An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Oh I had forgotten that little gem of arrogance. Although this makes me wonder something. I doubt the Romans have forgotten that insult, we currently have Greek Maritime Napoleon, and we’re approaching what is the OTL Golden age of Piracy. Within the next 20 years the Triunes are going to have some sort or coalition launched against them when Henry dies. While we know we are at the high water mark for Roman interaction in Latin affairs there’s nothing preventing the unofficially approved Roman Pirate Raid to end all Pirate Raids from hitting the Triunes during that war. Imagine what havoc you could cause in Kings Landing with the proper preparation. Trojan horse your way in as merchant craft filmed to the brim with Marines. You could never keep the city but you could sail out with as many ships as you could man filled with riches beyond imagining. If someone could do that they’d be the true “Sovereign of the Seas”
Are you talking about the Mughal raid?
 
Are you talking about the Mughal raid?
I’m not sure what you’re referencing as what I said I came up with on the fly. By the Mughal raid do you mean what Henry Every did? I suppose otl that is basically the pirate raid to end all pirate raids. I was thinking something larger and more focused on land but anything could happen. I just like throwing out wild guesses that catch my fancy and seeing if others think they’re as interesting.
 
Man that would suck if Rome tried to subjugate the Vlachs they aren't exactly above that considering the genocide and all but dismantling a loyal ally just because they can would be a serious dick move. Not even to mention the loss of a useful buffer state
 
Man that would suck if Rome tried to subjugate the Vlachs they aren't exactly above that considering the genocide and all but dismantling a loyal ally just because they can would be a serious dick move. Not even to mention the loss of a useful buffer state
I honestly don’t think it’s likely except in one specific scenario, which I’ll get into in a second, because if they wanted to the Romans could have already done it. They’ll mumble and groan but there are other areas to draw man power from, and they’re still nearby as well. Serbia, The Russian states, Ethiopian slaves, and whatever war zone in nearest. I’m sure plenty of refugees would jump at the chance to leave the hell they're beings forced to endure if Constantinople promised a plot of land or a job when they get there. I really think that’s where a lot of dissatisfied middle and lower class Dutch will go post war.

I mean if the need is dire enough I’m sure that Rhomania could just pay/bribe Vlachia for x amount of travel permits to Rhomania to be given out that year.

That said I think Vlachia could be taken over if this sparks wide spread peasant revolts that spill over the borders. In that case Rome might offer them an ultimatum to deal with it before they have to. Assuming they can’t and the Romans invade I could see it being turned into a despotate to make sure nothing like that bothers Rome again.
 
Forget King's Landing, the Romans can give the Triunes a kick where it hurts most in Bengal. The Triunes currently hold the Viceroyalty of Sutanuti, which is north of the Vijayanagara domains. Vijayanagar certainly won't tolerate the Romans actually taking Bengal; but provided they are informed ahead of time, I don't see why they wouldn't allow the Romans (that is, pirates from Rhomania: the Romans certainly wouldn't be so crass as to turn pirate themselves...) to mount a smash-and-grab raid across Bengal: the greatest act of piracy in human history.
 
Vlachia being partioned? No sane Roman emperor would allow that, they'll fight tooth and nail to keep one of their most trusted neighbour alive and well. Its right across the border, they'll be daming their selves if they allow it to happen unmitigated.
Nothing is certain but death and taxes. If an ally becomes a huge burden and requires constant propping up, a fatigued and worn out emperor may just get sick of it and let nature take its course. Better 2 stable and stronger allies rather than a cancerous growth that saps time and resources. A sane emperor will consider both the pros and cons and not elect to maintain the status quo just because "that's how things have always been". Rhomaion will not be happy to have troops tied up in settling fickle issues like how Mauromanikos and his 30 thousand had to intervene in the War of the Georgian Succession, especially when men can be better employed on other fronts like fighting the enemy that is threatening the Empire's survival. Point is, no one emperor is a carbon copy of his predecessors in terms of capabilities and temperance, even less so in outlook and vision.
 
My favorite instance of Triune arrogance (and I'm sure it was inspired by OTL British/English arrogance) is this gem from the middle of the 16th Century when one of the Triune Emperors gave himself a new title:
Oh, that wasn’t inspired; that was a direct copy-and-paste from OTL. And it was done in the early 1600s when England was, at best, a big second-rate power, definitely not one of the big boys. The best part is that the Roman response ITTL, saying ‘yeah, sure’ and then presenting claims for damages caused by the maritime “subjects” to London, was done by other countries IOTL.

Oh I had forgotten that little gem of arrogance. Although this makes me wonder something. I doubt the Romans have forgotten that insult, we currently have Greek Maritime Napoleon, and we’re approaching what is the OTL Golden age of Piracy. Within the next 20 years the Triunes are going to have some sort or coalition launched against them when Henry dies. While we know we are at the high water mark for Roman interaction in Latin affairs there’s nothing preventing the unofficially approved Roman Pirate Raid to end all Pirate Raids from hitting the Triunes during that war. Imagine what havoc you could cause in Kings Landing with the proper preparation. Trojan horse your way in as merchant craft filmed to the brim with Marines. You could never keep the city but you could sail out with as many ships as you could man filled with riches beyond imagining. If someone could do that they’d be the true “Sovereign of the Seas”
I think that would go about as well as the Latins trying a similar attack on Constantinople. Even if you manage to overwhelm the defenses and local garrison, by the time you manage to loot the city, very angry reinforcements from the countryside have gathered and they massacre you.

Poland: As has been pointed out, the Vistula flows into the Baltic and grain is a bulk good; in this time period you’re only moving it long-distance via water. Poland’s trade is going to be overwhelmingly oriented to the north because of the Vistula’s direction of flow.

Vlachia: The Vlachs would not take kindly to becoming a Despotate. Purely on grounds of pride, it is a demotion. A King is simply higher than a Despot. They also wouldn’t take kindly to being occupied by the Romans. For example, Canadians may like Americans, but that doesn’t mean they’d be okay with being annexed. Rhomania would intervene in Vlachia to ‘ensure law and order’ because Constantinople wants a buffer state, larder, and source of immigrants and a revolt-wracked Vlachia can’t act as such. If Rhomania had to keep doing so over and over again, some sort of policy change would be needed though.



The next part of Not the End: The Empire Under the Laskarids has been posted on Patreon for ‘Megas Kyr’ patrons. Theodoros II Laskaris attempts diplomacy to regain the Queen of Cities and forges a key marriage alliance with Manfred of Sicily, while the new papal paladin Charles of Anjou enters the lists.

Thanks again for your support.
 
People don't talk much about Not the End since it's a Patreon exclusive, but it's a really interesting read. Compared to the original POD, it's more like a sum of smaller PODs from Theodoros having a brother as a strong right hand, to Manfred being friendly to Nicaea vs hostile OTL.

Are there further changes to the original story in the pipeline? Perhaps the Hohenstaufens last even longer with a more successful Conradin?
 
I’m one of those people that thinks ‘most populous city’ is a contest one wants to lose, but that’s a personal preference. (Don’t enjoy big cities.) Especially since Constantinople on that peninsula is rather cramped for room to grow.
Well, obviously population numbers in the 1600s don't have TOO strong of a bearing on population numbers post-industrializaton, but even if you don't enjoy big cities they're considerably better for the environment than a comparable amount of people spread out over an endless sprawl of suburbs and minor cities. Making ultra-dense megacities livable is distinctly challenging, but it can be done.


People don't talk much about Not the End since it's a Patreon exclusive, but it's a really interesting read. Compared to the original POD, it's more like a sum of smaller PODs from Theodoros having a brother as a strong right hand, to Manfred being friendly to Nicaea vs hostile OTL.

Are there further changes to the original story in the pipeline? Perhaps the Hohenstaufens last even longer with a more successful Conradin?
Yeah I noticed that, IIRC in the original timeline there were a lot of contrivances that prevented Manfred from invading the empire, this time the solution is diplomatic in nature.
 
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Well, obviously population numbers in the 1600s don't have TOO strong of a bearing on population numbers post-industrializaton, but even if you don't enjoy big cities they're considerably better for the environment than a comparable amount of people spread out over an endless sprawl of suburbs and minor cities. Making ultra-dense megacities livable is distinctly challenging, but it can be done.
Well firstly, I'm not quite convinced. European suburbia TTL may turn out quite different from OTL. Maybe people rediscover urban planning earlier because people are building wide instead of tall, so tons of green places spread out everywhere.

Moreover, the very concept of 'suburbia' as we know it is basically vast low-rise residential areas housing the people who work in shops, businesses and factories, whose density is greatest in some downtown area.
Perhaps TTL Europe will see industry spread out instead of being concentrated. We saw in some or the other update that Macedonia is the premier armaments producer not because of some singular huge armory in Thessaloniki, but a whole lot of smaller-scale protoindustrial establishments across the Macedonian landscape. Now, I don't know the first thing about demographic shifts due to industrialization, so take my words with a Carthage-worth of salt, but why can't the protoindustrial ways continue in the industrial era?
 
Well firstly, I'm not quite convinced. European suburbia TTL may turn out quite different from OTL. Maybe people rediscover urban planning earlier because people are building wide instead of tall, so tons of green places spread out everywhere.

Moreover, the very concept of 'suburbia' as we know it is basically vast low-rise residential areas housing the people who work in shops, businesses and factories, whose density is greatest in some downtown area.
Even at the height of Roman urbanism and urban planning, green spaces were not considered a part of that planning. The incorporation of green spaces to urban planning coincides quite neatly to a generalized improvement in understanding of sanitation and the mechanisms through which squalor contributed to disease. Although in their defense, pre-modern urbanism was pretty much uniformly low-to-medium density by today's standards.
Perhaps TTL Europe will see industry spread out instead of being concentrated. We saw in some or the other update that Macedonia is the premier armaments producer not because of some singular huge armory in Thessaloniki, but a whole lot of smaller-scale protoindustrial establishments across the Macedonian landscape. Now, I don't know the first thing about demographic shifts due to industrialization, so take my words with a Carthage-worth of salt, but why can't the protoindustrial ways continue in the industrial era?
It'll likely follow a pattern similar to textile, which also underwent a transition from the sum product of a whole lot of smaller scale producers to more highly concentrated production as technology improved: it became more efficient to have a few employees manning multiple machines at a single location than have multiple employees at a variety of locations producing the same quantities. And the long-term survival of the Venetian Arsenal is only going to reinforce the perception that economies of scale are strengthened by streamlined supply (which is easier when doing more work in fewer locations).

EDIT to clarify: Admittedly this was a long-term transition; initially, it involved concentrating the raw material processing and cloth production then distributing the industrial quantities of cloth to a network of domestic production of finished garments.
 
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Well firstly, I'm not quite convinced. European suburbia TTL may turn out quite different from OTL. Maybe people rediscover urban planning earlier because people are building wide instead of tall, so tons of green places spread out everywhere.

Moreover, the very concept of 'suburbia' as we know it is basically vast low-rise residential areas housing the people who work in shops, businesses and factories, whose density is greatest in some downtown area.
Perhaps TTL Europe will see industry spread out instead of being concentrated. We saw in some or the other update that Macedonia is the premier armaments producer not because of some singular huge armory in Thessaloniki, but a whole lot of smaller-scale protoindustrial establishments across the Macedonian landscape. Now, I don't know the first thing about demographic shifts due to industrialization, so take my words with a Carthage-worth of salt, but why can't the protoindustrial ways continue in the industrial era?
Some of the key issues with (sub)urban sprawl are unavoidable. Habitat fragmentation and other environmental issues related to land use are a direct consequence of the physical footprint of human civilization, so smaller, denser urban cores are the clear winner there. The same is true for the environmental costs associated with transport of goods and resources; extensive mass transportation and readily walkable distances beat a 30 minute commute by car to shop for food or get to work, and highly streamlined producer to consumer pipelines where everything is brought in by pipelines, container ships, or railroads beat cross country shipping by truck. The impact of that kind of infrastructure scales more with the number of regions being serviced than the population of a specific node. That basically means that the infrastructure to deliver food, water, fuel, and manufactured goods to 15 cities of 1 million people creates a much bigger environmental impact than the necessary infrastructure to service a single city of 15 million (modern day Istanbul), though the engineering and logistical challenges become increasingly daunting as you go bigger and denser, not to mention the challenges of making said a city livable and affordable.
 
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Even at the height of Roman urbanism and urban planning, green spaces were not considered a part of that planning. The incorporation of green spaces to urban planning coincides quite neatly to a generalized improvement in understanding of sanitation and the mechanisms through which squalor contributed to disease. Although in their defense, pre-modern urbanism was pretty much uniformly low-to-medium density by today's standards.
Point, but if B444 doesn't retcon the parts about Antiochene university people chancing on the hypothesis that rats carry the plague, then they might well also chance on the idea that slums and the squalor associated with them are really conducive for diseases. They even have live experiments, what with all the Constantinopolitan slums being *ahem* cleared up.

It'll likely follow a pattern similar to textile, which also underwent a transition from the sum product of a whole lot of smaller scale producers to more highly concentrated production as technology improved: it became more efficient to have a few employees manning multiple machines at a single location than have multiple employees at a variety of locations producing the same quantities. And the long-term survival of the Venetian Arsenal is only going to reinforce the perception that economies of scale are strengthened by streamlined supply (which is easier when doing more work in fewer locations).

EDIT to clarify: Admittedly this was a long-term transition; initially, it involved concentrating the raw material processing and cloth production then distributing the industrial quantities of cloth to a network of domestic production of finished garments.
Hmm true. I can't really think of a counterpoint at the moment, though I do have vague ideas.
Also, thanks for detailing it like this!

Some of the key issues with (sub)urban sprawl are unavoidable. Habitat fragmentation and other environmental issues related to land use are a direct consequence of the physical footprint of human civilization, so smaller, denser urban cores are the clear winner there. The same is true for the environmental costs associated with transport of goods and resources; extensive mass transportation and readily walkable distances beat a 30 minute commute by car to shop for food or get to work, and highly streamlined producer to consumer pipelines where everything is brought in by pipelines, container ships, or railroads beat cross country shipping by truck. The impact of that kind of infrastructure scales more with the number of regions being serviced than the population of a specific node. That basically means that the infrastructure to deliver food, water, fuel, and manufactured goods to 15 cities of 1 million people creates a much bigger environmental impact than the necessary infrastructure to service a single city of 15 million (modern day Istanbul), though the engineering and logistical challenges become increasingly daunting as you go bigger and denser, not to mention the challenges of making said a city livable and affordable.
Thank you too for the explanation! Personally, I think Rhomania right now would rather service 15 cities with a million each than one city with 15 million, though I can see your point about infrastructure, especially once the industrial era kicks in. I'd say, even then, that Rhomania would prefer small cities across the countryside than a few big cities because... for one I think quite a few of these smaller places would be connected by railroad anyways but essentially be empty stops that have a station only because the line passes through. In TTL these smaller places at least could be more populous and more developed. Same for shipping, especially since the entire Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean and Epirote coastlines are going to be quite more active because of all the (lack of) tariffs.
 
Point, but if B444 doesn't retcon the parts about Antiochene university people chancing on the hypothesis that rats carry the plague, then they might well also chance on the idea that slums and the squalor associated with them are really conducive for diseases. They even have live experiments, what with all the Constantinopolitan slums being *ahem* cleared up.
I think that another likely candidate for green spaces in Rhoman cities is as a sort of noble tax write off (not unlike OTL come to think of it).
Hmm true. I can't really think of a counterpoint at the moment, though I do have vague ideas.
Also, thanks for detailing it like this!
There is a very important thing to consider, which is relevant to my reply to the next quote: Rhomania has a much longer urban tradition than, say, England's northern industrial heartland, and industry is likely going to concentrate where people already live as a result. And this will, inevitably, spread out some of the industry.
Thank you too for the explanation! Personally, I think Rhomania right now would rather service 15 cities with a million each than one city with 15 million, though I can see your point about infrastructure, especially once the industrial era kicks in. I'd say, even then, that Rhomania would prefer small cities across the countryside than a few big cities because... for one I think quite a few of these smaller places would be connected by railroad anyways but essentially be empty stops that have a station only because the line passes through. In TTL these smaller places at least could be more populous and more developed. Same for shipping, especially since the entire Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean and Epirote coastlines are going to be quite more active because of all the (lack of) tariffs.
There is actually an OTL example of this: Germany's Rhine-Ruhr region, one of the largest conurbations in the world but composed primarily of cities in the sub-million range. The Aegean would likely allow the same level of easy integration as the rivers of the Rhine-Ruhr, so it's doable, in addition to coastal railroads.
 
There is actually an OTL example of this: Germany's Rhine-Ruhr region, one of the largest conurbations in the world but composed primarily of cities in the sub-million range. The Aegean would likely allow the same level of easy integration as the rivers of the Rhine-Ruhr, so it's doable, in addition to coastal railroads.
The question isn't whether it can be done or not, the question is what's the optimal situation from an environmental perspective, and the 15 million person mega city is better than the 15 1 million person cities spread out over a large area, and in terms of livability the latter is considerably easier to get right.
 
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