An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

English, Irish, French, Lotharingian and now Germans. Not no mention that virtually every nation on Europe hates them.

Yep, honestly, even if an Henri II succeeded Henri II the mixture here is too damn unstable to not blow on the Triunes faces.

And when that time comes, Spain will have a little payback for the dead Infante 😈and I guess the Germans and bernese too will have their wrongs done right 😁
 
Laughs madly in Anglo


In all seriousness the effect this is going to have on the German nation is going to be utterly fascinating. IOTL the Rhine is already seen as a bulwark of the nation ITTL I can see it being nearly defied. As it being the duty of the German people and Reich to march across the Rhine once more for vengeance against the Triune menace. Of course this all assumes that nationlism follows a trend similar to IOTL which is highly unlikely and a German nation does emerge. I can see the dissolution of 'Germany' into a few nations.
 
The reunification of Catholic Christendom after many years of schism is a good development for the Latin West, but the damage has already been done. Although, I do like this Callixtus IV, if only because his hobbies are more modest and pragmatic than some Medieval/Renaissance Popes we've seen OTL. As for the Triunes, it's clear that the Germans in general have no love for either the French or English thanks to their violence, brutality, and puritanical iconoclasm, which could be an interesting point of contention in the post-Henri world between the Bohmanists and the Catholics.

Philip Sigismund's failure to capture Magdeburg is a clear sign that his rule as Emperor will be short lived, if only because his position is now even more dependent on Henri to prop up with two strong leaders in Stephan and Elisabeth who are opposing him. I personally think that Manfred von Nimitz should support a Wittelsbach restoration as Elisabeth is a mere regent for her son and it's better to elevate her and her son to the throne instead of a Hungarian foreigner that might dominate HRE politics if he ever took the reigns.

Habsburg Saxony is something that I didn't see through all of this, but Leopold von Habsburg has the makings to be a far more ambitious figure than Henri could ever realize. I sure hope good things will come for the house, perhaps without all of the inbreeding involved to destroy their renowned beauty (I see Ioannes thirsting for Leopold from that description! :openedeyewink:). As for that second mistake, I think Henri shouldn't underestimate Elisabeth, even though she's a woman. You shouldn't underestimate a mother's devotion to her children, and her son is the rightful Emperor to the Holy Roman Empire. In that case, I'm expecting something to come up for her that will turn the tables against Sigismund.
 
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pls don't ban me

Monthly Donor
so Germans now hate:
  • Rhomania Because they had a massacre at Ulm
  • Triune because they occupied rhine
  • Italy because they escaped the HRE
they don't trust :
  • Poland
  • Hungary
  • Arles
So they'll have a possible friend only in the nordic empire?
 
so Germans now hate:
  • Rhomania Because they had a massacre at Ulm
  • Triune because they occupied rhine
  • Italy because they escaped the HRE
they don't trust :
  • Poland
  • Hungary
  • Arles
So they'll have a possible friend only in the nordic empire?

And if DAS GERMANS come out svinging against:
-A Triune state in which the King proudly wears the title of “CEO of racism”
-A Roman Empire that actually fucking exists and did the “nothing personnel kid” to the Bulgarian national identity
-A more cohesive Italy
-saltine-colored Viet Cong in Magdeburg
-the elector princes who embody the meme “it really be ya own homies”
-Austria-Hungary but it can’t persecute the Vlachs as easily as OTL
-Polandball but squishier than OTL
-Don’t forget the Mexicans but this time they eat teppanyaki tacos and souvlaki al pastor

and pound literally everyone else in Europe in a stunning underdog reversal of OTL…

well then, I know which country is gonna produce the lion’s share of the analogue to shōnen manga ITTL, and it’s not the ascendant Japan.
 

pls don't ban me

Monthly Donor
And if DAS GERMANS come out svinging against:
-A Triune state in which the King proudly wears the title of “CEO of racism”
-A Roman Empire that actually fucking exists and did the “nothing personnel kid” to the Bulgarian national identity
-A more cohesive Italy
-saltine-colored Viet Cong in Magdeburg
-the elector princes who embody the meme “it really be ya own homies”
-Austria-Hungary but it can’t persecute the Vlachs as easily as OTL
-Polandball but squishier than OTL
-Don’t forget the Mexicans but this time they eat teppanyaki tacos and souvlaki al pastor

and pound literally everyone else in Europe in a stunning underdog reversal of OTL…

well then, I know which country is gonna produce the lion’s share of the analogue to shōnen manga ITTL, and it’s not the ascendant Japan.
about the Bulgarians... as one myself... they kinda called for it.
Also you forgot Orthodox Japan
 
I can't wait for Leopold to raise Deutsch brand fury and fire on Henri and the phony Emperor. Anyone else hoping he can use the Ravens?

My other thought is what calibre of leader Henri's heir will be.
 
im not really sure if this is already asked before or not, by why didn't the orthodox churches canonized Andreas niketas as a saint, since he literally reclaim Rome, Alexandria and Jerusalem if I'm not wrong, and with how beloved he is in the armed forces, i could definitely see them making him their military saint
 
Is anyone here reading Es Geloybte Aretz (that's probably spelled wrong)?

Germany in that timeline seems like a modern time Byzantium of TTL. Strong state, regulated financial sector, no wild high's and low's of laissez faire liberalism, more equality... Seems like a nice country to live in, I hope TTL Byzantium ends up similar.
 
The Lands of Germany, 1647
The Lands of Germany, 1647:

Germany at the beginning of 1647 was not a happy place. The military movements of the past year, even as circumscribed as they were, had caused the chaos and depredation typical of any movements of armies, exacerbated as the weather turned worse and crop yields fell. The latter not only causes the usual concerns of grain riots and famines, but undermined any economic recovery made since the invasion of Rhomania.

Despite the seeming neutralization of Stephan, Philip Sigismund still had reason to be wary. Hungry people tend to be irritable people after all. The Ravens were still solidly ensconced in Magdeburg, an open sore on his legitimacy, but to root them out would require calling on the Triunes even more for military aid. Aside from the embarrassment of needing help, calling in foreigners, already a sore issue, would be made even worse by said foreigners eating up and ruining already scarce crops.

But that could be managed, provided there were no obvious alternatives. Yet there was one, in the form of Elizabeth von Wittelsbach. With control of just Bavaria and Wurttemberg, her material resources alone did not make her a threat, but as a locus for opposition she easily could be. The power of her name, of Wittelsbach, even after the disaster of her brother, could not be underestimated.

The Wittelsbach family had cultivated the reputation, finding the aura it provided to be most useful. It was a reputation for being both lucky and really hard to kill. The Wittelsbachs, as Holy Roman Emperors, had certainly had their tremendous trials yet had always won through in the end, usually in dramatic style. In fact, it could be argued that Elizabeth’s position in 1647 wasn’t even the worst the Imperial Wittelsbachs had been in, compared with the Great Hungarian War, when at one point Wittelsbach holdings had been reduced to just Schleswig-Holstein.

Based on her future actions, it seems likely that Elizabeth would’ve accepted the new order provided her and her son’s possession of Bavaria and Wurttemberg had been guaranteed. However Philip Sigismund either does not know or does not believe that and is determined to eliminate the House of Wittelsbach as even a potential threat. To that end he starts a propaganda campaign against Elizabeth, arguing that as the most landed prince in the Empire outside of Bohemia, she should contribute to the compensation of the west-bank princes. Elizabeth fails to see why she should sign away her son’s rights to those with no claim in order to pay for Philip Sigismund’s policies. Furthermore she knows this is only the thin end of the wedge and thus won’t give an inch so as to not set any precedent.

Philip Sigismund expected as much. The effort does win him some favors from some of the princes, who wouldn’t mind seeing Wittelsbach holdings cut down to size if they can benefit in the process. There’s always a prosperous abbey or lush vineyards that would make a fine addition to the portfolio. But an attack on Elizabeth is harder to justify than one on Stephan, who is conveniently foreign. So before Philip moves on her, he wants to bolster his Imperial credentials.

The method is obvious, finally dealing with the Ravens. It will showcase him finally dealing with an issue that Ottokar failed to resolve, wipe out the earlier humiliation, and eliminate a problem that it should be noted initiated in Elizabeth’s lands. So in summer 1647 Philip Sigismund personally takes command of a mixed Imperial-Triune to finally deal with the nest.

Friedrich Zimmermann marshals the Ravens to oppose the invasion, but while his tactics have proven extremely successful before, they are now known. Despite the strains on supplies, the Reichsarmee has an increased cavalry contingent to counter the Raven skirmishers. The Raven columns can still beat off even these more powerful cavalry charges, but then they are stalled by field fortifications. These are extremely makeshift; an Ottoman officer would deride the effort as pathetic. However they are just enough to hold the columns in place, and as such they are absolutely perfect targets for the field guns of the Triune contingent. It is a slaughter, especially as after the guns have finished their work in shattering the columns, the Imperials’ cavalry superiority ensures a deadly pursuit that ends only with the fall of night.

Friedrich Zimmermann manages to escape, retreating to Magdeburg with what is left of his army, Philip Sigismund pursuing to put the city under siege. Friedrich’s authority remains unbroken though; with the enemy at the gates there are no other options anyway. This is to be no ordinary siege though. Religious wars are often considered to be most terrible conflicts devised by humanity, but they are not. Mass peasant uprisings, and the savage, practically genocidal, reprisals that are the typical response, are the worst. Neither side can expect quarter or mercy, and they know it, and they ask for none, and they give none. An aide to the Roman ambassador to the Court of Philip Sigismund, a veteran of the sieges of Mosul and Baghdad, is present at Magdeburg, and privately writes that he considers Magdeburg to be the most horrifying and brutal.

It is not just at the city. Flying units of the Imperial army, which are bluntly called ‘punishment columns’, fan out across the territory that has been controlled by the Ravens. Their orders are simple: kill everyone they find. All who dwell in the land are condemned, and condemned to death. The Ravens have been a grave and terrible threat to the established order; nothing less than extermination is acceptable. Those who can, flee, but the princes of neighboring lands are quite happy to follow the same strategy, and so flight is only rarely a source of salvation.

Meanwhile the siege continues, until finally the Triune guns smash through the walls and the breaches are stormed. Unlike some other sieges though, that the fighting still continues in the streets is not a surprise. With grenade and ambrolar, Magdeburg is ‘cleansed’ as the Ravens are exterminated. Unsurprisingly, how the Three Chief Ravens, Friedrich Zimmermann, Johann Eck, and Alexios Asanes, die varies dramatically depending on the source, but all the sources do agree that all three die fighting and are not taken alive. Given the horrors they would have suffered if they had, it is understandable that death in battle would be preferable. As for those prisoners who are taken, all of the human ingenuity for dealing out pain is lavished on many before they are finally granted the mercy of death.

So it is done then. The decade-long experiment of the Raven State, of a roughly egalitarian peasant-and-commoner run state, is over. The forces of order and hierarchy have prevailed and the rights of private property of large landowners upheld.

Not quite. The influence of the Ravens extends beyond their grave. The most immediate effect pertains to the concept of graves, for a great many are needed. It is estimated that between the extermination of the Ravens and the deaths suffered by the Imperial army, at least 100,000 and perhaps as many as 150,000 have died. Many of these are from human violence, but many are from the unsanitary and unhealthy conditions of a city under siege and the army camp of the besiegers.

And that is just the warmup. The forces of order may claim that their victory shows that God is on their side, but those sympathetic to the Ravens could argue that the follow-up shows that while God may not have intervened on behalf of the Ravens, he is angry, very angry. The already unhealthy conditions of the siege camp are made even worse by the mountains of putrefying bodies left by the massacre.

While not definitive, it is frequently attested that here is where the outbreak of the Black Death starts. It is spread by the soldiers and their suppliers through Germany and beyond, the Triune soldiers taking it west of the Rhine while grain merchants bring it east to the lands of Poland and Russia. Mercenary captains, needing to replenish their weakened contingents for the fighting against Elizabeth to come next year, spread it south of the Alps. There it lashes through Italy, where merchants from the peninsula carry it west to Spain and Arles and other merchants carry it east to Rhomania, where it kills sixty thousand in Constantinople alone. On the borders of Rhomania it does finally cease, as the Roman devastation of northern and central Mesopotamia and massacre of so much of the population has unintentionally created a cordon sanitaire.

The Black Death is hardly a new phenomenon, but the outbreak of the late 1640s to early 50s is one of its most lethal episodes, up there with The Black Death of the 1340s and the Justinianic Plague. That is because of the wide reach of the outbreak, spread via intricate trade routes, and that like its infamous predecessors, it is striking populations already weakened by poor nutrition from years of bad crop yields. The number lost can’t be tallied, but it numbers in the tens of millions.

But the Ravens’ Rebellion is more significant than just for facilitating a disease outbreak; given the movement of armies it is likely something similar would’ve happened anyway. But the Ravens are special in the history of peasant uprisings. Most are small and constricted, known only to local historians and at best a footnote in wider histories known only to elite scholars. The big ones, which are well known in the history books, flare hot and fast but are then crushed quickly and savagely. They are meteors flashing in the firmament, brilliant to see but burning up without any obvious trace.

The Ravens however were decidedly not local, starting in northern Bavaria and ending in Magdeburg. And they lasted for a decade, not a few weeks like the Jacquerie. Unlike the accounts of the latter, written by and for elites, which can name all of the nobles slain, but not one of the tens of thousands of peasants slaughtered, for the Ravens we have some of their own words. The printing press and Johann Eck’s skillful use of it ensured that the words of the Ravens would be distributed far and wide.

They also managed to create a society that endured for some time, a rare accomplishment, and it seems to have worked, at least for the time allotted it. Although the destruction of the wealthy elites of Magdeburg meant the cessation of monumental architecture, extravagant art, and large commercial enterprises that get most historians’ attention, the quality of life for the non-elites, also known as the vast bulk of the population, seems to have improved. Having even just a small patch, even if just a garden and spot to raise some chickens and goats, is a massive improvement over being a landless laborer dependent on odd and inconsistent agricultural labor.

As for artisans, nobody might be riding in gilded carriages, but the wealthier peasantry needed and wanted more nails, shoes, little woodcuts, and other small items, the mass demand more than making up for the destruction of a very small elite market. The goldsmiths might not have any customers, but the far more numerous blacksmiths and cobblers and carpenters and the like had more demand for their goods than before. While the Ravens suffered from the Little Ice Age, the comparative lack of the utterly destitute, who had no reserves of land or steady work and who thus always died the most in times of scarcity, meant that the overall population seems to have suffered comparatively less, at least until they were massacred.

There were certainly long-term generational issues in the setup of the Raven State. The small-plot farming system works against agricultural economies of scale and thus the creation of a surplus that could feed large non-farming populations. But then the creation and enlargement of urban centers was not a Raven goal. For them, the sustainment of market and artisanal towns that could facilitate the creation and exchange of the basic goods needed by the overwhelmingly rural society was enough. Also there is the question of how the Ravens would’ve dealt with the insistence on every peasant having their own land and the press of a growing population over generations. They were destroyed before it became an issue, so the question cannot be answered. That said, having difficulties in dealing effectively with generational issues is hardly unique to the Raven State.

In short, the Ravens are important because they are remembered. The three Chief Ravens knew they would likely be killed, never having achieved their goal, but they ensured they were not forgotten. And their ideas and words would spread, and be used by others, from the Army of Suffering just some years later down to the present day.

The Ravens argued against the privilege of birth, that one should be the elite simply because they were born into a certain family, while others were beneath them because they were born into different families. This would become a very popular idea, especially for mercantile families who resented the monopolization of political power by aristocratic elites.

Modern society likes to claim that it has resolved this problem, which is no longer an issue. That assertion is questionable. But the Ravens were not doctors and lawyers and long-distance merchants, who while not political elites in early modern Europe, were economic elites compared to the vast majority of the population. The Ravens were, at heart, peasants, with a sprinkling of the urban poor, the journeymen and apprentices, not the guild masters and civic clerks. And so their rhetoric went much further than mere criticism of the privilege of birth, to areas where modern society often does not wish to go.

It has been observed that many of those middle-class individuals who criticized the privilege of birth were, whether deliberately or not, completely blind to the privilege of capital. [1] The Ravens were not so blinkered. They had been oppressed by both types of privileges, by the landowner and the moneylender, and for those outside the club with no hope of entering, tweaked club membership rules made no difference.

The Ravens sought to curb such privileges, so that they might not be expressed to the detriment of others. The Ravens did not believe in complete economic equality; even a free peasant village, the model for their ideal society, did not have all farmers being equal. But they insisted that everyone should be guaranteed enough land to support themselves, no matter what, and that said land cannot be alienated for any reason or cause. Only once that basic necessity had been met for all could others accumulate more from that surplus. Under those conditions, building such a surplus was acceptable, so long as it was understood that if it were necessary for more basic allotments to be distributed, it would be taken from those who held more than they needed, and firstly from those who had the most to spare. To quote Johann Eck, “no man should eat capons while another man is starving”.

They spoke of the dangers of the market, of the disadvantage of the poor operating there. For the stratum of society from which the Ravens came did not see the great townhouses raised by successful Roman and Lotharingian merchants, paid from sugar and silk and slave profits. For them the market was more often a source of danger than wealth, from manufacturers trying to minimize piece-work wages to loan sharks offering loans for a bad year that, if things went badly, would result in the peasant losing even the small patch he possessed. The logic of the market, the profit to be gained by feeding Constantinople, was what drove the landowners of Vlachia to oppress their peasantry, to squeeze ever more labor and profit out of them. In a market where everything, and everyone, is for sale, no one is truly safe, and especially the poor.

These ideas, these questions and concerns and fears, have endured over the centuries since the last of the Ravens lay dead and rotting in the streets of Magdeburg. They have endured because for all the local concerns and expressions, they speak to fundamental human concerns. How does one organize a just and humane society? How does one secure the wellbeing of all? What is the value of property, and of human rights, and the relationship between the two? By what right, if any, can one claim a better station than another? Those questions are still being asked today. And therefore, the question Johann Eck asked in a field in northern Bavaria near four hundred years ago is still relevant today.

When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentle man?

[1] To borrow an observation and expression from Fernand Braudel in his Civilization & Capitalism trilogy.
 

Cryostorm

Monthly Donor
And so only one thing stands in Henri's and Philip's way of complete victory in Germany but I think that last bit is going to be quite a bit more difficult than anyone is expecting.
 
The Era of Mad Geniuses: The Historic-Romantic Era at its height
The 1630s and 1640s are best well known today for their rather destructive and constructive activities in the military and political spheres. That is largely because those come with a cast of characters still vividly remembered today such as Theodor the Digger and Elizabeth the Unbowed, Archbishop Bone Breaker and Henri the Spider, the Raven King and the Comet.
Elizabeth ain’t going down.
Did we ever get confirmation who the Comet is? Assuming it’s Odysseus?
 
The black death?! Did it affect Western and Central Europe proportionally more?
Given they’re due to surpass the Mediterranean based Empires soon, hopefully it puts a but of a check on this.
In any case can see this further contributing to Triune instability down the line.
 
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