An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Finally, having said all this, this setup could open the door for the various western Europeans to claim Roman identity. “We’re culturally French/German/whatever, but politically Roman.” But the counterargument to that would be “Roman is a political identity, and the continuity of that polity was in Constantinople.”
I wonder how the common people of the west would think about that. They've never identified themselves as Romans so the politicians or rather rulers of the west would only moot that point.

That said, now that you say it, I remember reading one moment in another TTL like this, with one rumite sultan claiming he was Roman, and the response of the Trebizodian Roman emperor was insulting the sultan for such b***********. Would the Romans of this TTL be the same?
 
And sometimes I do wish that I hadn’t been so enamored of having Roman colonies in the east. Because then I would’ve had an Andreas-goes-west instead of conquering the Mamelukes, and when the dust finally settles the Roman Empire is something like Anatolia + Balkans (south of Danube) + Italy (possibly something like Italy after the end of the Italian Wars with Rhomania replacing Spain). Borders would’ve been so pretty, unlike whatever this is.
What's this slander for my beautiful ERE shape? :cryingface:
 
Finally, having said all this, this setup could open the door for the various western Europeans to claim Roman identity. “We’re culturally French/German/whatever, but politically Roman.” But the counterargument to that would be “Roman is a political identity, and the continuity of that polity was in Constantinople.”
The latter Roman argument is the correct one. The former Latin argument is the exact same one that RL fascists used to derive legitimacy from the romanticized, supposedly good old times of the fictitious ancient roots of their peoples, from Mussolini's pathetic "Roman Empire", or Hitler's fetishization of the allegedly united Aryan People that destroyed the foreign invaders at Teutoburg Forest, etc. They have no historical evidence to back any of it up unlike the TTL Rhomans and their political continuity, and any attempt to argue otherwise is just laughable.
 
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Finally, having said all this, this setup could open the door for the various western Europeans to claim Roman identity. “We’re culturally French/German/whatever, but politically Roman.” But the counterargument to that would be “Roman is a political identity, and the continuity of that polity was in Constantinople.”
I have my doubts on this, as @E_x_c_u_b_i_t_o_r_e did mention that the common peoples in the Latin West would not be on board with identifying as a Roman given their recent conflicts and diverging cultural identities with the Orthodox world, which does have the best claim towards being Roman. Plus, the HRE is a shining example of why trying to chase Romanity is a bad thing ITTL. I think the Latins would recognize the shared Roman roots along with the peoples of Rhomania but would reject that they would ever be considered a Roman as a nationality/ethnic group.

Since we're bringing up other TLs, I enjoy when multiple strong empires desire to claim the Roman identity and have a fighting chance to do so, which is why I love the scenario in Moonlight in a Jar where the Germans, Provencals, and the Muslim Greeks (or even the Russians) all want Romanity for themselves for political/cultural reasons. Here....it's obvious which state would have sole rights to such identity and they will fight anyone who would dispute that.
 
I have my doubts on this, as @E_x_c_u_b_i_t_o_r_e did mention that the common peoples in the Latin West would not be on board with identifying as a Roman given their recent conflicts and diverging cultural identities with the Orthodox world, which does have the best claim towards being Roman. Plus, the HRE is a shining example of why trying to chase Romanity is a bad thing ITTL. I think the Latins would recognize the shared Roman roots along with the peoples of Rhomania but would reject that they would ever be considered a Roman as a nationality/ethnic group.

Since we're bringing up other TLs, I enjoy when multiple strong empires desire to claim the Roman identity and have a fighting chance to do so, which is why I love the scenario in Moonlight in a Jar where the Germans, Provencals, and the Muslim Greeks (or even the Russians) all want Romanity for themselves for political/cultural reasons. Here....it's obvious which state would have sole rights to such identity and they will fight anyone who would dispute that.
Gotta say the west in this TTL are almost similar to the our OTL. In a sense that they have a knack of making sure they have the sole rights of saying who is who, and what is what. Denying the continuation of the Roman empire even when its eastern half survived and thrived. Further denying the Roman identity of the people, who for all intents and purpose are legitimate Romans as per the edict of Caracalla.

Well atleast on the future it is they who will be laughed at by other nations.
 
Finally, having said all this, this setup could open the door for the various western Europeans to claim Roman identity. “We’re culturally French/German/whatever, but politically Roman.” But the counterargument to that would be “Roman is a political identity, and the continuity of that polity was in Constantinople.”
Well theoretically the Holy Roman Empire has been doing that for nearly a thousand years now. Culturally German, Czech, Sorbian, Silesian, Dutch, Burgundian, Swiss, Italian, and some Danes but all still "Roman." Even though the political identity of the Holy Roman Empire was never very powerful it's still there, and and if you go back far enough you can throw in all the Carolingian territory too to say Franks, Visigoths, Catalans, Bretons, Basques, and plenty more across France and Spain were once politically Roman in the vein of the HRE and could be again. Theoretically. On the ground reality seems that western europe is, with time, developing the chauvinistic attitude of cultural superiority that would eventually transition to nationalism and the nation-state. It'd be tricky to fight that, but that didn't stop folks from trying IOTL and that doesn't mean it's impossible, especially with Rhomania providing one hell of an example for a method of doing things.

If it’d been much more exclusive, like Greek was in the various Hellenistic kingdoms, it’s extremely doubtful the Romans would’ve had nearly as much or as long-lasting success.
What you describe here is the story of a shocking number of historical empires. Achaemenid Persia was famous for its extraordinarily fluid identity system and leniency towards local culture which saw its rapid success in the first place. Successor states tended to be more insular and tried to enforce their ways on others, and the results show that no Persian state ever reached the territorial extent or cultural hegemony that the Achaemenid Empire did. You see something similar with the Islamic Caliphates. The Rashidun didn't care what you followed so long as you paid Jizyah, and when the Umayyads came to power and began to force assimilation their state collapsed, barely lasting a century, to be replaced by the Abassids with the opposite approach of respecting local customs. The Abbasids persisted for far longer, granted they did so as a puppet for much of that time but still it was a markedly more successful continuation of political authority than what the Umayyads had. The various pan-Indian states tell similar stories, from the Mauryas to the Mughals to even the British. Local autonomy and a willingness to permit entry to the ruling classes helped all these states and their authority to persist for significant periods of time long after simple military enforcement would have drained the state's resources enough to cause it to collapse.
 
I wonder how the common people of the west would think about that. They've never identified themselves as Romans so the politicians or rather rulers of the west would only moot that point.

That said, now that you say it, I remember reading one moment in another TTL like this, with one rumite sultan claiming he was Roman, and the response of the Trebizodian Roman emperor was insulting the sultan for such b***********. Would the Romans of this TTL be the same?

For the common people it’s a complete and utter non-issue. The Roman-ness is all in the intelligentsia and upper classes, because of the association between Rome and power and civilization.

They’d view such a claim as utterly ridiculous. It’s a political identity, meaning it is associated with a single polity, the Roman Empire. If you’re part of another polity, it just doesn’t work. It’d be like Boris Johnson claiming to be an American.

What's this slander for my beautiful ERE shape? :cryingface:

I hate that long thick dangling Syria.

The latter Roman argument is the correct one. The former Latin argument is the exact same one that RL fascists used to derive legitimacy from the romanticized, supposedly good old times of the fictitious ancient roots of their peoples, from Mussolini's pathetic "Roman Empire", or Hitler's fetishization of the allegedly united Aryan People that destroyed the foreign invaders at Teutoburg Forest, etc. They have no historical evidence to back any of it up unlike the TTL Rhomans and their political continuity, and any attempt to argue otherwise is just laughable.

Yeah, it’s one thing to claim inspiration from past actors/actions, but to claim continuity, one has to have, well, continuity.

I have my doubts on this, as @E_x_c_u_b_i_t_o_r_e did mention that the common peoples in the Latin West would not be on board with identifying as a Roman given their recent conflicts and diverging cultural identities with the Orthodox world, which does have the best claim towards being Roman. Plus, the HRE is a shining example of why trying to chase Romanity is a bad thing ITTL. I think the Latins would recognize the shared Roman roots along with the peoples of Rhomania but would reject that they would ever be considered a Roman as a nationality/ethnic group.

Since we're bringing up other TLs, I enjoy when multiple strong empires desire to claim the Roman identity and have a fighting chance to do so, which is why I love the scenario in Moonlight in a Jar where the Germans, Provencals, and the Muslim Greeks (or even the Russians) all want Romanity for themselves for political/cultural reasons. Here....it's obvious which state would have sole rights to such identity and they will fight anyone who would dispute that.

Gotta say the west in this TTL are almost similar to the our OTL. In a sense that they have a knack of making sure they have the sole rights of saying who is who, and what is what. Denying the continuation of the Roman empire even when its eastern half survived and thrived. Further denying the Roman identity of the people, who for all intents and purpose are legitimate Romans as per the edict of Caracalla.

Well atleast on the future it is they who will be laughed at by other nations.

The thing is that the Latin West has been indelibly shaped by classical Rome. It has grown up in its shadow and absolutely been heavily inspired by it. While “Byzantium” is really Rome itself, continued on in new form, the states of the west can make a strong argument for being children of (classical) Rome. Rome is also associated with power and civilization; just look at how the word Caesar has been used in the last two thousand years.

So giving up claims to Rome really isn’t an option. But then so is denying “Byzantium’s” Roman-ness, because to acknowledge being children of Rome (true) while having Rome still be around implies a superiority on Rome’s part, and that’s unacceptable. That’s why the go-to was to label them ‘Greeks’, because that doesn’t put the west in the shade. Ancient Greece may be an important inspiration for the future of European history, but it doesn’t have the association with power and authority Rome does. And when power and authority get involved, things get more heated.

This is something that won’t go away, and is modeled from OTL. You’d think nowadays, when the political model of the Roman Empire is less pertinent, and Byzantium hasn’t been a thing for 550+ years, there’d be less pushback against recognizing Byzantium’s Roman-ness. But I have seen repeated vociferous denials on this forum of that. Funnily enough, this is usually done by turning Roman into an ethnic/cultural label, which is never was (just look at how Romulus founded the city in their own mythology, by bringing together the riff-raff of surrounding societies and the Sabine-note a different group-women), so that Byzantium’s Greek-ness supposedly invalidates it from being Roman at the same time.

Well theoretically the Holy Roman Empire has been doing that for nearly a thousand years now. Culturally German, Czech, Sorbian, Silesian, Dutch, Burgundian, Swiss, Italian, and some Danes but all still "Roman." Even though the political identity of the Holy Roman Empire was never very powerful it's still there, and and if you go back far enough you can throw in all the Carolingian territory too to say Franks, Visigoths, Catalans, Bretons, Basques, and plenty more across France and Spain were once politically Roman in the vein of the HRE and could be again. Theoretically. On the ground reality seems that western europe is, with time, developing the chauvinistic attitude of cultural superiority that would eventually transition to nationalism and the nation-state. It'd be tricky to fight that, but that didn't stop folks from trying IOTL and that doesn't mean it's impossible, especially with Rhomania providing one hell of an example for a method of doing things.

Yeah, the HRE is a bit of a special case, but there it is much shallower. It may be the Holy Roman Empire, but the average Swabian or Franconian wouldn’t identify as Roman, while the average Thrakesian or Macedonian would.
 
In the Family
In the Family

The task facing Alexandros of Baghdad as he enters the city where he was born is a most formidable one. He is a Roman Orthodox ruling over Muslim subjects who have been devastated and wrecked by Roman soldiers and so naturally he cannot expect to be a popular choice. One advantage is that given the devastation and depopulation, any rebellious tendencies on the part of the Mesopotamians has been burned out of them. They are focused on rebuilding their shattered lives and societies. They want peace.

A bigger advantage Alexandros has is his mother. Maria of Agra immediately goes on a charm offensive, meeting with and wining and dining the great and the good of Mesopotamian society. It is a spectacular success, with Maria winning the notables’ support for the new regime. Given the weakness of the new government and the need to win loyalties, the notables are left with substantial power and authority in their local spheres, but they are willing to cooperate with the center rather than work against it.

Another advantage Alexandros has is his new wife, Tara, the granddaughter of Suleiman Pasha. Fifteen years old to Alexandros’s twenty-one, the couple have never seen each other prior to their wedding. However as arranged marriages go, this is one of the better ones. Love comes after the wedding but it does come, the pair becoming close confidantes and allies of each other.

Meanwhile Alexandros’s younger brother Nikephoros is kept busy as the commander of the small new Mesopotamian army. It is quite an important position for someone so young, but naturally Alexandros wants somebody there he can trust. The Mesopotamian force is small but highly diverse, with Roman, Persian, and Spanish mercenaries numbered in the ranks. The Topkapi Palace, which is renovated to be the new royal palace, is guarded by an Ethiopian squadron.

In the White Palace, the status of Mesopotamia is not very high up the list of priorities. Athena, acting as Regent for her nephew, is well known historically for her skills in scholarship and administration. However she would not count as the ideal mother by modern standards. Governing the Empire of the Romans is no small matter, especially when it involves chauvinist male officials who seem to think that their anatomical equipment takes precedence over a substantial inferiority in hierarchical rank.

Speaking of men, Athena’s husband Alexandros Drakos had been heavily involved in Odysseus’s training and drilling of the army before the Expedition, and participated in the Expedition without injury. However in Bengal he caught a fever. At first he seemed to recover, but after returning to Constantinople he passes away in late 1646. It is noted that Athena, while observing the proper mourning, does not seem to be particularly grief-stricken, but the marriage was arranged for political advantage.

When she wishes to relax, Athena’s idea of fun does not involve little people. As a result she is distant from the next generation of Sideroi; raising children is what tutors and governesses are for. This applies even to her own children, much less those of her brother. She is not completely absent from their lives, but is not a close warm presence.

The next generation of Sideroi are as follows (age they turn in 1645 in parenthesis): Sophia (13), Ioannes (8) and Jahzara (5) by Athena and Alexandros Drakos; Herakleios (13) and Demetrios (6) by Odysseus and Maria of Agra.

Sophia, who is betrothed to her first cousin as arranged by her grandfather Demetrios III when he was still alive, is the one who most closely resembles her mother. Showing exceptional intelligence and devotion to study, she is the closest relationship-wise to the Regent, Athena recognizing and encouraging a kindred spirit. Athena is one of those people who have difficulty abiding small and inane talk with little intellectual weight, and no interest in dealing with people unable or unwilling to discuss deeper topics. This is one of the reasons interacting with children is not something she enjoys. However Sophia is able, despite her youth, to intelligently engage those deeper topics, so Athena enjoys spending time with her eldest daughter the most.

Ioannes is, frankly, not significant historically and one of those individuals who is mentioned because of their ancestors and descendants rather than because of anything they did.

Jahzara, the youngest of the brood, gets a special treatment and education. In preparation for her journey west to meet her bridegroom on the other side of the Atlantic, a collection of Mexican tutors oversee much of her education. While she also gets the schooling typical of an upper-class Roman woman, she will be well versed in Mexican culture and society long before she actually arrives in the land of Mexico.

The Mexican tutors, who draw interest from the crowds of Constantinople (not an easy trick considering the jadedness of the audience), are also responsible for diffusing some aspects of Mexican culture into Roman society for their first time. Some, like the consumption of maize and tomatoes, are not initiated by them but they help encourage, at least in a small way, the expansion of these foods.

Another impact is slightly more convoluted. The Mexicans bring some Chihuahuas with a few eventually purchased by curious Roman couples. One day in 1647 Athena is out walking near the Sweet Waters of Europe, a popular resort area for wealthy inhabitants of the City, attended by a small entourage. She likes walking there as the weather and scenery is typically quite pleasant and it is an easy way to relax. It is also a way to see and be seen by the dynatoi of the City in a more casual atmosphere than at court and is actually quite useful for popularity. Sometimes she has attendants play music or read a book out loud as she gets some exercise. At other times, she is accompanied by a member of the Roman intelligentsia and they discuss topics of scholarship. She greatly enjoys these moments, especially on days of fine weather.

That day, a couple is out with their Chihuahua at the same time. The dog, displaying the typical gratuitous aggression of the breed, decides to attack Athena. The entourage is completely surprised, given the completely unprovoked nature of the attack especially when combined, when one considers the size disparity, the suicidal nature. Even though the animal is too dumb to recognize the concept of ‘member of Imperial family’, one would think it would have the intellect to realize attacking another animal that outweighs it 30-to-one is just dumb.

The dog rips some fabric on Athena’s clothing but doesn’t break any skin before she kicks the creature. That’s not the end though as an enraged Athena takes the halberd from one of her guards and kills it. She does not appreciate unprovoked attacks on her person.

The couple don’t come out of this well. Their dog attacked the Regent, an act for which they are liable. And to physically attack the Regent is, simply put, treason. That the attack was utterly incompetent has no bearing, as the law does not recognize that, only the effort. The couple argue in their defense that it was accidental. This is an important point. Going back as far as Biblical law, there are far greater penalties for an owner whose ox has a known habit of goring and fails to control it as opposed to an owner whose ox suddenly gores someone out of the blue.

However in interviews with the neighbors, it is shown that the dog has a history of unprovoked aggression, with the couple clearly failing to restrain it and blaming the victims of the attack. Given this, they are completely liable. They are thus liable for the full penalty of the law for treason. In a show of mercy, Athena forgoes the death sentences but the couple still lose half their property which is confiscated by the government.

Just two days later another Chihuahua makes the news. In the same area as Athena’s attack, another launches a completely unprovoked attack on a horse striding by, startling the animal which pitches its drowsy rider. The nine-year-old boy smashes his head on the cobblestones and dies a day later, never regaining consciousness. The owners are convicted of manslaughter.

The stories spread rapidly throughout the Empire and imprint themselves strongly in Roman cultural memory. As a result Chihuahuas are extremely rare as pets in Roman society. The image of a creature that will launch completely unprovoked assaults, even when simple self-preservation would argue against it, strikes a raw nerve. A Roman stereotype today is that by owning a Chihuahua, one is demonstrating one’s hatred of the human race.

It is just Chihuahuas that get this exceptional treatment, not even other small lapdogs that can be just as annoying and aggressive. But then, they had the brains to not attack a member of the Imperial family when she was out minding her own business and thereby make their breed infamous to the Roman people.

A small creature of more historical significance is Herakleios Sideros, firstborn son of Odysseus Sideros and Maria of Agra. In many ways he seems the typical boy, interested in outdoors activities, sports and hunting, and not his studies. Intellectually he is not dumb, but he is not brilliant either, although his tutors say that if he focused he could at least be somewhat better at it. His utter lack of any intellectual interest though means said focus is unlikely, while also alienating him from Athena who can’t appreciate or respect such a mindset. There is some evidence to suggest he is dyslexic, which certainly doesn’t help in his studies. (One of the uglier aspects of Roman society to this day is a general lack of sympathy for those with learning disabilities.)

Like his father, he is short but despite his outdoor activities he has a slight, delicate look to him, one that strikes many around him as rather feminine. When Herakleios was 11, the new Scandinavian ambassador mistook him for a ‘beautiful young girl’.

It is possible that his feminine appearance and the comments it inspires drives Herakleios in a fixation on his outdoor and stereotypical masculine activities, but if so it fails. Furthermore it also makes him a boor by the standards of Roman society, which uses the phrase ‘two-book man’ as an insult indicating someone of limited culture and intellect. “A man who can speak only of horses and kick-balls is not a man, but a brute” are the words of the Bishop of Klaudiopolis around this time, and Roman society agrees. The mentality is still going strong today.

Aside from the Scandinavian ambassador, another person who finds him beautiful is Anastasia Laskarina, a wealthy widow and landowner who first sighted the Kaisar when he was 13, describing him as “the most beautiful boy she had ever seen”. She was twenty seven at the time. Two years later, Herakleios is in her bed. His choice of mistresses is surprising, although a few do point out that if the age differences were reversed, no one would bat an eye. A warden at the Sweet Waters of Asia sees the couple one time sitting on a park bench, Herakleios on Anastasia’s lap as she feeds him grapes, “looking for all the world like mother and child”, a phrase that has certainly caused much heated speculation in the historical literature throughout the centuries.

Many historians have argued that Herakleios was starved for affection. His birth parents as well as his aunt had been distant or absent figures, while his milk mother, the wet nurse that suckled him, died when he was six. There is no evidence that any other persons in his upbringing were particularly close to him. Anastasia may have helped fill this emotional void, to whom he would latch most tightly.

The relationship is a scandal, more so that would be the usual royal affair. Athena’s intervention does not go well. When she suggests sending Anastasia away, a distraught and angry Herakleios grips the pommel of his sword; for anyone else to do so in the same room as the Regent, save for guards performing their duties, is an act of treason punishable by death. Anastasia will not be sent away.

Anastasia does encourage Herakleios to at least pay a little more attention to his studies, helping him learn to read. A beautiful bore is still a bore after all, and nobody wants that.

The feelings of lack of affection would almost certainly have been exacerbated by Herakleios’s younger brother, Demetrios, seven years his junior. In 1645 he was just six but the namesake of Demetrios III was already proving to be quite the character. As he grew, he would display a similar zeal to outdoor activities like his brother, but unlike Herakleios also a formidable intellect and interest in scholarly studies, particularly astronomy and history. This certainly made him far more amenable to Athena, who found she could engage with him in intelligent conversation as opposed to his boorish older brother.

Demetrios also possesses an impressive charm and charisma, even from a young age. It is said his tutors have difficulty disciplining him because of his ability to charm them out of such inclinations. But at age nine, when his ability to wheedle sweets out of the palace kitchens starts giving him more of a paunch than he would like, he forces himself onto a diet and exercise plan to get rid of it, and while still indulging in sweets afterwards makes sure to moderate his intake.

Unlike Herakleios, who it is said was never sighted with an open book in hand, Demetrios is a voracious reader and curious about the outside world. Some of his favorite reads are the various Expedition Journals that are appearing on Roman presses all over the Empire in the late 1640s. These are accounts of the Expedition written by members, their literary quality varying depending on the skill of the authors, but the genre is extremely popular. Tales of adventure in a far-off exotic land are always exciting and Demetrios loves to read accounts of the exploits of his father who he never knew.

(As an aside, the Expedition Journals also come out at the same time as the Island Asia Compendium. Despite his death, Demetrios III’s plan for a major scientific, historical, and anthropological survey of the east had gone ahead, with the expedition setting sail in 1641. The expedition members had spent three years conducting their research, returning in 1645. The massive compendium came out in 1648, a giant learned tome. It was also extremely dry and academic and utterly buried by the far more interesting Expedition Journals. One historian of Roman science remarked that ‘the only person that would’ve been interested in reading the Compendium was Demetrios III, and he was dead’. As a result, the Compendium, a substantial scientific achievement, would lie unread and dusty on the bookshelves.)

Demetrios also spends a lot of time with the Mexican tutors of his cousin Jahzara. He is interested in their tales of the exotic land of Mexico, but his chief focus is on David I who’d conquered the Aztecs. The tale of a youngest son of a legendary Emperor, who found no place for himself in the constrictions of the old Empire, but who then went to claim a kingdom for himself in a faraway corner of the world, is an appealing one.
 
Magnificent update. It's so great to get some insight into palace life and to spend some time with these characters as people, rather than just historical figures. I can't wait to see little Demetrios raise himself an exploratory company and go find a kingdom, I just wonder if he'll piss off anyone important in the process. Honestly I'm getting hints of Daemon Targaryen, from the Dance of Dragons period in the song of ice and fire universe.

Whatever chihuahuas have done to you in the past, I'm sorry.
 

Cryostorm

Monthly Donor
Why do I get the feeling that Sophia and Herakleios will have a relationship similar to Catherine's and Peter's, maybe Rhomania is about to get a couple defacto female rulers in a row? Also really interested in seeing how Jahzara and Demetrios go forward in life.
 
Well now, a flawed eldest and a brilliant second. I wonder what will happen with little Demetrios, if Heraklios is well advised, Demetrios could either be a brilliant right-hand (alongside Sophia and Athena) or a rival that should be well removed.

Or not even removed as a rival, but as a man trusted, Demetrios by all rights could be exactly the sort of person (given his interest in Island Asia) to be its Exarch. Given RITE will almost certainly need a strong hand to ensure it survives, and someone to ensure it can balance its own interests and diplomacy with their neighbours, he could be a great candidate, and in the worst case scenario, an Emperor-in-Waiting that is safe and far away from the courts of Europe.
 
I wonder if the Rhomanian government is considering a Suez Canal. Also when will we get an updated map?
They have a canal, it follows the route of the old pharaoh's canal. I don't believe a canal like the Suez would be possible with current technology, but we have ample experts that will tell you exactly how many man hours it would take given the current technology.

An updated map was posted by one of the readers recently.
 
They have a canal, it follows the route of the old pharaoh's canal. I don't believe a canal like the Suez would be possible with current technology, but we have ample experts that will tell you exactly how many man hours it would take given the current technology.

An updated map was posted by one of the readers recently.
Huh I didn't notice the map. Thanks for the heads-up.
 
Well now, a flawed eldest and a brilliant second. I wonder what will happen with little Demetrios, if Heraklios is well advised, Demetrios could either be a brilliant right-hand (alongside Sophia and Athena) or a rival that should be well removed.

Or not even removed as a rival, but as a man trusted, Demetrios by all rights could be exactly the sort of person (given his interest in Island Asia) to be its Exarch. Given RITE will almost certainly need a strong hand to ensure it survives, and someone to ensure it can balance its own interests and diplomacy with their neighbours, he could be a great candidate, and in the worst case scenario, an Emperor-in-Waiting that is safe and far away from the courts of Europe.
We never can know what's going to happen in the future, but I took the interest in David I conquest of Mexico and the expedition logs by Demetrios to mean that he was interested in traveling abroad for adventure, not court intrigue. Exarch could suit him, but I could just as easily see him reading about and seeking out the mythical land of the Wu to establish his own realm.

It would be interesting actually to see another Rhoman friendly but independent kingdom kingdom spring up. Especially with the ties to Mexico being renewed through marriage soon, this could make for very interesting global politics. We know that Rhomania isn't destined to be a super power in the long term, but it could very well be a leading member in a bloc of states that includes Italy, Egypt, Russia, Vlachia, Georgia, Mexico, Japan, and RITE.
 
I read this update right after taking my dog on a walk. She growled at every dog on the path, including ones literally 5-10 times her size. I wish I had the blind confidence in my abilities in a fight that dogs do, maybe I could have been a boxer in a different lifetime.

Excellent update.
 
So, in the future, the elites of the West may claim "descent" or rather inspiration from the classical Rome, while at the same time the byzantines have their continuity kinda acnkowledged or rather, ignored in the "yeah, ok, whatever" sense. That is a good compromise indeed for the psyche of both sides. And of course it also can be used for a future cultural divide between the more christian ERE and the more classical influenced West.
 
This was a very cozy update, we haven't had a good White Palace breather in a while. The Mexican delegation introducing new crops reminds me, and apologies if this has already been addressed, but is cacao grown anywhere in the Old World yet? I remember it and chocolate more generally being mentioned in previous updates, but I think only in the context of imports from Mesoamerica. I know the climactic conditions are pretty specific, so I wouldn't expect it widely cultivated outside of places like West Africa, but I could imagine it being planted in Rhomania-in-the-East as it's grown in Indonesia today.

Speaking of that delegation, I also rather appreciated the odd little story around chihuahuas; a close friend of mine has one, and as much as I respect and appreciate him there have been a few times where I would have felt no remorse taking a polearm to the little gremlin. Too bad for the Mexicans ITTL they didn't bring a few xolo dogs with them instead.
 
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