An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Hecatee

Donor
Actually if the Romans want they can play Africa (at least the Eastern Side) as their own New World, and develop there colonies closer to British Rhodesia than the simple trading posts of the East
 

Arrix85

Donor
Actually if the Romans want they can play Africa (at least the Eastern Side) as their own New World, and develop there colonies closer to British Rhodesia than the simple trading posts of the East
Unlikely they're going to piss off the Ethiopians, Eastern Africa is in their sphere. The way I see it, SE Asia is the romans' only chance to keep up in the future with the Ottomans (already scary now with Iran and Iraq, not even mentions any "slice" of India) and western powers like Germany or the UKs.
And I feel like the current trouble is making them miss the window to secure that area.
 
I don't know what Bas444 is planning - but I expect that there will be another great period for the Empire when line infantry starts to become a major element. Niketas had the rise of the cannon on his side, but we haven't yet seen massed gunpowder infantry (unless I've missed that).

The Romans are probably the first in the Mediterranean who would have access to this, or develop it. Once they start having line infantry to put against their neighbours, I'd expect a Niketas Reborn (if the Emperor is particularly good), or a very successful expansionist who brings North Africa and Mesopotamia into the fold as Despotates (perhaps S.Spain too, I forget who controls that, Arabia would be grand in the long run as well). After that, I expect that northern Europe, with their control over the new world, will start to outpace the Romans economically, with the Empire and the Despotates lacking access to the New World for resources. I would expect that the wars that the Romans get involved in with the new powers in Europe would be primarily defensive, rather than expansionist, turning to focus on the East Indies once again.

After that long period as a second-tier power that can project power in the Med and the East Indies, rather than additionally in the New World (and maybe India), I could see them become prominent again as those Empires start to crumble, oil becomes valuable, and they build a true Suez Canal. That would change the economic game in their favour, and add that to their touch and go control over the main trade routes in the East Indies is great for the long game.

The biggest factor IMO? The Romans have already gone through the stage of acknowledging they can't control everything from Constantinople - that respect of the need to decentralise and sophistication of governance may leave them to last, or be accepting of a federal model in the long term, which would reduce the rise of independence movements on themselves.

I don't see them as the number one power all the time, but more like a stalwart power. Sometimes eclipsed by Empires that burn brighter (like the British or Mongol Empires), but always persisting. Eventually reaching the point where it is one of the (at least 3) super powers, alongside China (potentially Indonesia), and an alt-USA (or Brazil).
As other posters have indicated one of the themes in this TL has been a more rapid diffusion of advanced government forms and organisation. Rhomania in the early 16th century retains a strong lead, but this will pretty clearly be eroded over time. Long term Rhomania will fall far behind Russia, and quite possibly the HRE and France-England. The Ottomans seem quite likely to be roughly a match, perhaps a little inferior, while other regional states like Milan or Arles will be pretty respectable. Part of Rhomania's issue will be simply that other states do well, not that it does poorly.

One area I do see the possibility for a second 'Revival' though would be the reintegration of the Despotates. I think this has been pretty strongly hinted at given the major problems the two bigger ones are facing, and while full reintegration is unlikely (and undesirable) the long term of the Eastern Med will probably resemble in borders Heraclius' Empire, roughly speaking. Such a state IOTL would be incredibly powerful, but again given this world as a whole seems likely to be more developed in relative terms it will be a bit less impressive.
 
I personally would like to see innovation and technology be embedded into the Roman consciousness. We don't have as much stuff as the other great powers but we will always do/make it better mindset. If I recall correctly (may be completely wrong) a long time ago B444 mentioned that the Romans will be slightly later in industrializing but do it with better tech like Germany OTL. That would be good, if Rhomania doesn't do something first, it will do it better.
 
IIRC, Basileus has stated that the trick to this timeline is to keep the Empire powerful but not stagnant. There was very little as dangerous in the early modern era for a state to become so strong that its neighbors could not challenge it; this produced stagnation and lack of innovation that proved fatal when the age of Industrialization and Imperialism set in. Therefore, keeping the Empire firm but not *too* firm is the goal, strong enough that it can be a player but still in a position that it can be challenged and is continually forced to adapt and innovate.
 
HanEmpire: Agreed, but the Latins are coming in larger and larger numbers. There are Castilian-Portuguese, Triunes, Arletians, Dutch, and Hanseatic merchants all active, to varying degrees, in the Indian Ocean and Indonesia.

One fundamental principle of Roman governance at this stage is no more Muslims in the Empire. There are too many as it is already in Constantinople’s opinion. So you’re absolutely correct the Romans don’t want North Africa or Arabia. Completely wrecking them on the other hand…

ImperatorAlexander: The exact relationship between Rhomania and Serbia hasn’t been outlined yet; there’s a war to be fought and Serbian manpower and logistical support is needed so alienating Serbians is not a good idea. Rhomania wants Dalmatia for itself but there is a strong Serbian claim on Bosnia (the Serbian demand for Bosnia back was what prompted the Hungarian takeover in the first place). Having Bosnia would further boost Serbia and make it a better buffer from Constantinople’s perspective.

There is a bullion stream coming from the New World (plus some Japanese silver making its way via Roman trade) but it’s weaker compared to OTL, a stream compared to a flood. Potosi isn’t online…yet.

I do have plans for both Leo Neokastrites and Demetrios Sideros, which involve the White Palace substantially.

JohnSmith: Vast majority of Roman debt is internal so there’s that at least. Certificates of deposits from the Imperial Bank are well developed and commonly used for currency transfers. The Imperial Bank does operate effectively as a national bank (think early Bank of Amsterdam or England) However the concept of using paper as fiat currency, with no bullion to back it up, would probably get the person making the proposal locked up in a mental institute.

Education system is ahead, although mainly in terms of quantity of institutions available rather than quality of instruction. Rhomania does have a male literacy rate of 50% (I think France got there around 1750 or so). Massive innovation leap though I don’t see happening; Industrial Revolution definitely will not be happening in Rhomania first.

Soverihn: Yeah, this world is going to be less Eurocentric than OTL and Western Europe’s dominance will definitely not be around. Rhomania, Georgia, Ethiopia, and the Ottomans are all in the ‘western’ tech group to put it in EU3/4 terms.

The full effect of centralization will have a big impact on culture and science. Academies of science and letters and international correspondence between intellectuals should become quite significant around 1650ish. Think Enlightenment but earlier.

Babyrage: I’d say around 1660 or so, although administrative efficiency and organization can go a long way. I like the idea of Rhomania being a great power with Austria-level resources (substantial but not quite in France’s or Russia’s league) but with Prussian-level organization and a far better tax system (no internal trade barriers and the rich pay taxes).

Tjakiri: Mexico is independent although wary of the Arletians and Iberians and largely an economic satellite of them too. Incans I haven’t decided yet what I want to do with them. They’re still independent as of now and have beaten back a couple of small Castilian expeditions.

Floppy_seal99: I like the ominous feel. There haven’t been any WH40K references because while I’ve heard of it, I know practically nothing about it.

RogueTraderEnthusiast: Romans want the coast which has a lot of timber by itself whilst having a Serbian buffer helps guards against Hungarian revanchism. Russian naval supplies are very important but it’s also nice to have more, especially under your direct control. Economic thought at this time is very mercantilist.

I like the idea of the Romans just always being there, not necessarily the greatest but continuing to endure when other civilizations blaze bright and then burn out. Even IOTL they say the heydays of the Carolingians and the Abbasids and were put in the shade by them but when those two fell Rhomania was still a going concern. “We were already old when you were young and we will be here long after you are gone.”

Arrix85: The problem with getting a terra firma for Venetia is that I have a hard time seeing it as becoming anything but a hostage to hold against the Romans. The Lombards, Germans, and Hungarians would all have a much easier time putting troops into the area compared to the Romans. Something could be established but it would probably just end up being an Exarchate of Ravenna Mk. 2.

You’re correct that Southeast Asia (I’m including the Philippines in that BTW) is the only good option for Roman expansion in the east. It’d be nice if the Romans could expand off their bases at Surat and Taprobane to consolidate their Indian holdings but the Empire of Vijayanagar is powerful enough that even Iskandar doesn’t want to mess with that if he can avoid it.

Dominic: Yeah, there hasn’t been much structure since Andreas Niketas. One could argue that the Empire’s currently trying to figure out its status in the post-Niketas world where it’s no longer the uncontested top dog and the various other great powers are closing the gap in capabilities. I do have plans for a general direction for imperial ideology which will strongly affect the way Rhomania interacts with the world which right now is starting to formulate in the upcoming updates.

Hecatee: Getting involved in east Africa would irritate the Ethiopians and Omani, both heavily involved in the area, further spread Roman resources, and also provide another point in which the Romans can be attacked by their biggest Latin rivals, the Portuguese.

5000 Cows: That the OOC reason for the powerful Ottoman Empire; it’s the one great power that can directly impinge on Roman territory. The United Kingdoms, the HRE, and Russia all are geographically distant so they can’t pose the same level of menace. The Romans do the same for the Ottomans, both have to keep adapting and reforming. If one gets complacent, the other will beat the crap out of them.
 
JohnSmith: Vast majority of Roman debt is internal so there’s that at least. Certificates of deposits from the Imperial Bank are well developed and commonly used for currency transfers. The Imperial Bank does operate effectively as a national bank (think early Bank of Amsterdam or England) However the concept of using paper as fiat currency, with no bullion to back it up, would probably get the person making the proposal locked up in a mental institute.
So will it be possible for the Romans to develop their bank notes into a centralised legal tender that is backed by bullion?

I may be completely off but given the organisation and centralisation of the Imperial bank the Roman banking system should be at least half a century ahead of OTL if it's already at early Bank of England levels. Given that centralised banking is more of an institutional/organisational development than technological (And the Romans are much more advanced) it wouldn't be too unrealistic for them to continue advancing their currency system to deal with their rising debt or to expand the economy.
 
ImperatorAlexander: The exact relationship between Rhomania and Serbia hasn’t been outlined yet; there’s a war to be fought and Serbian manpower and logistical support is needed so alienating Serbians is not a good idea. Rhomania wants Dalmatia for itself but there is a strong Serbian claim on Bosnia (the Serbian demand for Bosnia back was what prompted the Hungarian takeover in the first place). Having Bosnia would further boost Serbia and make it a better buffer from Constantinople’s perspective.
Does the Serbian King have any children/heirs? Would be a shame for Serbia if he dies during the war and the country is left drained and ravaged in the event of a Roman victory.
 
RogueTraderEnthusiast: Romans want the coast which has a lot of timber by itself whilst having a Serbian buffer helps guards against Hungarian revanchism. Russian naval supplies are very important but it’s also nice to have more, especially under your direct control. Economic thought at this time is very mercantilist.

I like the idea of the Romans just always being there, not necessarily the greatest but continuing to endure when other civilizations blaze bright and then burn out. Even IOTL they say the heydays of the Carolingians and the Abbasids and were put in the shade by them but when those two fell Rhomania was still a going concern. “We were already old when you were young and we will be here long after you are gone.”
Ah, so in this scenario we're looking at a landlocked Serbia? Ok, that makes more sense I suppose. I'm glad you agree on the persistent Romans idea. It suggests my heart isn't going to break like in Rome AARisen (Old CK1 AAR if you aren't aware of it)

: The problem with getting a terra firma for Venetia is that I have a hard time seeing it as becoming anything but a hostage to hold against the Romans. The Lombards, Germans, and Hungarians would all have a much easier time putting troops into the area compared to the Romans. Something could be established but it would probably just end up being an Exarchate of Ravenna Mk. 2.

You’re correct that Southeast Asia (I’m including the Philippines in that BTW) is the only good option for Roman expansion in the east. It’d be nice if the Romans could expand off their bases at Surat and Taprobane to consolidate their Indian holdings but the Empire of Vijayanagar is powerful enough that even Iskandar doesn’t want to mess with that if he can avoid it.
I wonder if the Romans can make the overtures to Vijayanagar to form an alliance in both trade and militarily. That would be the first step to improve Roman fortunes - Vijayanagar partnering with the Romans and a preferential trade partner, in exchange for a strong alliance against both the Ottomans, and any SE asian polities they both disagree with. That would probably help give the Romans an economic boost as they can get preferential treatment and pass those profits on - whilst Vijayanagar and the Romans together gain a huge amount of soft power and strategic benefits (if they can trust each other). What likelyhood is there of a relationship forming between these two?
 
A united India centuries before OTL by the Vijayanagar will be a terrifying power by itself. Not sure if Rhomania could keep up with them in an equal alliance.
 
A united India centuries before OTL by the Vijayanagar will be a terrifying power by itself. Not sure if Rhomania could keep up with them in an equal alliance.
The Mughals had already almost united India by this time and would do so only about nintey years after where we are ittl.
 
B444 did the romans gave the 250.000 muslim syrians to iskandar.? If thats the case then hellenizing syria to the point where christians are the majority would be feasible.
 

Arrix85

Donor
The problem with getting a terra firma for Venetia is that I have a hard time seeing it as becoming anything but a hostage to hold against the Romans. The Lombards, Germans, and Hungarians would all have a much easier time putting troops into the area compared to the Romans. Something could be established but it would probably just end up being an Exarchate of Ravenna Mk. 2.
Sorry If I wasn't clear, but I didn't mean getting Veneto or Friuli. I meant getting the whole of Dalmatia, from Zara to Ragusa as a strong waypoint to reach Venetia (with help much closer in case of need). I've never been crazy about Split and Ragusa being only clients, which in the end can be bullied around by the enormously powerful hungarians (compared to them).
 
1611-13
JohnSmith: It’s quite possible. At this stage bank certificates are used in the marketplace but only for bulk orders or particularly valuable items. A certificate would be fine for ten horses but if you wanted to buy only one you’d get laughed in the face and told to come back with real money.

ImperatorAlexander: He does have heirs.

RogueTraderEnthusiast: The Serbians will have one port (Bar). The old Kingdom of Serbia had that. Keeping them landlocked would be a blatant Roman attempt to keep them poor and subservient so it is a bone to throw them. Between Venetia, Ragusa, and Dyrrhachium it’s not likely to be an economic threat.

A Roman-Vijayanagar alliance would make sense but the Romans are the western power with which the Vijayanagari have had the most experience so there’s more…history involved. Ironically the Roman ship lords have been reprising the Italians with the Vijayanagari playing 12th century Byzantium, so there’s bad blood.

Luis3007: An united India in this period, providing it wouldn’t need to keep all its power focused on staying united, would be able to tell off any power in the world save an united China.

Christos: They did not; that was in an earlier proposal that Iskandar rejected. In the Khlat truce only money passed to the Ottomans.

Arrix85: That makes more sense and is much more feasible/sustainable for the Romans.

If you could make a list complete with regnal years I’d greatly appreciate it. If not let me know and I’ll do it. It’s a reference tool I should’ve made a long time ago.

Veranius: I don’t think so but the order was Theodoros II Megas-Ioannes IV-Manuel II-Anna I-Konstantinos XI-Theodoros III-(War of Five Emperors)-Demetrios I Megas-Theodoros IV-Andreas I Niketas-Herakleios II-Nikephoros IV the Spider-Alexios VI-Alexeia I the Mad-(Time of Troubles)-Andreas II Pistotatos-Helena I (reigning with Demetrios II and Helena II).




1611: Again the blood spilled comes from an unexpected quarter. In early February in Smyrna the Muses’ Theater, one of the largest and most prestigious in the whole Empire including Constantinople, begins showing the Cretan Cycle. The Cycle is a series of four plays detailing the Revolt of St. Titus, centered on the ringleader Ioannes Kallierges. The Revolt of St. Titus was the largest revolt against Venetian rule in Crete, spanning a good chunk of the 1380s. Unfortunately for the rebels the Roman Empire had recently lost the bulk of its navy in the Laskarid Civil War and was struggling in simultaneous wars with Bulgaria and the Ottomans. Despite some impressive military successes against the Venetian occupiers, Ioannes was eventually hunted down and executed.

On February 13 the last play is showing, the final act of which is the execution of Kallierges. He utters his final lines, his supposed last words, to the Venetians while his weeping wife and daughters look on. “No invader can keep an imprisoned population captive forever. There is no greater force in the world than the need for freedom. Against it armies and tyrants cannot stand. We taught this to the Latins once. We will teach it to them again. Though it take a thousand years, we will be free!” The sword falls and then his head.

In this tense moment of drama, a visual representation of the stubborn Roman refusal to die despite the odds, despite the best treacherous efforts of their so-called brothers in the faith to end them (Kallierges is captured despite promises of safe passage and a banner of truce) a guffaw of laughter is heard. Some say it was a Milanese who laughed, others a Hungarian, others a Frenchman. Why he laughed is unknown; it is extremely unlikely the Romans surrounding him care.

Whilst the details are unknown every account agrees on what comes next. Within a few minutes the laugher is hanging dead from a tree outside the theater and within an hour a mob is storming the Foreign Quarter of Smyrna, a mob growing in size and viciousness and not particular about which foreigners it murders. The Smyrna Allagion (local militia garrison/city watch paid and organized by the civic government) limits its efforts to making sure the fires started do not spread beyond the Foreign Quarter, a task in which they are mostly but not entirely successful. By the mob burns itself out and disperses the next morning, anywhere from one to three thousand foreigners are dead, a mix of Arletians, Castilians, Triunes, Dutch, Lombards, Hungarians, and Germans.

Constantinople is as indifferent as the Smyrna Allagion. A fine is levied on Smyrna for the damages, but only for those caused to the Arletians and a few Ethiopians caught up in the attack (foreign nationals from Orthodox states, in which Ethiopia is counted for trade purposes, reside in a different, not attacked district). The protests of everyone else are ignored.

The trade level of Smyrna itself is relatively unaffected. Foreign merchants who want to trade in the wares of western and central Anatolia have to go to Smyrna so those slain are soon replaced by new traders, albeit rather nervous ones who stay in the Quarter during the night. Some slack is inevitable though and enterprising Copts start to fill the gap. Although having their greatest port, Alexandria, under direct Roman rule is galling, the credit made available by the Imperial Bank-Alexandria branch has allowed some skilled and lucky Copts to amass respectable wealth. The rise of a Coptic class of mesoi causes much concern and annoyance amongst the great Coptic landowners of the Delta, previously the uncontested power in the Nile valley prior to the Great Uprising.

Meanwhile war comes to Hungary on multiple fronts. The Lombards lay siege to Verona, the Roman navy raids Dalmatia and invests Zadar, Vlach forces harry Transylvania, the homeland of the ruling Hunyadi dynasty, and a massive Roman host storms into northern Serbia. Vidin, Belgrade, and Smederevo are all placed under siege simultaneously while Roman and Hungarian gunboats contest control of the Danube.

The last is an unequal contest given the vastly superior Roman numbers but the two Serbian citadels provide a much larger challenge. Vidin capitulates after two months but torrential rain in Serbia turns the roads into rivers of mud, wracking the Roman camps with hunger and dysentery. The Hungarians suffer from the twin blight as well but it is the Romans who break up first, abandoning the sieges. Aside from the two towns though, the rest of Serbia has now been removed from Hungarian dominion, along with a few minor Bosnian districts.

1612: As the Romans once again place Belgrade and Smederevo under siege, this time with larger artillery and supply trains and more cooperative weather, Shah Iskandar faces the assembled might of the Indus valley at Bahawalpur. The Persians number 35,000. The size of the Indian army varies from 55,000 to 150,000 depending on the source. By the end of the day the Shah is master of the field.

Onward he surges, taking Delhi seven weeks later. Reinforcements arrive from Khorasan to swell his army to fifty thousand men just in time to face the hosts of the Ganges river valley in all their might and majesty, “a force not even Xerxes in all his glory could summon.” The two armies collide on the outskirts of Aligarh. Rank after rank of armored war elephants are met by the roar of Ottoman culverins and despite a moment of concern when Rajput cavalry break through the Persian right flank, when the sun sets once again Iskandar has routed another great armament. Not until one reaches the banks of the Narmada river and the realm of the Vijayanagari Emperors is there a force in all of India that can stand up to the Shahanshah.

It is a year of glory for great empires. The Triunes, once again launching a drive on the Rhine, successfully overrun Burgundy and the Franche-Comte. The Brothers’ War steadily moves in Friedrich’s favor. As the Bavarians surge north the Khazars forge east, Theodoros Drakos Laskaris shattering an Uzbek host as Iskandar triumphs at Aligarh.

In Serbia Smederevo and Belgrade both finally fall after a stubborn resistance within a week of each other. It is said that it takes over two months before the cities stop stinking of rotting corpses. Although technically under Serbian rule, both citadels are garrisoned with Roman troops for the time being while King Stephan works to consolidate his rule. While the Serbs are glad to be free of the Catholic Hungarians, a great many are concerned about the Romans becoming their new overlords instead. Furthermore many of the great Serb magnates, though thoroughly disenchanted with the Magyars as well, do not look fondly on having a king in their midst rather than one hundreds of miles away.

In Italy the Lombards have advanced as far as the outskirts of Gorizia, with raiding parties making it as far as Zagreb before being turned back by local Croat forces. The Roman navy, backed up by Sicilian and Egyptian contingents, has taken Zadar, giving the Romans complete control of Dalmatia. Istria too has capitulated.

The war is clearly going in the Empire’s favor but the strain on the Romans’ reserve of manpower and money because of the constant warfare is immense. Accordingly in October Emperor Demetrios II agrees to a truce between Hungary and Rhomania and its allies to last fifteen months, a deal sealed by a small Hungarian tribute.

Andrew is willing to make peace and recognize Serbia as an independent state but wants his Dalmatian, Istrian, Italian, and Bosnian territories back plus the restoration of Verona and Padua to his cousin. Demetrios however refuses any treaty that does not involve Verona, Padua, the Veneto, Friuli, Istria, Dalmatia, and the Banat (to Vlachia) changing hands. That is too much for Andrew to stomach so a truce is all that he obtains. But with the Brothers’ War winding down, he is hopeful that when next the Romans march the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation will be ready to challenge them.

At first glance, the hope Andrew places in Germany is surprising, considering the long and bloody relationship between the Holy Roman Empire and Hungary during its golden age (the 1400s). But the days when those two made war are long past. Intermarriage between Bavarian and Austrian and Hungarian nobility are common and trade is respectable. It is true that Friedrich is Demetrios’ brother-in-law, but then again so is Andrew.

More importantly, having Rhomania on the doorstep of the Holy Roman Empire, with the Triple Monarchy looming ominously on the opposite side of the Rhine, is not a situation that can be viewed with equanimity in Munich. Roman agents in Croatia, coupled with the alliance with the Lombards who recently dispossessed Friedrich’s cousin Duke Franz of Florence, have drawn condemnation from the Bavarian Imperial court.

1613: Although the Balkans fall into an uneasy quiet the year is of seminal importance in the history of both China and Japan, for both realms witness the end of an era. In China the sprawling three-way war between the Zeng, the Yuan, and the Tieh has been a confusing and bloody mess, the slaughter and devastation comparable only to the original Mongol conquests.

But fortune has smiled upon the Zeng the last decade despite the annoyance and disapproval of the Roman Ship Lords. Yuan armies have been driven north beyond the Yellow River although thus far any attempts by the Zeng to advance further have been stymied.

Deadlock in the north though is counterbalanced by success in the west when finally on the third attempt a mass offensive breaks through the Tieh defenses and overruns Sichuan, the last province of the once great domain of Timur and Shah Rukh. When the last Tieh Emperor is slain, incidentally sword in hand-more like a steppe warlord than a Chinese Emperor-in his palace at Chengdu as it burns down around him, thus ends an era in Asian history. For two hundred and fifty years a scion of the House of Timur has held sway as one of the Lords, sometimes the Lord, of Asia. But those days are done.

The last branch of the house of Timur resides only in the far western periphery of the continent that once trembled at the mere name of Timur. There Demetrios Sideros has recently been promoted to be Kephale of Skammandros. It is a small province in the Opsikian theme along the southern coast of the Hellespont known primarily for its linen weaving, its capital of Abydos a prosperous if unexciting town of eight thousand. Included in the kephalate is the site of ancient Troy, an area in which Demetrios spends much of his free time exploring and writing.

Perhaps the influence of walking these legendary lands explains Demetrios’ choice of a name for his son. As the last Tieh Emperor falls to the swords of Zeng infantrymen, Demetrios is not in Troy but in Abydos where Jahzara gives birth to a healthy son. His name is Odysseus.

Emperor Demetrios is delighted by the news, becoming one of Odysseus’ godparents. But his delight is nothing compared to the ecstasy he feels when news arrives from Japan.

For years Honshu had been under the control of the Azai but their rule was shaky at best, with major revolts breaking out in the east and north simultaneously in 1611. This was bad enough but the Shimazu, spying an opportunity and concerned that a consolidated Azai would attack them next, launched their own offensive first.

Rallying disloyal Azai vassals to the Shimazu banner, several of whom have already converted to Orthodox Christianity (mainly in western Honshu), the Shimazu have done quite well considering the on-paper disparity between the Shimazu and Azai before the rebellions. The showdown comes on October 11 on the plains of Sekigahara. The Azai and Shimazu sides are roughly equal in size, around forty five thousand. The Shimazu army includes two Roman tourmai, both comprised of Roman Malays and Digenoi.

For two days the battle seesaws until a Shimazu charge, backed up by a sudden sharp rainstorm that plows into the eyes of the Azai foot-soldiers, smashes through the Azai left wing and rolls up their entire army. Victory is total.

For the first time in almost two hundred years, Japan is unified. But Japan has changed. The Shimazu, influenced by the ways of Orthodox Christianity and Roman Imperialism, have no truck with a figurehead emperor claiming descent from the sun-goddess Amaterasu. On December 1 the Imperial line of Japan, already over two thousand years old, is wiped out. A week later in a ceremony modeled directly after the coronation of Roman Emperors Shimazu Yoshihiro, a graduate of the University of Constantinople, is crowned Emperor of Japan in the Cathedral of Aira by the Metropolitan, the premier of Japanese bishops.

The news is brought to Demetrios II by a letter from Emperor Yoshihiro himself, who addresses the letter as “To the Emperor of the Setting Sun from your Imperial Brother the Emperor of the Rising Sun.” It is a relationship Japan had tried, and failed, to establish with China centuries ago. Demetrios takes no offense at Yoshihiro’s statement of equality with himself though, unlike the Chinese of old, and responds in kind, furthering increasing Yoshihiro’s intended mirror image by arranging the Metropolitan of Aira’s promotion to Patriarch.

Demetrios is thus in a very good mood when the truce with Hungary expires. The Serbs, the only Orthodox people ruled by a heathen people, have been liberated and now Japan itself is wholly under the rule of a Christian Emperor. Now what needs to be done, as the premier lord of the true faith, is to ensure that the heretics never again dare raise their hand against the people of God. Andrew’s attempt to extend the truce, even to the extent of tripling the tribute, is of no avail. Demetrios’ mind is made up; when the season of war returns again the armies of the Empire shall march into Hungary itself.
 
Veranius: I don’t think so but the order was Theodoros II Megas-Ioannes IV-Manuel II-Anna I-Konstantinos XI-Theodoros III-(War of Five Emperors)-Demetrios I Megas-Theodoros IV-Andreas I Niketas-Herakleios II-Nikephoros IV the Spider-Alexios VI-Alexeia I the Mad-(Time of Troubles)-Andreas II Pistotatos-Helena I (reigning with Demetrios II and Helena II).
You forgot the Laskarid Emperor that fought Andreas II Pistotatos after getting bad advice from the Doukid asshole.

EDIT: Holy shit Japan is unified by a new Imperial Line. They're going to centralize into an Orthodox state!
 
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@Basileus444 what's Joseon Korea up to? With Japan unified under a Roman-style Emperor, they're going to centralize centuries earlier than OTL. That's HUGE. How will the Koreans cope with that? Granted the Japanese are going to need several decades to generations for the feudal system to be fully replaced with an Imperial system, so the Koreans will have time to adapt if they can.

My hope is that the Korean monarchy did not devolve into the aristocratic elitist cliquism that it fell into OTL, and instead had a genius king who managed to emulate the Chinese Emperors by becoming an absolute ruler. A Sejong the Great analogue who manages to reform the hidebound traditional ruling class would be what Korea needs to stay matched with an Imperial Japan, in terms of advancements. It won't be enough to match demographically, unfortunately. @Basileus444, in order for Korea to match Japan as you said you planned to do ITTL, Korea must take advantage of the chaos in China to conquer and integrate the lands and peoples of Manchuria and the Liadong Peninsula. That and get rid of the Confucian belief that merchants and craftsmen are worthless dregs.

EDIT: Also how is the Orthodox Church taking the news of a new Patriarchate? It sorta ends the Pentarchy system.
 
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