An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

@TheWanderingReader: Hadn’t thought about Indiana Jones but that is a nice picture. I plan on Orthodox Terranova starting out similar to OTL, starting with Alaska but with the Russians putting down more and potential more widespread roots. I’m not sure yet how far that will go though. But definitely at least a permanent Orthodox Russian Alaska.

@HanEmpire: Russia’s going to be getting at least a couple, if not more, updates devoted entirely to it coming up.

The Japanese are aware of the Mexicans. There are Japanese traders regularly in Pyrgos so they see the Pyrgos galleons rolling in every year. Plus some ronin have gone off to serve in the court of Texcoco. There’s no way the Japanese could project power all the way across the Pacific but they’re certainly interested in trade.

The Wokou aren’t too much of an issue now. They were concentrated in Kyushu and western Honshu IOTL, the Shimazu powerbase. So the Shimazu mainly use that military force either to keep Japan under their control, or directing that military power in planned state initiatives. The Shimazu don’t want freelance military forces roaming around. Some wokou who aren’t inclined to play the Shimazu ball are in Island Asia serving as swords for hire for local rulers. Japanese mercenaries are very common and valued in the region ITTL.

I don’t know about pirate kingdoms. But now I’m picturing the Romans subsidizing some Japanese pirates to set up shop in Madagascar to harass Latin shipping entering/exiting the Indian Ocean.

The Raven King is, unsurprisingly, going to be a central figure in the soon-to-be-released Ravens’ Rebellion.

@aldonius: The Marinids could possibly be considered part as well if one was being fair, but they’re not because *something something* corsairs.

@Cryostorm: I’m not sure how far the Russians could push a sustainable presence in Terranova, given the extreme distances to send settlers and there is Siberia to fill after all. Although having said that, if Russia could get a warm-water Pacific port earlier to facilitate Pacific presence and ease shipping constraints, I’m sure a lot of Russian farmers would rather live in ITTL British Columbia/Washington/Oregon than Siberia. I know IOTL there was an opening where there might’ve been a Russian Kauai.

Taiwan is still controlled by the native peoples, with some trading outposts along the coast. Okinawa is a vassal kingdom of both Japan and China, paying tribute to both.

And Greeks are definitely going to be smug, often annoyingly so, regarding their scientific achievements ITTL.

@Praetor98: It will be coming (relatively) soon.

@Albert Blake: TTL Russia is definitely going to be far different from the tsarist model of OTL.

Regarding the Avignon Papacy, it was something that happened off-stage. There wasn’t much detail to it, just in the vein of ‘power corrupts’. Its start was a little too virtuous in my mind to be realistic, hence its fall. There isn’t a list of Avignon (or Roman) popes.

What Lascaris said. ‘Emperor of the Romans’ is the title that really matters.

@emperor joe: Didn’t think about that to be honest. Athens may definitely be bigger than Nicaea. But I must admit to being particularly attached to the idea of Thessaloniki remaining the second city of the Empire as it was throughout most of the OTL Empire.

@Curtain Jerker: The history of science is a weak point of mine so don’t expect more detail than this update, but this is how I want to advance TTL. Have things show up a bit earlier than OTL and then repeat; things will add up. Some things can be pushed earlier than others. Pompeii, the Rosetta Stone, and dinosaur bones could all be pushed up a lot by just having a lucky find. But nobody’s going to be rolling out the Theory of Relativity any time soon.

In my head I was picturing OTL Newton’s feats being the accomplishment of a few different Triune scientists. But I didn’t want to confuse things by throwing out a bunch of names that really aren’t that important to the larger narrative.

Astronomy and the likes of Herschel, Planck, Fermi, Hubble and Einstein will most probably be the scientific field that gets the most nods in this TL. Astronomy is the one science that really grabs my attention, the rest not so much.

@Aristomenes: You didn’t mention it. There’s been one reference to an upcoming Ravens’ Rebellion and this is the first to both the Raven King and the Comet.

That’s my plan for the Industrial Revolutions. I don’t know the details but it is set in stone, as much as any of my TL plans are, that the First won’t originate in Rhomania, but that the Romans will be the leaders and trendsetters of the Second Industrial Revolution and beyond. I want the Romans to be the leaders in nuclear power, for example.

@Babyrage: ‘The Digger’ will come from one very specific event in Theodor’s life that creates the stereotypical picture when one thinks of him. It hasn’t happened yet, but is set for some time in 1635.

The key difference, and the one that made all the difference, is that during the Time of Troubles the Romans were also having a nasty multi-sided civil war, and during the Great Latin War they weren’t.

@ImperatorAlexander: Well, I said ‘great projects’, not ‘great successes’ for a reason. ;) Those events are in sequential order, although there is some overlap with a few of them. With Russia I’ll be going into the background before the ‘Gathering of the Rus’. There’s been a few mentions of growing Russian cooperation, the coalition that told Casimir to stop attacking Lithuania, and the cooperation between Novgorod and Great Pronsk against Scandinavia, but those were easily buried since they weren’t significant at the main narrative when they appeared.

@Evilprodigy: The title ‘Raven King’ really came from a biography I have of Matthias Corvinus with that title, but the TTL character doesn’t have any connection to the OTL one, other than said title.

@Lascaris: Thanks.
 
@emperor joe: Didn’t think about that to be honest. Athens may definitely be bigger than Nicaea. But I must admit to being particularly attached to the idea of Thessaloniki remaining the second city of the Empire as it was throughout most of the OTL Empire.
That’s my plan for the Industrial Revolutions. I don’t know the details but it is set in stone, as much as any of my TL plans are, that the First won’t originate in Rhomania, but that the Romans will be the leaders and trendsetters of the Second Industrial Revolution and beyond. I want the Romans to be the leaders in nuclear power, for example.
B444 since you Roman pre war population around 18M both balkans and anatolia. You also mentioned Roman ATL is equivalent to Italy per capita in OTL Renaissance.

Would this mean that the Roman Empire having roughly equivalent to OTL US 1990 $1000-$1500 GDP per capita in 1630s? Or in laymans terms, Rome is the richest nation per capita wise, since Laskarid emperors until advent of ATL first wave of industrial revolution, which will lag behind the latins, then rises up again as top per capita during second wave of industrial revolution?
 
The House of Sideros in the late 1630s
@Namayan: I haven’t done anything to convert TTL rates into OTL modern GDP so I can’t say regarding that number. There is wide variation in the Empire; Smyrna has a far higher per capita GDP than a Kephalate on the eastern Anatolian frontier. I wouldn’t say Rhomania has the highest per capita GDP of all countries. A rich city-state like Lubeck is its own sovereign entity and its per capita GDP would be higher than Rhomania’s. I am planning a GDP course as you describe, but there will be the TTL Norway’s and Liechtenstein’s and the like that will take the top positions.

@emperor joe: No, but it helps.

@Evilprodigy: I agree.

___________________________

Books on the Shelves and in the Air: The House of Sideros in the late 1630s

As of 1635, the Imperial Sideros family consists of the Emperor Demetrios III, the Empress Jahzara, Kaisar Odysseus and his wife Maria of Agra, and Kaisarissa Athena and her husband Alexandros Drakos. Odysseus and Maria have one son Herakleios (age 3 in 1635) and Athena and Alexandros have one daughter Sophia (age 3 in 1635). Herakleios and Sophia are to be married when they come of age; Demetrios is ignoring the consanguinity issues in the name of ‘gathering the bloodlines’, given the weight of dynastic claim carried by Alexandros Drakos. He wants that tied into the Imperial line to avoid any dynastic debates in the future.

There are also Andreas III’s still living illegitimate children Theodoros of Nineveh (age 12 in 1635), Alexandros of Baghdad (age 11), and Nikephoros of Trebizond (age 7). The latter two are the sons of Maria of Agra and hence half-brothers to Herakleios.

Demetrios has been unsure of what to do with the bastards. They’ve been raised and educated on a large estate on the outskirts of Chalcedon, the closest he’s willing to allow them near the seat of power. The one exception was the wedding of Odysseus and Maria in 1631.

However after 1634 the Emperor is more relaxed. The Sideros dynasty has survived its trial by fire with prestige high after the battle of Thessaloniki, more than compensating for the Demetrian Truce in the east. (The Roman strategoi and the War Room are the big exception to Roman society in not disliking the Truce, recognizing the strategic significance of the territories kept in northern Mesopotamia.) Also Odysseus’ prestige in the army after the Twelve Days and his command of the Paramanoi in Hellas is running extremely high, overshadowing that of his brother-in-law now.

Viewing them as less of a threat, Demetrios is willing for the bastards to come to Constantinople, although not to live in the White Palace. Theodoros starts to attend one of the elite secondary schools in the capital (for primary education all of the boys were tutored), one of the university-preparation schools whose graduates have included several Logothetes. With the boy expressing an interest in chemistry, Demetrios arranged for Theodoros to work as a lab assistant for Professor Manuskkathes, aiding in several of his major experiments on gases.

Demetrios finds Theodoros the easiest of the bastards with which to deal. His interests in chemistry are not threatening politically and the fact that he is not a son of Maria of Agra helps as well. His daughter-in-law has been regularly lobbying for her sons by Andreas III to be allowed to stay in the White Palace so that she can see them more. Their move to Constantinople doesn’t help in this regard as their nearness makes the still remaining distance seem even more aggravating. To make it even more frustrating for Demetrios, Odysseus sides with his wife, both because of his deep love for her and love for Andreas III and therefore his children.

While Odysseus still paints and draws regularly, his famous dinosaur paintings dating from this time, he has definitely become a soldier. The Paramonai participate in the campaign in Italy starting in the summer of 1635 and he is there commanding as a strategos. This is against the wishes of Demetrios III. The Kaisar’s presence raises eyebrows and concerns in both Lisbon and Marselha, making them wary of Roman plans.

Relations with Spain are already tense, partly because of events in Java in 1634, which only grow after events in Germany and Italy in 1635. However when rumors that King Fernando was considering christening himself ‘Emperor of Hispania’ reach Constantinople, a Roman courtier remarks in the hearing of the Spanish ambassador that ‘The title of Emperor seems to be getting devalued nowadays’. The Spanish are not pleased by the insult; they are proud about finishing the Reconquista in victory and about their far-flung holdings across the surface of the world. Triune arrogance is irritating; Roman arrogance is no better.

There is also the fact that while the Arletians consider the Rhine to be very important, for the Spanish Italy must take priority over Germany. It is far closer.

However despite Demetrios’ concerns about the optics of having his only son and heir leading armies in Italy, Odysseus insists on going. He has developed quite the taste for the military lifestyle. Like his father he is a heavy reader. Aside from his ancient history like Arrian’s biography of Alexander, he also has Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, as well as a Greek translation of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a Chinese epic that is a recent addition to Roman bookshelves. Its tales of great warrior heroes appeals greatly to Odysseus who takes a shine particularly to and Zhao Yun and Guan Yu. His library also includes the complete collection of the old Acritic songs as finalized and compiled by a large literary effort during the Flowering. The pride of place in the collection of course goes to Digenes Akritas, the epic of the ‘Two-Blood Border Lord’.

Considering his taste in reading, and that he is a young man of twenty two in 1635, it is hardly surprising that he prefers the smell of gunpowder to the sound of lecterns. Demetrios had wanted him to take some law courses at the University of Constantinople as training for administrative duties. But Odysseus insisted on following the way of the sword, not the pen, and eventually his father gave way.

At Odysseus’ side is Iskandar the Younger, the youngest son of Iskandar the Great, sixteen years old in 1635. The relationship is sometimes said to be comparable to that of Andreas III and Odysseus, although this time Odysseus is the elder. Iskandar has no official status, but he is constantly at Odysseus’ side when he is scouting, hunting, or on inspection tour.

The young Ottoman prince has been given the finest education Rhomania can offer, although he is still a practicing Muslim. If he were to become an Orthodox Christian, his value as an alternative Shah to Ibrahim would evaporate instantly. Still he has been heavily imbued with Roman culture, with many of the same books on his shelves as his friend Odysseus. However also on those shelves are heavily annotated copies of the works of Theodoros IV and also Demetrios III.

Even though it is reported that Demetrios III once said “I can rule the Empire, or control Athena, but not both”, Athena actually gives him far less trouble in the late 1630s. Remaining in or near Constantinople after returning to Thessaloniki, her service there was recognized in the public bestowal of the honorific ‘Heroine of the Empire’ and she participated in the triumph that was staged in late 1634, which featured contingents from all over the Empire celebrating the victory at Thessaloniki.

After that, she starts attending classes at the University of Constantinople. Like her brother she has been given a fine primary and secondary education, but unlike her brother has not taken any university courses. Odysseus had some, but his degree plans got thrown out of the window by the start of the Great Latin War.

Women at Roman universities, while not unheard of, are still rather rare. Most of those are in the field of medicine, with the understanding that they’ll become doctors for female patients and issues. There has been a tradition for that going back as far as the mid-1000s. Of those remaining, music is the typical area of study with the odd one entering into mathematics. The latter are quite rare.

What is unheard of though is a woman taking classes in law. Not even Theodora Komnena Drakina, acknowledged by all to be the wisest of the ‘Petticoat Triumvirate’, did so. Her advanced education was done via private tutors. It is proposed that Athena do the same. As a Kaisarissa, studying law does seem a reasonable pursuit, in contrast ‘to most women who have no need for a knowledge of the law’ as some argue. But even those who are most supportive of her education desires consider it unseemly for her to do so in such a public venue as a university lecture hall.

Athena does not think much of those arguments. However acknowledging that female attire may prove distracting in a hall that is otherwise all male, she shows up to the first lecture in late 1635 dressed in male clothing and her hair cut short so that it only goes to the base of her neck. It is a look that would be recognizable to the denizens of Thessaloniki who saw her often in her uniform and that is the haircut she sported towards the end of the siege. But now she is in civilian attire (her commission had expired at the end of 1634) and aside from the special circumstances of the triumph, where her hair was longer anyway as she’d started growing it long again after the battle of Thessaloniki, Constantinople is not used to such a thing. Furthermore this isn’t like the women who pretended to be men to be soldiers. Athena may be in men’s clothing but no one would think she is a man.

Athena had not shown up alone, being accompanied by a couple of bodyguards and her new private secretary, Alexeia Kukuritzia [1], one of those women who’d pretended to be a man to fight in the war. Athena and Alexeia had met during the siege of Thessaloniki when Athena saw through Alexeia’s disguise, Alexeia entering Athena’s service after the war when she found it difficult to return to her former life. Very well educated and written for her station, Alexeia became the Kaisarissa’s personal secretary.

Having grown up as the daughter of a peasant, albeit a wealthy one, and then serving as a soldier, Alexeia is used to practical clothing. Since she is no longer a soldier, she cannot wear the uniform and it’d be unbecoming for a retainer for an Imperial family member to be wearing peasant clothing. Women’s clothing for the upper echelons of society are not the most practicable, and so Alexeia is also wearing men’s clothing, similar in style to that of Athena’s, although with less finery.

The students in the hall see this as an absolute outrage and riot. So enraged they are at the image before them that they drive Athena and her retainers from the chamber with physical force, some students attacking her guards while others throw objects. A textbook hits Athena on the left cheek, bruising her, while a few others try to tear off her ‘wrong clothing’. Massively outnumbered, Athena and her retainers all get forced out with torn clothing and bruised skin.

The students, caught up in the moment, cheer at having driven out that ‘unnatural and ungodly and foul sight’. It is not seemly for a woman to dress as a man or for a woman to study law and statecraft; those are the preserve of men.

Then they realize that their professor has hightailed it out of there. He wants absolutely nothing to do with what will come next. As the students calm down from their fury, they remember exactly who the woman was that they’d just attacked. Perhaps if Athena had been more obviously ‘Imperial’ in appearance, they would’ve remembered before rather than after. But Athena had only a couple of retainers and her attire, while fine, had been more comparable to that worn by a low-level dynatos than a child of the Emperor. Regardless, before they can make their own getaways, the doors of the lecture hall crash open and in come a contingent of tzaousiosi, a bruised Athena accompanying their leader.

Decidedly not turning the other cheek, Athena had gone to the nearest tzaousioi post and reported the ‘incident’ to the chief there, accompanying them back. She did that instead of returning to the White Palace, in which case it would’ve been Vigla smashing their way into the hall, and they would’ve done with loaded muskets and fixed ambrolars.

The tzaousioi are armed, but mostly with clubs and whips, with many mounted. While mounted combat doesn’t usually work in an urban environment, mounted tzaousioi are much better at crowd control than those on foot. The students quickly surrender.

Demetrios III suggests that as her first law assignment Athena determines the punishment for the students. However she replies that as a party involved in the ‘incident’, she cannot render a fair and unbiased judgment. Because the incident involved a member of the Imperial family, the case is taken up the Megas Kouaistor himself, but that doesn’t lessen the severity of the punishments. All those who laid hands on Athena herself forfeit their lives, as do all of those who did the same to her retainers. As her retainers were protecting her, an attack on them is considered an attack on her in the eyes of the law. Their heads end up on pikes in the Forum.

Of those who did not lay hands, it is impossible to determine who exactly threw the various projectiles, but any student in that hall with a government scholarship forfeits said scholarship and has to reimburse the government for any moneys already received. As for the remainder, they are given the regular punishments for inciting and participating in a riot.

Athena attends the next lecture with fading bruises and a fresh clean set of men’s clothing. If the students have any opinions regarding that, they keep said opinions to themselves. She ends up scoring 2nd out of 82 students.

The Imperial family also starts growing again in this period. In 1636 Maria gives birth to a boy although he only lives fourteen months. However in 1639 she has another son who is named Demetrios after his grandfather, much to the irritation of history students.

Athena is also spending more time with her husband as he is now stationed back in the capital. The result of that is a son, Ioannes, named after his paternal grandfather and born in 1637, and a daughter, Jahzara, born in 1640. Although Athena has two more children in the 1640s, neither of them live past their third birthday.

The birth of the Imperial granddaughter Jahzara is also what truly marks the beginning of the use of that Ethiopian name for Roman baby girls, rather than the accession of Demetrios III. The younger Jahzara also marks another special occasion, as after negotiations with the Mexican ambassador it is agreed that she will marry the Prince of Texcoco, the title of the heir to the Mexican throne. He is named David, as is typical of the Mexican Imperial family, and is six years senior to Jahzara.

She is to journey west to wed him in Texcoco once she turns fourteen, but a quartet of Mexican tutors are sent so that she will be familiar with her new homeland before she arrives. Emperor David III, delighted to establish such close contacts with the homeland of his family, takes the selection of the tutors very seriously. One is a Tarascan noblewoman, another a Tlaxcallan nobleman, the third a nobleman from Texcoco, and the fourth a noblewoman of conquistador descent. The four elite groups of the Empire of Mexico are thus all represented, although it must be pointed out that all four groups are by this point heavily intermarried; the Tarascan and Texcoco tutors are cousins.

* * *

The White Palace, Constantinople, March 22, 1636:

Athena scratched a note in her notebook and then looked up at the sight in front of her. She was in the corner of the Cabinet room, which was dominated by a long table. At the head was her father, at the base facing him the Patriarch of Constantinople. At the Emperor’s right hand was the Megas Logothete and at his left was the Megas Domestikos. The other cabinet officials were arrayed further along the table on either side, seated in order of precedence. In the center of the table were several plates with pitchers of wine and carafes of kaffos, with platters bearing cheese slices, mini chicken monems, and bowls with chopped fruit. In the corner opposite Athena were a trio of empty wooden boxes that had originally contained White Tower pizzas. Demetrios preferred to have food with these meetings.

Not that Athena minded. She loved pizza.

“Alright, now on to Tuscany,” Demetrios said, shifting a piece of paper off to his side. “I want another option to Verrazano.”

The Logothete of the Drome, Manuel Tzankares, cleared his throat. “Well, there’s Leonardo de’ Pazzi.”

“Replacing one traitorous twit with another. Not an improvement.”

“Francesco Rucellai? He can be trusted to keep his word.”

“At long distances he’s been mistaken for a beached whale, and is slightly dumber. He’d have to be constantly propped up.”

“How about Niccolo degli Albizzi?”

“Well, he doesn’t break horses when he sits on them. But he’s also related to the Duke of Gandia which could cause problems down the line. So possible but not ideal.” The ‘Duke of Gandia’ was an Aragonese title, but the Kingdom of Aragon was ruled by a cadet branch of the Trastamaras and a vassal-in-all-but-name of Spain.

“How about Galileo Galilei?” Athena suggested.

“The pirate?” the Logothetes tou Genikou, Thomas Vatatzes, asked. The skinny pointy-nosed man, who’d helped Demetrios formulate his differential tax plan, speared a piece of cheese with a toothpick and ate it.

“The pirate,” she repeated. Galileo Galilei was a member of a Florentine family that in Rhomania would’ve been either top-tier mesoi or bottom-tier dynatoi. But he’d made a name for himself at sea, privateering for whoever was interested in his services, and pirating when anyone was not. He was probably one of the most traveled people in the world, having been from Mexico to Japan the long way. His greatest coup had been seizing three Ottoman ships carrying pilgrims to Mecca shortly after the Roman withdrawal, including Iskandar the Great’s aged former nanny. The mighty Shah had paid 100,000 hyperpyra to free her, reportedly from the coin paid to ransom the future Andreas III. The party Galileo had thrown in the Ethiopian port of Zeila was still described with whispers of awe.

“You look through his career,” she continued. “And he is consistently loyal to a contract. Any agreement made with him will be kept, provided we keep up our end as well.”

“And make sure there’s no expiration,” Demetrios replied, but smiling a bit.

“Definitely. But we already have contacts with him.” Galileo had returned to Tuscany and invested in land and businesses with his…earnings, but had been one of the most prolific Livorno smugglers during the war so far.

“He’s a faithful Catholic,” the Patriarch mused. This was Jeremias II Tranos, who’d replaced Isidore III, the Patriarch who’d been the staunch ally of the Lady Elizabeth while Andreas III’s Empress, who’d died in 1631. As Hegoumenos of the Monastery of the Theotokos of Bessai on Mount Galesion, he’d drastically improved the monastery’s finances by imitating agricultural innovations pioneered at the Sweet Waters. The duck souvlaki they served to pilgrims were famous throughout the Empire now. Personally though the new Patriarch preferred to be the astronomer in his spare time.

“But he has absolutely no loyalty to Pope Paul IV, not after that whole thing with Celeste.” That was the pen name of Galileo’s daughter, who’d done some impressive research on sunspots and then run afoul of the Inquisition. She’d gotten off with just an order to cease writing, largely thanks to the Archbishop of Siena who’d been subsidizing her research in the first place. But the whole affair had really irritated Celeste’s father.

“Good,” Demetrios replied. “Manuel, what do you think?”

“He’ll need some propping up in the beginning; he doesn’t have much of a powerbase in Firenze proper. But the Kaisarissa is right; he can be relied upon if we can make an agreement with him.”

“Very well, please see if you can do so. And if Verrazano happens to fall off his horse one day and break something important, that would be nice too.”

“I think I’ll get volunteers for that at the Livorno station.”

“Not surprised.” The Emperor looked down at the page in front of him. “Well, gentlemen, I believe that is everything.” A pause. “Very well, this meeting is concluded. Father?”

The Patriarch gave a closing prayer and the officials rose, gave their bows first to Demetrios and then a shallower one to Athena, and then left. Athena was about to get up herself when her father spoke. “Nicely done.”

“Thank you, father.”

“Inspired choice. I think he’ll do nicely.” A pause. “They’re also getting more used to you.”

“I noticed that.”

Another pause; Athena took a drink of wine. “Do you ever wish you’d been born a man?” Athena sputtered, some wine flying from her lips.

She cleaned herself up and looked at him. “Did you time that question?” she asked suspiciously.

“Well, yes, since you made it easy.” He smiled slyly, Athena returning it, but then her father gave out two rasping coughs that shook his whole body. He took a drink of wine himself but then raised an eyebrow at her.

“Well, it would certainly make things easier. But…that also means whatever I accomplish is even more impressive because of the greater obstacles.”

“Greater obstacles, yes,” he mused quietly. “You’re going to rule someday.”

“What?”

“Oh, Odysseus will succeed me as Emperor. He’ll reign. But you’ll rule.” He pointed at her. She opened her mouth, then clicked it shut. “You know I’m right.” She nodded. “You know Theodor is a cousin of ours, right?”

“Of course.”

“That means we share the same blood, and the same madness. Odysseus has dreams, big dreams. There’s nothing wrong with that, but Theodor shows what happens when dreams are taken too far. That’s where you come in, to keep the Empire grounded. It’s a great responsibility, but a necessary one.” A pause. “But you’ll do just fine.”

“Are you, are you, speaking as a sorcerer when you say that last sentence?” Given the rumors of his curses, which far predated the fates of Casimir and Theodor, Demetrios III had a bit of a reputation for clairvoyance.

“No, not a sorcerer. Speaking as your father.”


[1] She was the subject of the ‘Heroine of the Empire’ special Patreon update.
 
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Hopefully Odysseus has the good sense to listen to trustworthy advisers, otherwise Athena's job is going to be very difficult. However should this work it could be very good for the Empire to have the best of both an administratively minded ruler and an extremely capable military one. It could be a difficult line to walk but if they pull it off we might see a golden age in this generation.

Ignoring concerns about consanguinity had better not become the norm though, for the Empire's sake.

I also found that bit about the Romans scoffing at the idea of an Emperor of Hispania funny, even if it would be best for the Romans to maintain good relations.
 

Cryostorm

Monthly Donor
So Rhomania will have in this generation what few nation get, a leader that can both inspire men to great feats of valor, and conquest, while also having one to keep the whole thing running smoothly. Even better they both won't see each others as rivals and cause a civil war like what happens a lot in these situations.

I also like the fact that Aragon is slowly being absorbed by Spain, maybe in this TL Iberia will be fully united under one nation.
 
Oh wow Galileo as pirate, maybe instead of dropping rocks from a tower he drops Triunes from ships instead. That'll be a good alternative way to disprove aristotle's gravity compared to to otl.
 
However in 1639 she has another son who is named Demetrios after his grandfather, much to the irritation of history students.
I'm going to pity the history majors and students of this timeline, not only do they have to deal with the Andreas but now the ever growing list of folks named Demetrios too. That incident with the students was hilarious, I'd have hated to be the professor of that class when that occured.

Also Galileo as a pirate is badass, we still get glimpses of his OTL stuff in his own daughter's work but I like how he makes his fortune as a privater here. I bet they might do a movie about him sometime in the future. Galileo in POTC, now that would be a hilarious sight.
 
Herakleios and Sophia are to be married when they come of age; Demetrios is ignoring the consanguinity issues in the name of ‘gathering the bloodlines’, given the weight of dynastic claim carried by Alexandros Drakos. He wants that tied into the Imperial line to avoid any dynastic debates in the future.
I understand the logic here behind Demetrios's actions - tie the lines together so down the line a Drakos doesn't take over the throne. I'm worried that the eventual child will be TTL Charles II of Spain. Charles was far more inbred than this child will be (seriously, take a look at his family tree) but the risk is still there that this child/children will either A - not survive to adulthood or B - be diminished in some capacity due to inbreeding. The problem with absolute monarchies is that they're generally only as strong as their monarch. Hopefully this eventual child, if he/she takes the throne, is hale and hearty.
 
I understand the logic here behind Demetrios's actions - tie the lines together so down the line a Drakos doesn't take over the throne. I'm worried that the eventual child will be TTL Charles II of Spain. Charles was far more inbred than this child will be (seriously, take a look at his family tree) but the risk is still there that this child/children will either A - not survive to adulthood or B - be diminished in some capacity due to inbreeding. The problem with absolute monarchies is that they're generally only as strong as their monarch. Hopefully this eventual child, if he/she takes the throne, is hale and hearty.
Its only first cousins, and Charles II had multiple generations of inbreeding to get to that point. *Insert future Emperor* will probably be fine. Of course I could be wrong and said Emperor is a insane psychopath. Alexia I and Nikephorus IV combined would be terrifying.
 
Its only first cousins, and Charles II had multiple generations of inbreeding to get to that point. *Insert future Emperor* will probably be fine. Of course I could be wrong and said Emperor is a insane psychopath. Alexia I and Nikephorus IV combined would be terrifying.
I have a soft spot for Nikephoros IV personally but I see your point.
 
In many cultures first cousin marriages are expected.
Not at all in any Christian cultures though. Rulers can sometimes get away with it for practical reason such as Demetrios' concerns. Even still it raises quite a few eyebrows. What happened with the Habsburgs only reinforces the idea that it is bad policy in general, and that inbreeding is taboo for a reason.
 
Not at all in any Christian cultures though. Rulers can sometimes get away with it for practical reason such as Demetrios' concerns. Even still it raises quite a few eyebrows. What happened with the Habsburgs only reinforces the idea that it is bad policy in general, and that inbreeding is taboo for a reason.
True but the Hapsburgs did it because of the reformation thinning out suitable marriages in Germany and North Europe and their marriage into so many other dynasties before then didn’t help matters. This is likely just a one time thing to secure the dynastic line for the Romans.
 
Is an update coming for the largest cities of the empire, its ethnic groups, the relations between the despotates etc, also how is Japan doing with its Christianization efforts it has been left a bit ambiguous
 
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