An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Vince

Monthly Donor
Now, I didn't say that Iskandar would go to the trouble of actually getting the Stone back, did I? All he has to do is convince the clerics that he will, and after his plans are accomplished...
Long Knives aren't copyrighted by the Romans, after all.
Now I have this image of the clerics demanding Iskander get the Stone back afterwards and the Shah denying it ala the Monty Python Argument skit.

"You said you would get back the Stone if we agreed to support you!"

"No I didn't"

"Yes you did!"

"Did not."
 
It will be interesting to see what Athena does running the empire, she has her father's economic sense, and really will be what holds Ody from going total war. We have to remember that, that is the only war he knows.

My prediction? Ody passes shortly after the war, Athena will be regent-empress and win the peace. Mesopotamia is a more trouble than it is worth, and she will see that, probably repeatedly telling Ody that too while he goes on his Timur impression. When the Persian-Ottomans strike back, which they will, you could see her pull back to a predetermined defensive line of Kirkuk saving as many troops as possible in preparation for the retreat, similar to her father did. Mosul will be, I feel, the anchor to Roman security in its eastern provinces, and can defend Syria and Anatolia both better than a Mesopotamia that you have to pull back from when eventually attacked. That is not withstanding the chances that you get cut off on your way back to more secure supply lines.

Iskander, I do not trust. I see shadows of Arminius, and Khusro. With him so close to Ody, and bearing eye witness to the slaughter of his people, I would put money on him being the one that puts the dagger into Odys back, so to speak. I don't see him being accepted either by the Ottomans or Persians either because he will be seen as being too Roman. He isn't an Ottoman prince, he was a tool used to threaten the Ottoman establishment, but after so long has been polished too fine to been seen anything other than a Roman puppet. He might take over, but if he did I don't see it for long. It could even lead to a completely new dynasty taking the peacock throne, after over throwing him.
 
It will be interesting to see what Athena does running the empire, she has her father's economic sense, and really will be what holds Ody from going total war. We have to remember that, that is the only war he knows.

My prediction? Ody passes shortly after the war, Athena will be regent-empress and win the peace. Mesopotamia is a more trouble than it is worth, and she will see that, probably repeatedly telling Ody that too while he goes on his Timur impression. When the Persian-Ottomans strike back, which they will, you could see her pull back to a predetermined defensive line of Kirkuk saving as many troops as possible in preparation for the retreat, similar to her father did. Mosul will be, I feel, the anchor to Roman security in its eastern provinces, and can defend Syria and Anatolia both better than a Mesopotamia that you have to pull back from when eventually attacked. That is not withstanding the chances that you get cut off on your way back to more secure supply lines.

Iskander, I do not trust. I see shadows of Arminius, and Khusro. With him so close to Ody, and bearing eye witness to the slaughter of his people, I would put money on him being the one that puts the dagger into Odys back, so to speak. I don't see him being accepted either by the Ottomans or Persians either because he will be seen as being too Roman. He isn't an Ottoman prince, he was a tool used to threaten the Ottoman establishment, but after so long has been polished too fine to been seen anything other than a Roman puppet. He might take over, but if he did I don't see it for long. It could even lead to a completely new dynasty taking the peacock throne, after over throwing him.
I’ve actually had the thought that if Odysseus dies young it might be his own men who kill him because they feel betrayed. Let’s say the war is a longer bloodier affair than what we’ve all kind of assumed. If after 8-12 years of city fighting, massacres, dead comrades, nasty sieges, and horror stories Odysseus finally sits down in the Peacock Throne with his boot on the Ottomans throat. These men are probably expecting a big land grab, maybe a new despotate or two, every piece of treasure they can find, and a possible dismantling of the Ottomans. That hard peace we’ve discussed here. Instead they get Northern Mesopotamia, set Iskander on the throne, probably get some large reparations and then quietly leaves. While this is the smart and easy peace deal his men feel betrayed by it and assassinate him over the buckets of blood he seemingly doesn’t give a damn about.

Now I don’t feel like that’s exactly likely as I actually expect Odysseus to survive a long time. He was compared to one of the dinosaurs he painted and one update because he gave them cold calculating eyes, or something similar to that. So I think he might actually live to be ancient. I think Odysseus lives long enough to see the mistake he made in thinking friendship could change a geopolitical rivalry that is 2 millennia old. And having to “fix” it so to speak.

I also think having Iskandar be despot Of Babylonia is the smartest play. Keep him weak and dependent on Rome.
 
Just as Rome wasn't built in a day, so the goal of Roman Mesopotamia can remains a long term achievement to strive for by reducing it into a couple of smaller goals, a slow advancement down the rivers. Genghis spent 23 years fighting the Jin but even he couldn't achieve his desired conquest of China, with Kublai only managing to neuter the Song in 44 years. Never bite off more than you can chew is always a good rule to follow.
And Baghdad is likely more than Rhomania can chew. Conquering and retaining Mesopotamia as a long-term Roman goal is possible, but accomplishing it will take at least 50 years, if not a whole century or two.
The Roman situation is more difficult than the Mongols, because while most Chinese only lowkey disliked the Mongols, I can assure you that most Mesopotamians will have an intense dislike, if not outright hatred, which will simmer for decades. Rhomania can't afford an Egypt-esque debacle in Mesopotamia, since if that ever successfully happened, Mesopotamia would likely be permanently irrecoverable.
I think even a bite-and-chew strategy is too much for Rhomania to swallow. There are transportation and communication limits imposed by the technology of the day, and they impose limits on how big empires can be. And these are hard limits; one can push past them, but one will regret it. I think Rhomania is running into a hard limit here. The only way to change that is to up the transportation and communication limits, meaning railroads.

While I agree with not holding Mesopotamia I must note two things.

1. This is 1640. A state spending 80% of its budget on the military or military related items... is the way things are.
2. No matter what may happen a generation or two down the line crushing Persian now, thoroughly still looks like a good idea to me. Create and independent Iraq under Iskander or someone else really, let the Georgians and Russians annex whatever they can, Persia will still be hostile anyway. With some luck by the time Persian armies are charging across the Zagros, Turkish Iraq will have a separate identity from Persia proper or they will be fighting each other over who conquers whom.
1) Completely agree. I wanted to stress just how much Rhomania is already spending on its military, which is why such an expense like Mesopotamia is alarming from a financial POV.

2) Smashing Persia is a good idea from Constantinople’s POV, because if nothing else it’s a couple of decades where Rhomania does not have to deal with a powerful Persia. Which is definitely a big potato. But I feel that people are expecting some perfect permanent solution to Rhomania’s eastern border (and paint the map purple to boot) and I don’t see any way for that to happen realistically.

There are only one thing important in Mesopotamia Oil !
There are a bunch of really cool ancient archaeological sites…

Well, they’re important to me anyway. I’ve been on a bit of an ancient history/archaeology kick lately (and by ancient, I mean pre-classical).

I'm really glad you've broken it down like this - I tend to agree that Mesopotamia would be a dangerous overreach for the Romans, and besides, would go too far (for me, at least) in the direction of an all-out Roman wank. Besides, the Turco-Persian Ottomans are one of my favorite nations in the world of AAOM (right there with the Euro-indigenous Mexicans) and I want to see them maintain parity with the Romans, not lose a huge chunk of their heartland.

Honestly, given all the hype he's been getting, I'd love it if Odysseus pulls a Gustav Adolphus and dies on the field before he's 40.
Yeah, I want a powerful Rhomania, but I don’t want to push it too far. One of the reasons why I spent so much time out in the east was that it was fun to have Japan and Mataram and Vijayanagar jerking the Romans around and them having to just deal with it. Rhomania being top dog is, honestly, starting to bore me. A full-blown Roman wank would get really boring to write really fast.

Perhaps the Romans can let the Ottomans have southern mesopotamia but stoke the fires of Shia separatism so whenever they do eventually go to war again they can rely on a Shia revolt to help weaken the Ottoman army being sent twords Rhomania. Kind of a reverse of how the Persians capitalised on monophysite and Jewish discontent in the 600s
They could create an independent shia state to give them a taste of freedom for a few decades before the Ottomans inevitably swallow it up again and crack down on their religious freedom creating a large amount of anger that before didn't exist to such an extent
Could give the Ottomans a real headache, but two can play the game. Rhomania has a lot of minorities in their eastern territories, and while they have a protected legal status, they are still second-class citizens.

Thank you for the awesome map @Bronze that is very close to what I’m saying and visuals are always appreciated. One thing I will add is although it might not look great on the Map, the Romans likely have the Goal of at the very least grabbing Khoy in what you currently give to Georgia. In OTL it had a large Armenian population until the 1800’s and I don’t remember anything happening to them in TTL. It’s part of why of why i mentioned the Romans swinging up to grab Mahabad and going north to lake Urmia. Then you follow something similar to the current West Azerbaijan province border in modern Iran. With the Georgians protecting that flank it should be a relatively stable area with the additional land as it is only a relatively small increase to the Ottoman border.
Thr problem is that when the Georgians first swiped the trans-Aras, they were able to take all the land between Lake Van and the Caspian, including Khoy.

Even so, we must see what the Georgian reaction to the Roman attack on the Ottomans will be. If Georgia proves herself an important part of the attack (which is what I think is likely), they'll probably retain Khoy along with the other stuff.
But if, for some reason, the Georgians only provide token forces to help out, then Rhomania could consider taking the lands between Van and Urmia for itself, leaving Georgia with the lands between Lake Urmia and the Caspian.

Also, why is the Armenian population supposed to be relevant to whether it should go to Rhomania or to Georgia? As I understand it, a quarter of the land of Armenia, including Mount Ararat itself, is in Georgia. It too has a significant Armenian minority.
My main argument for the Romans being eager for an Armenian and/or Christian population such as in Khoy, Urmia, and in other nearby areas isn’t so much based in pan Armenianism as it is practically. If we’re focusing on Stability Instead of just domination this Mesopotamian province needs as many Christians as it can get. The more enthusiastic the better, hence why I mentioned a southern border at Tikrit to make Syriacs happy. Using the area between lakes Van and Urmia as a loyal manpower base for any Mesopotamian tagmata makes sense to me at least. It can be a smaller version of coastal Syria on that it would be incredibly loyal and easy to rush troops to from Armenia proper to reinforce it.

Would Georgia like this area as well for these same reasons? Definitely. But Rome is bigger and more powerful and can like Convince the Georgians to give it up for some concessions of their own. Maybe assistance to take some cities further east and a promise to pay for their garrisons for a set period. Maybe some trade concessions. Maybe the Georgians want promises for help in a future war in the north.

At this point I’m not suggesting Rome take additional land for more lands sake. Rather I’m focusing on what I think would help make a Mesopotamian province more stable in the long run.
Maps are always good. (Still hate making them.)

Anything that was Georgian pre-Iskandar will be going back to Georgia. The Romans might be able to compensate the Georgians elsewhere, but it’d still be a fly in the ointment of Roman-Georgian relations. After all, Georgian soldiers fought and died to conquer those lands, and then fought and died defending them against Persia. “Why should the Romans have the lands that hold my father’s bones?”

On a different note, the Armenians are a “noble heresy”, but note the last word. Constantinople views the Armenians as heretics, and from a purely theological view they’re even worse heretics than Catholics. Constantinople tolerates the heretics it has but it doesn’t want more. The Christians the Empire wants, particularly in sensitive border provinces, are Orthodox. Expect a Mosul Greek accent to sound a lot like a Smyrna or Nicaea accent when the dust clears.

Speaking of Greek Mosul, suggestions for a Greek name are welcome. But not Sideropolis; the name offends me on aesthetic grounds. And not Nikopolis; cliché.

Andrikotatos, to my understanding, means ‘most brave’. I was thinking something like ‘castle/city of the most brave’ as a tribute to the common Roman soldiers.

Or Siderokastron. Because do you want to be the Persian soldier attacking the Iron Fortress?

Have neptune and uranus been discovered yet? If so what are their names? It would be interesting if they named a planet Christos or something after Christ or perhaps named after a saint or emperor
Probably not, I don't think there's the necessary groundwork laid, either with regard to physics or instrumentation. While Uranus had been seen occasionally and listed as a star since classical times, without precise parallax measurements (because its orbit takes 84 years it moves very slowly across the sky on human timescales) and knowledge of the laws of orbital mechanics to make sense of those measurements, there's not really any way to figure out that it's actually another planet and not a comet or star, which is why it took until the 1780s OTL for it to be recognized as such. Doubly so for Neptune, which was deduced from even more precise measurement of unexplained orbital anomalies in the orbit of Uranus, and required even more specialized mathematics to predict what would be causing those anomalies. This isn't to say that these discoveries might not happen earlier relative to OTL, but there's a reason why they happened when they did beyond someone happening to point their telescope at the right part of the sky at the right time one night.
Astronomers have seen Uranus, but as has been pointed out, like OTL for the same reasons they haven’t figured out it’s a planet yet. Neptune is completely out of bounds at this point; it was discovered through its gravitational influence on Uranus.

They’re going to keep the OTL names, to keep the classical theme. If an OTL name can be used in the same way ITTL, I often favor it because I feel renaming everything, while helping the alternate history immersion, would just be too confusing for readers and the author.

It will be interesting to see what Athena does running the empire, she has her father's economic sense, and really will be what holds Ody from going total war. We have to remember that, that is the only war he knows.

My prediction? Ody passes shortly after the war, Athena will be regent-empress and win the peace. Mesopotamia is a more trouble than it is worth, and she will see that, probably repeatedly telling Ody that too while he goes on his Timur impression. When the Persian-Ottomans strike back, which they will, you could see her pull back to a predetermined defensive line of Kirkuk saving as many troops as possible in preparation for the retreat, similar to her father did. Mosul will be, I feel, the anchor to Roman security in its eastern provinces, and can defend Syria and Anatolia both better than a Mesopotamia that you have to pull back from when eventually attacked. That is not withstanding the chances that you get cut off on your way back to more secure supply lines.

Iskander, I do not trust. I see shadows of Arminius, and Khusro. With him so close to Ody, and bearing eye witness to the slaughter of his people, I would put money on him being the one that puts the dagger into Odys back, so to speak. I don't see him being accepted either by the Ottomans or Persians either because he will be seen as being too Roman. He isn't an Ottoman prince, he was a tool used to threaten the Ottoman establishment, but after so long has been polished too fine to been seen anything other than a Roman puppet. He might take over, but if he did I don't see it for long. It could even lead to a completely new dynasty taking the peacock throne, after over throwing him.
Why don’t you trust Iskandar? He hasn’t said anything…

His relations with Odysseus and the Romans are going to be…complicated.

Now I don’t feel like that’s exactly likely as I actually expect Odysseus to survive a long time. He was compared to one of the dinosaurs he painted and one update because he gave them cold calculating eyes, or something similar to that. So I think he might actually live to be ancient. I think Odysseus lives long enough to see the mistake he made in thinking friendship could change a geopolitical rivalry that is 2 millennia old. And having to “fix” it so to speak.

I also think having Iskandar be despot Of Babylonia is the smartest play. Keep him weak and dependent on Rome.
Interesting how you bring up the dinosaur eyes, considering the idea I had the other day regarding their inspiration.
 
The House of Iron: The Fall of Men
The House of Iron: The Fall of Men

“Pain is nature’s way of teaching us to welcome death.”-Demetrios III Sideros​

Beginning in 1638, Demetrios III Sideros starts trying to be less involved in regular governance of the Empire (an effort that meets with very limited success) , principally due to worsening health. Because Odysseus doesn’t have the right mentality, much of Demetrios’ work is delegated to the Empress Jahzara and Lady Athena. Despite her frequency at earlier Imperial cabinet meetings, Athena still has a difficult time. She may have demonstrated great intelligence and wisdom, but she is a young woman, and few are more stubborn than old men refusing to take a young woman seriously. In extremis, she can call upon her father for support, and he always backs her play, but that does nothing for her own authority and is a tool that can only be used as long as Demetrios is alive.

The situation improves for her in the third quarter of 1638 when the refurbishing of a new office and study for her is completed. It is done up very similarly to the Emperor’s personal office and study, a deliberate choice to put those summoned there into the proper mood. But it is not identical and the most noticeable difference from Demetrios’ study is the large painting on the wall behind her desk, the one any petitioner would face while addressing her.

Sirani,_Elisabetta_-_Timoclea_uccide_il_capitano_di_Alessandro_Magno_-_1659.jpg

Timoclea Killing her Rapist [OTL painting by Elisabetta Sirani]

The painting is from the story of Timoclea, a woman who appears in Plutarch’s life of Alexander the Great. A resident of Thebes, she was raped by a captain in Alexander’s army after the city fell. When he finished, the captain demanded to know where Timoclea’s valuables were, to which she answered that they were hidden at the bottom of the well. [1] When he got to the well, she threw him in and then dropped stones on him till he died. When brought before Alexander, he pardoned her.

It is a special commission by Athena. Although Timoclea’s skin is substantially whitened (for historical accuracy), otherwise Timoclea bears a startling resemblance to Athena. As for the Thracian captain she is throwing into the well, he looks a great deal like former Logothete of the Drome Andronikos Sarantenos, a reminder of what happens to troublesome officials who cross the Sideroi.

The artist is a Sicilian woman, Anna Albanese, who moved to Constantinople just before the outbreak of the war; there’s a much bigger market for her studio productions in the Queen of Cities than in Bari. A more personal reason is that Anna was raped by a student of her father (also an artist) in 1628. Taking her rapist to court, the trial soon became more about her, raking over her character to see what she’d done to “entice her assailant”. The obscene and ridiculous practice of blaming the victim of rape rather than the perpetrator for the act is sadly very commonplace. Even though she ended up winning the case (although the rapist’s penalty was insultingly mild) Anna naturally wanted to be somewhere else, hence the move to Constantinople.

While Anna is painting for Athena, Demetrios is writing. Another reason for his lessening involvement in governance, aside from ill health, is that he is hard at work on what many historians consider his magnum opus, The History of the War of the Roman Succession. Curiously, he does not call it ‘the Great Latin War’ even though that is a term he coined. The most commonly accepted reason among scholars is that the history doesn’t just cover the war and fighting between Theodor and his allies against Demetrios, but also connected conflicts. These include the Ducal War in Lombardy, the diplomatic maneuvers in the Mediterranean and the fighting in the East between Spain and Rhomania, the Ravens’ Rebellion, and the Third Rhine War, although his coverage of many of these is cut short because he dies before the events he is describing conclude. However some biographers argue that another reason is at play.

It is not the only thing he is writing, although the history is the main task. Another work is A New and Ancient World, which is not published during his lifetime and when it is it is done under a pseudonym. Many question whether Demetrios finished the text before he died as it is not clear that the ending was meant to be the end of the story, or just the first part. Historians are unsure of what to make of it. A Roman Emperor writes the tale of a Roman expedition to the moon. There the expedition, through pride, arrogance, and greed ends up awakening a far greater power that would’ve happily stayed slumbering and unaware of Rhomania’s existence until the expedition’s aggrandizements had awakened it. The book ends with the tattered remnants of the expedition fleeing back to Earth while the power marshals all its forces for an attack on Rhomania itself.

Despite the pseudonym, scholars are certain that Demetrios III Sideros is the author of A New and Ancient World. There are more questions regarding Sancho Panza of Seville, or, the Silver Elephant. It is a play that comes out in late 1638, about a Spanish merchant. Traveling the world, he becomes staggeringly wealthy, but then in a series of mishaps and disasters, mostly in events out of his control or doing, he sees everyone around him and himself lose practically everything save the small silver elephant pendant around his neck, a symbol of wisdom and memory. Losing his mind, he eventually commits suicide. It seems unlikely that Demetrios wrote the whole play, but a number of scholars think he may have penned the final speech of Sancho Panza.

* * *
Empress Theater, Constantinople, March 18, 1639:

Demetrios took another sip of opium-laced wine, settling back into his seat. The recently-added cushioning felt good on his bony frame; food scraping, ripping, gnawing, clawing through his ulcerated weeping-mucus-and-blood intestines was something he preferred to avoid nowadays.

‘Juan the Black’ entered back onto the stage. Juan was a Spanish actor, one of the most popular on the Constantinople stage, particularly with the ladies. ‘The Black’ came from his thick and naturally curly black hair, reportedly an inheritance from an Arabic mother. Juan strode to the center of the stage, brandishing a dagger in his right hand. He was wearing the elephant pendant over his blue jacket, although Demetrios could tell the jacket was draped a little more loosely on Juan’s body. That was to make room for the bladder filled with pig’s blood underneath it.

Juan cleared his throat.

“I have seen many amazing things, things wondrous to behold,
In my days across the Earth.
A humble Englishman, two generous priests, three abstemious Greeks,
Things that would fill you with awe.
But do you know what I have not seen, in all my travels,
In all the nations and peoples of the Earth?

Justice to the poor, mercy to the widow and orphan,
And compassion to the sick.

These things I have not seen, in all the world.

I have heard many words to these effects, and yet no deeds.

Justice and compassion must be bought in gold.
If one lack the means, the pleas are met with the club.

The priest and the king speak of justice, and yet there is none.

And so I wonder, why is that?

Perhaps God and Satan are just beings we conjured in our minds,
To absolve us of our sins.
God to forgive and Satan to blame.

Perhaps heaven and hell are also just vapors of our brains,
Formed to condone the lack of righteousness on Earth.

Perhaps there is a God, and we are just the dreams and scribbles of a madman,
Created to entertain a twisted audience who delight in our sorrows and find our torments good cheer.”

A pause.

“I will not speak any longer, for I know you do not listen. Because I am mad, and therefore I must be wrong. That is all that need to be said to prove that I am at fault.

Well, I am mad. This I do not deny. So I know the face of madness, and that is what I see. Madness is a world that applauds justice and then beats those crying out for it. Madness is a world that preaches compassion and spits on the widow and orphan. Madness is a world that talks of God and yet worships the devil.

Do with this knowledge what you will. Ignore it, face it, pretend it is not so. I do not care. But as for me, I have had enough of capering for this cruelty called entertainment.”

He hefted the dagger high above his head. “I bid full scorn on this demented world, and call myself glad to be quit of it!” Juan plunged the dagger into the bladder hidden under his jacket, the blood spraying across the stage. He staggered to his knees, and then fell as the curtain drew closed.

* * *

Some scholars have questioned Demetrios’ authorship of the speech, partly because of its criticism of rulers, and what could be construed as condemnation of himself. Most of his executions were during the war period, but his most famous and cruel ones date from the post-war period. And the evidence of the most famous one is still on display in Constantinople to this day.

Empress Jahzara wrote that she very rarely saw her husband truly enraged, but on those few occasions “who I saw there frightened me. I saw the depths of which he was truly capable if he so desired, and I thank a merciful God that Demetrios Sideros lacked ambition.” Perhaps Demetrios was aware of and critical of this tendency; some historians argue that the viciousness of the latter executions may be because of his ill health and bodily pain. Others disagree on the grounds that the self-criticism is unfair, as many to this day argue that the executions were justified and actually a highly beneficial precedent for Roman society. But Demetrios would not have known that, and many of the execution-supporters admit the actual form was excessive.

In 2007, the librarian at the Monastery of St Ioannes of the Turks in Ikonion discovered a manuscript journal dating back to the 1640s in the archives. The owner had bequeathed all his possessions to the monastery in exchange for a stipend and support for the remainder of his life (a common way to secure support in one’s old age). This was as part of a historical study of the monastery and he avidly began reading, but some was in cypher. After diligent effort and help from a friend at the Imperial Cryptography Section, the code was broken.

No one could’ve predicted what the text said.

The encoded sections were from the late 1630s and detailed the author’s study of a substance he called Thessalian milk (why is never explained). According to the text, if the substance was heated or if vitriol (hydrochloric acid) was added to it, “poisonous vapors” were produced. The author admitted he couldn’t figure out a delivery system for these poisonous vapors that wouldn’t have massive backfire risks on the launchers. However “as a method for disposing of obstinate Ishmaelites these vapors would be most useful. The Ishmaelites could be herded into chambers, locked inside, and exposed to the poisonous vapors until all succumbed. Then the bodies could be removed and buried. Another advantage of this method is that valuable materials such as clothing, gold teeth, fat, and hair could be salvaged from the corpses which might be damaged by other disposal methods and put to productive use.”

As soon as this bombshell was published, chemists set to work and quickly divined the process. Thessalian milk is sodium hypochlorite, used as a liquid bleach for centuries, originally developed for use in the textile industry, but not as early as the 1630s. But when heated to 35 C or when hydrochloric acid is added, it produces chlorine gas.

Historians and archivists across Rhomania immediately began scouring the sources to try and find the end of the story. In 2011, the archivists who manage the original manuscripts of Demetrios III found the answer in some of his notes. When informed of the proposal, he reacted promptly, killing the project and buying the silence of everyone involved. The journal-writer had retired from his studies with a large donative, which in the early 1640s he lost in some bad business ventures and hence his bequeathing of the remainder of his possessions to the monastery.

The whole tale explains a curious remark in Demetrios III’s journal that no biographer had been able to explain until that time. “I was presented with a great evil, the likes of which even my most cruel impulses could not imagine. I hope, I pray, to a merciful God that I have succeeded in silencing it. I know it shall come forth eventually, for now I know such an evil is possible, and the mind of man is twisted and cruel. If it can be done, it will be done. But I pray, let this cup of evil come from another people’s hand, and let this monstrous crime be added to another’s account. Let it not be said that the Roman people brought this forth.”

His prayer was granted. Sodium hypochlorite would be developed by Roman chemists later in the 1600s, but no one then would think to develop it into a poison gas chamber as a tool for ‘social ordering’. That dubious honor would fall to another.

Thank a merciful God that Demetrios III Sideros lacked ambition.


[1] The city had been besieged, so naturally the residents had taken to hiding their wealth to hopefully keep them from being stolen by the victorious soldiers. This is a common practice and why sacks of cities see soldiers torturing residents. The soldiers are trying to find the hiding places.
 
His prayer was granted. Sodium hypochlorite would be developed by Roman chemists later in the 1600s, but no one then would think to develop it into a poison gas chamber as a tool for ‘social ordering’. That dubious honor would fall to another.

Thank a merciful God that Demetrios III Sideros lacked ambition.
 
I may be too much into the tea-leaf reading here but little hints here and there, but they point to great evils from the west and I'm thinking to what the future has in store for the Triunes' North American colonies...
 
Speaking of Greek Mosul, suggestions for a Greek name are welcome. But not Sideropolis; the name offends me on aesthetic grounds. And not Nikopolis; cliché.

Andrikotatos, to my understanding, means ‘most brave’. I was thinking something like ‘castle/city of the most brave’ as a tribute to the common Roman soldiers.

Or Siderokastron. Because do you want to be the Persian soldier attacking the Iron Fortress?
Names in brackets are English versions.

If you want to go classical, one possibility is Ninive (Nineveh), the ancient city next to which Mosul was built.

<I do not know a single word of Greek, so Greek-speakers please confirm whether I am using the correct form in the following.>

Also Tzonasopoli (Jonasopolis), after Jonah in the Old Testament.

Also Assyrokastron or Assyropoli (Assyropolis), since it is in Assyria.

Also Tigrisopoli (Tigrisopolis), since it is on the Tigris.
 
Speaking of Greek Mosul, suggestions for a Greek name are welcome. But not Sideropolis; the name offends me on aesthetic grounds. And not Nikopolis; cliché.

Andrikotatos, to my understanding, means ‘most brave’. I was thinking something like ‘castle/city of the most brave’ as a tribute to the common Roman soldiers.

Or Siderokastron. Because do you want to be the Persian soldier attacking the Iron Fortress?
Andrikotatos meens actually most manly. Not working IMO for a city name. Perhaps I should propose Demetrias on the Tigris :angel:

Actually I think though the Greeks will just call it Nineveh, as the Assyrians are still doing.
 
Well if that isn’t the most ominous bit of foreshadowing I’ve ever seen. I can’t help but wonder what counts as Roman however. The Egyptian Despotate has the Muslims to the south and Carthage and Sicily despise the Maranids for their pirate raids.

The Triunes seem to be the “big bad” currently but most terranovans aren’t particularly rich or dangerous enough to go through with chemical slaughters. Maybe against one of their restless unhappy minorities? The Lowlands is a rich area after all.

I really have no idea who it could be ,

fantastic chapter as always though. I think Nineveh is the best name choice for Mosul.

And I understand your comment about the Armenians. Heretics are heretics even if they’re relatively loyal heretics. Aren’t the Syriac Christians in communion with the patriarch at this point? Does that make then a Noble heresy or something more acceptable? That kinda is the deciding factor in my suggestion to make Tikrit as the southern border to make them happy
 
Since Nineveh seems like a fitting and popular name for Mosul why not create a new theme in northern Mesopotamia called the Assyrian theme. Also speaking of Assyria was Ashur turned into a dessert by timur ittl?
 
Didn't realize how much I missed reading about Demetrios. Particularly enjoyed how you set up the play's background, character description and the speech itself.

Speaking of Greek Mosul, suggestions for a Greek name are welcome.
I raise Mépsila for your consideration. In addition to being the root for the modern name, I think it reeks "Greek name" in addition to rolling off the tongue and being honey to my ears.
 
Last I remember was newspaper people but I don’t think that’s who I’d be referenced
The obliqueness of the references make me think that the people he had executed were the ones responsible for the accidental discovery of chlorine gas and the definitely not accidental idea of using it on muslims.
 
IIRC in some earlier post there were Three Big financial scandals at the end of the 1630s, and we still don't know exactly what those are. I figure one may be related to the fighting in Island Asia resulting in temporary plummeting of revenue, but still not sure what the others are
 
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