An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Please dont have a roman australia. Can we have on continent not be undrr them for someone else? Hopefully the civil war will prevent it.
ITTL, around that time, Spain had pretty much a big chunk of the New World. The Rhomanians have mostly smallish colonies, more enclaves than anything else, and if I remember correctly, their holdings in the Americas are more or less independent.
 
I thought they had one or two islands in the Caribbean... Then again I can't remember if they did not though.

It would be cool for them to have the Mississippi Delta though, much power for such a small area.
 
whats the theological development of religion in this world?
Catholics quietly fear Orthodox, Orthodox quietly fear Muslim, Muslims quietly fear Hindu, Hindus hate Muslim, Muslims hate Orthodox, Orthodox hate Catholic, and the Catholics are oblivious of Hindu attitudes.

Bert and Ernie simple assessment but not too far.
 
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I just finally caught up with the TL, by far my favorite that I've read so far.
One thing I've been wondering for a bit, are the Ethiopians nervous about Odysseus being the potential future Emperor?
I remember that Jahzara was originally married to Demetrios because her father rebelled against his brother and her uncle(?) didn't want to kill her, so married her to someone unimportant in Rhomania.
 
I remember that Jahzara was originally married to Demetrios because her father rebelled against his brother and her uncle(?) didn't want to kill her, so married her to someone unimportant in Rhomania.
That's an interesting point. Has Jahzara in her quest to push her husband to the center of Imperial power still retained any animosity towards her homeland? Perhaps when her husband has become even more powerful she'll be able to take revenge for her father?
 
Floppy_seal99: Some of the political refugees fleeing the Lombard annexations of northern/central Italy ended up setting up shop in Egypt; the Bonaparte family was part of that group.

The Wu were the dynasty that ruled southern China in between the fall of the Yuan and the establishment of the Tieh. Some fleeing Shah Rukh ended up in Australia.

HanEmpire: There’s a cultural interlude update coming up that’ll be discussing how this period (the first third of the 1600s) is both the finale of the Middle Ages and the beginning of much of what ATL considers modern, for good and ill.

Egypt’s blue water navy is really small, a half-dozen fregatai at most. The two were only able to range so far south with Roman support.

The Templars are tightly restricted in terms of numbers present and where they can be (a few ports). It’s a concession the Romans gave for the sake of boosting trade with Latin Europe, but as that cultural interlude will show the Roman concession is minimal.

Did the Maori have the capability for long-distance sea travel by this point?

I’d be lying if I said EUIII/IV have not given me ideas for this TL.

Earl Marshal: Spain compared to OTL is looking much better. It’s more developed because investment has stayed in the country and hasn’t wasted so much blood and treasure being the policeman of Europe. It doesn’t have nearly the raw power of Philip II’s Spain, but it’s a healthier organization. Relations between Castile and Portugal are much more amiable than OTL with the two partnering together to win overseas territories.

Al-Andalus has been prosperous as well, but elements have been growing nervous about the growing power to the north, first the personal union of Castile and Portugal and now the political. While the Spanish would likely have grown interested in taking over their weaker neighbor to the south, and definitely at least turning into a puppet, the pro-Marinid coup has outraged all of Spanish society. North Africa is the ancient enemy, the boogeyman in the closet, and from their perspective the Andalusi just opened the door to them.

Retribution to the Marinids is desirable but revenge against the Ottomans is a much more urgent priority in the White Palace.

Evilprodigy: I type up these responses in a word file, often over the course of some days, and then just copy-paste the whole file in the submission box. It saves me time.

ImperatorAlexander: A Roman Australia is now on the table again. There would still be a significant Chinese element since there are still several peasant villages existing in the area.

Napoleon joined the Egyptian navy because it was easier/cheaper given his family’s limited resources, but his goal is to use his Egyptian career to gain some notoriety and get a transfer to the Roman service.

Boa: I’m probably going to call it Singapore, but purely for the sake of clarity.

The problem with divide and rule in Mesopotamia is that the Romans don’t have much to work with. From the Roman perspective, the Sunni Turks can’t be trusted with any power and that takes out a huge chunk of the manpower. The best option from the Roman point of view would be to use the Shia Arabs to keep the Turks down.

Hellenization is a long-term solution and in Mesopotamia I don’t think it’ll work. The Arabs of Syria and Palestine have been very resistant to Hellenization, with a long-developed tradition of culture and religion. Parts of Syria are now Greek but that’s because Greeks were moved in and Arabs moved out. Now that’s not to say there’d be no crossovers; Mesopotamian Melkites could become a thing but their numbers would be small.

Aragon is interested in attacking Al-Andalus but they’ve been on a steady course to irrelevance ever since Andreas I took Sicily from them.

The Triunes have an India trade company, recently established. It gets mentioned in an upcoming update. The Romans don’t have any plans for something similar. Forcing all the ship-lords into one company would make herding cats look easy.

Multiethnic/cultural Australia-as long as you agree that grilled shrimp with olive oil and garlic tastes magnificent, you’re alright. Oh, you prefer cold beef with mustard? Go play with emus. ;)

Aishio: There won’t be a map for a while since there’ll be some big border changes coming up fairly soon (1638? 1640?).

Stark: Glad you enjoyed it.

EmperorSimeon: That’s one OOC reason for the fall of Wu. I do like the idea of a Roman Australia (which I may call Antarctica because that’s how I roll).

MarshalofMontival: Keep an eye out then on the new Triune Emperor.

Aristomenes: New Zealand has not been discovered yet (save the Maori of course). A Roman Darwin paying a visit to the Galapagos is a possibility but if so a long ways away.

Babyrage: Between foreign pressure and the growing power of the Katepanos the ship lords aren’t as dominant as they used to be but they’re still a major player. There are fewer than there were seventy-five years ago, but each one individual is more powerful. So the Katepano can overawe any individual ship lord, but if a half-dozen band together the government has to take them very seriously.

Duke of Nova Scotia: Greater Anatolia? (Anatolia does mean ‘east’)

Theodoros IV’s opinion of mini-Andreas: Jesus Christ man, stop screwing Maria and implement the tax reform! Gold is such an aphrodisiac; I mean, it gets me so excited…

I agree that the Romans would be much better off if they focused on eastern trade and conquest, namely locking down Island Asia. The three Katepanates there (New Constantinople, Pyrgos, and Pahang) are all slowly expanding but it’s mainly through local resources. But dealing with uber-Persia takes first priority.

Jkarr: Roman Australia is a possibility, not a guarantee.

JohnSmith: The Romans, Spanish, and Triunes are all major European players in the east, plus the Dutch, Arletians, and a few Scandinavians and Germans. So it’s a very multipolar situation which means messy. But you’re right in that the fact that the Triunes and Spanish also have New World holdings means their attention is split.

RogueTraderEnthusiast: Nobody is going to be making a grab for Australia while control of the Spice Islands is still up in the air. The Romans dominate in the south (courtesy of ethnic cleansing), the Spanish have a shaky dominion in the north, and the Triunes really really really want in.

Romans have controlled Taprobane (Ceylon) for close to a century, although their rule of the interior is indirect. It is, far and away, the most powerful Roman Katepanate.

Dominic: Wu settlement was a very thin veneer. Right now nobody is remotely interested in Australia.

Romans in the New World: I’ve expressed a desire for having a Roman West Indies (at most comparable to the Danish West Indies) but they’ve never appeared in the TL proper. Mexico doesn’t count as a Roman territory. The only thing Greek about it is the last name of the ruling family, plus some Roman artisans in Texcoco.

Kimo321: The Ethiopians are concerned but not extremely so. Odysseus after all has no memory of Ethiopia and identifies clearly as Roman. Jahzara in a position of power is more worrisome.
 
HanEmpire: There’s a cultural interlude update coming up that’ll be discussing how this period (the first third of the 1600s) is both the finale of the Middle Ages and the beginning of much of what ATL considers modern, for good and ill.
Wasn't the Fall of Rome to Andreas regarded as the end of the Middle Ages ITTL? I remember a TTL historian talking about how it reflected the Middle Ages beginning with the Fall of the Western Empire.
 
Napoleon joined the Egyptian navy because it was easier/cheaper given his family’s limited resources, but his goal is to use his Egyptian career to gain some notoriety and get a transfer to the Roman service.
And it's safe to assume that the recent loot has helped significantly in improving his position?

I was reading on Wikipedia and found this interest tidbit on OTL Napoleon (An examiner observed that Napoleon "has always been distinguished for his application in mathematics. He is fairly well acquainted with history and geography... This boy would make an excellent sailor"). Very interesting given the direction he is going here.
 
JohnSmith: The Romans, Spanish, and Triunes are all major European players in the east, plus the Dutch, Arletians, and a few Scandinavians and Germans. So it’s a very multipolar situation which means messy. But you’re right in that the fact that the Triunes and Spanish also have New World holdings means their attention is split.
Could it also be argued that the Romans have an additional advantage because of a larger population base (heartland and overseas) and considerably more financial resources that can be invested into further developing their colonial holdings?
 
RogueTraderEnthusiast: Nobody is going to be making a grab for Australia while control of the Spice Islands is still up in the air. The Romans dominate in the south (courtesy of ethnic cleansing), the Spanish have a shaky dominion in the north, and the Triunes really really really want in.

Romans have controlled Taprobane (Ceylon) for close to a century, although their rule of the interior is indirect. It is, far and away, the most powerful Roman Katepanate.
It sounds like a fun situation.

I'm unsure, what sort of impact does the Empire Proper have? If they're pretty hands off, would they be able to tilt the scales and end the conflict for the Spice Islands?
 
Duke of Nova Scotia: Greater Anatolia? (Anatolia does mean ‘east’)

Theodoros IV’s opinion of mini-Andreas: Jesus Christ man, stop screwing Maria and implement the tax reform! Gold is such an aphrodisiac; I mean, it gets me so excited…

I agree that the Romans would be much better off if they focused on eastern trade and conquest, namely locking down Island Asia. The three Katepanates there (New Constantinople, Pyrgos, and Pahang) are all slowly expanding but it’s mainly through local resources. But dealing with uber-Persia takes first priority.
Good point, then again it's all Greek to me!

Yeah, when are we going to see that sexy tax reform? I am weird and love it when a state restructures its taxes. It is one of the most human pieces of history we have because it really is the bread and butter of a State and their People. Is it selfish of me to hope to have him kick Andreas III in the ass in a dream, or haze after an accident/illness? I blame you though for writing a character I relate to so much, to want to see him even if it is over a hundred years since he died in battle.

I feel to centralise the far east, it would take as dynamic of a Shiplord as Andreas Angelos, because I think it was mentioned, it would be like corralling a herd of cats. Or slowly pinch them in their purses, by gradually upping the governments take, and naval squadrons answering solely to the White Palace. "Relieve them of the burden" so they can focus on the merchant marine. Really, honestly, the Emperor has only your best bottom dollar at heart my good Ship-Lord. We do have a dynamic sailor however, who historically had a very strong sense of responsibility to his people. Lucky Rome for having him as one of theirs, now just to make sure he does not see the deficiency of those above him as threat to his people. If he builds a strong report with "Nea-Megas" (that's tongue in cheek) he could see it his life's mission to strengthen The Empire's hold over her Greater Anatolian (much better flow btw) domains, and bring the most divisive to a swift test of their loyalties. A whiff of Vlach-shot can shake all but the thickest of heads it seems.

Damn looming horsetail bannered monsters, of scary military capability and resources, and the horses they rode in on! Always got to hog the stage don't they... greedy buggers they are.
 
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1629
HanEmpire: The fall of Rome to Andreas I is the standard end of the Middle Ages ITTL historiography. But of course historians never agree on anything. Also even if one argues that the Middle Ages ended there, that doesn’t mean medieval elements didn’t continue on.

ImperatorAlexander: His share has helped, although he’s still a very small fry. But keep a look for him come the early 1630s…

The comments about how Napoleon IOTL seemed to be inclined towards a naval career was the inspiration for TTL Kalomeros.

JohnSmith: It’s a theoretical advantage. The Romans have greater manpower resources than the Spanish and greater financial resources over both the Spanish and Triunes (the 3 are the big players; everyone else are medium-rates at best) but they've been deploying a smaller percentage to overseas affairs since the 1580s.

RogueTraderEnthusiast: The Roman government isn’t completely hands-off but private initiative plays a majority role. To give an example, if the Romans decided to put up a 20-ship fleet, eight of those would be coming from the Katepano with the other 12 coming from Ship Lords with the biggest among them putting up 3 or 4.

If the Roman government decided to go all-out, it would make a big difference. That is how Taprobane was taken; Nikephoros IV was willing to finance and equip a tagma-sized expedition to do so. The problem is that is super expensive and the Empire doesn’t have the spare cash for that to be a serious option. The Empire’s tax structure would still be very familiar to Theodoros IV and Andreas I while warfare has become more expensive and the Romans now have an uber-Persia with which to deal.

Duke of Nova Scotia: I’m planning a series of topical updates and the tax reform plus some administrative reforms will be one in that series, probably the first. I miss Theodoros IV too, which is why I have his writings pop up every now and then; it seems a good way to get some of the snark back.

Your analysis of how to centralize the Roman East is spot-on. The Ship Lords control powerful squadrons of vessels because that has been the only way to guarantee security. The Katepanos are getting more powerful and able to provide some security so at this point a Katepano can overawe any individual Ship Lord, but the group itself still is more powerful.

Another factor moving in the government’s favor is that beforehand naval power was all that mattered. As Roman territory expands, land power becomes more important and the Katepanos have control over the tourmatic districts so in any scenario where boots are needed on the ground, the government’s strength is too powerful to be questioned. So in Taprobane where the Katepano has 6,000+ soldiers under arms, his word is law, while off the China coast the Ship Lords can do whatever they please (a key factor why Roman-Chinese relations are so bad).



"Cui bono?"-Cicero
1629: The Triunes are utterly enraged when they hear what has befallen their India convoy. Now in the waters of India and Island Asia engagements do happen between Romans, Triunes, and Spanish forces as no parties appreciate the presence of the others but an attack this far away from those shores is unprecedented.

The Triune protestations over the location of the battle, although the Romans recognize some legitimacy (their treaty with the Spanish dictates that while east of Malacca it is an open season, west of ‘the line’ attacks on the other are considered breaches of the peace), are not the real issue.

The real issue is that the attack hurt. The newly established India Company is absolutely hammered, the price of its shares on the six-year-old London Stock Exchange collapsing from 27 pounds to 8, panicking other investors who sell their other stocks, triggering a general price collapse. Fortunately for the brokers a convoy from the Numenor Company puts into Portsmouth a few days later with a large consignment of Mexican silver, which helps restore some confidence in the market.

Some of the Numenor investors do quite well out of the crisis. Using the windfall from the convoy, they lap up other stocks at their current low prices, all of them seeing substantial returns in the future. But many who had invested heavily in the India Company have been utterly ruined and are quite resentful of the Romans for their ‘perfidy’. Most are petty bourgeoisie or members of the professional classes, but two substantial members of this group are the Duc d’Anjou and the Earl of Wentworth.

Meanwhile to the south the Andalusi war is going well for the Spanish. With the cruzada tax and the Roman loan providing vital gold, the tercios are now sweeping down into the Guadalquivir valley, the backbone of Al-Andalus. Despite the actions of the court in Cordoba, many of the locals welcome in the Spanish, many of the nobility negotiating favorable terms for themselves, guaranteeing their property and freedom of worship. The Jews of Al-Andalus in particular cheer on the Spanish offensive, as Lisbon is unlikely to massacre them. The same cannot be said for Marrakesh.

Now though Marinid troops are flooding into Al-Andalus, the surge pushing the Spanish back. The retreat ends however at Jaen, where after being reinforced by Aragonese and a contingent of Arletians, Ferdinand turns on the Marinid-Andalusi army. Both sides muster between thirty and forty thousand men. The battle of Jaen is hard fought, lasting a day and a half, but on the afternoon of July 16 a furious Spanish artillery bombardment, followed by a heavy cavalry charge, annihilates the Marinid right wing. By sunset, the Marinid-Andalusi army is in panicked flight, Spanish horse cutting them down by the hundreds.

It is a crushing victory for the Spanish, unparalleled in Iberia since Las Navas de Tolosa, fought on the same day 417 years earlier. And this time the victory is followed up, the Spanish sweeping back down the Guadalquivir, encountering little resistance until the ramparts of Cordoba. The capital of Al-Andalus defies them for a time but the walls are not the best suited to withstanding the elephant guns, the original Roman-designed fifty-pounder siege guns used across Christendom.

Before the elephants begin the cannonading, Ferdinand is in contact with elements within the city, Mozarabic Christians and Jews who are decidedly unhappy with the Marinid presence. Apparently most of the North African soldiery have a habit of demanding items from the shopkeepers and then beating up said shopkeeper if he or she has the temerity to insist on being paid. They are willing to open the city gates to the Spanish provided Ferdinand will allow them to remain in Cordoba, their property and persons guaranteed, along with specified legal rights.

Unfortunately for them, the conspiracy is exposed before it can take effect and the Marinids go on a rampage through Cordoba, massacring Jews and Christians. They kill some Andalusi Muslims too since they all look alike, but from the perspective of the Hayyatist [1] school of Islam the Muslim authenticity of the Andalusi is rather suspect. The death toll is debated, but around 2500 is the most common estimate of the slain. Not all of the infidels are killed however. The survivors are suspended in cages outside the city’s ramparts where they can act as cushioning for the masonry against Spanish cannonballs.

Despite this, a practicable breach is made in the defenses on September 1 and it is stormed the following day after Nasr refuses to surrender. Per the laws of war, Cordoba is given over to sack and ruin, fires burning in some quarters until September 10. Miraculously the Alhambra Palace [Constructed in Cordoba ITTL as opposed to Granada] takes little damage, having been quickly secured by the Royal Bodyguard, and to Ferdinand’s immense delight the great library, the fifth largest in Europe (Constantinople, the Vatican, the Avignon Papal, and Paris are the four bigger-Buda before the Roman sack would’ve been included here), is untouched. By the time the last fires are put out, the King is arranging scholars from across his domain to come and start cataloging the contents.

Sultan Nasr manages to escape from Cordoba, fleeing to Granada. Many of the garrison are not so lucky. While the Andalusi troops are given the rights of prisoners of war, the Marinid soldiery are handed over to the countryside relations of the Mozarabs and Jews they murdered. The Field of Blood one drives past on the modern Cordoba-Toledo highway is where the 350 Marinid survivors of the storming were torn to pieces.

The lower Guadalquivir puts up less of a fight. Seville and Cadiz are both dominated by the Emir of Seville, Yusuf ibn Ibrahim, who claims descent from the Wolf King, the ruler of Murcia in the mid-1100s who was a friend to the Christians and a formidable foe to the Almohads. These commercial towns have been hard-hit by Barbary corsairs and so have the least love of any of the Andalusi for the Marinids. On October 1 he meets with King Ferdinand and bends the knee, surrendering his large governance to the Spanish crown. Ferdinand promptly bestows it back on Yusuf, making him the first Muslim governor to serve the Spanish monarchy. With this ceremony, Ferdinand is now in command of the entire Guadalquivir valley.

Emperor Andreas III is kept well informed of the actions in Spain from the reports of Logothete Sarantenos. After traveling down through western Anatolia, he took ship from Attaleia and stopped in both Rhodes and Crete, before returning to Europe at Monemvasia. Then it is a long traverse through Greece.

Before leaving Asia he had to deal with one rather unpleasant event. Two months before the Emperor arrived in Attaleia some troops of the Thrakesian tagma were on military exercises near Myra when Nikolaios of Myra, the archimandrite of several large monasteries in the region, turned up and ordered the troops to deal with some brigands that have been pilfering the monastic herds.

The archimandrite is within his rights to request such an action, although that said such a request would likely be denied. That is a task for the local kentarchiai militia. The problem is that Nikolaios ordered the soldiers to attack the brigands. Now the soldiers did take immediate action, arresting the archimandrite. By law, the only civilian officials that can order soldiers around are the Megas Logothete and the Eparch of Constantinople (in his role of securing the defense of Constantinople), and in their specific districts a Kephale, Prokathemos (lieutenant to the Kephale), or Kastrophylax (commander of provincial militia and fortifications, excluding ‘imperial’ fortresses overseen by the army).

For anyone else to order regular troops into military action is an act of high treason and the penalty for that is death. The law was written to prevent any dynatoi from getting too ambitious but even so Nikolaios is clearly guilty of breaking that law. Still executing a senior cleric seems an overreaction.

Andreas disagrees. Per the doctrine of Sub-Legal Absolutism, which has become rather prominent since the Flowering, within the bounds of the law the Emperor’s will is law, but even the Emperor is not above the law (the obvious counter is that the Emperor can write his will into law, but it is still somewhat of a check of Imperial despotism). If the Emperor is not above the law, than an archimandrite is certainly not above it either. Furthermore Imperial control of the army is not to be threatened for even an instant. Andreas personally orders Nikolaios’ execution by long knife; the Patriarch is not amused when he hears the news.

The islands and Hellas prove to be quieter and less controversial, with one large exception. As the Spanish are cutting down the Marinid army at Jaen, Andreas makes a procession into Athens. From a building adjacent to the Emperor’s path a musket booms out. Nobody ever figures out where the ball ended up, but the Emperor is unharmed.

The Imperial Guard, immediately storming the building, grabs the would-be assassin before he can make his getaway. The hardest part is preventing the crowd from tearing the man to pieces before he can be questioned. The assassin turns out to be an insane Pomeranian who believes Andreas III is the antichrist and that if he is killed, Armageddon will come. Despite repeated tortures, the man insists he acted alone on his ‘quest from God’.

Typically Roman law gives some leniency when insanity is involved, but regicide is not one of those areas. The Pomeranian is dragged through the streets of Athens behind a pair of horses, the eyes that aimed the shot gouged out, his tongue ripped out, the right hand that pulled the trigger slow-roasted over a fire, and then the man is tied up, weighed down with stones, and cast into the ocean.

Two months later, while Andreas is now in Thessaloniki, word arrives that his eldest son, Zeno of Volos, age 7, is dead. While on an excursion to Nicaea, there was some sort of boating accident on Lake Ascanius and he drowned. There’s no evidence of foul play but more than a few whisper that Elizabeth arranged it. Although it is doubtful seeing that it would seriously endanger her position, some claim she arranged the insane Pomeranian as well.

[1] Dominant in North Africa ITTL, it is similar to OTL Wahhabism.
 
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