The Eternal Empire: Emperor Maurice dies before being overthrown

Yes. It was part of Moesia from an administrative perspective.

So it means very bad time for Polani, they're going to be next on Bulgari's list to attack (also F for Moravians and Serbs, they lost their entire statehood, though I suppose that ethnic Bulgarian population got rekt by Mongols, so we might have seen slavicization of Bulgarians a couple of hundred years later than IOTL), because I don't think that Bulgari being bolstered by newly acquired lands from Romans, would not think about regaining their old lands north of Carpathians, or even completely conquering Polani.
So it means very bad time for Polani, they're going to be next on Bulgari's list to attack (also F for Moravians and Serbs, they lost their entire statehood, though I suppose that ethnic Bulgarian population got rekt by Mongols, so we might have seen slavicization of Bulgarians a couple of hundred years later than IOTL),
The Bulgarian population was not hit by the Mongols.
Egypt and Syria went their seperate ways after they had initially left together. It probably would have led to war, but events overtook them.

The Mongols who came West are mostly dead. Their empire is primarily based further East, furthest proper territory is on the northern side of the Caspian Sea. But the failure of the invasion of the Roman Empire has shattered their strength this far west.
Who controls Persia? What exactly is that territory labeled "Anatolian Remnants"?
Who controls Persia? What exactly is that territory labeled "Anatolian Remnants"?
The Turks are still mostly in charge. Mongol territory is going to be shrinking back toward the core of their realm. The Anatolian remnants are just what remains of Roman Anatolia. Scattered homesteads, cities, castles, etc that weren’t destroyed. But administration has completely broken down.
Part 93: A New Dynasty
Part XCIII: New Dynasty​

Julius began his reign after the siege was over by beginning to reshape the Imperial government. To begin, the entire old Senate, or what remained of it at least, were dismissed from their positions and shuffled off into dusty irrelvance. In their place he sent word back to Italy that each of the electoral regions set up within the Exarchate should elect representatives and send them to Thessalonika, similar to what they’d done before in Rome itself. Julius had not yet decided whether to keep the capital at Constantinople, as the city was quite devastated at this stage and would require years of rebuilding to return to its former state, if it ever did.

Over the course of his reign Julius will consider Thessalonika, Athens, Nicaea, Rome, Ravenna, and Syracuze before ultimately deciding to retain Constantinople, in part due to its symbolic importance in beginning his reign. The fact that as so often happened with even westward looking Emperors events in the East drew him back again and again was helpful in this regard as well.

For the first few years of his reign Julius will retain this purely Italian Senate in Thessalonika, but will in due course add representatives of Thessalonika itself for obvious reasons, and Athens. Constantinople itself was for now neglected as the Emperor tried to put something of a government back together. Gaining declarations of allegiance from the cities of the Anatolian Coast was not particularly difficult, especially as both the Italian and Athenian fleets were completely intact, giving him the ability to storm any port in the Aegean if necessary. Any cities that were reluctant to pledge their loyalty were bound to wake up one morning with an Italian admiral waiting outside their harbor looking for…clarification of their pledges if something had been misworded in their initial pledges. Any deeper into the peninsula than Nicaea though, which was terrified another steppe army was going to come through any day, and maybe this time not ignore them, was more or less unreachable to Imperial control.

But Julius couldn’t act on that yet, because he had to first act to resecure the Balkans. While the lands between the Hemus Mountains and the Danube were now lost to the Bulgari, Julius couldn’t afford to pick a fight with that kingdom. Instead he was forced to turn south of them, as the countryside of Makedon and Greece had fallen into near anarchy over the past several years. As word of what was happening in the capital spread the rule of law had broken down outside the major cities, primarily Athens, Thessalonika, and Corinth.

The problem probably wouldn’t have been as bad if the huge population displacements not occurred. But tens of thousands had fled both Dacia and Moesia, looking for shelter deeper in the Empire. These people had been joined by the flood forced out of Constantinople by Constantine as he readied the Imperial capital for siege. To compound the problem even more, the Western Army had stripped much of the countryside of food and supplies, even if they had paid for them for the most part. Food eaten by a massive army moving through Imperial territory was still gone. Winter of 1248 was hard for the people of Greece, killing an unknown number of people.

All told there was therefore a severe problem of lawlessness beyond the cities of Greece. Julius thus was forced to begin his proper reign by waging a military campaign against people who were, theoretically his own subjects. To call what followed a war would be overselling it however. By and large these bandits weren’t real criminals, just desperate people terrified of starving or Imperial recriminations. Julius therefore set for highly generous terms of surrender for rebels who gave themselves up, which many availed themselves of. Over the course of 1249 Imperial control was re-exerted over the interior of Greece, and a semblance of normality began to return.

The pacification of Greece brought desperately needed income to the treasury as well, allowing Julius to expand his field army which was down to only about ten thousand men, to some twenty thousand. These weren’t all the men he had under arms, but the remainder were needed in garrisons across Greece, to retain control of Italy, and keep Africa sending tax revenue East.

It wasn’t until 1251 that Julius felt ready to march into Anatolia and attempt to reexert Imperial control. If Greece had been in near-anarchy, Interior Anatolia was outright chaos. When the Huns had blazed through they had leveled cities, destroyed farms, killed vast numbers of people, and left virtually no administration in place.

The eastern half was held by a number of local Turk leaders, but there was no central leader, while in the western half authority had degenerated to either some local leader who had survived, or more often just some small group huddling on their land and hoping to avoid another scourge. In anticipation of the return to Anatolia the Roman fleet had moved through the Strait, and begun making contact with cities along the northern coast of Anatolia, with Sinope and Trebizond as the primary points of entry. These cities had weathered the previous four years well, and after initial talks with the emissaries from Constantinople were brought back into the Roman fold with minimal difficulty.

Julius himself led fifteen thousand men into the Anatolian plateau in March 1251, and made directly outh for Pessinius, the most important city in Western Anatolia, and which had been south of the primary Hunnic thrust. As such the settlement had served as a beacon for refugees trying to escape destruction. However, Hun raiding parties had hit the surrounding countryside, and the city was in deep trouble when Julius arrived. They had little food or shelter, which the Emperor tried to remedy as best he could, but in the end the best he could do was just parcel out land to displaced farmers and put them to work, hoping that the harvest would improve the situation. Administrators were put in place, but Julius left without garrisoning the city. He had too few men, and the region was already in danger of famine before the year was out. Rather than march East Julius returned north to the more secure portions of the peninsula to gather supplies, and then set out along the northern coast, heading for Trebizond. Parties were sent out into the heart of the peninsula to restore what order they could, but the full Imperial army, what they had at least, couldn’t be supplied sufficiently for such a venture. Instead Julius march south from Trebizond to Theodosiopolis, and from there secured the loyalty of the Turkic strongmen who had risen to power after the fall of Caesarea.

With their aid 1251 was closed out with Roman control at least nominally restored to Anatolia, but the peninsula was horribly damaged. Much of the population had been killed or displaced, and the system of farms and pastures which had been so valuable to the Imperial treasury and army were just gone, and rebuilding them would be the work of decades. 1252 was spent continuing to restore proper governance and garrisons to Anatolia, but as always Julius worked on a shoestring budget and a comparatively tiny number of men. He had raised more men and money from Italy, but his supporters back home were beginning to grumble about the costs, and lack of returns on their investment. The first full meeting of the Imperial Senate was convened in July of that year, complete with both Greek and Turkic Senators selected from among their peers, and Julius pledged to bring Syria and Armenia back into the Imperial fold during the next year.

This would be achieved, but only at significant cost. In August 1252 a joint army of Syrians and Armenians attempted to secure the old southern border by taking a number of fortress towns from the Arabs, with the Syricans looking to retake Edessa, and the Armenians looking to Dara, now partially restored by Arab work. This expedition was a dismal failure. The Syrians in particular were too green, and too few in number, and were routed easily by the Caliphate’s army, leaving Armenia to face them alone. The Armenian army was badly beaten at Dara in October, and driven back up into the mountains.

Another army of Arabs meanwhile marched through southern Syria, taking territory all the way to the coast, and then turning south and overrunning Palaestina.

Here things could have gone one of two ways. It is possibly the Arab army could have gone north united with the army now moving out of the east, and taken Antioch, once again depriving the Romans of all of Syria. But instead the Egyptians decided to take their shot, and invaded Palaestina in late September as well. This force was better than the Syrians, but after a major blunder from their commander the main body of the Egyptian army was surrounded near Jerusalem, and forced to surrender. There were few actual casualties, but thirty thousand Egyptians were now captives of the Caliph. And while he would not enslave Christians, neither would he allow them to return home and fight on as soldiers. These men were put to work, for pay, in the Arab war effort, to be released when hostilities ended.

The northern army then was called off, and united with the Arab army in Palaestina, and in January 1253 the Arabs invaded Egypt. With much of his army lost the self-styled Egyptian king was unable to rally a defense, and by April Babylon had fallen, and with it the Nile Delta. Alexandria would fall by year’s end, and with it Egypt, that great breadbasket and tax spinner of the Empire was lost.

Julius will never have the resources to reclaim Roman Egypt, and it will remain in Arab hands for the next one hundred and fifty years. Julius was not aware of this yet however, and instead he would learn only of Syria’s state in early 1253, and immediately rushed across the peninsula, looking to retake the province while it was weak. To ensure a better welcome Julius issued his self-described Great Charter was issued across the Empire, and messengers were sent to both Syria and Armenia carrying word of it.

The Charter was, in theory, nothing less than a Constitutional rewind to the days of the Principate, where Julius was first citizen rather than the supreme lord and authority of all he surveyed. I mean, he still was, but he would at least make an appearance of sharing power.

Slight exaggeration, but even though the new Imperial Senate would have increased authority this was still very much an Imperial monarchy, one in which the Emperor did hold final say over most matters. But Julius was aware that he didn’t have the actual capability of mustering the sort of resources that his predecessors had managed, not with the heart of the Empire in ruins. The primary point of the Charter was that the Emperor would be specifically giving up certain authorities which Romanos had abused so thoroughly. First, matters of heresy would no longer be handled by the Emperor, in any capacity. Church courts would deal with all such matters, and sentences would be carried out by local authorities. Notably, in Julius’s formulation both death and property confiscation were outright abolished. Indeed, he made it illegal for any state seizure of property to go into the Emperor’s pocket, requiring those funds to be spent by the Senate, and specified what items the proceeds could be spent on, mostly related to religious infrastructure.

Second, any taxation beyond the primary land tax levied by the Emperor would have to be approved by the Senate, and would be subject to further oversight, an effort to both bolster and streamline the now drastically shrunken Imperial treasury. To further strengthen oversight Julius also required the Senate to ratify his choices for high office, though only in that they received a veto if two-thirds of all Senators objected.

The basic point was that Julius was explicitly acknowledging that the Emperor himself was no more above the law than anyone else. Although this is slightly diminished by the fact that the law was in his case placed significantly higher. But, this was a key step in establishing the modern Imperial Charter with the legislature and Emperor sharing power, and the first step back from the autocracy that had reigned for the past thousand years.

And while Julius certainly had ulterior motives for his Charter, namely his coming reconquest of Syria, but from his own writings it does seem that he did legimitately believe in the basic ideas of the Charter, and he will respect it, as will his immediate descendants. That’s for later however.

For now, Charter announced and messengers sent ahead Julius II invaded Syria. His immediate advance through the Silician Gates blew the light Syrian garrison out of his path, and with a quick move Julius advanced toward Antioch. Local towns gave way without a fight until Antioch itself was within sight. Julius however ignored it for the present, instead turning south and marching down to Laodicea, securing for himself a port through which more supplies could be shipped in. Concurrently with the invasion of Syria the Athenian fleet launched a landed on Cyprus, taking the local soldiers completely by surprise and securing the island in just a few days.

The garrison promptly switched sides when they realized what was going on, as they had no illusions about their strength against the fleet. Cyprus’s capture ensured that Julius would have only the normal difficulties associated with supplying a large army far from home, rather than being forced to transport through hostile waters in addition.

With the Syrian army still recovering from the defeats suffered over the past several years the self-styled Rex had no illusions about being able to resist without Cyrprus under his control, and he fled. But Syrians eager to prove their loyalty caught up with him, and the king was killed, his head presented to Julius, who made a very public show of grief and ordered him buried for his efforts in defending the Roman East. What his true feelings were wasn’t relevant.

This marked the end of Syria’s brief flirtation with independence, Julius settled into Antioch for the winter of 1253 looking north, east, and south. His forces were reaching the end of their manpower here, and he could either try launching an attack on the Arabs, to reclaim the rich lands of Palaestina and Egypt, or go north to retake Armenia, resecure the Eastern border, and hope that the Empire could once again weather the era. In the end of course, there was no choice at all. Arabia was too strong for the Romans to wage a full-scale war against now. Armenia it would have to be.

A/N: The in-universe author is giving the Egyptians too little credit. They hold out in southern Egypt for another ten or so years after the events here. The north fell so quickly because it was relatively lightly fortified, with only Alexandria and Babylon having any significant defenses in place. Otherwise all the fortresses were along the Upper Nile, which is where the Roman authorities flee and set up a sort of miniature kingdom that holds out against Arab invasion for a time. But he is deliberately not talking about that for political reasons of his own time.
Unfortunate outcome for the Romans, but looks like Julius is doing his best with the circumstances.
Will be difficult with Egyptian resources, how do the Roman Exarchates rank now in a post Mongol world?
Yeah I don't see Julius allowing the existence of the Exarchates. It goes completely against his end goal of centralizing the Roman Empire and well, he doesn't want to risk the chance of an ambitious enough underling using the resources of Africa or Italy to usurp control of the Empire.
The Exarchates are IIRC going to be abolished.
Yeah I don't see Julius allowing the existence of the Exarchates. It goes completely against his end goal of centralizing the Roman Empire and well, he doesn't want to risk the chance of an ambitious enough underling using the resources of Africa or Italy to usurp control of the Empire.
Yeah, they're going away. Doing so isn't really a problem because Julius himself holds the only title.
God damn did the Mongols fuck everything up. Nomadic horse tribes legacies are basically mass murders on steroids and chaos whenever they leave. We should go back in time to give people machine guns to defend people
Unfortunate outcome for the Romans, but looks like Julius is doing his best with the circumstances.
Will be difficult with Egyptian resources, how do the Roman Exarchates rank now in a post Mongol world?
I don't think losing Egyptian resources would be that difficult by the mid-12th century if contemporary Italy is anything like IOTL in terms of wealth.