An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Definitely not gonna happen but it would be interesting if Iskander managed to usurp the Roman imperial throne and unite the ottomans and and Rhomanians. That would end up as a fucking nightmare though
 
I'll second (nth?) the calls for writing the timeline as you'd like - if the technical details are too much, then don't worry, we're here for the story and trends and the like. Does the ship have an unfeasible amount of cannon? That's fine by me.

But with the update, the legal precedent set to effectively grant control over Churches/Mosques inside a border is dangerous. Doubly so for the mutual-responsibility. The Orthodox Church was punished for the actions of Roman Allies, that sets not just the precedent of control, but the precedent of mutual punishment. Now the response to any looting of Mosques or reallocation of religious sites can be answered with "Ask Ibrahim". It also means there is no room to complain about sending soldiers into Mosques in the next war, because Ibrahim used them to force the issue.

I can see a lot of dead Imams, looted Mosques, and new Churches coming soon.

But the other part is that this does throw a huge spanner in the long-term idea of the Noble Heresies. If Noble Heresy churches are willing to accept gifts from not just another ruler, but a Muslim ruler who looted Christian churches, what is an administration with a legacy of propaganda against Latin Christian churches going to do when the Churches they have protected for a long time decides accepting Ottoman offers is a wise idea? The Latin churches weren't friends, let alone friends who can be seen as betraying them. Fair enough that some of these minorities are significant in regions, but so were Levantine Muslims. I'm not sure it'll only be Ottoman Shia who suffer in the next war, but also those churches (Copt and Armeanian primarily) that think that refusing to return the churches is a good idea or worth fighting. The region may be a poisoned chalice, but I'm not sure if it wasn't the recipient churches who drank the poison already.
 

Ibrahim doesn’t stop there but seizes several monasteries [1] from the Orthodox Church and distributes them to the various other Christian churches. Some, such as the Nunnery of the Holy Martyr Thekla, are handed over to the Georgians. Notably, all of these were originally Georgian foundations that had eventually been absorbed by the better financially-endowed Roman church. Efforts by the Georgian Church to get them back in recent decades had been mostly unsuccessful.

Two other monasteries are handed over to the Monastery of St Alexander Nevsky, which as the name suggests is a Russian establishment. It was founded by the bishops of Pronsk who heavily patronize the institution and often retire there to spend their last days. The Bishop of Pronsk is the senior cleric and a very important figure in Great Pronsk, by far the most powerful of the Russian states with a population just a few hundred thousand smaller than the entire Roman heartland.

Three monasteries are handed over to the Ethiopians, including the Monastery of the Prophet Elijah, while the Copts receive seven, including the great monastery of Mar Saba. Over a thousand years ago, ascetics lived in the caves near the site of the monastery. One of the churches at the monastery, the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Theotokos, has a fresco with Manuel II Laskaris, the grandson of Theodoros Megas, who financed its reconstruction in the early 1300s.

The Armenians get nine, including the most famous monastery in all interior Syria, the Monastery of Saydnaya, which houses an icon of the Virgin. Said to be painted by St Luke himself, it is venerated for its healing powers, including by the Muslims. It is over a thousand years old, founded during Justinian I’s reign.

The churches happily accept these grants. Aside from the religious significance, many of the monasteries, particularly Mar Saba and Saydnaya, come with substantial property endowments attached. Saydnaya has extensive orchards and vineyards, the products of which are sold profitably in the nearby markets of Damascus. Now not all of the properties are in Ottoman-controlled territories, but many are and the gains are substantial. The Ethiopian Church’s revenues from holdings in the region increase by 180% as a result of Ibrahim’s actions. Furthermore, Ibrahim’s confiscations of moveable assets fell less heavily on these monasteries.

Having read this a bit more carefully I have to ask... why any of the churches "happily accept gifts" from Ibrahim of all people, who just happens to be the chief enemy of the faith? NONE of the churches are independent here. Ethiopia, the Russian states and the Georgians are all close allies of Constantinople, who in the Georgian case also lost the Trans-Aras to Ibrahim's father. In the Russian and Georgian cases, the churches are also in direct communion with Constantinople. The Copts are a despotate and Inrahim just a few years before mutilated several thousand Coptic prisoners of war a clear and obvious atrocity against them. The Armenians the... katholikos is an imperial subject.

This is about on par with Adolf Hitler during WW2 trying to bribe Britain with offers of French and Polish loot and territory and about as likely to work. Or Kemal's attempts to set up his puppet "Turkish orthodox church" in the 1920s. His handovers would be rejected out of hand as direct affronts to the faith, any priest that got ideas of accepting against the church hierarchy's orders excommunicated and treated as a traitor and that's about it.

Could see the Catholics or some of them at least accepting, given the continuing bad blood. The Orthodox, Ethiopians and Copts shown here? Sorry but no way.
 
Problem is Cicilia is chock-full of Armenians and IIRC they also have a disproportionate number in government/bureaucracy as well. Alienating them isn't wise for a government looking for stability.
 
Could see the Catholics or some of them at least accepting, given the continuing bad blood. The Orthodox, Ethiopians and Copts shown here? Sorry but no way.

It could be a Don Corleone style "offer" where the other churches are told in no uncertain terms that they'll either accept Ibrahim's poisoned chalice or have their own churches seized alongside the Romans and converted into Mosques, and the higher ups give them the go ahead to accept while simultaneously promising Constantinople they'll give it back if the situation on the ground changes. That makes more sense than even the churches which are in communion with Constantinople willingly going along with this blatant ploy. Even with such assurances, it's still plausible they'd try to milk the situation on the ground for religious concessions. Meanwhile states with a geopolitical interest in antagonizing Rhomania would be more than happy to seize on the casus belli of Rhomania seizing church land as a pretext for rattling sabers.
 
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It could be a Don Corleone style "offer" where the other churches are told in no uncertain terms that they'll either accept Ibrahim's poisoned chalice or have their own churches seized alongside the Romans and converted into Mosques, and the higher ups give them the go ahead to accept while simultaneously promising Constantinople they'll give it back if the situation on the ground changes. That makes more sense than even the churches which are in communion with Constantinople willingly going along with this blatant ploy. Even with such assurances, it's still plausible they'd try to milk the situation on the ground for religious concessions. Meanwhile states with a geopolitical interest in antagonizing Rhomania would be more than happy to seize on the casus belli of Rhomania seizing church land as a pretext for rattling sabers.
I have to agree that thinking about it I can’t really see any of these churches willingly taking these lands when so many of them are allied with or respect the Romans. Like taking the chance to hold services in the Church of the Holy Seplucher I can totally see. But Georgia in particular seems likely to do everything in their power not to piss off their millennium old friend and benefactor for a couple churches and monasteries.

Also whoever is running the Armenian church is a moron for doing this. At least the other chitches have foreign protection. You are treated relatively well and left in peace to do your own thing by a large powerful government. Doing this all but assures that in the long term your special status is doomed and that large powerful government will label you a heresy without the noble as soon as they have a moment to breathe

So yeah I agree that making this a “take this gift or every (place denomination here) holy site in my land gets converted to a mosque and everyone living there gets their throats slit” kinda offer makes sense
 
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It could be a Don Corleone style "offer" where the other churches are told in no uncertain terms that they'll either accept Ibrahim's poisoned chalice or have their own churches seized alongside the Romans and converted into Mosques, and the higher ups give them the go ahead to accept while simultaneously promising Constantinople they'll give it back if the situation on the ground changes. That makes more sense than even the churches which are in communion with Constantinople willingly going along with this blatant ploy. Even with such assurances, it's still plausible they'd try to milk the situation on the ground for religious concessions. Meanwhile states with a geopolitical interest in antagonizing Rhomania would be more than happy to seize on the casus belli of Rhomania seizing church land as a pretext for rattling sabers.

Only the logical action if you are the Armenian katholikos or for that matter the archibshop of Kiev (is Russia under its own patriarchate? Probably not TTL as it became de facto autocephalous due to the fall of Constantinople and then proclaimed a patriarchate in 1589 only due to the combination of the patriarch being under Turkish control and broke at the time) it to accept the cost of Ibrahim extending his tender mercies to their holding in the Holy Land if the other option is both helping the enemy and alianating Constantinople on top of this.

Waiting for the excommunications of everyone who was stupid enough to accept. For a start.
 
I’ll echo the general sentiment B444; ignore the rivet counters. That way lies madness. Personally I enjoy the technical side as well, but it’s not the reason I’ve been following this TL for the last 7 years. Write the story you want to write and screw the expectations anyone (including us here) might have. That includes ending the story if and when you so desire of course, but don’t feel like you’d need to do that in order to not fail someone else’s personal criteria. It is your story after all.
 
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Or Constantinople can just say that the Turks had no power over the churches and either give them back to the Orthodox Church or be a claimed as traitors to Christianity for accepting Muslim gifts.

To which the response would be that Saladin, after retaking Jerusalem, turned over administration of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to the Orthodox Patriarch, and considering the long history of Muslim rule in Syria, Palestine, and areas of Anatolia, that is far from the only Muslim gift the Orthodox Church has happily taken.

Time for another purge of the Muslims then. Compensate the minority heretics with Muslim slaves. Is this what the Great Crime is going to entail?
Wouldn't be surprised if that is how Constantinople splits the difference. The heretic churches keep their gains and the Orthodox Church gains a lot of newly acquired mosques.

The issue is that the religious sites have historic/cultural/religious significance and so swapping them out for just another patch of land or building just isn’t the same. It’s like when I order something and there’s some kind of issue. The company refunds my money but I don’t want my money back, I want the product.

Don't know what are the level of problems in Italy, but the most likely response on the empire's part on Ibrahim's shenannigans is an immediate declaration of war. The empire can't afford NOT to declare war.

I’m saving the Italy issues for its own update (which will be the opening for the swing back to events in Latin Europe) but they’re bad and Ibrahim knows he doesn’t have to worry about that.

Industrial Age and Technical Details: It’s good to see people’s responses to this. I don’t want to stop there (because I want my Romans in space, damnit!) and I do have some ideas already for Rhomania in an Industrial world. But I can’t explore the forest if people insist on obsessing over a few leaves. Not saying that anyone here will demand that, but it is a concern.

As for the monastery issue, offer them all a choice. Give the monasteries back and get one day a week to preach in the Church of Holy Seplucher, or keep them and lose the right to even have pilgrims visit. I think most will choose the first. I also expect that the Roman Empire is going to force holy land transfers as part of the peace deal as a bit of petty revenge since Eastern Christians, Shia, and Sunni all share sites out there. I expect Rome will start treating what Christians are left in the Ottoman Empire much like Russia did to the Ones in the OTL empire.

The issue with that idea is that the threat would be met with laughter. The Orthodox Church could certainly deny non-Orthodox pilgrims access, except pilgrims give donations. The Orthodox Church would be shooting themselves in the foot here and the other denominations and the Orthodox Church would know it.

The first clause though isn’t a bad idea. Take away, but salve that with a new concession.

Know exactly what you mean. The post-1900 forum people and especially the WWII people on this site can be so pedantic as to be insufferable. That's part of the reason why I opted for Writers Forum for my TL - I can just tell stories that way and be judged on the merits/weaknesses of the characters I've created without having to get bogged down in too much research.

This was several years back, but I remember reading a thread in the post-1900 forum. The intro was one of those ‘jump immediately into the action in the middle’ types. In it there was a German aircraft carrier in the mid-Atlantic in 1944. People immediately started screaming bloody murder, when they didn’t even know the POD for the thread yet; it could’ve been 1902 for all they knew. I’m 98% certain there never was another update for that TL.

Honestly, to me what seems to be the best idea if you even wish to continue it into the somewhat present is a bit of a crash course with a focus on the more rhomania centric events throughout the centuries.

I’m being really detailed now but that’s because I have several plot threads running. Once they play out I’m planning to pan out and do a broader and faster-paced look, with the occasional zoom-in on big events/processes.

I'm still pissed that the German Kaizer got off easy in his own insanity. He should have kept his full mental faculties to truly appreciate his fuck-up.

His mental problems are copied from OTL Charles VI of France, so he has lucid moments in between.

Back to the latest update:

I can’t help but think this is too smart by half. Ibrahim has blunted the power of the Rhoman state in the Levant and created a short term financial crisis but has also angered even more the Rhōmanían state; which I didn’t think was possible; and created a handy dandy legalistic cover that a state has power over religious institutions within their borders.

A precedent that he could come to regret if/when Rhomania retakes the Levant and occupies at a minimum Mesopotamia and likely parts of the Iranian Plateau. It makes me wonder if “the great crime” isn’t wholly against people but also against property. Imagine Rhōmanía has taken the Levant, Mesopotamia, Tehran, Qom and other parts of the highlands and Rhomania decides to liquidate every single mosque under their control as compensation for the lost revenues in the Levant.

At a time when Mosques are likely centres of learning, centres of administration, and centres of community having them stripped to the foundation and carted off would be devastating to the legitimacy of any Persian Shahanshah who let it happen and would be crushing to any state trying to re-establish authority. Coupled with the utterly devastating loss of history and culture could very well imprint itself in the Persian culture as a “Great Crime”.

It would also make a bit more sense when in the modern day Rhōmanía “acknowledges but does not apologize” for the crimes committed if those crimes are not wholesale genocide but instead population expulsions; which though little different than genocide are functionally different; coupled with mass liquidation of all Islamic artifacts.

I was actually picturing this as Ibrahim being a massive troll. “I can’t stop you from taking back this house, but that doesn’t mean I can’t back up the toilets and leave you with the mess.”

Besides, the Romans were probably going to loot the mosques and madrasas anyway because they have money. The best chance for Ibrahim to stop that happening is for the Romans to not get there in the first place, and for that he needs money. Hence the looting. If he does that and then fails, the Romans will do…what they would’ve done anyway. Furthermore, to do that would mean any new Persian ruler, for the sake of legitimacy, would have to attack Rhomania to avenge the national insult.

Furthermore, from Ibrahim’s perspective, he knows the Roman goal is to kill him and potentially smash his realm into pieces. So with nothing left to lose, why not do the most damage to the Romans as possible?

Speaking of the industrial age, if this timeline gets to the invention of tanks I will be sorely disappointed if the Orthodox world at least, and maybe everyone, doesn't call them cataphracts.
*whistles*
Well for some people those deep technical details are actually quite interesting. Like I actually really am interested in what the industrial revolution looks like ITTL, and what modern military doctrines end up looking like. The closest major power (and that's kind of straining the term TBH) to Rhomania in the World Wars is probably Italy, who could actually be surprisingly competent on the rare occasion when they didn't have poor leadership and/or supply issues.
*whistles*

But I totally get the desire to focus on people over nitty gritty details. Luckily I imagine you'll have plenty of people who DO understand those details willing to do that research for you.

Some technical details can be fun. There are two criteria for me to include them. One, they are important to the plot and thus justify the time and energy for research. Two, I find them fun and interesting enough to be willing to do the research anyway. They have to meet just one, but they have to meet at least one. Hence the example of ‘how many metric tons of coal does Rhomania produce in X’. It meets neither. ‘How has Roman military doctrine developed with the addition of ‘tanks’ meets criteria 2 at least, so it would be included. To give an example already in play ITTL, I don’t talk about music or sports because those subjects fail on both counts (except for some brief blurbs which required little time investment).

And since tanks=kataphraktoi and military doctrine was mentioned, one industrial-era idea I had was this. Tanks are invented and called something else. The Romans take the concept, build their own, but call them kataphraktoi. But because of that name and history behind it, the Romans immediately start thinking of tanks as the gasoline-powered version of heavy shock cavalry. So they envision ‘tank’ warfare as massed fists smashing through the enemy line, opening breaches to be exploited by more numerous but less protected units (motorized infantry?) and are the first to use ‘tanks’ in the field as more than ‘slightly-mobile infantry support pillboxes’.

Having read this a bit more carefully I have to ask... why any of the churches "happily accept gifts" from Ibrahim of all people, who just happens to be the chief enemy of the faith? NONE of the churches are independent here. Ethiopia, the Russian states and the Georgians are all close allies of Constantinople, who in the Georgian case also lost the Trans-Aras to Ibrahim's father. In the Russian and Georgian cases, the churches are also in direct communion with Constantinople. The Copts are a despotate and Inrahim just a few years before mutilated several thousand Coptic prisoners of war a clear and obvious atrocity against them. The Armenians the... katholikos is an imperial subject.

This is about on par with Adolf Hitler during WW2 trying to bribe Britain with offers of French and Polish loot and territory and about as likely to work. Or Kemal's attempts to set up his puppet "Turkish orthodox church" in the 1920s. His handovers would be rejected out of hand as direct affronts to the faith, any priest that got ideas of accepting against the church hierarchy's orders excommunicated and treated as a traitor and that's about it.

Could see the Catholics or some of them at least accepting, given the continuing bad blood. The Orthodox, Ethiopians and Copts shown here? Sorry but no way.

Short answer: Greed.

Long answer: Note that the Orthodox response to Armenians and Copts having services in the Holy Sepulcher was violence to the point of beating two people to death. Clearly the relations between the various churches on the ground in the Holy Land are not great. The Armenian, Coptic, and Ethiopian churches all consider the Orthodox to be heretics and the Orthodox respond in kind, even if their governments ignore that for geopolitical reasons. Religious clergy won’t so easily forget such things. A local abbot sees an opportunity to get more wealth and stick it to the heretics and grabs it, presenting the Coptic Patriarch or Armenian Katholikos with a fait accompli.

So from the ‘heretical’ churches’ POV they’re getting lots of loot taken from overbearing annoying heretics. If God chooses to work through an unbeliever, well it won’t be the first time. Even if the Romans force them to give it back later, that’s a few years’ revenue they got that they wouldn’t have otherwise. If the Romans push further than that, they risk backlash that could get nasty.

Furthermore, the church higher-ups that might be more politically minded, well, some of that new income is ending up in their coffers. In addition, the churches could leverage return of properties for concessions at the Holy Sepulcher and other sites significant to all Christian denominations. If the churches declined Ibrahim’s offer, the Orthodox aren’t going to give them service rights at the Holy Sepulcher out of gratitude; see their response to the Armenians.

With the Georgians, note that all the foundations they got were founded by Georgians and then lost to the Romans, with efforts to get them back from the Romans later being blocked. So from their POV, they’re just getting their own stuff back.

As for the Russians, well simple greed explains their actions. They’re being offered properties and have a big patron backing them up for any future battles regarding ownership.

Only the logical action if you are the Armenian katholikos or for that matter the archibshop of Kiev (is Russia under its own patriarchate? Probably not TTL as it became de facto autocephalous due to the fall of Constantinople and then proclaimed a patriarchate in 1589 only due to the combination of the patriarch being under Turkish control and broke at the time) it to accept the cost of Ibrahim extending his tender mercies to their holding in the Holy Land if the other option is both helping the enemy and alianating Constantinople on top of this.

Waiting for the excommunications of everyone who was stupid enough to accept. For a start.

The head of the Russian church is the Metropolitan of Kiev, no Russian patriarch. But in terms of wealth, he and the big Russian bishops are very richly endowed compared to many of their Roman counterparts, so they have a clout higher than would be suggested by their mere rank in the church hierarchy.

As for excommunication, that went out the window when the Armenian deacon and priest were murdered. (Ibrahim really lucked out here; coincidence it took so long for the Ottoman troops to intervene in the fight?) If the Katholikos excommunicated now, he’d be denounced as favoring heretics, who’d murdered clergy on the doorstep of the Holy Sepulcher, over the faithful themselves. Sounds like a good way to create a schism. Meanwhile the Copts and Ethiopians know that the same thing would’ve happened to them if they’d been first on the roster instead, so that doesn’t help for a conciliatory mood.

In addition, excommunication would be punishing clergy for political acts (endangering relations with Constantinople); accepting gifts from Muslim rulers has a long history. It’d be blatantly the state using church powers for its own ends, and any independently-minded cleric is not going to like that.

Georgians are just taking back what was rightfully theirs. The Russians here are being greedy, but they’re also strong enough to possibly get away with it.
 
I gotta ask guys who among you quote on this threadmark that Ibrahim was just waging war with Rome, for the sake of upholding the legacy of his father? F****** h***, I really hope that the day Rome attacks Ibrahim that there will be no mercy. The Romans gotta destroy root and stem the culture and legacy of their arch-rival on the east. Poetic justice I'd say considering what the OTL Ottomans did. Just maybe this is the reason for one their great crime?
 
And since tanks=kataphraktoi and military doctrine was mentioned, one industrial-era idea I had was this. Tanks are invented and called something else. The Romans take the concept, build their own, but call them kataphraktoi. But because of that name and history behind it, the Romans immediately start thinking of tanks as the gasoline-powered version of heavy shock cavalry. So they envision ‘tank’ warfare as massed fists smashing through the enemy line, opening breaches to be exploited by more numerous but less protected units (motorized infantry?) and are the first to use ‘tanks’ in the field as more than ‘slightly-mobile infantry support pillboxes’.

That's an interesting idea, though to be honest as we get closer and closer to modernity it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain both a world class army and a world class navy/airforce. Rhomania doesn't have the manpower to be a land power, and while they don't have the geography position to be a pure naval power like the British, a strong focus on their Navy and airforce while relying on an alliance with THE definitive land power of the early 20th century to cover for their shortcomings in natural resources and manpower*. Being the first nation to recognize that aircraft carrier rather than battleships are the future of a modern navy, perfect the jet engine and deploy the first jet powered warplanes, and a pioneer in submarine warfare plays much more to Rhomania's strengths than establishing the role of tanks modern maneuver warfare doctrines, which aren't even particularly well suited to 2/3 of the likely land theaters** for Rhomania in a hypothetical great war analogue.


* Who in turn is more or less totally reliant on Rhomania to ensure the flow of trade in the Mediterranean and black sea isn't disrupted; if the Romans get an exclave at Gibraltar during some hypothetical future war with Spain, they can deny entrance to any non-Mediterranean power and egress to any Mediterranean or black sea powers, including submarines which is absolutely huge.

** The western Balkans and the approach to the Iranian plateau, both are extremelty mountainous.
 
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That's an interesting idea, though to be honest as we get closer and closer to modernity it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain both a world class army and a world class navy/airforce. Rhomania doesn't have the manpower to be a land power, and while they don't have the geography position to be a pure naval power like the British, the best way to play to their strengths IMO would be a strong focus on their Navy and airforce while using diplomatic efforts to secure a stable alliance with THE definitive land power of the early 20th century to cover for their shortcomings in natural resources and manpower*. Being the first nation to recognize the strategic value of aircraft carriers, perfect the jet engine and deploy the first jet powered warplanes, and a pioneer in submarine warfare plays much more to Rhomania's strengths than establishing the role of tanks in modern warfare, which aren't even particularly well suited to 2/3 of the likely land theaters** for Rhomania in an early industrial war. I could totally see early 20th century analogue (so late 1800s given TTL is slightly ahead of OTL technologically) Rhomania being what fascist Italy could (in terms of military effectiveness, not ideology) only dream of being, especially if at some point they take an exclave at Gibraltar in a future war with Spain; Mare Nostrum anyone?

Sorry if I'm getting way ahead of the timeline, but I have WW2 on the brain, has anyone else been watching Time Ghost's week by week WW2 series?


* Who in turn is more or less totally reliant on Rhomania to ensure the flow of trade in the Mediterranean and black sea isn't disrupted. Nations don't have permanent allies or enemies, but they do have permanent interests, and when those interests are align, that is the basis for a stable alliance.

** The western Balkans and the approach to the Iranian plateau, both of which are extremely mountainous. Germany's experience on the wide open plains of Russia where things didn't devolve into trench warfare and remained mobile (leading them to victory in the sense of forcing Russia out of the war) compared to the stagnant western front were crucial in leading them to their innovations in armored warfare. The open deserts of Northern Africa would be the only possible laboratory for armored warfare, and I doubt that'd be the critical theater of a great war analog.
I think you aren't realizing how big Rome has gotten here. The lands they hold right now have a combined population that is easily in the same order of magnitude as say, the United States (it is approaching the 300 million according to my very quick calculations). They are certainly going to have issues and a nasty case of too many fronts syndrome, but they will be easily a match for any one European great power on land and while they can't focus on the sea, they are looking like they will be industrializing fairly early and thus will be able to dominate the Mediterranean certainly, and won't have any issues protecting their interests.

On top of all that, they will, assuming something does not radically change, be sitting on some of the best trade routes on the planet. There will be money to throw around as necessary. They don't have quite the natural resources that some others do, but this can be compensated for as long as the economy is up to the task and the navy can secure the trade lanes.

As for tanks, it won't take long to see their potential utility.

Remember that they probably will not be taking Mesopotamia in its entirety, and their network of alliances means they will almost certainly be involved in any fighting that takes place in Hungary or Vlachia. Then there is Scythia (Modern Ukraine) which is notable for being vital to Roman interests. You could not ask for better tank country than these all these fronts.
 
I think you aren't realizing how big Rome has gotten here. The lands they hold right now have a combined population that is easily in the same order of magnitude as say, the United States (it is approaching the 300 million according to my very quick calculations). They are certainly going to have issues and a nasty case of too many fronts syndrome, but they will be easily a match for any one European great power on land and while they can't focus on the sea, they are looking like they will be industrializing fairly early and thus will be able to dominate the Mediterranean certainly, and won't have any issues protecting their interests.

The boom in the population of that region is largely post WW2, during initial industrialization it was quite sparsely populated, and while part of that was due to the Ottoman empire being in its death throes part of that comes down to technological constraints. Had the region undergone its demographic transition around the same time as western Europe it would probably be lower than that in modern times, and that's assuming they don't lose Italy and Egypt to nationalism, which it sounds like they will to the extent that they would supposedly end up as the equivalent to British Dominions rather than fully incorporated territories. If we just tally up Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Cyprus, that leaves us at somewhat more than 100 million plus maybe a further 30 million if you add the levant. That's quite substantial, more than Germany but less than modern Russia, and considerably less than the super Russia that this TL is setting up which more or less stands to control the entire OTL Russian Empire/USSR but without the tumultuous early 20th century.

I see your point about other potential theaters for tanks if we aren't assuming a largely defensive war, though I still think Rhomania would be more likely to be like the British where they pioneer initial tanks to deal with stagnant fronts but take a backseat to Germany and Russia in armored warfare during a followup conflict.

In terms of industrialization, the lack of readily accessible coal deposits gives Rhomania the same problem Germany had with industrialization where there's not really a seed crystal to jumpstart industrialization in the first wave, and it doesn't have the gargantuan coal deposits of central Europe that made Germany such a powerhouse when it got going. They do have a highly educated and urban population which might be close to universal literacy right out of the gate however, which was enough for Japan even with godawful natural resources. Once oil hits its stride things turn around somewhat in terms of natural resources since the Caucuses are right next door (Persia still has it better), but when you have the 5th to 8th longest coastline in the world (most of which comes from Greece!) and control all points of access to the Mediterranean a world class navy and airforce are a bigger priority than land supremacy, especially when your western and eastern borders have major geographic chokepoints, your southern border has a huge amount of defense in depth and is a harsh coastal desert that will depend on resupply by sea, and your northern border is a river big enough for battleships to sail up.

There's also the issue of other key resources; strategic metals like tungsten and chromium can be imported from Russia because they literally have everything (and in the case of lead Greece actually has a shitton), but rubber is more or less exclusively going to be coming in from Island Asia, making the Suez canal even more crucial for them than the Brits during WW2 (which it already was since they're a Mediterranean power), and why a focus on the navy is crucial.
 
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I gotta ask guys who among you quote on this threadmark that Ibrahim was just waging war with Rome, for the sake of upholding the legacy of his father? F****** h***, I really hope that the day Rome attacks Ibrahim that there will be no mercy. The Romans gotta destroy root and stem the culture and legacy of their arch-rival on the east. Poetic justice I'd say considering what the OTL Ottomans did. Just maybe this is the reason for one their great crime?

I understand the sentiment, I really do. I'd love nothing more than Ibrahim being buried in a shallow grave after a massive battle where his host is utterly and completely shattered. Problem is that every single time the power immediately to the east of the Roman Empire gets replaced by a different power that different power is both stronger and more hostile to the Romans than the power that it replaced.

The Parthians were replaced by the Sassanids who were replaced by the various Caliphates who were replaced by the Seljuks who have been replaced by the Ottomans. There will always be a semi-hostile to outright hostile power to Rhomania's east - the key is making sure it is a power that Rhomania can live with. While it is less satisfying short term (the sins of Nineveh need to be repaid with interest) it is probably better long term if Rhomania just slaps the Ottomans around and takes Mosul/northern Iraq in a fairly limited war, rather than completely replace the entire nation root and stem. Because if history has taught us anything it is that whatever nation fills the void will be stronger than the one it replaced.
 

Cryostorm

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So I was wondering about what would become a symbol of Islam the way the cross is for Christianity since the crescent and star are less likely and I stumbled on the Rub el Hizb. Would that end up the predominant symbol to represent Islam? Of course I can easily see Persian Islam taking the lion as theirs.
 
I understand the sentiment, I really do. I'd love nothing more than Ibrahim being buried in a shallow grave after a massive battle where his host is utterly and completely shattered. Problem is that every single time the power immediately to the east of the Roman Empire gets replaced by a different power that different power is both stronger and more hostile to the Romans than the power that it replaced.

The Parthians were replaced by the Sassanids who were replaced by the various Caliphates who were replaced by the Seljuks who have been replaced by the Ottomans. There will always be a semi-hostile to outright hostile power to Rhomania's east - the key is making sure it is a power that Rhomania can live with. While it is less satisfying short term (the sins of Nineveh need to be repaid with interest) it is probably better long term if Rhomania just slaps the Ottomans around and takes Mosul/northern Iraq in a fairly limited war, rather than completely replace the entire nation root and stem. Because if history has taught us anything it is that whatever nation fills the void will be stronger than the one it replaced.
I'm not sure whoever replaces the Ottoman will be powerful in the long run, I'm not suggesting to destroy the entirety of their nation. I'm suggesting they need to be thoroughly humbled. If you just went for limited war gains, your just gonna repeat the same scenarios of the Roman-Persian war. If you allow the Ottomans to keep (Central & South) Mesopotamia wars and raids will just keep popping up in the eastern front even if they defeat the Ottomans on the next war.

They need to be humbled properly so that the idea of a war against the Romans will never-ever recur on their minds again. A sundering of sorts must "Happen", to do no such thing is such a folly. Their holdings on Central/Southern Mesopotamia as well as Afghanistan needs to be released, their holdings on the Persian Plateu is all they will keep forever. That's how you break the Ottomans and make the Eastern front more quieter.
 
To be honest, I could see the smaller churches arguing that they accepted Ibrahim's offer to prevent these churches and monasteries from being destroyed completely...
...and then argue that because they protected these churches when the Ottomans were rampaging about, they deserve to keep them.
 
Also, I do not think the Orthodox church will go full-on flame-and-fury on the smaller churches, not with the Emperor presumably using every last bit of influence he has to not alienate all the non-Orthodox people of the empire. Rather, I'd say that provided the Patriarch is the sensible sort, the Orthodox church will have to negotiate and haggle on the question of restitution.

Maybe the Orthodox concede the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but make certain distributed monasteries/churches co-occupied? Is there any precedent for that?

Either way, relations among the churches will cool significantly, and depending on what solution the Emperor picks, he's going to face heat from either:
1. Greek Orthodoxy, and thereby his domestic subjects
2. Other churches, and thus minorities and foreign allies.
 
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