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Thread: A Year's Education - Russia Megacampaign, pt. I

  1. #1
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    A YeAAR's Education - Russia Megacampaign

    26/02/2007


    Hi.

    This is my first AAR, which I intend to continiue through the ages and paradox games and end as close to our own time as possible.

    The CK part of it is a fiction within a fiction. We are in the 1990s looking back through the prism of history, propaganda and bias at the events of 1066-1419. There are two POWs here, a burnout Medievalist academic and a Greek girl just starting her second year. You guess which is which.

    I'm not all that conversant in Greek things and I've been to Saloniki only once, for a few hours. If I make mistakes, well, drown me in a barrel of Retsina.

    This was played on regular CK with all the regular patches installed, but I edited my game files like a cheating cheater. Mostly to make sure life is difficult for me, and also to stop all the AI countries from killing each other and remaking the continent's map every 3 years or so. Oh, and to make the Mongols actually tough. It was almost always on very hard, but the agressiveness level changed depending on whim and how much of the major players I'd like to see in EUII were being killed off.

    This was always meant to be a GC; this means I won't be conquering Europe if I can at all help it, but I will be surviving in some shape.

    Here's a quick guide to the layout of the entries:

    Book Title

    Chapter Title


    "A quote" - or two - these are real, our-timeline quotes. They're not necessarily indicative of what happened in the fictional timeline but they're often fun. Or I think they are.

    Then the text intermixed with images. One or more of them is always going to be a map like thrashing mad's excellent Poland GC. In the beginning I will be posting a lot of wiki-links in the text, to get those who want it a primer in things Russian and Byzantine. I expect the number of the wiki-links to drop significantly once we move away from the departure point and butterflies kick up a hurricane or two.

    At the end of each "Book" I will be posting a quick Who's Who, What's Where and Why and Wherefore.

    I'm starting with Pereyaslavl. It's 1066. Prince Vsevolod was the favourite son of Yaroslav the Wise and he and his progeny are standing on the edge of greatness even as we speak.

    Okay, time to start. The first one is short. The good stuff is still coming.

    06/12/2007


    Well, the Year's Education is almost over. Just two more months and I can safely call it quits and move on to subsequent parts of the Megacampaign, and perhaps start a side project or two.

    In the meanwhile, this AAR won Favourite History Book and General Favourite in CK for Q1 of 2007, but has not been able to repeat the feat since, although it did get another notice last week when it got showcased.

    I apologise for the long hiatus I took in the end of summer. Surely that's not a good thing for readership.

    And, sometime last month this AAR passed 10,000 views, which is more than I expected to be honest - so thank you everyone!






    A Year's Education

    I. Thither to Tsargrad (1066-1152)

    Coming of a Varangian - A Storm over the Steppe - Monomach Revival - Despots from the North - The Building of Babel - The Crimson Hills - A Larger Perspective

    II. The Barbarian Empire (1152-1234)

    The Meddling Tzars - Jerusalem Delivered - A Kingdom of Grace - Voices from the Past - I - II - III - A Long Road - The Insufferable Wench - The Wages of Sin - I - II

    III. A Parting of Ways (1234-1393)

    The Angry Visage of the Lord - I - II - III - The Heirs of Temujin - I - II - III - The Knytling Empire - A Private War - Branches of the Great Tree


    05/02/2008


    And so I come to the end of this part of the tale, but fear not! All your favourite episodes will probably get some more loving treatment in the slightly-changed format called "Readings on the Barbarian Empire". Stay tuned!

    In other news, I'd like to thank everyone who voted for me and allowed this AAR to take home my third ACA award for CK History-Book, Q1 2008. Woot!
    Last edited by RGB; 15-02-2011 at 01:08.

  2. #2
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    Thither to Tsargrad




    The Coming of a Varangian

    “The Chud, Slovene and Krivichi said to the Rus: our land is vast and rich, but we have no order among us: come and rule us as princes. And three brothers came with their kin and brought all Rus with them. The eldest Rurik took Novgorod, Sineus took Beloozero, and the third was Truvor of Izborsk. From those Varangians the Russian land took its name.”

    - The Laurentian Chronicle
    The plane clears the runway at Heathrow and I’m off into my exile from foggy civilized Oxford into the climatically blessed wasteland of the Aegean. Salonika – not something I had aspired to, of course, but after my little spat with that old snake Adams that was the best I could expect. It does sound as though I’m complaining, but I’m not. Not all that much. Salonika is as respectable as they have it in Greece. I’d have preferred that slightly overrated Christchurch room, but – beggars, as they say.

    Besides the sun I could look forward to finally teaching my real specialty – the High Middle Ages of the Greek Empire. It’s not all that fashionable as a topic, not in Britain, and certainly not in Greece itself. Despite all their pride, they don’t know their own history. All that the average Greek knows about his country is some 19th-century jingo and hazy romantic notions about those ancient pederasts in Athens and Sparta. Between their darling Alexander (the Macedonian one, naturally) and his conquests, and the expulsion of the hyperbolically bloodthirsty Turk, there’s a big blank. I wouldn’t be surprised if not only my students but also my future colleagues saw it that way. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was why they hired me. But what a rich tapestry, that Byzantine period.
    They will want me to discuss it from a certain angle. No doubt about it. As is the case with the rest of Greece, the history department of Saloniki is split between the sensible and the Russophiles. They will want me to talk about the Russian background of the Byzantine Revival. I intend to gloss over that as much as I can, of course. Why talk about the Russians? They were barbarians then as now, and whatever they achieved wasn’t possible without Greek learning and organisation. As everyone who reads clearly knows, they couldn’t even form their own state until some unwashed mercenary Swede did it for them. I’ll talk about them – a little – but no more than that.
    This Rurik sailed into some godforsaken town in the latter years of the 8th century, and then moved to Novgorod. His underling Oleg took Kiev by treachery from another pair of Norse adventurers, Askoldr and Dir, and held it until his death, after which Rurik’s son Igor took over. He married an Olga from somewhere cold and forested, and a right battleaxe she proved to be. While extorting some petty cash from some typically impoverished Slavic tribe he got killed in a most amusing fashion (although I suspect that the chronicler stole this from a well-known Greek story, but you know how these things are). His wife burned their town in return. Typically, the Russians canonized her - that’s their favourite kind of ruler. Her son Sviatoslav was the most unapologetic warmonger on the Steppe since Attilla; after ruining the most advanced state in his region, he united the Magyars, Alans, Pechenegs and the Oghuz, and forced his polyglot horde into Bulgaria and Greece, a feat that every subsequent Rus ruler tried to emulate at least once a lifetime. The Greeks beat him back and one of his former subjects decided to make a drinking cup from his skull.

    The Princedom passed, in a violent manner, of course, through the hands of Yaropolk and to Sviatoslav’s bastard son Vladimir, who, after looting, burning, drinking and whoring most of his life decided to become a Christian. It is widely considered that this is the man who made the Russians civilized. The Russians canonized him as well. After Vladimir’s death, the charming Northern custom of splitting your realm between your warlike progeny delivered its typical fruit, with the accursed Sviatopolk (or equally likely the wise Yaroslav, another Russian favourite) killing off their brothers on the way to the throne in Kiev. Boris and Gleb got canonized for sensibly letting the most ruthless brother win.



    Yaroslav took the throne, wrote some laws, and split his realm again between his sons and some more distant relatives. However, he also planted the seeds of Kiev’s greatness, when he besieged Chersones in the Crimea. As a result of the peace treaty with the Emperor Constantine, his daughter Anastasia married Yaroslav’s favourite son, Vsevolod. This was to prove an unusually important marriage.

    As usual, the Greeks were fighting over the throne. Granted, it was the most prestigious throne in all of Europe, so one can’t blame them. It certainly was nicer than the one in Kiev. The aging Zoe had succeeded her father, but not before having been shackled into a marriage with Romanos III. Through clever manipulation by the court’s chief Eunuch, he didn’t make it to the 6th anniversary, having had an unfortunate accident in the baths. Michael the Paphlagonian succeeded him, then Michael V, who thought he could rule on his own and lost a few important body parts as a result of that delusion. The shameless Constantine Monomachos married the old Empress in 1042. After he died, Theodora took her sister’s throne, then briefly yet another Michael, after which the brilliant Isaak Komnenos achieved much only to see it undone by the incompetent Constantine X whose rule saw the great Empire reduced to merely Greece and Anatolia.
    Through various alliances made between the great families the bloodlines intertwined, and through the daughter of Constantine IX, the dynastic connection was made between the Rurikovich dynasty and the great Greek houses. The Argyroi, the Monomachoi and the Skleroi suddenly acquired a barbarian branch. As their own fortunes waned during the Doukas years, young Vladmir, Vsevolod’s son, found himself an heir to several of these lines. This would have hardly mattered had a strong emperor been on the throne, but during the decay and incompetence of the Doukas emperors, many noblemen with any kind of sway over their provinces began to one again dream of dynastic fortunes.
    During the early years of Michael Doukas, Basil Skleros was a duke of western Bulgaria, with his seat in Vidin. The Empire’s war with the Seljuks was going badly, as had most wars before that war, and Basil decided it was his time to seize the throne. His revolt marked the beginning of the end of Michael’s reign as he successfully besieged Constantinople; it is said that the catepan of the western gate promised to let the army from Vidin in without a fight. Basil then moved on to Adrianople which was still loyal to the old emperor, where he died from a stray arrow fired from a battlement. When his will was unsealed, there was general surprise that the old duke named a Rus princeling called Vladmir his successor.



    Basil was childless; all his sisters’ sucessors were dead in the Empire’s endless civil wars. Vladimir was his closest kin. Although the generals complained, Vladimir’s blood-ties to various noble familes could easily be traced, and the young man himself proved both canny and charistmatic; he spoke Greek fluently and had been cultivating his reputation with noblemen in Byzantium through letters during his years as his father’s chancellor and spymaster. The Greeks had already seen Armenians, Syrians and half-bloods of all kinds on the throne; the cultivated Rus princeling was tacitly accepted as well, and that laid the seeds for the Byzantine revival of the next two centuries.
    It has always made me wonder could a native Greek dynasty done as well as the Monomachoi did? Given the right dynasty, maybe it could - perhaps if the Komnenoi made a comeback. Still, the alliance between the Greeks and the Rus finally gave the Empire enough manpower to withstand the Seljuks and the Mongols; when the two parted ways the Empire declined despite able leadership by the Elegemitoi. Nonetheless, I cannot help feeling that the Rus got the better part of the deal; one never can, looking at today’s world map.
    Those bastards got lucky.
    Last edited by RGB; 13-03-2007 at 19:40.
    The Russia Megacampaign - See my other work at my Inkwell

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    Duke of Bonbon, and also Chevalier Grand Croix of the Ordre Militaire du Saint Christophe.

  3. #3
    Bold ambition, nice map and images, impressive research, spiffy url'ing, good use of fair sized paragraphs (neither walls of text nor too short for the storytelling).

    Oh, and i like the writing too.

    My long way of saying i'll patiently await as many updates as your convenience allows you to post!

  4. #4
    On Probation thrashing mad's Avatar

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    Whoa! That`s just great. Reading your post I`ve increased my knowledge of early Rus by twice. Excellent writing, map, and images.

    I eagerly await for next update

  5. #5
    Captain bowl of soup's Avatar
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    this i'll be very interested to follow! I'm subscribing

  6. #6
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    Impressive start. You've put a lot of thought and effort into this. Thats obvious.

    what I'm still trying to figure out though is why the emphasis on Greece when your title shows this to be a Russian GC? Am I missing soemthing?

    Good luck.
    'Gentlemen, we're in the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick-insect got stuck on a sticky bun' - Capt. E. Blackadder.

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    But he who kisses the joy as it flies, Lives in eternity's sun rise. - William Blake


    The Empire needs YOU.. Come and post something nice about my AAR. The House of Habsburg. Victoria Revolutions VIPR01. Winner of the WritAAR of the Week Award 13 January 2008.

  7. #7
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    Tskb18 - Thank you kindly. Yes, it's utterly over-the-top ambitious

    thrashing mad - well, Wikipedia is generally reliable although I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I edit a fair bit as well and get into all sorts of ongoing disputes, so it's not 100% reliable. Still. Anyway, thanks for dropping by.

    bowl of soup - excellent, thank you.

    Garuda - emphasis on Greece - I started as Pereyaslavl, but my son inherited his Greek uncle twice removed in Vidin, his rebellion against Manoel Doukas, and so on. Within a couple of generations I was Emperor of the Romans, Bulgars and Rus, which was an utterly unexpected but interesting turn of events. I did shed the other titles later and keep Kiev/Pereyaslavl alone, but there's a few centuries of excitement before that happens.
    The Russia Megacampaign - See my other work at my Inkwell

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    Duke of Bonbon, and also Chevalier Grand Croix of the Ordre Militaire du Saint Christophe.

  8. #8
    Bad mojo Supermoderator Veldmaarschalk's Avatar
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    Good luck with your first AAR and such an ambitious one

    Like the others have said, an impressive start.
    Last edited by Veldmaarschalk; 27-02-2007 at 22:59.

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    I have a feeling this will be a great AAR. *Signs on*
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  10. #10
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    Veldmaarschalk - Thank you. I'm honoured.

    Sternness - here's hoping!
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    Duke of Bonbon, and also Chevalier Grand Croix of the Ordre Militaire du Saint Christophe.

  11. #11
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    Thither to Tsargrad

    A Storm over the Steppe


    “Spake Igor to his warriors - brothers and druzhina! Better to be slain than to be captive! Let us mount, brothers, on our swift steeds, and look upon the blue Don! I wish to shatter a spear on the borders of the land of the Polovtsy, with you, my Russians: I wish to lay down my head and to drink of the Don with my helmet!"
    Lay of Igor’s Campaign (my own loose, abridged translation)
    I’ve checked the syllabus this year and discovered this course. I really want to take it, and the department should probably give me no objection if I switch out of “Alexander of Macedon in Literature” to do this. Professor Howard is a big name in his field, and he comes from Oxford to teach this. I think it’s may only be for one year. I’m glad; although Saloniki is a good school I sometimes wonder if our education is lacking in a different, critical perspective. It’s two semesters long but if it’s good I will enjoy it anyway. It deals with a subject we rarely do more than gloss over; I remember reading something about it when I was 13, and then again briefly some years later. By the time we slog through our country’s long history to get to the eleventh century we get tired; besides, the Classical era is what we really like to talk about.
    I’ve went and bought the books that the course description asks for; they’re very specific, for most part. One begins with Basil Monomachos and ends with the death of Heraklios III in 1277. It was written by a Jonathan Green, it’s 600 pages long, and the name is “The Barbarian Empire”. You can only buy it at the university. The preface is by Yannis Patakis. His biography says he was once the ambassador to Britain, among other things. I went and dug up some of my old textbooks to read up a little more before the course begins. I didn’t look at the more academic literature - I’m keen, but not that keen. After reading all the sections overnight, I decided I need to know what the Russians thought of this period - this is their history as well, after all.
    I wrote about it to Kostas. He is finishing his last year in Kazan Polytechnic, after which he and Nikita will move to wherever there will be jobs for both of them. I really wrote to Nikas more than to Kostas. He is a pack rat like me, so he probably still has his schoolbooks. I still feel unsure if I should write to him directly. It feels inappropriate, somehow. He came over to Greece as an exchange student, a few summers ago, and I even thought I had a chance. Even when it dawned on me he wanted my brother instead I never really got over the crush. I feel guilty I never told Kostas about it - so I always write to my brother when I really mean the two of them. Or just Nikas.
    Kostas called later that week, when the letter arrived. He first sounded annoyed and told me to look for a book in the Russian Cultural Centre here in Salonika instead, but then we got talking about the family and things back in Greece and he cheered up and promised me he’ll get the books and translate the appropriate sections for me. I suddenly realized how silly the idea was and how much work I was making him do but didn’t say anything in case I’d get him annoyed again. The books arrived just before the school started, along with several folded pages of translation, and a couple of letters, one from each of them. They wished me a good start to my second university year. The school textbook was old and had stains of ancient breakfasts here and there. I was almost disappointed; I always thought Nikas was very neat. The other book looked new and was published not long ago - a collection of essays on the subject and it didn’t have a translation. I got home, and started reading the translation.


    The books spoke very highly of the early rulers; Oleg is famous for his cunning, Olga her wisdom, Sviatoslav his glorious conquests, even though the Greeks defeated him in Bulgaria. They praise Vladimir the Red Sun for bringing Christianity to them. Yaroslav the Wise gets a lot of praise; he deposed the kinslayer Sviatopolk despite the Polish king supporting his son-in-law; he wrote the first law code, the Russkaya Pravda, and granted freedoms to the people of Novgorod for their loyalty. He was a king-maker and the father-in-law of several European dynasties. When he died, he divided the lands between his sons, but he wanted them to live in peace. Izyaslav got Kiev and Novgorod, Sviatoslav got Chernigov and Tmutarakan, Vsevolod got Pereyaslavl and Rostov; other sons got Smolensk and Volhynia. He educated his sons well, or so the book says. At least Vsevolod was well-educated. Vseslav Bryachislavich kept Polotsk. Thus in 1066 Rus was a great land, but divided.

    Vsevolod was the youngest, but Yaroslav favoured him the most. He married the daughter of the Emperor as part of a peace treaty, and had Basil Monomachos by her. His Slavic name was Vladimir.After his wife’s death he married young Ingrid of Denmark, by whom he had other sons.

    He was a good steward but not all that great a warrior, often leaving command to his marshals. The book goes on about how he valued family – he never warred against his brothers while they were alive, and several times tried to set up alliances with them.
    It was at first fruitless; he signed alliance with the Itil and Chulman Bulgars instead. The Bulgars were wary of the growing restlessness of the Polovtsi, who had lost a great adversary when Mstislav of Tmutarakan died, and of the Kimiak Horde that was migrating from the Trans-Ural steppes into the Itil basin. Early in 1068 Sharukhan of the Polovtsi marched on Bolgar, and Vsevolod honoured the alliance. At once, an army much larger than what Pereyaslavl could muster marched on Vsevolod’s capital. The prince fled to his holdings in Rostov, while the population scattered. The Polovtsi looted the town and moved on.
    The Rus regained the initiative early next year, liberating Pereyaslavl and steadily pushing the nomads towards the Black Sea. The Bulgar allies were slowly losing; the fact that the beys of Qasan and Yelabuga fought the Permian tribes instead of the greater threat certainly didn’t help. When the Kimiaks joined in, the Volga Bulgars were erased from history. Vsevolod, however, received a surprising offer at help from his brother Sviatoslav, the prince of Chernigov. The brothers soon forced a peace upon Sharukhan. Both got large swathes of rich but unpeopled lands along the black Sea, but the peace didn’t last long. Sviatoslav, emboldened by his successes over the Polovtsi, expanded also into the territories of the Forest and the Grassland Merya, Mordva, Meschera and Cheremisa who had hitherto been peaceful neighbours to the Rus.
    With the prince and his army gone on campaign, the Pechenegs, an ancient but largely defeated enemy, saw the chance at regaining greatness. Their Khan attacked Chernigov, and was pushing through the Severschina by the end of the year. Rushing back with a small force, Sviatoslav got ambushed by the Cumans at Sugrov and killed. When the news reached the Pechenegs, their Khan offered a marriage between his daughter and Sharukhan, to cement an alliance. Soon after the wedding was played out, the old Khan died in mysterious circumstances, and Sharukhan forced all the tribal leaders to acknowledge him as the great Khan of both peoples.
    Vsevolod moved against the now-united horde to avenge his brother. The war was hard and Pereyaslavl’s aid was insufficient. Gleb Sviatoslavich, now nominally Prince of Chernigov, blamed his uncle for not doing enough, and broke the alliance, instead offering Venice huge holdings and trade concessions if they could aid him to retain his Tmutarakan princedom. The Hungarians, persuaded by Vsevolod’s skilful diplomacy came to the aid of Pereyaslavl and finally the hordes were defeated. The price for king Kalman’s aid were the Pecheneg lands, and Chernigov itself, occupied by the Hungarians in 1082 and not returned until generations later. Prince Gleb’s vassals, including the new princes in Cheremis lands joined Vsevolod. By 1083, after the congress in Murom, Vsevolod found himself ruler of a greater domain than the rest of the Rus princes – Novgorod, Volhyn, Smolensk, Kiev, Polotsk and Tmutarakan - combined.

    He was by then getting old; his favourite son, Vladimir, had inherited Basil Skleros and made himself Eparch of Constantinople, as well as Prince of Thrace and Vidin. Vsevolod frequently wrote to Vladimir, urging him to come back, but Vladimir refused, having ambitions greater than the seat in Pereyaslavl. The younger sons – Matfei, Igor and Ingvar, spurred on by their mother, demanded Vladimir be excluded from inheritance and the land split among themselves, according to custom. Vsevolod insisted on Vladimir having the greatest share of the inheritance, regardless. The younger sons grumbled, but held their peace, waiting for their father to become too old to actively suppress their ambitions. Vsevolod, thinking the political battle won, retired to Pereyaslavl and set about rebuilding his capital.


    In 1091, Ingvar Vsevolodovich raised his troops and attacked his cousin Gleb in Tmutarakan. Venice, having gotten the concessions it wanted out of the unlucky prince, stood by idly as Ingvar's Crimean troops marched on the great southern city. After a brief battle, Gleb fled to his father in-law in Alania. His son eventually inherited all Christian lands in the north Caucasus; the line persisted for many centuries, although Russian Alania was conquered by the Ural Kimiaks already by Theodore the Great’s reign. Vsevolod was outraged. He sent a messenger to Ingvar stripping him of all his Crimean possessions, which he passed on to his daughter Anna. However, this was a deliberately staged provocation, planned years ago at the congress at Murom.
    As soon as the act was commited, Vsevolod’s children rose against him in rebellion, followed by the lesser vassals. The last few years of the prince’s life were spent quashing rebellions. However, he had always treated family gently (he even took in all the Rurikovich scions of the crumbling houses of Polotsk and Chernigov and gave them domains), and with age his warrior’s edge dulled. Instead of pursuing total victory, he tried to sign peace treaty after peace treaty, in hopes the wayward vassals may one day come back into the fold through persuasion. The strategy was successful with several smaller princedoms, but the larger ones – Crimea, Tmutarakan, Smolensk, Murom and Ryazan – all in possession of his children - didn’t reconcile with him until his death in 1099. On his deathbed the prince wrote to Vladimir in Vidin, begging him to come and restore order in his domain. He also named Vladimir his only successor.


    His life was later seen as an example of a gentle, Christian prince. He defeated the Steppe, avenged his brother, created a dozen monasteries, built several magnificent churches, and collected the famous library. It was transferred to Kiev during the Mongol invasions, and has partly survived until present day, although the collection was looted and sold to various museums around the world in the early 1900s.

    The Russian church canonized him almost immediately following his death, and when his descendants claimed the throne of the Romans, the Greek church followed suit.
    At this point I got tired and put the book away. Tomorrow was the first day of the new scholastic year.
    Last edited by RGB; 02-03-2007 at 06:05.
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  12. #12
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    .subby.

    & of course, good luck not making EU3 boring before you get there,
    j.
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  13. #13

    Thumbs up

    Very good...I have a soft spot for the Kievan period in particular...will we having another Salnitsa (this time for the Polovtsy) under Vladimir Monomakh? Anyway I will be reading...

    Prodolzhaytye tovareshch!
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  14. #14
    On Probation thrashing mad's Avatar

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    Great Update. Again, I learned lot about history my eastern neighbors. And it`s very interesting period. Good job against those Cuman steppe nomads - revenge for mongols in my AAR

  15. #15
    I follow the Hawk Fnuco's Avatar
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    i really like the AAR, it reads like a real History Book, i actually feel i am learning something here. And i am, too. You have a nice way of telling the story, makes the line between reality and fiction fade away beautifully.



    A touch of humor here: Ingrid Svendsdottir is the dotter (daughter ) of king Svend.
    So Ingrid "Svend's daughter" Svendsdottir.

    Am i the only one who finds it funny?
    Quote Originally Posted by RGB
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    Pictorial and gameplay - China: The Yellow Fever - Favorite EU2 Gameplay AAR Q2 2006, Q1 2007, Q2 2007
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    History book - Spain: The final frontier



    You might very well think that. I couldn't possibly comment.

  16. #16
    Tzar of all the Soviets RGB's Avatar
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    Llywelyn: Thanks for reading

    It will likely be EUII:MyMap-AGCEEP, if my scenario-making skills prove sufficient. I think that it is still a better game than EUIII. CK was hard enough with all the randomness going on. And no, I won't let myself come into EU too powerful.

    Drozh: I intend to leave the Steppe alone. Vladimir made himself Eparch of Tsargrad! What do you think he'd rather pursue - the Byzantine throne or some more empty steppe?

    Plus, you always have to have pesky nomads, and if I conquer them all it will be no fun.

    thrashing_mad: yep. In this timeline the Cumans will have a lot of time to get exposed to Graeco-Russian culture. I'm only bringing them civilisation, see

    But the Mongols and what they do is still a big secret. I'm just going to assure you they're there alright.

    Fnuco: I thought my second update was weak, personally. It gave a lot of history but it lost the perspective and the bias. I find it easier to write for the snarky Professor.

    But I'm encouraged to hear you like it.

    Svendsdottir - I thought that was an algorithm in-game, to give Norse-cultured offspring their patronymic. Or am I wrong?

    I wish they did it with the Russians! Nobody in OTL would treat "Rurikovich" as an actual surname until centuries afterwards. Vsevolod Yaroslavich, Vladimir Vsevolodovich, that's more like it.
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  17. #17
    You are wrong. Most unfortunate that you are too!
    If this is the same Ingrid Svendsdottir Knýtling (b. 1049, stats 8/11/8/7[!]), then the Svendsdottir isn't generated by an algorithm but is instead part of the initial scenario/start files.
    So you won't find Knud begetting a Knudson, rather a long line of Knýtlings.
    Especially after the first batch, who have e.g. Svendsdottir as sort of a middle name.
    (Oh, and still liking the AAR, almost went without saying)

  18. #18
    Tzar of all the Soviets RGB's Avatar
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    Thither to Tsargrad


    Monomach Revival





    My uncle, of most noble ways
    When he fell seriously sick,
    Forced everybody to respect him
    One couldn’t play a shrewder trick.
    So take a lesson from his story;
    But Gods above, it’s mighty boring
    To watch the sickbed night and day
    And never move one step away!
    And ponder covertly, and sigh:
    ”When will the devil let you die?"
    Inside his racing, dusty car
    Such were a young rake’s meditations
    Appointed, by Zeus’ will
    The heir to all of his relations.


    - Eugene Onegin.

    Not a bad translation, if I say so myself. Okay, okay, I cheated and cut out a few lines in the middle. But you knew that. Bah.

    I didn’t get a lot of time to get settled; almost immediately after arriving there were introductions and preparations for the scholastic year and all sorts of things to deal with. I’ve met several of my new colleagues at a boring wine and cheese; they seem polite enough but I get the feeling I won’t be invited to too many parties. I’ve later been told that the fellow I replaced didn’t go gently and some ugly politics were involved. Aren’t they always. The head of my department is close to retiring, but he seems reasonable. He told me he would let me conduct my course as I see fit. It must be said that I did, to my satisfaction. There’s more students than I thought there should be, but marking a few extra papers won’t kill me. Some of the girls make it quite worthwhile, I think.
    Speaking of girls, one of them seems determined to give me trouble. She came in late to the first class, just as I was finishing with the unpleasant business of the barbarian origins of Basil III, all flustered, and spent more than a minute searching for a seat while I looked on disapprovingly. Then, when I was talking about the reasons behind Basil Monomachos’ peaceful takeover of Basil Skleros’ possessions, army and revolt, she was the one who had a question. Something about the Russian support that Basil was supposedly bringing.

    I did answer her, at length – to the point where the answer became the lecture. Prince Vladimir was the favourite son of his father, who, by all accounts loved his family so much they’d all rather happily escape from his love. After sending Vladimir to govern Rostov along with a capable voievoda, he changed his mind and recalled him back to Pereyaslavl in 1066; the young man was first his chancellor and then his spymaster, but never received another fief and apparently thought he’d never get one. Vladimir used his position to write letters to various important people, including the princes of Kiev and the king of the Hungarians, offering his services in return for land; he found the most sympathetic listener in Basil Skleros, who wasn’t a particularly old man at the time, but sensibly enough for a Byzantine general was already thinking of a successor.
    Vladmir impressed Skleros; the two met when Vladimir was his father’s ambassador to Tsargrad in 1067, and it is presumably there that he met the nobles that would later be his strongest support – the Petzikopouloi and the Philanthropenoi. When Michael Doukas started the doomed campaign against the Seljuks, Basil rebelled, as did several other generals, including Nikephoros Botaneiates and Alexios Komnenos. Deprived from their support, the setbacks – including the big defeat at Amida, which saw the death of Michael’s best still-loyal general Romanos Diogenes – turned into irrepairable catastrophes. The Empire was soon splintered, and the Rhomeioi were pushed not only out of Anatolia but also from Macedon and parts of Thessaly and Thrace.
    Nikephoros III overthrew the hapless Michael, but fared no better, his own greatest supporter, Alexios Komnenos, dying in a botched attempt to relieve the besieged army in Antioch. This period of almost-unprecedented chaos and ruin would have made even Basil Skleros seem a better choice than Nikephoros, whose only significant possessions were in the Pelloponnese and whose court was in Rhodos. However, to secure Constantinople’s loyalty, Skleros had to first neutralize a large garrison lead by Andronikos Doukas in Adrianople. As well all know, that is where he died, and when his will was read, everyone was surprised to see that the Rus princeling was the inheritor.
    It is no secret that initially his support was low, but luckily for him the generals serving under Skleros could not agree on a leader from among themselves. After several covert murders from infighting, the survivors panicked and decided to invite Vladimir, who they no doubt saw as a possible puppet. He arrived by sea with his druzhina of only two hundred Russians and Varangians, but showed his mettle at once by capturing Andronikos Choniates, a pretender from the smaller city of Kaliopolis and thus forcing the surrender of the city. With the troops from the Kaliopolis garrison he returned to Adrianople, but was unsuccessful there; he lifted the siege and started back towards Constantinople, which was held by a council of eparchs and captains, who, trusting nobody, were deciding to support one pretender or another, or choose one from among themselves. His career could have well ended there, since Andronikos Doukas was still alive and well, but the Seljuks, driving mercilessly through the Greek mainland, attacked Adrianople and took care of that problem for the man now calling himself Basil Monomachos. The city, fearing the worst, allowed Vladimir in with Skleros’ army. By then it consisted mostly of Bulgarians and Varangian mercenaries, and no other general in his retinue could compete with the Rus warlord in their sway over the barbarian warriors.

    Unprecedentedly and shrewdly, his entrance into the city wasn’t followed by a coronation. Instead he acknowledged that Nikephoros was really the legitimate Emperor, but that Vladimir was the Great Eparch and Protector of Constantinople and would hold the city until the Empire could regain its strength. This had the intended effect of calming down of worried city officials, the church, and most importantly, the Seljuks. Other Greek cities were devastated as the Seljuks pressed on against the Botaneiates emperor, but Constantinople was untouched. The city mob was grateful. Basil Monomachos became a popular man. The generals of Belgrade and Naissus offered their loyalty. He graciously accepted.
    However, it must be noted, that whatever he achieved was through his own ability and good fortune. Vsevolod of Pereyaslavl was barely surviving the Polovtsian onslaught at the time, and once he overcame them, his realm was immediately wracked by revolts. So Vladimir’s father, while writing tender letters to his son, never offered him any help, nor received any. It is only towards the end of his life that he decided to make Vladimir his sole heir, not least because of his Knytling wife’s rebellious children. Even when Vsevolod died, Vladimir inherited only distant Pereyaslavl and the unimaginably distant Rostov directly. The rest was vassals who were barely loyal or else in open rebellion. His agents in Pereyaslavl made sure the city mob was loyal to him, but Rostov was lost to his half-brother Igor from Murom. Judging Pereyaslavl safe enough behind its tall stone walls from the depredations of his unruly relatives, he continued the policy of his father – signing peace where possible, even to his own detriment. This was seen as weakness by the Rus, but worked enough times for him to keep pursuing the policy throughout his early years as prince of Pereyaslavl. His strength, therefore, has nothing to do with Rus; it rested solely on the fact that to the mob and the bureaucrats in Constantinople, he was the best choice of many bad ones in a time of terrible uncertainty.
    However, he was fully aware he had to do something, and do it fast. Two things were of great importance – to preserve what was left of Greek power around Constantinople, and to establish a toehold in Rus. The opportunity presented itself early. The Seljuks took over parts of Crimea; but the Greeks and Goths, lead by Ioannes, the archbishop of Doros, rose in rebellion against Moslem masters. Vladimir decided to support them. The vast army he gathered from the great city under his command was larger than what the war-exhausted Seljuks could gather.

    In a few short years, a war of much manoeuvre and little fighting saw the return of Crimea and parts of Anatolia under the sway of Constantinople. He decisively beat the Sultan of the Seljuks outside Doros, and the latter signed a peace treaty. However, as soon as he returned back to his homeland, the Sultan gathered more troops and attacked Vladimir’s possessions in Bulgaria. This new war resulted in two important things – Nikephoros and the Seljuks signed peace, preserving southern Greece from destruction; and the involvement of Georgia.

    Georgia got into a war with Derbent, who were supported by the Seljuks. Vladimir chose Gurgen Bagrationi as an ally instead of his cousin Rostislav Mstislavich in Kiev, who at the time was having troubles with western crusaders – another thing arguing against the idea that his main strength was in the Russian support.


    The pope Urban called the first crusade in 1095, a few years before Vsevolod’s death. The mostly-German crusaders were quite successful, occuping several important cities along the Syrian and Lebanese coast. They were however unable to take Jerusalem nor Antioch. The second crusade was called in 1102, just as Georgia and Constantinople went to war with the Seljuks. The Crusaders, supplied and ferried – albeit unofficially - by Cretans, Cypriots, Venetians and the Byzantines in Rhodos probably bore the burnt of all the fighting, sustaining several major defeats but nonetheless pushing slightly against the Seljuks and the Fatimids of Egypt. In contrast, the Georgians made dramatic gains against Derbent and the Seljuks’ Armenian vassals, and Basil Monomachos retook Adrianople and Nikopolis. Basil then, wisely, signed a peace that the Seljuk Sultan was only too happy to agree to, as it left him free to deal with the Crusaders; the Georgians pressed on, to their own later undoing.
    Not all Crusaders spent their time fighting the Turks, however. Swedish, Norwegian and German crusaders, moving through Russian waterways, discovered that the Polish King and Rostislav of Kiev were about to take arms against each other; under the guise of supporting the Polish catholics, they instead sacked Pskov, Polotsk, Minsk, Galich, and finally Kiev itself. Then they set up fiefs there; in the fierce infighting that followed, the dukes of Lorraine and the earls from Norway got the upper hand and divided the conquests between themselves. Poland re-occupied the Red Towns, lost by them to Vladimir I generations back. Rostislav ran to Novgorod, to plot revenge. Needless to say, the so-called Northern Crusaders never reached the Holy Land, being too busy setting up new fiefs in Russia. Soon afterwards, Khan Sencer of the Kimiaks defeated Oleg Glebovich, the last of the Chernigov princes, executed him, and took his lands.
    It therefore follows to say that Russia, much like Greece, was now without effective leadership. Rostislav’s former vassals broke away from him; it was up to Vladimir to pick up the pieces. However, the first of the Rus Emperors was a man both pragmatic and cautious. He kept on writing letters, inviting Rus princes to Constantinople to discuss re-uniting the land, promising protection and support in return. His own reputation as a victor against the Seljuks certainly helped, but the efforts were largely unsuccessful for a long time, until his sister Anna, whose domain lay in territories taken by her father from the Cumans, finally agreed. Hers was a small holding but her good reputation with the church and most of the rebel princes played an enormous part in what happened next.

    Like a minor politcal avalanche, the smaller princedoms began offering allegiances. The larger ones held out; but at that point Vladmir had enough clout to begin pursuing a more aggressive policy. Matfei Vsevolodvich attacked Anna Vsevolodvna’s Pontic holdings in return for her joining Vladimir; mere months later a large Greek-Bulgarian army lead by Romanos Philanthropenos, the first of the great Philanthropenoi generals, landed in Theodosia, and the local Goths and Anna’s forces joined it. They beat Matfei out of Crimea, and then chased him all the way to his brother's fief in Murom, overthrowing, along the way, Novgorod-Severskiy and Rostov. Vladimir arrived with a smaller force in the wake of its passing, claiming the new territories and setting up reliable governors.
    Impressed by the new Great Prince’s power, lesser princes, including those from former Polotskian and Kievan lands offered loyalty in droves. Vladmir was gracious and let them keep their lands. The final success came when Ingvar Vsevolodovich of Tmutarakan, the largest of all remaining princedoms, gave in. By 1120 he controlled all lands his father did and more, with the exception of Beloozero, which was taken over by Novgorod in the years of chaos. That same year his sister Anna died. The newly-appointed Patriarch of Pereyaslavl canonized her, for her missionary work among her pagan subjects, nominally, but in reality for her role in consolidating Vladimir’s Empire.

    It was only after the latter was accomplished that Basil Monomachos lay aside his humble claims to be only Constantinople’s protector; he married Anastasia Botaneiates, the aging daughter of his long-time rival Nikephoros III. Nikephoros himself was deposed by Theodoros I Mouzakios, a Rhodian general, in 1114, and died in a monastery. With that marriage lending him legitimacy, and his own position very strong, he laid claim to the Empire. Vladmir’s highly successful reign ended in 1126; but by then the world was a mich-changed place, and for most part, it was a much worse place if you were Orthodox.

    …I can’t really believe I said that. I don’t care, orthodox this, orthodox that. I must have really gotten carried away. I looked around the class. Everyone stared at me, open-mouthed. I must have talked for the entire lecture, without stopping. The girl who was late and then asked questions was looking at me seriously, almost frowning. Maybe I ruined her own pet theory about the period. A keener. Just what I need. But she’s pretty in her own way, I decided. A pretentious, petulant undergraduate kind of way. Then I dismissed the class.
    Last edited by RGB; 05-03-2007 at 05:45.
    The Russia Megacampaign - See my other work at my Inkwell

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  19. #19
    Tzar of all the Soviets RGB's Avatar
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    Hi readers.

    I noticed a few of you lurking around (my intrigue rating is 13!). So here’s a heartfelt plea: leave comments. Even comments like these:

    “Still here. Still reading. Don’t know why, since this is lame”

    or

    “You’re a cheating cheater, your screenshots have no dates”

    or

    “You should really resize your maps, it’s killing my browser”

    or

    “You should do your research. How many Eparchs in Constantinople? Pffft!”

    It takes a long time to produce these. Feedback is like manna from heaven.

    Incidentally, it wasn’t nearly as neat as I say it was. Vassals kept breaking off, rejoining and breaking off again and again from 1099 to 1120 without stop. Silly, silly game.
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  20. #20
    On Probation thrashing mad's Avatar

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    Very good update, (and maps ). So you are emperor as well now? And what is that Kimiak horde ? Cumans, Uralians? Those Seljuks looks threatening

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