An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

You guys play ck2 and eu4 right? Whats the best description for Rome's government in your opinion? I'd say its Imperial Absolute Autocracy but that's not totally true isn't it?
We've advanced too far into the Early Modern Era for CK2 to be a good choice of game to make up a Rhoman government in.

EU4 is set right in that time period so I'll have a go.
It's of course a monarchy but the real question is what the reforms they took on their chosen tier are. Though the next DLC is going to introduce a bunch more so maybe this is a question to come back to later.

Tier 1 Power Structure:
Autocracy. Not even a contest.

Tier 2 Noble Privileges:
Curtail Noble Privileges. Again not even a contest. Especially since it gives more tax.

Tier 3 Bureaucracy:
Centralized Bureaucracy. If there's anything the Rhomans are good at its making sure their territory is governed effectively to the betterment of the state.

Tier 4 The Administrative Cadre:
Meritocratic Recruitment. I also considered "Nobles of the Robe" which is nobility that starts to serve in administrative positions but I think meritocratic is more accurate,

Tier 5 Deliberative Assembly:
Royal Decree. I could also see "General Estates" but I think royal decree is a bit more fitting for where Rhomania is as of 1635.

Tier 6 Absolutism & Constitutionalism:
L’etat c’est moi. This one is more of a mechanics choice. The idea is 'less minimum autonomy in your provinces or more provinces can be zero?' It's really just 'are you playing wide or tall?' and the Rhomans almost certainly are playing tall. They have two large vassal states in Egypt and Sicily and a smaller one in Carthage and with the Anizzah (if they even count as vassals). Eastern territory doesn't count for these purposes since ingame they would use trade company mechanics.

Tier 7 Separation of Power:
Political Absolutism. The only other option involves a bicameral legislature and that's pretty un-Rhoman.
Admiration =/= seeing or treating them as equals. Until Caracalla’s edict,Greeks in the empire were not necessarily citizens(despite many gaining it through service to the Romans), which automatically ruled out equality. Even if we accept your statement that the Romans absolutely saw the Greeks as equals, there is the fact that fascists recognize some races as equals. Hitler for example, saw the Chinese and the Japanese as equals to Germans. I would say however that a lot of the states you mentioned do have aspects of fascism depending on the time period.
I did not say the bolded. The key thing is they may have commonalities, but that isn't the same thing as... well... being the same thing?

I think I have proved my point more than enough. The Roman Empire,while having stopped it’s expansion never stopped seeing non-Romans as inferior beings that needs ‘civilizing’, and it’s got to do with the fact that they can no longer feasibly expand instead of them wanting to really stop.Septimius Severus for example tried to conquer Caledonia and failed.

I do not understand where fascism is linked to emperors being sacred.Mussolini for example was deposed by his own followers.I linked Caesar’s conquests in Gaul to that of the Kwantung army’s because they were examples of out of control militarism common in a fascist state.

If you are unhappy with my points, then we just have to agree to disagree.
I'd have to disagree, which is why I was referencing people who established lists of criteria for what a fascist state has. Whilst I'm happy to admit not all are always present, a majority typically are, but you seem to think that if state A has any familiarities with other state B (also, note - at any time, too) they are both the same. If I applied the same level of argument then every country in WW2 was Fascist before, during and after - at which point the term is effectively meaningless to use, and we all live in Fascist states.

Like, I'm happy to disagree, but I don't think you've done anything near enough to justify your argument, if anything you've rendered the point you made meaningless.


Who are they aligned with at the moment? It'd be good for the Romans to have a proxy for pushing a Christian Arabia. Are the Annaziah an option?
Bad idea, they would lose the support of the Omani. They may be allies, but an active policy of pushing Chistianity in Arabia would rile them up big time. And If I'm not mistaken the last decades have not been kind to the Anizzah anyway (who are already aligned with the Romans), so their power projection has waned big time (although a roman comeback in the area will give them a respite).
Why get every single Muslim power on Earth to hate your guts if you can avoid it? Seems counterproductive to me.
After what the Rhomans did with the Kaaba? What they are currently doing in the Levant? The death in Egypt? I could EASILY see them shoot themselves in the foot like that by being needlessly cruel and aggressive to Islamic people and tribes.

It wouldn't necessarily be a bad idea to get a Christian Arab buffer zone though, which they already sort of have with the Melkites (Arab Christians) in the Anizzah, Owais, and Haddad tribes between Mesopotamia and Syria. The Anizzah in particular are being giving land from tribal people that the Rhomans are currently deporting, killing, or enslaving.

However now the Romans are not busy facing down Ottoman field armies and can concentrate efforts on the tribes. The Roman reaction to them is simple: Leave or die. The latter half of the 1630s is filled with a military effort to crush the tribes. Captives are deliberately dispersed, often being sold into slavery, with children usually being taken away to be raised by Orthodox families. Romans who decry this practice, pointing out the similarity to hated Catholic proposals vis-à-vis Orthodox children, are loudly condemned. The empty tribal lands are given to the Anizzah, who played a large part in this vicious little war.
I think this could end up being a nucleus of that 'wild-west' mentality if that wants to be forced. Arab-speaking Christians populating the borders of the Rhoman state and propped up by the Rhomans is certainly far more palpable than Muslims of any stripe propped up by the Ottomans. It's here that you would have internecine conflict between competing Arab tribes which would predominantly be cattle rustling and small skirmishes that could get you that cowboy feel. :p
Continuing with the wild west analog i wonder if they'll have the same dehumanizing conversion schools with the idea of "Kill the Arab save the man"
Continuing with the wild west analog i wonder if they'll have the same dehumanizing conversion schools with the idea of "Kill the Arab save the man"
They sorta already do with their conversion methods. New converts have go pay to support a new church and priest to teach them how they ought to be. Tribal children taken to educated by orthodox families has since uncomfortable residential school parallels.
How did the ottomans manage to hold on to Mesopotamia OTL?
Short answer:
Being Caliph does wonders to ensure stability in a Muslim Empire.

Long answer:
The Ottoman state was an incredibly decentralized realm that allowed for significant local autonomy so long as its taxes were paid. The state was operated by a series of Pashas who ruled over an Eyalet. Pashas were normally appointed but in some cases, such as in Shahrizor Eyalet in modern day Kurdistan, the position was given over to locals to select their leader. Pashas were only concerned with gathering requisite taxes and maintaining internal stability. As officers of the caliph they held great respect from common Muslims, because each was appointed by the Grand Vizier or by the Sultan himself. This light touch behaviour ensured Ottoman territory remained harmonious but it also meant they had very little control over the vast resources of their empire. They traded power for stability, a common trade off in large empires throughout history. Iraq was conquered several times by the Safavids, notably in the early 17th century for a decade, so it was hardly a period when Iraq was firmly a place of peace from foreign incursion but when under Ottoman rule people were generally willing to accept the distant and light-handed administration of their religious leader.
I've been in constant suspense about this armada for months now and i still have no idea what's gonna happen. Tommorow is gonna be a good day :D
Oh that's pretty cool. I don't suppose you remember which comment it was?

Karamanli Turkish is probably how most of TTL Turkish is written. Turkish in the Ottoman period didn't have a formal written language for the longest time. I could easily see the Rhoman state and the active Christian missionaries promoting Greek letters even to Muslim communities.
I made some comment a while back about me considering an alt-Imjin War to be inevitable. You sent me some comments about Korea that got me thinking and I eventually came up with this arc.

We are referring to the Karamanlis here of course. For a first hand tidbit one uncle by marriage is actually a Karamanli, born a few years after the exchange of populations. As a kid I actually knew his mother as well who had been born and raised in the old country and was for the most part speaking Turkish till she died in the late 1990s. I wouldn't want to even hint they were not really Greek due to language without having a safe distance, say a different continent, from them. Of course their communities throughout the 19th century were paying for schools in the Greek language. A similar example a bit further north were Turkish speaking Pontic Greeks... who actually formed the bulk of Pontic Greek guerrilas against the Turks in 1915-23. On the reverse Rauf Denktas, the Turkish-Cypriot leader and nationalist at his deathbed was speaking in Greek...

Aphabet whise we also have the example of Coptic using a mostly Greek alphabet. It makes absolute sense to see more TTL...

But they can march say 200 camels loaded with gold and silver if they are so inclined. Granted that would be costly and bringing in Office of Barbarians agents with raiders in tow like a magnet, but they can subsidize the Ottoman war effort. Which brings the question of the status of Chinese and Ottoman banking systems... that will be critical if they are supposed to keep up with the greater west.

I presume it's trying to anglicize notos (ie south) to call it southern ocean. In Greek it would actually be Notios oceanos but it does not look very practical to me. Same for Titanic ocean, not really good in in Greek. Hmm how about Hesperian ocean? That derives from Hesperus, god of the evening star, which fits well with it being the western ocean from the Greek perspective and also has very convenient connotations with the Hesperides the daugters of Atlas.

Dunno about all out but in OTL they were pretty big on schooling by pre-modern standards and so were Greek communities both under the Ottomans and in the diaspora. Monasteries and community funded schools all teaching Greek would be a thing in the east for certain a so would the missionaries teaching Greek and opening schools. By now there should be also a university in Pyrgos, in OTL the Spanish opened the first one in 1589 and I don't really see the empire slacking on this... rather the opposite.

I actually wonder what the Orthodox equivalent of the Jesuits is TTL. No monastic orders in the eastern churches of course but some organization of evangelization efforts is certain.
I have to admit I wasn’t aware of the Karamanlis (as opposed to the Karaman Turks) until a week or so ago. I just assumed that all the Greeks of Anatolia during the Seljuk and Ottoman periods just kept speaking Greek and that Turkish speakers used a Persian or Arabic script. Good to know.

Southern Ocean doesn’t work for me as a name for the Pacific. There’s an awful lot of it north of the equator.

The big reason why there’s so many Orthodox in the Despotate of Sicily is that in the late 1400s and early 1500s the Orthodox Church was really organized in terms of proselytizing there. They made sure to send high-quality clergy that could also address material as well as spiritual needs of prospective converts, as well as provide opportunities for locals to advance up the local church hierarchy. Ideally the work in the east is similar. The Patriarchs of Antioch oversees the eastern Orthodox (save the autocephalous Japanese) and they’re all for more converts. Aside from the religious aspect, it increases their clout vis-à-vis the Patriarchs of Constantinople.

So what is going to happen to the Muslim Arabs in Carthage? Are they going to be expelled as well or are they far more tolerant than the Rhomans
IIRC Rhoman control over Carthage is basically a myth outside of the city itself. So something drastically will have to change on the ground in order to change that and given how both how relatively worthless the land is and how difficult taking (and especially holding) said land is I can't see the Empire making that a top priority anytime soon, especially with a war against the Ottomans coming down the pipe. Expelling the Muslims will do nothing but inflame tensions and give the Rhomans a headache they don't need, not when they are fighting the Ottomans and possibly the Spanish at the same time. So for now, status quo likely rules the day. A decade or two down the road when things have settled down? Possibly a different story.
Carthage is much more tolerant, but then they have to be. They’re a city-state in a Muslim sea, and their remaining client-allies there are mainly still Islamic tribes.

I really like the Titanic ocean suggestion and Hell yeah for a "Ukraine" in the East for the Russians (that may balance a bit things between western and eastern Russia, with the latter not being a sort of permanent "far west" (that could also provide a bit of political unrest, like people clamoring fort their own kingdom inside a federal empire, as Russia appears on the way of becoming) .

I look forward to see how the conflict with the Spanish turns out.
I want a permanent Russian Alaska at least in North America, but that’s not sustainable without seriously boosting Russian Siberia. Russian Alaska IOTL was really run on a shoestring.

Only for the record, your point wasn't offensive or anything. Just religion trumped language as the main separating factor between ethnic groups in this particular case. In other cases frex modern Albania language trumped religion. That kind of thing makes ethnology fun.
That’s really good to hear. Thank you.

I don't know if this has already been answered but do the Rhomans see being a Latin as a religious or an ethnic label. For example if a German immigrates to Egypt or Syria and converts to Orthodox do they stop being a Latin or are they simply considered "a Latin that practices the correct Christianity"?
It’s a religious/cultural/political label (Triunes are considered Latins even though they aren’t Catholics anymore). If a Latin came to Rhomania, converted to Orthodoxy, and learned Greek they wouldn’t be considered Latin anymore, although how much of a foreign accent is in their Greek could affect that. Their kids though would be considered Roman. There are a lot of Romans in TTL Greece and Thrace that have Italian ancestry.

Levantine Genocide and Agriculture: So here’s my thinking on the topic. There’s still going to be native Levantine populations around in the form of the various non-Sunni minority groups. Plus there are the various nomadic tribes, the Anizzah, Owais, and Haddad, that are Orthodox so they aren’t going anywhere. So there would still be that nomadic element around.

Now to jump out-of-context. This is going to be a nasty ugly bit of history ITTL, and considering possible OTL implications, I really do not want to imply this is at all a good thing. Having this horrific deed carried out and then have it turn out well for the Romans frankly feels too much like an endorsement, and I feel dirty enough already just having it happen. I do not want this to turn out happy for the Romans. They may be able to call it peace, but the prize is still a desert.

Small side note: I don't know if you already know this, but Chakravartin does not actually mean 'Universal Emperor' AFAIK. It means 'Wheel-turner', in the context of the Dharmachakra, the Wheel of Law... which was a Buddhist thing AFAIK. If the Indian Emperor had a main title, it would likely have been 'Samraat': 'Emperor'. India never really had anyone claiming universal empire after the Mauryas.
I knew it meant wheel-turner, but thought it meant in the sense of ‘a wheel that turns the world’ and didn’t realize it was Buddhist. I thought it was a poetic device. My bad. Thanks for the correction.

Also, in regards to immigration to other parts of the world, I feel like outside of the recently conquered territories the majority of Rhoman and Despotate citizens will either go to the Rhomania in the East or to Mexico, Mexico being one of the few, i.e only, new world nations it gets along with. For the other Orthodox nations Russia will likely have very few leave as it pushes east while Georgia and Vlachia will likely split between Rhoman territories, Russian territories, and Mexico as well. In fact Mexico could do very well in getting and promoting a reputation as the western home of Orthodox Christians which would secure a large, and skilled, migrant pool.
Gotta ask why the immigration to the new world? The move made by Demetrios III was more based on military and diplomatic actions to have an listening post to Mexico against the triunes. I'd figure like others that most immigration will be more internal one in the levant and northern Mesopotamia. After all Rome's policy in securing land requires more or less on being Roman and orthodox, that started after the ToT. Islam has no place on Rome at this point in their period, so I don't see a reason for them to immigrate on a far away land where diseases run rampant. Only once antibiotics start to develop should they even start to consider such a thing.
Not to mention even from a logistical standpoint the OTL USVI (site of the New World Rhoman colonies) can't exactly hold a ton of people especially compared to the Levant.

If Rhomamia makes another colony (maybe around OTL Buenos Aires/Uruguay if no one has claimed it yet) that's a different story but then you run into the very real problem of projecting power all the way across the Mediterranean and Atlantic. A Rhoman colony of substantial size is a very inviting target to the Spanish/Triunes/whomever.
The Roman East will take the lion’s share of Roman immigrants (especially once they start poking around that big landmass to the south of the Moluccas). I made a comment a while back (I believe in one of the Patreon specials) about there being a small Greek community in Texcoco, but it’s not a big one. Mexico’s too far away, especially given the transportation of the day, to draw very many.

@floppy_seal99 @JSC I think regarding a "Wild West" mentaility, I doubt that will emerge in Syria, but it does have potential via Mexico.

One of the biggest advantages the Romans have in the New World is that they have allies there in Mexico. Considering the presence of the Triunes, it wouldn't be bad strategy for the Romans to establish something in OTL New Orleans, not a significant settler-colony, the Romans haven't really the infrastructure to maintain that, nor the spare demographics - but instead as a European-style port to form an alliance network with the various Mississippians. It makes sense to do something similar on the mouth of the Rio Grande to trade with the Pueblo, essentially diplomatic stations and trade ports to allow easy money in propping up native tribes in the same way the Iroquois were.

It'd also be a rather interesting twist, considering that ITTL the Rhomans are known in the Old World for the Great Crime, that in the New World, they're known for being the most humane of the Europeans.

The main question is what the Romans would trade - Guns into the region, for sure - but would they then buy raw materials from the natives and make new guns, and potentially export sugar? They can grow sugar on site in Alt-NO, but all I can think to do is purchase extra sugar for sending back to the Empire Proper from the rest of the Caribbean - just need to figure out what the Mississippians would be able to sell, since there isn't the same abundance of furs.
The Romans are not going to get very involved in the New World. The Virgin Islands colony is the maximum I considered at all plausible, and they’re indefensible against a serious threat. Rhomania has way too many other and more urgent priorities in other parts of the globe to put resources into Terranova. Furthermore if their Terranovan holdings get too lucrative, any of the Atlantic powers could snatch them up.

You know thinking about that Wild West comment, I can't help but wonder whether or not Rhomania develops a bit of a Manifest Destiny thought process toward Persia. The empires of that region have been fierce opponents of the Empire for pretty much forever so if an opportunity for conquest presented itself and Rome goes further down the rabbit hole of xenophobia and imperialism, there might be a push to "put down the eternal enemy" or something along those lines, right?
Something like that is always possible.
Lords of Spice and Sea: The Spanish Sword
Lords of Spice and Sea: The Spanish Sword

“There is an unfortunate tendency in western histories, when reviewing the expansion of the west in the early modern era, to focus entirely on the actions of the westerners. Easterners, when they appear, exist merely as an exotic but irrelevant backdrop or, at most, token actors without much agency who seem to exist solely to be exploited, conquered, and absorbed. Yet even a cursory review of our period shows that is ridiculously inaccurate.

“In the Eulhae War, which involved armies comparable in size to those mustered for the battle of Thessaloniki, the star players were the eastern realms of China, Korea, and Japan, with the Jurchens playing a supporting role. For all the attentions lavished on the Roman squadron and the exploits of Leo Kalomeros, their contributions were hardly decisive or even consequential. In that great drama, the Roman was very much a B-list cast member.

“The same can be said for the Viet-Cham wars of the same period. And during the 1630s, Roman involvement in the Indian subcontinent, by far the biggest element in the Indian Ocean & Island Asia theater, doesn’t even reach that level. In this series, at best the Roman was a guest supporting actor in one or two episodes of an entire season.

“Now in the Malaccan-Java War, westerners, the Spanish and the Romans, were the main characters. However the main cast also included Sunda and Mataram with the key guest star of Vijayanagar, without whose contributions the story is impossible to tell.”
-Excerpt from This is the End of the World: A Global History of the 1630s and 40s

“I do not find talk of ‘natural borders’ any more pleasant when it is spoken in Greek as opposed to French.”-Mateo Alemán, Spanish court official

“It is the nature of empire to expand, or at least to desire to do so. A valuable province requires a buffer zone for its defense. However as that buffer zone is integrated as its own province, it in turn requires a buffer zone, and so the cycle repeats. The Romans of the classics did not intend to conquer the Mediterranean when they first took Sicily, and yet they did in the end.

“That the Triune should overtake all of Lotharingia is not ideal, for that will mark a significant accrual of power to the Triple Monarchy. However its expansion, and all the complications that will entail, will draw it east into Germany, away from Spain. Thus such an eventuality, while dangerous, is not necessarily fatal.

“That is not the case in Italy. If the Greek were to overtake all of Lombardy, this would also mark a significant accrual of power to the Greek Empire. However its expansion there, and all the complication that will entail, will draw it west into Provence, at which point the Greek will be at the very doorstep of Spain. Such an eventuality very well could be fatal to Spain. Lombardy is the Mediterranean outwork of Spain; it must be defended at all hazards, even if to do so requires allying with the Triunes and endorsing their conquests in the Rhineland.”-the Duke of Osena, Constable of Spain [Equivalent to Megas Domestikos], in an official report to the Spanish crown​

The royal approval for a large Spanish expedition had only been issued in the autumn of 1635, but plans for a reinforcement of Spanish eastern possessions had been in the works ever since the fall of Al-Andalus had freed up the bulk of the Spanish fleet. Furthermore valuable logistical experience in provisioning war fleets had been gained by the long blockades imposed on the Andalusi and North African coasts and the dispatch of larger-than-usual convoys to eastern waters in recent years. As a result, preparations for the Spanish expedition proceed surprisingly quickly but quite effectively.

For those expecting a sea-cracking armada, the size of the Spanish expedition can come off as rather underwhelming. It is comprised of eight battle-line ships, two fregatai, a sloop, and three auxiliaries, hardly an imposing force in the Mediterranean or the English Channel. (This is separate from the regular merchantmen planning their India runs.) However in eastern waters even a handful of dedicated warships, surrounded by armed merchantmen and smaller native craft, is a juggernaut. Furthermore all of the warships are new, the oldest just three years old, and three of the battle-line ships are of the Flor de la Mar class 72-gunners. These fine and beautiful vessels are considered by Spanish, Triune, Lotharingian, and Roman contemporaries, in a rare fit of agreement, to be overall the best warships on the sea in their day. These third-raters are about twice as powerful as the typical 50-gunner and larger than any Roman warship in the east, giving way only to the Shiva, Ganesh, and Krishna in Vijayanagar’s service.

The commander of the expedition is Duarte Pacheco Pereira, a salt-bearded veteran with more than forty years of experience in eastern waters, ever since sailing out there as a teenager. He’s fought Acehnese, Semarang, Bugis, and Roman Malays, with a bullet still in him from the last. Although he served in the Mediterranean during the Andalusi War, his heart is very much in the east along with his Sundanese Catholic wife and two mestizo children.

Pereira throws himself wholeheartedly into preparing for this expedition. He is strongly supported by a wide swath of the great and the good in Spanish society, particularly the great merchants and bankers of Lisbon. Many of the latter are of Genoese origin and utterly enraged by the treatment of their cousins back in their mother city. Furthermore any Spaniard who has any interest in matters beyond the Line knows that there the Romans are a far greater threat than the Triunes.

There are certainly many Spaniards who are worried about provoking the Romans and who are concerned about the Triunes. But in the words of the Archbishop of Coimbra, “the Greeks seem to have forgotten that they are not the only ones in the world with concerns and interests.” The Spanish are well aware of the conversations that go on in the Queen of Cities, and if the Romans were going out of their way to deliberately aggravate the Spanish they couldn’t have done any better.

The continued chatter in Constantinople about annexing all of northern Italy cannot help but set alarm bells ringing in Arles and Spain despite all of Demetrios III’s assurances. After all, it keeps coming up and sometimes from prominent officials. Roman attempts to deflect this away by pointing out the unofficial nature of the suggestions are badly undermined by Demetrios III previously making a huge deal out of the proposal from a cardinal’s secretary regarding the abduction of Orthodox children to raise them up as Catholics.

Other Roman talk about how the Spanish should just be focusing on fighting the Triunes also sets Spanish teeth grinding. That is because for all of the talk about fighting the Triunes, no Roman has so much as lifted a finger to help contain the Triunes, and through their actions in southwest Germany, the Romans have been actively counter-productive. The Archbishop of Coimbra, who is good friends with the Roman ambassador in Lisbon through their mutual interest in ancient Greek texts, points out that if Constantinople really was in earnest, they’d be offering subsidies, not self-righteous lectures. Many Spanish view such efforts as a cynical ploy to divert Spanish arms so that the Romans can seize Lombardy without contestation and present Lisbon with a fait accompli.

In short, there has been a drastic reversal of Spanish popular opinion vis-à-vis the Romans in just the last year or so. In 1633, the Roman ambassador was able to raise 34,000 gold ducats in contributions from Spanish notables to finance an orphanage for children from Upper Macedonia, even while the Spanish were still hotly engaged in fighting to the south. Now the ambassador watches as Lisbon prints off war bonds for financing the fleet and those same notables buying them up to the tune of 100,000 ducats.

Pereira has the pick of the Spanish fleet for his crews, with a slew of veterans as options. Most who sign up admittedly do it simply because they need employment as the Spanish fleet is drawn down in strength after the fall of Al-Andalus. The promise of rich prize money in eastern waters certainly helps. But there is definitely at least a dash of nationalist pride, for the Spanish are a proud people with much to be proud of in their recent history, and the ambassador reports much resentment at the perceived tone of the Romans, who he says are viewed as “having grown intolerably arrogant and self-absorbed in victory”.

The fleet departs in Lisbon in late March of 1636, well equipped with ordnance and supplies, including a ration of two ounces of lemon juice a week per sailor for three months. There has been work by Spanish scholars as a way to avoid the Triune disease, as they call scurvy, although in 1636 there are still a wide and extremely diverse range of suggestions. The choice of lemon juice for the expedition comes about simply from the fact that Pereira happens to like the taste.

The voyage of the fleet, along with the regular eastbound merchantmen, is relatively uneventful. Rounding the bulge of Africa, swinging past Brazil, the fleet makes good time as it reaches the Cape of Storms. The Cape lives up to its name with a storm that batters the fleet, damaging spars and rigging and washing a few sailors overboard, but no ships are lost.

As the Spanish enter the Indian Ocean, thus far it seems like a typical voyage that hundreds of Latin ships and thousands of Latin sailors have undergone. Yet it is here that Pereira departs from the usual script. Thus far Latin vessels have almost always swung up the east coast of Africa to head for southern India, sometimes stopping somewhere in east Africa or if they go around Madagascar to the east, the Mascarenes. If their destination lies farther east than Vijayanagar, they proceed from southern India through the Straits of Malacca onto their goal.

However Pereira, with his long eastern experience, is familiar with a new navigational technique pioneered by some Spanish merchantmen in the last decade. Instead of swinging north he and the expedition continue east, catching the Roaring Forties and riding them all along the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Rough waters and sea ice are an issue, with one of the 50-gunners and an auxiliary taking hits that require regular shifts at the pumps.

When Pereira estimates they’ve reached the right longitude (a very rough calculation with the instrumentation of the day), they pivot north, skirting the western coast of Australia which is sighted by the sloop. The next important landfall they sight is southern Bali, at which point the Spanish turn west, sailing along the south coast of Java before entering the Sunda Strait. These can be treacherous waters but Pereira knows these waters well and on August 23 the Spanish fleet sails into Banten harbor to be warmly welcomed by the Sundanese.

The Sundanese, well used to receiving Spanish vessels battered by long voyages halfway around the world, promptly set to work repairing damages and resupplying the ships. Meanwhile the Spanish unload their own cargoes for the Sundanese while Pereira meets with the Sundanese Raja, Sang Ratu Jayadewata, to secure cooperation. It is an easy task; Pereira is married to a cousin of the Raja and his brother-in-law is the commander of the Palace Guard. Sundanese lascars reinforce the fleet, making up losses from the voyages although the rations of lemon juice mean that casualties from scurvy are much lower than usual. Furthermore a Spanish forty-gunner, a sloop, and three armed merchantmen that were in Banten are added to the flotilla.

All this is done in a flurry of activity as Pereira wishes to strike fast. The Romans, who expected to see him first off Cape Comorin and thus to get at least a month’s warning before he arrived in Island Asia proper, are completely flummoxed to find him materialize in Banten seemingly out of thin air. On September 8th, the Spanish fleet (minus the 50-gunner still undergoing repairs to her hull) sail out of Banten harbor.
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