An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

This isn't going to be relevant for quite awhile, but with the "First-Second-Third-etc Empire" way Rhomanina considers its history, it'd be pretty neat if any future revolutionaries or republicans call for a "Second Republic".
I'd suspect anyone with even a sniff of Republicanism will be lynched on the streets. TTL Republicanism is the complete antithesis of Roman DNA, it has too many connections with Venice and the Fourth Crusade.


Monthly Donor
Not to mention that the Empire had been an actual improvement on the Republic when the switch happened, though the trappings of the Republic was kept for quite some time and a few of which are still hanging on ITTL. The closest I can ever see Rhomania going is a kind of Prussian Constitutionalism with an even stronger executive. I could honestly see Rhome viewing actual democracies the same way the US views Communist nations.
Fair points all but for trade keep in mind the industrial Revolution and the introduction of the potato brought a boom in the population of Europe. More people means more clothes are needed, more food needs to be eaten, and more luxuries are desired. Regardless of if the trade system develops more quickly it isn't going to mean much until you reach industrial level population density in Europe to create a market demand of the size I'm describing.
Yes a population boom and new tech were the main causes of the trade boom in OTL. Perhaps, new tech and an earlier industrial revolution ITTL will lead to a larger middle class and be enough to set off an explosion of trade earlier.
Yes a population boom and new tech were the main causes of the trade boom in OTL. Perhaps, new tech and an earlier industrial revolution ITTL will lead to a larger middle class and be enough to set off an explosion of trade earlier.
It's not likely to come that much earlier in the grand scheme of things even if it does. What's a few decades on the timescale of centuries?
Has Rhomaion in the East made any reforms or improvements ever since they lost to the Spanish at Ternate and TIdore?
The elevation of Pyrgos and Pahang to Katepanates of their own are after those events. The losses weren’t attributed to flaws in doctrine or organization, simply material constraints. Their losses came shortly after the siege and battle of Pyrgos in which the Romans lost heavily in all-important ships.

I wonder if the population of Greek speaking Christians in Rhomania in the east will eclipse the population of the mainland in the future if they're able to conquer most of Island asia
Almost certainly the Christians will - at least if modern demographic trends are mimicked - Greek less so I expect. It really depends on how widely the language can spread as a lingua franca - for that it'd need to be competing with Malay linguistically, which I doubt it does yet. Heck, I doubt it is more widely spoken than Javanese, and that'd be no small feat either.

Though you had me realise, Indonesia grows a staggering amount of rice to my knowledge. I wonder if the Romans might ever start importing rice from the east once bulk shipping makes that practical
Certainly if you took modern demographics, Japan + Philippines is a big population bloc of its own, especially if you throw in a good-sized minority in Malaysia and Indonesia.

I have a hard time seeing Greek outpacing Malay. A Malay who wants to enter into government service or be a prominent merchant needs Greek, but there’s 50 peasants who don’t need a word of Greek to get by for every one of him. It might become a ‘second official’ language in the way that English is in India though.

I'd laugh if the Romans treat rice, palm oil, and other agricultural goods as being the most important piece of the empire well into the 20th Century regardless of the significance of fossil fuel or gas reserves in the area.
Only really Java grew rice with anything resembling a surplus. The rest of the islands imported food from Java or lived on subsistence.

If the Rhomans are going to see rice as an important import they'll need to step up their presence down there, as the western third of Java is in the sway of Spain under the Sultanate of Sunda so exports from the island are split. The Rhomans also expressed more interest in spices than rice, much like the OTL Dutch. If history is anything to go by then Java's fertile farmland will get transitioned over to Coffee, Cotton, Indigo, and Sugar among other cash crops either slowly over time or quickly like in the massively destructive Cultivation System the Dutch implemented in the 19th century.
Dating back to when, though? The Indonesian Archipelago was vastly, vastly less populous until very recently, historically speaking. We're not talking about China or Japan here. There would have been a lot more scope to grow basic foodstuffs for export in 1600 than there was by 1950.

That said, I agree that it wouldn't be anywhere near the most profitable use of the land. Even with the Romans having interbred there and regarding the locals as fellow citizens instead of subjects, there's still a lot of scope to increase production of export crops without devastating the local people and ecology as IOTL.
Since at least the middle ages.

The geology of Java is volcanic and somewhat flat, unlike Sumatra, and has much arable land. The rest of Indonesia has significantly low population density because of food insecurity. Rice is still grown there but plantations for spices didn't exist until the colonial era. Spice production was the effort of gatherers in the jungle or some small planters, depending on the spice of course. This is the antithesis of landed agriculture, and the landscapes that make for good spices don't make for good rice growing without significant alteration to the ecosystem. Java's been the breadbasket of the East Indies and made its niche the plantation agriculture that would come much later, but applied to foodstuffs. Javan rice fed Indonesia in the colonial period and Javans even before then were the largest population group in Indonesia due to their plentiful food supply, which they in turn traded for spices alongside other goods they produced in plantations such as banana, palm, coconut, and cotton.

You can get a quick and dirty summary of some of that here where I've timestamped:
Once oil and rubber get going, they’ll blow past agricultural goods in a second. They’re too essential for modern tech.

Also that point about Java being a key provider of foodstuffs (I would add Bali to that, as the island is rather small but supported a surprisingly large, for its size, premodern population) is going to be an important factor, so keep a pin in that.

Also @Evilprodigy, I have to echo Frame’s comment about your contributions to discussions.

I could see Malay becoming a second language of the Rhomania in the West while Greek does the same in the East, with it being required to enter government service. Maybe some enterprising Orthodox priest converts Malay into the Greek alphabet the same way Vietnam switched to Latin script.
It might become like the classical Roman Empire with its two main languages of Latin in the west and Greek in the east, except now it’s Greek in the west and Malay in the east.

Given the Orthodox Church’s rule-of-thumb of translating the Bible and church texts into native languages, a Malay script with Greek letters is highly probable.

“Ultimate Ocean”, such an epically fitting name.
I want a grand epic name; it deserves it.

What are the demographics of Greek-speaking peoples anyway? I figure everyone from Greece to Bulgaria must speak it as a first language by now, but how's that spread to Anatolia and other territories?
Note: Defining Greek-speakers as those for whom it is a first language.

For Anatolia, the north and south coasts and the western third are all almost entirely Greek-speaking, save for Cilicia which has a lot of Armenians. The central plateau and the east are a mix of languages, with Greek prominent, but there’s also Turkish-speakers, Armenians, Kurds, Vlach, Georgian, Russians, and Helvetians. Tauric (Crimean) is Greek-speaking in the port cities, but less so in the countryside where there’s some Gothic speakers along with Tatars and Russians.

For Syria/Lebanon, the coastal cities are mainly Greek-speaking, along with Aleppo, Edessa, and Amida. Alexandria has a Greek minority. The more rural and interior, the less Greek. In the Despotate of Sicily, the east coast of Sicily, Calabria, and Apulia have large Greek-speaking populations, with smaller numbers in the rest of Sicily. Venetia is Greek-speaking.

In the east, the biggest Greek-speaking populations are in coastal Taprobane, some parts of eastern Malaysia, central Luzon around Pyrgos, and some of the Moluccas. (The last has more to do with murdering the locals and replacing them with Greek-speakers rather than a linguistic conversion.)

Just a small nitpick though this time is undoubtedly ethnic cleansing and likely will reach the level of genocide once it’s all said and done the Roman actions in the Levant up to that point were not the “great crime” but were a series of actions referred to I think as “the sundering”.

Honestly Rhomania in this time period is going through a grim dark phase and I am horrified and intrigued on finding out what exactly Rome will do that qualifies as the “Great Crime”. A credit to @Basileus444 story telling and world building.

To me the great crime can’t be a series of actions or even an organized genocide over a period of years; I feel like it will be something done that is not realized right away as it happens behind the front lines of the war and is only discovered once the land is given back in a peace treaty.
My thinking is that ‘the Sundering’ will be viewed as a long process, with the ‘Great Crime’ being the main event, but also part of the process. For an analogy, if the Sundering is the American removal of native peoples from their land, the Great Crime is the Trail of Tears.

The Great Crime: Genocide is ugly, but history has a lot of ugliness in it, and to try and write it away isn’t realistic. Furthermore, while the Romans are the ‘main character’, no one is perfect, and the Romans are an empire and that comes with baggage. The Romans can be just as stupid, emotional, greedy, and cruel as anyone else, and while they are my favorites, I must keep that in mind.

As for modern Roman reactions, it’s going to be something like this. “It was a great crime that shouldn’t have been done. But these were brutal times and it seemed necessary for security. What’s done is done. And no, we won’t apologize for it. Because if we were truly sorry for it, we’d give the land back and that is never going to happen.” If that makes the Romans look not-so-great, again, the Romans are people too, with all the good and evil that entails.

On a lighter note, I was struck by inspiration this morning. A passing mention (or maybe a whole arc?) could be about a team of [INSERT ALIEN DEMONYM] xenoarchaeologists exploring a massive archive world. They are greeted by the hologram of the planet's caretaker AI who explains to them that it is a relic left to them by a glorious spacefaring precursor civilization eons ago. They were masters of the galaxy and harnessed the power of antimatter and black holes. They brought a new age of stability and prosperity to the galaxy and advanced the boundaries of science and technology. At their zenith, they gained insights of another realm and achieved enlightenment, unshackling themselves of connections to the physical world and transcended the Shroud. They guided a successor race to be the next caretakers of the galaxy, and finally revealed themselves to their successors, leaving them all their accumulated knowledge and technology.

I wonder whether the trade deficit European nations sustained when trading with China has been resolved? In OTL Great Britain and Spain fought many conflicts in the new world which disrupted silver production. Silver was prioritized for trade with China, which caused European economies to shrink.
ITTL, Mexico, the Shimazu and the Romans have a near monopoly on the silver market. Since they have consolidated their control over the Gangetic plain, perhaps GB will begin cultivating opium earlier to reduce the deficit with China?
P.s. do the Romans have a name for the Malay peninsula like how they named the Herakleian islands? Perhaps they went with Khrysē Khersónēsos from Ptolemy's Geography?

Do they really need an external stimulus? Perhaps a charismatic figure will simply convince them that the centralization of power brings rich spoils and new lands like how Temujin united the warring Mongol clans.
I did have an idea of alien archaeologists excavating the ruins of a dead world, and it turns out that they know of various human nations who have since vanished as the First Ones, but “the first of these were the Rhomaioi, who were already ancient when the rest of the First Ones were born.”

Yes, I know it’s a ripoff of Babylon 5.

Western trade deficits with China is still very much a big deal. One of the draws of Indonesian outposts is that from there Europeans can get products like lacquer wood and pepper which they can then turn around and trade with the Chinese.

So far I haven’t given a name to the Malay peninsula other than Malaya. But that’s a good suggestion.

Funnily enough I was doing some reading on Alcoholism in Russia and it's depressing. Cheap Vodka has been used as a tool of social control by the Russian state since Ivan the Great. The Tsars put into place an alcohol monopoly in the country, taking away the previous ability of the peasants to distill their own vodka. They expanded the industry dramatically and flooded their own market with cheap alcohol. In doing so, they created a tremendously valuable revenue stream for the Russian State and ensured that their own peasantry would be too drunk to rebel. Additionally they created a cycle of addiction and dependence which kept the common Russian impoverished. Come the time of Catherine the Great this monopoly was so valuable that favoured court members were given Vodka plants to manage rather than grants of land. The communists were actually a prohibitionist party and smashed all the Vodka they could find until Stalin ruined it by reopening the plants and bringing the levels of addiction to a whole other level.

ITTL there is no unified Russia to impose a state monopoly on alcohol production. Russia is a broken state in competition and in many cases is nowhere near as authoritarian. This will have tremendous effects on Russian culture and government, as it would reduce poverty and increase political activity of the lower and merchant classes. I don't know how much, if at all, B444 would have anticipated this sort of thing but it's an interesting element of TTL's politics and culture regardless.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this Russia will turn out differently from OTL, with a lower class were serfdom is much, much weaker and a much more vibrant and active middle class (all that trade with Rhomania and all those discussions over kaffos). But I hadn’t given any thought about vodka. However, this works very nicely with what I have planned. Thank you for bringing that up.

This isn't going to be relevant for quite awhile, but with the "First-Second-Third-etc Empire" way Rhomanina considers its history, it'd be pretty neat if any future revolutionaries or republicans call for a "Second Republic".
I'd suspect anyone with even a sniff of Republicanism will be lynched on the streets. TTL Republicanism is the complete antithesis of Roman DNA, it has too many connections with Venice and the Fourth Crusade.
Not to mention that the Empire had been an actual improvement on the Republic when the switch happened, though the trappings of the Republic was kept for quite some time and a few of which are still hanging on ITTL. The closest I can ever see Rhomania going is a kind of Prussian Constitutionalism with an even stronger executive. I could honestly see Rhome viewing actual democracies the same way the US views Communist nations.
There will be Roman republican-revolutionaries at some point. I don’t see any way of avoiding those completely, although when I get there I’ll be doing research on the Zealots of Thessalonica for inspiration. But my plan is that come the present, the Roman government will still be a monarchy where the monarch is still a major player (thinking Kaiser in the Second Reich or a hereditary US president), although not an absolute autocrat anymore.
The War in Korea: 1638
The War in Korea, 1638

“I am not asking you to fight. I am asking you to die. But know that in the time it takes for the enemy to kill you, more will come to take your place. And you shall be remembered and revered as the saviors of China.”-Li Rusong​

Li Rusong has not received nearly as much in the way of reinforcements and supplies over the winter as he did in the winter of 1636-37. Aside from the loss of shipping, the most significant activity has been diplomatic maneuvering by the Koreans and Chinese amongst the various Jurchen clans. Both sides have been trying to woo the clans, both to gain their support and to keep the other from getting Jurchen support. The Chinese were initially the most successful, given Jurchen annoyance at Korean overlordship and the appearance of being the winners, but the retreat from Kaesong has ruined that effect. However the Jurchens are not eager to go back under the Korean banner.

The clan leaders eagerly game the situation, taking subsidies from both sides which are offered by both Seoul and Luoyang who won’t tolerate the other taking the lead. In short, the Jurchen clan leaders profit while the two polities get nothing for their expenses save the knowledge that the other is getting nothing as well. One consequence for Li is the decline in Jurchen support makes his overland supply route again more vulnerable to Righteous Armies.

In contrast, the logistics for the Koreans and Japanese is the best it has been in the war to date. Some of the bugs in their organizational system have been worked out, while Korean production of gunpowder and firearms has tripled from its 1634 level. With the ability to arm, equip, and supply many more Korean regulars, the Korean army has finally recovered and more from the debacle at Anshan and the Qian. The Korean army of 1638 lacks the elite bowmen and lancers of that time, but it is much better at hurling lead downrange at its enemies.

Konishi Yukinaga begins the phase of active campaigning by launching an offensive, not at Pyongyang, but around it. Forty thousand allied troops march northeast, linking up with Righteous Army contingents that enlarge the force to nearly sixty thousand. They cross the Taedong River at Tokchon, far upstream from Pyongyang, and pivot west. With time more important than blood, in a series of frontal, ferocious, and costly assaults the allies take the fortresses of Kaechon, Anju, and Sinanju, while simultaneously the main allied army attacks Li at Pyongyang, not to take the city but to tie him down. Allied casualties are very heavy but the operation is a complete success. By June 1 the landline between China and Li’s army at Pyongyang has been completely cut. Their only outlet to the outside world is the port at Nampo.

At Nampo is a Chinese fleet that is surprisingly larger than the one at Haeju, 299 ships, but that is including hastily armed merchantmen with a few weapons attached and the average warship size is smaller than that at Haeju. Seoul’s concern is that Li will be able to embark the bulk of his forces on the ships and escape, which they do not want. For King Danjong and the Korean court, it is not enough that the Chinese be expelled from the peninsula. The invaders must be annihilated and that followed up by the reclamation of Liaodong, and more besides as compensation for Korea’s suffering.

For once Admiral Yi is left loose at the beginning, rather than the end of the campaigning season, and on June 1 the allied fleet of 222 ships arrives at Nampo. The Chinese fleet refuses to be drawn out, remaining where it can be covered by the harbor defense batteries, but that does not deter Yi who expected as much. With the heavier Roman ships engaging the shore guns, the Korean panokseons sally at their enemy, Admiral Yi prominent on his flagship.

This has been called the age of ‘wooden ships and iron men’ for good reason and such displays of bravery and contempt for danger are expected, nay, demanded, from commanding officers, from Japan to Portugal. But there may have been more than that in Admiral Yi’s mind on that day.

The Seoul court had given way to the demand from the Japanese, Romans, and Admiral Yi to be allowed to go on the offensive, but it had humiliated many important figures at the court, especially after the demands had been proven right. Those figures have not forgotten, or forgiven that, and while they cannot take out their frustrations on the Japanese or Romans, they can on Admiral Yi, his much more diplomatic portion of the demand completely forgotten in their spite. For all that Admiral Yi has accomplished for his country, he can expect not reward, but disgrace, when this is all over.

The fighting begins at noon and over the course of four hours the Chinese fleet is systematically annihilated and the port of Nampo seized. At just before three, by which point victory is clear although the battle still rages fiercely, Admiral Yi Sun-sin is struck by a Chinese bullet that penetrates his armor under his left armpit. Knowing the wound is mortal, he tells his nephew who is beside him “the battle is at its height. Wear my armor and beat my war drums. Do not announce my death”. A moment later he is dead. His nephew follows his dying words and the allied fleet is none the wiser until the evening when his death is announced to the grief of the allied sailors.

Li Rusong is now completely trapped. If he concentrates enough force to try and break through the land cordon towards the Yalu, he won’t have enough men to adequately guard Pyongyang and prevent the main allied army from rolling him up from the rear. So he attempts to negotiate a withdrawal, bargaining with the fact that he has Pyongyang and the supplies to withstand a siege that he can make very long and painful and expensive. Equipment and weaponry can be replaced, but Li wants to preserve the veteran manpower of his army; it will be needed to defend Liaodong and northern China from a feared Korean-Japanese invasion.

Konishi is open to these talks. Unknown to Li, his brief is only to expel the Chinese from the Korean peninsula; the Japanese have no interest in subsidizing a Korean empire, only protecting Korean independence. However a court commissioner from Seoul arrives to oversee the negotiations, claiming that this is a political matter, not a military one, and therefore Konishi has no jurisdiction. Dependent on the cooperation from Seoul for supplies, and with his forces now slightly more Korean than Japanese, Konishi reluctantly concedes.

The commissioner’s demands are hardly of the type to make Li give way graciously. The commissioner makes it clear only unconditional surrender will be accepted, with no guarantees for the Chinese soldiers. Given the official’s attitude, Li suspects (rightly) that surrender and capture will mean torture, slavery, and death. He also divines that the Koreans intend to continue the attack into China, although historians are unsure of whether the Koreans realize at this point the Japanese have no intention to march beyond the Yalu.

Li returns to Pyongyang after the talks not dispirited but invigorated. One door is shut but another is open, as the Koreans have forgotten a cardinal rule of the art of war: never back your opponent into a corner. He makes it clear to his men that they are doomed, but they still have one mission remaining, to sell their lives as dearly as possible, to make their final stand so bloody so as to break the army arrayed against them and prevent it from invading China once they have fallen. Many of the soldiers, including a large portion of the veteran noncommissioned officers, remember the days of a divided China ravaged by foreign barbarians and are horrified at the prospect of those days returning. If there had been another way out, perhaps they would’ve thought differently, but if they must die, they will sell themselves as dearly as possible. If the barbarians wish to invade China, then let them at least invade after clambering over a wall of their dead. The commissioner’s final demand for surrender is met with the hurled heads of all the allied prisoners.

Konishi, recognizing where this is going, steps down as supreme allied commander, taking charge of just the Japanese contingent and letting the Koreans be the tip of the spear hurled at Pyongyang. The fighting is even more intense than at Kaesong; even after the walls are seized it takes twelve days for the city to be overrun, often by demolishing it street by street, house by house. The Chinese prove very adept at luring the Koreans into gunpowder traps and blowing them to smithereens. It is not enough to stop them, but the Chinese soldiers sell themselves most dearly. As for Li Rusong, the most common report is that while wounded, a Korean officer came up to chop off his head, at which point Li grabbed the officer in a headlock and hurled himself and the man off the balcony, both plummeting to their death.

By the middle of July, the Chinese have been driven out of Korea north of the Yalu, save for perhaps a few small contingents reduced to roving bandits. But the Korean army that made such a good show just two months earlier has been gutted by the savagery at Pyongyang, made worse by an outbreak of disease from all the corpses. An offensive into Liaodong is out of the question. A new Chinese army is massing in Liaodong, but it is to defend the area, not renew the attack on Korea. At this stage Luoyang has recognized that a Korean commandery is not in the cards, but Liaodong is a part of China and will be defended as such.

Despite the losses at Pyongyang, King Danjong wants to continue the attack. After all, by stopping now that means he lost Liaodong, one of his father’s great prizes. But Konishi is barely hiding his contempt for Seoul any longer, while the heavy losses have prompted many in Osaka to lobby for withdrawing Japanese troops from Korea entirely. In the Korean army’s post-Pyongyang state, that would leave Korea rather exposed to a Chinese counterattack. (The Roman ships would also leave if and when the Japanese did, but that is much less significant, especially after Nampo.)

Eventually Danjong gives way and a peace made with China in the autumn. In it Seoul recognizes Chinese control of Liaodong and renounces any claim to the territory, while the Chinese renounce any claims of their own on territory to the south of the Yalu. Korean tribute/trade missions are allowed to proceed to Luoyang and the Chinese offer accommodations and subsidies for Korean students. However Danjong doesn’t encourage students and neglects to send any tribute/trade missions, believing it is a show of strength to assert Korean independence. Considering the amount of money the Cham make from their tribute/trade missions, practically all historians believe Danjong is cutting off his nose to spite his face here.

As for the Jurchens, they are left up in the air, with neither China nor Korean clearly paramount. The chiefs continue their policies of playing the two off each other, extracting bribes and honors while doing little of actual value for Luoyang or Seoul. The political infighting between the clans, spurred on by the two sedentary states who fear a Jurchen warlord, less for its own threat than by the fear that said Jurchen warlord will side with the other guy, keeps the Jurchens fragmented precisely as Russians begin entering the region.

In Korea, much of the northwest is devastated but the rest of the peninsula mostly untouched. However in all areas the authority of Seoul has been badly mauled with regional yangban having to take up the slack for Seoul’s myopia and incompetence. The Korean state keeps together but it is more decentralized going forward, with prominent yangban acting as local lords. With their Righteous Armies, who have little reason to praise Seoul, they have the military might to ignore Seoul’s orders if they’re not to the yangban’s liking. Seoul’s attempt to rebuild the central army and regain control are hampered by the expensiveness of the war and the loss of provincial tax revenues as those independently-minded yangban keep that income ‘for local needs’.

The war also massively increases the Orthodox presence in Korea, which in 1635 had been just a few merchant families at most. The influx of Japanese soldiers and their accompanying priests had been the first push, but after the war several Japanese and Roman Orthodox monasteries are established on Korean land left vacant after the death of the inhabitants. Local Korean yangban encourage the efforts as a way to restore land productivity, while many former members of the Righteous Armies are interested in this new faith. They had not forgotten that more support for them came from Konishi than from Seoul.

As for Japan, the goal of keeping the Korean peninsula out of Chinese hands has been achieved, but at a staggeringly high cost. Between all the various losses, including combat, disease, and a storm that sinks some returning transports, it is estimated that 40-50% of the Japanese expeditionary force leaves their bones on Korean ground. The political discontentment from grieving families is alarming to Osaka, but one the Shimazu manage to deal with relatively easily. However the butcher’s bill always hangs like a cloud, sharply discouraging further Japanese thoughts about mass military interventions on the continent.

In China the war is presented, and still is to this day, as a victory. While the Chinese were not able to replace the Korean ascendancy over the Jurchen, they were able to destroy it. More importantly, Liaodong, the last piece of China under foreign rule, has been liberated. The Jingtai Emperor presents the Korean campaign as a preemptive strike to take out a budding Korean-Japanese plot to ravage and repress the Chinese, as foreigners had done so often so recently.

Chinese losses had been high, but through their sacrifice the Middle Kingdom had been spared another foreign onslaught. Li Rusong is presented as a great hero, his family honored and rewarded for his services. Today he is still venerated with temples in Luoyang and Anshan, amongst others. His treatment makes Seoul’s treatment of Admiral Yi seem downright petty in comparison. Yi’s political enemies at court ensure no honors for Yi posthumously or for his family until the reign of Danjong’s successor when he finally starts to get his proper due. Today Admiral Yi is also venerated as a hero of the Korean people.

Luoyang can claim a victory, but the war annihilated practically all of the Chinese navy, lost to Yi’s maneuverings and cannonades. On land China can claim honor, but at sea only humiliation and the Chinese court would just as soon avoid anything that can remind them of said humiliations. While the trade with Pyrgos continues and even expands (it is far too profitable to relinquish) and Chinese merchant communities are scattered throughout Island Asia, Luoyang makes no effort to rebuild the fleet. The Zeng are not isolationist, being heavily involved on their landward frontier in Asia, but they are definitely content to leave the sea to others.

As for the Romans, those individually involved prospered, being awarded for their service by the grateful Japanese government. The governor of Nagasaki personally presents a sword from the Emperor as a gift to Leo Kalomeros, while Ship Lords who provided ships for the Japanese are rewarded with trade certificates that allow them to offload goods in Osaka (after presenting their goods and paying customs in Nagasaki).

On a political level, the Japanese were most gratified by the prompt and generous aid provided by the Romans of Pyrgos when called upon. While Theodoros IV’s quip about gratitude being worth its weight in gold is often true, Japanese gratitude does have a more solid quality for the Romans. One of the greatest strengths of Rhomania-in-the-East is the ease with which the Katepanoi and Ship Lords can hire Japanese samurai.

When Leo Kalomeros arrives in Pyrgos, he is given a promotion to the rank of Kentarchos, which in the Roman navy is a Captain, and a new ship, the 26-gun fregata Pylos, new from the Pyrgos shipyard. In size and firepower it is almost half again bigger than the Octopus. He will have need of those cannons.
Why do I get the feeling those samurai are going to be a major headache for the Spanish very soon? Maybe the fact that a bunch of them are about to be cashiered...
Something that just occured to me is that the update says that many remember days when China was ravaged by foreign barbarians. With how damaging this war was to the Koreans, wouldn't some people in China take notice that they're doing the thing they despise most, aka, having invaders destroy your home, to another group of people?
Something that just occured to me is that the update says that many remember days when China was ravaged by foreign barbarians. With how damaging this war was to the Koreans, wouldn't some people in China take notice that they're doing the thing they despise most, aka, having invaders destroy your home, to another group of people?
No, because the war was spinned as China recovering the last of its territories from foreign occupation, the invasion of Korea itself was just to stop Japanese-Korean adventurism.

That's the official line and in an age of controlled state news it's good enough for the population.
The seeds of East Asian nationalist feuds have been sown. Heavens have mercy.

EDIT: Also that bit about the Russians makes me think that it'll be the Russians that end up taking in the Jurchens. Looks like Primorye is going to become a Ukraine of the East.
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Excellent update! The most interesting parts of it are ;
i) The Russians are coming,
ii) More Orthodox presence in Korea
iii) The star of Leo Kalomeros is on the rise and
iv) More Japanese samurais for the Rhomans. This will be awesome!

@Basileus444 you might look at this source for the zealots of Thessalonica

Finally, concerning the name of the Pacific Ocean, I have two suggestions;
i) Ocean of the Titans
ii) Due to the many volcanoes in the area, Hephaestian Ocean.
I suspect Danjong is sharpening his sword and fuming mightily in Seoul. Mostly this means he’s probably going to build a fuckhuge analog of Hwaseong ITTL for all the good that’ll do him initially...until he realizes that the singular talent of Korean commanders is launching a military coup and the convenient fortress an hour and a half south of the capital saves his ass. And even then that’s not going to work if it’s an Orthodox Yangban in charge.

Oh and I’d wager this means the Zeng are free to send money and manpower out west to the Ottomans...which is going to piss of the Romans, who will now possibly have TWO upstart Orthodox nations conveniently placed in China’s rear. Whoops.
Well, thats a resounding defeat of the Koreans. Territory lost (if only a small amount), Jurchen control lost, and internal division. Frankly the Zeng are right to consider this a great victory, as given a decade they could wander into a divided Korea.

Though again, the naval surrender essentially means that China is contained. I'm curious to see how Indonesia turns out because really the only region that has the population and strategic situation to rival China will be a unified Indonesia - if that turns out to be Rhomania-in-the-East then even the Zeng as they are now are at risk of being overtaken as the regional leader. I wonder if a victorious Rhomania-in-the-East might encourage the beginning of a similar system of tributary relationships with Indochina.

I'm going to very curious as to the long term balance of power in Asia - we have Russia, Zeng China, Japan, Korea, India Potentially Indonesia, with the big two/three being Vijayanagar, Zeng China and potentially Indonesia.

I wonder if we'll see the Jurchen organise themselves, it'd be cool to see a sort of Cossacks-of-the-East with Jurchen effectively being the real authorities across the Steppe.
“I am not asking you to fight. I am asking you to die. But know that in the time it takes for the enemy to kill you, more will come to take your place. And you shall be remembered and revered as the saviors of China.”-Li Rusong
This sounds familiar, but I can't place where I first heard it from...
Wonderful update, on par with this timeline's usual high standard of quality. Always great to read about times and places I don't know a ton about.

Keep up the excellent work!