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Thread: New Constantinople in the Age of Exploration - A Byzantine AAR

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    New Constantinople in the Age of Exploration - A Byzantine AAR



    'For as long as man can remember, there has been Rome, ruled by the Romans. One can scarcely believe this may some day soon change. The light of Rome has shone upon the ages. Yet this light does not come from the lands or the ruins of the past, but from its people. Fate, it seems, has ordained that the Romans cannot carry on this legacy in the lands of our forefathers. For some, it would seem this is the end. But perhaps we may yet live on. There is land enough for that.' -attributed to Manuel II Palaiologos, last Emperor of the Romans

    Historians may long debate the authenticity of the pronouncement issued by the Emperor Manuel Palaiologos in 1419, but in serves to encapsulate in brief the astounding series of events that transpired in the aftermath of the fall of the old Byzantine Empire.

    The Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium, New Rome, whatever title one deigns to assign to this realm of medieval Greeks, was, at the turn of the 15th Century, dying a long, slow death. By all rights, Byzantium should have been swept off the map decades, if not centuries, prior. But luck and staunch determination proved otherwise. An empire that had once stretched from the gates of Persia in the east to the Iberian Peninsula in the west was by 1418 reduced to a few tiny enclaves in the Greek mainland. Most important of these enclaves was Constantinople, where the emperors awaited their inevitable destruction at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

    We do not know what inspired, or prompted, Manuel Palaiologos to abandon Constantinople to the enemy. Some claim it was divine inspiration, others that it was the mark of a deranged mind broken by the sorrow of defeat. More likely, it was the last act of a desperate king unable to see any other means of survival. In 1418, the emperor dispatched embassies to the distant Kingdom of Castile in the hopes of enlisting the Spaniards' support for a Crusade to repel the Ottoman tidal wave. Unsurprisingly, such entreaties were met without sympathy; Castile had its own problems to deal with; Constantinople could wait.

    Years before, Manuel Palaiologos had journeyed to Iberia in a first effort to enlist help from the West. It is most likely through this visit that he learned of the Canary Islands off the western coast of Africa, tenuously controlled by the Castilians. The Byzantine embassy made a truly unique proposal that certainly caught the attention of King Juan II: an expedition of as many Greeks as Manuel could hope to muster would journey across the Mediterranean and settle on the small chain of islands to civilize it in the name of the Castilian throne. The King, taken by the novelty of the proposal, accepted.


    A most unusual propostion.


    Manuel had significantly greater difficulty explaining his decision to his court and the people of Constantinople. The empire, he argued, was doomed to fall. The West would not lift a finger to save it. By fleeing to the distant corners of the world, the Greeks might start anew, bide their time, and return in a time when the nations of the West were ready to fight the Turks for possession of Constantinople. The Patriarch thought him mad, refusing to leave his city, while many nobles likewise vowed to fight to the end or travel instead to the Morea or Treibizond. But some agreed with Manuel that the situation was hopeless, and thousands of commoners enlisted to join this unprecedented endeavor.

    One man, a minor noble of no great importance in the history of the empire, hesitated until the very last moment in deciding whether to accompany the emperor's expedition or remain in Constantinople to await the end. It is said he leapt off a pier and swam in pursuit of one of the last ships to leave Constantinople, only to be fished out of the sea to keep him from drowning. It was in this way that Isaakios Batatzes joined in the exodus to the Canary Islands. Had he been left behind, one can scarcely imagine what would have become of those first few Greeks who turned their backs on their homeland and sailed into the unknown.


    At the edge of the known world.



  2. #2
    Lt. General TheExecuter's Avatar
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    Huzzah!

    Don't look back, look outward. God himself has fated us for the grand task of bringing his light to the world beyond.

    Thus stands the cause between God and us. We are entered into covenant with Him for this work. We have taken out a commission. The Lord hath given us leave to draw our own articles. We have professed to enterprise these and those accounts, upon these and those ends. We have hereupon besought Him of favor and blessing. Now if the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He ratified this covenant and sealed our commission, and will expect a strict performance of the articles contained in it; but if we shall neglect the observation of these articles which are the ends we have propounded, and, dissembling with our God, shall fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, seeking great things for ourselves and our posterity, the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us, and be revenged of such a people, and make us know the price of the breach of such a covenant.

    Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck, and to provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. For this end, we must be knit together, in this work, as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection. We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others’ necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other; make others’ conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as His own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when He shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, "may the Lord make it like that of New Rome." For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God's sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.

    And to shut this discourse with that exhortation of Moses, that faithful servant of the Lord, in his last farewell to Israel, Deut. 30. "Beloved, there is now set before us life and death, good and evil," in that we are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walk in his ways and to keep his Commandments and his ordinance and his laws, and the articles of our Covenant with Him, that we may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may bless us in the land whither we go to possess it. But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship other Gods, our pleasure and profits, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it.

    Therefore let us choose life, that we and our seed may live, by obeying His voice and cleaving to Him, for He is our life and our prosperity.
    The Last Mission A Love Story

    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

  3. #3
    Field Marshal TC Pilot's Avatar
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    Well, I figure this could use a bit of an explanation. My previous AAR, Chronological Influences IV, has been temporarily put on hiatus due to some... technical difficulties. While I fix them, I figured I'd write an AAR for FtG, something I've been meaning to do for a long while. In the end, I decided upon a story of a small band of Byzantine exiles for the sheer novelty factor. The inspiration for this idea is owed in large part to the Fantasy Byzantium events present in the MyMap mod, but I have opted instead to use ExtraWATK which I have modded somewhat for the purposes of this story. Anyway, I hope you enjoy! Please feel encouraged to comment or criticize. Belive me, it helps.

    TheExecuter: Way to upstage me....



    Sounds biblical. Book of Mormon, I presume?

    -----


    February 1, 1420

    Manuel Palaiologos sighed and slowly scanned the horizon, leaning heavily on his cane to keep himself balanced. Stretched out before him was a ramshackle tent city, a motley assortment of peasants, nobles, soldiers, merchants, and priests milling about. Manuel resisted the urge to scowl; the sight had the look of a defeated army, and given the circumstances, it was not far from the truth. There was, despite the appearance to the contrary, some small order to this chaotic assembly.

    "Strange, isn't it," he thought aloud, "We throw thousands of total strangers together and lead them to a foreign land halfway across the globe, with complete lawlessness, yet they still manage to work together."

    "They follow your example, father."

    Manuel smiled and turned to his son Konstantinos, regarding the boy, just under sixteen years old, yet fitted in a full suit of armor. "Perhaps. Or perhaps they are simply as mad as I am. A legion of madmen."

    Manuel turned back to the view of the camp. The refugees had chosen the largest of the many islands of the Canaries to establish their temporary base. Beyond the camp, out on the water, an impressive flotilla of various merchant ships, galleys, and larger caravels lay anchored, their one lifeline to the rest of the world. A few still bore the flags and insignias of their homelands emblazoned on their sails.

    "The assistance sent by the Western kingdoms is greater than we could have hoped for," Konstantinos remarked, following his father's gaze.

    "Too little, too late," Manuel huffed under his breath. "No doubt their donations have more to do with your brother Ioannes' skills as a negotiator than a sense of charity from the West. And it will not last us forever. The ships will eventually rot, the tools will rust or break, and the money will do us no good at the edge of the world"

    Konstantinos nodded in agreement. "Where, then, shall we go?"

    Manuel sighed again, reaching up and stroking his beard. "Honestly, I do not know. There is rumor of another island to the northwest that I believe those Iberians call Madeira. And then there is Africa in the other direction. What other choice do we have?"

    Manuel's thoughts were interrupted as two men marched up behind him and Konstantinos. Turning, the former emperor of the Romans waited expectantly for them to announce themselves.

    "Majesty," the first, a soldier with only a helmet and a sword to mark his station, began, "This man has requested an audience."

    "And who exactly is he?" Manuel asked.

    "Isaakios Batatzes," the man replied, stepping forward and bowing quickly as he fumbled to remove his hat.

    "Yes, I recognize the name," Manuel responded. He had overheard some talk amongst the commoners of a hysterical noble running about the camp speaking of visions and destiny. Was this him? "What is it?"

    Isaakios grimaced and nervously ran his hand along his bald head, wiping away the sweat. "It is difficult to explain, but two nights ago I received a vision.... a vision of a land beyond the sea where we can rebuild."

    Manuel furrowed his brow and regarded the young nobleman curiously. "Beyond the ocean? You refer to somewhere to the southwest, I presume?"

    "No!" Isaakios blurted out abruptly, before sheepishly recomposing himself. "I mean to the west, a land as yet undiscovered."

    The former emperor frowned and pressed his lips tightly together in thought. "I know only a little about the geography of the world, but I believe the distances are vast and that we would run out of food and water long before we reached the distant lands of Cathay and India."

    Isaakios cleared his throat. "Not Cathay. Your Majesty, I understand that it is hard to believe, but I know that if we sail west, we will find a new land which we could call home."

    "You have some skill at navigation, then?" Konstantinos interjected.

    "I have never set foot on a boat until this journey," Isaakios replied hesitantly

    "Then how do you..."

    "The message in my vision was clear!" Isaakios interrupted. "Majesty, I am certain of it. Sail west and we will discover a new land. It is rich and bountiful and stretches beyond the horizon a hundred times over! We could rebuild our nation and grow strong again. I ask only for a small expedition, no more than three of those Western ships... caravels, they call them, and I promise I shall find us a homeland."

    Manuel stared at Isaakios long and hard for a minute, studying the man carefully. "Very well, Isaakios Batatzes, I permit you to conduct this expedition to the west. Make your arrangements as soon as you see fit."



    "Thank you, Majesty!" Isaakios blurted out, unable to contain his enthusiasm. "I already have ships in mind! I will begin immediately!"

    Manuel resisted the urge to laugh as Isaakios ran off, very nearly bowling over the baffled soldier who had brought him before the emperor. Unable to remain quiet, Konstantinos stepped forward.

    "How could you agree to that... that fool idea of his?"

    Manuel merely shrugged. "Is it any more foolish than my own ideas that brought us here? Morale is low, and the people need to believe there is some distant goal to aspire to."

    "But..."

    "Besides," Manuel continued, "He only asked for three vessels. We can still sail along the African coast with what we have left. Should he fail, at worst our loss will be minimal, and at best he will return in disgrace. But if what he says is true... well, we shall wait and see."


  4. #4
    The intro is really nicely done, Im interested to see where you go with this and what the mod contains.

    Im anticipating the construction of a colonial empire before returning to the old world and the downfall of the Turk.

    I really hope you keep up with it, the whole notion sounds rather romantic and in a way quite plausible.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Strategic Fail; 17-05-2011 at 04:06.
    It's not you, I just get bored real fast.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=098WJMs8Kb8

  5. #5
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    Well, giving up The City does not make sense to me. But this looks cool anyway.

  6. #6
    Lt. General TheExecuter's Avatar
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    Hurrah! Sailing west...all sorts of changes a comin'...

    Here's hoping you survive Portugal and Spain's jealousy...

    Sorry about upstaging you, I thought the sentimate of "A Model of Christian Charity" by Winthrop was appropriate for your start. I guess I got over excited. Let me know if you want it deleted or pared down...
    The Last Mission A Love Story

    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

  7. #7
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    Strategic Fail: "Plausible"!? Oh dear, then I must be doing something wrong...

    Let's see if your predictions pans out, and if you're as visionary as young Isaakios Batatzes.

    Enewald: I thought I would give a new twist to the standard Byzantine revival story. In the end, it came down to that, a Portuguese world conquest, or a history of France in the Napoleonic Wars. Ultimately, the chance to do tons of exploring (and modding!) won out.

    TheExecuter: I was tempted to remove the Treaty of Tordesillas event to prevent that sort of trouble, but decided against it in the end. And I guess it would be more accurate to say John Winthrop upstaged me. No, don't remove it. Like you said, it's very appropriate.

    -----


    May 8, 1423

    Isaakios Batatzes paced slowly up and down the length of the deck, hands clasped so tightly at the small of his back that his knuckles were white. As he moved along, the crew paid little attention, a few making disparaging comments or obscene gestures but most continued about their duties.

    This was only the second time Isaakios Batatzes had been on the water, the first being when the fleet had evacuated Constantinople almost five years earlier. As such, he was embarrassingly prone to seasickness. These walks served to focus his mind and distract him from the ceaseless up-and-down motion of the ship.

    The three ships, the Bucephalus, the Constantine, and Isaakios' flagship Aeneas, had been out of sight of land for almost a month now since departing their tiny outpost on the island of Madeira. Naturally, the crew was growing restless. Stocks of fresh water and food were running low, and their compasses were beginning to point away from the North Star. Without experience in navigation, astronomy, or geography, Isaakios could offer no explanations, and no reassurances save for the vision he had received years before.

    But he never lost faith. The dream was real, it had to be!

    Stopping at the bow of the ship, Isaakios sighed and stared out to sea. He just hoped this stomach would...

    His musings were cut short. What was that up ahead on the horizon? Could it be...?

    "Land! Land!" Eyes wide, Isaakios instantly whipped his head up. Perched atop the mainmast of the Aeneas, a sailor Isaakios did not recognize was shouting at the top of his lungs, repeating "Land!" again and again as he pointed frantically ahead.

    Turning forward again, Isaakios was now sure the indistinct line ahead marring the otherwise endless horizon of blue was indeed land. Closing his eyes and clutching at his heart, he let out a great sigh. For the first time in a month, he felt his stomach at ease.

    -----


    'Finally! Let's find some food before we all starve!' - Unknown, attributed to a sailor in Isaakios' Batatzes' first voyage.

    At 11AM on the morning of May 8, 1423, a lookout on the Aeneas spotted land ahead. Emotions surged through the crew of the three tiny vessels that had set out from the Canary Islands more than a month earlier: joy, relief, disbelief. It seemed that the visions Isaakios Batatzes had received had at last been proven to be authentic; the land between Europe and the Far East was not, as many had believed, a vast, empty expanse no ship could hope to cross. There was land.

    As it turned out, what those sailors found was not the vast new land Isaakios had envisioned and hoped for at all. Rather, it was the island of Bermuda. The real prize lay another 1300 kilometers to the west, but having traveled nearly 5000 kilometers already, it was a welcome discovery.


    Isaakios Batatzes' expedition arrives at Bermuda.

    It soon became clear that Bermuda would not be their final destination. Giving the crew time to replenish their supplies and make what repairs they deemed necessary, Batatzes planned for the next leg of their journey. With his credibility affirmed in the eyes of the crew, he insisted that they push on and find the great land just beyond the horizon. The Bucephalus was sent back to the Canaries to report back their findings in case some disaster should otherwise strike the explorers, and so Aeneas and Constantine pressed onward.

    For reasons that have never been adequately explained, Batatzes elected to take his reduced flotilla in a sharp northwesterly route, whereas the expedition had originally set out in a straight western direction. Some sources claim that, having discovered they had drifted north of his intended path, Batatzes took it as a sign that the hand of God was guiding them and altered course accordingly. Batatzes agreed to return to Bermuda in two weeks if no new land was spotted.

    Whatever the precise reasons, his decision paid dividends. After another thirteen days on the water, the flotilla stumbled upon land. Again, it was an island , but far larger than Bermuda and, according to Batatzes in an exhortation to his men, 'the New Crete.' But unlike Bermuda, just beyond this new island was a vast landmass extending far to the north and south.



    Isaakios Batatzes had found his New World.


  8. #8
    Lt. General TheExecuter's Avatar
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    Ooo...and away from where Spain and Portugal are likely to go...

    Excellent!
    The Last Mission A Love Story

    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

  9. #9
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    Areas too cold for Greeks to survive? Maybe Southern States?

  10. #10
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    A new Roman Empire in the New World?

    Great. Now no one is going to stand Barackion Obamaleion...
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by TC Pilot View Post
    Strategic Fail: "Plausible"!? Oh dear, then I must be doing something wrong...
    Yes... plausible (in a way), like, a 'crazy' kind of way

    Come to think of it, why would this new Grecian - Roman Empire want to ever return to the old empire when they are moving into paradise... after a few years out there, I guess they'd forget all about the smelly Ottomans
    It's not you, I just get bored real fast.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=098WJMs8Kb8

  12. #12
    Field Marshal TC Pilot's Avatar
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    TheExecuter: That presumes the Romans will rest content with that land.

    Enewald: Eww, even worse!

    American weather can be a bit extreme: hot, humid summers followed by blizzards in the winter. We're currently going through a spat just like it.

    Kurt_Steiner: Rome would never allow a Muslim-Turkish-Papist-Republican-Venetian swine rule the empire!

    Ok, I'll admit I laughed at that.

    Strategic Fail: You know, for a minute, I thought that was what the original events called them: smelly Ottomans. Turns out it was scary... close enough.

    But your point is well made. Will the ensuing generations really care what happens to their former homeland? Well, I don't know yet.

    -----


    'Why does that lunatic keep shouting 'Land'? Someone tell him to be quiet!' - Michael Dukas, moments after the return of Isaakios Batatzes

    It did not take long for Isaakios Batatzes to return from his first voyage and report the news of his discoveries to the other Greek refugees languishing in the Canary Islands. It is said he practically leapt overboard, so anxious was he to inform everyone that he had confirmed the authenticity of his dream. Within a few hours, it was the all the whole refugee camp could talk about. To impart some order to the event and stamp out a few of the more fantastical rumors - among which that the sailors had been guided to land by the light reflecting off a mountain of gold - a great assembly was convened to allow the young explorer to tell his tale. Though hardly a skilled speaker, Batatzes held the many thousands of gathered men, women, and children spellbound as he declared that a whole new continent awaited them on the other side of the ocean.

    When pressed for details, Batatzes sheepishly admitted he had none. How large this new land was, whether or not it was inhabited, how fertile the land was, let alone where exactly it was were all questions beyond his expertise, which were decidedly minimal. Batatzes did not even have a name for it, repeatedly calling it simply 'the New World.' His crew rallied to Batatzes' defense, assuring the crowd that this New World, though an unfamiliar wilderness, would provide the refugees with everything they needed to build a new home. This was enough for the crowd, who assented to transplanting from their current base in the Canaries and Madeira to a permanent colony in the New World. Seized by the emotion of the gathering, Manuel Palaiologos stepped forward and renounced any claim to authority in favor of Isaakios. With the crowd concurring by acclamation, Manuel's spontaneous decision would mark the beginning of a new tradition in Byzantine politics: henceforth, the emperors would be appointed, rather than rule by virtue of blood.

    Set upon their new course, the Greek refugees moved quickly to prepare for the long, arduous journey across the sea. Well aware of the risks they were taking in moving to the New World, the Greeks had no illusions about the enormity of the challenge facing them. Rather that simply move in one great mass, which could certainly have been accomplished with the number of ships at their disposal, and risk disease and certain starvation upon arrival, an expedition would be sent first under the command of Konstantinos Palaiologos to prepare a suitable location for their first colonial settlement. The first wave of settlers would leap-frog their way across the Atlantic, first to Bermuda and then to the mainland, while most of the women, children, and men either unfit to trailblaze or needed to defend the Canaries from attack, remained behind.

    On June 16, 1426, Konstantinos and over six thousand Byzantine soldiers arrived in the New World. Konstantinos, Isaakios, and many others amongst the Byzantine vanguard had long debated where to establish their colony. It had been decided that a settlement would be established on the western edge of the island Isaakios had first dubbed New Crete. The natives already had a name for it, Montaux, but the Greeks had made no effort to communicate with the people already living in the New World. Rather, Konstantinos perceived them as a threat and used a combination of numerical superiority and the advantages his cavalry detachments provided to rout the natives and clear an area from which a new capital could be built.

    Work proceeded at breakneck speeds through the summer and fall, with most of their efforts focused on constructing sufficient housing for the expected influx of colonists, while also scouting the immediate vicinity for arable land, fisheries, and hunting ground. On December 4, sheltered from a freezing winter the Greeks had scarcely known in the warm Mediterranean climate, Konstantinos decided that it was time for the first wave of colonists to begin their journey.


    The first European settlement is established in the New World.


    -----


    June 2, 1428

    Despite every bone in his body protesting the movement, Manuel Palaiologos managed to push himself out of the tiny rowboat and climb to the shore, shooing off the rowers who moved to offer him support.

    Manuel smiled broadly, despite the aches and pains from all his joints, relishing the cool breeze that rolled in from the west and the sounds that filled the air around him. Common laborers, soldiers, even some priests and nobles, moved about in bustling streets ahead of him. Though the buildings were not much more than wooden shacks and the roadways unpaved dirt and mud, there was a buzz of activity; the sound of wood being sawed, of hammer against nail, the rumble of carts carrying their loads, of the blacksmith's furnace, the cry of the farmer driving a team of oxen, of pigs squealing and chickens clucking, was all around the former emperor.

    It was not much, but the people of this colony were building.

    "Majesty!" Manuel heard a familiar voice exclaim from a distance. Turning, the aged man chuckled at the sight of Isaakios Batatzes hurrying, or rather stumbling, through the crowded dockyard to greet him. "Welcome to the New World, Majesty!" he managed to say in between gulps of air.

    "That form of address is not for me any longer," Manuel chastised Isaakios gently. "I am but an old man now. You are our emperor now."

    "Yes, of course," Isaakios nodded quickly. "I keep forgetting that... but come! Let me show you around."

    "I had hoped that my son might be here to greet me as well," Manuel conceded as he allowed Isaakios to guide him slowly down the road.

    Isaakios cleared his throat. "Yes, Prince Konstantinos is regrettably out on another survey expedition to the mainland. He has been gone for several weeks now, so I suspect he will be returning soon to report his progress."

    Manuel nodded and made a thoughtful noise. "Yes, I hear my son has already helped set up a second colony. Sozopolis, they call it? And this city?"



    "We voted to call it New Constantinople."

    "A suitable name," Manuel replied with a smile.

    For the next hour, Isaakios guided the former emperor through the budding town, showing with breathless enthusiasm the progress the workers were making on all sorts of projects.

    "It is a fine start," Manuel said after a very long silence, a warm smile crossing his worn expression. "This is a good land, Isaakios, a good place for me to be buried." Isaakios opened his mouth to say something but Manuel waved his hand. "There is no sense in denying the obvious. I am old man, perhaps too old. I have lived long enough. I give thanks to Almighty God that I have lived to see this day."

    Isaakios looked down at his feet, meekly shifting his weight from one leg to the other. "It is hard to imagine myself as an emperor. Without your counsel, I don't know how I could ever hope to lead our people."

    "You will have Konstantinos at your side," Manuel chuckled, reaching out with a trembling hand and resting it on Isaakios' shoulder. The young explorer reluctantly tore his gaze from his own feet and stared at the emperor.

    "I'm no leader," Isaakios insisted.

    "You are, you're just too humble for your own good!" Manuel teased, prodding Isaakios' chest with a bony finger. "It's been almost ten years now since we left Constantinople. People said the whole idea was crazy, yet here we are! We're here because we believed in you, in your vision. You, Isaakios Batatzes, led us here. Whether you admit it or not, you've already proven yourself to be a leader."

    Isaakios remained silent, unable to reply. He looked down at his feet again.

    "Your vision," Manuel pressed, clutching the younger man's shoulder as hard as he could. "It's led us halfway across the world to a new home, and it will lead us into the future. I know you can feel it; all around us, there's a new fire kindling in the hearts of these people. It really is a New World."


  13. #13
    Can you change the name of the province from Montaux?

  14. #14
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    Since Constantinos 'founded' the old Constantinople, why not name this after the current Emperor? Or dynasty?

  15. #15
    Field Marshal TC Pilot's Avatar
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    Morrell8: Yes, it's possible to change province names in the province.csv file, but I think I would have to edit the map (which I don't know how to do) in order to change the writing on the map. I figured I would keep things as-is, because, really, I'm not very good with names.

    Enewald: Because Batatziopolis sounds silly.

    Oddly enough, the colony's initial in-game name is "Konstantia," which I ultimately changed to New Constantinople because, really, it's practically an unwritten rule that whatever city is there has to be "New" something, whether New York, New Amsterdam, or New Constantinople.

    -----


    The twenty years following the successful foundation of the initial Greek settlement at New Constantinople was a period of profound growth and expansion that startled even the expectations of the Greeks' boundlessly optimistic new emperor, Isaakios Batatzes. With only a few thousand settlers living in New Constantinople and its sister city of Sozopolis just a few miles to the west on the New World mainland, these itinerant Greek refugees faced a daunting task of exploring and taming the vast wilderness that lay before them.

    This profound time of expansion was owed chiefly to the tireless efforts of Konstantinos Palaiologos. Rather than devote his energies fighting Isaakios Batatzes for the rights to the imperial title, the young, energetic soldier instead threw himself completely into the role of the conquistador. It soon became apparent, despite Isaakios' initial appraisals to the contrary, that this New World was not in fact devoid of human inhabitants. Advancing through Montaux and then along the coast on the mainland, Konstantinos and the soldiers who followed him soon encountered the local natives. The early hostility of the new colonists to the natives shown in the Greeks' first expedition was tragically repeated again and again, as Konstantinos' soldiers mercilessly attacked and scattered them to clear a path for new colonies.


    Numerous skirmishes, almost always ending in the Greeks' favor, marked the early relations between the European settlers and native peoples.


    Konstantinos' endeavors at land were joined by Isaakios' renewed interest in sailing. Leaving his people to the task of building their colonies, the emperor assumed command of his old flotilla with the intention of determining the precise extent of the New World. Alternating between north and south and stopping to rest and resupply at New Constantinople after each voyage, it rapidly became apparent to the Greek explorer that the New World was larger than he could have possibly hoped for. By 1431, his expedition sailed all the way into the Caribbean in the south; in 1435, Byzantine vessels sailed into Tampico Bay, making contact with the expansive Aztec Empire, and three years later, Isaakios could proudly boast that he had discovered a second new continent. In a few years, Isaakios Batatzes, the man who had never sailed on water before in his life, had become one of history's most prolific explorers.


    Had they been left to their own devices, the Byzantine refugees would undoubtedly have been incapable of taking advantage of the possibilities opened up by the explorations on land and sea by Konstantinos and Isaakios. Without a large enough population, to say nothing of the food and tools necessary to stay alive, the Greeks would have to content themselves with a tiny enclave around New Constantinople and the meager resources they could produce on their own. But the Old World was beginning to take notice. Few knew what had become of the flotilla of Greeks that had suddenly vanished from the Canary Islands one day, but rumors abounded. Some believed they had found the mythical land of Prestor John, others that they had simply been shipwrecked and lost at sea. But Ioannes Palaiologos, son of Manuel Palaiologos, knew better. Kept apprised of his people's discoveries, he endeavored once more to send them what aid he could pry from the kingdoms of the Old World. Though reluctant to provide details, he managed to convince several Portuguese merchants and bankers to invest in the nascent Byzantine Empire.


    Loans from the Old World were instrumental in fueling Greek expansion in the early days.


    Bolstered by these contributions and the promise of a new land beyond the sea, the former imperial prince found it easy to convince many thousands of Greeks either displaced or fleeing from the Ottoman onslaught to make the long voyage to the New World. In a few short years, new colonies sprang up: Basileia in Pocumtuc, Nikomedia in Nafmuc, and Annapolis in Massachusetts. But while there was growth, there was not necessarily peace. Many nobles had abandoned their estates and fortunes to join Manuel Palaiologos' great evacuation, and were determined to regain the privileges and fortunes they had lost and believed were owed to them. With so much land open to settlement and hardly in New Constantinople long enough to handle such delicate matters, Isaakios opted instead to simply ignore their complaints and let the matter resolve itself naturally.


    As early as 1431, many nobles were beginning to stir up trouble.


    Commoners, too, had their limits as well. To keep the wave of expansion moving, to say nothing of repaying the Portuguese investors, the new colonies were expected to pay taxes to the central authorities in New Constantinople. Having already built the colonies through years of blood, sweat, and tears, the peasantry had little tolerance for tax collectors who would appear one day with an armed escort to seize what little surplus they had managed to produce from the harvest.


    In 1433, the first anti-tax riots gripped the Annapolis colony. It would not be the last.


    It is estimated that nearly half of the thousand Annapolis colonists took up arms against the authorities in protest against what they perceived to be inordinately high taxes. Had the revolts spread to the other colonies, it may very well have sent Isaakios' reign tumbling. But the emperor was a thousand miles to the north exploring the old Viking colonies of Vinland, and Konstantinos rushed to stamp down on any possible revolt. Raising the levies, he assembled a force of over 4500 infantry and cavalry, which quickly subdued the rebels. Despite such incidents coming from above and below, expansion and growth continued with remarkable speed. By 1445, the settlers had expanded from Maine to the north to the Carolinas in the south.



    But within a few years, that period of expansion would come to an end. Having settled a huge stretch of wilderness to live in, the Greeks would now have to fight to keep it.

  16. #16
    Really enjoying the story. Just wondering... How much starting capital did you give yourself at the start? No doubt they would have raided the treasury in Constantinople before making the initial journey...

    I find the loan from the Portuguese really hard to believe , especially since they werent given much details on where the money was going. I would have preferred perhaps the loan was from some of these wealthy citizens still coming from the old world... anyway plz continue...
    It's not you, I just get bored real fast.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=098WJMs8Kb8

  17. #17
    Field Marshal TC Pilot's Avatar
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    Strategic Fail: I gave myself a fair bit of leeway in terms of the amount of money I was throwing around. As you probably noticed, the "The New World" event I posted a screencap of gave me 125D. I created three further events to mark certain benchmarks in my colonial expansion, with each giving another 150 and firing when I reached a certain number of owned provinces. I actually took out two loans (the most I was allowed) in order to reach the first benchmark. So by about 1445, I had set up enough new colonies to really be able to support myself with census tax.

    Only problem is that my techspeed is horrendous now. All those provinces yet terrible income.

    -----


    August 6, 1450

    Konstantinos Palaiologos wrapped the reins tightly around his knuckles only partly to keep a better control over his mount as it shuffled nervously about on its legs. He did it mostly to keep his hands preoccupied so that he didn't end up strumming his fingers as he found himself doing whenever he was nervous. From his vantage point on the crest of a high hill that offered a perfect view of the surrounding landscape, he watched as a line of infantry emerged from the tree line, swordpoints glittering in the morning sun overhead.

    Konstantinos smiled with grim satisfaction. Isaakios was early for once.



    A great roar rumbled across the valley, the shouts of thousands of men as they broke into a full sprint, charging the enemy lines. With a gesture of his hand, Konstantinos ordered the cavalry to begin its advance. They had to be kept in reserve until the very last moment. Horses were in short supply in the New World, and every lost mount meant the Greeks primary advantage dwindled away a little more.

    Really, it had taken quite a bit of effort and time for the enemy to have a line which his men could charge and, if he was seeing it right, break. Over two years of time and effort, in fact. When the enemy had first struck, it was not on a field of battle mutually selected to decide the outcome.

    They had come in the night, no warning at all.

    Konstantinos understood why the natives might have been hostile to the Greek settlers that were building towns and farms everywhere along the coast. Even if they were not encroaching on the natives' lands, depriving them of precious hunting grounds or living space, Konstantinos doubted many of them had forgotten how the Greeks had mercilessly attacked them upon first arriving.

    Since then, the Emperor had done his best to mend fences. Colonization beyond the coastal provinces had been forbidden, but only the nobles really paid much attention to those edicts. Priests had eagerly rushed off to convert the natives to Orthodoxy, usually without bothering to bring translators with them. Between the lance of the free thematakoi and the ravings of bearded, Bible-swinging old men, there weren't a whole lot of options for the natives besides to attack.


    The Byzantine Empire had attempted to institute a new policy toward the native peoples of the New World in the 1440s, without great success...


    The attacks had not been simply a local outburst of hostility, but had rather been a coordinated assault by multiple tribes. The Alnanbal north of Neapolis had allied themselves with the Mohicans to the northwest. Their warriors had numbered in the thousands, and there were no defenses to stand in their way.



    The cavalry now rumbled into view, their lanced lowered in unison just moments before colliding with the unarmored mass of native warriors. Konstantinos imagined he could hear the sickening crunch from here.

    "Send a rider to Dukas," Konstantinos grunted, pointing to the far end of the battlefield. "Tell him to tighten up his lines. I don't want anyone breaking through." A nearby officer saluted and rode off.

    It had been feared that the natives would simply massacre the settlers. Instead, they were content to ransack outlying farms and settlements, and allowed those who fled to the major towns on the coast to remain in peace. It had been because of this fear that Konstantinos and the Emperor had thrown the army so hastily into the fray. What really ought to have been a quick series of border skirmishes rapidly degenerated into a grueling war of attrition.

    The signs were there to anyone careful enough to look. The army had not fought any major battles in three decades. Most of them had long ago set aside their armor and taken up the plow. And even then, they were ill prepared to deal with the way the natives waged war.

    Again and again, the army had found itself seemingly outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and beaten. The whole north had been lost. But for all his clumsiness, the Emperor could be incredibly dangerous when he set his mind to something, and he had certainly set his mind to winning this war.

    The fight now unfolding before Konstantinos' eyes had degenerated beyond a battle. It was a rout, a massacre. The entire Alnanbal warband, nearly ten thousand warriors strong, was being wiped out before his eyes.

    It would not be the end of the war, Konstantinos knew that much was certain. The Mohicans were still fighting, though now bottled up around Annapolis, and the Iroquois, even though they had seen fit to declare their own war, had shown themselves totally unwilling to leave the frontiers of their own confederation. After fighting so long, peace would have to be won on the Emperor's terms: all the tribes would return everything they had plundered, and the chieftains would be forced to convert to Christianity. A few had wanted to exterminate the natives and seize their land, but that would simply compound their folly.

    Spurring his mount forward, Konstantinos rode calmly down the slope of the hill towards the battlefield. The butcher's work was nearly over now. A few soldiers picked their way over piles of corpses, stabbing or prodding anyone they suspected of feigning death. In the distance, a cloud of dust wafting in the air marked the passage of the cavalry as they pursued a few stragglers. Konstantinos frowned; Dukas had allowed a few survivors to slip through his lines.

    No matter. The Alnanbal were finished. Those who had escaped the slaughter would simply spread word of the disaster.

    "Another triumph to add to the history books," Konstantinos muttered under his breath.

  18. #18
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Too often Empires come with a sea of blood.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt_Steiner View Post
    Too often Empires come with a sea of blood.
    Always.

    Carolinas?

  20. #20
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    No updates today, unfortunately. Expect more tomorrow.

    Kurt_Steiner: I had actually created an event chain for this game where I could opt to peacefully integrate those Indian tribes instead of just outright conquering them. They declared war just a few years after the first event in the chain, so I had to think of a way to weave the two together.

    Enewald: Yeah, "the Carolinas" meaning present-day North and South Carolina. Near the start of the update I was trying to avoid using modern or English colonial names, but decided by the end of writing it that I really ought to use them, if only so people had some idea of what the heck I was talking about

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