Ouzo, Vulcans and Beautiful Women
Three Roses Pub – Dyrrhacion, 1980
Mehmet leaned against the counter, drinking a ‘Vulcan Mind Probe’. This was his third since they entered the bar an hour ago, and the woman behind the bar was either flirting with him a whole lot more, or he was getting smashed. They’d come for a bit of fun, as Natasha, Antonio, Basil and Mehmet had chosen Ioannes VIII as their choice for the seminar on Monday, and it being Saturday, of course they’d done no work on it, and of course they’d work harder after a night of drinking. Right, Basil would be irritatingly chipper, Antonio wouldn’t get out of his bed till 11, or kick the new dumb blonde out till 1, he’d be half-dead after only managing to sleep after said blonde had finished having the ‘Garibaldi Experience’, whilst Natasha would be nursing a hangover made of a thousand Gremlins.
They were screwed. He downed his current drink and was about to order another when Natasha sidled up next to him.
“Hey Memmy, you ok over here?” Natasha turned up next to him, “You’ve been here since we got in, don’t you want to come and join the debate?” She pouted. Mehmet was a bit surprised, but not exactly unhappy, Natasha was a fun, intelligent girl, with a pair of fantastic legs that she was showing off to the world in that purple dress. The matching hair was a bit bizarre, as was the lip piercing, but that dress, and her pouting, was rather distra...
“Memmy? You alive in there? You went blank on me.”
...cting. “Oh, I did? Sorry. Must be the booze.
“Drunk.” She sighed, “You going to come join the debate, we’re going to start when I go back, thought you’d be game. Considering it being about your family, we’re down one man on the Pro-Threat side.”
“Oh, it is ‘The Rise of House Osmanli in Anatolia – Threat to Europe or Blip in Roman Hegemony’. Figured you’d know a fair chunk.” She had to admit, she could have asked anyone in their group onto the team, if they really needed anyone, she just enjoyed listening to him talk about the Turks, his eyes lit up whenever they had a lecture on them, the Manzikert lecture had him grinning like a two-year old, and she found it infectious.
On the other hand, Mehmets mind was spinning. He could barely keep his eyes above her chin, debate? She must be mad! Or drunk! Probably both! Before he could stop himself however he bargained “Buy me a VMP, and I’m yours.”
“You undersell yourself sir.” She smiled, on just one side. “Anyway, I asked for debate help, not dinner.” She ordered the drinks.
“Oh God. Uh, umm.” He stumbled over his words, not quite sure WHAT to say, just knowing he had to say something.
“Relax!” Natasha burst out laughing. “Relax Memmy, I was playing!”
“Oh, right.” The barmaid brought the drinks. Natasha passed him his, took a sip, and slauntered over to where the others were sat. Mehmet couldn’t help but watch, for a second.
“You coming or what?”
Ioannes VIII and the Anatolian Reconquest
After the wars with the Ottoman Sultanate, Byzantium sat tall and powerful, dominating the eastern Balkans and the Northern Aegean. Ioannes VIII had made a call in September 1408 to invade the lands outside of the Ottomans.
The response in the Roman people was one of jubilation, fresh off of the victories of Manuel II, a wealthy noble, Ambrosios Choniates donated a substantial sum of money to build the Triumph of Manuel (National Epic to Manuel), embedded in the Anastasian Wall, and was granted the privilege of being named Hypostrategos , to serve as the commander of the armies of Konstaninopolis on behalf the Emperor in those locations he could not be. Together he and Ioannes VIII were responsible for planning the invasion.
The goals of the campaign were publicly to conquer the coast of Asia Minor to avenge Manuel, whereas the Ioannes VIII planned to reach Lake Van. The initial plan would be to split the armies and overwhelm the smaller Beyliks that surrounded the Ottomans, marching on the Ak Koyunlu to conquer much of their land under the claims of Holy War, before turning back to prepare to fight an Ottoman Sultan after the truce ended.
In 1409 the combined forces of Candar, Saruhan and Mentese declare war on the Ottomans. This unexpected event lead to the invasion of the Saruhan by the Moroccans, and the Candari and Mentese taking 2/3rds of the Ottoman lands, leaving only Angora and Bursa under Ottoman control by August.
This delay had bought the Romans some added time, to re-arm troops, and to build up a substantial war chest, and the expanded armies, two of 12000 men each marched into Saruhan and Candar, just outpaced by the declaration of war sent by messenger pigeon to every state involved in a possible invasion.
Declared war on all but Ak Koyunlu as reconquest, and Ak Koyunlu as Holy War – I plan to take more than cores, so reconquest would be more expensive(in infamy) – not nice
No calls were made to either Serbia or Wallachia, due to their actions or lack thereof in the case of Serbia, in the campaign of Manuel II. Serbia even received a message warning not to request or expect aid from Konstantinopolis.
‘We regret to warn you that we will not be asking for your aid in the war against the heathen, and wish you the greatest singular glory against Hungary, and regret that we shan’t be able to offer aid, as we are preoccupied with the Greater Glory of God.
Emperor Ioannes VIII.’
The invasions would begin with great successes, exactly to plan, with victories against Candar and Saruhan in October, the latter complicated by Moroccan forces in Smyrna. However, Ambrosios, despite his wealth and academic understanding of strategy, would fail to keep control of the Mentese, whilst he defeated the reserve forces in November, he had to split his forces in order to pursue a Mentese force laying siege to Konstantinopolis. Karaman, currently not under immediate threat, called a large amount of Arabia, the Hedjaz, Yemen, Najd, and through them, Oman.
1410 saw the initial plan changed, with Ioannes having to stretch his forces to defeat and occupy Karaman, whilst the Ak Koyunlu amassed a large army in Sivas. It is unsure what stayed the warhost, fear, shock, the belief that the show of strength would cow the Romans, but the force would expand to 20000 men over time, far larger than the sum of the Roman forces on the border till June.
This did however drive Ioannes into greater action, he called for every man that could be spared to be sent to Yazgod to combine with him, ready to fight the Ak Koyunlu, whilst sending a token force of engineers and guards to aid the Moroccans in Smyrna, to aid in the siege, offering to let them take the wealth of Smyrna in exchange for not taking the territory, paying off in June as the Moroccans left, however local loyalists hired sought to keep the Romans out, leading to another siege.
The Ak Koyunlu, who had until now stood in Sivas to oppose the Romans, retreated in July to deal with an invasion in the east. Ioannes took advantage of this by marching to Erzincan, leaving only small siege forces behind him, whilst all other Roman field troops besieged Erzincan, setting up a small city of soldiers in the area. From this ‘city around a city’ rose the temporary capital of Gyropolis (For those who don’t speak my butchered Greek, that is roughly Around City). With the capital came the legal annexation of Candar, Karaman and Saruhan. Ioannes also managed an issue with a large number of Turks abandoning their serfdom in order to move to Konstantinopolis. Despite the anger it caused in the region, as well as other conservative members of the nation, he granted them the right to settle in the city.
The hiatus would end six months later in April, when after the lack of resistance, and ability of the Ak Koyunlu to fight them, Ioannes felt it time to send 10000 men under Ambrosios is sent to prepare to invade Ramazan, which would later be delayed by the entry of Dulkadir into the war. This was due to the Hedjaz claiming to lead the alliance from the invasion of Karaman, and with Gyropolis and Erzincan secured as a temporary capital, a full 140000 men would overwhelm Dulkadir, before turning to take advantage of a protracted battle between the Qara and Ak Koyunlu nearby. The following battle would shatter the Ak Koyunlu with a small fraction of Roman losses, and a large number of Qara Koyunlu losses.
As the wars continued, with a rapid invasion of Ramazan by Ambrosios, the inclusion of the Jalayirids in the Karaman War, moving eastward to besiege the remains of the Ak Koyunlu cities, there was the intervention of the Hafsids in the Morea, requiring a naval mobilisation under Paylos Angyos, as well as the rapid legal annexation of the Mentese before any help could land.
Outside of the war, back in Konstaninopolis in April, after consulting the Emperor via pidgeon, Palaemon Diogenes set up a National Bank, encouraging usurers and lenders to come to the city, leading to a drastic uplift in the wartime economy. In order to appease the church however, their chosen Patriarch, Andreas Angelos demanded further conversions to the faith, causing a rebellion in Sinope, compounded by the drastic measures of the new fundamentalist Patriarch, who encouraged the annexation of Dulkadir in July, despite the infamy it would cause the young Emperor, in exchange for his efforts to ‘pacify’ the church. Unexpectedly however, the territory to the south was claimed by the Qara Koyunlu, who considered Dulkadir their raiding ground, leading to a few minor battles in the following months as Ioannes set a stranglehold on the Ak Koyunlu whilst they fought in the Qara Koyunlu region.
July saw the wars beginning to close in Anatolia, with Ramazan annexed, all that was left out of the Roman Empire in the region was the Ak Koyunlu territories. With that front closing, the collected crowns of the Anatolian Beyliks were gathered, melted together, and sent to the Hedjaz in Mecca, a peace offering, and an Ioannic statement to Arabia to cease fighting. It was accepted.
In this timeline, to be Ioannic, is to make a powerful graphic statement in order to enhance a threat or demand, or to turn a request into a demand. Whilst certainly aggressive, it showed the Ioannes was not a man that could be cowed, he made people cower.
This statement would cause trouble, not only did it make the Hafsids fight harder, managing to land in Morea, news of it in Europe ‘greatly offended’ a Papal Ambassador. This would later be discovered by historians to be a Papal objective, worried that if he would threaten an entire region, and the source of Islam, and show himself capable of such feats as in Anatolia over the slaying of an Emperor and Manzikert, what would he do to the people who called and performed the 4th Crusade?
1413 saw the closing states of the war as the Ak Koyunlu and Qara Koyunlu were brought to the peace table, with the Ak Koyunlu ceding all occupied territory, freeing Ioannes to head west to deal with a Hafsid landing in Morea, which would be followed by an invasion of Tunis. He also elevated his son Manuel to Strategos, where he lead half of the Roman army to intercept and pursue the Jalayirid forces back to their homeland. This lead to the payoff of the Jalayirids, which combined with Ioannes invasion in Tunisia, created a brief peace by June.
August saw the truce finally end, with Manuel and Ioannes invading the Ottomans, with a small force under Ambrosios handling a local rebellion. The Ottoman Sultanate, and a Turk-Dominated Anatolia ended in December. Mehmet attributed with saying “Not a man in Anatolia does not serve the Roman, besides Ioannes and I.” He was led through city in chains, for Ioannes own Triumph, where he was raised on a wooden platform an executed to the announcement – “With the blood of this man, and Anatolia, Manuel II is avenged, Manzikert is avenged.” Ioannes later announced his new aim, stating before the dynatoi and the mob “I am Basilieus ton Romanion, and as long as I live, I shall seek to repair the damage done by the Franks, the Latins, the Venetians. Greece shall be ruled by Greeks once again!”
The wars were not the only event, there is the National Bank, more conversions to perform, and of course, the shattered state of Serbia. Lovely and poetic from a Roman perspective.. ok, mine.. This obviously means that I share a lovely border with both Hungary and Transylvania. On the black sea, is a small Zaporizhia that has set up in Azov - the little grey splodge, and that the Golden Horde are pushing through into Georgia, which could end interestingly, and expensively for me now that I share a border with Georgia. I am bordering the Qara Koyunlu as well, so I already have a nomad neighbour, I don't want a second.. yet... but more interesting is the Mamluks to the south, they are trying to control a large amount of the Qara Koyunlu turf, which if they get much stronger could be a serious problem.
Oh, and REALLY big, is that Poland has annexed Moldavia, which means that unlike previously where they couldn't colonise the GH, they now can - this is what I call a problem.
Though, just realised.. why don't Paradox allow you to colonise horde turf if you have a direct route via the sea? Otherwise how could Genoa have set up?... *waves fist at Paradox* so many problems could be solved....