An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

reminds me of William the Bastard's brother Bishop Odo whose weapon of choice was a rather large mace
There are quite a few warrior bishops from the middle ages. Some were legendary like Turpin, bishop of Reims, who likely was not likely not one of the twelve peers of Charlemagne. Most were crusaders like Rudolph, the prince-bishop of Liege, and the bishops of Chartres and Reims in the Albigensian crusade. But plenty served regular army roles too, especially if like Bone Breaker they were also a secular Lord, such as Thomas "wall 'gainst the Scots" de Hatfield, Bishop and Earl-Palatine of Durham.
 

Cryostorm

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reminds me of William the Bastard's brother Bishop Odo whose weapon of choice was a rather large mace
Yeah, though if I recall correctly part of that is because most Catholic clergy that joined campaigns used maces because they weren't supposed to shed blood so no using edged weapons, forget that maces can be pretty bloody themselves.
 
Yeah, though if I recall correctly part of that is because most Catholic clergy that joined campaigns used maces because they weren't supposed to shed blood so no using edged weapons, forget that maces can be pretty bloody themselves.
I suppose this is why Clerics in D&D always use maces.
 
This is interesting- I wonder what the Orthodox position is. I remember my priest once told me he could not even slaughter a goat, but at the battle of Kulikovo the Russian champion was an Orthodox monk who had received special dispensation from St. Sergius of Radonezh to fight in the battle.
 
On another note, without Turkish expansions into Europe there won't be a Siege of Vienna to show off those Winged Hussars. That really bums my history nerd side out so I'm now gonna keep my fingers crossed for a Siege of Munich to get broken by the Poles. Catholic Europe must stand strong against the Protestant hordes.
 

Cryostorm

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I suppose this is why Clerics in D&D always use maces.
Yep, the other reason is that most priests and monks, the religious kind, were also poor but sometimes were in the thick of it during the crusades and other religious conflicts and maces were not only cheap and useful against heavier armor but also need less training to be so, at least compared to using a sword, axe, or spear.
 
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Cryostorm

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On another note, without Turkish expansions into Europe there won't be a Siege of Vienna to show off those Winged Hussars. That really bums my history nerd side out so I'm now gonna keep my fingers crossed for a Siege of Munich to get broken by the Poles. Catholic Europe must stand strong against the Protestant hordes.
Don't worry, the Polish peace treaty, where they provide 4000 hussars to Rhomania, already ensures they will be facing the Ottomans in the next war. This time it will be even more epic for them as they will be on the offense somewhere in Mesopotamia.
 
In a characteristic battle at this stage, on September 15, Ferdinand catches three Triune tours strung out along a road and isolated from their compatriots. In the course of two hours he rolls over them, inflicting sixteen hundred casualties for two hundred and thirty of his own. The sixteen hundred Triune losses are made good within ten days, while each one of his losses is irreplaceable.
Great callback to First Ruse here. Excellent update. I'll pour one out for the Bone-Breaker - he was one of my favorite characters in the entire story.
 
Some titles such as Bone-Breaker should only given out once in human history.
Like Scourge of the Latins, or Demetrius's Vengeance. Or better, Shadow of Timur.
Yeah, it’s one of those things that’s cool the first time, meh the second time, and justification for murder the third time.

It strikes me as pretty Mazdaki.
Didn’t think of that connection. But then there’s nothing new under the sun.

Yeah, though if I recall correctly part of that is because most Catholic clergy that joined campaigns used maces because they weren't supposed to shed blood so no using edged weapons, forget that maces can be pretty bloody themselves.
I still don’t understand how medieval clerics were able to make that argument with a straight face.

This is interesting- I wonder what the Orthodox position is. I remember my priest once told me he could not even slaughter a goat, but at the battle of Kulikovo the Russian champion was an Orthodox monk who had received special dispensation from St. Sergius of Radonezh to fight in the battle.
The ‘warrior bishop’ is very much a Latin Catholic thing. The Byzantines historically never had anything similar and were quite horrified when they saw Latin examples. There’s a fairly famous passage in the Alexiad where Anna Komnena talks with amazement at a Latin priest who is also skilled at arms.

I know much less about Russian Orthodox ideas, but the OTL Byzantines were very much against such ideas.

On another note, without Turkish expansions into Europe there won't be a Siege of Vienna to show off those Winged Hussars. That really bums my history nerd side out so I'm now gonna keep my fingers crossed for a Siege of Munich to get broken by the Poles. Catholic Europe must stand strong against the Protestant hordes.
Don't worry, the Polish peace treaty, where they provide 4000 hussars to Rhomania, already ensures they will be facing the Ottomans in the next war. This time it will be even more epic for them as they will be on the offense somewhere in Mesopotamia.
The OOC reason for that clause in the treaty was so I could do some fun and exotic with Polish hussars in the future.

Great callback to First Ruse here. Excellent update. I'll pour one out for the Bone-Breaker - he was one of my favorite characters in the entire story.
He was a fun one.
 
The Triple Monarchy
The Triple Monarchy of France, England, and Ireland

Unlike Spain, where the Kingdoms of Castile and Portugal were joined in constitutional and not just personal union, and like Scandinavia, the imperial title of ‘Empire of the United Kingdoms’ masked a more disjointed picture. For the sake of appearance and convenience, Henri Plantagenet could style himself as Emperor Henri II, but to his subjects he was the King of France, England, or Ireland, depending on the subjects in question.

This was not as great a disadvantage as it might appear at first glance. The Holy Roman Emperors had ruled over a far more fragmented realm, and while Triune grandees could be difficult, none had the might to be an Ottokar. Rhomania was more centralized and organized, but Constantinople required the Despotates to match the demographic resources of the Triple Monarchy.

Henri’s subjects number about 22.75 million, comfortably above the Roman heartland’s pre-war 18 million. Of these, 15.5 million are French, 4.5 million England, and the remainder Irish.

As is suggested by the substantial population difference, the French are by far the dominant people in the Triple Monarchy, furnishing the bulk of the manpower, material, and money for Triune endeavors. It is not a coincidence that the commanders of all the major Triune armies in action in 1635 are all French nobility.

France is not as unitary, however, as the themes of the Roman heartland or even the principalities of Bavaria or Saxony in particular. In many ways it is still a medieval agglomeration of territories, with different regions speaking languages barely intelligible to ‘outsiders’, with varying levels of privileges and taxes, as well as internal tariffs on goods passing from one province to another. One common issue is salt smuggling, as while all regions have a salt tax, the rates can vary massively.

The Triune monarchs are not blind to the disadvantages of this, but attempts to streamline have all failed against pushback from local powers. There have been some successes though, with some tariffs being moderated, and while efforts to broaden the tax base have mostly been nullified, fake exemptions have been culled from the rolls. These financial reforms have also been combined with promotion of manufactures and the merchant marine, the construction of infrastructure projects, and the establishment of national banks and stock exchanges.

All of these reforms are products of the flurry of activity that came after the utter humiliation of the Second Rhine War. The First Rhine War, fought from 1574 to 1578 under Henri I, had ended in a major victory over the Lotharingians, seizing the Pas de Calais and Burgundy proper. However the Second Rhine War from 1609 to 1619 (there was a lull in the middle due to peasant rebellions and bad harvests) ended in disaster, with Triune armies shattered by a younger Blucher and Bone-Breaker and German horse raiding the outskirts of Paris and King’s Harbor. No land had been lost, but the massive indemnity, which proportional to King’s Harbor income was higher than the tribute the Romans paid to Iskandar the Great, was a most bitter pill to swallow.

It was determined that such a thing should never happen again. The years after 1619 had seen a flurry of reforms. Aside from the financial measures, more schools to train officials as well as a military academy were founded, with increased anti-corruption efforts. New and improved artillery and muskets were developed, while regular uniforms for soldiers started to be produced in what the mid-seventeenth century would consider mass quantities. It is all these measures that have allowed Henri II to field an array of power that would’ve amazed even his father.

It is not just in military and financial fields in which the Triple Monarchy is blossoming. French is, along with Greek, the great scientific and cultural language of Christendom. Italian, which dominated in the late medieval and early modern, has lost its primacy. Lotharingian botanists, who are pioneers in the field, publish their works in French to ensure a wider audience. Triune art and music is appreciated and respected across Latin Europe, regardless of political feelings towards King’s Harbor.

The Kingdom of England is set apart from this. It is its own separate kingdom with its own administration. The English peerage is its own category distinct from the French nobility, while the English Parliament retains its rights and privileges, including the most important one of approving taxes for the crown. While Triune monarchs visit on special occasions such as when they want to impose their will during a particularly important Parliament session, most of the time monarchial authority is represented by a Lord Lieutenant of England. Sometimes this position is filled by a junior member of the Plantagenet family, other times by a prominent and trusted English grandee. It has been made quite clear that on pain of riot, a Frenchman cannot occupy this position.

The Kingdom of Ireland is in a similar setup, with an Irish peerage, Parliament, and Lord Lieutenant, although none of them are viewed as impressively as English or, better yet, French equivalents. The Triune monarchs generally find the Irish Parliament easier to manage than the English as the Anglo-Irish and Gaelic Irish rarely get along, making it easy for the crown to divide and rule. But at the same time Ireland is usually a very distant third in terms of Triune priorities and attentions.

The secular administration mirrors the religious, with each kingdom having its own national Bohmanist church, while the monarch is the Supreme Head of each church, just as personally he is monarch of each kingdom. However the official doctrine of each church is identical, with questions of theology usually being settled by councils with representatives of each church, although the French delegates typically vastly outnumber their English and Irish counterparts. Furthermore the Triune monarchs have a much easier time filling bishoprics with personnel from outside the kingdom compared to secular offices, and many a French cleric has found themselves posted in England. In this way the three churches on paper appear more as one church in reality.

Despite the administrative separation of the kingdoms, there is substantial interchange. The London-King’s Harbor-Paris conduit has often been described as the axis around which the Triple Monarchy turns. Cross-Channel trade is substantial, because while tariffs exist on goods passing between kingdoms, the rates are kept fairly low and there haven’t been any Anglo-French wars to cause disruption of trade. While King’s Harbor lacks the population of London or Paris, the presence of the court means a high demand for foodstuffs and manufactures is always present. Being the Gascon wine merchant who supplies the Triune crown is a very lucrative business and growing demand for Arletian wares in King’s Harbor and elsewhere in the Triune realm is a crucial factor in the Ocean faction’s friendly views of the Triple Monarchy.

French is commonly known amongst the merchants of southern England, particularly in London, given the need to communicate with customers in France. Many mercantile and noble families in England have married into the families of their opposite numbers in France, as a means of gaining financial partners and advantages. As in the days of the early Normans, there is many a noble family that has holdings on both sides of the Channel. However, in nearly all of these cases the French element is dominant. The French market, because of its sheer size and the presence of King’s Harbor and the court, simply is the more lucrative one. London is a massive market by itself, but the second-largest city in England, Norwich, has only 22000 people. In contrast, France has eight cities that size or larger.

With these marital and mercantile contacts, French culture is spreading in southern England, at least amongst the upper and middle classes, with French art and music appreciated and patronized. Many texts written in French sell well in bookshops in London and most respectable families consider knowledge of French to be essential, in the same way as middle and upper class people in eastern Europe consider Greek to be required learning.

But all this is not to say there is no pushback against this growing French influence. English as a literary language is no slouch. The Ninety Years War that saw the Plantagenets become monarchs of France had helped crystalize English identity, primarily against the French. In the late 1390s, an English noble stating that it was to be expected that his French was poor as he was English did not raise any eyebrows, while it would’ve been considered absurd a century earlier. While those sentiments have faded and the nobility’s linguistics mirror those of the early Plantagenets, they have not been forgotten.

The 1300s had also seen the rise of English vernacular literature which is still going strong three centuries later. While many French texts sell in English bookshops, English texts outnumber them over three to one. While a wealthy wool merchant, noble, or cleric may go and see the latest French opera, they will the next week go and see the newest English play. Although it must be pointed out that many doing so will then consider the French, by virtue of the language, being more ‘high-culture’.

In the north of England however ‘French-ness’ is much less on the ground. Trade in northern England goes mainly to the Low Countries and Scandinavia, not so much to France. A merchant family in York, if they have a royal client, has the monarch in Malmo, not in King’s Harbor. The noble families north of the Humber have also intermarried to a far smaller degree with French nobility than those south of the estuary. There are no bookshops selling French texts in York.

The connections that are growing in northern England are those with Lowland Scotland. The two regions share much in common. Both are part of far larger polities, the power centers of which are far away, different culturally, and which typically ignore the concerns of such ‘peripheral territories’. To the northern English speaker, Scots is far more intelligible than the French spoken even in London, much less in King’s Harbor or Paris.

Another common thread is religion. Bohmanism has been spreading not only in Lotharingia but also in Scotland, and in the latter Bohmanism is often viewed as an act of defiance and assertion of Scottish identity against the staunchly Catholic Malmo. In 1635, at least half of Edinburgh is Bohmanist, and the Earls of Mar, Douglas, Angus, and Argyll all are Bohmanist.

Puritanism has been growing in the Triple Monarchy ever since it first appeared near 1600. Although it is present all across the realm, it is especially strong in northern England, where its disapproval of the official Bohmanist Church is often used as a stand-in for discontent with the Triune monarchy. From there it is also spreading into Scottish Bohmanism. Furthermore while all Puritans share the belief that the official Bohmanist Church is too Catholic, the various Puritan groups do vary in their beliefs, with northern English and Scottish Puritans falling closer together in their beliefs.

For instance, both Puritan groups have sent petitions to their respective Imperial masters protesting the sentencing of people to labor in the New World. Given the high death rates of such laborers, it is effectively life-time slavery and these Puritans, unlike those of Shechem, have little patience with slavery. “To put in chains those whom God created free is a sin.” (These Puritans don’t have an issue with penal labor or temporary servitude, as long as it is temporary-a common limitation mentioned by Puritan pastors is seven years-but it should not ‘consume a life wholly’.)

Also these Puritans do not stop there. These Puritans, unlike their religious cousins in southern England and France, are not active in the ports that support the slave trade. They argue that enslaving Africans is wrong. “They differ in the color of their skin. That is merely because they and their forefathers have dwelled in a land that sees an intense sun. It speaks nothing to the Africans’ character or intelligence. Man looks on the outward appearance; the Lord looks on the heart. The soul of an African is every bit as precious in the eyes of God as the soul of an English child.” The argument of their religious brethren in Shechem that slavery is justified because the slaves are converted to Christianity is rejected. “Faith cannot be delivered on the point of a whip.”

(Modern viewers shouldn’t go too far in praising the enlightenment of these Puritan abolitionists. In regards to native Terranovans, they believe that they need to be converted to Christianity and forced to adopt Triune manners and customs lest they fall back into their ‘heathen ways’.)

Unsurprisingly, both petitions are promptly rejected. To the disappointed petitioners this only serves as more proof that Malmo and King’s Harbor are corrupt and ungodly.

The war fuels further discontent in the north. Off the Low Countries the Triune and Lotharingian fleets do battle with armaments that dwarf those mustered at Thessaloniki, the sound of cannon fire echoing in the streets of London, Antwerp, and King’s Harbor. [1] Honors are evenly matched in these massive naval battles, triple the size of Palmaria. Lotharingian convoys to the east are badly disrupted, but Triune efforts to press attacks on the Lotharingian coast are beaten back.

While the Lotharingian main battle fleet is tied down in these fights, the Lotharingian merchant marine is outfitted for war as privateers swarm out from every Lotharingian sea port and fishing village. They reap a bountiful harvest, striking at every target in range and there are a lot of targets. The most feared are the Dunkirkers, operating fast but heavy-armed vessels that can easily run down and overpower the coasters working the Channel trade. On September 7, a Dunkirker takes down a wine hauler within sight of King’s Harbor, blowing apart a pinnace that tries to intervene for good measure. The Dunkirker is taken five days later off Brittany, but that is not much of a salve for the humiliation. A pair of privateers from the small town of Amsterdam meanwhile sail across the Atlantic where in nine days they take thirty four Triune fishing vessels working the Grand Banks.

In southern England the privateers generally steer clear of attacking land targets. With the Triune fleet nearby there’s too much risk of being cut off while in the act, but in northern England and in Ireland the privateers have much more freedom of movement. With the fleet in the south and the armies in France sucking up manpower at a prodigious rate, there is little to guard against these attacks.

The inhabitants of northern England do have their own defense mechanism. The people attacking them are their former business partners after all, and the Lotharingians are willing to trade instead of raid. The Lotharingians get needed materials while the English get needed money. These trades are, of course, highly illegal and King’s Harbor demands that the Northumbrians cease and desist immediately. This infuriates the Northumbrians. Embargoes against Lotharingia have devastated their pocketbooks, while King’s Harbor demands taxes while offering them little to nothing in protection.

The men of the north have their own ways of getting back though. One merchant, unable to pay for the Lotharingian goods he’s purchased, instead provides intelligence to the privateers. Using said intelligence, a squadron of privateers overruns a convoy of colliers carrying Newcastle coal to London. The coal will be most helpful in Lotharingian hearths and furnaces over the winter. Meanwhile London will be freezing; the Northumbrians consider that a bonus.

In an effort to resolve these issues over smuggling and Lotharingian naval raids, the city of York asks the Earl of Westmorland to meet Henri II. He proceeds to King’s Harbor but when he arrives, he finds out that Henri is at the front, but before he can proceed there is an ‘incident’. Demetrios III is far from the only monarch to have stupid arrogant courtiers.

Apparently some of the French courtiers mocked the Earl for his utterly atrocious French complete with thick accent. Enraged by the insults, the Earl had snarled that he was an Englishman, and thus should not be expected to speak good French. But with his anger, his accent grew worse, which only increased the courtiers’ mockery of him, with the Earl eventually withdrawing humiliated.

It is a scene watched and remembered by Westmorland’s son, the seventeen-year-old Richard Neville. Upon returning to England, it is said that Richard said to his father a phrase growing in usage in Yorkshire: Edinburgh is closer than King’s Harbor.

[1] Londoners during the Anglo-Dutch wars could hear the noise of the sea battles carrying across the water, an experience not matched until the artillery bombardments of the First World War.
 

Cryostorm

Monthly Donor
I still don’t understand how medieval clerics were able to make that argument with a straight face.
Same way the Mongols did with trampling royalty in a carpet avoided spilling royal blood. Less about the actual death and more about the physical gushing, spilling, of blood. Because maces rarely resulted in deep open wounds not much, if any, blood resulted. Very much letter and not spirit of the law.
 

Cryostorm

Monthly Donor
Henri’s subjects number about 22.75 million, comfortably above the Roman heartland’s pre-war 18 million. Of these, 15.5 million are French, 4.5 million England, and the remainder Irish.
It always amazes me how much of a sheer demographic advantage France had over all its competition up to the late nineteenth century. If it wasn't for it's over-powerful vassals and perennial money problems, and the more than occasional anti-French coalitions, it very well could have remade an European Empire.

As is suggested by the substantial population difference, the French are by far the dominant people in the Triple Monarchy, furnishing the bulk of the manpower, material, and money for Triune endeavors. It is not a coincidence that the commanders of all the major Triune armies in action in 1635 are all French nobility.

France is not as unitary, however, as the themes of the Roman heartland or even the principalities of Bavaria or Saxony in particular. In many ways it is still a medieval agglomeration of territories, with different regions speaking languages barely intelligible to ‘outsiders’, with varying levels of privileges and taxes, as well as internal tariffs on goods passing from one province to another. One common issue is salt smuggling, as while all regions have a salt tax, the rates can vary massively.
So is France now more reliable of a income source for the crown? I remember reading that one of the reasons England could go toe to toe with France was that while a good tax season for France would wipe the floor with England's England often had a higher average in yearly tax receipts due to tax evasion and poor administration in France which often resulted in years of underpayment to the military, always a bad thing.
 
And thus begins the path to the War of British secession.
I won't lie, I love the idea of the Triunes collapsing and the Atlantic Isles being part of the Empire of All the North. It fits with an idea of a split Europe.

EoAtN in the North, Roman in the South East, Spainish in the SW, Russian in the East, and (currently) Bohemian in the Centre. Throw in the potential of a collapsed Triunes as a sort of Anti-Emperor, held in place by the HRE and Arles and you've got a Europe with a robust political division, a strong role for a reorganised Germany.

Though the EoAtN would certainly be a peril for Germany, unless they partnered up with each other to contain the Triunes, which would then lead to an interesting situation with Arles partnered with Germany and the EoAtN to stay free of the Triunes too, but also to contain the Romans. Imagine, after all of this, a Roman-Triune alliance that makes sense Geopolitically (if Arles goes Anti-Roman).
 
If the Triunes collapse it looks more likely we'll get an independent Britain that may or may not include Ireland, rather than an England grafted onto the EAN.
 
If the Triunes collapse it looks more likely we'll get an independent Britain that may or may not include Ireland, rather than an England grafted onto the EAN.
I think you'd more likely see an autonomous Northumbria/Danelaw and either an independent, or vassal in England, a return to the days of Wessex and Mercia vs the Rest. Might be that the Triunes keep that part of England in a peace, but based on the update, it sounds like the former Danelaw might well align with the EAN in exchange for local autonomy. It'll be a huge geopolitical win for EAN if they get it, because there is a LOT of coal in those areas. In fact it would effectively double to triple the potential scale of coal production for the EAN. I'm sort of loving the idea of a Pan-North Sea Steamship Fleet, with Calais, the Shetlands, and Copenhagen acting as effectively the naval guards of a North Sea Mare Northstrum
 

Cryostorm

Monthly Donor
And thus begins the path to the War of British secession.
The only problem I see is that they will have a hell of a time maintaining independence if they get it. If the Triunes maintain a hold in Southern England and Ireland then it just requires one bad ruler for them to be reconquered.
 
I think y'all missed the part where Scotland is getting tired of EAN and is becoming increasingly Bohamist. I'm seeing the most likely road as Northern England + Scotland as an independent power with questions as to Southern England and Ireland.
 
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