Author's Note: Okay, I now I said that I'd have this update ready last weekend. It didn't happen because I am an addict and my drug is Elden Ring, which has consumed pretty much all of my free time the last few weeks.:oops: Anyway, I managed to put this chapter together in between my play sessions over the last month, so hopefully this isn't too disjointed.;) Before we begin though, I have a few things I wish to opine on.

Regarding the Olympics TTL:
While I haven't completely ruled out making Greece the permanent site for the Summer Games - they will definitely be a reoccurring host for the Games, much more so than OTL. Now the Winter Games on the other hand, will be generally based outside of Greece more often than not when they're eventually founded In fact, there may not even be a Greek Winter Games, as there are many other countries with stronger winter sports pedigree than Greece.

@Vaeius Sadly, I don't have a name in mind, it was just a reference to the OTL 1896 Olympic Games who allegedly had a Chilean runner named Luis Subercaseaux participate in the 100, 400, and 800 meter runs. His involvement is disputed, however, as he was not recorded as starting any of these races despite being listed on all three.

Regarding Greece conquering Anatolia/the Russian Civil War/events far into the future:
So minor spoiler, but I'm not planning on Greece conquering all of Anatolia, or even most of Anatolia. In fact, they'd be lucky to hold onto just the coasts of Anatolia. That said, I never said they won't try for more than they can realistically hold.

We're human and humans make mistakes. Similarly, the characters in this story are human too, they will make mistakes, they will be brash and arrogant and bite off more than they can chew and they will probably fail as a result, which I honestly think is more interesting than a story about everyone doing everything right and getting everything they want. And who knows, maybe through some massive stroke of luck, they do end up getting much more than they reasonably should and if they do, then they will have to endure all the consequences that success brings.

However, this is all many years in the future ITTL and many, many, many chapters ahead from where we are in the narrative right now, so much can and will change between now and then. In fact, the world is already quite different from OTL and will continue to diverge more and more with each passing year ITTL. So if an event like the Russian Civil War emerges in this timeline, it will not be like the Civil War in OTL, of that I am certain.

Regarding the K&G video:
I'm not a native Greek speaker, so I don't really have a basis for how to correctly pronounce anyone's names both OTL and ITTL. It could also be that the spelling I'm using for some of the names doesn't line up that well with the pronunciations used in the video either.

A large part of the problem could also be that I haven't really covered the War for Independence in much depth since I started the timeline over 4 years ago. In fact, most of the characters featured in those first 30 chapters back then are either dead or have largely retired from public life by this point in the timeline, so it makes sense that they'd seem unfamiliar to some of you. Hell, as the timeline officially started in July 1822, I didn't really get the chance to cover the founding members of the Filiki Eteria or some of the early war figures like Alexander Ypsilantis, Athanasios Diakos, or Germanos III.

Now, without further ado....

Part 92: Mr. Smith goes to Athens


The Areopagus in Athens – site of the Ancient Athenian Judicial Council

Following the latest round of elections in the Fall of 1857, the Kómma Ethnikofrónōn (the Nationalist Party) would pick up a staggering 57 seats in the Vouli - the Hellenic Legislature’s Lower Chamber - raising their majority from 81 seats in 1854 to 138 in 1857. The Fileléfthero Kómma (the Liberal Party) of Alexandros Mavrokordatos, would similarly make gains from the New Provinces, with his group earning 23 new seats, raising their total to 79 Representatives in the Vouli. However, despite making reasonable gains in this recent Election, the Liberals' share of the vote in the Lower Chamber would still decrease by almost 5%. Moreover, their situation was even worse when compared to the aftermath of the recent 1855 Snap Elections, which had seen them pick up 17 of the 20 seats allocated to the Ionian Islands, narrowing the gap between the two parties considerably from 81:56 to 84:73.

Whereas before, the abstention or betrayal of a small handful of Nationalist legislators could decide the outcome of a bill in the Liberals' favor; after the 1857 elections, the Nationalists had a massive advantage of 59 members providing for a much larger cushion in the Vouli. Moreover, as the rules of the Vouli only required a simple majority to pass legislation, they only needed the support of 109 legislators to vote for a bill; meaning that as many as 29 Nationalist representatives could break ranks with their Party leadership and still fail to stop a bill from becoming law. Moreover, they essentially had a two thirds majority within the Vouli on their own, meaning they could essentially override any veto issued by King Leopold with only a handful of Liberal defectors. With this turn of events, the Liberals effectively lost whatever negotiating power they still had within the Legislature, effectively marking the end for any formal opposition to the Nationalist Party within Greece for the better part of the next two decades. This period, extending from 1857 to 1873 would be known to posterity as the Nationalist Oligarchy.

However, in spite of the preeminence of the Nationalist Party in the Hellenic Legislature; they were not as all-powerful as they seemed. On the surface, the Nationalist Party was a socially conservative and economically liberal political party that advocated for the Enosis (Union) of the Greek State with traditionally Greek lands. Yet, buried beneath this monolithic veneer that the Party bosses and publicists presented it to be, the Nationalists were in fact quite a diverse group with many differing opinions and ideologies that would often put it at odds with itself.

Many members expressed differing economic, social, and political ideologies that conflicted and contrasted greatly with many of their peers. Some supported socialist economic policies that would see the Hellenic Government take more control over the Greek economy, enacting stricter regulations upon the private market to better the conditions of the Greek workers. Others favored a more liberal, laize-faire approach, enabling the market to regulate itself and sort out its problems on its own. Some wanted greater government involvement in the day to day lives of its citizens, whilst others wanted as little government interference as possible. A few Nationalists would even whisper of dissolving the Monarchy altogether and establishing a Republic, although they were generally relegated to the fringes of the Party.

In fact, the only unifying tenant of the Nationalist Party was the Megali Idea - the expansion of the Greek State into historical Greek lands. Yet here too, the extent of their ambitions also differed with many clamoring for the reconquest of Macedonia, Thrace, Constantinople, Ionia, Bithynia, Cyprus and the Northern Aegean Islands. Some pushed for more, however, calling for the liberation of distant Pontus, Cappadocia, and Cilicia reconstituting the old Rhomaion borders in Anatolia. A few more radical thinkers even suggested the expansion of Greece across the Mediterranean into Southern Italy, the Levantine coast, and North Africa.[1] Ironically, this support for the Megali Idea had fully permeated the rival Liberal Party by this time, effectively eroding much of the distinction between the two parties beyond minor economic and social policy differences.

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One of the many interpretations of the Megali Idea
In the midst of all this, several distinct factions would begin to form under the umbrella of the wider Nationalist Party. Of these, the most boisterous were the so called Sosialethnikistés (Social Nationalists). These members of the Nationalist Party were a vocal minority within the overarching organization who clamored for the establishment of social safety nets, greater government spending on education and healthcare, more extensive land reform, and the confirmation of worker’s rights and trade unions. They also supported a more limited expansion of the Greek state to include the Aegean Islands, Cyprus, Ionia, Macedonia, Thrace and Constantinople. Their stance towards ethnic minorities was also much more reserved and respectful, compared to the bombastic and downright xenophobic views held by some of their peers.

In total, the Social Nationalists would number 17 members who caucused together in the Vouli after the 1857 Elections. Most would come from the poorer provinces of Western Greece such as Aetolia-Acarnania, Arta, and Argyrokastro, although two would come from the Nomos of Heraklion and Chania. Incidentally, many were also former members of the short lived Hellenic Socialist Party which had first emerged in 1848, only to quickly disappear by the 1855 Elections. Whilst they initially constituted a small faction within the Nationalist Party, they were quite outspoken in their opinions and used every resource available to them to make their voices heard making them quite popular with the young and disenfranchised of Greek society for whom they fought.

In the next elections, their numbers would more than double to 41 Representatives and continue to rise every election that, before leveling off at 52 representatives in the 1869 Elections. Because of their meteoric rise in popularity and their rather radical political agenda, the other, more conservative elements of the Nationalist Party would cooperate to suppress them. This coordinated opposition to their agenda would eventually force many of the Social Nationalists to formal break with the Nationalists and create their own political party in 1875, the Hellenic Labor Party – an act that would mark the beginning of the end for the Nationalist Party.


The Shipwrights’ Hammer and the Farmers’ Sickle -Symbols of the Hellenic Labor Party circa 1880

The next major group, forming the largest faction within the Nationalist Party with 62 representatives in the Vouli were the Palioí Ethnikistés, the so-called Old Nationalists. Most of these men were members of the Nationalist Party prior to the Enosis of Thessaly and Epirus with the Kingdom of Greece, in fact many were holdovers from the days of the Ioannis Kolettis regime. They were predominantly wealthy land holders and shipping magnates, rather than the fire brand speakers and philosophers that made up the Social Nationalist ranks. Whilst they normally supported limited government spending beyond its current purview, they did favor economic investments particularly those that benefited themselves or their political allies. As such, some of their members developed a reputation for nepotism and corruption in later years for their rather self-interested political agenda. Whilst their initiatives would do a measure of good for their own constituents; over time, their share of the Vouli would gradually diminish in favor of various other factions which eventually emerged from the Nationalist yoke.

The first of these groups to arise from the scandal riddled Old Nationalist Faction would be the Anexártitoi Ethnikistés, the Independent Nationalists who quickly gathered 27 members to their cause following the 1861 elections. Like the Old Nationalists, they are generally considered among the many conservative sub-factions of the Nationalist Party. However, in comparison to the Palioí Ethnikistés, the Anexártitoi Ethnikistés usually fall in the more liberal end of the Conservative factions and usually tended towards the center on most policy issues. Moreover, they would portray themselves as moderates, independent of the shadowy machinations and byzantine intrigue governing the Nationalist Party Leadership.

Complicating matters were the inclusion of various other groups, like the Nationalist Republicans who desired to abolish the Monarchy and establish a democratic republic in its place. By in large, they were a minority, within a minority, as most of their members came from within the ranks of the Social Nationalists, as such, in 1857 they only boasted 5 members. Nevertheless, they would provide a distinct Anti-Monarchist flair to the group going forward. On the opposite end of the political spectrum were the Orthodox Nationalists. These were 11 of more conservative members of the Nationalist Party who advocated for the stricter adherence to traditon, the continued prevalence of the landed elite and shipping magnates, and the zealous pursuit of the Megali Idea. Generally, they caucused with the Old Nationalists, but as time passed they would begin moving in their own direction, away from the increasingly corrupt clique that led the Nationalist Party.

Beyond these four were several other sub-factions, yet they were based more on regional or ethnic identity, rather than political ideology in most cases. More often than not, these groups formed voting blocks of like-minded representatives usually from one particular region of the country such as the Moreot Nationalists, the Epirote Nationalists, and the Cretan Nationalists among others. Generally speaking, their agenda consisted of gaining greater government funding for their constituents and municipalities, usually out of genuine interest for their kin back home, although there are a few instances of Representatives using these initiatives to line their own pockets as well.

With all these competing interests and agendas, it is likely that the Nationalist Party would have failed miserably were it in the hands of lesser men. Thankfully for the Party and its supporters, its leader at this time was the venerable Navy Admiral turned politician, Constantine Kanaris who had navigated these tumultuous waters and created something resembling a modern political party. However, by 1860, Kanaris was getting old, quite old at 70 years of age. Moreover, his once robust health was not what it once was as the stress and strain of governing a country as rowdy as Greece for seven long years had begun to take its toll on the old Navarchos.


Constantine Kanaris, Prime Minister of Greece circa 1860
Adding to the old sailor’s troubles were a number of personal tragedies that had befallen his family during his tenure as Prime Minister. In no less than 12 years, he would lose three of his children between 1848 and 1860. The first to perish would be his only daughter, Maria in March of 1848, who would sadly succumb to the rigors of childbirth – something that was still incredibly perilous in that day and age even for the rich and powerful. Thankfully, the child, a boy named Konstantinos would survive, but the loss of his only daughter would weigh heavily on the Greek Premier for the next few years as she was barely more than a child at the time of her death.

The next to perish would be his youngest son Aristidis who would succumb to typhus in November of 1855. Unlike his father and older brothers, young Aristidis had joined the Army, attended the Hellenic Military Academy, and became a junior officer in 1853. Two years later, Lieutenant Aristidis Kanaris and a number of his peers would later be selected to serve as official observers for the Greek Army during the War between Russia, Britain and the Ottoman Empire. Sadly, he would never make it to the front on the Danube as he would fatefully come into contact with a number of sickly British soldiers whilst laying over at the port of Varna.

Taking pity on them, Aristidis would attempt to aid in their treatment, only to become afflicted with the terrible disease himself and perish before word had even reached Athens of his illness. The sudden death of Kanaris’ youngest son was certainly a tragedy as he was a promising young officer, but it was not fruitless, as his death would galvanize many Greek doctors and nurses to journey to Constantinople where they would care for the sick and wounded of all colors, countries, and creeds saving hundreds, if not thousands of lives in the process. This was of little comfort to Constantine Kanaris, however, as the loss of his youngest child would never stop hurting as he himself had pushed Aristidis to join the expedition to the Danube, believing it would benefit his career and broaden his horizons.

The last tragedy to befall the house of Kanaris would come in early January of 1860 as Konstantinos’ eldest son, Nikolaos was struck down by rioters in Beirut. Nikolaos had been appointed as the deputy Greek consul for the city of Beirut at the behest of his father to further Greek interests in the region. Unfortunately, the timing could not have been worse as within a month of his arrival in country, the whole Levant would explode into sectarian violence as the Muslims turned against their Christian neighbors beating, brutalizing, and murdering any they came across. Mount Lebanon was no different as the local Druze and Sunni communities, emboldened by their compatriots’ actions in Syria - rebelled against the reign of their Maronite ruler, Qasim Shihab.[2]

Caught up in all of this was Nikolaos Kanaris who had made the fateful decision to stay in Beirut and provide shelter for numerous Maronite and Armenian families seeking refuge from persecution. By extending his protection to the Christians of Beirut, Nikolaos put himself at great personal risk as rioters frequently harassed the Greek Consulate, profaning its walls and hurling rocks, roof tiles and fecal matter at its staff members as they passed through its gate. Nevertheless, his selflessness would save many dozens of lives, who were then spirited away to the hills and valleys of Mount Lebanon, or overseas where they’d be safe for a time. Sadly, tensions within the city continued to grow and the boldness of the protesters grew with it. By late August, tensions reached a boiling point, when a mob of angered Arabs arrived outside his door demanding he surrender his guests to the mob. Nikolaos refused their demands as he had time and time again, but this time, the rioters refused to leave. Emotions quickly escalated and moments later, Nikolaos Kanaris was dead, murdered in cold blood by the mob, who summarily stormed his residence and butchered all inside – be they Maronite, Armenian, or Greek - with reckless abandon.


Beiruti Protestors gather outside the home of Nikolaos Kanaris

Furious and aggrieved by the death of his eldest son, Kanaris dispatched envoys to the Ottoman government and Lebanon Emir demanding justice. Unfortunately, as Anti-Greek sentiment was on the rise in Kostantîniyye at this time, very little was done about the matter by the Sublime Porte beyond a token offer of condolences and a half-hearted apology. War between Greece and the Ottoman Empire was only averted by the considerable efforts of the French ambassador, Edouard Thouvenel who petitioned the Porte for a French led Peace Keeping expedition to restore the Sultan's Peace and bring those insidious brigands to justice.

Forming the core of this Peace Keeping Force were three French infantry regiments and a regiment of hussars under the command of General Charles de Beaufort d’Hautpoul. Alongside the French were a number of British, Prussian, Austrian, Hungarian and Italian troops with the begrudging approval of the Beiruti Government and their overlord in Konstantinyye. In addition to these land forces were over twenty warships from various foreign powers, with the largest contingent coming from little Greece. The Greek contribution to this Peace Corps was surprisingly large relative to their influence, nevertheless, they still managed to mobilize five ships including a pair of screw frigates (VP Psara and VP Hydra), a sailing frigate (VP Chios), and two sloops of war (VP Messolongion and VP Tripolitsa). However, owing to the growing hostility between Athens and Constantinople, no Greek forces were permitted to land in Lebanon much to the chagrin of the Hellenes.

Nevertheless, the Greek vessels were quite active patrolling the waters off the coast of Beirut owing to the vigorous leadership of the Greek Squadron’s commanding officer, Antinavarchos Themistocles Kanaris - younger brother of the slain Nikolaos Kanaris. Naturally upset with the murder of his elder brother, Themistocles had few qualms meting out justice upon any rabble rousers his ships, sailors and marines came across while in theater. During the campaign, no less than a dozen "pirate" vessels would be sunk, and another 22 were harassed by the angered Greeks, who clearly had a bone to pick with rowdy Arabs.

Despite this oversized Greek Naval contingent, the other Powers would generally take the lead in the campaign on land, pacifying the region through shows of force and acts of shock and awe rather than wanton destruction and callous murders. Eventually, their efforts would pay off, leading to the surrender or flight of almost every major rebel element in the Mount Lebanon/Syria region by the beginning of 1861. With the rebellion effectively over, the Prince of Lebanon, Qasim Shihab quickly rounded up a number of prominent prisoners, executed a number of them, and shipped their heads to the Greek captains anchored off the coast of Beirut as a sign of good will towards the Athenian Government – effectively ameliorating the angered Greek Prime Minister.


French troops arrive in Beirut
Beyond these personal losses for the old Navarchos, the Kanaris Administration would also be rocked by a number of scandals and controversies around this time; chief among these being the Voulgaris Affair. In 1858, the Greek Minister of the Interior, Dimitrios Voulgaris would be accused of using Government money to buy votes for himself and several of his closest allies during the most recent elections. Voulgaris naturally refuted the charges against him and would vigorously proclaim his innocence. However, many of his colleagues would contradict the Minister and admit to their involvement in the plot, before summarily resigning from office in disgrace. By May of 1858, more than half a dozen Representatives had left office, either permanently or via extended leaves of absences, never to return.

Voulgaris remained obstinate, however, much to the chagrin of Constantine Kanaris who quickly found himself under increasing pressure to sunder all ties with his longtime ally and friend. For his part, Kanaris stayed loyal to his colleague far longer than he reasonably should have as a second rumor of nepotism, bribery, and coercion within the Ministry of the Interior conveniently emerged in late September, undermining Voulgaris’ reputation even further. With Kanaris reluctant to act, the Vouli would be forced to make him. A total of 171 Representatives from both the Nationalist and Liberal Parties would present Kanaris with a fait accompli demanding the removal of Voulgaris’ from his Ministry posting, or else he risk a vote of no confidence that would likely see him overthrown. With no other choice, the old Navarchos would accept their demands and compel Voulgaris to give up his Cabinet post and retire with honor whilst he still had some left.

Slighted at this perceived betrayal, Voulgaris would instead take the matters to the Judiciary where he would choose to settle the matter in the courtroom. Placed under a bright spotlight, the crux of the argument against Voulgaris would eventually collapse as the instigators of the rumors conveniently failed to show in court. While Voulgaris’ adversaries would claim coercion against the witnesses, he would nevertheless prevail owing to lack of evidence. Yet, in spite of this great victory, his name was forever tarnished and would never again attain the immense power and influence that he once held. Even still, Dimitrios Voulgaris remained a rather popular and charismatic figure in the Vouli with many important supporters in the Chamber. However, having been spurned by his former friend and ally, he would then focus all of his energies into opposing Kanaris.


Dimitrios Voulgaris; Minister of the Treasury (1848-1854), Minister of the Interior (1854-1858) and center of the notorious Voulgaris Affair in late 1858

Although the Voulgaris Affair was certainly the most famous example of corruption within the Kanaris Administration it was not the first he had faced, nor would it be the last. In fact, his first term as Prime Minister back in early 1850, had been riddled with controversies and scandals. None were more damning, however, than those surrounding his controversial Minister of Finance, Nikolaos Poniropoulos. Poniropoulos, a former klepht captain turned politician, was forced upon Kanaris by his old rival Ioannis Kolettis, who threatened to gridlock the Vouli unless his several of his proxies were granted Cabinet postings in Kanaris’ nascent regime - Poniropoulos being one such proxy. As his support within the Vouli was quite limited at the time, Kanaris was forced to accept the arrangement with Kolletis much to his own chagrin.

However, as he would soon discover, the agreement with Kolettis was a poison pill, as Poniropoulos would soon use his new prerogatives to manipulate grain prices to the benefit of himself and close associates. This scheme would see grain prices steadily outpace the rise in inflation, earning Poniropoulos and his allies hundreds of thousands of Drachma in the process. Naturally, this would also hurt the poor and impoverished of Greece who were already struggling to feed themselves and their families. Within a matter of weeks, most of the major cities of Greece were awash with protests calling for the removal of Poniropoulos, whilst some municipalities would report multiple riots over bread. Unable to act decisively given his own delicate grip on power, Kanaris would eventually be forced to resign, bringing about the Ioannis Kolettis Administration.

Today, many historians believe that the Poniropoulos Grain Controversy was orchestrated by Kolettis to undermine Kanaris and sink his Premiership, as Poniropoulos would conveniently retire within days of Kanaris' resignation, whilst his controversial policies were summarily revoked. While Ioannis Kolettis was long dead by 1858, his influence over the Nationalist Party remained strong as many of his cronies and underlings remained in prominent positions all throughout the Party leadership. Moreover, these same men continued to operate in a ruthlessly calculated manner, sparking numerous controversies and scandals in the years that followed. Nevertheless, they were just the tip of the iceberg as the most widespread case of Government corruption, would ironically come from a bipartisan piece of legislation; the 1859 Land Reform Act.

While on the surface, the Land Reform Act was a measure meant to protect the small landholders and yeoman farmers of Greece at the expense of the country’s large magnates and latifundia, it cannot be denied that the bill contained a massive payout to the landed elite of Greece. In return for their support for the measure establishing various protections for small family farmers, many prominent landowners would receive lump sums of cash amounting to upwards of 14 million Drachma. Officially, this was given as recompense to those who purchased land and property from the fleeing Chifliks, however, many other figures who weren’t involved in this illicit trade with the Turks were also recipients of this Government capital.

Moreover, hidden deep within the Bill were numerous carve outs and loopholes, exempting various magnates from several taxes and fees that they might otherwise had faced for their illegal actions, costing the Government millions in uncollected revenue. Finally, there were a number of promises for future Government investment into infrastructure projects in their respective provinces to mollify the landed elite. This latter measure has generally been glossed over as it was lumped in with additional provisions for the poor and downtrodden, although these handouts to the poor are relatively meager in comparison. Overall, the 1859 Land Reform Act was a mixed bag for many Greeks, as though it did strengthen protections for small landholders across the country; it also disproportionately benefited the landed elite, who were officially the targets of these new Government regulations.

Whilst corruption was certainly a problem in the Legislature, it was unfortunately endemic throughout all levels of the Greek Government. Often times, low level bureaucrats sent to gather that year’s tax revenue, would be skim several Drachma off the top, then report the reduced amount to government offices in Athens. Other times, they would dramatically under report the properties of a local magnate in return for a sizeable bribe – usually lesser than the taxes owed. As there was little in the way of Government oversight at this time, any evidence of wrongdoing would usually be chalked up to accounting errors in most instances, never to be redressed again. Local notaries were also prone to bribery and often committed the very fraud they were hired to prevent. That is not to say that corrupt government officials were not caught or punished for their crimes, but as long as they didn’t grow too bold or fail to cover their tracks effectively, then nothing would normally come of their criminal behavior. It likely didn’t help that the group responsible for investigating these crimes and arresting the alleged perpetrators, the Gendarmerie were embroiled in various controversies of their own.

As Greece did not have a proper civilian police force prior to the 1880’s, much of the responsibilities for keeping the peace in Greece fell on the Hellenic Army’s Gendarmerie Regiment who were essentially overworked, overburdened, and, more often than not, under paid. Under normal circumstances, the Gendarmerie would be tasked with policing the Army’s ranks, hunting bandits, and enforcing the Government’s authority over the more autonomous regions of Greece such as the Mani, the islands of Hydra and Spetses, and Thesprotia among others. In addition to these, however, they were often charged with suppressing popular unrest throughout the country, breaking up protests, arresting criminals, and guarding prisons. Whilst these were certainly irksome tasks, most members of the Gendarmerie were not above taking bribes to look the other way on certain issues or to go after one's rivals instead.

This latter point would become particularly egregious under Ioannis Kolettis, who notoriously used the Gendarmerie as his cudgel against his many political opponents during his Premiership. The famed Strategos Yannis Makriyannis was coerced into an early retirement by the captain of a Gendarmerie squadron who conveniently arrested his son, Dimitris for stealing the day after a particularly heated spat he had with Kolettis. Similarly, Alexandros Mavrokordatos also found himself on the wrong side of the Gendarmerie who raided his family home in Athens no less than 17 times between 1850 and 1853. Even King Leopold would find himself at the Gendarmerie’s mercy as Kolettis provided Leopold with an “escort” of Gendarmerie officers, loyal only to the Prime Minister for every one of his speeches before the Legislature (eventually Leopold would stop visiting the Vouli entirely until Kolettis’ death in 1853).

Beyond this, the Gendarmerie were also known to harass various ethnic minorities during Kolettis’ Premiership, often questioning them about their religion, citizenship, and mother tongue. If the suspect was found to be disagreeable, they would usually have their businesses disrupted, their goods seized, or their families bothered. If they resisted beyond what was expected, as happened from time to time, they could find themselves being incarcerated or beaten, or both, or worse in some rarer instances. This trend would sadly continue well into the Kanaris years, particularly in the New Provinces as the Athens worked to establish its control over Thessaly and Epirus.

Whilst the takeover of these regions was mostly peaceful, there were several government reports of “resistance” by indigenous Muslim communities against the new Greek authorities. According to some questionable accounts, Muslim bandits attacked several bureaucrats in the region of Trikala, killing five and wounding three more in late 1857. Soon after, the Turkish and Albanian communities in the area would find themselves being forced from their homes by the Gendarmerie who coerced many hundreds, if not thousands into departing for the Ottoman Empire. Coincidentally, their now vacant properties were summarily confiscated and auctioned off at a premium rate, primarily to rich land magnates with connections in high places. The continued sectarian violence in Thesprotia and its environs would also see the Gendarmerie called in to restore order, although in this case it would generally be utilized against both Albanian Muslims and Epirote Christians without prejudice.


Troops of the Hellenic Gendarmerie

Beyond these acts of political violence and coercion, there were also several instances of politicians using their clout to benefit themselves or their family through acts of nepotism. By all accounts, Constantine Kanaris has generally had a good personal record regarding corruption during his decades of public service, yet even he was not above using his office's power and influence to benefit his sons. This was done namely by influencing the Foreign Ministry, the Hellenic Navy, and the Hellenic Army to advance their careers at a quickened pace or to provide them with extraordinary experiences most of their peers could hardly dream of. Such is almost certainly the case with young Aristidis, who was barely out of the Military Academy in 1853 only to be “selected” to serve as an official observer for the Great Russian War less than two years later. Similarly, Nikolaos would see himself appointed to the consulate in Beirut, a posting generally described as plush and incredibly exotic by his peers, despite having only joined the Foreign Ministry a few years prior.

Needless to say, such allegations against Kanaris were quickly silenced followed the successive deaths of his youngest and eldest sons in 1855 and 1860 respectively. For even his most committed rivals, such talk was viewed in especially poor taste and needlessly cruel towards a man who had lost three of his children in barely twelve years. Moreover, most members of the political and social elite in Greece were guilty of the same offenses, having exploited their power, influence, and personal connections to better themselves, their families, or their friends. It was the norm for those in positions of power; not just in Greece, but all across the globe. Moreover, it was also something that was incredibly hard to prove in a court of law, as in many cases, clout and personal connections could only contribute so much to a man’s career. Unless they had the skills to succeed on their own, it did not matter who they knew or who their parents were.

For instance, whilst Panos Kolokotronis almost certainly used his office as Aide de Camp to King Leopold to implant his own son Theodoros into Prince Constantine’s inner circle of friends, his schemes would have come to naught if the two boys didn’t form a genuine relationship in the years that followed. Similarly, Alexandros Mavrokordatos was known to patronize the career of his brother-in-law Spyridon Trikoupis, appointing him to various high offices during his singular term as Prime Minister and then later sponsoring his leadership for the Liberal Party upon his retirement from public office in 1861. Yet it cannot be denied that Trikoupis was a talented orator and a skilled diplomat who would have earned such an impressive resume on his own at a later date even without the support of his Phanariot in-laws.

Though corruption, political violence, and nepotism would continue to wax and wane over the coming decades, it cannot be denied that the 1850's, 60's and 70's would be their apex in Greece. As with all things, the blame for this proliferation of corruption would fall on those in charge, namely Prime Minister Kanaris and King Leopold for not cracking down on these issues sooner or with more force. Yet in both cases, however, they were clearly elderly men on the downturn of their lives. As mentioned before, Kanaris had served as Prime Minister for nearly 8 consecutive years, during a period of immense stress and crisis across the Balkans region, all while suffering repeated losses to his family and circle of allies. Similarly, Leopold was clearly afflicted with various ailments by the start of the 1860's resulting in a slow, if steady withdrawal from public life in the lead up to his death before the end of the decade, all the while he continued to wear the heavy crown of Hellas with grim determination.

Next Time: The Heavy Crown of Hellas

[1] In case you didn't realize, this is a reference to you my dearly beloved readers.
[2] Owing to the improved standing of the Egyptians in the Second Syrian War, Bashir Shihab was not ousted from power in Mount Lebanon. As such, he was succeeded by his son Qasim upon his death in 1850. Similarly, the Mount Lebanon Emirate was not dissolved ITTL for the same reasons, effectively becoming a buffer between Ottoman Syria and Egyptian Palestine.
It's a very good and unfortunately very realistic update, wondeful !!!
Today for the Orthodox it is Palm Sunday, one week before the orthodox Easter.

In greek collective memory Palm Sunday has been connected with the Sortie of Missolonghi, when on Palm Sunday 1826 the starving defenders and civilians of the city - those who could still walk- sortied through the Ottoman-Egyptian siege lines. Since the sieges of Missolonghi were covered in the timeline, I thought to share a poem and a song on it.


The year-long siege and the starvation faced by the defenders were immortalized in Dionysios Solomos' work "The Free Besieged". The following song was written in the 1970s using part of the poem as lyrics. A lament for the defenders.

Utmost silence like in a grave
reigns in the flatlands heavy;
a bird chirps, pecks on a grain
and a mother is feeling envy

Starvation has set black on eyes
on eyes the mother's swearing
nearby the good Souliot is crying:

"Bloody damn rifle sullen too
why be in hand deposit?
That you became hefty as due
the Hagarene just knows it"
Part 94: Twilight of the Lion King
Author's Note:
Apologies for the more than two month delay, suffice to say I've been rather busy recently, but I did manage to put this new chapter together and I've been putting some work into the next few updates so hopefully they will be along in the near future. Either way, I greatly appreciate the support you all continue to give me and I hope you enjoy. Now without further ado....

Part 94: Twilight of the Lion King


A British Political Cartoon from 1830 mocking Prince Leopold for accepting the "Comfortable" Greek Throne
By all accounts, the 1850’s were the apex of King Leopold’s popularity, power, and prestige both in Greece and across much of Europe. As the third son of an impoverished and undistinguished noble house, many of his rivals had originally believed that the vain Prince Leopold would quickly fail in Greece and come crawling back to London with his tail between his legs within a few months’ time way back in 1830. Yet, through considerable effort and good providence, he would endure month after month and year after year where many of his peers and rivals across the continent did not. Soon it would be the likes of King Charles X Bourbon, King Otto von Wittlesbach, Chancellor Klemens von Metternich, and King Louis-Philippe d’Orleans who were made to flee from revolutionaries hounding them in the streets, all the while Leopold stood tall and proud as he paraded through the streets of Athens before throngs of cheering Hellenes in each year’s Independence Day celebrations. His continued survival, if not flourishment in Greece year after year incited a degree of begrudging respect from his adversaries and rivals across the continent.

More than that, Leopold had proven himself to be much more than a parvenu prince with strong pedigree of familial relations that many in London had first believed him to be back in 1830. Through his considerable efforts at diplomacy and statecraft, he had successfully painted himself as a modern-day Nestor, maintaining the peace of Southeastern Europe on multiple occasions through careful mediation and intervention.[1] His personal correspondence with the Ottoman Sultan Abdulmejid would help thaw relations between their two states after the bitter lows of the Cyprus Affair and the Treaty of Constantinople. In fact, Abdulmejid’s respect for Leopold was so great that he would often turn to the Greek king for advice on occasion. Although this relationship would earn him a fair degree of ire and disdain in Greece for a time as many of his detractors called him a coward or worse, a Turkish lacky; his efforts would ultimately bear fruit during the Great Russian War, earning Greece hefty rewards in land and coin.

Leopold would also prove to be a gifted matchmaker - thanks in no small part to the immense prestige and influence of his niece Victoria, effectively tying his family to the great crowned houses of Europe. Between 1830 and 1860, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha would link itself to the ancient Houses of Bourbon, Braganza, Hanover, Hohenzollern, Orléans, Romanov, and Württemberg. Whilst this was purely done to glorify and enrich the House of Saxe-Coburg, it cannot be denied that Leopold’s marital alliances also benefited Greece tremendously.

Through his personal relationship to Victoria, Leopold ensured a close relationship between Greece and the United Kingdom resulting in a number of generous trade agreements, loans, and arms deals between the two countries over the years. Similarly, a marriage between Prince Louis, duc d’Nemours and Leopold’s niece, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha had been intended to bring France closer to the United Kingdom and Greece through this marital union. Sadly, this dynastic alliance would not last long, as the events of 1848 would dash these hopes with the ouster of the House of Orleans and eventual re-ascension of the House of Bonaparte under Napoleon II. Finally, the marriage of Leopold’s eldest son Constantine to Grand Duchess Anna Mikhailovna of Russia secured a long-lasting relationship with the House of Romanov, a relationship that had already proven dividends in the Paris Peace Conference of 1857 and would continue to pay dividends for years to come.


Coat of Arms of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Meanwhile in Hellas itself, Leopold’s reputation was viewed as a sterling example of Constitutional Monarchy. Under the Hellenic Constitution of 1830, Leopold, as King of Hellas, would be the Chief Executive of the Kingdom of Greece. His primary responsibilities included inspecting the troops as Commander in Chief of the Hellenic Military, issuing commendations and awards to deserving military men and civil servants, overseeing Cabinet meetings as Head of State, and appointing Ministers to the Cabinet, Senators to the Senate, and Governors to the Provinces upon the advice and consent of the Vouli. Beyond this, Leopold’s royal prerogative was rather vague providing him and his heirs with a degree of legal discretion on many matters. For instance, Leopold would routinely use these vagaries to conduct his own diplomacy, effectively running the Foreign Ministry out of the Royal Palace at several points throughout his reign.

By in large, though, Leopold would generally abide by the limits imposed upon him by the Constitution and would only intervene in the Government’s internal affairs when his input was explicitly requested or when certain issues threatened his prerogatives. For instance, Leopold’s stance on the economy was generally well received as he was a consistent, albeit modest advocate for modernization and industrialization. Similarly, he supported a strong Hellenic Military and national defense, but resisted efforts to expand it to a size that would risk antagonizing its neighbors and allies. However, it is his role as mediator that is remembered most fondly. Using his natural talents as an orator and diplomat, Leopold would position himself as an impartial actor in most political arguments, using his power and influence to peacefully resolve disputes between various politicians for the betterment of Greece. Thanks to his tactful interventions, Leopold would manage to (largely) keep the peace between the various political parties in Greece, preventing tensions from escalating too high to the point of violence or worse.

Finally, with his marriage to Princess Marie of Württemberg in 1833 and the birth of his three children (Diadochos Constantine, Prince Alexander, and Princess Katherine), Leopold had brought much needed stability, legitimacy, and durability to the nascent Hellenic Monarchy. By siring an heir to the throne, Leopold ensured that the Monarchy would continue following his death. Similarly, the birth of Constantine’s own children would further strengthen the House of Saxe-Coburg’s grip on the Crown of Greece well into the distant future. Even still, Leopold was not completely unchallenged in Greece, nor was his reign endorsed by all Greeks.

A small, but vocal minority of Greek thinkers and philosophers supported the abolition of the monarchy and the (re)establishment of a republican form of government. Whilst some facet of their rationale would certainly be xenophobic in nature, (Leopold and his brood were Germans who had been forced upon the Greeks by foreign powers), their most successful arguments would be depicted in a financial lens. For instance, the Greek Government provided the Hellenic Royal Family with a massive allowance of 1.2 Million Drachma (roughly 50,000 Pounds Sterling) annually, representing around 6.3% of the National Budget in 1855. Whilst some of this would go towards philanthropic causes, patronizing Greek businesses, or paying the many hundreds of servants and laborers on the payrolls of the Crown; it cannot be denied that most of this coin was spent maintaining the lavish lifestyle of the Greek Royal Family.

The Royals lived in lavish palaces and mansions, whilst many Greeks lived in simple hovels. They owned several vineyards and country villas, a pleasure yacht with a private dock, and even a royal carriage on the Athens-Piraeus Railway whilst many Greeks owned little more than the clothes on their backs. Lastly, whilst most Greeks struggled to feed themselves or their families, the Royals enjoyed lavish feasts and wasted untold sums of food and drink that was simply discarded after their many dinner parties. Nevertheless, most Greeks found this arrangement acceptable given the much-needed sense of stability and legitimacy Leopold and his family provided to the Greek Government and Greek State. So it was that when the 25th anniversary of his coronation arrived in June of 1855; King Leopold of Greece was well and truly secure in his position.

As had been the case for each of the last 24 celebrations, that year’s celebrations on the 21st of March, 29th of May, and 14th of June were lively, joyous and full of merriment, thanks in large part to the coinciding Clarendon-Kolokotronis Agreement which saw Greece gaining the Ionian Islands.[2] One could hardly go a single city block in Athens, without seeing storefronts and houses adorned with little flags of the Hellenic State, the Azure and White glistening in the blazing Mediterranean sunlight. The regular filth of the streets had been swept aside and in its place were countless flower petals cast from the rooftops and throngs of people dressed in their best costumes to bear witness to that year’s proceeding. The weather whilst certainly warm, was moderated by a gentle breeze rolling in off the sea.

Following a private church service in the Royal Chapel, King Leopold and his entourage departed the Royal Palace to begin that day’s event. Riding upright in his old military uniform atop a brilliant white Thessalian colt with a gilded saddle, the King of Greece looked every part of a conquering hero. Flanking the King were his two sons, Diadochos Constantine mounted atop a black Thessalian colt to the right and Prince Alexander on a white Thessalian Charger to the left, both young men outfitted in their ravishing military uniforms of the Evelpidon Military Academy. Behind the two Princes was a quarter mile long procession of attendants, courtiers, foreign dignitaries, politicians, royal guests, servants and soldiers who proceed down the main promenade to Constitution Square where the King would oversee that year’s celebration from atop a grand dais embroidered in blue and white.


Scene from King Leopold’s Silver Jubilee; New Soldiers pledging allegiance to King Leopold and the Greek Government

First on the itinerary were a slew of speeches from various politicians and foreign dignitaries generally aimed at inflating Leopold’s ego, with one by the former Prime Minister Alexandros Mavrokordatos allegedly bringing the old man to tears. Whether this was a genuine display of emotion from the normally cold Leopold, or a calculated political move none, but Leopold can truly say. The longest speech by far, though would come from the King himself, which in true Leopold fashion would drag on for an agonizingly long two and a half hours, covering a breadth of meandering topics from his coronation to the present day.

Perhaps the extensive oration was meant to convince his detractors that he was fully fit and healthy even though he was fast approaching his 65th birthday and had been deathly ill several times in recent memory. Or perhaps, Leopold simply enjoyed hearing himself talk, which he was certainly known to do. Either way, the King’s speech would mercifully end before the sun had set, allowing the day to give way to a night of feasting, drinking, music, and dancing mirroring Leopold’s coronation ceremony 25 years prior. Surely this night of pageantry and gaiety was the great pinnacle of his life as the trajectory of Leopold’s life would soon begin it’s long and slow decline.

Barely a year later, in the first weeks of July 1856, King Leopold would be stricken with increasingly severe bouts of pain in his abdomen and groin. Accompanying the pain were extensive periods of restlessness, sweating, itching, nausea, and vomiting. Although the elder statesman would attempt to push through the discomfort and continue working as he had done previously either out of vanity or prudence; it eventually became too much to handle or hide as he would soon become bedridden for days at a time. Forced to seek professional medical help at the behest of his worried wife and daughter, Leopold would soon discover that he was suffering from a bad case of kidney stones, which made even the simplest of tasks excruciatingly painful.

Over the next few weeks, Leopold would undergo a number of tests, examinations, and procedures to relieve him of his ailment, only for each effort to end in failure with the pain returning in a few days’ time. Irritated by the great expense incurred and the constant poking and prodding of the doctors, Leopold would swear off any further medical assistance for the next few years choosing to endure the pain instead. Thankfully for the Old King, the kidney stones would eventually pass through his system naturally, enabling him to continue with his work, albeit at a noticeably reduced capacity than before. Accompanying this decline in health was a decline in his appearance, as Leopold would lose all remaining vestiges of his once famous beauty.

By the mid-1850’s Leopold was effectively bald, apart from a few strands of greying hair upon the back and sides of his head. Horrified and humiliated by his deteriorating appearance, the vain Greek King would resort to wearing ridiculous looking wigs, styled in the wind-swept fashion that had been oh so popular in his youth. Alongside this loss in hair came an increase in his girth. Despite his habit for taking long walks down the Athenian promenade and his fondness for horseback riding, Leopold quickly regained all the weight he had lost during his extensive bout with kidney stones over the previous months. Here too, Leopold would choose to conceal his worsening condition by wearing corsets and stays which certainly made him look thinner, but only at the cost of his remaining flexibility and maneuverability. Worst of all, Leopold’s once impeccable skin and handsome façade were marred by the ravages of time. Blemishes and winkles dotted his face, his cheeks were sunken, and his skin was sickly pale. Only his eyes retained their vigor, yet they were growing darker with each passing year. Desperate to preserve some vestige of his youthful beauty, the elder Leopold would rouge his cheeks and apply women’s makeup to conceal imperfections upon his face and hands, yet in the process he would only make a vicious mockery of his younger self.


King Leopold of Greece (circa 1860)

Accompanying this loss in his appearance would come a remarkably fast loss in his prestige and influence both at home and abroad. For one, Leopold would find that his efforts at playing peacemaker between the British and Russians was largely ineffective. The British were irritated with Greece’s blatant disregard of the neutrality clauses within the Treaty of Constantinople, whilst the Russians were clearly disappointed by Greece’s dealings with the British and Ottomans maintaining their neutrality in the Great Eurasian War. After the conflict, Leopold would uncharacteristically find himself at odds with his Russian ally through his public support of Prince Milos Obrenovic of Serbia who returned to power in Belgrade in the Summer of 1859.[3] Obrenovic’s restoration would naturally result in the ouster of the Russian backed Prince Alexander Karađorđević much to the chagrin of St. Petersburg who had gone to great lengths propping up their ally's faltering reign. Whilst little would come of this minor diplomatic misstep initially, it would prove irksome to the Russians in what was to be the first of many issues to emerge in the Greco-Russian relationship. Soon after, Leopold would find himself engaging in another unforced error with a prominent power, this time with the Ottoman Empire.

Relations between the Kingdom of Greece and the Ottoman Empire had always been quite tense to say the least, with both sides sharing an incredible among of bad blood towards the other. Leopold for his part had attempted to tamp down on this hostility by fostering a close personal relationship with the young Sultan Abdulmejid with whom he engaged in letter writing over the years. The two would even meet on a number of occasions, usually meeting on neutral ground in London or Paris whilst on holiday or at various diplomatic summits. Their joint efforts had been instrumental in maintaining the peace between their two states over the past 20 years, but by the start of 1857 Abdulmejid’s reign was dealt a mortal blow with the devastating Treaty of Paris, which marked the formal end to the Great Russian War. Faced with extensive territorial losses, demographic losses, and economic losses; all that Abdulmejid had worked towards during his reign was effectively undone. His reform-oriented policies were discredited as were his attempts to broker closer relations with the Christian Great Powers of Europe who had essentially left his country to die in the gutter. Moreover, his already fragile health was upset by the immense stress of the war and the ruinous toll it had taken on his Country.Abdulmejid’s death on the 7th of January 1860 thus deprived Leopold of a fond acquaintance, one who had shown him great respect and friendship throughout their years of correspondence.

Moreover, it would prove to be a greatly destabilizing event for the entire region as his successor would be his weak-kneed brother Abdulaziz, who quickly fell under the sway of his powerful Grand Vizier, Mehmed Emin Ali Pasha who had grown far more nationalistic in the years following the Great Russian War. Mehmed Pasha had come to view the ethnic and religious minorities of the Empire with distrust and disdain, believing them to be the originators of all the Empires troubles. Of all his criticisms, however, he considered the Hellenes and their Kingdom of Hellas to be the worst, calling them “a den of opportunistic jackals and thieves who picked at the still living carcass of the Turk.”

Leopold’s attempts at fostering a relationship with the new Ottoman Sultan would only make things worse as Leopold’s meandering letters promising friendship and counsel were instead interpreted as condescending and patronizing by Abdulaziz and Mehmed Emin Ali Pasha. Angered by this perceived slight, Abdulaziz’s ministers would summon Nikolaos Aivazidis – the Greek Consul to Constantinople, berate him ad nauseum for his King’s lack of deference when addressing his superior - the mighty and magnanimous Osmanli Padishah, and then promptly dismiss him without so much as offering him a chance at a rebuttal. Naturally, Athens was not pleased that their man in Kostantîniyye had received such a thorough dressing down at the hands of the antagonistic Ottoman Grand Vizier, prompting a retaliation from Constantine Kanaris who was clearly still bereaved after the death of his eldest son Nikolaos only a few weeks before. Leopold’s attempts at mediation were ignored, and his efforts at reconciliation were hotly opposed much to his detriment and disappointment.


Sultan Abdulaziz of the Ottoman Empire (circa 1865)

At home things were not much better as his eldest son, Diadochos Constantine was no longer the meek little boy he had once been and would prove himself more resistant to his father’s machinations and manipulations. Having finally started growing into his lanky frame by the age of 22, Constantine was becoming something akin to a handsome young man. His long arms and legs had been padded with some degree of muscle after years of military training, whilst his suits and military uniforms were better tailored to fit his more developed physique. His nose remained large, but with his mustachioed upper lip, thick sideburns, and stubbled chin it was easily concealed. Moreover, his thick facial hair was more in keeping with the fashion of the day, putting him at odds with his father who remained defiantly clean shaven. In a sense, the proverbial shoe was now on the other foot as Constantine was the (comparatively) handsome young man, whilst Leopold was the ugly and clearly aging old man. More than this, however, Constantine rarely interacted with his father.

Part of this was due to his own growing list of responsibilities. Having been enrolled in the Hellenic Military Academy in 1852, Constantine would find himself thoroughly occupied by his studies and military training. Even after his graduation in the Spring of 1856, his duties as a newly minted Army Officer would require long days of work that lasted well into the night on some occasions. Officially, Constantine was to be an artillery officer, although given the dangers of the trade, he was generally relegated to staff work. This was in part due to his propensity for administrative work, but it cannot be denied that his instructors and superiors feared what would happen if he was injured or worse, killed during live fire exercises. It also didn’t help that he was still a rather poor soldier, one with a weak constitution and a general disdain for the rigors of field work.

It is also important to remember that by this time, Diadochos Constantine had a family of his own that he needed to tend to. He had married Grand Duchess Anna Mikhailovna in 1853 and though their first months together had been difficult, in time they had grown to understand one another to a certain degree.[4] Soon, the pair would be blessed with a child Princess Marie (b.1854) with another to follow in the coming months, Prince Constantine (b. 1856) and a third coming soon after in Princess Elena (b.1857). Given his growing family, it naturally became necessary for Constantine to set out on his own and establish his own household, away from his oppressive father and doting mother. Although he certainly was not the best of fathers or husbands, with many of his peers and colleagues considering him rather aloof at best and cold at worst, Constantine did endeavor to be a better father than Leopold. To that end, Constantine and his family would re-establish themselves at a rather lush manor several miles away in the foothills of Mount Parnitha. There, Constantine would provide his children with a private upbringing away from the pressures of the Royal Court, the Greek Government, and his dreadful father.

Even still, Constantine had the time to see his father as his work generally kept him in Attica and his personal residence was only a short carriage ride away from the Royal Palace. Yet for one reason or another, Constantine simply refused to meet with the King unless business or politics demanded it. Though their relationship had certainly improved since the chilly lows of 1852, it cannot be denied that there still existed great animosity between the two. This was most poignantly seen with the birth and naming of Constantine’s son in early February 1856. Rather than name him after his own father as was in keeping with the customs and norms of the day; the Diadochos would instead defy expectations and christen him Konstantinos after himself in a clear slight to his father Leopold.[5] The birth of Constantine’s younger son, Prince Michael in 1860, would similarly spurn Leopold, as the boy was named after his maternal grandfather instead.

Tensions between King and Crown Prince would only worsen from there, as Constantine gradually came to associate himself more strongly with Admiral Kanaris and the Nationalist Party, whereas Leopold tended to patronize Mavrokordatos and his Liberals. The 1857 Elections would temporarily upend this dynamic as the Nationalists thereafter became the de facto party of the Greek Government, forcing both father and son into the same corner politically. Even still, the two were at odds with Leopold associating more with the Conservatives, whilst Constantine began leaning towards the more Liberal wing of the Party. Relations between the two would temporarily improve with Leopold’s illness and months of medical treatment as the Royal family attempted to present a united front to the people of Greece, but no sooner had Leopold begun his recovery in the Fall of 1856, did the animosity between the two return stronger than ever.


Diadochos Constantine of Greece (circa 1860)

Thankfully, Leopold’s younger son Prince Alexander would prove more pliant to his father’s wishes, choosing to voluntarily follow his brother into the Military Academy once he came of age in 1854. Whereas Constantine had struggled tremendously, Alexander would flourish almost instantly, proving himself to be one of the best cadets in his year, ultimately graduating four years later in 1858 in the top fifth of his class. Where Constantine was mercurial and aloof and clearly ungifted in many ways, Alexander was bold, gregarious and incredibly athletic. This certainly made him more attractice in the eyes of Leopold, yet the two did have some differences that nearly brough them to blows.

Though he had a knack for the military, Alexander had no real love for Army life and would instead choose to patronize the arts. He adored art in all its forms and would have made a life of it if fate had deemed otherwise. Sadly, his father had little use for a painter or writer of a son and though he allowed him to keep it as a hobby, he explicitly refused to allow his son to make a profession of painting and writing. Forced to redirect his passion elsewhere, Alexander would soon find himself becoming a patron of the growing sporting community of Greece, which had been worked into a fervor with the success of the Zappas Olympics. Whilst Leopold wasn’t completely enamored with the thought, he begrudgingly accepted his younger son’s interests in athletics. As such, Alexander would take to it quite quickly, sponsoring various athletes and even organizing teams for a number of competitions.

On one particular occasion during the 1858 Olympic Games, Prince Alexander would even adorn himself in the simple white leotard of the Olympic Athletes and enter one of the footraces alongside several of his fellow Academy cadets. While he did not win the race, he would finish in a respectable third position to great acclaim and praise by the people of Athens who had come out to witness the event. Although Leopold was perturbed by Alexander’s lack of royal dignity, he recognized his son’s interests in the Games – along with the immense popularity of the events themselves - and permitted him to serve in an advisory role to Zappas’ Olympic Committee, eventually becoming President of the Committee in his later years.

This clear difference in treatment between Constantine and Alexander by their father was made all the more apparent when it came to the matter of their marriages. Whereas Constantine had no input upon his own betrothal and only learned of the matter well after it had been arranged, Alexander was given some deference on deciding who he married and when the marriage ceremony would be. Perhaps this was due to their difference in status as Constantine was the heir apparent, he was subjected to more scrutiny and higher demands, thus a prestigious and wealthy bride was needed to appease their critics. Meanwhile, Alexander was a second son with a lesser chance of inheriting the throne. Therefore, he had fewer eyes upon him, hence the greater deference to his interest - it likely helped that Alexander and Leopold were on speaking terms unlike Constantine and Leopold.

To that end, Leopold began searching for a suitable bride for young Alexander once he had finished arranging Constantine’s marriage in 1853. Leopold’s desired candidate was another Russian Grand Duchess with the eldest daughter of Tsarevich Alexander, Grand Duchess Alexandra being his first choice. Unfortunately, the outbreak of war between the Ottomans, British and Russians forced Leopold to reconsider as he did not wish to alienate his British Allies, nor his beloved Niece and Nephew. To that end, he looked to Prussia next, where he would find two potential candidates for Alexander. The first was Princess Louise, daughter of Crown Prince Wilhelm. Of the two candidates she was very enticing being the daughter of the soon to be king of Prussia, providing Leopold a close connection with the Royal House of Hohenzollern. Moreover, she was close in age to Prince Alexander, meaning a marriage between the two could happen as soon as late 1854, early 1855 following her 16th birthday. However, given the politics of Germany at the time, and her father’s desire for a more local match for his beloved daughter, a marriage between Alexander and Louise was turned down.

The second option was Wilhelm’s niece, Princess Alexandrine of Prussia (daughter of Wilhelm’s youngest brother Prince Albert). Although she was four years younger than Princess Louise, she was an attractive candidate in her own right as she possessed a vast fortune estimated at one million Pounds Sterling, thanks to her eccentric mother’s savvy investments and business dealings.[6] Moreover, given the much-publicized troubles of her parent’s marriage, she effectively grew up in the Royal Court in Berlin in the care of her aunt Queen Elisabeth, where she was much admired and loved. There, she would grow up alongside her cousins, Prince Frederick (son of Crown Prince Wilhelm) and his sister, Princess Louise becoming quite close to the future King of Prussia. Ironically, it was for these reasons that she was also considered by Leopold’s own niece, Queen Victoria as a potential spouse for her eldest son Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. She would eventually decide against the match given the peculiarities of her son and the recommendations of her daughters, but in return she would provide her uncle Leopold with her full blessing of the match between Alexander and Alexandrine.


Princess Alexandrine of Prussia, Wife of Prince Alexander of Greece

The Prussian King Frederick Wilhelm IV was more reluctant to part with his adopted daughter, however, as he considered Greece to be a distant and unstable land. Moreover, Alexandrine being little more than a child was reluctant to part with her beloved uncle whose health grew worse with each passing day. Yet on the counsel of his brother, Crown Prince Wilhelm; Frederick Wilhelm would permit the Greek Prince to at least meet with her and if she favored the Greek Prince, then an arrangement could be made. Satisfied by this argument, Friedrich Wilhelm would agree and a meeting between the two would be staged for the Summer of 1855, when Prince Alexander would be on leave from his training at Evelpidon.

According to reports, the two would fall in love at first sight with Prince Alexander being especially taken with the charming young Princess of Prussia, whilst Princess Alexandrine was overjoyed by the Greek Prince’s dashing good looks and cultured mind. The two would thereafter engage in constant letter writing over the ensuing months, furthering their relationship. Convinced that her happiness would be secured through this match, King Frederick Wilhelm IV finally gave his approval for the betrothal of Prince Alexander and Princess Alexandrine. The couple would marry once Princess Alexandrine came of age in early 1858 over the course of two marriage ceremonies, one in Berlin on the 1st of April 1858 and the other in Athens on the 5th of May. Ironically, the marriage of Prince Alexander would be the last of the Greek Royal weddings as his younger sister’s wedding had preceded his own by several months.

By all accounts, Princess Katherine was the ablest and brightest of King Leopold’s children. She was incredibly beautiful with dark brunette hair, auburn doe shaped eyes, and delicate features. Her figure was petite, but not frail as she was quite athletic for a woman of her day, finding great interest in horseback riding, dancing and swimming. Katherine’s greatest asset, however, was her mind, as she was incredibly sharp and witty. Capable of reading, writing and speaking in no less than nine different languages fluently, Princess Katherine had been given the best education a woman could hope for in the 19th Century. At 13 she had read all of Plutarch’s works and declared him to be her favorite writer. At 14 she frequently served as her father’s aid and secretary, effectively filling the role once held by Leopold’s old confidante Baron Stockmar. On more than one occasion, she would even meet with foreign dignitaries and oversee meetings of the Cabinet, much to the shock and awe of her father’s Ministers who were quite impressed by her tact and skill.


Princess Katherine of Greece (circa 1861)

She was loved by all she met and fiercely admired by those who knew her, chief among them being her own father who doted on her constantly. By his own admission, Leopold sought to secure Katherine’s happiness and well-being through a good marriage. To that end, he would first seek out the hand of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich, third son of Tsar Nicholas of Russia. Whilst Leopold was certainly impressed with young Nicholas as he was a fabulously rich and influential man, Katherine was not as enamored by her Russian cousin, and proved reluctant towards this match. Thankfully for all involved, the outbreak of War between Russia and the Anglo-Ottoman Alliance would put a damper on this proposal as Leopold didn’t wish to upset his British allies by deepening his family’s marital ties with their enemy.

With a Russian Grand Duke now off the table, Leopold would return to the drawing board once more to seek out an appropriate suitor for his daughter’s hand. However, before he would get the chance to find a candidate of his own, Katherine would meet the man of her heart’s desire among the list of royal guests at her father’s Silver Jubilee celebration in the form of one Prince Louis of the Two Sicilies. As the second son of King Ferdinand of the Two Sicilies, Prince Louis was a lively and attractive young man. He was relatively tall and maintained a slim, but athletic build. He was a soldier by trade and carried himself like a dashing chevalier of yore. More than that, however, he was notoriously charming and very flirtatious, one who was capable of sweeping any young woman off her feet with just a single glance and wink of an eye.

Yet what attracted Katherine most of all was his keen mind. Louis was something of a humanist and considered himself to be a charitable man who sought to use his gifts for the betterment of all. Politically speaking, Louis was an outspoken Liberal, or rather he was more liberal than was the norm for the traditionally conversative House of Bourbon. Most of all, he had a certain fire to him, a zest for life that made Katherine's heart flutter with romanticism. Although his older brother Prince Francesco, soon to be King Francesco II, was himself unmarried and would provide Katherine with the opportunity of becoming a queen in a few years; Princess Katherine held a rather poor opinion of him given his weak character and poor intellect. Instead, she would place her bets on his charming and ambitious younger brother.

Unable, or perhaps unwilling to convince her otherwise given his worsening Kidney stone affliction, Leopold would eventually give his approval for the match and would begin making the necessary arrangements. Over the ensuing months, a number of liaisons would travel back and forth between the two Mediterranean countries until all matters of debate were settled. Although matters of religion would prove difficult, as she was a devout follower of the Greek Orthodox Church and he was a staunch Roman Catholic; it was eventually determined that Princess Katherine would be allowed to keep her faith, whilst any children of their marriage would be raised as members of the Catholic Church. Next came the matter of their wedding location, with the wedding ceremony being set in two parts, one in Athens and the other in Naples. Finally, the matter of a dowry proved to be the most contentious issue as the notoriously miserly King Leopold proved hesitant to settle on a particular sum. Eventually, Prince Louis with a number of his father’s advisors would manage to pry the old Greek King for a remarkable 60,000 Pounds Sterling and an allowance of 8,000 Pounds every year thereafter.


Prince Louis, Count of Trani

Sadly, the marriages of Princess Katherine and Prince Alexander were to be the last happy moments in Leopold’s life as he was soon struck with a number of personal tragedies in rapid succession. In mid-May 1859, word arrived from Vienna that Leopold’s longtime friend and confidante, Archduke John of Austria had passed away only a few days after his 77th birthday. Despite their difference in stations, John had quickly befriended young Leopold during a chance encounter in London in 1815. Thereafter the two men remained strong friends and allies, with Archduke John being one of the first dignitaries (outside the British delegation) to openly support Prince Leopold’s candidacy for the Greek Crown in the 1830 Conference of London. In the years since, Leopold and John would maintain a frequent correspondence, with Leopold frequently turning to John for wisdom and advice, right up until John’s unfortunate passing in early May 1859.

One year later in August 1860, Leopold would lose his estranged elder sister Julianne. Formerly known as Anna Feodorovna, Grand Duchess of Russia, Julianne was the one time wife of Leopold’s good friend and benefactor, Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich. Although they had not been particularly close as she had moved to St. Petersburg when he was only 5 years of age, her death saddened him as she was still family and above all Leopold valued family over all else. Even still, she was not mourned deeply by the Greek King who had been distant towards her after the events of 1814, when he had been tasked with returning her to her estranged husband, only to be rejected outright and thoroughly embarrassed by the whole affair. More impactful to Leopold, however, was the loss of his other sister Victoria, Duchess of Kent who died a few months later in March of 1861.

Whereas Leopold held a poor opinion of Julianne, he had absolutely adored Victoria. She had been one of his closest friends and confidantes after the death of his beloved first wife Charlotte, providing him kinship and companionship when he desperately desired it. While his own ambitions on the British throne had been dashed by the cruelty of fate; through his sister and her daughter (Queen Victoria), Leopold was given a chance to become the power behind the throne. Sadly, differences over Duchess Victoria’s rumored love affairs drove mother and daughter apart for many years, greatly reducing Leopold’s grip over his young niece until her marriage to Prince Albert in 1841 provided him with yet another proxy in Buckingham. Nevertheless, Leopold remained in constant contact with Victoria who would routinely provide him with great insight into the changing machinations of the British court. Thus, with her loss Leopold lost one more link to his childhood, one more link to his youth and one more link to his time in Great Britain.

Finally in September of that same year, Leopold was hit with one last great loss in the form of his loyal servant, Baron Stockmar. Doctor Christian Friedrich Stockmar had served the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha ably for the better part of 40 years; first joining Leopold’s household as his personal physician in 1816, before quickly becoming Prince Leopold’s chief secretary and advisor in the ensuing months. In the weeks preceding Leopold’s coronation as King of Greece, Stockmar assisted Leopold in “refreshing” his understanding of the Greek language, Greek history, and Greek culture to better prepare him for the task ahead of him. In the following months, Stockmar would serve as Leopold’s liaison on many occasions, meeting with various politicians and dignitaries when the King was otherwise occupied. In 1832, Stockmar would be charged with securing Leopold a fitting wife, a task which he masterfully accomplished through the betrothal and marriage of Princess Marie of Württemberg to Leopold in early 1833. Following the births of Leopold’s children, Stockmar would also be charged with tutoring the young Prince Constantine until 1840 when he would receive his final orders from Leopold, which would see him depart Greece for Great Britain, where he would advance his master’s cause in the Court of Queen Victoria.

Doctor Stockmar would remain in London for the next 7 years serving as a political adviser to Queen Victoria and then to her husband Prince Albert who relied heavily on Stockmar’s skills during his first few years in the United Kingdom. By 1846, however, both Victoria and Albert had grown more independent and less reliant upon Stockmar and Leopold’s counseling and granted him leave to return to Germany where he would enter an early retirement. This would not last long however, as the Revolutions of 1848 compelled Doctor Stockmar to return to service, this time in the court of Prince Ernest II of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Prince Albert’s older brother). However, unrest in the Ernestine Duchies would eventually force Prince Ernest and Baron Stockmar from Coburg, with Ernest fleeing to Berlin, whilst Stockmar traveled across Germany for several months before ultimately making his way to Athens where he rejoined Leopold after more than 9 years apart.

This reunion between master and servant was similarly short lived, however, as the political situation in Greece was far more volatile owing to Ioannis Kolettis’ machinations and antagonism towards King Leopold and his supporters, Stockmar included. This combined with the restoration of Ernest to his family’s Duchy in late 1850 compelled Stockmar to return to Germany once again, where he would serve as Ernest’s chief adviser for the next few years before ultimately retiring once again in 1857, this time for good. Although Leopold would attempt to stir Stockmar from his rest one last time in 1858 to serve as his representative in Berlin during his son Alexander’s marriage to Princess Alexandrine of Prussia, his efforts would come to naught as Stockmar was himself quite ill and politely refrained from leaving his family. Understanding his close friend’s decision and respecting his 40 years of service, Leopold honored Stockmar’s request.

Stockmar’s death was thus a hard blow to Leopold who had come to rely heavily upon his advice and friendship over the four and a half decades. Moreover, the loss of his two closest comrades and his last two remaining siblings made Leopold recognize his own mortality, something which was becoming more apparent with each passing day. By the end of 1861, he was 71 years of age and though he was not quite on death’s door, his health was clearly failing as he suffered from a growing litany of ailments and illnesses. Sadly, for Leopold, there was more bad news to come. Yet instead of the death of a close friend or confidante, it would come in the form of a massive political scandal, one which threatened the stability of the Hellenic Monarchy.

Next Time: The Coburg Love Affair

[1] Ironically, this is both a compliment and an insult to Leopold as whilst Nestor was certainly described as wise, he was also known to issue faulty advice as well, often in a prattling manner. This actually matches Leopold quite well given his own OTL behavior.
[2] These three dates correspond to the official start of the Greek War for Independence in 1821, the formal ending of the War with the 1830 Treaty of London, and the day of Leopold’s coronation.
[3] Having gained independence from the Ottoman Empire, Prince Alexander is able to hold onto power for a few more months thanks to the ensuing prestige boost before the British and French backed Milos Obrenovic is able to instigate a coup against him.
[4] Owing in large part to the continued survival of his mother, TTL’s Prince Constantine has a better opinion of women than OTL’s Leopold II.
[5] For simplicity’s sake I’ll refer to Constantine Senior as Diadochos Constantine and Constantine Junior as Prince Constantine. Don’t worry, this will be resolved later.
[6] Both Alexandrine’s father, Prince Albert of Prussia and mother, Princess Marianne of the Netherlands divorced in 1848 OTL and both married morganatically afterwards to their respective lovers. In the case of Princess Marianne she would prove to be a successful investor and entrepreneur, making a small fortune for herself and her children, effectively making them the richest members of the Hohenzollern family. For instance, at the time of her OTL marriage, Princess Alexandrine was provided with a dowry of 1,000,000 dollars by her mother.
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Is it wrong that I kind of want Constantine to end up being rembered as a better king than Leopold.
Not at all.

For all his acclaim as a king and diplomat, Leopold was a rather strict and cold father to his sons IOTL. While a lot of fathers at that time were strict disciplinarians and emotionally distant (especially those in nobility), Leopold I could be considered downright abusive to Leopold II as he constantly ridiculed him and put him down whenever he failed or didn't live up to his lofty expectations. Moreover, Leopold's letters to Queen Victoria about Leopold II are rather cruel and depressing that he would write about his own son in such a terrible way to his niece no less. Once you start digging into his upbringing, it honestly makes a lot of sense why Leopold II ended up the way that he did in OTL.

I'd also like to point out that while TTL's Diadochos Constantine is modeled after OTL's King Leopold II of Belgium, they are not the same person and will have many differences, one of which is Constantine's desire for a better family life for his own children. So him being more sympathetic was sort of the plan from the outset. That being said, he's not a perfect person by any means and he will be involved in his fair share of scandals, controversies and ethical quandaries; some of which will become apparent in the near future.
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I love the update - it was great to see more of Leopold and his hife/influence over the country, and I also enjoyed getting to learn a bit more about Constantine and Alexander as well. We seem to be slowly moving into the 1860s and I feel like those are going to be a pretty pivitol decade in the shaping of Europe and the world for the rest of the 19th century. So: bring it on! :D
A brilliant update @Earl Marshal , it was worth waiting for! The Coburg Love Affair? I pressume it will be something involving Diadochos Constantine...
On another subject, how long is the Greek railroad network by the end of 1861 ? Which cities are connected to it? Finally, is Greece able to produce some locomotives locally, under a license?
IOTL the first line began operating in1869 and it was a mere 8 km between the port of Piraeus and Athens.
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Everyone seems to love Constantine, am I the only one kind of dreading his accession? I don’t love Leopold, he’s vain and a bit of a bastard when it comes to parenting. But the few portrayals we’ve seen of Constantine paint him as sympathetic but slightly lacking in many areas. I’m not saying he’s destined to be bad because of that. But my gut says he’s not going to be a good King either.
Everyone seems to love Constantine, am I the only one kind of dreading his accession? I don’t love Leopold, he’s vain and a bit of a bastard when it comes to parenting. But the few portrayals we’ve seen of Constantine paint him as sympathetic but slightly lacking in many areas. I’m not saying he’s destined to be bad because of that. But my gut says he’s not going to be a good King either.
Thankfully, as a Constitutional Monarch at the head of a Parliamentary Monarchy, mediocre is all that's really needed in most cases.
Thankfully, as a Constitutional Monarch at the head of a Parliamentary Monarchy, mediocre is all that's really needed in most cases.
True but when you have a king who wants to prove themself by being the opposite of their fathers, bad things can happen. Especially when the father is a renowned diplomat and peace keeper while his son is mediocre at war. And it’s not like it would take much to convince the country to go to war with the Ottoman’s.

I’m not saying it’s destined to happen, or even that Greece wouldn’t gain from this hypothetical war. I just see storm clouds on the horizon.
So slight change to the last chapter, its now Chapter 94, not 93. Apparently I labelled two updates as Chapter 84 so I had to go and redo all those threadmarks and titles. Anyway, the issue has been fixed accordingly.

Oh, God. What is is with Greek-affiliated love affairs causing or nearly causing wars?

Looking at you, Helen. (I know it's not really her fault, but still.)

Brilliantly written, as usual, and I eagerly await more!
Thankfully there won't be a war this time, although there might be some violence and a lot more veiled threats of violence.

I love the update - it was great to see more of Leopold and his hife/influence over the country, and I also enjoyed getting to learn a bit more about Constantine and Alexander as well. We seem to be slowly moving into the 1860s and I feel like those are going to be a pretty pivitol decade in the shaping of Europe and the world for the rest of the 19th century. So: bring it on! :D
Indeed it shall. Currently, I have about a dozen chapters set in the 1860's, half of which are set in Greece and the other half are covering other parts of the world, including a few I haven't touched upon yet in TTL. Suffice to say, there will be some important developments coming up soon.

A brilliant update @Earl Marshal , it was worth waiting for! The Coburg Love Affair? I pressume it will be something involving Diadochos Constantine...
On another subject, how long is the Greek railroad network by the end of 1861 ? Which cities are connected to it? Finally, is Greece able to produce some locomotives locally, under a license?
IOTL the first line began operating in1869 and it was a mere 8 km between the port of Piraeus and Athens.
Thank you!

The aforementioned Coburg Love Affair will actually involve Leopold, although Constantine will certainly play a large role as well.

Regarding Greece's Railroad Network, as of 1861 they have a line from Piraeus to Athens which completed construction in 1847 and was later extended to Kifissia in the early 1850's. Then there's a line from Laurium to Athens which was completed in 1855 and there is a line between the town of Pyrgos and the port of Katakolo in Elis which was finished in 1854. While it wasn't mentioned anywhere in the narrative, I'll also go on to say that a rail line between the port of Kalamata and the town of Nisi (modern day Messini) was constructed sometime around 1858, while a railroad between Lamia and the port of Stilis was built around 1860.

Beyond that, work is being done to extend the rail line from Kalamata to Megalopoli and a railroad from Larissa to the port of Demetrias (OTL Volos) is currently in its early fundraising stage right now. Granted, these latter two aren't going to be finished for a while, but at least they are currently in the works. There are also a few others that are in the very earlier planning stages right now which I'll cover more in a future update.

I haven't made any definitive comments about Greece producing its own locomotives ITTL, but I'd assume that after being exposed to them for 30 some years by the 1860's and having their own for about 15-20 years, they'd at least have the know how and experience to maintain them, let alone produce replacement parts for them. So I'd say they probably are able to produce enough for their own needs and those of some of their neighbors, but likely not more than that.

Oh poor old Leopold; only the good die young ;)
Indeed! Leopold's outlived both his good looks and his good luck.

Everyone seems to love Constantine, am I the only one kind of dreading his accession? I don’t love Leopold, he’s vain and a bit of a bastard when it comes to parenting. But the few portrayals we’ve seen of Constantine paint him as sympathetic but slightly lacking in many areas. I’m not saying he’s destined to be bad because of that. But my gut says he’s not going to be a good King either.
Thankfully, as a Constitutional Monarch at the head of a Parliamentary Monarchy, mediocre is all that's really needed in most cases.
True but when you have a king who wants to prove themself by being the opposite of their fathers, bad things can happen. Especially when the father is a renowned diplomat and peace keeper while his son is mediocre at war. And it’s not like it would take much to convince the country to go to war with the Ottoman’s.

I’m not saying it’s destined to happen, or even that Greece wouldn’t gain from this hypothetical war. I just see storm clouds on the horizon.
Oh there are definitely storm clouds on the horizon and Constantine will be responsible for quite a number of them. This may be a bit of a spoiler, but Constantine's legacy will be decidedly mixed both in Greece and abroad. He will have some MAJOR accomplishments, but also some major setbacks and disasters, as well as his fair share of controversies.
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Oh there are definitely storm clouds on the horizon and Constantine will be responsible for quite a number of them. This may be a bit of a spoiler, but Constantine's legacy will be decidedly mixed both in Greece and abroad. He will have some MAJOR accomplishments, but also some major setbacks and disasters, as well as his fair share of controversies.

i sure hope one of these Controverises will be that in some point of his reign he decides to style himself Constantine XII. The Ottomans heads would explode.
That kind of bolded lettering can only mean one thing...

Magali idea
Who knows. Well I do, but you'll just have to wait and see!


i sure hope one of these Controverises will be that in some point of his reign he decides to style himself Constantine XII. The Ottomans heads would explode.
Man who would ever consider that. Certainly not Constantine I of Greece, he definitely wouldn't do that considering all the political and historical connotations attached with taking that regnal number!:winkytongue::biggrin::coldsweat:

Looks nervously at timeline outline that has Constantine taking that regnal number at his coronation immediately indicating his grandiose ambitions to everyone, causing a diplomatic shitstorm.
Who knows. Well I do, but you'll just have to wait and see!


Man who would ever consider that. Certainly not Constantine I of Greece, he definitely wouldn't do that considering all the political and historical connotations attached with taking that regnal number!:winkytongue::biggrin::coldsweat:

Looks nervously at timeline outline that has Constantine taking that regnal number at his coronation immediately indicating his grandiose ambitions to everyone, causing a diplomatic shitstorm.
Who knows. Well I do, but you'll just have to wait and see!


Man who would ever consider that. Certainly not Constantine I of Greece, he definitely wouldn't do that considering all the political and historical connotations attached with taking that regnal number!:winkytongue::biggrin::coldsweat:

Looks nervously at timeline outline that has Constantine taking that regnal number at his coronation immediately indicating his grandiose ambitions to everyone, causing a diplomatic shitstorm.

Mwahahahahahhahaahahahahaha. *grabs popcorn*