An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

I wouldn't put "Demetrios" and "savvy" in the same sentence... however smart he or his generals may be military occupation with a delayed deal (it may take a while for Hungarian leadership to realize their new "reality") could cause the romans to chase guerrilla forces (or little more) even further and Austria is not that far from their current positions. Just saying...
In the Medieval world we don't have many (if any) cases of guerilla warfare as we know it now. Generally, the defeated rulers, and some of the nobility, if alive, would run across the border to a friendly neighbor and try to drum up support for reclaiming their country. Most of the losing side army (the local boys) would simply head home for the next crop season (hunger can kill just as many as war). The professional soldiers would join or form mercenary companies and look for another war. Some of the malcontents will hide in forests and raid (and usually not just the invaders), indistinguishable from normal bands of outlaws. Some would hide in towns and maybe knife a soldier or two from the occupying force before being cut down himself, maybe even in a tavern brawl. Not at all different from what would have happened before anyway, no matter a soldier's livery.
In that period, independence or restoration movements started from the top. Usually, for the hoi polloi, barring a particularly harsh treatment (for their standards), any leadership would be similar. As a sidenote, a medieval or renaissance soldier hasn't got many force multipliers anyway to make trouble like a later age guerilla. Also, the patriotism of the period would generally be very different from the current (or even Ancient form).
 
Thanks, B44.
With the Russian threat removed, shouldn't Poland's reasons for allying with Hungary become weaker?
For Poland, would the enticement of conquering northern Hungary/Presporok outweigh the threat of a closer Rome?
 
Thanks, B44.
With the Russian threat removed, shouldn't Poland's reasons for allying with Hungary become weaker?
For Poland, would the enticement of conquering northern Hungary/Presporok outweigh the threat of a closer Rome?
That depends on the King of Poland's priorities, short- or long-term. Does he consider the taxes and manpower of an annexed Slovakia to be worth throwing away an alliance (in a war that he's already helping them in)? After all even if he gets all of Slovakia into his realm, that's not enough to counterbalance the military aid that he'll never get from the Hungarian Empire. Hungary might rebound from this loss, and even if it doesn't recover the constituent parts Hungary proper alone will produce a much larger military force than Slovakia ever will.
 
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Monarchs List
HanEmpire: Serbia will be de facto independent, but economically and culturally it’s going to be in the Empire’s orbit. How close said orbit will be is up in the air, along with how much Serbians like or dislike said relationship.

The Vlach mindset is firmly in ‘get land first, worry about integrating later’ mindset.

Gianni_Rivera: If Vijayanagar could land and supply a good-sized army they could take Ceylon. But the Romans have naval supremacy by a good margin and there are a few Taprobani tourmai established. So the Vijayanagara would have to land an army at least 10,000 to have the odds certainly in their favor, hardly an easy task when dodging a superior navy. Now an alliance with a Latin naval power could fix that deficit…

ImperatorAlexander: Demetrios wants both punitive damages and lands, mostly for his allies admittedly. Considering his success he’s having a hard time quitting while he’s ahead, something that’s hardly his strong suite. To be fair, it’s a common failing amongst monarchs.

Arrix85: One problem is that Hungary is largely a power vacuum and nature abhors a vacuum and the Romans are the closest force.

Sir Omega: Ironically when it comes to nationalism, the Romans are the closest to the modern type. Unfortunately a large formative component of nationalism is hatred of the ‘other’.

Frustrated Progressive: The reason for the alliance is weakened but there’s still the HRE to watch out for. HanEmpire’s response covers the pros and cons of such a move.


For my organizational purposes, I did something which I should’ve done a long time ago and compiled a monarch list for the major polities in the timeline. I figure I’m not the only one who will find it useful. There are obvious gaps for certain countries and question marks regarding some of the reigns. If the year is followed by a question mark (1550?) that means that is the first time a certain monarch is mentioned but the narrative does not mention when he/she actually took power. If there’s just a question mark that means there is no information I could find in the timeline. Some monarchs (Arles, Mexico) haven't appeared yet in posted updates but I've written about them in upcoming updates.

Please let me know if you find errors or have questions.

Emperors of the Romans:

Theodoros II Laskaris (1254-1282)
John IV Laskaris (1282-1316)
Manuel II Laskaris (1316-1324)
Anna I Laskarina (1324-1381)
Andronikos II Laskaris (1373-1376): attempted to usurp power in the Laskarid Civil War
Konstantinos XI Laskaris (1381-1401)
Theodoros III Laskaris (1401-1403): killed at Cappadocian Caesarea
John V Laskaris (1403-1410)
Thomas I Laskaris (1410-1414)
Demetrios I Komnenos (1414-1439)
Manuel III Doukas (1414-1431)
Theodoros IV Komnenos (1439-1458)
Andreas I Komnenos (1458-1517)
Herakleios II Komnenos (1516-1518)
Nikephoros IV Komnenos (1518-1528)
Alexios VI Komnenos (1528)
Alexeia I Komnena (1528-1537)
Ioannes VI Komnenos (1537-1541)
Isaakios III Angelos (1541)
Stefanos I Doukas (1541-1543)
Alexios VII Papagos (1544)
Manuel IV Klados (1544)
Giorgios I Laskaris (1544-1547)
Andreas II Drakos (1547-1548)
Helena I Drakina (1548-ongoing)
Demetrios II Drakos (1587-ongoing)

Holy Roman Emperors (Wittelsbach):

Otto IV (1404-1409)
Otto V (1409-1421)
Conrad III (1421-?)
Frederick III (1471?-1501)
Manfred I (1501-1542)
Wilhelm I (1542-1603)
Friedrich IV (1603-ongoing)

Ottoman Sultan/Shahs:

Osman I (1305-?)
Mehmed I (1380?-1403): Executed by impalement by command of Timur
Osman II (1403-1449): Killed at Ramsar by Timurid forces
Bayezid II (1449-1473)
Mehmed III (1473-1481): Yes, I know I skipped Mehmed II, editing error on my part. Let’s say Mehmed had an elder brother also named Mehmed who reigned very briefly and then died for Mehmed III to succeed him.
Suleiman I (1481-1536)
Bayezid III (1536-1552): Slain in defense of Baghdad by Timur II
Osman III Khomeini (1552-1588?)
Iskandar I Khomeini (1588?-ongoing)

Megas Rigai of Russia:

Alexei I (1437-1460): Father of Kristina, Empress of Blackbirds
Nikolai I (1460-?)
Mikhail III (1528?-1538)
Mikhail IV (1538-1552?)
Dmitri I (1552?-1573)
Ivan I (1573)
[Zemsky Sobor] (1573-1574)
Ioannes I Laskaris (1574-1609, King of Khazaria 1609-ongoing)

Kings of Georgia:

David VI (?-1293)
Konstantin I (1293-1327)
Giorgi V (1327-1346)
Alexei I (1346-1369)
Vakhtang III (1369-1394)
David VII (1394-1411)
Konstantin II (1411-1461)
David VIII (1461-?)
Alexei II (1519?-?)
Giorgi VI (?-1559?)
Stefanoz I (1559?-1589)
Sophia I Drakina (1589-1601)
Konstantin Safavid (1601-ongoing)

Kings of Arles:

Charles I (1427-1468)
Louis I (1468-1510)
Charles II (1510-1526)
Basil I (1526-1567)
Leo I (1567-1600)
Basil II (1600-ongoing)

Emperors of Mexico:

David I (1547-1580)
Michael II (1580-1602)
David II (1602-1613)
David III (1613-ongoing)

Kings of Hungary:

Andrew III (1404?-1442)
Istvan I (1442-1460)
Ladislaus IV (1460-1468)
Andrew IV ‘Arpad’/Komnenos (1468-1512)
Stephen VI (1512-1519)
Miklos Hunyadi (1519-?)
Andrew V Hunyadi (1575?-?)
Andrew VII Hunyadi (1609-1614)
Stephen VII (1614-ongoing)

Emperors of the United Kingdoms:

Arthur I (1522-1567): Technically doesn’t count as the Empire was proclaimed by his son but all historians list him as the first anyway.
Henry I (1567-1605)
Arthur II (1605-ongoing)

Emperors of All the North:

Catherine I (1545-?)
Peter I (1572?-?)

Kings of Castile:

Ferdinand V (1417?-?)
Pedro II (1534?-?)
Felipe II (1578?-?) [King of Portugal 1583-?]

Kings of Vlachia:

Vlad I (1418-?)
Dragos I (1478?-?)
Vlad IV (1584?-?)
Roman I (1616-ongoing)

Kings of Lombardy:

Andrea I Visconti (1548-?)
Amadeus I Visconti (?-1597)
Theodoros I Doukas (1597-ongoing)

King of Kings of Ethiopia:

Yekuno I (1414-1437)
Yohannes I (1437-?)
Kwestantinos I (1484-?)
Kwestantinos II (1542?-?)
Andreyas I (1590?-1599)
Tewodros I (1599-ongoing) [Uncle to Demetrios Sideros’ wife Jahzara]
 
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Mehmed III (1473-1481): Yes, I know I skipped Mehmed II, editing error on my part. Let’s say Mehmed had an elder brother also named Mehmed who reigned very briefly and then died for Mehmed III to succeed him.
Wasn't this that crazy Sultan who sawed people in half and was always drugged up on Opium? Given his disposition it's likely that he killed his elder brother for the throne.

Also it looks like Mexico has had some very stable successions. How are its modernization programs coming along?

EDIT: Of course Mehmed II being the brother of Mehmed III means their father gave the same name to two of his sons, which is unfortunate and unlikely.
Perhaps Mehmed II is the uncle of Mehmed III, whose male heirs had died of disease or were killed by Mehmed III in "accidents"?
 
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Wasn't this that crazy Sultan who sawed people in half and was always drugged up on Opium? Given his disposition it's likely that he killed his elder brother for the throne.

Also it looks like Mexico has had some very stable successions. How are its modernization programs coming along?
I wouod say the turks are the luckiest. They got a lot less monarchs than the romans over the same period, nearly all havr long reigns.

I wish the portugese would not mess with the romans after how they treat the hungerians, how are they doing in brazil?
 
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Arrix85

Donor
I'll update the Family tree based on the new info. Looking forward to the next update!

EDIT: quick question...What's the relationship between Micheal I, David II and David III of Mexico? Grandfather, father and son?
 
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HanEmpire: He was the psychotic one (incidentally every one of his episodes, save his death scene were copied from the life of Mehmed the Conqueror IOTL). The update that discusses David II and David III talks about Mexican developments.

Let’s go with the uncle theory. Bayezid II was succeeded by his brother who became Mehmed II but was almost immediately thrown out by Bayezid’s son Mehmed III.

Gianni_Rivera: Agreed, the Turks have had a good monarchial run, much like IOTL in the 1400s and 1500s. The Roman comparison is skewed by the insane turnover between 1528 and 1548. Incidentally the chart unintentionally helps explain Wittelsbach success in centralizing their power in the HRE, two monarchs from 1501-1603!

Brazil is slowly expanding from the coastal enclaves. A major supply port for the India Armadas, brazilwood production is on the rise and sugar plantations are thriving, albeit facing stiff competition from Caribbean sugar.

Arrix85: Yes, grandfather-father-son.

Addition to Monarchical lists:

Despots of Egypt:

Andreas I Drakos-Komnenos (1547-?) [Grandson of Andreas Niketas and great-grandson of Vlad Dracula]
Demetrios III (1591?-ongoing)

Despots of Sicily:

Matteo I di Lecce-Komnenos (1548-1567)
Demetrio I (1567-?)
Andreas I (1584-1605)
Alexios I (1605-ongoing) [Husband of Kaisarina Helena the Younger, Father of ‘Andreas III’]


For the Despots of Egypt, let’s assume Andreas I was succeeded by a younger brother (Demetrios I) who had two sons (Demetrios II) who was the father of the current Despot and Anastasios who is the current Megas Domestikos of the Empire.
 
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Holy Roman Emperors (Wittelsbach):

Otto IV (1404-1409)
Otto V (1409-1421)
Conrad III (1421-?)
Frederick III (1471?-1501)
Manfred I (1501-1542)
Wilhelm I (1542-1603)
Friedrich IV (1603-ongoing)
Wow, it looks like for the past 130 odd years the HRE has had a series of effective, competent, powerful Emperors. Given how much of a mess the HRE was in OTL it seems like this TL is giving us a bit of a HRE wank :p
 

Arrix85

Donor
I think the numeral of Andreas of Sicily is wrong (the one who died in 1605). He should be Andreas I di Lecce-Komnenos, his grandson would be Andreas II of Sicily and Andreas III of Rhomania.

EDIT1 (I don't think it'll be the only one while I modify the tree): I've noticed there is a two generations gap in the Bagrationi line. Alexei II is the great-grandfather of Stefanoz, but you've listed them as consecutive rulers. Is it possible?
 
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1615
JohnSmith: The long reigns were an accident on my part from not paying attention but it does explain Wittelsbach success. At least my subconscious knows what it's doing...

Arrix85: You're right; I got the Egyptian and Sicilian lists mixed up. As for Georgia, there are no Georgian monarchs mentioned between Alexei II and Stefanoz which is why I listed them consecutively but there's enough room for some more to fit it. I hereby declare that Alexei II was succeeded by his son Giorgi VI who reigned briefly and did nothing of importance and was succeeded by his grandson Stefanoz.




1615: Historians are unsure of how thoroughly Iskandar is aware of the Roman situation vis-à-vis Hungary and the Holy Roman Empire in the spring of 1615. His victories in northern India have been extremely impressive and his lieutenants have secured further triumphs over other smaller forces. However no one paying attention, including the Katepano of Taprobane and the Kephale of Surat, can fail to notice the growl of annoyance emanating from seven-walled Vijayanagara, currently the greatest city in the world.

More than a growl comes from the lord of all India south of the Narmada in the spring when some vassals in the Deccan attempt to throw off their servitude with some Persian support. In one battle the vassals are crushed absolutely despite the twenty five hundred Khorasani gunners and six hundred Turkish cavalry in their ranks. Whilst no attempt is made by the Vijayanagari to pursue the few fugitives who make it across the frontier, the ability of the Defender of Cows and Brahmins to send great hosts to the doorsteps of northern India is one noted by all parties.

Northern India too isn’t being entirely cooperative either. The Indus valley is the region easiest to control from Persia but is also the site of Sukkur in the south and Kashmir in the north, the largest states in northern India before Iskandar’s arrival. Although compliant for now, Sukkuri and Kashmiri nobles have made their way to foreign ports with dreams of one day returning. As a further annoyance, raiding the Indus delta seems to have become the new favorite pastime for Ethiopian pirates. They are quite good and have a suspicious number of newly forged Roman guns in their arsenals.

Further east, despite a progress of Iskandar made as far as Oudh, Persian control is effectively nonexistent east of Delhi save for a few isolated garrisons who can only maintain contact when patrols are out in force. Meetings between the Portuguese Viceroy of Sutanuti, the Prince of Jharkhand, the King of Bihar (a rump compared to its former glory but still a respectable regional power), and emissaries from the King of Tibet and his Gurkha vassals do nothing to sooth Iskandar’s concerns.

What it comes down to is that Shah Iskandar does not want to leave India at this juncture and spend more blood and gold on the war with the Romans. The truce is renewed for another six years with a Roman payment of 2.5 million hyperpyra plus a quarter-million for every year afterward. Meanwhile the low-intensity battling continues without a beat although the Shah does dispatch three thousand more light cavalry to western Mesopotamia to combat Anizzah raiders.

Much to Janos’ fury, German troops are marching west not southeast. Triune forces are on the doorstep of Antwerp (direct intervention during the Brothers’ War itself had been blocked by a serious of miserable harvests across northern France plus some serious peasant uprisings in Brittany and Normandy) and Emperor Friedrich places his priorities there. The Triunes have already violated the territories of the Holy Roman Empire; the Romans are merely threatening to do so.

The Voivode though is unwilling to give up, especially concerning the harsh Roman demands. A late and soggy spring delays Roman preparations for a new offensive, who advance secure in the knowledge that German intervention is not happening. It is thus a considerable surprise when the Akoimetoi roll up to the gates of Vienna and see Bavarian banners flying from the ramparts. Just three days earlier six thousand Bavarian infantry, veterans all, had marched into the city.

The Triune army at Antwerp was completely shattered, even more than the Hungarians at Mohacs, by a joint attack by Bishop ‘Bone-Breaker’ and General Blucher. With that great success Friedrich rapidly transferred forces east just in time to check Roman encroachments in Austria, which despite its long control by Hungary still ranks as one of the principalities of the Empire.

Finally the possibility of the two empires colliding head-on has arrived. Roman foragers skirmish with Bavarian scouts; lives are lost on both sides. With reinforcements that arrive shortly afterwards, Leo has more than enough man and firepower to take Vienna despite the Bavarian garrison. Such a victory would provide the Romans with a powerful base from which to operate in future campaigns and do much to cripple what strength remains to the Hungarian monarchy. But while Friedrich can brush off the skirmishes an assault on Vienna is too much to suffer without reprisal. Leo withdraws.

The Roman retreat from Austria is a victory of sorts for the Hungarians but it is due solely to the Germans, who also take the initiative in terms of peace negotiations. On both sides the effort is largely spearheaded by royal women. On the Roman side Empress Helena the Elder, displaying energy which she has not shown in several years, takes the lead. Roman bloodlust has been somewhat sated by Mohacs and Buda and thus peace is more welcomingly viewed both by Demetrios and the Roman public.

On the German side a major figure is Empress Kristina, eldest daughter and child of Helena the Elder. Unlike her hapless little sister Theodora, Dowager Queen of Hungary, she has a more forceful personality and the general respect of the Bavarian nobility. She also has a much closer relationship with her little brother Demetrios, another important asset.

Mother and daughter get a chance to meet, for the first time in nineteen years, in Venetia where peace talks are held. Significantly the talks are between the Romans and Germans; Janos Zapolya is left stewing out in the hall even when King Theodoros Doukas of Lombardy arrives for his share of the pie.

The treaty hammered out is effectively a total Hungarian capitulation. The Kingdom of Serbia is recognized as an independent state and also to be granted control of the Kingdom of Bosnia as well. Transylvania and the Banat are to go to the Vlachs. Per the arrangement with the Lombards, Verona and Padua are annexed to the Lombard Kingdom. The Veneto, Friuli, and Gorizia present more complications. Per said agreement they are to be constituted as a new duchy under Anna Drakina-Sidera (elder sister of Demetrios Sideros), former Duchess of Verona and Padua, as a vassal of Rhomania. The region in question though is crawling with Lombard troops and tax collectors and Theodoros is not inclined to withdraw.

In exchange for five hundred thousand ducats, another million to be paid over the next six years, and the promise of preferential grain purchases to feed Venetia, Helena recognizes the Lombard conquest. Emperor Friedrich does the same when Theodoros promises another equal payment on the same schedule, plus a pledge to abide by any feudal ties between the territories and the Holy Roman Emperor.

To compensate Anna, Hungarian Dalmatia and Istria are ceded to the Empire. They are amalgamated with the Roman vassals of Ragusa and Split, both governed by communes. The result is the new Duchy of Dalmatia and Istria, in which the two communes still enjoy significant autonomy. Anna is installed as the Duchess of the new vassal state (Helena pointedly ignores the existence of her still-living husband who ends up back in Buda and successfully filing for divorce).

The question of Croatia is a sorer spot. Croat forces, operating practically entirely on their own, had beaten off the Lombard and Roman attacks on the core of Croatia save for a few raids. Empress Helena is interested in the possibility of a Despotate of Croatia which intrigue some Croats as a means of exchanging a nearby master for a far-off one. Friedrich though has no desire to see a Roman Despotate so close to Imperial frontiers. The possibility of an independent Croatia (aired by Friedrich as a compromise!) is scotched by the unenthusiastic response of Krsto Frankopan, Ban of Croatia. The Ban, eyeing Janos’ teetering position, has ideas regarding his own future status in the Hungarian state. Thus Croatia is left in union with Hungary.

To cement the accord, a dynastic marriage is arranged. Friedrich had been quite disappointed by the birth of Andreas III, who blocks a Wittelsbach claim on the Roman Imperial line. Here is an opportunity to ‘address’ that. Friedrich and Kristina’s eldest son Manfred has two children of his own, a boy Theodor born in 1604 and a girl, Elisabeth, born in 1605, just two weeks before Andreas himself. Andreas and Elisabeth are to be married.

There is concern in many Roman circles over this; the Wittelsbach desire to have blood sitting enthroned in the White Palace is well known. But Friedrich is insistent and for all Kristina’s desire to secure peace between her brother’s and her husband’s realms, her ambition to see a granddaughter as Roman Empress also cannot be denied.

Hungary is left holding the bag. Janos still has to ratify the agreement, something he is naturally quite reluctant to do. The treaty is especially painful as the loss of Transylvania wipes out most of his family’s holding. But one condition of the Andreas-Elisabeth marriage is that Friedrich convinces the Hungarians to sign. Pressed from all sides, Janos has no choice.

It is a disaster. The only difference, save the retention of Croatia which is due mostly to Krsto’s intrigues, between the treaty of Venice and the Roman terms issued before the campaigning of 1615 is that Hungary is not obliged to pay a monetary tribute. But that saving is counterbalanced by the Bavarian garrisons in Austria. The Roman bear may be satisfied but there is no strength left in Hungary to expel the German bear sprawled comfortably in the foyer. What if he too decides he wants a meal?

* * *

Constantinople, November 12, 1615:

Andreas looked around the interior. The mausoleum had not changed since he’d been here last week, not that he expected it to have. The interior walls were a dull white, marble carved from Hymettos, the sunlight coming through a series of pointed-arch windows. The room was circular, only about eight meters in diameter, with one entrance behind him. He knew the dome on the outside was sheathed in hammered bronze. Every week, members of the city’s guilds in rotation polished that bronze so that it gleamed almost blindingly in the noontime sun.

The tomb itself was granite from Skammandros, a dull gray-white mixture somber in appearance, the lid topped by an effigy of a man lying on his back as if asleep. The man was of a medium height with a round face, although one without much trace of fat. Andreas rubbed his short nose. I like to think that I have his nose. He certainly had the same narrow unibrow.

Next to the man’s right shoulder was a small stand with a platter of fresh pastries, covered in chocolate and sprinkled sugar, not exactly the cheapest fare in town. All around the tomb were strewn fresh flowers. A hundred years after his death, the Good Emperor was still honored with such devotion and respect by the common people. I want to be remembered like that. He closed his eyes and started to pray.

He hadn’t gotten very far when he heard someone very ostentatiously munching on something and smacking their lips. He turned around to see an old man. He was of medium height with a round face, but with what looked to be a toned frame with little fat. Hazel eyes looked out at him underneath a thin white unibrow. He had short white hair covering his head and a full cropped beard. He was wearing a black shirt with silver thread on the cuffs and neck, plus a small silver chain around his neck, from which hung a small green jewel. He wore riding pants of the same color. His hands weren’t gloved so Andreas could tell that they were very rough, even aside from the many wrinkles, hands that looked like they’d grasped a sword often.

He popped the last bit of one of the chocolate pastries in his mouth, sighing in contentment. He looked at Andreas and smiled. “It’s a good thing that these weren’t around when I was your age; I’d be as fat as a Frenchman if I were.”

“Those are for him!” Andreas blurted, somewhat surprised that was the first thing that came out of his mouth. How do you get here? His guards were outside the only door to the mausoleum and they wouldn’t have let the man in alone and not followed. He looked at the man’s waist; there was a worn sword-belt there and off his right hip a dull silver scabbard. The hilt of the blade in there looked like standard-issue Thrakesian tagma. But they’re in Hungary and he has no insignia?

He looked back at the man’s eyes. He had a slight smile. “I’m not going to hurt you, Prince Andreas.” He looked at the chocolate pastries. “These on the other hand…” He grabbed another and started chowing down.

“Those are for the Emperor!”

The man looked at him, swallowed the bit in his mouth, and held the half-eaten remainder between the right thumb and forefinger. “He doesn’t mind.” He looked at the tomb. “Do you?” Silence. “See.”

“I guess that’s alright then.”

“Good.” The man stuffed the rest in his mouth.

“Why are you here?” Andreas asked.

“Why are you here?” the man answered. “You come here every week; are you expecting the décor to change?”

“No, I come here to pray.”

“This isn’t a church.”

“I know but…this seems like the right place to pray, for my prayer.”

“And what are you praying for that here seems to be the best place? If it’s this chocolate you’re praying for I would think the White Palace kitchens would be a better spot.”

Andreas couldn’t help but smile as the man started eating another one. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an old man this happy. Then he stopped grinning; the man looked at him. Andreas hesitated. “I’m praying that I’ll be like him.” He pointed at the tomb.

“Why? You want to be a great war leader, to conquer distant lands?”

“No, I want this.” He gestured at the flowers and the chocolate. “A hundred years after his death. No one alive can remember him. Yet the people still do this, in honor of his memory. I want to be like that; I want to be an Emperor that is still loved a hundred years after I’m gone.”

“Being loved after you’re dead is actually easier than when you’re alive.”

“Well then I want that too.”

“You just want everything, don’t you?”

Andreas shrugged. “Yeah.”

The man chuckled. “Well, you’re off to a good start.”

“How?”

“You’re letting me eat this chocolate.”

“I don’t understand.”

“The baker who put this here didn’t put it here for me. She put it here for him.” He pointed at the tomb. “But he can’t use it, so you let me have it. A good Emperor cares about his people and is willing to sacrifice for them. In this case it isn’t really a sacrifice, but you’re starting on that principle.”

“That’s it?”

“No, not even close. Andreas was loved because he cared about the people, and the people knew it. He was willing to give his life to protect them. Came close a few times. Why did he do that? He’s a sovereign, a ruler of millions, why would he put his life on the line for some herdsmen?”

“Because are we not all children of God?”

The man smiled. “Precisely. Regardless of your station, your soul is no more or less valuable in the eyes of God than any other. But because much is given to you, much is expected. Remember that, and act on it in all you do.”

“That doesn’t sound easy.”

The man smiled again but this time sadly. “No, it isn’t. It’s possibly the hardest thing in the world.”

“I don’t know if I have the strength.”

“I think you do.”

Andreas nodded, warmed by that comment. “I have to go now. I have sword practice.” The man nodded and Andreas started walking out the door. In the entryway he turned back and gestured at the platter; the man had gone through half of them. “Try to leave some for the Emperor.”

The man laughed. “No promises. These things are quite addictive.” Andreas smiled and headed out.

He reached his horse and started to mount her. “You were in there quite a while,” Ioannes commented.

Andreas looked over at the pug-nosed Epirote, the commander of his bodyguard. “I was talking with an old man. Do you know who he is?” I forgot to ask.

“There was no one else in there. We didn’t let anyone past.” Andreas stared at him in shock. He looked back at the mausoleum, his hanging mouth clicking shut. “Is something wrong? Are you alright?”

Andreas smiled. “Yeah, I’m alright.”
 
Theodoros IV continues to be the best.

What happened to the Hungarian Queen? She's a Roman princess, her prospects in Hungary are utterly crap now. Will Helena and Demetrios take her back into the Empire? Or will she stay for the sake of her children?

EDIT: Also how often will Roman Emperors marry someone of lower social standing? Andreas' betrothed Elisabeth is his cousin twice(?) removed. If this trend continues we might see ITTL Habsburg tropes getting associated with the Imperial Family.

EDIT2: Like this:
 
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His hands weren’t gloved so Andreas could tell that they were very rough, even aside from the many wrinkles, hands that looked like they’d grasped a sword often.
It's probably not Theodoros IV, he wasn't the warrior sort. It makes much more sense that it's Andreas I himself. I have high hopes that little Andreas III grows up to achieve big things and doesn't get killed off unceremoniously like some sort of red herring or decoy protagonist.
 
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It's probably not Theodoros IV, hee wasn't the warrior sort. It makes much more sense that it's Andreas I himself. I have high hopes that little Andreas III grows up to achieve big things and doesn't get killed off unceremoniously like some sort of red herring or decoy protagonist.
I miss Niketas, but the idea that you have the idea of Andreas, the ideal of the perfect Emperor - the Emperor the World Saw as the statue, but that you had the wise advice from the ghost of the real Andreas, both a combination of the Emperor the World Saw, and the kindly man he was, is a real treat.

I certainly this tale (whilst true or not) would be a fantastic bit of propaganda fiction to tie this Andreas to the Good Emperor - see his ghost approves!

I certainly hope this Andreas becomes a Great Emperor, one last burst before a long Imperial slumber. My ideal is that he'd take Carthage and form a marriage in Italy to bring them into the Empire - and push back on Persia. That would be a worthy "Little Niketas". Throw in some reform improve the functioning of the Empire and I'd be a happy man.
 
A great chapter. I am cautiously hopeful for the fate of Vijayanagara and India in general. There are too few stories in the AH world that deal with a more even development of modern technology and institutions. The massive dominance of Europe was not inevitable, and AoM is showing this well. To Basileus444, have you thought about writing some more theme-based chapters, say one that deals with the development of certain economic or political trends worldwide? Might be an easy and efficient way to get a lot of development compressed.
 
Has Iskander and the Ottomans ever tried sending any diplomatic missions to Europe, especially the Holy Roman Empire, to form a general anti-Roman pact, similar to what the Safavids tried to do around this time OTL?

The other observation I am making is that the Ottomans better be careful in that their adventure in India doesn't end up becoming a long term quagmire, and that they better have some sort of endgame in mind. In response to the Ethiopian Roman-supplied pirates, it would stand to reason for the Ottomans to develop a modern navy to counter that.

Also, how have attitudes from Western Europe regarding Islam have changed, in the wake of the Romans remaining a powerful state and are now in many ways the main antagonist in the east, and that the possibility for an alliance with the Ottomans to counter the Romans could be on the table?
 
It's probably not Theodoros IV, he wasn't the warrior sort. It makes much more sense that it's Andreas I himself. I have high hopes that little Andreas III grows up to achieve big things and doesn't get killed off unceremoniously like some sort of red herring or decoy protagonist.
That makes far more sense, ty.
Akoimetoi
Do you mean Akritoi? Google tells me Akoimetoi are some order of monks.

Also it's good to see Indus turning into a real challenge for Iskander and the Ottomans. It'll keep both the Persians and the Vijayanagarans focused on each other instead of on the Romans.
 
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