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Thread: Rome AARisen - a Byzantine AAR

  1. #3421
    Nerd Vesimir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcy1000 View Post
    Thomas kind of reminds me of Fredo Corleone. I'm probably imagining things.
    Hmmm....

    Demetrios would probably be Sonny. Gabriel would be Michael. Nikolaios would be... maybe Tom Hagen? Don't have to think about the others though.
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  2. #3422
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    Considering it is now Christmas Day (I presume though in the U.S by now) I just wanted to wish everyone on the AAR and to General_BT himself a very, very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    I'm sure our characters will be celebrating. I wonder if BT will one day do a Christmas parody? Hmmmm.....


    Thomas I after "retiring" from the purple. Oh my.....

    Anyway, have a good one everybody!

  3. #3423
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    Ksim3000 -w Wow, Thomas has really let himself go! :-p

    If the various emperors were celebrating Christmas, I imagine:
    Demetrios would be "occupied" with some lady.
    Nikoolaios would be writing an op-ed complaining how Christmas could be improved.
    Manuel would be leaving poisoned milk and cookies for Santa, just because.
    Basil would be watching A Christmas Carol on TV with Sophie.
    Thomas I would be complaining no one wants to play Halo or Counterstrike with him.
    Thomas II would be calling his psychologist about Christmas stress.

    Vesimir - Demetrios was Sonny I'd agree with, but wouldn't Manuel make a better Michael? And I'm glad you liked my depiction of Bard, I tried my best to capture the character. Him being a smuggler just fit!

    Mcy1000 - Thomas III and Fredo would have certainly got along.

    VILenin - True... someone like Albrecht would have easily known the effect something like the Flodo Tide would have had on grain supplies fort he capital. That said, Freddie et al passed grain carts headed east in Syria. Why would the grain be headed to Mesopotamia, or even further east?

    Qorten - Bringing food to a starving city would certainly ensure a warm welcome!

    Enewald - Bardas might not be in Konstantinopolis, but Antemios is definitely in the capital...

    KlavoHunter - Freddie certianly won't be wasting any time, in educating poor Thomas the Youngest.

    RGB - Yay! You caught all the little in jokes I threw in there! I wont' say if I've picked a older Gabriel actor or not.

    Cecasander - Thomas is enthroned already... he's now Thomas III, co-Emperor with his brother Gabriel I. I think what you mean is what if Thomas is on the throne by himself--so long as Gabriel is around, he's gonna clearly be in charge, both because he has the stronger personality and because Thomas would defer to him...

    AlexanderPrimus - So we've got a potential famine in the capital, Gabriel/Thomas preparing to face off against Bardas, Albrecht plotting, and the Mongols moving... things are quickly coming together to something explosive!

    asd21593 - Time out?

    Hannibal X - Something clearly is going wrong with Basil's line yes... Basil heard voices, Thomas went sociopathic, Thomas II went schizophrenic, and Gabriel and Thomas III have their own problems...

    Fulcrumvale - Gabriel's had these voices for a while. Good news is that his voices aren't likely to make him launch a suicidal charge during the middle of the most important battle in Komnenid Imperial history, bad news is that it could cause him to bed the wrong person risking war, or worse...

    Issac Wolfe - Thank you.

    Originally I'd planned on having a special Christmas update posted, however, between work and travelling home for the holidays, I haven't finished it. In lieu of that, I hope you all have a safe and Merry Christmas, and I wish you and yours well. Thank you for another year of your reading, your comments, your critiques and your support! I don't think this AAR would still be going if it wasn't for you, the readers. Thank you all!
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  4. #3424
    Mare Ban al Olteniei Laur's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by General_BT View Post
    Originally I'd planned on having a special Christmas update posted, however, between work and travelling home for the holidays, I haven't finished it. In lieu of that, I hope you all have a safe and Merry Christmas, and I wish you and yours well. Thank you for another year of your reading, your comments, your critiques and your support! I don't think this AAR would still be going if it wasn't for you, the readers. Thank you all!
    Well, isn't the Birth of our Lord being celebrated on the 6th of January in the Orthodox Roman Empire? If so, you still have time.
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    If you wish to spare yourself and your venerable family, give heed to my advice with the ear of intelligence. If you do not, you will see what God has willed."

    Hulagu Khan (letter to the last Caliph of Baghdad 1258)

  5. #3425
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    Well, not yet. I think everybody is still using Julian calendar, so Christmas is still on 25, at least in Julian calendar. Gregorian calendar, at in which it's 13 days later hasn't been invented yet. And on top of that with much more centralized Orthodox Church, when it comes to switching to a Gregorian like equivalent, the entire church would probably switch, or might not if it choses to, and not like now, where we Serbs and Russians celebrate on 6/7th and others do it on 25th.

    PS. Christmas is still now on 25th, only according to Julian Calendar.
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  6. #3426
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    Manuel could be Michael, but he would be Michael from the second part. All ruthless and stuff. I think Gabriel would fit better as I don't know what he will become when he's an adult and later as an old man.

    Merry Christmas to you too!
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  7. #3427
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vesimir View Post
    Manuel could be Michael, but he would be Michael from the second part. All ruthless and stuff. I think Gabriel would fit better as I don't know what he will become when he's an adult and later as an old man.

    Merry Christmas to you too!
    Gabriel is Andy Garcia's character from Part III. That is if you even acknowledge the existence of Part III.

  8. #3428
    Romanorum Imperator Augustus asd21593's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by General_BT View Post
    asd21593 - Time out?
    By the time I'm done reading an update, when I go to comment, I have to re-log in and loose all the subscribed thread updates in my cp.

    Merry Christmas!
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  9. #3429
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    February 19th, 1239

    Louis Salah, Chancellor of the Empire of the Romans in the West, could only shake his head in wonder.

    Outside, a cool, crisp Feburary wind blew careened through the streets of Cordoba, before flying up the bluffs outside of the enormous city and into the windows of the Imperial Palace. Despite some 18 years of work, the massive edifice still wasn’t complete. The shipment of glass from Barcelona was late, and the thin parchment that covered the open holes did little work in stopping the wind. Yet, instead of having the meeting of state in either the Emperor’s chambers or those of the Chancellor, as would have been the norm, the meeting was in what would eventually be the grand State Room of the palace, walls already painted a fiery red.

    Louis Salah glanced to the reason for the change, and shook his head yet again. Emperor Nikephoros IV, son of Nikephoros III, grandson of Alexios I, was rather unregally picking through a tray of fruit offered by a patient servant. Instead of the bright robes of state or somber dress, the Emperor was dressed in a bright jacket and trousers, topped off with a turban of linen and silk, like those of the rich Muslim merchants of Cordoba. In fact, the only thing separating him from one of them was the golden Komnenid double-eagle, eyes made with diamonds, pinned to the front of the turban.

    “Pah!” the Emperor of the Romans in the West grumbled, squeezing each piece of fruit in turn. “There’s nothing good here!”



    “Majesty, if I could…”

    Louis Salah turned to Eirene Komnenos-Thrakesios, the Mistress of the Treasury and aunt to the young 17 year old Emperor. She sighed as well, her explanation of the inflation problems, army maintenance, and the solidus interrupted by the Emperor’s search for some fruit. Finally, Nikephoros found something he liked… a reddish apple that seemed firm enough to his liking. He nodded to his aunt, then loudly began eating.

    The scene was altogether remarkable, Louis thought, if only because this time last year, he couldn’t have imagined such a scene taking place in Cordoba. For on this day, exactly one year before, the Duke of Asturias had publically condemned the Emperor, said he was a heathen in disguise, and unfit to be his liege.

    The rebellion had long been brewing, and Salah knew he had a role to play in how that drama had started. Nikephoros’ father had died after a sickly reign of only three years, leaving a ramshackle empire to his ten year old son. As the most senior member of the Imperial Council, trusted by nobles across the peninsula, Salah had naturally been named Regent along with the Emperor’s mother. In the succeeding years, Louis had worked hard to secure the economic prosperity of the urban south and center of the Empire, often at the expense of the rural, feudal north. To Salah, the preferences made sense—the south was more populous, and offered more to the treasury. The north was more warlike, but otherwise it was a source of perennial headaches, most often from the Latin bishops and lords of the region who wanted either more lands or more power at the expense of the Muslims of the center and south whom they had fought for centuries.

    It didn’t come as a surprise that the Duke of Asturias had broken free in the spring of 1238. Salah’s regency had ended, replaced by the rule of a then 16 year old, unproven young man. Added to this were the noises from the north of the Pyrenees, where the French King, after years of repaying the debts created by his capture during the Coup of Andreas, was finally stirring once more, hoping to recreate the massive realm of his ancestor Drogo. With rumblings from the duke of Valencia that he, too, was not pleased with the choices of the central state, the time seemed ripe for rebellion.

    Word of the Asturias revolt spread like wildfire, and dissenters, troublemakers, and freebooters flocked to the banner of disorder. Duke Juan, a famed knight in his own right, quickly amassed a formidable force of sellswords and itinerant men-at-arms during the spring of 1238, before marching towards Zaragoza with a force of nearly 35,000, in what he hoped to be the first of his conquests in breaking the ‘heathen empire’ as he derisively called the throne in Cordoba.

    Juan de Palma y Vicenze was a seasoned veteran of the wars of Emperor Alexios, a famous knight and formidable leader of men. His open declaration against Cordoba had shaken the Catholic north—Valencia’s duke changed from quietly expressing his misgivings to openly contemplated switching allegiance, and both the Dukes of Brittany and Toulouse, formerly close friends of Cordoba, had rapidly cooled their formerly warm relations—if Asturias broke away, it would both show Cordoba was too weak to be a true ally against Paris, and cut off the wayward French dukedoms from the chief guarantor of their independence. When Asturias had marched out the year before, the Western Empire seemed consigned to not only losing the Catholic north of Iberia, but also all the alliance gains of Alexios Komnenos north of the Pyrenees.


    Duke Juan de Palma y Vicenze had earned a formidable reputation as one of Emperor Alexios’ chief cavalry commanders. The Duke was devout, famed across the Latin north for his piety—a trait that seemed to run contrary to cosmopolitan Cordoba.


    The French King was not to be discounted. Arnaud Capet had been defeated at Mount Hymettus, true, but he still had the power of England and the north of France behind him. Such power was slow and ponderous to gather, however—it would take the French King over a year to gather his own forces, but his announcement that he planned to move south to assist his ‘Most Catholic bretheren’ in Spain resist unjust and oppressive rule had shaken Cordoba to its core. With the collapse of the system of alliances with the northern duchies, the way across the Pyrenees was open. It seemed as if in a summer, the decades work and toil done by Alexios I might collapse into ruin.

    Salah blinked again, as the young Emperor casually threw his legs up over the side of his wooden throne, loudly chewing an apple as his aunt Eirene finished reporting the state of the imperial treasury. Yet this young man who impudently lounged on the throne was far more capable than his years or demeanor suggested. Salah had to admit, he’d been skeptical when Nikephoros had stamped his foot and demanding to lead the army northwards in person. The Megosvizieros had watched the young man grow up—his head, it had appeared, was filled with legends of his forefathers and glorious battle. An impetuous young monarch looking for glory on the battlefield was a certain recipe for disaster.

    Salah’s worst fears seemed confirmed when the campaign of 1238 had commenced—Nikephoros’ first act was to aggressively demand that the Duke of Valenica mobilize his host to support the Emperor’s northward march against Asturias and his rebels. The wording of the summons had been haughty and insulting, and Salah had secretly changed much of the writing only to find the Emperor had sent his own version of the missive, even more boorish, ahead of the official note. As Salah feared, the Duke of Valenica, infuriated by the letters, had promptly sent notice that he no longer considered Cordoba his liege lord, that he refused to kneel before such an “impudent and godless boy” who openly supported the heathens instead of the good people of the Latin creed.

    Yet now, Salah watched as the young Emperor casually smirked at a list of tributes read by Eirene, he’d underestimated the boy. Somewhat prophetically, Louis could remember that during the campaign Nikephoros had finally grown his first whiskers, little traces of black that grew and grew into the beard that now covered his face. As the Emperor had so casually muttered in the days after his five tagmata, prepositioned to strike with lightning speed into Valenica marched through the stunned and deposed Duke’s capital city, he’d suspected the Duke intended to backstab Cordoba at the first opportunity. The angry missives and insolent notes were meant to force Duke Luis to breaking his vows of vassalage, giving Cordoba a casus belli to strip the dukedom and hand it to someone more loyal—Nikpehoros’ younger brother, Alexandros.


    The remains of the Duke of Valenica’s castle outside the city. Nikephoros had secretly moved his five tagmata into position to rapidly cross the border and seize the Duke’s fortress immediately after the Duke’s reply to the Emperor’s insulting letters was received.


    Fresh from the sudden capture of Valencia, the young Emperor, now backed with the stunned Valencian militia in addition to his personal five tagmata and the militia contingents of Toledo and Seville, lunged towards the north with surprising speed. Contrary to Salah’s expectations, the Emperor refused to engage the smaller Duke of Asturia’s veteran army in battle. Instead, the militia contingents moved north under the watchful eye of the elderly Romanos Thrakesios, still Exarch of Baetica, rapidly sieging the critical strongholds of the Duke, while Nikephoros and the imperial tagmata simply blocked the passes the Duke needed to take back to defend his home territories. By the end of August, Duke Juan was a duke with no dukedom, no money, and no way of paying his army of sellswords and knights. Through September into October, his large force melted apart before the walls of Barcelona, as knights and mercenaries deserted. On the 15th of October, Nikephoros finally arrived to relieve the siege. The next day, compelled by a mass defection of the remaining sellswords, Duke Juan tried to break out with a small force of his knights. While Nikephoros had been loathe to risk a battle of 45,000 versus 38,000 against the Duke, the Emperor was perfectly willing to accept 40,000 versus perhaps 4,000 at best. Duke Juan was killed, and the Emperor ordered the surviving knights who had followed their liege to his doom to be summarily executed, their lands confiscated to the Imperial state due to their rebelliousness.

    With the threats south of the Pyrenees to his crown subdued, Louis, like the rest of the Emperor’s staff, had expected Nikephoros to rest on his laurels, content to set up winter camp and spend the intervening months reorganizing the two conquered dukedoms into proper themes. The time was ripe—Valencia was cowed, and many of the feudal ties could easily be converted, while the entirety of the noble class of Asturias was either cowed, or dead outside of Zaragoza.

    Yet Nikephoros was not content.

    To the surprise, even horror of his strategoi and maliks, the Emperor deigned to leave the Toledo and Seville militias behind to secure Asturias under the watchful care of Exarch Thrakesios, while he, the 6,000 men from Valencia, and his personal tagmata crossed the Pyrenees just before the start of winter to confront King Arnaud before his armies were fully massed in the spring.

    “Excellent,” Nikephoros grinned, snapping Louis back to the present. “A new school in Basiliopolis would be exactly the thing to please the locals. See to it!”

    “Majesty,” Louis heard the Mistress of the Treasury start to complain, but Nikephoros talked over his aunt’s complaints, chomping on his apple the whole time.

    “I’m also thinking, dear aunt, we need a better basilica in Cordoba. The former mosque is drafty. See if you can’t find that Venetian… what’s his name? Find him, and ask for some proposal drawings. Let’s at least see what he can come up with.”

    The young Emperor had been just as impetuous last fall. The now smaller Imperial army of barely 25,000 crossed the Pyrenees in record time, at great stress to both man and beast. The Emperor’s first destination was the city of Toulouse itself, where his arrival surprised the Duke at All Hallow’s vespers. Caught off guard, the Duke, dressed in a simple pilgrim’s shift, was forced to meet the young Emperor, dressed in all the finery of Spain. Salah remembered telling the Emperor all the things he should say, and all the things he shouldn’t… and how the young man had tossed his advice out the window, immediately demanding why Toulouse had been so “lax” in her alliance commitments after Asturias had rebelled. The Duke had sputtered, before the Emperor cut him off—Nikephoros would be gracious, and move north to stop King Arnaud, but he expected that in the future Toulouse would honor her commitments fully, or risk the wrath of Cordoba.


    Duke Raymond, seen here in an illumination, was a famed warrior. Concerned about disorder in Spain and the rule of an untested, unknown new Emperor, the Duke began making arrangements to abandon his Spanish alliance and peaceably rejoin the French Kingdom. Nikephoros’ sudden arrival in Toulouse quickly put an end to any such talk.


    Then the Emperor said he had a gift for the Duke—a long scroll of parchment, listing the names of the knights and lords killed outside of Zaragoza. At Toulouse’s look of astonishment and horror, the Emperor had recommended that the Duke post the list on the wall of his study, as a reminder of what happened to those who did not honor their pledges to his person.

    Then, as quickly as he and his host had appeared, the Emperor was marching north at breakneck pace towards Berri and the winter camp of King Arnaud. The Capetian monarch was as surprised as everyone else by the sudden appearance of the young monarch over the Pyrenees—to the point that the vast majority of the French host had yet to arrive. Hurriedly, the King struck camp and moved north, back to Paris. Envoys from the great French lords were the only people waiting for the Western Romans at Berri, with notes from the dukes saying that if the Emperor would leave them in peace, they would not raise their hosts in the spring, no matter King Arnaud’s requests.

    Salah still shook his head. In the space of eight months, the young man had removed a disloyal duke, crushed a Latin rebellion, then compelled King Arnaud to quit the field without a fight. Nikephoros had left the army to winter in Toulouse before recrossing the Pyrenees in the spring, but even before his return to Cordoba on December 20th, Salah had heard the Muslim members of court whispering a new name for Nikephoros. No longer was he simply “the Younger.” They were now calling him Seyf-u-Allah—the “Sword of God.” Nikephoros would have to head north in a month to lead the Roman armies in Toulouse against the French—only a fool wouldn’t expect Arnaud to attempt to mobilize again—but in his first year of rule, the young man had been remarkable.

    “Louis?”

    Salah shook his head quietly, and nodded.

    “The Bishop of Barcelona started his prattling again,” Nikephoros dismissively waved a hand. “This time something about me using Muslim swords against fellow Christians, or some other foolishness.” The young Emperor snorted. “Like I’m not supposed to use the loyal citizens of Seville and Toledo who wish to enter my service, simply because they are heathen? When a Christian duke fails in his godly duty to his liege? Hah!”

    The emperor turned, bringing his boots down to the floor. In an instant, Nikephoros IV went from looking his 17 years to fully regal, every inch the Roman Emperor. In that instant, Salah could only think of the young man’s grandfather.

    “I want a Patriarch,” Nikephoros said simply.

    “A wha…um, Majesty,” Louis folded his hands, calming his voice, “a Patriarch?”

    “Yes,” the Emperor lost his regal look as he put his hands behind his head and leaned back on the throne. “Someone of high enough stature they can cow these errant northern bishops into shutting up. A single person we can ply to do our will,” Nikephoros said, with that same smile his grandfather would give when he expected his orders to be carried out, immediately.

    “But, Your Majesty,” Louis complained, unsure if it was even of use, “who would appoint this Patriarch? The Pope in exile? He’s hardly likely to agree considering said bishop is one of the most strenuous defenders of the Latin rites in all of Spain! The other four patriarchs are busy dealing with the civil war in the East…”

    “Louis,” Nikephoros looked off to the left and sighed, before turning back to his chamberlain. Gone was any sense of youth from those brown eyes as the Emperor leaned forward, folding his hands and glaring. “I said I want a Patriarch. I don’t care who you talk to, or what you must promise them. This Empire needs a Patriarch to unify its religious divisions.” The Emperor leaned back slightly, the smile coming to his lips almost ice cold. “Short of us rejoining the East, of course. Our house is disorderly enough, without becoming enmeshed in that… mess.”

    “Of course, Majesty,” Louis nodded his head quietly.

    “That said,” Nikephoros said, throwing a leg up over the side of the throne once again and tossing the now naked apple core over his shoulder, “we could play the chaos out east to our advantage. Send emissaries to my cousins Antemios and Gabriel offering them our support if they agree to put pressure on the Patriarchs to consent.”

    “Of course Majesty,” Louis nodded.

    “We don’t want to make one the equal of theirs necessary. Something… ah, what was the word? Autocephalous, yes. Like what the Armenians and the Bulgars have.”

    “But Majesty…”


    Saint James, the patron saint of Spain.


    “Yes, I know, ours will be far larger and more powerful than theirs,” Nikephoros cut Louis off. “And practically, it will be more powerful than the originals—Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria at least. Make sure you, and your underlings, keep that thing as quiet as possible,” the Emperor smirked. “If they think of that fact on their own, so be it, but we shouldn’t be reminding them of any such… inconvenience.”

    “Yes Majesty,” Louis nodded his head. Resistance was futile. Louis had seen and served under remarkable men. Alexios Komnenos had been awe-inspiring. But Nikpehoros—he went beyond that. He was hardly a man.

    He was already a force of nature.

    ==========*=========

    Nikephoros IV’s theme


    So here we have the new Western emperor, someone who we’ll be seeing quite a bit of in the coming story. The start of Nikephoros’ reign is basically conjecture on my part. All I know for sure is that when I checked on the Spains in 1238, in game there was a new King of Mauretania/Portugal named Seyfuallah Komnenos, son of Nikephoros and grandson of Alexios. To make matters even more interesting, when I rechecked in 1239 it seemed Mauretania/Portugal had conquered all of Asturias and forced Valenica under its heel, effectively making what I’ve been terming thusfar the Spanish Empire. Heady things for a 17 year old monarch. So the new Spanish Emperor has proven himself dangerously capable so far, and he wants a new Patriarch. How will this play in the East? And what role does “Sefy” have to play in the continuing Roman world?
    Last edited by General_BT; 27-12-2009 at 16:40.
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  10. #3430
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    Talk about bursting on stage!
    Wow, this man has it all. Brains, fortune in battle, and luck. And he looks good too.....
    But, beeing a Komnenos, he will undoubtly have some hidden flaw, or vice, of sibling with a grudge......
    So far though, it looks as if the spanish empire is dooing alright.
    I know not who i am, but i do know where i'm going....

  11. #3431
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    Brilliant!
    May the Western Empire flourish, while the Eastern one again crumbles.

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    An interesting development, CK can throw up some great stories at you.
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  13. #3433
    Romanorum Imperator Augustus asd21593's Avatar
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    I'm loving this new emperor.
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  14. #3434
    Defensor Fidei et Ecclesiae Hawkeye1489's Avatar
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    I have been wondering what happened to our good cousins in the West. It would appear that Nikephoros is doing a dashing good job keeping things in check. If only his eastern brethren were so apt. As for a Patriarch in Iberia, I'm curious. Would you put him in Cordoba, or would you find a nice little city somewhere else?
    Resident Theologian & Catholic Apologist

  15. #3435
    So an Andalusi Orthodox uber-Portugal/Granada in EU3, I presume?

    Loving Seyfullah Komnenos and the fact that the West has gone Arab. Portuguese would have been nice too, but Andalusi Arab is even better.

    Speaking of which, is Alexandros really Alexandros? Or is he Iskander or some other Arab name?

    As for a Patriarchate, put it in Hippo (I think Spain owns everything up to Tunis, so Hippo would be right in Constantine or whatever state that is next to Tunis that belongs to Spain), Qartubah, or Santiago de Compostela. Considering that the Western Emperor prescribes to Arab culture, I suggest Qartubah, Hippo or maybe even an island; separates him from peninsular shenanigans. Put him on the Canaries or whichever island effin' Vatazces died on in the Balearics. As for who, I say the corpse of Emperor Manuel nee Staurakios.
    Last edited by Hannibal X; 27-12-2009 at 22:04.

  16. #3436

  17. #3437
    Back from the dead FlyingDutchie's Avatar
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    Like the new emperor, seems the Western emperors are from the more sane branch of the Komnenid family .
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  18. #3438
    Nerd Vesimir's Avatar
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    One badass emperor. Actually.... Now I like the western Empire more than the original one! Do something about that!

    And about the hidden vice... I can't stop but think he and Gabriel will eventually end up in bed. If Nikephoros isn't an über-macho, I seriously think he's going to sleep with Gabriel eventually.
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  19. #3439
    So the Spanish Empire was never an actual political entity until now?
    oh it hurts so bad.
    And im glad to see that the sons of Alexios are doing alright once again.
    And flyingdutchie, they are all descended from David, the most competent non-emperor ever :P
    And one more thing, General, in which chapter was Basilieus replaced with Autokrator?
    Last edited by Servius Magnus; 29-12-2009 at 03:07.
    I am the King of Rome, and above grammar.

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  20. #3440
    Honourable Saxon Thegn AlexanderPrimus's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Very nice, BT! This just keeps getting better and better!

    I also would recommend that the new patriarch be at either Carthage or Santiago de Compostela.

    As for his theme music - the second part is from Civilization IV, no?

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