An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

The best use of it I can think of is as an explosive in a Howitzer-type cannon where the goal is not to plow through ranks of infantry at long range but lob an AoE projectile over the ranks or walls or wagons a shorter distance to deliver an explosive charge. Sort of like the houfnice of the Hussite Wars I suppose.

Alternatively clay grenades with lit fuses or otherwise (if Greek fire ignited by contact with oxygen then fuses would not be necessary) could be useful for light cavalry raiding groups to charge into a camp or village and lob them at something to shatter and ignite before turning around and retreating. They could potentially also be useful as something to drop on enemies from the tops of walls or other fortifications. They would also be fantastic given to melee troops to shatter pike formations or other massed infantry if they could get close enough. It could give the Romans grenadier type units long before they were invented IOTL.

And if you want to go absolutely crazy you could combine the two and have clay or iron grenades filled with Greek fire launched from a handcannon on horseback into lines of musketmen or other massed infantry.
If we treat the early shells of the 1370s as something that could have happened ITTL (or about to), it could be as simple as a bitumin-cloth ceramic shell.

I mean (1) A damn shell. o_O. Start making that standard use in Roman artillery and you've got an edge for sure. But take the principle of the shell and the bitumen cloth starts it burning from firing, and since you're not too fussed about whether your Greek Fire is dispersed on impact with the ground, or mid-air, as long as it isn't IN THE CANNON - and you've got a terrifying, and simple, method of deploying it.

.... I look forward to a Roman Artillery College.

Plus, a slightly more reckless use would be in hand grenades given to light cavalry. I don't know what the typical burn time of the stuff is meant to be, but light cavalry sent out to deny a flank by dropping Greek fire hand grenades behind them with a short fuse? (Or even dropping them behind them when pursued?) I wouldn't be chasing Roman cavalry after that. (Poor Horses).
 
The White Tower probably sells monems; either tacos or burritos are possibly going to show up in the near future. And this is why I shouldn’t write updates while hungry.
It'll be interesting to see how Roman cuisine develops TTL. There are clear influences from even as far as Asia. Will it develop its own identity and become something prestigious like OTL French cooking or will it become something much more cosmopolitan with many regional variations.

(and just imagine the claims any child of Alexandros Drakos and Athena will have).
Oh no......
 
Would it be possible for Demetrios to use the German invasion as a reason to implement his tax reforms? Looks like this war will be a huge strain on the still recovering treasury and there seems to be some serious fervor brewing among the populace....
 
I figure the neighbours of the HRE will wait until the war has been going for a while with plenty of losses and that it has fully committed then... present their arguments for a redrawing of borders. They can't really afford to not take advantage of the best chance to pull one over the HRE they got through, as best as I remember, the entire timeframe of this TL. I suppose it is possible they could all be too busy but that would be boring.

I imagine the HRE will have initial great success because Rhomania inevitably fucks up again, get arrogant turning even more of the population against them and increasing the hatred towards Latins then have to drop the war because of other threats. Presumably getting a treaty favourable enough they see it as a victory, if not quite what they were aiming for, but happens to make the Romans think of them as an enemy beyond even the Ottomans as they embody everything they hate about the Latins while presuming to usurp a legacy that is rightfully theirs. Would be interesting to see the rivalry with the Ottomans calm down as the Romans focus more west and north while they look east.
 
I reckon it really depends just how much Theodor wants the throne, I get that his "god-given rights" have been usurped but if he's competent and realistic he will have to be more pragmatic. He may be a fair bit less competent and intelligent than his predecessors (IIRC his father Manfred was sickly?) he may be willing to give some big concessions to secure his flanks before he goes all in.

Seeing as the Triunes play a big role in the next update I'm going to guess that Theodor gives them something big, perhaps some of Lotharingia or a free hand to invade Arles while they keep the Romans busy.
 
Derekc2: Theodor’s aware he’s not popular but he isn’t about to let his rights be usurped. So he does know he needs to be conciliatory and respect the Orthodox Church. But then his sister Elizabeth did convert to Orthodoxy prior to her marriage to Andreas III and was still viewed as ‘that German papist’.

HanEmpire: The Roman system of succession is…we have no system of succession. What we do have are more like guidelines then actual rules.

Bmao: The Iberians, Triunes, Lotharingians, Hansa, and a few Scandinavians are all active in eastern waters, so there is some contact there. The Lombards were in communications with the Ottomans during the Time of Trouble. The main contact though is between the Triunes and Persians who have a strong relationship with the Triunes providing naval support and expertise in exchange for trading concessions. It’s proving quite profitable for both.

Kimo: The ‘Roman’ cultural subset is essentially a Greek-Turk-Armenian mixed, although there’s more straight Armenian in Cilicia and areas of eastern Anatolia. Tripoli, Sidon, Tyre, and Acre are all Romanized but much of interior and particularly rural Syria/Palestine is still mostly Muslim and Arab in outlook.

Yeah, the idea with Serbia is that as an independent kingdom they’ll fight fiercely to keep Latin invaders out. As a Roman vassal, they might very well invite Latin invaders in. It wouldn’t be the first time the Serbs sidled up to a German Emperor (Frederick Barbarossa).

Luis3007: A clear-cut German-Ottoman alliance would utterly infuriate the Romans and Theodor knows this. But an under-the-table deal (something similar to that pulled between the Ottomans and Lombards during the Time of Troubles) is feasible, and Ibrahim could try and do something on his own just because an opportunity presents itself.

Furthermore an unconnected Ottoman attack on Rhomania provides some nice propaganda for Theodor. Imagine the optics: the Romans of the West and the Romans of the East united under one banner and then marching forth together to crush the ancient Persian enemy once and for all…

Evilprodigy: The fact that the Byzantines IOTL never used it in field engagements but only in naval combat makes me think that it was too hazardous. That makes sense to me; napalming a wheat field in which your own troops are fighting could backfire literally very quickly. Plus there’s probably a lot of handling issues. But long-range siege mortars to wreck a city…

“Ahem, to the barbarian scum inhabiting this particular pile of crap that’s having us somewhat miffed these days, you have ten minutes to surrender. I suggest you do, because you’re going to need a lot of really full bladders to put this stuff out.

Cheers.”

RogueTraderEnthusiast: As I was saying to Evilprodigy, I think the potential handling and blowback issues regarding Greek Fire makes its use in the field too hazardous (the fact that it was never used so IOTL is why I think so). So naval/siege options seem the best route. Although now I’m picturing Big Bertha guns firing long-range napalm shells…

JohnSmith: Probably more cosmopolitan. The fanciest thing I can cook though are tacos, so don’t expect me to be able to go into detail here.

Babyrage: Possibly, although even potentially disrupting money flow during a major war might make it too risky to try.

Chrnno: Not going into detail but a lot will hinge on players who are not the Germans or the Romans.

ImperatorAlexander: The next update will respond to this.
 
1630: Long Divided
"In 395 the Emperor Theodosius the Great breathed his last and with his last breath so too perished the united Roman Empire which has been split to this day, more than 1200 years later. It has been given to you, my dread Lord, by History herself to make right this ancient wrong. Do not spurn her offer, for she only gives such favors once in a millennia."
-Silvestro Mazzolini, Court Astrologer to His Imperial Majesty Theodor I
1630 continued: Although King Theodoros of Khazaria, Prince David of Georgia, and Prince Giyorgis of Ethiopia all have blood claims on the Roman throne, there is no protest in the Orthodox world. Despot Hektor of Sicily, the uncle of Andreas III, who took the Despotic throne without contestation on the death of his nephew, promptly swears loyalty to his new suzerain. Despot Andreas II of Egypt makes a protest over the incarceration of his sister Theodora (she is released and sent to Egypt after a few months) but also swears loyalty.

From Ibrahim comes an ominous silence, which is rather rude as during times of peace it has been customary for either polity to send congratulations and gifts on the accession of a new monarch. The Persians are not pleased at the new figure on the throne; a scion of that family is not a welcome sight. But with all of the eastern tagmata mustered since the death of Andreas III on the frontier, reinforced by three of the four guard units, there is no concern that he’ll try anything.

Ibrahim’s reign has not been easy. Although the Turks won promise of position and power from him, they’re not easily satisfied and what is given to them served to alienate the Persians. Meanwhile the Arabs of southern Mesopotamia, left entirely out in the cold, are muttering dark thoughts of their own. Still the Persian Empire is holding together, with some victories scored against the Khazars and Cossacks although Khwarazm remains in Theodoros’ hands.

Meanwhile Hormuz is full to the brim with Triune shipping, merchantmen loading the wares of Persia and the Orient in exchange for gunpowder and metals. A large naval yard has been constructed, producing fregatai and battle-line ships which are modern and well-armed, although the caliber of the crews are somewhat unimpressive. Neither the Persians nor the Turks have much practice with ocean-going seafaring. The Mesopotamian Arabs are better equipped in that regard so some find an outlet here for their ambitions and energies.

The concern in Muscat is growing stronger as the forest of masts across the straits grows larger. Unfortunately the Omani fleet is not powerful enough to defy the fortifications protecting the port, even with the promise of a squadron of Ethiopian galleons in support. The Sultan did propose a combined operation with the Romans to Andreas III but he died before making a response. Demetrios III reluctantly declines as he does not wish to spark a war with Ibrahim at this time.

That is because of the Holy Roman Emperor Theodor I who has been reunited with his sister Elizabeth in Munich. She was expelled from the Empire just after the coronation, all her assets confiscated save her dowry and personal items she brought from Bavaria, her departure from Constantinople marked by a rain of insults from the inhabitants of the city.

Naturally she is more than a little miffed with Demetrios III and her brother is inclined to agree. By the standards of primogeniture, on the death of Helena II the throne should’ve passed to Theodor as the eldest male descendant of Helena I’s eldest daughter. It certainly wouldn’t have gone to Demetrios Sideros, the eldest male descendant of Helena I’s second daughter. He would’ve been willing to waive his claim if his sister was Empress of the Romans, but this bureaucrat upstart clearly needs to be taught a lesson in inheritance law.

Despite Roman claims to the contrary, Theodor is not so delusional to think that the Roman populace will flock to his banner. His ambassador in Constantinople keeps him aware of the anti-Latin animus but he assumes that as long as he promises to respect the Orthodox faith and use Roman officials in Roman lands he can bring the peoples of the eastern Empire around. Furthermore the character of Demetrios III, a man ‘ruled by his own wife is incapable of ruling others’ in Theodor’s own words, suggest that he would not be the hardest to topple from the throne.

But even with all that, invading the Roman Empire is still no easy matter. Hungary’s assistance is absolutely vital as Theodor can’t even reach his target without it. But although King Stephan of Hungary is now twenty-three he wields little more power than when he first became King, sixteen years ago after the might of Hungary and his grandfather were annihilated at Mohacs. Krsto Frankopan, Ban of Croatia, is the real power in the lands of St. Stephan, and a major pillar of his power is his ‘relationship’ with the Holy Roman Emperor. Plus Hungary will get all the lands it lost to Rhomania and Vlachia back if it supports Theodor.

Casimir of Poland is also interested in an alliance. He has had his eyes set on Vlachia for some time now and there are old legal claims for Polish suzerainty over the lands of Moldavia. They’ve been gathering dust for three hundred years, but that’s a minor detail. Furthermore he is convinced that his attempts to expand further into Russia will be blocked if Rhomania is willing to bankroll opposition to him there (while Constantinople played a small role in the united Russian front presented to Casimir, the King vastly overestimates its importance) so having the Empire in the hands of a friend is enticing. The Polish army is fairly small but it includes crack heavy and light cavalry, arguably the finest in the world, including six thousand winged hussars.

But those are not enough. Even with Hungary and Poland at his side, Theodor knows that the entire might of Germany will be needed for this task. After the Brothers’ War, the German princes are either too beaten down to resist or in the hands of close allies such as the Archbishop of Cologne. So there won’t be any trouble there, but beyond the Rhine…

King’s Harbor, Capital of the United Kingdoms, October 28, 1630:

“Take a seat, Lord Burghley,” Emperor Henri II said, taking a sip of Madeira port. “Have a drink.”

“Thank you, your majesty,” Howard Stanley, Lord Burghley and Earl of Wentworth, said. He sat at the opposite side of the card table in his sovereign’s drawing room, stilling his fidgeting fingers. It was not often that the reclusive monarch had one-on-one meetings with his new ambassadors.

“You’ve read over your instructions,” Henri said. It was not a question.

“Yes, your majesty.”

“Any questions?”

“Yes.” A pause. “Why? You can’t want that, of all things, to happen.”

“You’re wrong. I do want that to happen. And after your losses from the Madagascar convoy I would think you’d want revenge.”

“I do, but I won’t put my wishes over the needs of the realm. I don’t understand how this proposal helps the kingdoms.”

Henri smiled, the jowls of his cheeks jiggling a bit. Somehow the gesture did not seem friendly. “I’ll explain it to you then. Theodor will not march unless it is guaranteed that we will not attack him while his back is turned. But a promise not to do so may not be good enough, after all peace treaties are worth their weight in gold. But an active alliance, on the other hand, will be a guarantee. Theodor will march. And one of two things will happen.

“One, he loses. He is thrown out, having suffered immense losses in manpower, material, money, and prestige. The Romans will be battered as well, and while we may have lost ten thousand, both of them will have lost a hundred thousand men. And in their weakness, we may do what we like.

“Two, he wins. This is less likely than one, but much more useful for our ends. Even if he takes Constantinople though, he will not be able to advance on Asia. He will be forced to spend immeasurable amounts of manpower, material, and money holding down the European provinces whose peoples will want him gone while on the Asian side the Romans will pull a Nicaea, reform, rearm, and in a generation or two come pouring across the Bosporus screaming for revenge. And while the Germans and Romans are fixated on tearing each other to pieces, we may do what we like.”

* * *

“And it came to pass, after the year had expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle (2 Samuel 11:1 KJV)” that Theodor I, Holy Roman Emperor, declares war on the usurper Demetrios Sideros, joined by the United Kingdoms and the Kingdoms of Poland and Hungary. Yet in an unusual twist, he ends the proclamation by quoting a piece of Chinese literature, from the opening line of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

The Empire, long divided, must unite.
 
So the only one on the side of the Latins who understands how this'll end is Henri II and he's doing this to weaken two rivals. I officially now respect the man for this devious plan and hope he does well, especially against Theodore who I feel is somewhat willfully delusional on how the Romans will view him.
 
I hope the Triunes backstab the Germans in an epic manner.

EDIT:
Given how perfidious they've been so far I wouldn't be surprised if that's exactly what the Triunes end up doing in the end. Expand the border of France to the Rhine, and completely screw the Holy Roman Emperor by forcing Electors to abandon him and his line.
 
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Do the Triunes have a Mediterranean port/fleet? Looks like it will be a logistical pain for them to march through a Germany (also very awkward given their history) through Hungary and Serbia into Rhomania. I’m guessing Arles and the Lombards are probably really terrified right now, and not inclined to cooperate.

Also, may I propose option 3? Demetrios easily routs this Pretender Alliance with his passive aggressiveness, marches up to and sacks Munich, forcing the Germans into vassalage. Sounds as realistic as Theodor’s objectives.
 
Do the Triunes have a Mediterranean port/fleet? Looks like it will be a logistical pain for them to march through a Germany (also very awkward given their history) through Hungary and Serbia into Rhomania. I’m guessing Arles and the Lombards are probably really terrified right now, and not inclined to cooperate.

Also, may I propose option 3? Demetrios easily routs this Pretender Alliance with his passive aggressiveness, marches up to and sacks Munich, forcing the Germans into vassalage. Sounds as realistic as Theodor’s objectives.
They own one of the biggest navies in the world, so it'd be trivial for them to contribute to the war by attacking Roman shipping in the Indian Ocean. If they really wanted to contribute armies, they could also ferry troops across the Mediterranean while intimidating and bribing locals to give them temporary basing rights. Theodor will doubtlessly throw his weight around to make that happen. I expect the Lombards will "volunteer" tons of provisions at dirt cheap prices for this campaign.
 
They own one of the biggest navies in the world, so it'd be trivial for them to contribute to the war by attacking Roman shipping in the Indian Ocean. If they really wanted to contribute armies, they could also ferry troops across the Mediterranean while intimidating and bribing locals to give them temporary basing rights. Theodor will doubtlessly throw his weight around to make that happen. I expect the Lombards will "volunteer" tons of provisions at dirt cheap prices for this campaign.
If the Castilians don't play ball I don't see how the Triunes can realistically do that much damage in the Indian Ocean. The Romans will have dominance there, especially with Ethiopian (and Omanese?) backup.

I guess it really does depend on the rulers of Arles and Lombardia, whether they and Henri II are thinking along the same lines, Roman vs German = Triunes being able to do whatever they want.

If the Romans (and Sicilians) can put enough troops into action quickly, I don't think it would be unreasonable for the Lombards to side with them, a German victory would do way more harm than a Roman one. They also joined the Romans in carving up Hungary so there is some recent cooperation too.
 
If the Castilians don't play ball I don't see how the Triunes can realistically do that much damage in the Indian Ocean. The Romans will have dominance there, especially with Ethiopian (and Omanese?) backup.
The Triunes have a massive presence in the Indian Ocean including docking facilities, as shown in the latest update:
Meanwhile Hormuz is full to the brim with Triune shipping, merchantmen loading the wares of Persia and the Orient in exchange for gunpowder and metals. A large naval yard has been constructed, producing fregatai and battle-line ships which are modern and well-armed, although the caliber of the crews are somewhat unimpressive. Neither the Persians nor the Turks have much practice with ocean-going seafaring. The Mesopotamian Arabs are better equipped in that regard so some find an outlet here for their ambitions and energies.

The concern in Muscat is growing stronger as the forest of masts across the straits grows larger. Unfortunately the Omani fleet is not powerful enough to defy the fortifications protecting the port, even with the promise of a squadron of Ethiopian galleons in support. The Sultan did propose a combined operation with the Romans to Andreas III but he died before making a response. Demetrios III reluctantly declines as he does not wish to spark a war with Ibrahim at this time.
They don't need to play ball with the Spanish to do things there.
 

Soverihn

Banned
And so begins the First World War. At this point I'm just wondering how the Roman colonies in the east are eventually going to get impacted by the war and China and some of the Indian states using that as an excuse to jump in, which in turn drags Japan and friends into the fray.
 
Demetrios III thanks Theodor for firmly securing his position. It's ironic that Theodor's and Theodosius the Great's empires shared almost no territory, why are they still playing pretend Roman Emperor?

I think it's not a matter of if but when the Triunes backstab the Germans (since we currently don't know what has been offered). Would it be at the peak of the war when the bulk of German forces are tied down, or perhaps when the tide turns in the favour of the Romans? At the conclusion of the war isn't ideal since it leaves the Germans able to focus 100% west.

I find it very interesting that nothing has been done to secure the German's Northern Flank....
 
The Triunes have a massive presence in the Indian Ocean including docking facilities, as shown in the latest update:
That's true, but the Roman presence is way bigger. Remember the Triunes have to split their naval forces between the Atlantic and Indian Ocean. The Romans and Ethiopians can take out any Triune fleet as they go around Africa before they can threaten any important overseas territories (just like how they ambushed that fleet with young Napoleon).

They don't need to play ball with the Spanish to do things there.
No one likes the Triunes, the Spanish have a better relationship with the Romans. This is going to be a World War after all, the Spanish are going to get involved, and IMO they're not likely going to be on the same side as the Triunes.
 
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