An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

As to "too distant", this is the 1600s, the Romans have territories (admittedly very autonomous) in the East Indies, and North Africa. Mesopotamia is a trip down the Euphrates. Make sure that is secure, and the Tigris is the fall-back frontier for Mesopotamia.
It's still a trek across an ill-developed desert frontier to actually get to those rivers, a frontier that's been penetrated by the Turks and Persians multiple times in the past. The comparison between Mesopotamia and the colonies does not fly, because Mesopotamia is directly adjacent to hostile Ottoman lands, unlike the overseas colonies which are separated by sea and surrounded by swarms of angry Roman ships. The African ones aren't even held by Romans, they're held by clients that pay trinket tributes.

EDIT: Religion is also against the Romans here. Unlike the OTL Ottomans, the Romans are most definitely not Muslims, and the Muslims ITTL follow an ultraconservative doctrine borne out of hatred of Christians. There's no feasible way for the Empire to get the Turks to cooperate with them, and the Kurds aren't numerous enough to make up for the lack of support.
 
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The balance of power would be skewed towards the Romans however, and likely any conflict would take place in Mesopotamia and Georgia (if it was involved). Yes, Persia would want it, just like they've historically wanted control over Syria, or other Roman territories. However, shifting the resources shifts the wars in favour of the Romans, and opens up avenues to not only make Mesopotamia the secure border that the Romans desire, but neuter the Persians - control over the Strait of Hormuz. The Ottomans have the ambition to expand, Ibrahim more or less needs it to recover from the losses in India. As India is crazy strong, and probably stronger than the Romans, certainly so in Ottoman eyes. So the Romans or Georgians are the obvious targets - and they'll stand side by side in all likelihood. In any circumstance, war is inevitable.
I may be misremembering but I believe Ibrahim, and Iskandar before him, have no real interest in conquering westwards. The Eternal War was sparked by Ottoman desire to take the per-eminent place in Islam by controlling the Hejaz and the Kabba. An issue that is more or less resolved at this point. If a war for territory starts I think it'll be the Romans that start it not the Ottomans. If Ibrahim starts any wars in the near future I think they'll be launched against the Russians and the Steppe tribes. Beating them will give him tribute and glory without risking a massively destructive war with the Romans. A war that the Romans would be likely to win albeit at a nasty cost.

Fair play, this is part of the reason I think Hormuz is critical, any notion that the Ottomans are interfering, and the Romans can threaten to close the strait - both sides knowing it'd likely lead to war if the Ottomans don't back down. If the Ottomans aren't flat out invading, I think they'd be cowed by that threat.

But you're also forgetting that the Turks have been sidelined, and there are other Mesopotamian communities that have been as well with the Persification of the Ottomans. They are key. Some, like the Assyrians, have a history of being Christian.
Fair points but as part of the peace between Ibrahim and Osman there were several concessions to the Turks to bring them back onside. So the issue has been resolved for the short term at least. In any case the civil war has shown that the Mesopotamian Turks would rather be ruled by the Persianized Ottomans than by the Romans.

It depends on how you see the post-war outcome. In terms of raw numbers, it is a close game, tax revenues for forces. But trade, and setting up a scenario where following wars with Persia are smaller affairs? Even affairs where Georgia could claim part of the plateau? That starts to become very valuable.
On the other hands it puts the burden of defending Mesopotamia on the Romans and their Despotates. As HanEmpire pointed out Mesopotamia, especially the southern part is hideously vulnerable to invasion or raids from the Iranian plateau. A Persian polity would effectively be able to attack at will and then retreat into the fortified mountain passes a reverse of the current situation where it's the Romans who can attack at will and then retreat into Anatolia if things get bad.

As for smaller wars I think it would just make Persia more selective about when they attack Rome, attacking during a civil war or a major military crisis would effectively cancel out whatever advantages could be gained from having to face a smaller Ottoman Empire.
 
It's still a trek across an ill-developed desert frontier to actually get to those rivers, a frontier that's been penetrated by the Turks and Persians multiple times in the past. The comparison between Mesopotamia and the colonies does not fly, because Mesopotamia is directly adjacent to hostile Ottoman lands, unlike the overseas colonies which are separated by sea and surrounded by swarms of angry Roman ships. The African ones aren't even held by Romans, they're held by clients that pay trinket tributes.

EDIT: Religion is also against the Romans here. Unlike the OTL Ottomans, the Romans are most definitely not Muslims, and the Muslims ITTL follow an ultraconservative doctrine borne out of hatred of Christians. There's no feasible way for the Empire to get the Turks to cooperate with them, and the Kurds aren't numerous enough to make up for the lack of support.
You're right, it would be a delicate process to keep things stable, hence the Despotates rather than direct control. It means that Turkophiles and Muslim-sympathisers can feasibly be the intermediaries between Constantinople and the people.

Also, don't the Romans already control Northern Mesopotamia atm? If that is able to be held, I see no insurmountable reasons it can't the base of an invasion effort.

I may be misremembering but I believe Ibrahim, and Iskandar before him, have no real interest in conquering westwards. The Eternal War was sparked by Ottoman desire to take the per-eminent place in Islam by controlling the Hejaz and the Kabba. An issue that is more or less resolved at this point. If a war for territory starts I think it'll be the Romans that start it not the Ottomans. If Ibrahim starts any wars in the near future I think they'll be launched against the Russians and the Steppe tribes. Beating them will give him tribute and glory without risking a massively destructive war with the Romans. A war that the Romans would be likely to win albeit at a nasty cost.
Unless those Russian groups petition for aid, which would be horrible for Ibrahim, as it'd be a two-front war, and opens up the eastern flank to India. I don't envy Persia atm.

Fair points but as part of the peace between Ibrahim and Osman there were several concessions to the Turks to bring them back onside. So the issue has been resolved for the short term at least. In any case the civil war has shown that the Mesopotamian Turks would rather be ruled by the Persianized Ottomans than by the Romans.
Ah, I overlooked those. The second point I'm not sure is directly analogous. There is being tolerant of rule (which I think applies to the Ottomans atm), and tolerating being transferred without a fight (which the Civil War threatened to do). After being invaded though? I think autonomy could buy tolerance.

On the other hands it puts the burden of defending Mesopotamia on the Romans and their Despotates. As HanEmpire pointed out Mesopotamia, especially the southern part is hideously vulnerable to invasion or raids from the Iranian plateau. A Persian polity would effectively be able to attack at will and then retreat into the fortified mountain passes a reverse of the current situation where it's the Romans who can attack at will and then retreat into Anatolia if things get bad.

As for smaller wars I think it would just make Persia more selective about when they attack Rome, attacking during a civil war or a major military crisis would effectively cancel out whatever advantages could be gained from having to face a smaller Ottoman Empire.
There is a thread atm talking about the defensibility of the Zagros as a frontier, so I'll hold off on the practicality of its defense (nonetheless, the Tigris does still work in most circumstances).

I agree about the selectivity - which is a huge boon, fewer wars, full stop - is a big strategic win for the Romans. Every war avoided because Mesopotamia is on the other side, is a win. THAT is the biggest reason for that frontier. Rather than the (rather indefensible according HanEmpire) current frontiers (which include the N.Euphrates, at least as far as Syria is concerned).
 
Also, don't the Romans already control Northern Mesopotamia atm? If that is able to be held, I see no insurmountable reasons it can't the base of an invasion effort.
I think they control parts of northern Mesopotamia but certainly not all of it. The last map update is out of date but the territory Rome gained during the Ottoman Civil War was fairly small (referred to as strips and pockets) so I think it's safe to say that the Ottomans control a large majority of northern Mesopotamia.

Unless those Russian groups petition for aid, which would be horrible for Ibrahim, as it'd be a two-front war, and opens up the eastern flank to India. I don't envy Persia atm.
True. I was just trying to make the point that Ibrahim is more likely to expand north/northeast than westwards against Rome. That's if he expands at all as I think he's going to focus on rebuilding what he already has. In particular I think there will be a focus on Mesopotamia to improve it's defences and make the Turks and Arabs more loyal to the Ottoman Empire.

I agree about the selectivity - which is a huge boon, fewer wars, full stop - is a big strategic win for the Romans. Every war avoided because Mesopotamia is on the other side, is a win. THAT is the biggest reason for that frontier. Rather than the (rather indefensible according HanEmpire) current frontiers (which include the N.Euphrates, at least as far as Syria is concerned).
I was thinking of it in the context that while there would be slightly fewer wars the wars wouldn't be any less destructive and that it would just encourage the Persians to support rebel groups if they/when they attack the Romans or else attack whenever the Romans are occupied in the west which would force the Romans to fight on two fronts.

Ah, I overlooked those. The second point I'm not sure is directly analogous. There is being tolerant of rule (which I think applies to the Ottomans atm), and tolerating being transferred without a fight (which the Civil War threatened to do). After being invaded though? I think autonomy could buy tolerance.
Well the trigger for the Turks siding with Ibrahim was the Roman occupation of the Edessa and Amida pockets, and Osman had was concerned that if he appeared to friendly with the Romans he'd be overthrown. It's also worth keeping in mind that the Turkish troops under Osman weren't fighting for autonomy or independence, they wanted more influence in the Ottoman court and empire which they now have. Being ruled by Rome would only make the loss of that influence a certainty.

There is a thread atm talking about the defensibility of the Zagros as a frontier, so I'll hold off on the practicality of its defense (nonetheless, the Tigris does still work in most circumstances).
I'll check that out.
 
Several client states in lower Mesopotamia may be the way to go. Install several ruling lines in say three regional states and support any who toe to the line. Do not let any destroy the other and let them fight over minor border changes. Support them in any invasion from Persia but if they try to be the supreme in the area or invite in the Persians smash them and install a new house.
 
Guys there is a long long history of interaction along the fertile crescent. If you think the Romans can't keep contact in Mesopotamia let me just guide you through the historic methods of transportation, mostly via trade but also in ideas.
Lets say Constantinople to Basra.

We start in Constantinople, we could get on a road through Anatolia and walk or ride to Mesopotamia but that's too slow and through several mountain passes. Not worth it. So we take a boat instead to the ports of the Syrian Coast. Most likely we will travel to Alexandretta/Iskenderun or Latakia, then travel along existing roads to Aleppo/Antioch. From there it is more roads until we reach the banks of the Euphrates River. Then we hop on a boat and ride down the river to Baghdad, in Baghdad we can easily transfer boats to the Tigris if we want to but if we are going to Basra we don't need to. We keep going down river and end up in Basra.

Transit is quick, and transit is cheap. You only need roads for the bit from the Mediterranean Coast to the Euphrates River, and that is a well travelled trade hotspot. It would take you a month to do this. A MONTH. if you had a horse it would be around 25 days. This is easy transportation.
 
Death’s Little Helper: The Romans’ problem is that setting the border ‘in stone’ in Syria is practically impossible. There aren’t any significant natural features save the Euphrates for use as a border; it’s literally a line in the desert. Back in pre-Islam years, the Sassanids seemed to be able to blow through the Roman border at will, even if they had a hard time holding territories as opposed to just wrecking it. If the Romans want a more natural border in Syria that would require falling back to the Amanus mountains which means abandoning all of Syria, including Antioch. That’s why conquering Mesopotamia and establishing the Zagros as a border looks so tempting. Neither option is ideal, but the latter looks better.

I see taking Mesopotamia as a high-reward, high-risk proposition for the Romans. If successful it could be a massive boon to the Romans, more than enough to justify the heavy expenses. On the other hand it could very well epically explode in the Romans’ faces (see my response to RogueTraderEnthusiast to see how).

Ibrahim’s a blank slate at this point in terms of specific ambitions. He does need to save face after losing Khwarezm and India, so conquering something is a must. Right now he’s in rebuilding mode; Iskandar’s wars, while successful while he was alive, were very exhausting for the Ottomans. Where he decides to target will depend on where the best opportunities to arise. That said, he is resentful against the Romans for their support of Osman, and their possession of his younger half-brother Iskandar the Younger make them even more dangerous to him than otherwise. And while from the Roman point of view the Ottomans need to be taken down a peg, the Ottomans feel exactly the same way.

RogueTraderEnthusiast: Any Mesopotamian Despotate, especially one centered on southern Mesopotamia, would be put in the charge of the Shia Arabs of the region. For Despotic clients the Romans want a minority that 1) is strong and numerous to not need constant propping up in order to keep things orderly but also 2) not so strong as to get any ideas that it can manage on its own without Roman backup. The Arabs meet both criteria; the problem with the Assyrian Christians is that while they meet condition 2, it’s questionable whether they meet condition 1.

That said, a Mesopotamian Despotate ruled by Shia Arabs has serious issues. You’d have a majority rather resentful of being ruled by a heretical minority that is further viewed as the puppet of a Christian imperialist power. Meanwhile there’d be a powerful Persian state who shares a religious identity with said majority, which is well placed and ready to support the majority with arms, money, and agents in order to stir up trouble. Sound familiar?

The Romans do control part of northern Mesopotamia; Edessa and Amida never left Roman control. But it’s not a significant portion.

An important thing to keep in mind while considering the loyalty of the Turks in regards to the Roman versus the Persian-Ottoman Empire: The Turks view the Ottoman Empire as their empire. They built it, they defended it, they expanded it. They conquered Persia, and then the Persians up and stole it from them (think the English if England had conquered all of France in the 100 Years War). They don’t want to get out of the Ottoman Empire; they want to take it back. The Romans, well, they’re the ancient enemy. They drove them out of Anatolia in the first place and the two empires have been butting heads practically every generation (save the brief reprieve in the alliance against Shah Rukh) since the late 1300s. The Turks are a very proud people. To give up their legacy, their heroic achievement, to the people they conquered, and become instead the lapdogs of their ancestral foe…that’s going to be nearly impossible to stomach.

AJustMonster: I view Andreas as showing the occasional spark of greatness, but nothing has caught fire.

Frustrated Progressive: It should be noted that Andreas III’s most grandiose claims have all come whilst he had a wine cup in his hands…

Duke of Nova Scotia: Up to Mosul the Romans would probably annex. Fairly small area, easy to clear of Muslims, and Mosul makes for a very nice border fortress. Anything beyond that though would at best be made a Despotate.

HanEmpire: Just wrecking Mesopotamia is another option the Romans have considered. The Romans have done a partial job there in their earlier invasions of Mesopotamia (hence why the Turks immediately flipped to Ibrahim when the Romans openly came in on Osman’s side). The disadvantage though is that wrecking-and-leaving means the Persians can then move in and try to fix the place back up, forcing the Romans to run another smash-and-grab, prompting the Persians to come back in…ad infinitum.

Donald Reaver: Several client states is an idea. The problem though is that a divided Mesopotamia is a weak Mesopotamia, lessening its value as a buffer state. Also the best minority that can be trusted to tow the Roman line and doesn’t have any particular sympathy for an Ottoman state, the Shiite Arabs, are all concentrated in the south. Central Mesopotamia, for example, is Turkish. Period. The Romans could undoubtedly turn some individuals, but after said collaborators start suffering involuntary surgical procedures from their neighbors, the pool of collaborators will dry up pretty quickly.

Evilprodigy: All good points, but there is a big difference between sending a merchant caravan and supplying a 7+ tagmata army.
 
1628: From East to West
1628 continued: The last few generations have been extremely hard on the Wu. Repeated outbreaks of disease plus a few natural disasters, killing both people and livestock, have devastated the population, ruined much of the agricultural base, and left the survivors demoralized. A hundred years ago some relief might have come from maritime trade, with the Black Ships involved in both the internal trade within Island Asia and also exporting raw materials from the Wu land.

That’s not an option anymore. The arrival of the Romans was a serious blow to the mercantile activities of the Black Ships, albeit one that managed to survive in a shrunken state. The arrival of western Europeans, first the Portuguese and now the Triunes, killed what was left. By 1625, it’s doubtful anyone remaining in the Wu lands even knows how to make a Black Ship.

There are Wu who are skilled artisans, scholars, and shipwrights, but they don’t live in the Great South anymore. By 1625 the Wu lands no longer have a money economy, the gold mines seemingly exhausted, now relying entirely on barter and practically ignored by its richer neighbors. The Wu court, which was looking decidedly threadbare by 1550, has disbanded (dynastic collapse played a role here). Without the court and maritime trade the capital of Xi Wang has collapsed; by 1640 it is a ruin pilfered by nearby villagers in search of building materials. The port of Nan, Wu’s ‘Window of the World’, is simply a ruin.

The Wu lands are now split up amongst collections of farming and fishing villages, with some small scale ranching and mining thrown in on the side, ruled by councils of village elders. Writing survives the general collapse for a short time but apparently disappears by 1650. Culture is that of peasant villages, not grand courts or sophisticated port cities.

Those interested in finer things have decamped, although whether this is a cause or effect (or both) of the general collapse of Wu civilization is debated. Romans offer good terms for Wu emigrants, the last major shipload arriving in New Constantinople in 1628. They are smart and industrious, offering valuable service as artisans, sailors, shipwrights, and scribes. Here in Island Asia there is a need for such things; in the old Wu domains the fanciest products are small fishing boats. Many of the Wu end up in Singapura, which by mid-century is typically called Singapore. Although the Roman settlement predates their arrival, it is the Wu who put the place on the map and most of the grand structures in the Old City were built by the emigrants or their immediate descendants, showing that once removed from the poverty of the Great South, their genius and skill has not dissipated.

The Wu emigrants do not forget their origins, but show little to no interest in those who were left behind. The rest of the world displays a similar indifference. Once the Black Ships ceased to sail, Wu stopped attracting the attention of outsiders. It was off the main shipping lanes and itself produced only bulk items of little value after the decline of the gold mines. Those who stayed behind remember the outside world in oral stories told around the campfire, although those who remained were the ones who interacted the least with the outside world even when the Great South was at its peak. The villages survive, fishing and farming, but as far as the rest of the world is concerned, the Wu are at an end.

Although providing Rhomania in the East a valuable boost in manpower and technical skill, the Imperial heartland doesn’t notice, distracted by more immediately significant events in Europe and the Mediterranean.

While Andreas is making his way through Thrakesia, there is a major riot in Tyre. A German sailor had converted to Orthodoxy and was lodging in an inn in the suburbs. The head of the local Templars [1] with a posse kidnapped said sailor, intending to put him on a ship heading back to the HRE to be handed over to the Inquisition. A mob quickly gathered to stop this, then went on a rampage through the German quarter, although only three Germans were killed and no fires started.

Historians argue over whether anti-German, anti-Catholic, or anti-Templar animus was the main spark. All three are extant in Rhomania. The Templars, although very few in number in Rhomania (a hundred-residing in the various German quarters; more are extant amongst the Nile Germans), are especially distrusted. Dedicated to the cause of the pope, their name also inspires reminiscences of the Crusades. One reason for the extreme antipathy shown towards the Polish King Casimir V (which may have played a key role in the Romans’ willingness to bankroll Russian opposition to him) is that he is often in the company of Templars.

To be fair, Emperor Theodor is not a particular fan of the Templars either. The graduates of their schools do make useful bureaucrats, but he doesn’t trust anyone who would put the Pope over him in their loyalties. It is unlikely the Roman people know about this; it is less likely that they would care.

Pope Paul IV of Rome is aware of Theodor’s antipathy to the Templars but he has good reason to overlook it. Theodor’s diplomacy played a large part in the Roman papacy’s latest triumph, the transfer of Scandinavia’s loyalty from Avignon to Rome. The dissatisfaction towards Avignon felt by the Scandinavians is identical to that felt by the Hungarians. Only Arletian and Iberian concerns and individuals gain any consideration and Scandinavian representation in the College of Cardinals has been completely nonexistent since a single representative died in 1562.

Only Arles, the Bernese League, Spain, Aragon, Mexico, the Kingdom of the Isles, and the Catholics of Sicily (who have been steadily losing ground to the Orthodox) now follow the Avignon See. It is a humiliating reverse.

Meanwhile in Iberia, a rather unexpected firestorm has broken out. Ever since the Roman defeat at Dellys, Sultan Mouley Ismail has been making rumbling noises in the direction of Al-Andalus, the one portion of the Marinid domain outside his grasp. Nothing substantial has come of it, until now.

Before the storm breaks though, the Sultan sends an unexpected but welcome gift to Sicily, the corpse of the great corsair al-Izmirli. The Sultan had recently ordered him strangled because of the corsair’s repeated insubordinations, including attacks on Roman shipping, and a few veiled and not-so-veiled threats against the Sultan’s person. If he wants to invade Al-Andalus, having the Roman navy on the attack is something best avoided and those threats really need to be silenced.

It is fortunate for al-Izmirli that he is long dead before he reaches Sicilian shores. His corpse is torn to pieces by an enraged mob. Considering the amount of suffering he has inflicted on the Christian peoples of the Mediterranean, the Sicilian response is understandable. In the words of a modern historian of the period “There is no way to know how many people he captured and sold into slavery. Estimates vary from fifty to two hundred thousand over the course of his forty-year career, with about one hundred thousand the most common estimate. Considering that, and looking at his miserable and unimpressive end, it is easy to argue that he had it coming.”

In Cordoba Malik Ibrahim II is worried about the looming Marinid threat. Unsure of his ability to resist an African invasion alone, he opens negotiations with the new King of Spain for a mutual defense pact. Before he can get anywhere, a palace coup led by his son Nasr overthrows and kills him.

The coup is the action of a pro-Marinid faction in the higher echelons of the Andalusi hierarchy, who fear Spanish domination more than the Marinids. Many of the members are conservative religious officials who resent the prominence of local Catholics and Jews in the Andalusi government and society. Many have sympathy for the austere religiosity of Hayyatist Islam which dominates North Africa and others are impressed that it was the Marinid Sultan who redeemed the Black Stone from infidel captivity.

King Ferdinand I of Spain is outraged by this and also rather concerned by the pro-Marinid bent of the Andalusi government. If Cordoba sides with Marrakesh, the Marinids have a straight shot at Spain. It could be the Rio Salado all over again. He immediately dispatches men and materials to reinforce the border fortresses and musters the pride of the Spanish fleet, the heavy galleons of Lisbon.

Nasr is young and inexperienced. The Spanish moves are defensive in nature but he panics, calling on Sultan Ismail for immediate aid. Ismail, immediately noticing a golden opportunity, rushes nine thousand Marinid troops to Cartagena, while mustering a much larger force to follow.

All of Spain is outraged when this news arrives from the south. The King immediately makes preparations to call up more troops and ships and writes to the Pope in Avignon, in the letter writing that the security of Spain is incompatible with the existence of an independent Al-Andalus. He gets no argument from the Pope, who after Scandinavia’s defection has absolutely no wish to antagonize his most powerful secular supporter.

Ferdinand can call up an impressive array of men and ships, but money is a different matter. The Pope authorizes the King to tax the Spanish church to fund the war effort, the tax called the cruzada after the old crusading tax on which this grant is modeled. This is vital lubrication for the Spanish war machine. Three weeks after the first Marinid troops land in Iberia, Spain declares war on Al-Andalus.

The White Palace has been following the situation, and Ferdinand approaches the Roman government to request a loan. Andreas gives his approval and the Imperial Bank floats a loan of a million hyperpyra.

While the Spanish envoys are in Constantinople arranging the money transfer, news arrives in the city that cheers the hearts of both Romans and Spaniards. Off the Mandrare River delta on the south coast of Madagascar the largest Triune convoy of Indiamen ever sent from the east back to Europe is intercepted by a squadron of eleven Roman and two Egyptian warships.

The Roman victory is total, with no ships lost (although five lose at least one mast) while capturing three Triune escorts and no less than fourteen Indiamen, fully loaded with the fine wares of East Asia. It is the farthest south a Roman fleet has ever ranged along the coast of Africa. More immediately, the loot is immense. Even the youngest Egyptian midshipman [2] receives 97 hyperpyra [3]. Said Egyptian midshipman is twelve-year-old Leo Kalomeros, born on the docks of Alexandria as Napoleone di Buonaparte.


[1]: These are not the Templar warrior-monks of old. The order ITTL was disbanded in similar circumstances to OTL. However a new order, designed to counter Orthodox reformer-administrator-bishops such as Ioannes of Avlona (see the reign of Nikephoros IV), was established by the Mainz Papacy to bolster the Catholic Church. Thus the new Order of the Templars is TTL’s version of the Jesuits.

[2] The Egyptians follow the Roman practice. Prior to becoming recognized naval officers, candidates must pass both school training and have three years of sea service. An officer candidate undergoing his sea service is called a midshipman. School and sea training can be taken in either order but both must be passed. Some midshipmen never pass the sea exam but remain in naval service as ‘old midshipmen’.

[3] By comparison, a Roman line infantryman’s base pay is 3-4 hyperpyra per month, see ‘Worth of a Hyperpyron’ Interlude.
 
AHAHAHAH, so when did 1600s!Roman!Nappy end up in the Despotate of Egypt? I totally forget anything about Roman-Corsican interactions, or is it an Arletian thing?

That bit about the Wu, were they in Australia, or in China?
 
That bit about the Wu, were they in Australia, or in China?
Australia, they're the remnants of old Imperial Wu who fled Shah Rukh's invasion of China. Shame about their fall, but I suppose pre-modern civilizations would have a hard time creating any form of prosperity in Australia. Harsh land, deathworld flora & fauna, difficult trade routes, etc.

This update seems to really drive home how many TTL medieval vestiges are being shredded away by modernity. The Wu, progressive Arletian Catholicism (though this has been collapsing for a long time), West-oriented Andalusian Islam, greater religious tolerance in the Empire, etc.

I'm surprised though, at the fact that Egypt is operating warships so far south. I'd have thought they wouldn't be rich enough to have much of a blue water navy, not after losing Alexandria.

EDIT: What concessions did the Catholics make to the Romans to get them to agree to Templar presence on Imperial soil? Arch-Crusaders, loyal to the very same Church that contributed to the Black Day. That's a pretty heavy reputation to work through.
 
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AHAHAHAH, so when did 1600s!Roman!Nappy end up in the Despotate of Egypt? I totally forget anything about Roman-Corsican interactions, or is it an Arletian thing?

That bit about the Wu, were they in Australia, or in China?
TTL Napoleon was born in Alexandria after his parents shifted there due to some reason I couldn't remember.

The Wu are in Australia or Nan as they call it
 
That bit about the Wu, were they in Australia, or in China?
The Wu fled to Australia when the Timurids conquered China under Shah Rukh IIRC.

Such a sad end for the Wu and the future of Al-Andalus doesn't look so bright either. I am curious as to how Spain has developed since the end of the Reconquista. It also wouldn't surprise me if Andreas seeks some sort of retribution against the Marinids for their piracy and past transgressions in North Africa.
 
Many of the Wu end up in Singapura, which by mid-century is typically called Singapore. Although the Roman settlement predates their arrival, it is the Wu who put the place on the map and most of the grand structures in the Old City were built by the emigrants or their immediate descendants, showing that once removed from the poverty of the Great South, their genius and skill has not dissipated.
Interesting to see how the world's first large scale economic migration helps to strengthen Singapore (or maybe Singapolis or even Leontopolis - given -pura's Sanskrit origins share a common root with Greek's -polis)

Donald Reaver: Several client states is an idea. The problem though is that a divided Mesopotamia is a weak Mesopotamia, lessening its value as a buffer state. Also the best minority that can be trusted to tow the Roman line and doesn’t have any particular sympathy for an Ottoman state, the Shiite Arabs, are all concentrated in the south. Central Mesopotamia, for example, is Turkish. Period. The Romans could undoubtedly turn some individuals, but after said collaborators start suffering involuntary surgical procedures from their neighbors, the pool of collaborators will dry up pretty quickly.
RogueTraderEnthusiast: Any Mesopotamian Despotate, especially one centered on southern Mesopotamia, would be put in the charge of the Shia Arabs of the region. For Despotic clients the Romans want a minority that 1) is strong and numerous to not need constant propping up in order to keep things orderly but also 2) not so strong as to get any ideas that it can manage on its own without Roman backup. The Arabs meet both criteria; the problem with the Assyrian Christians is that while they meet condition 2, it’s questionable whether they meet condition 1.

That said, a Mesopotamian Despotate ruled by Shia Arabs has serious issues. You’d have a majority rather resentful of being ruled by a heretical minority that is further viewed as the puppet of a Christian imperialist power. Meanwhile there’d be a powerful Persian state who shares a religious identity with said majority, which is well placed and ready to support the majority with arms, money, and agents in order to stir up trouble. Sound familiar?
Hmm, If you want to create a powerful buffer state, but one unlikely to rebel, why not do what the British did in its Asian colonies - divide and rule. Assign each minority group a certain role within society - i.e. Turks - security, Shia Arabs - bureaucracy, orient the Assyrian Christians toward trade and business. Everyone will be too busy guarding their share of the pie against the other groups seeking to "steal what is rightfully theirs" to unite against the foreign invader. This worked well enough to keep the British in power in India and Malaya for a long time, admittedly at the cost of modern ethnic/religious strife. That could be the first step in really integrating the region, as more intensive measures are stepped up (Hellenization and proselytizing). That would be a step above the British's efforts as proselytizing the natives wasn't a priority for them and if done well could have extended their rule by many decades.

An alternative of course, would be to promote the greater culture above all as a unifying factor - Rhomaion not a culture from one people, but a culture made strong by many. Grant them sufficient autonomy, invest enough in public infrastructure to make them feel truly Rhoman and given their status as way more diverse than today's Iraq would ease the process of Rhomanization/acculturation.

Three weeks after the first Marinid troops land in Iberia, Spain declares war on Al-Andalus.
How has Aragon been reacting to this? I'm sure it to join in the carving of Al-Andalus. Revival of the Iberian Alliance perhaps?

Even the youngest Egyptian midshipman [2] receives 97 hyperpyra [3]. Said Egyptian midshipman is twelve-year-old Leo Kalomeros, born on the docks of Alexandria as Napoleone di Buonaparte
Naval oriented Leo makes for good colonies and much overseas action? I like it :)
 
Admiral Napoleon! Now that's what I call irony. Well, pretty awesome as ever. I personally would prefer a status-quo-ante-bellum in the Andalusian War, I like independent Andalus and a Spain under Portuguese thumbs. A map may be needed though, but I dont want to add pressure. Good work!
 
1. Fallen "Great South" have instantly became one of my favorite places in TTL world. There's something "magic" in fallen civilizations, with hints of former glory slowly disappearing.

2. Admiral Napoleon leading the Empire to glory on the seas is wonderfull. We've had many greal generals, but few naval heroes (here and in other timelines). I hope he leads resurgent Rome to new heights.

3. Since Wu have fallen I again start to root for Roman New Zealand.

4. Interesting dynamic in Spain, was not expecting it. You're getting even better with creating realistic timeline.

Definitely one of my favorite updates in some time.
 
The story has progressed really well. I think a Roman appearance in Australia would really be interesting. Imagine the Wu hold the north part, and you could have the Romans take Perth , Adelaide, Melbourne, and Tasmania.
 
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