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

  1. #301
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    III

    The Ilkhanid Rise and Fall


    After Shayban’s horde proved insufficient to defeat the Seljuks, the sons of Tolui decided to attack it themselves; Mongke and Hulegu, allied with Shaiban and Batu, attacked the Sultanate in 1241. Great Khan Guyuk initially opposed the plan - or more precisely, his mother, and then his wife, who really made the decisions for the perennially sodden Guyuk, were against Mongke’s strength increasing as a result of conquest. However, in the end Mongke outmanoeuvered both and got Guyuk to give his permission. The 1241 campaign was a great success. Attacking with perhaps the largest Mongol army assembled to date - over 110,000 horsemen - under the leadership of Mongke and Hulegu, but most often commanded by Kitbogha, a Khitan Christian and close friend of Hulegu Khan, the Mongols drove the Seljuks hard, defeating them heavily at Mari (which they sacked brutally), Gurgan, Dayr i-Azam and finally Mosul. In 1244, as they were about to besiege Baghdad, Guyuk died and all princes of the blood rushed back to Karakorum for the kuriltai. Kitbogha, with barely thirty thousand men left, tried advancing into southern Syria but was stopped. The Seljuks used the breathing space to expand south into a weakened Jerusalem, taking the capital itself and restricting the Greeks to a thin coastal strip; then they pushed into Egypt, where, after Muslim victory over the Burgundian Crusaders, the victors fell to vicious infighting and were easily conquered or swayed to join the Sultan. The Ilkhan campaign did not resume until 1253, when Kitbogha was sent to pacify the Lurs, and then push towards Shiraz and the rich port of Ormuz. The Seljuk armies folded before him time and time again and victory looked assured, but Kitbogha’s stridently anti-Muslim attitude provoked a religious uprising lead by a nobleman turned cleric called al-Adib. The scope of the rebellion was unprecedented, and Kitbogha’s relatively small force was unable to deal with all of them at once. The proud general however would not admit defeat and sought a final confrontation - which eventually came, and ended in Kitbogha’s death. Peace with the Seljuks was signed, to Seljuks’ immense relief.

    With Kitbogha’s death the pro-Christian influence over Hulegu waned, and, after finishing with the Azeri emirs, he decided to attack the weak Byzantine Empire on his western border. His first target was Knỳtling Syria; seeing how Emperor Andrew’s involvement in the Alan invasion was minimal, Hulegu no doubt expected an easy conquest. This time however, the Imperial army at once sailed to Tripoli, and the war stretched into its fourth year when Hulegu died. Andrew and his commanders were a different breed of men than the conquering Emperors of the 12th century; they conserved their forces, attacking only that which they could defeat very seriously, and there are several battles where smaller Mongol taskforces were surprised, outnumbered, and severely beaten. Coastal cities also proved impossible to siege to the Mongols, because the navy could supply them from sea indefinitely, and there were simply not enough men in the Ilkhanate to surround all major Syrian cities at once. However, the Seljuks, seeing the Byzantines weakened, also declared war on them at the same time. The fighting with the Seljuks was mostly done at sea, where the Greeks held strong, but most available land forces were tied up by the Mongols and the Turks made slow progress. In the end, peace with both the Mongols and the Seljuks was still very costly - Damascus was ceded to the Sultan, and the Mongols were ceded Sinope, North Syria and Malatiya; on the other hand, the losses were a lot smaller than feared, and no major defeats were suffered, preserving the army. The peace on the behalf of the Ilkhans was largely a result of Abaqa Khan, Hulegu’s successor, thinking that Baghdad, held by the weakened Seljuks and ringed by crumbling walls, was a better target than impregnable Baalbek or newly-rebuilt Tripoli with its large and busy harbour. In any case, Abaqa was pro-Christian in his policies as well, and even married the third daughter of the Ionian Emperor Stephanos Petzikopoulos. Abaqa’s own daughter would later marry Leon, Tsar of Armenian Cilicia, and his line would continue in the Georgian Khagans.

    The Ilkhans brought with them the largest number of Mongols of any of the invading hordes; they’ve left significant prints, linguistically, genetically, and culturally, wherever they settled in numbers. However, far more than they influenced their conquered territories during their brief supremacy, they were themselves influenced by all Western cultures. Conversions to orthodox Christianity were common, and commoner still conversions to Islam. One curious case is that of Tegus, grandson of Hulegu; he is the first Mongol saint of the Syrian Catholic rite, going by the name of St.Yakub. The prince converted while still a youth, and decided to give his life to God, or so the hagiography says, avoiding all temptations of wealth or of the flesh, despite his princely birth and his great beauty. He is known to have traveled to Salzburg to seek audience with the Pope, and then widely around Christian Europe and Africa, all the while avoiding the attempts of his relatives to recapture him. He is also said to have traveled as far East as Karakorum, where he pleaded the case of Catholicism before Kublai Khan, who, although unconvinced, wanted to keep the young man as a sage in his court. However, when prince Arghun of the Ilkhans requested a bride from among the Merkits, Yakub Tegus was sent back to accompany her and is said to have converted her along the way; finally arriving back to Syria, he came to his younger brother Baidu, who was a Buddhist at the time. Baidu, although somewhat of a figurehead himself, offered protection to Yakub Tegus as he preached across the Syrian Ilkhanate. In the end, one of the splinters of the Hashishin sect took the two into their sights, and carried out several assassination attempts, the first few of which failed; protected by an angel, so says the hagiography. The final attempt was successful, but St.Yakub, warned by the Lord, nobly accepted martyrdom while making sure his brother could flee to friendly Alexandria and thence to the Burgundian court; however, the assassins infiltrated a man into the crew of the ship that was to sail for Ancona, and Baidu, said to have converted shortly before he died, was killed in 1270. His cousin Nestor Tekuder then became the Syrian Ilkhan. Yakub Tegus was canonized in 1451, and is the patron saint of Mongol Syrian Catholics.

    Abaqa was planning to have the war with the Seljuks and al-Adib’s rebels resume in early 1261. However, just at this time Berke had come to rule the Blue Horde. In summer of 1261, Berke destroyed Tmutarakan. After the Khan summoned Prince Daniel to his capital in Sarai, and there had him killed, Tmutarakan rebelled and begged the Emperor for protection. Berke besieged it, captured it after a very bloody struggle and it is said that anyone that did not escape by ship was murdered in the streets. Upon hearing this Abaqa Khan (perhaps during a drunk festivity, as at least one of our sources suggests, or perhaps courting Christian alliance against the Seljuks) announced that his actions would be the same should he capture Baghdad. Now much alarmed - for it was still home of the Caliph and a holy centre of Islam - Berke declared war on Abaqa and marched into the Caucasus. The Seljuks quickly offered an alliance to Berke, while Abaqa reached out to the Byzantine Emperor, promising him back the lost territories if the Seljuks and Berke were to be defeated. So the Empire, together with Cilicia and Volhynia, entered the war on the Ilkhan side. Berke, however, had a trump: he asked for help from the Chaghatai Horde, still eager to gain their western territories back. The Ilkhans found themselves at war on three sides, and suffered massive losses. The Great Khan Kubilai was unable to help his nephew, because he was fighting his brother Arigh Boke for the throne in Mongolia and China. By 1263 Abaqa was dead in battle, and by 1265 the Ilkhanate held on only to Eastern Syria and southern Persia, with Berke’s warriors besieging what was left of Byzantine Crimea. The Russian Cities’ united army suffered heavy defeats at the crossing of the Kalka (1261), outside Belaya Vezha (1263), where the fifteen Kipchak Princes were captured and strangled with bowstrings, and at the crossing of the Oskol (1263). The Russians held their own at the Irpen’ in 1264 in the lone victory of the war, but were soon forced to retreat behind the tall walls of their great cities, which the Mongols decided not to attack, perhaps remembering how costly Tmutarakan had been. The Imperial army skirmished ineffectually in Trebizond, and Andrew’s attacks on Mongol Georgia failed twice. Doubtless the war would have continued downhill for the Romans, if not for Berke’s death; the conventional view is that the agents of Kaisar Boris (the future Emperor Nikephoros) had finally succeeded; and that was a stroke of luck. The young new Khan, Gunqan, didn’t have the support that his grand-uncle had, and the war was halted. The Empire lost considerable Black Sea territories. A Mongol wedge was driven deep in the weak links between Kiev and Constantinople; dependent on Mongol whim and Mongol goodwill to stay connected, the two centres rapidly drifted apart. The Ilkhans in Damascus would survive as a Christian state for three generations, locked in an alliance of necessity with Cilicia and Tripoli. The descendants of Boke Timur would soon become vassals of the Seljuks and adopt Islam; of Abaqa’s children, one line would hold on precariously to Azerbaijan, and one branch would rule as Seljuk vassals over Western Egypt, until the great Ahmed Bahadur would rise in rebellion that would consume and destroy the hitherto-unshakeable Turk Sultanate.
    Last edited by RGB; 30-05-2008 at 06:04.
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  2. #302
    Quote Originally Posted by RGB
    The Greeks manage to avoid Mongol princesses for most part, yes.
    That's alright. More Mongol princesses for everybody else!

    Oh, and when's the next update? when's the next update? when's the next update?


    Shame about Sartaq (and his policy) not lasting longer.... but if you're trying to be a bridge between peoples, expect to get walked over.

  3. #303
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    The family rivalries and personal loyalty all these hordes have to their lords is really something quite interesting to a western audience in my opinion . The breakup and waves of the mongolian hordes is also interesting ; the family tree was cool .

    It's very often the case , you expertly demonstrate , that cultures that are not as advanced but military superior eventually adopt the culture they conquer (like Kublai and his brood and the Chinese) . Very interesting stuff .

    Oh yes , and Saint Yakub there -- easily my new favourite historical person so far XD . Mongol Eastern Rite Catholic . Noble and handsome ! If only he had lived ! - le sigh ! - If only he had converted the Chinese !! The Possibilities ! Alas ! Alas !

    And good grief , the dawn of the hordes , looks like in the end you lost out big on this =(
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  4. #304
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    Things are not looking all that great for the Empire. A lucky assassination though, hopefully the Mongols will begin to loose ground en-masse, but the Crimea may be lost for good.
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  5. #305
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    Mildly insidious? I'll have to ramp up the insidiousness when Les Journals returns

    Another excellent update as the Mongols continue to change the name of the game. Byzantium will want to put a stop to their expansion soon before it becomes too late... or at least pray for these family squabbles to violently explode.

    BTW where do you get those excellent header images?
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  6. #306
    Dang you, RGB. i leave for a moment to find a spinny cutty thingy for my pizza and you post an update!


    And holy Pimp My Yurt, Batman!


    Seljuks shaken! Tmutarakan taken! Finns flummoxed! Georgia gobbled! Mongol mayhem! Alliterations (and assassins) abound!

    (Strangled with bowstrings? Yikes. There's no school like the old-school.)

    ((Speaking of which, if Boris Monomach must be one sly fellow to take out Berke.))

  7. #307
    Off Again Alfred Packer's Avatar
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    You know, I always mean to comment in here, but I feel like I started reading it too late to contribute to the dialogue. The sheer bredth and scope of this History Class/Alternate History AAR is just too massive for me to just join in. How can what I say do it justice? Even the animated GIFs blow my mind. You have crafted this story with such obvious care and attention to detail. All I will say is "Keep up the great work" and continue to lurk.

  8. #308
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfred Packer
    You know, I always mean to comment in here, but I feel like I started reading it too late to contribute to the dialogue. The sheer bredth and scope of this History Class/Alternate History AAR is just too massive for me to just join in. How can what I say do it justice? Even the animated GIFs blow my mind. You have crafted this story with such obvious care and attention to detail. All I will say is "Keep up the great work" and continue to lurk.
    I hope you continue to comment on this wonderful AAR , though , Mr. Packer . RGB is one of the starving artists types and his work gets under-commented once in a while (among other good works out there) and he's my brother-in-arms so to speak since he and I started AARs in the same season so I'm rooting a lot for him . He's a very nice guy and would welcome any comments from the "cool update " to long dissertations on the effects of Mongol un-civilization on modern Greece XD . Either way , it's great fun to be here .
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  9. #309
    On Probation thrashing mad's Avatar

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    So I was right about wedge theory? Grand update - lot of detail and realism in your alternative history. I really enjoy those family trees, as they can give many information after careful analysis. Interesting to see Seljuks shifting their position from Persia to Egypt/Middle East area, something tells me that they`ll go into Anatolia after mentioned conqest of Egypt by 'mamluk mercenaries' . And congratulations on realism of Mongol aristocracy - you have masterfully described their 'evolution' from leaders of conquest-hungry hordes, into men who starts to care about religion (Blue Horde orthodox in the future? ), or own ambition, and how they are influenced by land they have conquered. Also - cool and atmosphere-generating bits about St. Yakub and 'strangled with bowstrings'. Are those somewhat based on real history?

    And yes - illustrations from Osprey books are great.

  10. #310
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    Hmmm . Looking over that update again . Yeah , definitely three weeks .
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  11. #311
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    Replies:

    Tskb18: as it so happened, I was posting the update at the same time you were posting to ask when it was coming. Granted, I may have overplayed Sartaq's friendliness and his ruling ability comparred to real life, but then you know, my historical sources are all slanted, let's just say. As for the Mongol Princesses, just look at the Ilkhan tree.

    canonized: I've tried to keep the Ilkhans behaving roughly how they did in RL but the CK is a random kind of game for one, they actually attacked me (counterfactual!) and two, they fell apart in 1260s (counterfactual again).

    Estonianzulu: Well, you know, hope springs eternal but sometimes you're just out of luck and Her Ladyship never deigns to come back.

    ComradeOm: There aren't too many Mongol-Byzantine wars after this, but all sorts of other things happen. So, ahem, stay tuned. And yes, do come back with the Journals, no matter the insidiousness level. Personally I'd like him to find happiness in other ways.

    Also, those header images? The one last update is by some contemporary artist from Russia who posts them on his blog; I may disagree with him politically as much as is humanly possible, but his paintings are good. The Mega-Yurt is from Osprey, I think, and was scanned and hosted on some website about the Mongols. Unfortunately I cannot give you links to either because when I reinstalled Firefox all my bookmarks got destroyed.

    However, those that I've saved on my HD you'll see a fair bit of in the coming months.

    Tskb18: You'll get to know Boris Monomach in a particular light and all the gory detail you could wish for somewhere early next week.

    Alfred Packer: Oh! Please please please leave some kinda comments. I know it's a long story with too many characters, but we have enough unrelated banter here for you to easily join in. And I appreciate any comments at all.

    canonized: thanks for kindly pre-empting me, and so effectively.

    --------

    What he said is true, you know

    --------

    TM: of course you were! In fact the "wedge" passage is completely owed to you as a good metaphor for what happened.

    You seem uncannily foresighted about the Seljuks....

    St.Yakub - as far as I know there's no historical parallel to him, but I did set one prince to be a Catholic and he did become a saint, so I gave him a great backstory.

    Strangled with bowstrings - I'm amazed that this got so many comments.

    From what I understand the Mongols had a taboo against spilling royal or even princely blood, and about letting royal blood touch the ground. Therefore executions of said people were in fact very creative affairs. A bowstring strangled the RL Gayakhtu Khan, for example. The Baghdad Khalif and his sons were rolled into rugs and trampled by horses running over those. Russian princes at the Kalka were placed between wooden boards and then squashed/suffocated to death as the Mongols had a feast on those very planks.

    Remember that the Kipchaks, although still nomadic, were part of the Empire and probably formed the biggest part of the Rus army at Bela Vezha, which was their main town as well. Now that they are conquered, their nomadic lifestyle will make them very useful for manpower-starved Batukhanids, and with them will come Christian and pro-Byzantine influence.

    canonized: I get the feeling that you haven't seen the last of it yet, and the wait isn't that long.

    The next update is on Thursday, probably. In the meanwhile, I want MORE MORE MORE comments!

    Oh - and I apologise for the map jumping all out of frame etc. The frames were a different size each, and the new .gif animator doesn't have the function to make them fit the frame. I'll be more attentive next time.

    Cheers.
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  12. #312
    Revolutionary Leader VILenin's Avatar
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    "cool update "

    The times do indeed look rough for Byzantium and the Rus but hopefully a Mongol disintegration is not far in the future. Then you can begin driving invaders back to the steppes where they belong.

    And yeah, went you want to kill someone, nothing says "traditionalism" like strangling with a bowstring.
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  13. #313
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    You want more comments? I'm really interested to see the conclusion of the Civil War and how that impacted the future of the Empire. I am very much looking forward to seeing the long term impacts.

    Oh, and the gif maps move a little fast for me
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  14. #314
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    Estonianzulu: Yes, the .gif animator I was using also only allows you to set frames at 5 secs per. Stupid trial versions.

    I'm looking for another one. The one that TM sent me can only do 500x500 frames.

    ----

    The Civil War had the profoundest of impacts on the Empire, and the Mongols, powerful as they were, only served to finish driving the wedge in. The results are to be posted in the next couple of updates.

    VILenin: Uh. Well - the future shall soon be revealed. I'm not sure if you'll like it though.
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  15. #315
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    That doesn't sound good. I get the feeling a period of Mongol domination over Eastern Europe may be in the future. Since this is a megacampaign, however, I can console myself somewhat with the knowledge that it would be a temporary condition.
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  16. #316
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    A Parting of Ways

    The Knýtling Empire


    And so said the serpent: "and here I have Dobrynia in my hands. Should I crush you with my jaws, Dobrynia, or should I set you afire with my coals, or should I smoke you with great smoke?"

    And so said Dobrynia "you caught me but didn't pluck me, you didn't cook me and so won't eat me"
    - The Tale of Dobrynia Nikitich and Zmey Gorynich
    A King is history's slave
    – Lev Tolstoi, War and Peace
    But the tsar
    Saw all things with the eyes of Godunov.
    Heard all things with the ears of Godunov…
    - Pushkin, Boris Godunov
    I am now reading about Emperor Andrew, the only Knýtling Rurikovich to sit on the Imperial throne. He is a curious character to me, because of what little I read, he falls into one of two roles, both of which feel like common tropes; there isn’t much detail about the man himself, just his role in relation to the Emperors before him and of course his successor Nikephoros. Generally, he is seen as a good man whose reign was in the end subverted by the ruthless Monomach, or else he is a stoic, steadfast type who found himself in circumstances beyond his ability to resolve.
    Andrew’s somewhat long reign is sometimes called the Knýtling Empire, to contrast his rule to the rule of the other great branch of the Rurikids. Andrew was a compromise Emperor, supported by the nobility because he wasn’t going to push in any direction too hard, and in other circumstances he might have been the man needed to rebuild the Empire after the Civil War; however, the Mongol Invasions made his role as ruler one of the most important of all those covered in this course. He preserved most of the Empire, but did not manage to save the fortunes of his ancient clan, because it was the Knýtlings - in Tmutarakan, Alania and Syria - that suffered most of all the great Imperial families. Elected in 1234, just three years before the raid into Alania by Berke, he was perhaps unready for the test when it came, but he prepared for the next time. Border fortresses were built, Tmutarakan got another set of walls (which in the end proves insufficient), and the eastern garrisons increased in number. Trebizond got a new squadron of ships to transport troops to Alania if it was needed; the best anyone could do given the mess the Empire was in. Still, Andrew’s focus was mostly on Greece, pacifying the Greek nobles and repairing the devastated country. Under Andrew, the army was being slowly rebuilt in the Greek parts of the Empire at least; the Tax in Men, although lower, was reintroduced slowly, trade relations were normalized with Novgorod so that the goods and money could flow down to Constantinople, and loans were taken from anyone willing to lend so that the fortresses were repaired and the tagmata filled with new soldiers. In the end, he had a capable, but still small, army based in Constantinople that he used wisely and cautiously; it won few victories but suffered few disasters.

    His successes in diplomacy were mixed; Andrew worked hard at restoring the relations with his Tsars, most of whom found themselves in one of the two opposing camps during the Civil War. However, having gotten a taste of independence, the Tsars were more concerned about pursuing their own destinies than trying to restore the Byzantine civilization as a greater whole. Lithuania and Novgorod, having lost their war against Sweden in Denmark, turned their attention North into Finland, where the Lithuanians subjugated tribe after tribe, bringing with them the Orthodox religion and their own brand of Byzantine culture. By 1260, there were Novgorodian colonies as far north as Kola, and Lithuanian princes sat in every town of Finland not occupied by the Swedes. The Novgorodians and Lithuanians briefly fell out and fought among themselves in 1259, resulting in Novgorod becoming a Lithuanian tributary for seven years, but soon relations improved to the point that a combined expedition was once more sent to Denmark, occupying it in 1267, only to lose it again in 1334 to an alliance of Holstein, Norway and Poland.
    The Tsars of Jerusalem pursued their policy of non-involvement with Imperial affairs for two generations. Tsar Rurik Iziaslavich was the first to push Jerusalem in a serious war; against Naples, whose vassals occupied small patches of the Holy Land that Rurik no doubt thought were better under a master that was closer by. The series of wars started locally, but would take the Jerusalemites all the way to Italy, where the Greeks conquered as far as Naples itself, and also to African Tripoli, where the rapidly shrinking Neapolitan Empire was taken over by Rurik. It wasn’t until Burgundy inherited Naples that the tables began to turn; in 1250, caught in a war against the Burgundians to the West and the Seljuks to the East, Jerusalem suffered a number of catastrophic defeats and was reduced to just the coastal cities, with the Tsars moving residence to Ascalon. Jerusalemite revival was still three generations away at that point. Meanwhile, the Emperor Andrew was too busy with the Mongols in 1255 to oppose the splitting of Dalmatia from the Croatian Tsars, but the Croatian state seemed doomed to break apart; in 1260 a civil war broke out between Dragan Choniates and his brother Luka; the Byzantine intervention re-instituted a Serbian Tsardom under Luka, and enforced peace. Diplomatic ties were improved with the Princes in Dalmatia, Provence and Sanseverino Sicily, while the Prince of Krete agreed to pay tribute to the Empire once again. The two rival “Emperors” - Bartholomaios Philanthropenos in Athens and Stephanos Petzikopoulos in Ephesus, were largely left in peace, although when Bartholomaios lost Morea’s allegiance the Emperor gladly welcomed the new Princes in; at the same time, when Stephanos inherited the Nikomedian principality, the Emperor didn’t protest. In fact, the relations between the Empire and the Petzikopouloi increased greatly, so much so that some historians talk about the Ionians as just one more of the Byzantine Tzardoms

    The wars against the Seljuks and the Mongols were perhaps the most challenging part of Andrew’s reign, and he has a mixed record in that scene, although considering he fought with the world’s three biggest powers, the Three Headed Dragon of the East, it could have been so much worse. The loss of the Alans and Tmutarakan was a harsh blow, but there was little the Empire could do against the Blue Horde without allies, and Andrew, to the relief of the Greek lords and bewilderment of his own clan, refused to commit. Defense against the Ilkhans, however, he took seriously and would perhaps have finished the war in a stalemate if the Seljuks didn’t opportunistically join in, leading to the loss of Damascus (which was later recaptured by Christian Ilkhans in 1302). His big gamble came when, already at war with Berke over the destruction of his native Tmutarakan, he joined Abaqa’s losing fight against Berke, the Chaghatids and the Seljuks. The war ended a lot less disastrously than it could have, once again; no territory changed hands in Syria or Anatolia, and the Russian Black Sea steppes were long considered by the Emperor to be indefensible, so their loss was seen as inevitable. Still, it was now clear that the Empire was unable to win the war against both the Seljuks and the Mongols by conventional means; other means were found and employed ruthlessly, both by the Empire and its opponents. On the Imperial side, it was Boris Monomach who especially excelled in the War of Shadows, and his exceptional talents in subterfuge and intrigue are probably responsible for with delaying the fall of the Empire.
    Boris Monomach is of course the literary foil to Andrew’s honest attempts to do what’s best. All Monomachs after Ekaterine have that reputation, of course, but Boris does in particular. The son of the rather disappointing Theodore Monomach, he was the Empire’s largest landholder and most important vassal, but had no allies left in Constantinople. Over Andrew’s reign he nonetheless made himself central to all Imperial politics, and by shouldering a large part of the financial and military burden of the Mongol wars won grudging approval. Finally, he married Andrew’s only daughter, almost ensuring his succession. The political machinations of Boris are often portrayed as outside Andrew’s control, because by the 1260s the Prince of Pereyaslavl is at least as powerful as the Emperor. Whether Andrew actually condoned Boris’ actions and whether he wanted to leave the Empire in the hands of the Monomach, the chroniclers don’t really seems to care. His role by then is done, and he is no longer an actor. The scene belongs to Boris Monomach.
    Last edited by RGB; 07-12-2007 at 01:10.
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  17. #317
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Hmm an interesting interlude so to speak there . Beset by challenges I'm curious though how the internal court life would have been like . The way things have been going , it seems like everyone is just too exasperated !
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  18. #318
    Revolutionary Leader VILenin's Avatar
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    Ooh, the War of Shadows, sound clandestine.

    At least the Emperor's name wasn't Knud (someone had to reference phargle so I'll just do it and get it out of the way).

    Maybe I'm wrong, but Greek and Russian interests do not seem to be coinciding to frequently. Might we see the two peoples go their seperate ways at some point? (before the end of CK)
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  19. #319
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    With his heavy attention on Greece, I wonder how well remembered Andrew is within the Greek half of the Empire.
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  20. #320
    On Probation thrashing mad's Avatar

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    Interesting situation with Novgorod and Lithuania expanding eastern/orthodox sphere of influence to the north/west. I`m glad that while this history is realistic it`s also very different from original. I wonder how much twist would this alternative reality take in later ages (EUIII/Victoria), and i`m sure that it will be served by you with top quality . Any chances on european map/situation in the near future?

    Oh, and cool reference/quote/metaphor with this 'three headed dragon'.

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