An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Thank you so much for putting up with my never ending flurry of questions lmao this Timeline is just so fascinating that its on my mind all day
Don't worry about it, you can't reasonably be expected to answer every single question that pops up in this thread. For me at least, general responses like this are fine.
I cosign this answer. The answers you do give are more than adequate.

Long-term will Japan be considered part of the "Greater West" given their Orthodoxy and ties to Rhomania?
Thanks you all.

@Curtain Jerker, see below regarding Japan. The answer to the question lumps in better there.

At that point, would OTL conceptions of 'The West' even really be applicable, or arise to begin with?
It's not. That's why he used the "greater west" term that's been coined before to describe advanced non-west European nations. It's a somewhat self-absorbed term to be used by the west, mostly Triunes for begrudging acceptance of a political reality with a sort of 'seperate but equal' mentality that still somewhat treats them as inferior.

This would include Rhome, though they would certainly say they are more than advanced enough that such a designation as the periphery of Western civilization is idiotic, especially considering they control the birthplace of it, As well as Egypt and Ethiopia, I think also the Russian states too. In this regard Japan certainly would be included in this definition for the same reason as they were included among the great powers of the late 19th century. Although being Christian would make it how much easier pill to swallow for westerners.
Aren't the Ottomans also considered part of the West TTL?
Depends on who you're asking of course. Though I was under the impression much of the definition is tied to Christianity.
There is still the concept of the ‘west’ that is similar in construct to OTL, a sort-of secular descendant of the concept of Latin Christendom. The assumption that ‘west=best’ that often accompanies it IOTL is much more questionable ITTL (which is one of the goals of the TL).

The ‘Greater West’ idea can vary from person to person. Some’s ‘Greater West’ may just be the Latin West plus Rhomania, while others might include all of the Eastern Orthodox, while others may also add Ethiopia into the mix. For really broad-minded people, Japan might squeak in because of Orthodoxy, but geographically it doesn’t make any sense to include it in the West, and its culture is still very much ‘eastern’. The Ottomans are similar, but with longer odds. Geographically they make more sense and are more likely to know and make references to ancient classics (Andreas and Osman were making references to Alexander the Great when they met on the Plains of Nineveh), but they are Muslim. The closest OTL analogy I would think of ‘is Turkey part of Europe?’

Do we have any Images of our Kaiser, Odysseus yet?
If not could this match his description perhaps?
I have a hard time finding images I feel can work for TTL. Most of the time OTL images just seem off for some reason, typically the clothing. Anyone wearing a powdered wig is out automatically, and clean-shaven individuals don’t work for Romans. There have been times when I’ve found a nice naval picture that I’d love to use, but I can’t explain why a Roman warship is flying the Union Jack.

Having said all that, that image works well for Odysseus, albeit around 1640 or so when he’s older. He has dark skin, since he’s half-Ethiopian.
 
The Indus and Central Asia
Holding the Middle: The Indus Valley and Central Asia

West of the Sikh Confederacy, in Rajasthan, Gujarat, and the Indus Valley, there are no greater powers, only a shifting kaleidoscope of petty Rajas and Emirs. The closest thing to a hegemon is Ethiopia, via its enclave centered on Thatta and Hyderabad. Periodic columns combined with a river flotilla make forays up the Indus, forcing tribute from local lords, but the submission lasts exactly as long as the Ethiopians are present and no longer. The Ethiopians lack the resources to force a more durable and widespread authority, much to their annoyance. They had hoped that Thatta could be a major trade port but the chaotic political landscape has brought commerce to a shrieking halt.

Many of the states pay lip service to being vassals of Vijayanagar, but nobody is fooled by the pretensions, including Venkata Raya. It is a cheap source of prestige for everyone involved, but otherwise meaningless. Of a decidedly more tangible nature is the complete collapse of Ottoman power still left in the region after Ibrahim’s defeat at the hands of Venkata Raya.

In 1634 a charismatic Afghan warlord took Kabul from its Ottoman garrison, a devastating blow to Ottoman authority in the eastern marches of the empire. However the division of spoils proved unsatisfactory to some of the warlord’s underlings, including his two brothers, the ensuing quarrel quickly escalating into gunfire. The Afghan infighting, still unresolved two years later, means that they are unable to capitalize on their capture of Kabul.

However Ibrahim is not in a position to take advantage. The war with the Romans has left him practically bankrupt, meaning he can’t pay any army he would send, while the Afghans don’t have the wealth to make a ‘the pay is your loot’ policy practical. Furthermore for the sake of the Ottoman economy and exchequer the Shah needs to demobilize many of his men. The Qizilbash and Janissary infantry all supplement their peacetime pay with side jobs, whether as small merchants, artisans, or growing vegetable plots. The Azabs also are prominent components of the economies of their local areas, with farms and businesses that need to be managed. The mass and long-term mobilization of these men for the war has left a hole in the Ottoman economy and so Ibrahim needs them back at their fields and shops. (His father had faced similar problems, but his victorious and conquering armies brought back plunder which compensated for losses in production.)

With the loss of Kabul, the land route to Ottoman India via the Khyber Pass is cut. The only other land route would be from Kandahar via the Khojak and Bolan Passes, but those deposit the traveler on the lower Indus, far to the south of the Ottoman sliver of the Punjab. There would then be a long march upcountry through unfriendly terrain. Furthermore, a good way to make Venkata Raya care about what’s happening along the Indus would be to send an Ottoman army marching through non-Ottoman Indian territory.

The governor at Bhakkar, the capital of the Ottoman Punjab, is Alemdar Mustafa Pasha. Taking advantage of his newfound isolation and Ibrahim’s inability to project power, he has turned himself from provincial governor to independent warlord. He maintains authority over the former province through a mix of the Ottoman garrison that sides with him, some Afghan mercenaries, and local levies. Controlling the area between the Indus and Chenab Rivers, he is the most significant of the local lords in western India.

North of the mountains, events are proceeding much better from Ibrahim’s perspective. Theodoros I Laskaris, King of Khazaria and Siberia, is dead.

Outside of Russia, Theodoros is mainly remembered for when, as a prince, he seized Vladimir and tried and failed to suborn the Zemsky Sobor, the direct catalyst for the sundering of the Rus. However in his middle-age, when he became King of Khazaria, he proved himself to be an exceptional military commander, although because these exploits took place in Central Asia, people then and now have largely ignored them. Devastating the Uzbeks and Oirats, forcing the cities of the Tarim Basin into vassalage, in just five years he turned Khazaria into the clear titan of the central steppe.

However on January 2, 1634, he died and his steppe empire collapsed with him. The tribes of the steppe and the cities of the basin promptly threw off their vassalage and his son, Basil Laskaris, has been unable to re-impose Khazar hegemony. One reason is that he does not seem to have the military acumen of his father. A second reason is that Theodoros’ victories, while impressive, had also been expensive both in men and money, and it had been a strain even while Theodoros was alive keeping everyone in check.

Another reason is that China is once again a major player in the geopolitics of Central Asia. United under the Zeng dynasty, the conquests by the Yuan and the Tieh, as well as the serious damage done by the Later Yuan, have made it absolutely clear to the Chinese that managing the steppe is an absolutely key priority. (Admittedly, earlier Chinese history made that a clear lesson already, but events over the past few centuries have made it especially explicit.)

Therefore any rebel against Khazar dominion can count on Chinese clandestine support, the Zeng providing both money and military equipment. The Chinese have nothing against the Khazars personally, but the Chinese will not, if they have anything to say about it, tolerate any one power dominating all of the steppe. Khazaria, on the death of Theodoros I, is the power closest to fitting the bill and thus Khazaria must be humbled.

Chinese forces have pushed as far west as the Jade Gate, establishing a garrison there. The cities of the Tarim Basin have all asserted their independence, with the Chinese supporting them all while simultaneously making sure each stays small. It would not be ideal for Khazar dominion to be replaced by another hegemon.

North of the Tien Shan events do not proceed as ideally from the Zeng’s perspective, the humbled Dzungar Khanate promptly regaining the ground lost to Theodoros. However the Khans, who often encamp at the ruins of fallen Urumqi, lack the other dominions held by the Khazars, so even so they are much less of a threat than Theodoros was in his prime.

Basil Laskaris survives these humiliations, although he seeks compensation in other areas. Siberian expansion has been proceeding at a steady pace, although slowed during his father’s reign by his Central Asian focus. He invests more into these efforts, financing exploratory missions as traders and trappers proceed across the vast reaches of the north. They will bear impressive fruit in just a few years, reaching the Pacific Ocean in 1640 and establishing Okhotsk eleven years later.

In the opposite direction, Basil is immediately supportive of the new Zemsky Sobor, his father’s death being a godsend in this regard. The other principalities have not forgotten the actions of then Prince Theodoros, but do not hold the sins of the father against the son.

One consequence of the collapse of Khazar power in Central Asia is the first contact between China and the Ottoman Empire since the days of the Tieh. Emissaries from both polities meet at Yarkand in the Tarim Basin, with an Ottoman delegation later traveling overland all the way to the Chinese capital of Luoyang. It is a most fruitful meeting for both parties as they share common interests. Both seek to keep the steppe fragmented and weak.

Both also consider the Romans to be enemies. The Ottoman rationale is obvious. Meanwhile the Chinese have many grievances with the Romans and seek to weaken their power in eastern waters. The most obvious means of doing so would be to attack and destroy Pyrgos. However the trade there, particularly with the steadily growing flow of Mexican silver, has already grown to be too lucrative for the Zeng to wish to destroy. Well aware of the geopolitics of western Eurasia, the Chinese see supporting the Ottomans as an excellent means of siphoning Roman strength away from East Asia.

The Ottomans present gifts which the Chinese style as tribute, then presenting counter-gifts of greater value. This is the start of an overland trade between Persia and China using the old Silk Road route, a valuable boost to the Ottoman economy especially in its current strained state. The volume and speed of trade is low due to the transportation difficulties, but unlike the maritime routes dominated by other powers, Persia and China control the narrative to the benefit of both. The staggeringly impressive fortifications of Mosul erected in the last years of the 1630s would not have been possible without the revenue derived from this overland trade.

The development of the overland trade is a blow to Triune merchants working in the Ottoman Empire, who ferry goods from China via the maritime routes. This doesn’t bother Ibrahim all that much. The performance of the Triune-developed Ottoman navy did not match up to the promises he was given, significantly cooling the Shah’s opinion of the Triple Monarchy. That said, it does not destroy the Triune-Ottoman alliance. Both parties still have need for each other.
 
Just the catch I was waiting for.
Not only will rome have to deal with Persia, but possible support from china.
Not to mention the triple monarchy.
Can't wait for the Persian campaign to start.
 
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The staggeringly impressive fortifications of Mosul erected in the last years of the 1630s would not have been possible without the revenue derived from this overland trade.
Odysseus and company look like they have their work cut out for them once hostilities resume in the early 1640s. Both sides know that Mosul is where the Rhoman hammer blow is going to fall.
 
Wow this war with the Ottomans is going to be intense now that they don't have any Russians at their border Rhome is going to have to do all of the pushing. Fantastic update as always it gave some real amazing insight into asian geopolitics ttl!
Also here is the new and improved map, as always if you see something that looks inaccurate lmk and I'd be happy to fix it :)
 

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Arrix85

Donor
Isn't Mosul occupied by Rome in late 1630s?
No, (I've checked, and that sent me into a rabbit hole, re-reading from the Demetrian Agreement to the battle of Thessaloniki) but the border is VERY close. B444 has stated than Mosul would be under siege in less than a week.
 
I can't recall, do the Romans have an alliance with the Khazars? Just as there might be an easy way to diplomatically introduce them to Roman authority. Effectively provide them with the commanders and material to run the next Ottoman War in the north, and further to create a pseudo-Despotate of the Steppe under the Khazars.

It is interesting to see that the Steppe is seen as a significant strategic arena for major powers. That could be really interesting in the future, as we could have 4 external players, (Russia, Rhomanion, Ottomans, China) manipulating regional players, or potentially those regional players using this manipulation to their advantage.
 
In the opposite direction, Basil is immediately supportive of the new Zemsky Sobor, his father’s death being a godsend in this regard. The other principalities have not forgotten the actions of then Prince Theodoros, but do not hold the sins of the father against the son.
Guess this will be the first step to the reunification of the Rus. It'd be interesting to see who will eventually be crowned the new Great King (or will they adopt Tsar?).

Having the Romans continue to accumulate foreign thrones is neat, but isn't there a new big player in Lithuania? The Laskaris return to the throne definitely isn't a done deal.
 
If Basil has reached the Pacific Ocean, it won't be long before he finds the Japanese. How soon before we find a Orthodox alliance of Siberia and Japan ?

China might find that development to be detrimental to its interests.
 
On the topic of the despotates it seems there is a consensus that fully integrating them is an awful idea for Rhome however there are measures that can be taken to make sure they stay tied to Rhome. One of them seems to already be happening which is the encouragement of foreign immigration into the Despotates. Getting a large non coptic population in egypt that is loyal to Rhome (ala the Nile Germans) means that if Egypt tries to go its own way the amount of internal strife will be able to drag it down enough that Rhome will be able to reestablish order quite easily. Another issue with the Despotates is the lack of a fully united foreign policy. However ,I think there is a Goldylocks zone that can satisfy both Rhoman and Despotic (prolly not the right word but imma use it anyway) interests and that would be using the otl model of the Kingdom of the Netherlands which contains the Netherlands itself and It's Caribbean possessions which have a large degree of formal and cultrual independence. This gives a fully united foreign policy that also allows a large degree of Autonomy. Just a thought though lmk what you guys n gals think
 

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On the topic of the despotates it seems there is a consensus that fully integrating them is an awful idea for Rhome however there are measures that can be taken to make sure they stay tied to Rhome. One of them seems to already be happening which is the encouragement of foreign immigration into the Despotates. Getting a large non coptic population in egypt that is loyal to Rhome (ala the Nile Germans) means that if Egypt tries to go its own way the amount of internal strife will be able to drag it down enough that Rhome will be able to reestablish order quite easily. Another issue with the Despotates is the lack of a fully united foreign policy. However ,I think there is a Goldylocks zone that can satisfy both Rhoman and Despotic (prolly not the right word but imma use it anyway) interests and that would be using the otl model of the Kingdom of the Netherlands which contains the Netherlands itself and It's Caribbean possessions which have a large degree of formal and cultrual independence. This gives a fully united foreign policy that also allows a large degree of Autonomy. Just a thought though lmk what you guys n gals think
I have to ask.

What is wrong with the way Rhome is currently set up with Despotates simply large autonomous zones? They even have their own army and monarchy. B444's basically given us a Tetrarchy without one of the Augusti.
 
I have to ask.

What is wrong with the way Rhome is currently set up with Despotates simply large autonomous zones? They even have their own army and monarchy. B444's basically given us a Tetrarchy without one of the Augusti.
Right now nothing really but once Rhome starts to fall behind during the second industrial revolution I think the lack of a united foreign policy will start to bite them especially in Italy. Im not sure exaclty how it'll go though so this system very well could keep working
 
However the one big hole in my argument is getting Sicily and Carthage to agree to giving up their foreign policy without a fight
 
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