An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

People make the Byzantine start out to be harder than it is. Ally Poland, invade Ragusa, Urbino, Serbia and Bosnia, wait for the Ottomans to declare war, crush them. After your first war with the Ottomans, ally Austria and cruise to more victories.

Culture converting Anatolia is a requirement.:p
I can't be the only one that tries to maintain some semblance of historicity. I don't do anything that I wouldn't consider ASB.
 
I can't be the only one that tries to maintain some semblance of historicity. I don't do anything that I wouldn't consider ASB.
Anything's fair as long as there's no cheating. The biggest fun of eu4 is taking a nation with no chance and sending it somewhere. It's not a historical simulator, it's a historical sandbox. Otherwise it would take 150 years for a OPM to become a Great Power.

I started up a game as the Byzantines not too long ago. You just need to get Poland and you're golden.
 
Anything's fair as long as there's no cheating. The biggest fun of eu4 is taking a nation with no chance and sending it somewhere. It's not a historical simulator, it's a historical sandbox. Otherwise it would take 150 years for a OPM to become a Great Power.

I started up a game as the Byzantines not too long ago. You just need to get Poland and you're golden.
How do you have -1 percent warscore if you're occupying half their territory, including the capital?
 
With the byzantines I usually set borders at the start of the game that I don't want to go beyond, for historical accuracy (usually this means nothing above the danube except crimea, borders in the east at lake Van, and no annexation of egypt which I usually vassalize and orthdoxify instead or annexation of italy, except sometimes sicily and calabria).

The best starting technique is to, right from the start, start annexing greek minors and PU larger states like bulgaria or serbia. Then ally with some naval power (aragon is probably the best), this secures the bosphorus. Then once the ottomans are at war with western powers (usually against aragon, castille, venice, naples, genoa, ...) just go all out on them.

But it's by no means the only technique. I once recreated the ERE with Theodoro...
 
I only play Byzzies in EU 3 with MEIOU, but I usually go for roleplaying.

I once had an honest start with them just to see if I can, but after that I just mod in some bigger territories for them (pretending that 1204 never happened or something) and then just slowly roleplay.
 

GdwnsnHo

Banned
I only play Byzzies in EU 3 with MEIOU, but I usually go for roleplaying.

I once had an honest start with them just to see if I can, but after that I just mod in some bigger territories for them (pretending that 1204 never happened or something) and then just slowly roleplay.
That is what the CK2 Exporter is for :p
 
Future Update Teasers: Coal, Cotton, and the Wine Dark Sea has been split up into two updates. Two alternate teasers for those two parts are ‘The Koran in Constantinople’ and ‘Ruminations on Fortune’s Wheel’. After those is ‘The Sadistic Sea’ and then ‘Redheads’.
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ImperatorAlexander: Most of the losses were timariot or azab troops, so Ottoman regulars but of the part-time variety. So it is a respectable loss but not a serious one.
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Billy Boy Mark II: That idea has been broached but without Omani support the Romans would be basing out of either Surat or Zeila, both too far to be very useful.
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Arrix85: The reference about not wanting to keep the territory was referring to Mesopotamia as a whole. Border adjustments are definitely on the table but the Romans have no desire to keep Baghdad or Basra (wrecking them would be nice), although anything up to and including Mosul are viewed as potential acquisitions, provided certain population ‘adjustments’ are done afterwards.
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Rhomania in the East: The Romans in the East Indies have their hands full with the Acehnese, Brunei, Semarang, plus the Portuguese. The Romans in the West Indies (India and Taprobane) are stronger and have fewer enemies but the Ship Lords have absolutely no interest in wasting their ships and money in the Persian Gulf and weakening them vis-à-vis the Vijayanagara and Portuguese. The Katepano has a ‘first among equals’ status amongst the Ship Lords but cannot order them to do anything that they don’t want to do.
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Frustrated Progressive: His plan would have been expensive and bloody but had an excellent chance of success, although how long it could have maintained an eastern situation acceptable to Constantinople would be impossible to predict. However Helena, after the Time of Troubles, was in a peace-at-any-price mentality, which for the Romans is not working out much better than it did the Allies in OTL 1930s.
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Namayan: Pyrgos started off as a way station to the Shimazu, a base to raid the China coast, and a place to sell and trade the loot. Since the significant improvement in Chinese coastal defenses since the mid 1500s its economic importance dwindled, although fortunately for the Romans not before financing the fortifications. However after the Great Siege and the ensuing boost in Roman prestige amongst the states of Luzon many Romans are interested in using Pyrgos as a base to establish a territorial realm as a counter to their enemies.
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Malacca is currently a Portuguese Viceroyalty; the Portuguese had a much harder time of ITTL compared to OTL but finally succeeded. A cautious relationship with Aceh helped to compensate until the sack of Mecca spectacularly torpedoed that. The main Roman allies in the east, Ethiopia, Cham, and Shimazu are all very poorly placed to help here. Currently the Romans are seeking to build up their presence around Pahang and Singapura.
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Islam in Indonesia is significantly smaller ITTL than IOTL. Aceh and Brunei are largely Muslim, there have been some inroads in Malaya, and there is the new Sultanate of Semarang in northwest Java (the Majapahit thassalocracy has fallen apart but its decline started later than IOTL and the state lasted longer). Islam in Semarang is very new and does not have deep roots yet. In the Philippines the Sultanate of Sulu is well-established and Islam has some inroads in Mindanao, but far less than OTL.
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HanEmpire: The Great Uprising was a great boon for Scythian pocketbooks. But as 12th century Byzantium shows a wealthy society does not necessarily mean a healthy one.
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EU3:HTTT-MEIOU has awesome Byzantine play. I edited mine so that Constantinople started off with a trade center and then used my fleet to block the Ottomans from crossing into Europe until I’d captured Gallipoli and built up 12K cavalry and 6K infantry. Then I’d let the Ottoman armies across the straits, using my fleet to make sure too many didn’t come through. With Byzantium’s excellent starting sliders my 18K army was good enough to destroy even slightly larger Ottoman stacks. Then I’d just keep killing Ottoman stacks over and over. If I needed to recover manpower I’d just keep my fleet in the Marmara for six months and then start letting them back through. Once I killed 100K or more Ottomans even their manpower started to give out. Stack sizes went down and eventually I would cross the straits and take back my cores.
 

Arrix85

Donor
I've just realized something. The roman army which won the battle of Bitlis pass is called the Army of Amida, which is the greek name of Diyarbakir. So this city is within the roman empire. Am i right?

If so the maps I posted were wrong (particularly the one with the battles of this war). Here's the updated version:



EDIT1: I'm trying to fix it.

EDIT2: Now It should be ok.
 
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1602
Arrix85: Amida is part of the Roman Empire. I apologize for not noticing that on your first map; I know I've been vague about the exact borders.


1602: The Roman advance has been slow, cautious, and methodical, but attended everywhere by victory. The old battlegrounds of Ras al-Ayn and al-Hasakah have both been taken. While the town of Ras al-Ayn survives the conquest, the village of al-Hasakah, smaller, poorer, and more shameful, is wiped off the face of the map.

Although emotionally satisfying, these are minor tokens. The major citadel of Mardin has fallen after a hard-fought siege but with Stefanos Monomakos in command the issue was in little doubt. The ancient towns of Dara and Nisibis, who have seen these sights many times before but now far declined from their heights a thousand years ago, are also taken. Of little consequence strategically, Theodora’s prose takes a shine in her account of these venerable sites once more paying homage to Constantinople.

Lacking antiquarian grandeur but far more important on the ground is the capture of Duhok, a ‘pretty little sapphire in the crown of the Shah’. The Army of Amida marches with pride, its banners emblazoned with the battle honors of Bitlis, Mardin, and Duhok. The three great victories won in the last campaign have been won by their arms. (The return of the eagle standards in an antiquarian phase at the beginning of Helena’s reign have been disbanded, the army returning to the traditional banners.)

These are no mean achievements, but it is hoped that these are only the prelude of far greater things. The War Room has its sights on a prize greater than all those taken thus far combined. Duhok may be a ‘pretty little sapphire’ but Mosul is a dazzling diamond. It is the fifth largest city in the Ottoman Empire, thirty five thousand souls, behind only Baghdad, Hamadan, Rayy, and Basra. (Incidentally the fifth largest city in the Roman Empire is Nicaea which has double Mosul’s population.)

The food situation has improved in northern Syria and eastern Anatolia. Improved local harvests help significantly, the War Room has worked out some snags that had hampered imports from Thrakesia such as a staggeringly inadequate quantity of hoops and barrel staves, and quantities of Egyptian grain are now available. The result is that the War Room is feeling ambitious on a scale unimaginable just three years earlier.

Considering the improved logistics the War Room commits the Optimatic and Macedonian tagmata to offensive operations as well, designated the Army of the Euphrates. The plan is for four separate armies (one Macedonian tourma is detached and assigned to Aleppo, Edessa, and Amida each to even the sizes out) to broadly sweep down Mesopotamia, flattening all opposition.

While the Ottomans can bring to bear armies far larger than any of the four armies individually the Roman forces are large enough to handle themselves on the defensive quite well and they are close enough for mutual support. The arrangement is similar to the Roman advance into Mesopotamia during the War for Asia but the logistics here are significantly better. Barges are assembled to transport supplies down the twin rivers and all the armies are amply equipped with bridging equipment.

In support of the main body are militia contingents to secure supply lines, bridges, and fortifications, drawn both from the Orthodox troops of northern Syria and Cilicia and the ‘armed minorities’ of Lebanon. The Anizzah are there in force as well, both herding the vast flocks of sheep that follow Roman armies and working as forward scouts. The herds are a frequent Roman method of securing fresh provisions that has the advantage of some mobility. They are also useful, in the event of a reverse, in distracting ill-disciplined enemy troops in search of plunder.

It is a very formidable force and it is not alone. Now that the Romans are on the offensive Stefanoz also moves to the attack, thirty thousand Georgian troops fording the River Aras. To the east an immense Cossack host, the largest assembled to date, has taken to the boats. Crossing the Caspian to Baku where they link up with Georgian reinforcements, they fall upon lush Mazandaran, the ‘garden of the Shahs’.

The Ethiopians have, on paper, been at war with the Ottomans for some time now but the historian is hard pressed to find any mention of actual fighting. This is partly due to Ethiopian exhaustion, the need to rebuild their armed forces, and to put down any lingering inclinations to revolt. Tewodros has broken up the old kingdom of Majerteen into six separate provinces whose governors report directly to him. Even the loyal neguses are unnerved by this as it sets a precedent for dismantling their own positions.

The other reason is that it is extremely difficult to attack the Persian Gulf when one is basing out of Zeila or Surat. Although the Omani were willing to act against their Yemeni rivals, the Ottomans are a different matter. This is not because the Omani care for the Ottomans more. They have more than once laid their covetous eyes on Muscat itself, Bahrain has traded hands at least a half dozen times since the mid-1300s, and the Wilayah of Hormuz is viewed as an intolerable affront in the halls of Persia.

However at this time Shahanshah Iskandar is being hailed as the champion of Islam, an appellation the Yemeni, with their habit of overcharging hajj pilgrims, never gained. To openly side with the desecrators of Mecca against the victor of al-Hasakah would bring upon the Omani the opprobrium of the entire Muslim world, which naturally gives them pause.

That said on a purely political level the Romans and Ethiopians seem to be far better allies than any other the Omani can gain, and the former is the only potential counter to the Ottomans. That is the factor that wins out now that the Omani fleet has been completely revamped. Although the five galleons are on the smaller side by European standards, the thirty seven new fregatai make for an extremely potent fighting force. With such a fleet Oman is the number three naval power in the western Indian Ocean after the Portuguese and Romans (Vijayanagar is number 4 but mainly active in the east, the Dutch and Triune fleets now trading in the ports of western India make for numbers 5 and 6) and her forces are more concentrated.

The Omani enter the fray with a fierce attack on Bahrein, whose garrison falls in eight days although not without inflicting serious losses on its assailants. Reinforced by twenty Ethiopian and Roman warships, the Persians towns of Bandar Ganaveh, Delvar, and Asaluyeh are all taken and sacked. Unfortunately these settlements are of no economic or military value while the cities of Bushehr and Gamrun (OTL Bandar Abbas) beat off their attacks. The failure to seize Gamrun, strategically situated next to the island Wilayah of Hormuz, is a discouraging blow to the Omani.

It is not the only failure of the coalition. Iskandar has been laid up in his capital with a serious fever but news on the assault nevertheless rouses him from his sickbed. Commanding his army, outnumbered almost three to one, from a litter, he “astounds the world by his audacity”, in the words of Leo Neokastrites, by launching an assault on the Cossack host at Juybar. Outmaneuvered and surprised the Cossacks are overrun and utterly defeated, the Host crippled for at least a generation to the discomfort of the Megas Rigas, who would sorely need that military strength.

In the western Mediterranean, progress against the Barbary corsairs is painfully slow. At sea the Roman fleet is operating in force, however the bulk including the great ships are basing out of Trapani, Malta, and Carthage, too distant to be of much use off the hostile and rugged coast of Algeria. Smaller squadrons operating from Tabarka and Minorca, leasing dock space from the Hospitaliers, are more effective, but limited by numbers and the difficulty of maintaining supplies, particularly at Tabarka, which geographically is by far the most useful base.

The difficulties at sea are mirrored by those on land. Coastal conquests are garrisoned largely by Sicilian and Carthaginian troops, with Sicilians making up about three-quarters. A few Sicilian tourmai also operate in the field with the Roman troops. The Sicilians are highly welcome reinforcements, with their tourmai comparable in quality to Roman formations, albeit with a much smaller artillery support.

Nevertheless the Romans are vastly outnumbered and no troops can be spared from the Persian front. The rugged terrain and extremely limited transport capabilities limits Roman forays to the coast with the result that enemy resources in the interior are left untouched and unmolested. Furthermore there is a strong feeling amongst the soldiers and many of the officers that the offensive in North Africa has no coherent plan or goal, that it is just ‘doing something for the sake of doing something’. It is painfully inadequate to subdue the whole Barbary Coast, or even a respectable fraction. Naturally this does not encourage them.

The Berbers are not the only foes of Rhomania in these parts. The directives to seize Triune merchantmen in reprisal for Guernsey are still in effect. Henry, who did not take kindly to the threat, authorized his own ships to attack Roman ships in the Atlantic and western Mediterranean. This was not as serious as it sounded. After all Guernsey had been caused by Triune pirates attacking Roman ships without permission. Theodora sarcastically but accurately describes it as ‘the Triune port officials no longer have to frown before clearing the prizes when they are brought into harbor’.

The result has been an intermittent quasi-war between the Romans and Triunes. Merchantmen have attacked merchantmen and warships have attacked merchantmen but thus far there have been no warship vs. warship actions. Furthermore only a small fraction of encounters, perhaps a fifth, have escalated into hostilities. Most times both parties prefer to continue on their ordinary business.

That is not the case on August 9th. The Roman fregata Clio is cruising off Monaco, awaiting an expected convoy. At 11:00 it appears on the horizon, four large galleons, and the Clio immediately makes for the attack. Her captain, Alexios Thaumaturgos, has been one of the most successful fregata captains in the Roman navy, responsible for capturing or destroying ten corsair and seven Triune ships. He plans to grab another ship or two and then repair to Messina. The Sicilians have a dry dock there and Clio’s bottom is overdue for a cleaning.

However the convoy is escorted by the Sparrowhawk, a new frigate captained by Thomas Stott. It is a fine vessel, with six more cannons than Clio, eighteen-pounders to Clio’s fourteen-pounders, and sporting the new innovation of a ship’s wheel, making her much easier to maneuver. One of the Triune galleons masked the Sparrowhawk from the Clio on her approach but soon Thomas pulls ahead to engage the Clio.

Recognizing the superiority of his opponent, Alexios turns about and attempts to flee. The Triune however has the advantage in speed as well as armament and gradually begins to overtake the Roman, and it is a clear day with no squalls to hide the Clio. At about 1410 Alexios shouts his famous order, “I’m not going to get run down by an Englishman! Hard to port!”

Calling his opponent an Englishman is not a rhetorical flourish on Alexios’s part. The stereotype is that the French comprise the Triune Army and the English the navy. That is not completely true but close, as three-quarters of the Army is French and three-quarters of the Navy English. Furthermore units, based on territorial districts, and ships, largely recruited from the seamen of a particular district, are often wholly English or French. It is the same for the Irish, who mainly join the army. The Sparrowhawk is one of the wholly English ships.

Thomas is surprised by Alexios’s move but quickly recovers, turning so that the battle develops into a broadside gunnery duel. The battle between the Clio and the Sparrowhawk, fought with broadside cannons which roll back on the recoil to be reloaded within a few minutes, is the new face of naval warfare. The Sparrowhawk quickly gains the advantage but the Clio is not about to go down cheaply, hammering the frigate’s hull while snipers posted in the rigging cut down everyone in sight.

Whether intentionally or accidentally, the Clio hauls over a couple of points and slams into the side of the Sparrowhawk, both sides boarding. The Englishmen have a significant advantage in numbers but that helps the Roman grenades to reap a fruitful harvest. Sharks converge on the scene as blood flows down into the water, attacking everyone unfortunately enough to fall.

Finally the English gain the upper hand and Lieutenant William Rye, of the 2nd Yorkshire Tour of Foot, posted on the ship as marines, demands the surrender of Alexios. The dialogue, in Mare (a mix of Greek, some Italian dialects, Provencal, Catalan, and Algerian, the lingua franca of Mediterranean mariners), is as follows:

William: I must ask for your surrender, sir, to stem this effusion of blood.

Alexios: I am not at liberty to do that.

William: Sir, I am afraid I must insist.

Alexios: This ship was given to me by the Empress. It is not in my power to give it up to another.

William: I understand, sir. May God grant you peace.

Alexios: Thank you, my good man.

A moment later William shoots Alexios dead. A few minutes after that the rest of the Romans surrender. Casualties on both sides have been enormous, about half of the Romans and two-fifths of the English. Once the wounded have been taken care of to the best of the abilities of both the English and Roman surgeons and the sharks driven off with musket fire, the dead of both sides are buried with full military honors.

The Sparrowhawk with her captives and the Clio limp into Monaco, where the OoB agent in the Grimaldi court immediately sends word to Trapani. Unfortunately for the Romans the three fregatai sent to blockade the harbor are two days late and Thomas Stott makes a clean getaway.

The Triunes take pride in their victory, but the Romans too are not dismayed. The valor and skill with which the crew of the Clio fought and the irreproachable conduct of her captain cannot be looked upon with shame. Emperor Henry himself pays tribute to Alexios, calling him “a great man, who did not hesitate to do his duty to the utmost and to ensure the honor and dignity of his sovereign.” The Romans have lost a ship but they have gained a hero. It is not a bad trade in the eyes of many.
 
Hmm, doesn't the War Room have any plan laid out for the North African coast?
Also, is Iskander getting close to death, or is this a temporary illness soon to recover from?
 

Arrix85

Donor
Good update!

No sweat on the border, being vague gives more creative liberty.

Question about the four armies and their movements (In red my guesses about future position keeping in mind the "diamond" and the fact they're close to each other):

Amida: Bitliss pass, Mardin, (Dara and Nisibis since they are on their path) Duhok

Edessa: [probably] Ras al-Ayn, Al Hasakah, Sinjar, Tel Afar

The other two probably will stay near the Euphrates, taking cities like Raqqa and sweeping the side of the river opposite the Anizzah, but after that? Don't they become too distant from the other two? wrecking most of Mesopotamia is great, but Iskandar now will be coming...
 
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Good update!

No sweat on the border, being vague gives more creative liberty.

Question about the four armies and their movements (In red my guesses about future position keeping in mind the "diamond" and the fact they're close to each other):

Amida: Bitliss pass, Mardin, (Dara and Nisibis since they are on their path) Duhok

Edessa: [probably] Ras al-Ayn, Al Hasakah, Sinjar, Tel Afar

The other two probably will stay near the Euphrates, taking cities like Raqqa and sweeping the side of the river opposite the Anizzah, but after that? Don't they become too distant from the other two? wrecking most of Mesopotamia is great, but Iskandar now will be coming...
Can't wait for a full scale battle betwixt Iskandar and the Rhomans. TV Tropes for this TL states that a "Big Badass Battle Sequence" will happen any time the Rhomans call out multiple tagma. It's happening again.
 
Are the Romans still using a system of paying their soldiers in land they can farm? If they want to do some population adjustments it could work really really nicely for the imperial government to confiscate the lands of dead rebels and redistribute it to retired Tagma soldiers. Especially in Northern Mesopotamia.
 
Are the Romans still using a system of paying their soldiers in land they can farm? If they want to do some population adjustments it could work really really nicely for the imperial government to confiscate the lands of dead rebels and redistribute it to retired Tagma soldiers. Especially in Northern Mesopotamia.
Nope, they got rid of landed soldiers decades ago, on account of it having a bad effect on soldier loyalty.
Now the Roman military is fully professionalized.
This comes with its own problems of course, such as a massively increased (40%+) tax rates to meet the expenditures, though since the soldiers are all so loyal there haven't been any problems in crushing tax revolts.
 
Nice, war seems to be slowly turning to Roman favor. Though, if Iskandar's command skill is 9,5 to Andreas's 10 things will get ugly when they face him personally. Cossacks can probably tell tales about that.

Also, it's worrying that Romans are constantly behind Portuguese in naval power in Indies. A pity that technology doesn't allow Suez canal yet.
 
DracoLazarus: There are many ITTL who agree with you. One of the biggest problems confronting OTL English kings was that their own subjects kept ruining their diplomacy by attacking foreign neutrals. TTL has the same issue, although Henry is not even trying to curb them, and his good relations with the Barbary corsairs, as a good counter to the Iberians and Arletians, anger just about every Mediterranean state.
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HanEmpire: The War Room’s priorities in order are Persia/Iraq, the Balkans, Italy, and only then North Africa. It’s an area that has not been given a lot of attention since after Tripoli was forced into submission the corsairs haven’t been much of an issue for the Romans until now. Also it is quite obvious to the Roman soldiers involved that the forces allocated to North Africa are laughably inadequate. As the European efforts IOTL to curb the Barbary coast prior to 1800 show, North Africa is an extremely tough nut to crack.
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Arrix85: The current plan is for the Army of Amida to come at Mosul from the north and Edessa to come at it from the west, where the two will converge and take the city. While they’re doing that the Army of the Euphrates will march down the east bank of the Euphrates with Aleppo paralleling it to the east, taking the land between the two rivers. After Mosul falls, the Army of Edessa is to work down the right bank of the Tigris and Amida to work further east with the objectives of Arbil and Kirkuk. After that all four columns are to converge on Baghdad.
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The War Room is working to arrange further reinforcements to beef up the columns since the mantra ‘disperse to march, concentrate to fight’ has some issues when facing an opponent known for quick marches and appearing when least expected. There is also the Georgian offensive into the trans-Aras and the War Room is gearing up an offensive basing out of Armenia to support Tbilisi.
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Floppy seal99: Don’t worry. I have plans…
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Evilprodigy: After the Time of Troubles the Romans transitioned to having their whole army paid solely in cash. It was discovered that during the Time of Troubles the junior officers were the ones most loyal to the central government. By that point officers were paid solely in cash but enlisted in mixed land-cash. So both the enlisted and the senior officers rich enough to invest in land had other means of financial support besides their ‘paycheck’ which meant that rebellion and the subsequent loss of said paycheck was not unpalatable in the right circumstances.
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However the Romans are considering reviving the theme-tagma system as a way to finance a reserve to support the full-time units which are seriously stretched right now.
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Stark: Yeah, one advantage the Portuguese have is that they have their massive Lisbon shipyards whose ships can sail ‘straight’ to the Indies. A Roman warship built in the Constantinople arsenal would have to be disassembled in Alexandria, carted in pieces to Suez, reassembled, sail through the Red Sea which is not kind to sailing ships, and then go on to India. The shipyards in Roman Colombo and the foundries of Pahang are helping to take up the slack, but Roman losses have been heavy in recent years. There was the war with Vijayanagar, then multiple ships on contract to the Shimazu were sunk by the Portuguese and Chosokabe, then the battle of Pyrgos, and now often warfare with the Portuguese plus attacks from Aceh, Brunei, Sulu, and Semarang.
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To use an analogy, with the Empire’s willingness to utilize the locals as equals provided they are loyal, they have every potential to be an extremely formidable mid and late game player. The problem is right now they are being rushed by multiple opponents in the early game.
 
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