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Thread: [TPATT] The Komnenian Restoration - A Byzantine AAR

  1. #1
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    [TPATT] The Komnenian Restoration - A Byzantine AAR



    _________________________

    TABLE of CONTENTS

    Chapter 1: Prologue

    Alexios I Komnenos
    Chapter 1: 1081-1091
    Chapter 2: 1091-1100
    Chapter 3: 1100-1105



    _________________________


    Hello everyone! Welcome to my first CKII AAR. I've decided to take a bash at AAR writing and as CKII is the game I'm playing most I thought I take a shot. Now, I've picked Byzantium or Rhomiaon as I've recently got immersed in Byzantine history, so until recently I had never played as the Byzantines in CKII, thinking they were too large and I preferred to start small and work my way to the top, rather than start at the top. Starting date will be 10th December 1081, when Alexios I Komnenos ascends to the throne. This is mainly going to be a narrative AAR. So without further adieu I'll begin now.


    Thoughts, opinions, criticism, tips etc are greatly appreciated.

    *Using idib816's wonderful "The Prince and the Thane" Mod.
    Last edited by ChinpoUK; 05-08-2012 at 13:01.

  2. #2
    First Lieutenant ChinpoUK's Avatar
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    _________________________

    Chapter 1
    Prologue

    _________________________



    Constantinople, the capital of the Empire


    When the 24 year old Alexios Komnenos ascended to the Throne of Caesars as Alexios I, the golden age of the Roman Empire seemed long gone. Its "invincible" army had been smashed at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the frontiers were collapsing, and enemies on every side threatened to overwhelm what was left of the crumbling Empire. It would take an extraordinary Emperor to salvage something from the wreckage much less restore Roman prestige. Constantinople, the greatest city in the world was threatened by the Seljukid Sultanate who had already overrun the Empire's heartland of Anatolia. The loss of the Themes in Anatolia were hard felt, the failure to maintain control of Anatolia would wound the Empire and in combination with the defeat at Manzikert left the Empire unable to raise an Army to stop the Seljuks from overrunning Anatolia within a decade, by 1081, Anatolia was all but lost.


    A 15th century French minature of the Battle of Manzikert, incorrectly showing combatants in contemporary Western European Armour


    It was in the aftermath of Manzikert that Michael Doukas, who under the inititiave of his uncle John Doukas was crowned senior Emperor as Michael VII. Together Michael VII and his uncle, John conspired to keep Romanos IV from regaining power after his defeat and capture at Manzikert. Such actions caused a civil war which futher exuberated the probelms facing the Empire after Manzikert and hastened the fall of Anatolia to the Seljuks. As an Emperor, Michael VII was incompetent. His excessive luxury spending diverted funds from the Army and left the Imperial Army sorely underfunded. He surrounded himself with sycophants and was generally ignorant of his rapidly deteriorating Empire. Michael VII did authorise strikes against the Seljuks, an army led by Isaac Komnenos did try to regain some lost lands but was defeated in 1073. Western mercenaries used by the Army deserted and forced Michael VII to send an army under now Caesar John Doukas to deal with the problem. The Army was defeated and John Doukas was forced stand as pretender to the throne. Out of options, the Empire recognised the conquests of the Seljuks in 1074. A new army, led by future Emperor Alexios Komnenos defeated the mercenaries and captured John Doukas in 1074.


    Basileus Alexios I Komnenos


    In 1078 Nikephoros Botaneiates rebelled against Michael VII and with the support and troops from the Seljuk Turks, Nikephoros marched upon Nicaea where he proclaimed himself Emperor. Michael VII faced another rebellious general, Nikephoros Bryennios. Michael VII abdicated and became a monk. On 24th March 1078 Nikephoros III Botaneiates entered Constantinople in triumph and was crowned by Patriarch Kosmas I of Constantinople. With the help of his general Alexios Komnenos, he defeated Bryennios and other rivals, but failed to clear the invading Turks out of Asia Minor. Rebellion immediately sprung up across the Empire. Struggling to maintain his rule, Nikephoros became increasingly dependent on Alexios Komnenos who defeated rebellions in 1079 and 1080. However, in 1081, Alexios was approached by the remainders of the Doukas faction in the Emperors court, where the convinced him to take part in a planned coup d'état. Together with Anna Dalasenne, Alexios Komnenos entered the capital victoriously on April 1, 1081. Beginning what would later be referred to as the Komnenian Restoration.


    The Empire in 1081.
    Last edited by ChinpoUK; 04-08-2012 at 06:19.

  3. #3
    Field Marshal tnick0225's Avatar
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    Like the set-up! Komnenos has his work cut out for him...

    But a quick and probably silly question...would the TPATT in the title be referring to the Prince and THane Mod?

    Damn sorry I feel retarded...just realized it said that at the bottom of the OP lol. Looks good though! Look forward to further updates

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    Chronicler of the Light Jedrek's Avatar
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    Most promising. Good luck, the orthodox must rule the world!
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  5. #5
    First Lieutenant ChinpoUK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tnick0225 View Post
    Like the set-up! Komnenos has his work cut out for him...

    But a quick and probably silly question...would the TPATT in the title be referring to the Prince and THane Mod?

    Damn sorry I feel retarded...just realized it said that at the bottom of the OP lol. Looks good though! Look forward to further updates
    Thanks, I chose the 1081 to make it a bit more challenging.




    Quote Originally Posted by Jedrek View Post
    Most promising. Good luck, the orthodox must rule the world!
    Indeed! Down with the false church in the west!

    __________

    While it may seem that in the next update I had one big war with the Perchenegs. It was actually a series of small wars between 1084-86. I compiled it into one war in the update to make more sense from a RP perspective.
    Last edited by ChinpoUK; 04-08-2012 at 06:11.

  6. #6
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    _________________________

    Chapter 2
    Alexios I Komnenos
    1081 - 1091

    _________________________



    The Empire's situation in 1081 did not look good. The Empire had been humilinatingly reduced to it's smallest territorial extent in its history. It was surrounded on all sides by enemies: Normans to the West; Seljuk Turks to the East and Hungarians to the North. The Imperial Treasury had all but been emptied during the civil war after the disaster at Manzikert. To add further problems, the Pechenegs to the North had been raiding had been raiding Imperial lands, particuarly around Nikopolis and Constantia. The Duchies of Duklja and Rashka are also eager to expand at the Empire's expense, whilst being supported by the Normans in Southern Italy. The Megas Domestikos, Isaakios Komnenos, the Emperors brother estimated that the Imperial Military numbered around 35,000 to 40,000 men. Many of these soldiers were poorly trained levies and militia, the Battle of Manzikert had destroyed the professional core of the Imperial Army, the tagmata.


    The Imperial Army in 1081


    The Imperial Navy did not fare much better than the Army. The former fleets of the Empire had disappeared during the reign of Constantine IX (1042–1055). By the last quarter of the 11th century, the Imperial Navy was a shadow of its former self, having declined through neglect, the incompetence of its officers, and lack of funds. The Normans in Southern Italy and were casting their eyes to the Adriatic coasts. Seljukid Fleets and pirates appeared in the Aegean Sea, strangling trade and commerce which had made Constantinople the wealthiest city in the world. By 1081, the Imperial Navy was in such a state of disrepair and neglect, it was unable to respond to these developments. On paper, the strength of the Navy was robust: 434 ships could be deployed. However, the reality was that many of these ships were old and in a state of disrepair. 30 years of neglect had taken their toll and many were not seaworthy. However, the Empire did possess one weapon. "Roman Fire" or more popuarly known as "Greek Fire". Mounted on the great Dromon warships that made the Imperial Navy a force to be reckoned with. Scant few of these vessels were in the posession of the Empire as of 1081.


    The Imperial Navy in 1081


    In order to recitify the appalling state of Imperial finances. Alexios I ordered that church artifacts and lands be sold in order to pay for expansion of the Army. Needless to say, the Eccumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Eustratios I was not pleased. However, it paid off. By 1083, many new "Kastrons" had been established/or were being established and funds were allocated to the Imperial Navy to hunt down pirates that plagued trade in the Aegean. By the beginning of 1084, Imperial finances were beginning to balance out and Alexios, with counsel from his brother the Megas Domestikos, Isaakios Komnenos, turned their attention north, to the Pechenegs. Both Alexios and Isaakios favoured a quick strike against the Pechenegs. Hoping to quickly annex their lands the use the loot gained to finance further expansion of the Army and the Empire


    The Royal Marriage of Theodora Komnenos and Stjepan Trpmirovic


    More good news arrived in March 1084. King Dimitar I of Croatia proposed a marriage between between Emperor's sister, Theodora Komnenos and the heir to the Kingdom of Croatia Stjepan Trpmirovic. The Emperor accepted and breathed a sigh of relief. Knowing that the Empire had at least one less enemy. Preperations were continuting for the invasion of the Pechenegs. Troops have begun arriving in Thema Paristrion. The plan was for two armies, one led by the Emperor striking straight for the capital of the Pechenegs, Belgorod. Another army led by Megas Domestikos Isaakios Komnenos would occupy Wallachia. The Imperial Navy would maintain a blockade but didn't expect any naval opposition.


    The Invasion of the Pechenegs


    The invasion was launched in July, with Emperor Alexios I declaring a holy war to bring the lands of the Pechenegs back under the control of the Orthodox Church. the Pechenegs were clearly caught off guard and reeled from the attack, mustering a paltry amount of troops to defend Belgorod agains the Army of Basileus Alexios I. The Battle of Belgorod took place on 14 August 1084. 3000 Pechenegs stood between Alexios and victory. By all accounts, the Pechenegs appear to have been caught by surprise. At any rate, the battle that took place on the next morning at Obluctia was practically a massacre. The Pechenegs had brought their women and children with them, and they were totally unprepared for the ferocity of the attack that was unleashed upon them. The Imperial Army fell upon the enemy camp, slaughtering all in their path. The Pechenegs quickly collapsed, and the victors butchered them so savagely that they were almost wiped out. The survivors were captured by the Byzantines and taken into Imperial service


    The destruction of the Percheneg army allowed Alexios to besiege Belgorod and Isaakios cut a bloody swathe through Wallachia. Settlement after settlement fell to the Imperial Army. By 1086, High Chief Kabuksin I of the Perchenegs surrendered. All Percheneg territory was annexed into the Empire and three new Themes were established to oversee administration of the newly conquered lands. When news reached Constantinople that the Perchenegs had capitulated. The capital exploded into celebration. Basileus Alexios I was hailed as a hero, the man who had restored Imperial prestige after the disaster at Manzikert 15 years ago. For once, the citizens of the Empire were optimistic. Perhaps the Empire could regain her old glory. Basileus Alexios entered Constantinople to great fanfare in October of 1086. A great restoration project was announced. Constantinople would reclaim her glory, no longer would the greatest city in the world be allowed the crumble. Expansion of the Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome and Great Palace began immediatley. The newly conquered lands provided a greet boon for the previously flagging economy. In addition the Empire aquired Fertile costal regions on the Black Sea. Funds were poured into the construction of military facilites across the Empire to recover the professionalism the Imperial Army lost at Manzikert. Also, 10,000 captured Perchenegs were forced into service in the Imperial Army, once more giving the Empire a potent cavalry force.



    The Empire in 1091


    Thus, the Empire in 1091 was different from the one that Basileus Alexios I ascended to 10 years ago. While the Empire had secured it's European posessions and could now look to recovering the Empire's former territories in Anatolia, the Empire was still a far cry away from it's golden age and it remained vulnerable to the Seljuk Turks who stood upon Constantinople's doorstep.
    Last edited by ChinpoUK; 04-08-2012 at 15:55.

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    Chronicler of the Light Jedrek's Avatar
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    Poor Pechengs... They seem to be even more hated than Albania in EU3
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  8. #8
    Sol Invictus Shaytana's Avatar
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    Starting with Alexios is the proper way to go! I look forward to more!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedrek View Post
    Poor Pechengs... They seem to be even more hated than Albania in EU3
    They do seem to picked on alot, don't they?


    Quote Originally Posted by Shaytana View Post
    Starting with Alexios is the proper way to go! I look forward to more!
    Thanks.

  10. #10
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    _________________________

    Chapter 3
    Alexios I Komnenos
    1091 - 1100

    _________________________



    With matters settled in Europe. Alexios turned his attention East, immediately beginning perperations for the invasion of the Rum Sultanate, a vassal state of the Seljukid Turks. Alexios intended to conquer the three former themes of Nikaea, Samos and Cibyrrhaeot, doing so would secure the Aegean Sea and allow the Empire a foothold in Asia Minor. A stepping stone into liberating the rest of Anatolia from Seljukid rule. However, doing so would be difficult. Both Rum and the Seljukids possessed vast, well trained armies. At home, the Themes were reorganised with Isaakios Komnenos, the brother of Alexios I becoming Doux of Thessalonika. The Theme of Strymon was created given to David Ioannina. A promising commander who served during the Percheneg War. Also, Adrianos Komnenos, brother to the Alexios had a daughter, named Anthe.


    Birth of Anthe Komnenos and the new Doux Isaakios Komnenos


    Further good news arrived, Eirene, wife of Alexios I. Became pregnant. Ensuring the succession of the Komnenos dynasty. However, such joyful news was squashed by rumours from the east. Word spread that the Seljukid Sultanate had broken up and that several Emirates had broken away and declared their independence. This was confirmed by scouts on the frontiers who reported of the Sultan of Rum gather his armies and marching east. To Alexios, this was the opportune moment to attack whilst his enemies were away fighting elsewhere.


    The Seljukid Civil War and Eirene's pregnacy


    Seizing the chance, Alexios began the prepare his armies. Invasion plans were drawn up and on the 11 March 1093. The Empire declared war on the Rum Sultanate. Anatolia would be returned to the Empire, the defeat at Manzikert would be avenged.


    The Seljukid Civil War - 1093
    Forces loyal to the Sultan highlighted in Red. Forces against highlighted in Black



    The Invasion of Rum - 1093


    Alexios I would lead the main Imperial Army of 12,500 men, veterans of the Percheneg War. His target was the city of Nikaea. His brother, Doux Isaakios of Thessalonika would lead an army of 10,000 men and begin a forced march towards Ikonion, the capital of the Rum Sultanate. The Imperial Navy would land Doux Eumathios of Nicosia and his 4000 man army near the city of Halikarnassos. Likewise, the Navy would operate a blockade on the important city of Sinope on the northern coast. Doux Theodoros of Trebizond would lead his 5000 man army and siege Sinope. Reserve armies would be stationed in Constantinople and Abydos. Initially, the invasion was a complete success, with most of Rum's armies further east fighting in the Seljukid Civil War. Allowing the Imperial Army complete freedom. Nikaea and Halikarnassos fell quickly to the rapidly advancing armies. Sinope fell shorly after and on the 5th April 1093. Ikonion was laid siege to by the combined armies of Alexios and Isaakios.


    The Imperial Army at the Siege of Ikonion


    The combined army of Alexios and Isaakios numbered over 20,000. Against them stood the 4000 men the Sultan of Rum had hastily sent when word reached him of the invasion of his realm, which took several months as the Sultan was leading an army in Mosul against the Uqaylids who rebelled against the Seljukid Sultan. However, the walls of Ikonion were strong and it would take months for the siege to end. However, Alexios did not intend to fight a months long siege. On the night of the 16th April 1093, a loyal Greek subject of the Empire, resentful of the Seljukid Turk occupation of his land. Snuck past the guards and opened the gates. Alexios and Isaakios, upon hearing of this, were said the rush out and lead a charge against the gate. The defenders, not expecting such a fierce attack could not close the gate and the Imperial army swarmed into the city cutting down the routing defenders. Much like the Battle of Belgorod 9 years ago. Alexios spared none and all were killed. A few fled east and word of the Emperors victory spread, shattering the morale of the remaining Rum strongholds. By the late summer of 1093. The Sultan of Rum sent and offer of surrender to Alexios I. He would cede the former Themes of Nikaea, Samos, Cibyrrhaeot and suprisingly Thracesia in exchange for peace.The Sultan realising his armies could no nothing while hundereds of miles to the East and with no help from the Seljukids forthcoming. Alexios I accepted the Sultans offer. Fufilling his objective and regaining lost Imperial lands.


    The Empire in 1093


    Celebrations were held across the Empire, Alexios had done what many had called impossible. He had turned the fortunes of the Empire around within a decade and had now begun the process of bringing the former lands of the Empire back into the fold. Alexios had returned to Constantinople in truimph, returning as an Emperor who had conquered his foes, Alexios's fame became so great that throughout the Europe he became known as "the Honourable". In early August, Empress Eirene gave birth to twins, named Zoe Komnenos and Andronikos Komnenos.


    The birth of Zoe and Andronikos Komnenos


    Thus by 1100, the Empire was the strongest it had been since 1071. Nearly 20 years under the reign of Alexios I had seen its military might rebuilt and its lands restored. The Empire's enemies were still mired within civil war and the Empire looked to even more stunning victories. However, not all was well. The Normans of Southern Italy were resented the new Komnenian Empire and the Venetians, who had dominated the eastern mediterranean with their powerful merchant fleet had lost that supremacy to Empire. Piracy was all but exterminated from the Aegean sea and Constantinople was once again the jewel of Europe. Goods from as far away as China were to be found. The restoration projects announced by Alexios in 1086 had paid off. No longer did the formidable walls of Constantinople crumble or the great churches of Eastern Christianity fall into disrepair. Upon the back of the military conquests by Alexios was a cultural and economic rejuvination that swept the Empire. What would later be referred to as the Komnenian Restoration was beginning to enter its zenith.
    Last edited by ChinpoUK; 05-08-2012 at 12:26.

  11. #11
    You make one of the best maps I've seen here. They are simple yet provide all intel required for the readers. How you draw them?

  12. #12
    Field Marshal videonfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holy.Death View Post
    You make one of the best maps I've seen here. They are simple yet provide all intel required for the readers. How you draw them?
    This
    Also you got a new subscriber.After taking anatolia,punish the egyptians for leaving the empire
    [22:23:51] <Groogy> Mathrim, give it to me gently
    What Crusader Kings 2 makes you say:
    [19:23:43] <Duke> I just need my damn wife to die
    [19:23:48] <Duke> Then I can invade and take their shit

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    First Lieutenant ChinpoUK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holy.Death View Post
    You make one of the best maps I've seen here. They are simple yet provide all intel required for the readers. How you draw them?
    Making the maps is quite simple, Simply save a map (f10 saves a map in the CKII folder in My Documents) and edit it (I use Photoshop). Highlighting the countries and putting a border around them. Then put some text on it and whatnot.

    Thanks for the compliment.



    Quote Originally Posted by videonfan View Post
    This
    Also you got a new subscriber.After taking anatolia,punish the egyptians for leaving the empire
    Hehe, don't worry I plan to. Only problem is those blasted crusaders will probably get Jerusalem.

  14. #14
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    _________________________

    Chapter 4
    Alexios I Komnenos
    1100-1105

    _________________________



    The 12th century began with the suprise declaration from the Pope. All good catholics, from the lowest peasant to the highest King were to take up arms and secure the Holy Land for Christian pilgrims. There was debate whether this was the Pope taking advantage of the deepening collapse of the Seljukid Sultanate. With many more Emirates delcaring their independance from the Sultan, including Tarcon, who controlled the Holy Land. Nevertheless, it presented a great oppportunity for Alexios, who decided to take advantage of the chaos and declare war on the Count of Korchev and the Emirate of Armenia Minor.


    The First Crusade


    The War began with Doux Ioannes of Cibyrrhaeot and Doux Theodoros of Cherson organising their armies of 5000 and 4000 men respectivley. The armies of Armenia Minor however launched naval invasion of Cyprus. Forcing Doux Eumathios of Nicosia to hastily raise his levies and march to meet the invaders. The Battle of Saint Hilarion was a phyrric victory for the Empire, the Invasion was beaten but at the loss of 2069 men compared to the 1714 casualties suffered by the invaders. The defeat of the invasion meant Doux Ioannes had a clear path to Lykandos. The Siege of Lykandos beginning in the spring of 1200. Further north, Doux Theodoros and his army decisively beat the Army of the Count of Korchev at the Battle of Cherco. Taking very little casualties and destroying the enemy forces. This forced Korchev to sue for peace and accept annexation into the Empire. To the south, the Siege of Lykandos was completed by early summer, with only a few hundred defending Lykandos. The capture of Lykandos forced the Emir into accepting annexation.


    The War for Armenia Minor and Korchev


    Battle of Saint Hilarion


    Battle of Cherco


    Siege of Lykandos


    On domestic issues, Empress Eirene gave birth to another two boys, Arsenios and Anthimos on 20 Febuary 1101. Alexios also decided to strengthen the power of the Monarchy and curbed the rights of the nobles. Some resented this but the popularity of Alexios allowed the law to pass easily and without interruptions. Succession laws were also changed, with Gavelkind being replaced with Primogeniture. Now the Emperors oldest son would inherit all lands of the Imperial demesne rather than the Imperial demesne being divided amongst his sons. This would strengthen the position of a new Emperor upon succession and prevent infighting. To gain favour with the Ecumenical Patriarch and as repetence for his melting down of church artifacts at the beginning of his rule, Alexios donated 5000 silver to the Church.


    Birth of Arsenios and Anthimos


    Institution of High Crown Authority and Primogeniture sucession


    Not all was well, on the evening of the 9 August 1101, Nestor Tzamplakon was assassinated by the Hashshashin. Records state that Nestor staggered into the Throne Room at the great palace, he collapsed in front of the Emperor gasping "The H-Hashshashin...". Chaos erupted immediately, with the Varangian Guard escorting the Emperor and his Family to secure parts of the Palace incase the assassin was still within the palace walls. Guards were also sent to ensure the safety of the Ecumenical Patriatch and other important figures including the Imperial Council. The City Guard was put on alert and a curfew was put in effect. All gates into Constantinople were closed and no-one was allowed in or out of the city. Guards were reinforced at all gates into Constantinople and all sea traffic ground to a halt, with no ships being allowed to dock or leave port. The lockdown remained in effect until the 11 August when after 2 days of searching no trace of the assassin could be found. The Hashshashin would become fearsome enemies of the Empire, with assassinations taking place throughout the 12th century.


    Assassination of Nestor Tzamplakon


    By 1105, the Seljukid civil war grew larger, with several more Emirates declaring independence from the Sultan while the Sultan imprisoned the Emirs that had led the rebellion back in 1093. Tarcon faced both an invasion by the Catholic powers and the armies of the Seljuks. As of 1105, only the Sheikh of Tyrus and the Shaddad Emirate had pledged to help Tarcon. The Empire considered it likely that Jersualem would fall quickly, as the King of Denmark, France and Scotland had sent troops to the Holy Land. With several Duchies and Principalities in Wales, Italy and Ireland also providing assistance.


    The Empire and the Seljukid Sultanate in 1105
    Rebelling states are highlighted in Red
    Last edited by ChinpoUK; 05-08-2012 at 13:17.

  15. #15
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    Great progress in restoring the Empire! Your only real threat, as before, is the Seljuks, but as long they're occupied with rebels your nibbling at their periphery need not end.

    Speaking of which, when will it be time for another bite of Rum?
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