them to tell them some interesting news. In the harbor of Basse-Terre, the only real settlement established thus far in Guadeloupe on the island of the same name, is a Triune merchantman with seventeen hundred pounds of Mexican silver ingots in its hold, plus another 300,000 Mexican stavrata, the Mexican silver coin modeled off the Roman issue and the main currency of the Caribbean.

It was procured after the start of hostilities between the Triple Monarchy and the Empire of Mexico, but apparently the Triune captain had a fake Spanish registry (which is how Suarez heard of it) and the Mexican officials, in exchange for some bribes, didn’t look too closely. Apparently the captain is also somewhat on the shady side in King’s Harbor’s eyes, wanting to avoid paying the royal fifth owed on any bullion imports into the Triple Monarchy, so this large shipment of bullion isn’t escorted by any warships. But the Triunes got hit hard by disease and then a storm so had to put in here to get some more crewmen and make repairs.

Suarez wants to get his hands on that mountain of silver and the Roman sailors, their hands rubbing gleefully at the thought of all that prize money, feel the same. But with the Roman prize crew on the merchantman, which had to be large to keep an eye on the Triune prisoners, and the crews of the sloops, the Romans don’t really have the manpower to spare for an attack on Basse-Terre, which is decently fortified. Plus Suarez doesn’t know if the silver is still on the ship or stored in the fort for safekeeping. Because of the need to move quickly before the bullion moves, there isn’t time to try and contact the Roman fregatai somewhere off Martinique and Barbados.

But Luis Suarez is prepared, and through him Kraikos makes contact with some allies who can provide manpower. Firstly there are the Caribs of Marie-Galante, who have a relationship with Spanish merchants like Suarez. They will kidnap Triune slaves from the new plantations on Basse-Terre, selling them to the Spanish for supplies and weapons. With their cut of the silver, they can get even more weapons.

Next are the maroons of Grande-Terre, the large island separated by a narrow channel from Basse-Terre. These are escaped slaves from the plantations who’ve established communities of their own, and who have a complicated relationship with the Triunes. On the one hand they raid their former masters, who want them back, but the Triunes also pay them to act as slave-catchers against more recently escaped slaves. And sometimes the maroons will capture plantation slaves and sell them to Spanish for supplies and weapons, just like the Caribs.

With the sloops blockading off Basse-Terre in case the Triunes come out, Kraikos and Suarez proceed to Dominica for the final member of this most eclectic alliance, Jacob Tirado, also known popularly as the Pirate Rabbi. [12] A Bohemian Jew and a young rabbi in Prague who was expelled by King Ottokar V’s decree, he made his way to Spain where he soon got involved in seafaring. Although Jews weren’t allowed in Lisbon’s New World holdings, the law was not very well enforced and so Jacob ended up in the Caribbean.

At some point he turned pirate, with a mixed but largely Jewish crew, but he never attacked Spanish vessels because of their comparatively good treatment of Jews, focusing his ire on the Triunes and Arletians. As a result, he is unofficially encouraged by the Spanish authorities in the Caribbean who view him as a means of weakening their rivals, with them providing supplies and weapons under the table in exchange for a cut of his prizes. Tirado, laying up timbers on Dominica, is easily convinced. Although he has no experience with Romans personally, he has heard good things about their treatment of Jews and besides, that is a lot of silver.

So on September 3 the Allies make their attack, the Romans providing the firepower while the Caribs, maroons, and Tirado provide the manpower. Meanwhile Suarez keeps everyone working together towards the common goal of getting that silver. With the Roman warships hurling fire into the fort defending the harbor, the allies, landed up the coast a few hours earlier, attack on the landward side while Kalomeros leads a trio of boats on a cutting-out expedition. With the fort distracted, they clamber aboard and after a sharp fight seize the merchantman. It turns out the silver is still in the hold.

Meanwhile after taking the fort, the allies go on a rampage of destruction throughout the town, wrecking and burning, while parties raid across the island, snapping up slaves for resale elsewhere for additional profit. All participants get in on the action with a combined haul of over 900 slaves.

After a few days of wrecking, raiding, and celebrating the parties break up, all very pleased with the results. Both Suarez and Tirado buy up the maroons’ and Caribs’ captured slaves, to be resold in Puerto Rico. On September 8 Kalomeros takes a Triune merchantman making its way towards the harbor, unaware of the change of owners, and Kraikos fills that with the Roman haul of slaves. Some will be sent to Jahzara for the colonists to use, while some more will be sold on in Puerto Rico as well. The Spanish there are very appreciative of the business.

The trio of Roman ships proceed to Jahzara to wait out the worst of the storm season, procuring some supplies in Lesser Antillia afterwards, and are then back at it, expanding their activities north toward the smaller Triune holdings in the Windward Islands. They are joined by the Anaximander, driven off from Barbados by the retreating Triune relief fleet. Aside from attacks at sea, sending small raiding parties ashore to nab Triune slaves is a common practice. The price of the slaves at re-sale counts as prize money, making these expeditions popular with the Roman sailors, and is simultaneously a good way to procure favor with the Spanish and Arletians of the region. There are no major hauls here, mostly small vessels used for inter-island work, although Theseus takes a pair of ships that work between the Caribbean and the mainland colonies to the north.

On December 9th, the Triunes manage a blow back when a frigate and sloop run in with Stingray, chasing her into Sint Eustatius, which is a Lotharingian holding. Not caring about neutrality or territorial waters, the Triune ships storm into the harbor, firing on the Stingray. Hopelessly outmatched, the Roman sloop surrenders. [13] It takes several months before news of the incident reaches the courts of Europe, prompting a protest from King Albrecht III of Lotharingia in his capital at Antwerp. Emperor Henri II does not bother to respond.

[1] IOTL these went extinct sometime in the 1400s. ITTL they’ve lasted into the modern era.
[2] Byzantine Greek term for a ship’s captain. Not to be confused with the army rank.
[3] Byzantine Greek term. Squadron Commander. At this time the equivalent of a Royal Navy rear admiral.
[4] Byzantine Greek term for First Officer or second-in-command of a warship.
[5] This is a story from OTL, although I added the bit with the box because I couldn’t picture them counting out 17,500 dead roaches.
[6] This is the isle of St John in the US Virgin Islands.
[7] This is the isle of St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.
[8] Taking the place of the OTL town of Charlotte Amalie.
[9] Plural of skevophoron, an OTL Byzantine term for a supply vessel.
[10] Landless samurai being hired by the Spanish in the Far East and ending up as highway patrolmen in Mexico is taken from OTL.
[11] Giovanni di Verrazano IOTL was reported to have been killed and eaten by Carib natives of Guadeloupe.
[12] He is based off and inspired by the OTL figure Samuel Pallache.
[13] The action off Isla de Aves and the recapture here, including the violation of a neutral harbor, are all based off the OTL battle between USS Constitution and HMS Cyane and HMS Levant and the subsequent British recapture of HMS Levant in a Portuguese port.
 
Smart move by the Romans to hit the triunes where they hurt once the emperor hears the news on how we lent his is going will he he try to
A send more support and invest in this new region more
B try to find ways to keep sure whoever control the straits of gibutlar cut them off
 
Superb naval warfare update! Writing's prose and style seems to come from years of experience. Do the Mexicans intend to keep Jamaica and the bulk of other conquests in the Caribbean or are they willing to hand over an equal share to the Rhomans?

Named Theodor, the lizard is accepted by his Kentarchos [2] Hektor Kraikos as the animal promises to be very useful in keeping down the insect population aboard ship.
I salute Theodor, 1st recruit of Rhomaion's Reptilian Combat Division
 
Joining the Caribbean! Finally!
Maybe the Romans can marry Mexiacan royalty, and combine those two blood lines again.
 
I had this playing on a loop the whole time I read this update:

I can't wait for Kentarchos Τζάκ Σπάροου to show up and be Τζάκ Σπάροου.
 
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That pirate jew is perhaps one of the best things I've read on this update. I hope his fame spreads far after the age of pirates have ended. And as always, I bet the rum is always gone even in this timeline :biggrin:
 
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fierce naval warfare between the War of the Roman Succession and the War of the Capes
Ooh, I love teasers! Have we heard anything about the War of the Capes yet? Sounds like we might see some action in South Africa in the not too distant future. IIRC the idea of a roman Cape Colony was floated way back, as a way to keep Latins out of the Indian ocean.
 
Another reason for wanting a Caribbean colony is that competition from Madeira and the Caribbean has driven the once mighty Roman sugar industry to the brink of extinction. Cyprus and Crete just cannot compete with the higher-quality (because of the growing climate) and vastly more numerous Latin sugar. Attempts to squeeze more out of their Sudanese slaves hasn’t helped and those are getting more expensive as ever-expanding Ethiopian kaffos plantations suck up most of the supply. So it is hoped that a Caribbean colony will help Rhomania reassert itself in the sugar market and possibly the kaffos one as well, and maybe even cocoa too.
Fun update! I want to focus on this paragraph for a second or two.

I wonder if the fact that the Crete/Cyprus sugar plantations aren't as productive as the sugar coming in from the New World means that slavery will end fairly soon in the Empire proper? Not from any moral reason mind you but because it isn't economically viable to keep growing sugar and importing slaves there when Rome can do it for less on St David/Giorgios. If the Crete/Cyprus plantations don't turn a profit why bother importing slaves there?

Are there slaves in the Empire proper other than the Sudanese ones used to grow sugar in Cyprus and Crete? Because if the two Caribbean colonies are stable and productive there may not be an economic reason to keep slaves in the Empire itself, leading to a de facto abolition in the Empire itself.
 
They've been very lucky with their successions and crises so far. No disputes between siblings, no lesser branch lines challenging the main line, no uncertain inheritance, etc. They even adopted Pan-nationalism that encompasse all the kingdoms early and discouraged secessionism. If any of the above happened they were so minor that they didn't even warrant a mention. The biggest crisis was the Arletian invasion of France and even then the Triunes pulled a Great Man out of its ass and fixed everything.

Of course that being said, such stability begets rot in the system by papering over the flaws that'd have been found and fixed in a more turbulent system. Once the Triunes gorge themselves on German lands and get overextended, the cracks will start to show.
A civil war may actually have the net effect of making the United Kingdoms much stronger in the longer term as the Governments will be formally unified and economies of scales will be generated through further integration.

The Triunes have a major disadvantage unlike OTL's United Kingdom. Their strategic position means that they need to fight on land as well as at sea and their border with Arles has few natural defences that favour the Triunes as defender. Same for the border with Lotharingia until the Rhine is reached.
However, this is counterbalanced by a few other things:
- There is no need to build-up a naval presence on the Mediterranean Sea. So no division of attention unlike OTL's France.
- The naval capacity of the Trinues is larger than OTL's separate nations due to the need to carry cross-Channel trade by sea.
- The Channel makes sense as an economic unit and both sides complement each other nicely. British coal will be mated to Normandy iron TTL.

Overall, the potential of the United Kingdoms is far greater than the OTL potential of France and the UK simply added together. This will be even more the case if their overseas domains in America are tied closely to the metropole, they'll be the tail that wags the dog eventually.
 
A civil war may actually have the net effect of making the United Kingdoms much stronger in the longer term as the Governments will be formally unified and economies of scales will be generated through further integration.

The Triunes have a major disadvantage unlike OTL's United Kingdom. Their strategic position means that they need to fight on land as well as at sea and their border with Arles has few natural defences that favour the Triunes as defender. Same for the border with Lotharingia until the Rhine is reached.
However, this is counterbalanced by a few other things:
- There is no need to build-up a naval presence on the Mediterranean Sea. So no division of attention unlike OTL's France.
- The naval capacity of the Trinues is larger than OTL's separate nations due to the need to carry cross-Channel trade by sea.
- The Channel makes sense as an economic unit and both sides complement each other nicely. British coal will be mated to Normandy iron TTL.

Overall, the potential of the United Kingdoms is far greater than the OTL potential of France and the UK simply added together. This will be even more the case if their overseas domains in America are tied closely to the metropole, they'll be the tail that wags the dog eventually.
Yep. Although I'm rooting for Rome in this story, Triunes have very nice ATL potential that I might like in the absence of Roman Empire.

Regarding update, I love Roman Caribbean colonies. Give me bases everywhere and I'll die a happy man :)

P.S. B444, your writting and especially historical knowledge has really gotten superb. All those little anegdotes taken from OTL really make the story feel real.
 
Here's a list of the Empire's colonies in Asia and the Caribbean so far as of 1633. I think this is all of them. If I missed any please let me know and I'll edit the list and give credit. I'm counting only areas of direct Roman control and/or colonies, not independent states who are allies or vassals.

Rhomania in the East

Taprobane - OTL Sri Lanka. Has been Roman for about a hundred years at this point. The crown jewel of Rhomania in the East.

There are three Katepanates outside of Taprobane:

New Constantinople - on Ambon in OTL Indonesia. Been Roman since 1557. Not only a useful deep water port but also nutmeg is produced here as well.
Pahang - OTL Central Malaysia. Home of tin, gold and (eventually) rubber. I believe Singapore is under their control as well.
Pyrgos - OTL Cavite City in the Philippines. Controls the majority of the island of Luzon either directly or indirectly. There's also Roman settlement on the Visayas Islands in OTL Philippines. I'm not sure if there's any Roman influence in Mindanao. I think that as a rule the further south you get from Pyrogos the less power the Empire projects either directly or indirectly.

Add to the above list Kiponissi - OTL Taiwan. Been Roman since the mid/late 1500s. I think it is basically just a military outpost/way station to Japan at this point?

EDIT: A few that B444 reminded me of:

Surat - On the Indian Subcontinent in the northwest of OTL India, it is the oldest Roman possession in the East. Is both a Roman Kephale and a vassal to the Vijayanagari Emperors.
Alappazhu - on the Indian Subcontinent in the southwest of OTL India, been Roman for about 50 years.

(Note: For ease of reference both those places are in the same location as their OTL namesakes)

Christmas Island - OTL Bali in Indonesia. Been Roman since 1605. There's a settlement at Nusa Dua (which I'm assuming is the same place ITTL as OTL - in the area of Denpasar in the south of the island).

One more I found in the same post as the Christmas Island conquest: Simeulue, an island to the west of OTL Sumatra in Indonesia was also seized in 1605. Same name ITTL as OTL to the best of my knowledge.

Roman Colonies/Possessions in the Caribbean/New World
These are obvious brand new, having been founded in June of 1633.

St. David - OTL Saint John in the US Virgin Islands
St. Giorgios - OTL Saint Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. It is the larger and more populous of the two islands. Has a city (Jahzara - OTL Charlotte Amalie) and a fort in Fort Odysseus as well.

Assuming Rhomania neither gains nor losses any possessions in this war or elsewhere, that's a pretty good Empire all things considered.
 
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