An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Lascaris:

Ottomans-So we are agreed, we attack India.

Rhomania-We are agreed.

Ottomans-Most excellent. [Deploys 100,000 to the Punjab. Vijayanagar counters with 250,000.] Uh, Rhomania, can you help me out here?

Rhomania-Sure thing. [Puts 9,000 men into Surat.]

Ottomans-Nine thousand, that’s it?!

Rhomania-Uh, yeah. Did you think I could put in more? Steamships won’t be a thing for at least another 150 years, dude.

Ottomans: I hate you. [Vijayanagar stabs them in the face.]

Rhomania. Mmmm, popcorn. [Munching sounds.]
This path would basically make the ruling Roman the Troll Emperor. I love it. Following it with an invasion of the Ottomans is also an option (even if it would mean no chance of co-operation ever again). However, I imagine that Osman has an idea of how the Romans would be providing significant help.

RogueTraderEnthusiast
The Idwaits’ main defense, besides logistical/geographic issues of course, is that their territory is mainly modern Sudan. It doesn’t yield nearly enough to justify the expense of taking it over. But if they started cozying up to the Marinids or Ottomans, they’d get put on Constantinople’s ‘must kill’ list really quick. If the Idwaits are paying attention, they know this. But if Rhomania or Ethiopia decide they want to have a go at the Idwaits, they have a ready-made casus belli. Per the treaties ending the war, the Idwait Malik-ate owes both the Empire and Ethiopia an annual tribute. Let’s just say the Malik is behind on his payments.
It does have the potential to be a perfect 'practice invasion' for any innovations (primitive desert carbine troops?). New military innovations that would work in the Malikate would work against the Marinids or Ottomans in the future. (Plus, I imagine Carthage would love them).
 
1626: From Constantinople with Love
Luis3007: Good, good. Your hate has made you powerful. ;)

Stark: The HRE Emperors can only do direct taxes in their own territories and in Saxony and Austria especially have restrictions in what they can get away with given the terms of those territories entering the Wittelsbach patrimony. The rest of the Imperial princes can and do contribute, but only in matters regarding common Imperial interests and of course the princes’ definitions of that do not always agree with the Emperor’s.

So the HRE is like a bigger version of 18th century Austria. It’s undoubtedly a great power with huge reserves of manpower and material resources but somewhat brittle when it comes to the financial side.

RogueTraderEnthusiast: Theodoros IV was the original troll Emperor. :p

I could see the Romans trying out a camel corps in the Idwait realm. Recruiting the southern Anizzah to fill its ranks would be a good way to bring them into the Roman client network (which would also have the advantage of getting a buffer against Ottoman-vassal Hedjaz).



1626 continued: Emperor Andreas III immediately faces a challenge. Despite his youth he is effectively the senior monarch despite the fact his mother is an Empress in her own right, as Helena II continues to be essentially a paperweight. So it is up to him to resolve the mess that has been stewing ever since the treaty of Mashhadshar.

The senior bureaucracy is still in a shambles as the whole affray between Eparch Sideros and Protospatharios Cheilas has continued to stew. The positions of the Logothetes tou Dromou, Kouaistor of Thrace, Eparch of Constantinople, and Protospatharios of the Office of Barbarians have been vacant for almost two years since Megas Logothetes Thomas Autoreianos suspended all of them in an effort to calm things.

Autoreianos has had his hands full administering the empire without the support of these offices and the ill health and then deaths of Emperor Demetrios II and Helena I meant there was no clear drive to resolve the matter. Andreas’ first order of business is to resolve that. A special investigative commission is set up, led by the Megas Kouaistor Alexios Komnenos (a descendant of Alexeia, the illegitimate daughter of Theodoros IV, the line legitimized in 1569), one of whose assistants is Leo Sideros [1] (son of the Duchess of Dalmatia and Istria and nephew of Eparch Demetrios) who is working on his law degree at the University of Constantinople.

Reportedly it is Leo who uncovers the skeleton in the closet. It turns out that Petros Cheilas has been using his post as Protospatharios more to line his pockets than serve imperial interests. Using the spy networks he oversees Petros has been able to use the garnered intelligence to play the market. His annual salary is 50,000 hyperpyra but a thorough examination of his accounts reveals that Cheilas in 1621 made over 360,000 hyperpyra. When he was not informing the Mashhadshar delegation of Iskandar’s manpower situation and Indian problems, he was using intelligence on the year’s Sumatran pepper harvest to make advantageous preliminary buys on the Constantinople market, earning himself a windfall of 120,000 hyperpyra.

Andreas is absolutely livid when this is revealed. Cheilas isn’t guilty of treason; there is no evidence he was in the pay of the Shah. So he is charged with ‘treasonous negligence’, all of his assets seized, and the eyeballs knives promptly dusted off and used on him. It is the first time they’ve been used as judicial punishment in over fifty years.

With Cheilas out of the way, the charges of treason against Demetrios, Logothete Sarantenos, and Kouaistor Trikanes, are dropped. That said, the influence of the latter two has drastically dropped since Mashhadshar. Although Cheilas’ actions had denied them vital intelligence many feel that they still could’ve driven a harder bargain. Sarantenos retorts with justice that the court had been in the same state of malaise as they had in those post-Nineveh times and that the court had ratified their terms without even a token debate.

Andreas, on the advice of Demetrios, just wants the matter dropped. The three are all restored to their positions and resume their duties. Also with Andreas in power, Leo Neokastrites is brought back out of retirement although he is assigned as Strategos of the Chaldean tagma rather than back as Strategos of the Akoimetoi due to the resistance of the new Megas Domestikos Nikolaios Mouzalon who argues that Leo’s retirement voided his seniority. As the most ‘junior’ strategos on the list, it would be highly inappropriate for him to be posted to the guard. Andreas, not wanting to risk a split in the army by pressing the issue considering the news from Persia, doesn’t push the matter.

Alexios Gabras hopes for a restoration too but there he is disappointed. Although the reports from India vindicate his post-Nineveh statements, which if believed at the time, would’ve made it possible for the Romans to drive a much harder line at Mashhadshar, nobody wants him back. Leo, and by extension Andreas, have been offended by Gabras’ attacks on Leo’s conduct at Mount Alfaf. Everyone else is fine to have the former Domestikos be the designated scapegoat.

One thing is clear after the dust has settled from this. Although as Eparch of Constantinople Demetrios Sideros is really one of the most junior of the senior bureaucrats working out of the White Palace, unofficially he is one of the most important officials. The closeness of Emperor Andreas with Odysseus, referring to him as ‘little brother’ in public, is a major factor. In fact in May a rumor starts going around the court that the Emperor, in answer to Demetrios’ essay question, is not only planning on designating Odysseus as his heir in case of no legitimate issue (since Andreas hasn’t been in his wife’s bed since his accession the odds of any issue arising look decidedly small) but is trying to find a way to ‘adopt’ Odysseus as his little brother officially to strengthen his younger cousin’s hereditary claim.

Another cause of Demetrios’ favor with his Emperor is connected to the reason why any legitimate children of Andreas III are looking unlikely. Anna of Amida is no longer in the picture. Although all three of his bastard sons are being raised together in Chalcedon (Zeno of Volos, age 4; Theodoros of Nineveh, age 3; Alexandros of Baghdad, age 2) Anna has been married off to the new Kephale of Gallipoli; although she is decidedly lowborn, she is a very pretty woman according to all accounts, Andreas provides a rather impressive dowry (much from Cheilas’ ill-gotten assets), and the Kephale recognizes that this gets him the Emperor’s favor.

Maria of Agra though is not going anywhere. In fact one of Andreas’ first official acts is to order construction of a new small wing to the White Palace, to be built and decorated in the ‘Indian style’, to give her a small piece of home. Some attribute her hold on the Emperor to sorcery, some to her great beauty and smart and kindly manner (no account claims she was otherwise), and some to her use of what are euphemistically called ‘zigzags’ in bed [2].

The Imperial ambassador, the hawk-nosed and perceptive Count Philip von Stadion-Warthausen has another theory. He notes that Maria of Agra frequently visits the villa at Chalcedon where Andreas’ bastards are raised, which isn’t that surprising since one of them is her own son. However the Count notes that she treats all three boys lovingly as if they were all her sons. He points out that Andreas, who clearly cares for his children (the yearly stipend for their maintenance would cover the annual payroll of a line tourma), cannot help but be touched. In contrast, Elizabeth is seemingly incapable of hiding her disgust, sometimes being rude and abusive to individuals who do nothing more than acknowledge the bastards’ existences. In a report to his sovereign he writes ‘in view of the contrast in their behaviors, it would be a rare man who would forsake the tender and open-hearted compassion of his mistress for the vicious jealousy of his wife.’ It is a bold report since his sovereign is Empress (Elizabeth of Bavaria had been crowned as such a week after Andreas) Elizabeth’s older brother.

Most court officials are smart enough to keep their mouths shut about the whole affair but Demetrios is openly supportive of the Emperor. Andreas understands why and immediately repays the debt. At a court banquet Demetrios arrives at his usual place but is accompanied not by his wife but by his long-time mistress Eudoxia of Chios.

She was formerly head of the Prostitutes’ Guild in Smyrna, where they’d met. As Eparch, Demetrios had pulled some strings so that now she runs the Shah’s Harem, the most luxurious restaurant and brothel in all of Constantinople. Although some silver is starting to creep into her floor-length golden hair, according to the Chartoularios [3] Pavlos Kinnamos she ‘does not possess the graceful and exotic beauty of Maria of Agra or Lady Jahzara of Axum, but is still a handsome woman with a full and ample figure’ and goes on to remark that she is also ‘extraordinarily flexible and acrobatic’, although how he gains that information he leaves unmentioned.

Now having an affair isn’t uncommon amongst the court officials, but bringing them to court is. Then to bring a mistress to an official Imperial banquet, and this mistress of all mistresses, that is not just unheard of; that is beyond the pale. But instead none other than Emperor Andreas III personally welcomes Eudoxia to the White Palace. At the Emperor’s side is not the Empress but Maria of Agra.

The Empress Elizabeth is absolutely ballistic at this and Demetrios Sideros receives a full broadside of her fury. She refers to him openly as a pimp at court and in a long stream of letters that go to her brother, the Holy Roman Emperor Theodor I in Munich, complaining of her treatment she goes into much abuse of the Eparch.

Around Demetrios is coalescing a faction of the bureaucracy, some of whom see him as a path to favor with the Emperor and others who are interested in some of his reform ideas that he has expressed, both recently and in his younger days. Chief amongst these are the Logothete Sarantenos and Kouaistor Trikanes, both of whom are very grateful for his support in restoring them to their former ranks.

Forming around Elizabeth is what can be called an anti-Demetrios faction. Elizabeth wants Maria of Agra gone so that she can be Empress in actuality. Supporting her are the Patriarch Isidore III, who strongly disapproves of both Demetrios’ and Andreas’ affairs, and the Logothetes tou Genikou (Chief Finance Minister) Romanos Xiphilinos, who sees most of Demetrios’ ideas as encroaching upon his turf.

Both profess their loyalty to the Empire and to the Emperor Andreas III but it is clear to all where his sympathy lies. In June he directs Demetrios to begin drafting a new tax code using his ‘tax level’ system, much to the protest of Xiphilinos who argues rather reasonably that such a task should be his responsibility. Andreas responds that the Logothete will have a chance to review and revise once Demetrios is done, but does not transfer responsibility or cancel the project, leaving Xiphilinos fuming. He is even angrier when Demetrios taps Thomas Vatatzes (cousin of Andreas’ bodyguard commander), Dioiketes [4] of Nicaea, as a personal assistant. They’d worked together while Demetrios was both Kephales of Skammandros and Smyrna.

Andreas has some other projects going at the same time. A top priority is a thorough purge of the Office of Barbarians. Cheilas’ rot had sunk in deep; he had been in the post for fifteen years. Many of the agents were complicit in his activities, while many others had taken a cue from their leader and taken to feathering their nests above all else. Andreas doesn’t quite gut the organization but its rolls are drastically shrunk. Naturally the Office’s abilities are severely weakened at the same time. To make up the shortfall Andreas pulls agents from the Emperor’s Eyes, at the same time making de jure the de facto division of responsibilities that has existed between the Office of Barbarians and the Emperor’s Eyes since the death of Andreas II. The Office of Barbarians will oversee foreign espionage while the Eyes take care of internal security.

The Emperor also wants to expand the training budget for the Roman army, with a specific aim of improving the quality of the dekarchoi. At Nineveh the heavy casualty rates amongst the officers had seriously weakened unit effectiveness. In many cases the dekarchoi had stepped into the breach, but in many they had not. The aim is to improve their training and morale, the latter by a pay increase. Andreas also wants to streamline procurement, hopefully to minimize snafus like the one that sent the Athanatoi into battle with half-kits of ammunition. Plus there is this new Spanish invention, a ring ambrolar that allows it to be used while still enabling the user to fire his musket. That should help even the odds when facing Persian infantry in melee. Given the course of the Persian civil war, such abilities may be needed sooner rather than later.


[1] Mistakenly referred to as Leo Drakos in the 1620 ‘game update’.
[2] A reported maneuver of Josephine, first wife of Napoleon IOTL.
[3] “general term for lower-ranking official with fiscal and archival duties in various bureaus in both central and provincial administration;” see The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire, pg. 887.
[4] Individual responsible for tax collection within a district; naturally as such Xiphilinos is his boss.
 
Seems like Andreas is off to a good start, but I feel the set up for a succession war is way too obvious. Even if Andreas does have a legitimate heir he will be overshadowed by the imperial bastards and isolated by his mother, not the best recipe for stability if the bastards develop the way of Andreas Angelos and Zeno (son of Andreas I).

If this new taxation system is implemented it could be HUGE, do you have any projected revenue figures B444? It could keep the Empire ahead of its rivals despite its relative weakness in population and materials.
 
How are the magnates responding to tax bracket idea? There has to be quite rumbling from them.

I also hope new taxes won't be too much for the commercial sector, in a time when it faces strong competition everywhere.
 
Andreas is absolutely livid when this is revealed. Cheilas isn’t guilty of treason; there is no evidence he was in the pay of the Shah. So he is charged with ‘treasonous negligence’, all of his assets seized, and the eyeballs knives promptly dusted off and used on him. It is the first time they’ve been used as judicial punishment in over fifty years.
Eyeball knives. :eek:

I can't see Andreas ever having any legitimate issue with Elizabeth after that stunt at the banquet, his bastards and mistresses have ruined any hope for that now.
 
At this rate, I'm half expecting Andreas to appoint Maria of Agras son as heir. Admittedly I'd be all for an Indo-Roman Emperor, I'd expect it wouldn't go down well.

Either the Empress needs to manouver her way into the Emperors bed to ensure she has an heir, or she needs to have an accident so Andreas can just marry his mistress.

Oh, now that is a fun idea, Empress Maria (somehow), with the younger son legitimate and Emperor, and the elder illegitimate, and marrying into an Indian family - cue the rise of a Roman 'Princely States'. (Not that I'm obsessed with the Osman Plan).

The likelyhood however is that Odysseus is gonna be Emperor. Which is a shame because I'm half expecting him to be lost at sea with that name. (Although, being a badass Admiral that humbles the Triunes would be epic).
 
Aaaaaand the "bastards" come into play! Succession will definitely be a funny situation for EVERY SIDE INVOLVED! Can't wait for it! So much fun! No, seriously now, great update, small but cool, administration and mistresses go hand-in-hand like war and logistical problems, can't wait for all the bloodshed and Game-of-Thrones-like-stuff that is going to happen (although I am personnaly not much of a fan of the show or the books. I'm not saying they're bad, I heard they're awesome, but they don't captivate me. Sorry for everyone hurt by this statement, no offence intended).

The likelyhood however is that Odysseus is gonna be Emperor. Which is a shame because I'm half expecting him to be lost at sea with that name. (Although, being a badass Admiral that humbles the Triunes would be epic).
J'approve!
 
Well I guess Elizabeth isn't a 2nd Kristina after all, she lacks the restraint, tact and discipline. I wonder if she'll be able to realise she's going nowhere fast before it's too late. I'm curious which side the Megas Logothetes will take, 2 years of essentially running the Empire himself must have given him a lot of clout and power.

I also agree that the set up for the eventual Roman succession war is blatantly obvious. However, as a long time reader I know to expect a twist and surprise.
 
Well I guess Elizabeth isn't a 2nd Kristina after all, she lacks the restraint, tact and discipline. I wonder if she'll be able to realise she's going nowhere fast before it's too late. I'm curious which side the Megas Logothetes will take, 2 years of essentially running the Empire himself must have given him a lot of clout and power.

I also agree that the set up for the eventual Roman succession war is blatantly obvious. However, as a long time reader I know to expect a twist and surprise.
I'm hoping for them all to die in glorious battle, all as brilliant commanders in their own rights - Andreas being awesome is grand, but there would be a harsh tale if it just lead to civil war (especially seeing what it will likely do to the Ottomans). In contrast, having him spawn a brood of brilliant commanders that die for the Empire, leading to Odysseus inheriting, or a last legitimate heir, would be quite tragic, and combine a soaring Empire with a deeply humbled Emperor.
 
Since I am rereading the story again, I noticed that Leo Neokastritos is in it for a long, long time (probably the oldest mentioned character right now). Sounds like he will be the next great general of the Empire.
 
I guess taxation reform will be needed if military expenses are bumped up even further. Given how poorly the Romans fared in the Eternal War despite the massive expenditure on the army will there be other reforms so they actually get value out of the money they put in? Also, what has been happening with Alexandros (?) Drakos, the Lion of Nineveh? I imagine that his birth combined with his performance is a sure fire combination to send him rocketing up the ranks.
 
ImperatorAlexander: I admit that the succession issue is blatantly obvious, although sometimes these things are, like the succession issue in the early/mid 1000s since Basil II and his brother Konstantinos never got around to arranging a continuation of the Macedonian dynasty.

I’m currently debating about big of an impact the new tax system will have, but it will be extremely significant.

Stark: They’re really not liking the idea, although there’s only so much they can do. They have large retinues, but nothing that could come close to a few tourmai on the move. And one advantage of a fully professional army in the service of a government with very good credit that takes seriously the concept of ‘pay on time’, is that in a magnates vs. government contest, there’s no doubt with whom the army would side. Also importantly, the dynatoi don’t dominate the army officer corps nearly to the extent they did in the 900s and 1000s. They make up a hefty percentage, but there are a lot of officers drawn from the middle classes too. Frederick the Great’s rule that only nobles could be officers would be rejected with contempt by the Romans.

Yeah, I noticed that too. Leo’s involved in some stuff coming up, but that stuff has been pushed forward from when I introduced him, hence his age.

Earl Marshal: Yeah, both Andreas and Elizabeth are actively burning the bridges between them. In fairness to Elizabeth, Andreas is completely besotted with Maria, but her behavior is entirely counter-productive in enticing him away from Maria.

HanEmpire: I definitely see where you’re getting that. On the other hand, royal courts do tend to be more sexually loose than general society (see Versailles and the Regency era court of the UK for example).

RogueTraderEnthusiast: Elizabeth’s problem is that she’s too busy being jealous of Andreas’ mistresses to think about long-term solutions to her own status.

Andreas legitimizing one of his bastards and making him his heir…things get even more interesting (in the Chinese sense) than they already are.

Aishio: I am getting a Game of Thrones vibe from this update. And now I have a brilliant idea of a Game of Thrones-esque Byzantine TV show. It’s a show about the young Basil II, from his father’s death to his victories over Phokas and Skleros where he finally becomes master of the Empire.

Babyrage: The Megas Logothete at this point is the key. While he lives (he was already in government services during the War of the Rivers) his support will make or break any attempt to claim the Roman throne.

JohnSmith: More reforms are planned, improving training, equipments, and logistical support and the like. Nothing very revolutionary admittedly; Iskander being dead eliminates a lot of the urgency in Roman eyes.

There will be some more on Alexandros Drakos coming up shortly. He is definitely on the fast-track promotion-wise.
 
Babyrage: The Megas Logothete at this point is the key. While he lives (he was already in government services during the War of the Rivers) his support will make or break any attempt to claim the Roman throne.
Wait what? I didn't mention any claim on the Roman throne. He must be really old by now, so it's going to be happening sooner than later?
 
Aishio: I am getting a Game of Thrones vibe from this update. And now I have a brilliant idea of a Game of Thrones-esque Byzantine TV show. It’s a show about the young Basil II, from his father’s death to his victories over Phokas and Skleros where he finally becomes master of the Empire.
Lol I wasnt expecting that. Seems like a good idea to apply when the Romans invent TV years in advance compared to OTL! ALso make a satirical comedy show with some cool Roman humorist! The ways humanity can change and still stay the same (i know, makes sense) never cease to amaze me.
 
Lol I wasnt expecting that. Seems like a good idea to apply when the Romans invent TV years in advance compared to OTL! ALso make a satirical comedy show with some cool Roman humorist! The ways humanity can change and still stay the same (i know, makes sense) never cease to amaze me.
Didn't we already have a GOT-esque show in the timeline? A program about the Komenid Empire and then a follow up covering the Time of Troubles?
 
The Komnenids, covering the life of Andreas Niketas and all the court politics.
There was also a show covering the war against Shahrukh, and another show covering the Time of Troubles.
 
The Worth of a Hyperpyron: An Interlude
Babyrage: He doesn’t have any claim to the throne himself. But his clout is enough that he’s easily in a position to play Emperor-maker.

Roman TV shows: There was a miniseries on the war against Shah Rukh, then The Komnenoi, and another covering the Time of Troubles and the early Drakid dynasty. They were inspired by the TV shows The Tudors and The Borgias actually; I hadn’t read or seen GoT by that point.

There’s a lot of Byzantine history that would make for good TV/movies, but will never get made IOTL because not enough people have enough of a clue to be interested in that sort of thing. TTL will be drastically different.


I was going to post the next narrative update but then a footnote for an upcoming update ballooned massively. So I’m going to post the footnote as its own mini-update. I think people should find it informative and interesting. Plus considering the amount of time I spent on it, I’d be really annoyed if I left it in just as a footnote in a regular update and then it went unnoticed.

The Worth of a Hyperpyron

[This was originally written as a footnote to the narrative regarding the worth of a sum of money] To try and determine what that’s worth in actual terms, according to “The Industries of Art” by Anthony Cutler in The Economic History of Byzantium, pg. 566, a horse was worth 14 hyperpyra in Thessaloniki in 1384 OTL. Now according to “Prices and Wages in the Byzantine World” by Cecile Morrisson and Jean-Claude Cheynet in The Economic History of Byzantium, pgs. 816-17, if a late 10th century hyperpyron of 23 carat gold has an index value of 100, a silver hyperpyron from the 1380s has a value of 39. The hyperpyron of TTL has a value of 89, so the 14 OTL hyperpyra convert to 6.1 hyperpyra TTL. That’s 1384 prices.

Now according to The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II by Fernand Braudel, pg. 520, in Bursa the price of salt (I choose this because it’s consistently necessary but not subject to climate-induced price fluctuations like wheat, for example) in 1489 was 6 aspers but 35 aspers in 1633. For simplicity’s sake I’m going to round it to a 6-fold increase.

However the asper also depreciated during that time, so it wasn’t all inflation. According to a table “Silver Content and Exchange Rates of the Ottoman Currency, 1326-1914” from Dr. Sevket Pamuk’s faculty member page from Bogazici University: The Ataturk Institute for Modern Turkish History website, the akce/asper had a silver content of .675 grams in 1489 but was down to .225 grams in 1632. So if the akce had remained stable in silver content, prices would’ve only doubled in terms of coinage required.

However that last statement is dependent on silver remaining consistent in value between 1489 and 1633, which considering Potosi was a thing in this period, is highly doubtful. Going back to Fernand Braudel, pg. 473, in Europe the exchange rate of silver to gold was on average 11:1 in 1500, 12.5 to 1 in 1650, so silver lost 14% of its value in relation to gold in those 150 years. So if in 1500 the silver content of 1 akce could purchase X salt, in 1650 the same content could purchase .43X (factoring in loss of silver in relationship to gold bumps it down to .86, and then halving it to .43 because of general price inflation). So in 1650 to purchase X salt, one would need 2.3 of the 1500 akce.

Assuming for the sake of argument that the Thessaloniki horse price follows the same trajectory, that same horse in 1650 (I’m also assuming that inflation between 1384 and 1489 was minimal) would require 14 TTL hyperpyra. Now I say that, but the influx of Mexican and Peruvian silver has been delayed and decreased compared to OTL (greater Japanese involvement makes up for some but not all), so the “actual” TTL price would be around 11-12 hyperpyra.

In an interesting side note, sergeants at Argos in 1394 were paid 8 hyperpyra a month (see The Late Byzantine Army: Arms and Society, 1204-1453 by Mark C. Batusis, pg. 152). Assuming that soldier wages followed the same trajectory (I don’t have any sources on how the pay of late medieval soldiers compared to early modern ones), the above calculations give a rough idea of Roman troop wages at this point ITTL.

According to This Seat of Mars: War and the British Isles 1485-1746 by Charles Carlton,

In 1588 it cost 1700 pound sterling to maintain an infantry company for a year, 3700 for a cavalry troop, and 68000 for an artillery train (I’m assuming for the whole army). How well units match up is questionable, but I’m going to assume that an infantry company = 1 infantry droungos and one cavalry troop equals one cavalry droungoi and I’ll round the figures up to 2000 pounds sterling per infantry unit and 4 thousand per cavalry unit. So one Roman tourma with 8 infantry droungoi and 2 cavalry droungoi would cost 24000 pounds sterling or 48000 hyperpyra. Let’s add 6000 pounds/12000 hyperpyra for the artillery, so 60000 hyperpyra per tourma and 600,000 per tagma.​

The above paragraph is from an earlier calculation I made trying to figure out an army budget for the Romans. Using the Argive wages as a base and using the above calculations, the troops now would be making 6.9 hyperpyra a month. The 60000 per tourma is coming up short, even if one follows the common OTL tactic of dividing the year into 10 ‘pay months’ and paying a monthly wage based on those rather than on the calendar months.

I don’t think it’s reasonable that the average wages of soldiers would go down in this period. After all, this is an era of rising prices. Also in the Roman army soldiers get pay increases after certain years in service, plus the cost of army equipment and material has gone up as well. The 60000 estimate is looking woefully inadequate. Let’s up the amount to 80000.

In that same analysis I calculated that the Roman army cost at minimum 8.4 million hyperpyra. If everything goes up by a third, that comes to 11.172 million hyperpyra per year. That converts to 500 metric tons of silver a year and I’ve established earlier that the total Roman revenue per year is around 750-800 tons per year. Tax reform is looking more necessary than ever.

I’m not sure what makes me more of a nerd, the fact that I sat down and actually did all this, or that I have a copy of every piece of source material cited.

Everyone, please let me know if you have comments, questions, suggestions, corrections, or more data to add to the above.


EDIT: Thanks to Lascaris providing me with figures regarding the pay of early modern soldiers, I’m revising the army pay figures I was working with above. A line infantryman begins service with a pay of 3 hyperpyra per calendar month, which comes to 18 pounds a year, comparable to that of Dutch infantry in the 1630s. Now the Roman soldiers do get pay increases as they complete years of service (an anti-desertion measure). Now Roman soldiers sign up for an eleven-year term. The silver miliaresion, the most valuable Roman silver coin, was worth 10 to 1 hyperpyron back in 1400 but with silver devalued compared to gold I figured it had declined to 12:1, so if a soldier gets his pay upped by a miliaresion a year except for two points, say beginning of year 4 and year 9 it is upped by two, so that when he finishes his contract he is paid 4 hyperpyra a month, so 24 pounds a year, comparable to a soldier in Marlborough’s army. Officers and specialist troops (like cavalry) are naturally paid more. This pay scheme works well with my earlier estimate of about 60,000 hyperpyra per line tourma.

So in keeping with my estimating the Roman budget at around 16-18 million hyperpyra (730-820 metric tons of silver, slightly less than France in the first decade of the 1700s), the breakdown of the budget would be 9 million to the army, 4 million to the navy, and the remainder to fund everything else.

Pay of a Roman soldier should be in the same area as an unskilled laborer, possibly a bit less but that’s compensated by the fact that the soldier gets a guaranteed wage and the laborer doesn’t. Back in 1400 one copper follis (100 to the hyperpyron) could buy a one-pound loaf of barley bread, assuming the harvest is good and available. Now with inflation it’s more like 1.75 follis for the loaf. Assuming 2 loaves a day, a day laborer earning 3 hyperpyra a month is spending one-third of his income on bread alone.
 
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