Speaking of the Byzantine Empire, here's a Byzantium that I've been working on since... friday-ish. Had the weekend off, and I ended up playing a wee bit too much EU3. I rolled back the tech group changes I made so that they're all at the 'default' rates. Mostly because I wanted to get the Basileus achievement.
My western-most provinces used to belong to Morroco, but I snagged 'em during one of the dozen or so wars against me they involved themselves in for whatever reason. They seemed to have it out for me in the early & middle parts of the game--actually, they probably still do, given that they jump into every war I get involved in--but they've long since ceased to be anything resembling a threat.
Italy... securing my Italian provinces was a nightmare. Great Britain had annexed Naples (!?) a century before, and had been digging in that entire time. Conquering the provinces themselves wasn't difficult--they had an army there, but it was only of moderate size. No, what was difficult was preventing a superior naval power from getting into the Mediterranean long enough for them to decide that Italy wasn't worth it. Had to exceed my naval force limits, and they eventually still broke through, but they caved at the last moment and haven't been back since.
Curiously, about half of my leaders have been female, and pretty much every single one has possessed high (7-8) diplomatic and administrative ratings, with middling military ones. Because of this, I've gotten quite a few claims on my rivals' provinces. My most recent King, Demetrios I Palaiologos, bucks the trend by having a 7 in military skill, though he's still got great (8) administrative abilities. His heir is basically identical, except with military & administrive flipped, and slightly better diplomacy (4 vs 5).
As far as military power goes, I'm... either first or second in land, and second in navy. Austria, when they're the HRE, exceeds my land limit by a moderate (~70k) amount, and Great Britain has a better navy. I'm at peace now, so I've cut my army down to about 120,000, which is roughly half my landforce limit. Most of them are busy maintaining order in my newest acquisitions--namely, the western coast of the Arabian Peninsula.
Westernized, oh... late 1560's/early 1570's, and switched to administrative monarchy some 20 years later, and then to absolute monarchy in 1656. Wanted the extra magistrates & discipline. I'm slightly above-average as far as tech level goes, though I'm only the highest when it comes to land tech, I think.
Anyway, enough ranting. Here's the world view...
Funfact: Castille was almost entirely pushed out of Iberian Peninsula and now has their Capital in South Africa. Little Karoo, I think.
And world view w/just Byzantium & her vassals...