An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Orthodoxy is rising in the world, recognizing the Gregorian Calendar, Newtonian physics, and syncretism so early.
That fanaticism at the end is a tad worrying though.

@Basileus444: Speaking of ecumenical councils and Catholics, what's the status of the Donation of Constantine ITTL? That forged document was one of the main basis of the Papacy's claims of supremacy over the other Patriarchates, and revealing its forged nature would be a huge victory for Orthodoxy.
Interesting. The coffin of the ambition of Hungary has been nailed shut for a certainty. Anti-Latin sentiment is at an all time high (but what else is new) which bodes poorly as it is based on a mix of resentment (for past aggression), fear (of future aggression), and contempt. Any future Roman diplomacy with the west is going to be tainted by these feelings making it more likely for relations to sour, which in turn invites more conflict further feeding the cycle. At some point it's going to have to end, but I've got a feeling that it'll take an ocean of blood to do it.

Was the HRE population of 21.5 million before or after the annexation of Austria?
Great update!

However, I do not buy the last part concerning the suicide. The suicide is different of martyring (I mean fundamentally different) and not Christian dogma will allow it. Much even less an Ecumenical Orthodox council...
Any reforms of the faith should respond to an existing issue and should go in way with the existing traditions and believes. If not, there is no reform anymore but it became a new religion.

Sorry, but this time you had crossed the line and go too far into an un-plausible way....
I must say things are looking REALLY good for Germany right now, the Brother's War barely dented them (heck they somehow managed to beat back the UK and take back Austria fairly easily in the aftermath). By comparison the Time and Troubles absolutely gutted the Romans (And the Ottomans and Lombardy are stronger than ever), and the coming succession war looks to take the Romans down a peg again. Combined with the fact that there is no longer a Russian menace to the east, a Scandinavia that is too scared to intervene in a civil war to the North, and no OTL 30 Years War to devastate them demographically ITTL Mega Germany seems poised to dominate Europe if they continue on this current trajectory.
I'm intrigued by the endangering of the soul (the rest was great, but this seems to be the most hot-button topic)

I can see this going in a few ways

1) Mass Suicide - least likely IMO
2) Orthodox Militia - essentially that if an Orthodox people get conquered, the people will refuse to submit, forming rebellious militia - after all, if they don't submit to Latin rule, their souls are fine. Right? :D
3) Gandhi-level actors. Orthodox citizenry flat out refusing to submit - even if their rulers are defeated. Ultimatum of either kill us all (whilst resisting non-violently), leave and let us be ruled by an Orthodox Ruler (interesting strategy for creating Orthodox border states), or let us leave.
4) Orthodox Guarantee of all Orthodox Citizens

1) is horrifying.
2) is probably the most likely, if dangerous (creates an interesting situation where Orthodox citizens might set up weapon caches if they live on the border) - and could lead to Roman espionage activities. Aiding Orthodox militia could be a possibility to turn back any Latin invasion of another country.
3) I'm not so sure this would work - Would German peasantry care if the HRE killed 100,000 Orthodox Serbians?
4) This basically turns Orthodoxy into a massive defensive alliance. Russia is invaded - cue Roman assistance, etc. That would be the fast track to wars on a scale the Romans haven't seen before.


Great update. Loved the proceedings of this Council.

About Jupiter's moon: are their names so automatic? (looking them up I've learned their names were given by Simon Marius, which If I got it right, lost a dispute with Galileus about who discovered them first. He noted "Io, Europa, the boy Ganymede, and Callisto greatly pleased lustful Jupiter" after Zeus' "companions", but in mythology there are several more: Semele (mother of Dyonisus), Antiope, Danae(mother of Perseus), Electra, Leda (mother of Helen of Troy, Castor and Pollux), Leto (mother of Apollo and Artemis), Taygete (mother of Sparta's founder), Themis, Mnemosyne (mother of the nine muses), Demeter (mother of Persephone), Alcmene (mother of Heracles). There are probably more (no list agrees with another and some names couldn't find a made out with Zeus note).

I've only put the children I've recognized, I'm not complaining about the moons, given that I've managed to learn a thing or two.

Is Hungary still an "empire" (even if by name only)?
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It was originally planned to elevate Andreas as well but then there would be no good reason not to christen Elizabeth as Empress besides deliberately insulting Friedrich so he and she will have to be content as Kaisar and Kaisarina. (Andreas’ lack of promotion though should come to the relief of history students; if it had proceeded as planned there would be two Emperors-Demetrios II and Andreas III-and three Empresses-Helena I, Helena II, and Elizabeth-two reigning in their own right and one as a consort, all at the same time.)
Hmmmm I wonder how little Andreas is feeling, given the previous Andreas 'III' was never crowned. Hoping that having that name isn't cursed.
The last part is also worrying because it now makes it practically impossible for the Romans to form any sort of pragmatic alliance with Western Europe and vastly increases the likelihood of war. And while it also creates greater solidarity between Orthodox states, it also makes it way easier for Catholic states to form coalitions against them if they have such an extremist view toward Catholics.

It also encourages a much greater level of religious persecution for those Catholics that do live in the Empire.
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Has anyone developed Newtonian mechanics? Without that, adopting a heliocentric system seems unlikely. A Tychonic system with elliptical orbits matches the observed data better, and there is no theoretical basis to prefer heliocentrism.
I wonder if there is not an honerable Catholic nation though that gets at the very least a nod in its interaction with Rhomania and the orthodox church. Where they are in the cities and people say "oh, he's Scottish" when they find out he is catholic. My mind leads me to the Empire of all the North, with it being one of the main areas of Varangian Recuitment, and having mostly contact with only Russia. At the very least a Norwegian or Swedish catholic Might get a pass, but then again, them and Russia had a set to where Russia took a blooding, so I don't know.
It is a fact, he argues, that when a Muslim or other heathen ruler, conquers an Orthodox people, he takes command of their possessions and bodies but leaves their souls alone. But that is not enough for the Latins; they insist on taking the souls of the Orthodox as well. How far must a believer go to avoid such a fate?

The discussion is long and convoluted and the result not solely of Konstantinos’ making, but the implications are staggering. Suicide is a sin, but the ancient martyrs committed suicide in a fashion rather than forsake their souls. This was not a sin, but a noble sacrifice, in fact the noblest sacrifice of all. The martyrs gave up their lives to save their souls. To fall under Catholic rule is to endanger their souls. Therefore the Tenth Ecumenical Council decrees that if faced with Catholic rule and unable to escape, to kill oneself to avoid the risk of forfeiting one’s soul, is not a sin but indeed a meritorious act (the decree explicitly makes clear that it is not obligatory), for it shows the believer was willing to put their state of their soul above that of their body.

It is still official Orthodox Church doctrine to this day.

That's decidedly heretical. Not going to happen and particularly not going to happen as a result of an ecumenical council.
Has anyone developed Newtonian mechanics? Without that, adopting a heliocentric system seems unlikely. A Tychonic system with elliptical orbits matches the observed data better, and there is no theoretical basis to prefer heliocentrism.
Looks like it:
But in the last decade Krikor Zakari, an Armenian astronomer working out of Trebizond (and a descendant of one of Andreas Niketas’ Megas Domestikoi), has made some startling revisions to the Menshikovian system. In a pamphlet published in 1612 titled The Movement of the Celestial Spheres he lays out for the first time the Three Laws of Planetary Motion, known starting in the 1690s as Zakari’s Laws.
End of post edited. Replacement posted here as well for convenience.

It is well known how far the Latins will go in their quest to steal Orthodox souls. William Adam, a prominent crusade theoretician and contemporary of Raymond Lull, had suggested that a child be taken from each Greek family to be brought up as a Catholic (Author’s note: This is OTL. See Deno John Geanokoplos, “Byzantium and the Crusades, 1261-1354,” in The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, vol. 3, A History of the Crusades, ed. Kenneth M. Setton and Harry W. Hazard. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1975), 52). Andrew VII had instituted said practice with the Serbian nobility, the act that had sparked Stephan Tomasevic’s rebellion.

“They would steal our children.” Few arguments can ensure such fanatical rage. Some kind of response must be made. In the words of Demetrios Sideros, “The Latins must be made aware of how much we hate them. Perhaps if they realize the depths of our disdain they will cease trying to conquer us.” Bishop Mauromanikos proposes that committing suicide to avoid Latin conquest if escape is infeasible is actually not a sin but an act of ultimate devotion, sacrificing the body to preserve the soul, a deed similar to the martyrs of the early Church.

This argument causes quite a bit of furor in the chamber. It is eventually rejected as being too extreme but neither is it condemned. The proposal earned quite a bit of support from the Japanese, Sicilian, Serbian, and Vlach bishops, plus many from the Macedonian, Epirote, and Thessalian regions (Mauromanikos is himself an exception to the rule as his see is in western Anatolia but he’s Thessalian by origin). As a compromise it is eventually stated that the faithful should be made fully aware of the danger to their souls imposed by Catholic dominion and that ‘all measures should be taken to avoid such a fate’. What that exactly means is left unmentioned.
Of course the Japanese bishop would :biggrin:. It' a big show of recognition for the Japanese Orthodox Church to have been invited to the Ecumenical Council. Is their representative ethnically Japanese?


Found this in the update about the Flowering:

"The growth of the Japanese church presented another jurisdictional problem. The earliest bishops had been subordinate to the Metropolitan of New Constantinople, but in 1582 the first Metropolitan of Aira (the site of the first known Japanese converts to Orthodoxy, even before the Shimazu conversion), with authority over all bishops in Japan, including Ryukyu, was instated. The first two were Greek but afterwards were all Japanese"
HanEmpire: I’d completely forgotten about the Donation, although given all the mucking around the Romans, Lombards, and Germans have done with Central Italy it’s apparent nobody is taking it seriously.

Lukeanus: Yeah, the current anti-Latin backlash is a counter-reaction to the diplomatic overtures Helena and Kristina made early in the former’s reign. In hindsight they shouldn’t have gone to such lengths but there was a need to mend fences after the Time of Troubles. Things will calm down eventually but the Romans have a persecution complex vis-à-vis the West so pretty much anything the Latins do right now, no matter how innocuous or unintentional, looks very sinister.

The 21.5 million figures includes Austria. Even though before Austria was ruled by the Hungarians Austria was still a member of the HRE (think Denmark with Schleswig-Holstein in the HRE IOTL). Now though it’s controlled directly by the Wittelsbachs. The HRE is more centralized compared to OTL but it isn’t a centralized polity like either the Roman Empire or the Triple Monarchy, which counteracts its larger size compared to either. The Emperor’s strong enough to be a big player just by himself but to utilize the whole strength of the HRE he needs the princes on board so he can’t push them around too much.

Aegis03florin: See revision.

ImperatorAlexander: All true but do take a look at the second paragraph of my response to Lukeanus. The HRE still has some unique issues compared to the other great powers.

RogueTraderEnthusiast: I think the revision alters this analysis since now it’s just a strong minority movement (and undefined at that) rather than official policy. Nobody’s sure where exactly this leads; it’s doubtful anybody’s thought that far. As the situation is now, a lot will depend on the local bishops and how they react to events as they unfold since the Council’s policy is so vague.

Arrix85: The names of Jupiter’s moons aren’t automatic, but there’s no reason they can’t be given the OTL names, so solely for convenience and keeping things not confusing I went with the OTL names. Hungary’s still an empire on paper, although the Romans have been calling the Hungarian monarch Megas Rigas (Great King) rather than Emperor (Basileus) for some time now.

JohnSmith: He’s a bit miffed, but he’s still in his early teens so it’s not a big deal now since he’s still a minor. Come his twenties he’ll start getting annoyed.

Bmao: Yeah, the common Romans are very strongly set against alliances with Catholic states. The Roman government can ram stuff through if it wants and the timing is right. Nobody complained about allying with the Lombards whilst fighting the Hungarians for example but it definitely complicates things. England had similar problems in the early modern era as allying with either Spain or France meant working with “dirty papists”.

Joelwilliamson: I wasn’t aware of Newton’s involvement in developing heliocentrism but it seems reasonable some work in that direction is ongoing.

Duke of Nova Scotia: There isn’t much animus against Scandinavians in the Roman Empire (Russia is a different matter) so they would get a pass provided they aren’t vocal in their Catholicism (you can be Catholic in private, but keep your mouth shut in public and don’t you dare say anything bad about Orthodoxy). In the mercantile and government circles Arletians are respected because of long-standing trade and alliance ties plus being ruled by a branch of the Komnenid dynasty helps.

Of all Catholics though the best from the common Roman perspective are the Castilians. The Castilians know what it’s like to be on the frontiers of Christendom, battling desperately against great Islamic hosts while their co-religionists sitting safe and comfortable behind them berate them for their lack of Christian purity and occasionally stab them in the back. Plus Castilians have served loyally and bravely in the Roman army during the Time of Troubles and since and the historically-minded Romans have not forgotten Miguel de Talavera, the Castilian Grandmaster of the Hospitaliers that served Andreas Niketas so well. Thus even though geopolitics gets in the way (like in the Spice Islands) there’s a respect in Roman minds that is completely lacking with any other Catholic state.

Lascaris: See revision.

Sir Omega: They didn’t start that way but they are now. The Orthodox goal is for the churches of the east to be staffed with local bishops and priests on the grounds that the locals will relate better and be more likely to convert. Plus it eases administrative costs.

I know this update ended on a dark note but the next one will be much lighter.
RogueTraderEnthusiast: I think the revision alters this analysis since now it’s just a strong minority movement (and undefined at that) rather than official policy. Nobody’s sure where exactly this leads; it’s doubtful anybody’s thought that far. As the situation is now, a lot will depend on the local bishops and how they react to events as they unfold since the Council’s policy is so vague.

Most certainly. I still think it might encourage Orthodox militia if gains traction, but I can't see an Orthodox Alliance forming any time soon. (Although, if the idea becomes popular amongst the proles in border regions of friendly Orthodox states, I do love the idea of Roman and Vlach villages agreeing to form common militia).

I feel bad for any orphanages (are there orphanages at this point?) trying to get kids adopted - if Catholics adopt them, I can see a westborough baptist church type organisation causing them hell.