An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Who controls the central Asia? Is it divided between Russia and Ottomans and are there any independent (or at least trying to be) states there? Maybe even China could try to step into this region? As I can see this region could play more important role then it does in OTL.
No one rules it. It's independent and certainly not just 'trying to be.' Aside from what is today Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, which are under the sway of the Ottomans, and the eastern limits past Lake Balkhash which may or may not be a part of China everywhere there is under the control of native polities AFAIK. This is looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong before anyone could actually tame the steppe.

IOTL Russia only started pushing south rather than east in the beginning of the 19th century and they didn't get very far until the mid-19th due to the collapse of the Khazakh Khanate into three competing tribal polities. This initiated a slew of military activity in the 1860s and 70s where they conquered or vassalized the native Khanates of Khiva, and Kokand as well as the Emirate of Bukhara. This was assisted by Kokand having been in civil war for the past 20 years, and gave the Russians one hell of an initiative to disrupt the balance of power in Central Asia. The only reason they were properly able to accomplish this quick conquest was because of a revolt of the Muslims in Dzungaria that occurred at the exact same time and which saw Chinese authority collapse in Xinjiang and their influence vanish from Central Asia. The power vacuum gave Russians an opportunity to act with impunity and even the British weren't in much position to stop them, as Afghanistan had prevented British expansion earlier in the century and both the Sikh wars and the Sepoy Rebellion tied their Indian forces down during the century which kept them blocked from Central Asia. It took the Second Anglo-Afghan War in 1878 for British to have actual physical presence in Central Asia but by then the Russians were at the border of Afghanistan. The only other player, Persia, had lost a slew of wars to Russia over the past two centuries over the Caucasus and had long since been cowed. They were in no mood to get involved in yet another war with Russia after the last ones in the early 19th century. Russian conquest didn't really 'end' until 1895 when the Pamir Boundary was formed between British Afghanistan and Russian Central Asia but there was still intermittent warfare and small raids among tribal leaders that continued to plague the region until WWI, which wasn't much better but that's past the scope.

The conquest of Central Asia was a shockingly brief period after a century of preparation and posturing that was only really possible thanks to the advent of industrial technology, the rise of modern empire, and an incredibly favourable geopolitical situation. Central Asia won't be seeing much impact in the story until that point other than for polities who neighbour it, almost exclusively Persia. China isn't going to be doing much there, they have never had reason to expand into it and are entering an isolationist phase following the war with Korea. Their goals are to keep their borders and take back China, they are not out for imperial expansionism. It is highly unlikely that Central Asia will play a greater role than OTL. It may end up with a more complex history of independence as a battleground if B444 wants it to but it's still one of the most isolated regions of the inhabited world without much of value other than to facilitate transportation between wealthier resource-producing regions. At least until natural gas becomes important. And that's of particular note here, because immediately after the Russian Conquest they built the Trans-Caspian Railway and planned the Trans-Aral (which started construction in 1900). Both of these were to facilitate Russian access to the east, and were necessary to the maintenance of power in Central Asia in the same way it was to the vast plains of the American West. And on the subject of America, the American Civil War caused global cotton prices to skyrocket. Russians (and later Soviets to a much higher degree) intensive cotton cultivation along the Amu Darya and Syr Darya. Historic production had been relatively low but with higher cotton prices that low production became much more valuable at the same time as the Russian conquest. The Russian government did not enjoy the prospect of another spike in Cotton prices, especially since the order of the day was Mercantilism, so while they were building the railroads to expand transportation for soldiers and access to trade in China, India, and Persia they were also reorienting agriculture in the region towards Cotton production. Extensive cultivation of cash crops in central asia forcibly tied them to Ukrainian and Russian food production, as well as the newly constructed railways. This tied the economic livelihood of the average central asian (other than Khazakhs since their land can't be irrigated so they instead had wheat forced on them) intrinsically to the well-being of the Russian state.

You shouldn't assume it's a place that's bound to be conquered, let alone one that will be conquered anytime soon. Central Asia resisted foreign invasion for centuries due to its isolation from seapower, vast and resource-poor steppeland which made secure rule difficult, militarized and mobile society which made conquest and maintenance challenging until the entire economic and social order could be changed to facilitate foreign rule, and by playing their imperial neighbours who wanted trade off one another.

That was a lot longer than I originally intended it to be but central asia's a damn complex place.
 
@Evilprodigy I'm curious, do you think it'd be interesting to see a Central Asia that comes to dominate? I've been rooting for the Afghans to become a serious alternative to the Mesopotamian power base in the Ottoman Empire, what are your thoughts of a Central Asian unification a-la-Timur? I could see Georgia being quite interested in establishing a Central Asian ally state - perhaps feeding them resources via the Caspian Sea.
 
@Evilprodigy I'm curious, do you think it'd be interesting to see a Central Asia that comes to dominate? I've been rooting for the Afghans to become a serious alternative to the Mesopotamian power base in the Ottoman Empire, what are your thoughts of a Central Asian unification a-la-Timur? I could see Georgia being quite interested in establishing a Central Asian ally state - perhaps feeding them resources via the Caspian Sea.
Almost impossible.

A central asian polity that expands to dominate its neighbours will inevitably gravitate towards centres of wealth and power that they conquor. This is true of every 'periphery invading the core' situation that arises in Asia. The historic examples we have all transitioned to just be a 'conquest dynasty' of the state they conquered if they even survived long enough. Timur's invasion of Persia eventually saw the capital move south to Herat but the thing barely survived his death. The Seljuks shifted their capital progressively westwards from Merv to Rey to Isfahan as did the Mongols, mostly sticking around Tabriz. The Mughals, originating in Ferghana, shifted the focus of their power to Delhi. The Arabs, after expanding outwards from Arabia, never had a caliphate based in Mecca or Medina after the Rashidun, instead favouring Damascus or Baghdad.

The Safavids and the Fatimids provide more localized examples as both originated in a periphery area of Azerbaijan and Tunisa, then conquered a more populous place in Persia and Egypt respectively then both shifted their capitals to their newly conquests in Isfahan and Cairo and ruled from there. Even the Ottomans too, or at least the Anatolian Turks, shifted their capital to Europe when they could, first at Edirne then Istanbul. You get something similar in China as well, as the Mongols and Qing both shifted their power bases to Beijing after conquering it.

After a certain point it's not really 'central asian' anymore. We have that right now with the Ottomans, who rule parts of Central Asia and have a turkic heritage but government is based in the place which is economically prosperous and politically useful. The only way for central asia to dominate anything is itself, by being unified, but that's highly unlikely to last. The nature of central asia's geography, culture, and climate does not lend itself to long stable empires but instead to either smaller states bounded by the geographic barriers that constrain a settled lifestyle (See the river basins for Merv and Bukhara or the Ferghana Valley for Kokand) or vast sprawling nomadic confederacies across the flat-ish steppe where communication distances make government by decree (rather than consensus) impossible. It's just not practical to maintain a unified central asian state, and that says nothing of the myriad of local cultures which, while mostly Turkic, aren't really unified. For example, there are three different types of Khazakhs in their three Zhuz. Division can be overcome but it's going to be damn hard work that probably isn't even going to play out if historic examples of forging a national identity out of disparate groups are anything to go by. Ukrainians and Belarussians don't think they're Russian, Ottomanism died horribly, Pan-Arabism never really took off, Austrians don't think they're German, and Serbo-Croatian was spectacular failure. They need at the very least a unifying language but (like pan-arabism and Austrians or Swiss not being German) that doesn't always work even if you do have it.
 
Coronation in Rome: That’s not going to happen, because Constantinople is the New Rome, replacing the old one, and Romans have no need to explain themselves to puffed-up Latins. In internal politics, there would be no need for a coronation in Rome, and in fact such would seem entirely random. And Latins would just ignore it anyway.

Great new update at Patreon. The "Age of Miracles" period might be one of my favorite ones in the story.
Thanks. It’s been a lot of fun to go back to those early years and properly flesh them out.

Huh. Guess “Yavana” is gonna be an ethnic slur used ITTL BY Vietnamese people to indicate a supposed association with the hated Romans as opposed to one against them to signify barbarism.

And since “Taewon” is the closest exonym I can cook up that aligns with Ionia-Javan-Yauna-Yavana-Dayuan yeah, it fits with your assertion. (My friends IRL and I did a bit of brainstorming and figured ‘wonbyeong’ was the best general usage Korean word for Roman military personnel as an aside)

inb4 the modern Seoul neighborhood of Itaewon is famous not for shopping, fake designer bags, and yuppie shit like it is OTL, but is the district of the city build over the old Roman trading quarter and plays host to many Christians, Muslims, and Orthodox inhabitants of the Korean capital. Not to mention the highest concentration of churches in the country.
This isn’t something I’ve given any thought to. A lot may depend on who were the specific Romans first contacted by the Koreans.

Central Asia: The area was briefly mostly under a loose Khazar dominion, but that was very much a personal achievement of the Khazar king and disintegrated the moment he died. Right now it’s a patchwork of local minor states, with China having some fingers in the pie, but with the goal not of conquest but to keep a major player from emerging in the region.

The area’s going to be minor, since it lacks resources of its own and is far away from major empire. During earlier times it could generate powerful steppe confederacies that could go a-conquering, but now said steppe horse archers would run into gunpowder empires, which would not end well for them.
 
Lords of Spice and Sea: Prestige and Parasites
Lords of Spice and Sea: Prestige and Parasites

Pereira sails east along the coast of Java, having been informed by the Sundanese of the Mataram siege of Semarang and the Roman blockade. Neither he nor the Sundanese have any love for Semarang, which was the terror of Sunda and a thorn in Spain’s side until the beginning of the 1630s. But it gives him the opportunity to take on the Romans of New Constantinople before they can combine with the other Katepanates.

On September 12, when the Spaniards hove over the horizon, Semarang is still holding out although the city defenders are on the verge of surrendering. When Roman lookouts see the approaching vessels, their first thought is that this is the Lotharingian fleet in the area. While the Romans have heard some rumors of a large Spanish force arriving in Sunda, thus far they have discounted them, some speculating that they were started by Semarang to distract them. A Spanish expedition would come via India and the Strait of Malacca, meaning that if said expedition had reached West Java the Romans would’ve received an official report before now. Once the ships get closer, the Romans realize their mistake but valuable hours that could’ve been used to concentrate the blockaders have been lost.

The Romans have the advantage of numbers, with twenty ships to the Spanish fifteen. However the Roman force is indisputably lighter. The Romans have two fourth-raters and two fifth-raters, mounting between them 184 cannons, while the Spaniards’ three third-raters, four fourth-raters, and one fifth-rater carry 456, and more of heavier caliber. In addition, eleven of the Roman ships are armed merchantmen, not purpose-built warships, whereas all but three of the Spaniards are warships.

With that, it is hardly surprising that the Spanish sweep the Romans off the field, the Romans losing thirteen of their twenty. Six are captured, including both fourth-raters, another three smashed to splinters and sunk, while another four break their backs on the Javanese shore, the crews rescued and protected by the Mataram army. In contrast, the Spanish don’t lose a single ship, although three are badly shot up. The Spanish don’t remain in the area, Pereira having accomplished his initial mission, and proceed west toward Malaya where he hopes to waylay the Pahang fleet.

At the same time as the Spanish fleet sailed from Banten, a Sundanese army of four thousand crossed the frontier to raid former-Semarang territory that has recently been conquered by Mataram. Detaching some troops from the siege, Sanjaya sent a force of some seven thousand to meet them, the two sides coming to blows at the village of Adiwerna.

The Mataramese, taking advantage of their greater numbers, move to outflank the Sundanese while the two centers exchange gunfire. But the Spanish cargo Pereira just delivered to the Sundanese were state-of-the-art Spanish flintlock muskets, while the Mataramese are using the obsolete matchlocks provided by the Romans. The Sundanese are new to their weapons and not comparable to elite Roman or Spanish infantry, but they still can get off 2 shots a minute while the Mataramese struggle to fire one round every 2 minutes.

With their flanking maneuver, the Mataramese might still have won this, but their center, stunned by the sheer volume of fire pouring down on them, breaks apart and flees, prompting the rest of the Mataramese army to fall back in disorder. Afterwards the Sundanese continue to raid, seizing a few thousand captives from the countryside as slaves, until Sanjaya temporarily decamps from Semarang with seventeen thousand men. At this, the Sundanese retreat back across the frontier while Sanjaya returns to the siege. Materially, this is not much of a blow to Mataram, but it is a profound humiliation.

To add to Sanjaya’s frustration, Semarang had been at the point of capitulation. But first the destruction of the Roman fleet and the delays and defeat from the Sundanese have revived the morale of the defenders. With Java’s rainy season approaching rapidly, they defy Sanjaya’s demands, although some are worried about the gamble since their land fortifications have already been smashed in several places.

Not wanting to break off now when total victory in the long struggle is so close, on October 10 Sanjaya launches an utterly massive frontal assault at the breaches. Fighting is intense, but the third wave breaks through and resistance collapses. Despite the heavy casualties, the Maharaja of Mataram is completely triumphant over the Sultan of Semarang. The inhabitants not killed in the initial frenzy of violence are rounded up and carted off into slavery in the interior, including the female members of the Sultan’s family. Many of them end their days as servants in the Maharaja’s palace. It is a tremendous victory, making Sanjaya the undisputed master of central Java, but events of the last few weeks still leave a bitter taste in his mouth.

To the west, Alexandros Mavrokordatos is busy implementing his riposte to the Spanish incursion. His spies in Malacca report that the Spanish squadron successfully made it to sea and is now on its way to Java to reinforce Pereira. The combined force will be too powerful for Pahang to tackle alone, but in their absence Malacca is vulnerable, although he knows the window is a short one.

So he pulls out his operational plan for a major offensive against Malacca and starts setting it in motion. However this new version has several issues compared to the original. A respectable fraction of his forces, including most of his best troops, are fighting in Champa. Alexandros won’t withdraw them for fear of demoralizing and alienating the Cham and besides, they couldn’t get back here in time. Furthermore, the naval component is much weaker, comprising a mix of small armed merchantmen and eastern-style ships with only two proper warships that mount 26 cannon between them, which also means he lacks the sealift capacity to send the army by sea. That said, Mavrokordatos expects these to be reinforced by his regular fleet as they return from their Andaman patrol. Finally the expedition must be quick, because in addition to taking Malacca before the combined Spanish fleet returns, the expedition must take Malacca before the onset of the monsoon in November.

The Roman army is harassed as it invades the Viceroyalty of Malacca but there is no attempt to stop it in open battle. Still Roman progress is slow, the 267 kilometers between Pahang and Malacca being covered in twenty eight days; one does not march quickly through jungle. By the time the Romans are within gun range of Malacca, it is mid-October. They have at most a fortnight to take the city, and they only have field pieces plus some naval artillery taken off the ships; siege guns would’ve slowed them even more.

The Romans do have one advantage; Malacca is lightly garrisoned with the Romans having a 4-to-1 advantage in at least semi-trained soldiers. Many of the Spanish troops had gone with the squadron, as they did not expect Mavrokordatos so close to the beginning of the monsoon.

On October 16, the Romans launch a joint attack from the land and sea. The land assault makes good progress against its outnumbered opponents, but the motley Roman fleet is badly punished by the shore batteries and forced to retreat. The seaward defenders rush to reinforce the land walls and that attack is soon beaten off. Still, the Romans are confident. Any moment now their regular fleet will arrive and if the sea assault is launched with half a dozen proper warships instead of some merchantmen, such a tactic is guaranteed to succeed.

On October 18 the monsoon breaks, nearly two weeks earlier. The army camp isn’t turned into a sea of mud, yet, but it will, and it’s impossible to keep the gunpowder dry. At a stroke the siege becomes hopeless. The Romans spike their guns as they can’t move them and begin retreating on October 20.

It is a nightmare retreat, not because of enemy action, which is practically nonexistent, but the climate. Aside from the tigers and alligators, there is the malaria, which is by far the greatest killer. However there are other threats to health. Alexios Xatzigiannis is an eikosarchos in the 2nd Pahang, like many junior officers the son of a Greek father and Malay mother. Literate in Greek, his journal is a valuable first-hand account of the soldiers’ experience. [1]

On November 17, Alexios recounts going to the latrine at the end of the day and finding one of his men there squatting over the trench and looking very worried. Upon examination, he discovered that the head and at least six centimeters of a tapeworm were sticking out of the man’s anus. Cutting it off was a bad idea as leaving the corpse inside the man’s intestine guaranteed a nasty infection. Alexios got an archiatros who very carefully managed to extract the parasite alive from the man; it was two-thirds of a meter long.

Despite the lack of artillery, the rains mean that the Roman army only finally gets back to shelter on December 12, the entire army haggard and sick. Alexios, like the rest of the army, had not been able to take off and dry their boots in nearly six weeks. He described his feet as pasty white with a smell that was indescribable but which could be smelled over a kilometer away. The soldiers fire off blank charges of gunpowder to ‘clear’ the air.

In terms of lives lost the numbers are not so bad, but the health and vitality of the soldiers on the expedition has been gutted, sharply weakening the land forces available to Pahang.


[1] The stories are taken from Burma: The Forgotten War by Jon Latimer.
 
Hmm... with the way this is going, the Romans cannot win by sheer firepower. The Spanish have had the advantage everywhere so far, and they don't seem intent on stopping till New Constantinople. This expedition may well sweep NC and threaten Pahang and Pyrgos.
At least Mataram won its battles. Maybe the Romans, once they stop fighting by reacting to the Spaniards, might entice him to break the back of the Sundanese to end that source of trouble.
 
On October 18 the monsoon breaks, nearly two weeks earlier. The army camp isn’t turned into a sea of mud, yet, but it will, and it’s impossible to keep the gunpowder dry. At a stroke the siege becomes hopeless. The Romans spike their guns as they can’t move them and begin retreating on October 20.
Classic Roman luck strikes again!
 
Agh
Classic Roman luck strikes again!
Agh another round of roman badluck.... Just when will this end. Though I know the spanish will lose this war, just how much will the Romans lose this time? Last time they lost nearly a million of their population, but this time? What are the chances of them reviving themselves in island asia? Those loses are pretty bad, constantinople should send a massive amount of men and ships or rather gold to shore up the asian front. We'll they will anyways but once they reorganize themselves in island asia and crush the ottomans in the middle east. Its time for a massive payback to all the latins in the island asia. They need to really remove the influence and power of each of these powers that they can't attack on europe. This is the best method of attack that hurts those latins in the west. Now ill just have wait for the next updates over the following months.
 
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Agh another round of roman badluck.... Just when will this end.
If they didn't have bad luck they'd have no luck at all.

One poorly timed rainstorm and one skilled naval flotilla could set the Romans back decades in the east.
Turns out risky plans with no contingencies are very vulnerable to upsets. The entire plan to take Malacca (with a siege assault no less!) was a product of greed and should have been written off the moment the Spanish Fleet was on it's way, let alone once it arrived.

Blaming Roman setbacks on bad luck rather than poor strategic and operational planning is rather silly, it was just a bad plan. The Romans not factoring an early monsoon season into their plans is far more of a headscratcher than the monsoon actually happening early, though neither is unrealistic.
 
Turns out risky plans with no contingencies are very vulnerable to upsets. The entire plan to take Malacca (with a siege assault no less!) was a product of greed and should have been written off the moment the Spanish Fleet was on it's way, let alone once it arrived.

Blaming Roman setbacks on bad luck rather than poor strategic and operational planning is rather silly, it was just a bad plan. The Romans not factoring an early monsoon season into their plans is far more of a headscratcher than the monsoon actually happening early, though neither is unrealistic.
It's that reality always seem to assert itself for the Romans and none of their enemies.

The Persians can have a flawless leader that wins impossible victories without fail, it nicely contrasts to the Time of Troubles.

Theodor can invade despite having every conceivable metric against him, and get within a stone's throw of Constantinople.

If the Romans make emotional decisions based on vengeance, they create a power vacuum for their enemies. If the Spanish do it, they get to surge a fleet around the world to surprise and effortlessly sweep aside the Roman competition.

When the Spanish descended unawares on the Romans I was pretty much expecting this string of disasters. I think the next act is a Roman rally that gets cut short when their entire baggage train explodes.
 
Seems like the Romans probably used all their luck in Andreas niketas reign and the end of time of troubles.

No complaints though, for it seems the Romans get lots of the great person so it balanced out in the end.
 
It's that reality always seem to assert itself for the Romans and none of their enemies.

The Persians can have a flawless leader that wins impossible victories without fail, it nicely contrasts to the Time of Troubles.

Theodor can invade despite having every conceivable metric against him, and get within a stone's throw of Constantinople.

If the Romans make emotional decisions based on vengeance, they create a power vacuum for their enemies. If the Spanish do it, they get to surge a fleet around the world to surprise and effortlessly sweep aside the Roman competition.

When the Spanish descended unawares on the Romans I was pretty much expecting this string of disasters. I think the next act is a Roman rally that gets cut short when their entire baggage train explodes.
While I myself do wish the Rhomans would catch a random lucky break here and there we can’t forget that the timeline itself is called the age of miracles. The Rhomans were essentially dead but got lucky. They dragged themselves from the brink of destruction to being very possibly the number one power in the world. They’ve caught plenty of breaks along the way. And any balanced timeline can’t just have no hardships for the main country without getting dull.

That said when this is over the Spanish shouldn’t have so much as a burnt patch of dirt past the line. If not in the immediate peace than within the next decade afterward as the Rhomans regroup. It would be hard but the Spanish don’t control so much land that it’s impossible. I can’t help but think this is the straw that breaks the camels back in regard to the Latins. Even the ones you trust as neighbors for decades suddenly stab you in the back for the stupidest reason possible. With the western border more or less set for the time being (give or take northern Italy) I expect Rhōmania’s main foreign policy effort will be to paint Island Asia Purple on the map.
 
While I myself do wish the Rhomans would catch a random lucky break here and there we can’t forget that the timeline itself is called the age of miracles. The Rhomans were essentially dead but got lucky. They dragged themselves from the brink of destruction to being very possibly the number one power in the world. They’ve caught plenty of breaks along the way. And any balanced timeline can’t just have no hardships for the main country without getting dull.
I think the reason why "Roman luck" has become a bit of meme in this timeline is due to all the instances of bad luck really screwing the Romans during the Time of Troubles and War of the Roman Succession. Examples like the Emperor falling off his horse and breaking his neck, and stray cannon balls lighting up a gunpowder magazine etc.

But in saying that the Romans are really playing defensive and being really reactive. Once they have time to re-group and properly re-align we should see them be much more competitive. If the Japanese are wise they'll go all in supporting the Romans, otherwise their biggest ally is gone.
 
While I myself do wish the Rhomans would catch a random lucky break here and there we can’t forget that the timeline itself is called the age of miracles. The Rhomans were essentially dead but got lucky. They dragged themselves from the brink of destruction to being very possibly the number one power in the world. They’ve caught plenty of breaks along the way. And any balanced timeline can’t just have no hardships for the main country without getting dull.

That said when this is over the Spanish shouldn’t have so much as a burnt patch of dirt past the line. If not in the immediate peace than within the next decade afterward as the Rhomans regroup. It would be hard but the Spanish don’t control so much land that it’s impossible. I can’t help but think this is the straw that breaks the camels back in regard to the Latins. Even the ones you trust as neighbors for decades suddenly stab you in the back for the stupidest reason possible. With the western border more or less set for the time being (give or take northern Italy) I expect Rhōmania’s main foreign policy effort will be to paint Island Asia Purple on the map.
I'm largely in agreement, but I can't help but feel echoes of the war in Europe/W.Asia in tempo. That isn't to say anything written is wrong, or bad, it's just a bit disheartening and frustrating. It's certainly no fighting Shah Rukh glory.

It's all explained through essentially solid reasons but my god it's maddening when you read the Spanish not only winning without losing a ship, but gaining half a dozen, and turning around a proxy war in the same update.

It's still good storytimes, but it does make me want to take a break so I can read to the end of the current plotline in one go.
 
It's certainly no fighting Shah Rukh glory.
Heh, this was something percolating through my brain during the last war.

Everyone else gets to be badass.

The invasion of Rome is spearheaded by Vauban, greatest artillery commander ever, Bone-breaker, madlad Casimir, and Blucher. The Turks get to rampage far further into Palestine than seemed likely, in part because the Roman defences are literally lead by a retired geriatric. The Egyptians can be saved from destruction by daring raids against the Roman baggage line.

Rome seems to bounce from failure to failure and slowly drown its enemies in sheer materiel advantage. That isn't necessarily implausible or unreasonable, but gosh it's disheartening when the nominal heroes of this story.... sort of suck.

I mean, in the last war, it got to the point that you sighed and knew what was gonna happen. The start of the update has the Romans gamble on leaving their artillery behind, and the Allies get to rake them over during a furious assault that brings them to the gates of Thessaloniki. There was no drama or suspense in that update, because you knew the Romans were gonna get munched.

The Spanish Armada shows up with total surprise and tactical superiority.... and yup. I had a sinking suspicion it was going to be a string of victories sweeping aside the Roman defences again.

I still remember the whole War for Asia and "KATAPHRAKTOI! READY KONTOS!" of Shah Rukh. It would be nice if the Romans could actually, like, be cool again at some point.

At a certain point the Romans probably need to burn down the War College and salt the earth there, because their established military school churns out seemingly cursed commanders.
 
Heh, this was something percolating through my brain during the last war.

Everyone else gets to be badass.

The invasion of Rome is spearheaded by Vauban, greatest artillery commander ever, Bone-breaker, madlad Casimir, and Blucher. The Turks get to rampage far further into Palestine than seemed likely, in part because the Roman defences are literally lead by a retired geriatric. The Egyptians can be saved from destruction by daring raids against the Roman baggage line.

Rome seems to bounce from failure to failure and slowly drown its enemies in sheer materiel advantage. That isn't necessarily implausible or unreasonable, but gosh it's disheartening when the nominal heroes of this story.... sort of suck.

I mean, in the last war, it got to the point that you sighed and knew what was gonna happen. The start of the update has the Romans gamble on leaving their artillery behind, and the Allies get to rake them over during a furious assault that brings them to the gates of Thessaloniki. There was no drama or suspense in that update, because you knew the Romans were gonna get munched.

The Spanish Armada shows up with total surprise and tactical superiority.... and yup. I had a sinking suspicion it was going to be a string of victories sweeping aside the Roman defences again.

I still remember the whole War for Asia and "KATAPHRAKTOI! READY KONTOS!" of Shah Rukh. It would be nice if the Romans could actually, like, be cool again at some point.

At a certain point the Romans probably need to burn down the War College and salt the earth there, because their established military school churns out seemingly cursed commanders.
Well you must know by now that wars are not won by battles alone but through logistics tactics strategy and good old luck...and on the war academy if i remember correctly the school of war got a massive overhaul in curriculum in order to andress the problems you speak of..and anyhow the various problems and challenges will help the empire to adopt and innovate...but i must aggre with you on the fact that we hadn't any epic scenes in a long time ...
 
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It is a tremendous victory, making Sanjaya the undisputed master of central Java, but events of the last few weeks still leave a bitter taste in his mouth.
Watch the Mataramese jump ship and become clients of the Spanish. Not that I would blame them - they have the better guns and ships. Their hapless Roman allies not only saddled them with obsolete matchlocks (which is a failure of will, not logistics) as opposed to flintlocks but they clearly have better military leadership as well. If Mataram defects to the Spanish orbit that's terrible news for New Constantinople as Mataram rice is what's keeping New Constantinople fed.

Once they have time to re-group and properly re-align we should see them be much more competitive.
The problem is that by the time Constantinople hears about these defeats, organizes a Roman Armada in response and they sail to Taprobane it is what, two full years? More if the monsoon winds aren't in their favor. Give Alt-Nelson and his now much-larger fleet two years of free reign and everything west of Pyrgos will either be destroyed outright or dramatically reduced in both size and prestige. Unless the Romans convince Vijayanagar to help them of course - but why would Vijayanagar help the Romans in that case? Rats don't generally jump on to sinking ships after all.
 
Heh, this was something percolating through my brain during the last war.

Everyone else gets to be badass.
(snip)
I still remember the whole War for Asia and "KATAPHRAKTOI! READY KONTOS!" of Shah Rukh. It would be nice if the Romans could actually, like, be cool again at some point.

At a certain point the Romans probably need to burn down the War College and salt the earth there, because their established military school churns out seemingly cursed commanders.
I mean, I wouldn't burn the War College down, as it is useful. Like said below, its the logistics - even if the Romans had to genuinely strain their capacity to hold up against Germany and Persia at once (I mean, that dogpile. Yikes). The War College is oddly enough probably the saving grace - it isn't turning out the best commanders, but it does come up with strong regional strategy and essentially prevents the long-term issue the Romans had of strategoi rebelling or getting local loyalties by disconnecting generals from noble houses, even if not from the nobility in general.

Well you must know by now that wars are not won by battles alone but through logistics tactics strategy and good old luck...and on the war academy if i remember correctly the school of war got a massive overhaul in curriculum in order to andress the problems you speak of..and anyhow the various problems and challenges will help the empire to adopt and innovate...but i must aggre with you on the fact that we hadn't any epic scenes in a long time ...
Here's hoping our boy Leo can bring us our fix? :p

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Watch the Mataramese jump ship and become clients of the Spanish. Not that I would blame them - they have the better guns and ships. Their hapless Roman allies not only saddled them with obsolete matchlocks (which is a failure of will, not logistics) as opposed to flintlocks but they clearly have better military leadership as well. If Mataram defects to the Spanish orbit that's terrible news for New Constantinople as Mataram rice is what's keeping New Constantinople fed.
I can see why they'd do that, but I think the more sensible thing would be for them to sit out of this and wait and see who is going to win and then throw in. The Romans weren't great, but they've been there a long time, and they're not a single entity - that has a benefit for a local kingdom, no major authority to order them around. There is no guarantee the Spanish will structure things the same way, especially since thats how the Spanish are seemingly going to win.

The problem is that by the time Constantinople hears about these defeats, organizes a Roman Armada in response and they sail to Taprobane it is what, two full years? More if the monsoon winds aren't in their favor. Give Alt-Nelson and his now much-larger fleet two years of free reign and everything west of Pyrgos will either be destroyed outright or dramatically reduced in both size and prestige. Unless the Romans convince Vijayanagar to help them of course - but why would Vijayanagar help the Romans in that case? Rats don't generally jump on to sinking ships after all.
I think that the Roman-Korean-Japanese alliance may well be key here. Japan has a long history, and common religion with the Romans - they don't with the Spanish, and that consistency will be good for the Japanese in the long term. Plus - if there are any extra forces after the war (heck,this applies to some of the Korean forces too) then they could very well be sent to fight down south with the Romans, just to keep them out of trouble. China is still a threat, but in the long term a Roman Indonesia indebted to the Japanese and Koreans is incredibly valuable, especially compared to the Spanish, who there are no real relationships with that far north.
 
I know it can be disheartening right now but the Romans will return to being the badasses we all know them to be soon enough both in the east and in the west. In the west we have the war of the wrath set up which is gonna be an ass whooping of the persians we haven't seen since the time of Alexander. And in the East we have Napoleon fucking Bonapate who I imagine is gonna wreck some shit in the future once he has more experience. The way stuff is being set up i think we're gonna see the Romans on the major upswing once Odysseus takes the purple
 
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