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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

OttomanHeir

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Osman saw himself and his host reposing near each other.
From the bosom of Edebali rose the full moon and inclining towards the bosom of Osman it sank upon it, and was lost to sight.
After that a goodly tree sprang forth, which grew in beauty and in strength, ever greater and greater.
Still did the embracing verdure of its boughs and branches cast an ampler and an ampler shade, until they canopied the extreme horizon of the three parts of the world. Under the tree stood four mountains, which he knew to be Caucasus, Atlas, Taurus, and Haemus
These mountains were the four columns that seemed to support the dome of the foliage of the sacred tree with which the earth was now centered.
From the roots of the tree gushed forth four rivers, the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Danube, and the Nile
Tall ships and barks innumerable were on the waters
The fields were heavy with harvest.
The mountain sides were clothed with forests.
Thence in exulting and fertilizing abundance sprang fountains and rivulets that gurgled through thickets of the cypress and the rose.
In the valleys glittered stately cities, with domes and cupolas, with pyramids and obelisks, with minarets and towers.
The Crescent shone on their summits: from their galleries sounded the Muezzins call to prayer.
That sound was mingled with the sweet voices of a thousand nightingales, and with the prattling of countless parrots of every hue.
Every kind of singing bird was there.
The winged multitude warbled and flitted around beneath the fresh living roof of the interlacing branches of the all-overarching tree; and every leaf of that tree was in shape like unto a scimitar.
Suddenly there arose a mighty wind, and turned the points of the sword-leaves towards the various cities of the world, but especially towards Constantinople
That city, placed at the junction of two seas and two continents, seemed like a diamond set between two sapphires and two emeralds, to form the most precious stone in a ring of universal empire.
Osman thought that he was in the act of placing that visional ring on his finger, when he awoke.


-The Dream of Osman I, from Prophecies of the House of Osman: God or Geography? (1921*)


November 10th, Night, 1444.

Mehmed the Boy-Sultan was restless this evening. Cursed by his youth to be trapped in the palace, blind to the fate of his father and his armies, he found his days plagued with feelings of fear and helplessness: the crusading armies of The Grand Infidel still stationed in his lands despite his best attempts to negotiate peace, the Hungarians dishonoring their sacred oaths. For a week he had not slept: kept busy by his brooding and the affairs of state, but then his exhaustion claimed him: turning to sleep with the last breath of his prayers. And that night, he dreamed a dream

The Boy-Sultan bent up from his prostration before God, to find see his ancestor, the Great Osman, relaxing before him in the body of his youth, framed by the silvery glow of the moon. Over him, a great canopy made the world around him as night. Entangled in the clouds of leaves above were a struggling group of crowned beasts: great lion, a golden bull, and eagles of black and white: their blood falling to the world in four great pillars the color of his banner.

The first flowed to the north, nourishing the brown grasses of the steppes, the nearby horses feasting upon it and growing to great stature

The second flowed east, washing over a flock of sheep and cleaning the sinful black from their wool, leaving them a pure and pious white.

The third flowed south, like the prophet Moses overtaking the Nile and cutting through the barren sands, causing them to spring to life.

The forth flowed west, beneath one of the largest boughs; its sides bathed in fog but pointing towards two pillars which held its farthest reaches aloft: each blazened with words in the Greek Script which read Ne plus ultra, until a the wind caused the branches to shift to obscure the Ne.

At this majestic sight, Mehmed could not help but weep, and as he did Osman rose to his feet and came forward, wiping away the Sultan's tears. "Do not despair, my son. Rejoice, for Allah in his infinite glory and wisdom has chosen to bestow upon you and our descendants His imperial grace, and gird you with the sword of the commander of His faithful and be his Shadow upon the world."

And so Osman took the Sacred Sword of the Prophets from his hip and placed it in the boy's cupped hands, bowing his head. "Around you are visions of what the Lord of All has promised you. Take his blessing, go forth, and fufill his will."

And with that Mehmed awoke, the light of dawn shining through his window and all the troubles of his heart put to rest, whispering praises to Allah and assuring him that all will be as he was shown.
---

Preface

Greetings and Salutations. Welcome to A Dream Come True. I know an Ottoman AAR isn't particularly fancy, isn't particularly challenging in a gameplay sense: the loading screen tips directly say they're one of the easiest factions in the game and are good for beginners, but as one deeply interested in Ottoman and Alternative History, and finally in a more stable spot in life, doing a deeper historical-type AAR of our history with the Islamic world playing a great and more dynamic role than real life is something I really want to do.

As such, don't expect anything gamey like world conquest or anything: this AAR is about examining the alternate world of the game through an Ottoman-centeric perspective, ideally trying to maintain some semblense of a realistic balance of power. The focus will be on the Empire, its society, personalities, interactions, wars, ect., but I also plan on doing some coverage of the other major nations of the world, fellow Sunni states, and major world-level shifts (Institutions, the impact of Price-changing events, the potential collapse of major powers, ect). Some of this will be fluff, but I'll try to tie it back to in-game events/mechanics as much as possible.

That's not to say I don't have goals though: as evidenced by Mehmed's dream (And more dreams that the Osmangulas' might have later), the Empire does have some instructions from on high to preform. As of now, these are (fairly) simple and include the following

1. The First Flow: Place the northern Black Sea coast under Ottoman Suzerainty (Which is as simple as beating Genoa and vassalizing Crimea, which can easily happen by event)

2. The Second Flow: Destroy the Black Sheep (Qara Qoyunlu) and insure their old lands are Sunni: not necessarily all Ottoman, just Sunni.

3. Conquer the Mamelukes.

4. Insure the Straits of Gibraltar are kept under Muslim control and colonize at least something.


I hope you enjoy my work.
 

volksmarschall

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Welcome to AAR writing. I hope your project is successful and memorable. Maintaining a somewhat historical 'balance of power' while also bridging away from historical reality, i.e. your expectations of some colonization, in of itself should be fun. I agree, handicapping oneself with particular goals makes for a more interesting game, and also for a more interesting read to see how you handle and deal with situations as they spring up.

Best of luck. Will be watching.
Cheers!
 

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I like your introduction and goals. I'll happily read along.
 

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About time I see a quality Ottoman AAR.
 

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OttomanHeir

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Chp. I: In the Shadow of Holy War: The Divan-i Vezirler and the Ottoman World of late 1444.

Though it would take several days for news to reach the court at Edirne, the young Sultan's belief in his dream would be vindicated by the battle that occurred the previous day on the Rumelian coasts, where the armies under the command of his father and former Sultan Murad II and Sehabeddin Sahin Pasha/ Hadim Sehabeddin (Sources differ of his proper title), met with the Crusading armies of King Władysław III of Poland and Hungary. Having betrayed the Sultan's sacred honor at the behest of the Bishop of Rome's legate Julian Ceaserini; on the grounds that oaths with Infidels were not binding, the aggressive advance of the Crusading army had made a rapid thrust into the land of the Bulgars. While his aggressive tactics had allowed him to reach major seaport, it had also lead him to outrun his fleet and trapped his army between the sea, Lake Varna, and the towering Franga plateau; Sehabeddin Pasha's forces blocking off the mountain passes into Thrace as Murad's main army reproached from the West.

After being drawn out by a clever feigned retreat by the eastern Anatolian cavalry under the command of Timarli Kamit Lefkeli, the Croat and Northern Hungarian forces making up the Crusader's right flank were shattered by a wheeling charge after breaking formation: most of the routing soldiers either being captured by Sehabeddin's patrols or getting lost in the unfamiliar marshland, leaving Władysław and his Hungarian nobles exposed to a potential encirclement from the North. In the traditional desperation of trapped Crusaders, as practiced at Antioch and Hattin, the Polish-Hungarian King gathered up his 500 noble knights and, whipped up into a religious fervor, launched a foolhardy charge against the Ottoman center. Surrounded by elite infantry, the Crusader cavalry was butchered to the last man: Władysław the Oathbreaker himself stabbed in front of the Sultan's tent by a soldier named Kodja Hazar. Without leadership, the Christian's retreat was piecemeal and sloppy; attempts to retreat to their fortress at Galata crushed when Sehabeddin lead a charge against (mainly Hungarian) rearguard; capturing Cardinal Ceaserina and the Papal banner during the process. Following their defeat, the Crusading army virtually dissolved: either being captured and sold into slavery, dying of frostbite during their attempt to cross the Carpathians in winter, or occasionally ransoming themselves at the Sultan-Father's mercy.


Victory at Varna/ The Ottoman Dawn (1532*). The total destruction of the Varna Crusade, alongside the political turmoil it created in Hungary and Poland, would serve frighten away potential Catholic aid during the Conquest of Constantinople.


The Ottoman forces would return victorious to Edrine on Nov. 18. Presenting the Sultan's traditional 1/4 share of the campaign's booty to his son, Murad would not dwell long in Edrine: staying just long enough to enjoy the victory feasting and hire on some traditional servants before returning to his artistic retirement on his Manisa estate: his later years being mainly noted for the writing of his collection of melancholic poetry, largely focused on the burdens of ruler ship, the grief he suffered at the lose of his eldest son Alaeddin, and later on the unnoticed and unsung tragedies of war.

With Mehmed's withdrawal, Sehabeddin was left take the lion's share of the glory: particularly after holding the chains of Ceaserini and the Papal Banner at the front of the parade and presenting them as a gift in front of Mehmed II's palace gates. Graced with the title of "Grand Mujahid" by the Sheikh-ul-Islam himself for his service, he was also granted official forgiveness for his lose to Vlad Dracul two years prior: replacing Murad as commander of the Ottoman armies in his sovereign's stead. Though motivated mainly by admiration and the Pasha's clear merit, there is some speculation this move and Murad's quick dismissal was also designed to appeal to the Turkic Beys: who were growing increasingly worried about the influence of Greek and Bulgar converts in the Ottoman court and an increasing focus on Rum-eli.

This was not exactly a false belief: unlike many of his predecessors; the first Sultan to be born in Europe, Mehmed II was a young man who had still spent most of his life in Edrine: having only spent a few months in his duty as Beylerbey of Amasya in the eastern parts of his Empire before Murad's abdication. Still young enough to require a regency during normal circumstances, he remained easily influenced by his teachers in statecraft, science, and sacred law: the most prominent of which were ethnic Greeks from well to do background rather than then the still semi-nomadic peoples of his eastern frontier. Most prominent among these was Georgious Phouskarnaki: Mehmed's boyhood Lala (Teacher) in the Adab and the Imam at his Amasya mosque. Born into a Greek merchant family of Iconoclasts, Phouskarnaki had converted during his early teens and thrived surprisingly rapidly in his study of Islamic law: cultivating enough favor in the court (alongside sufficient bribes from the Firdausiyya order where he studied) to gain his appointment. Though many of the more traditional clergy felt his beliefs contained an uncomfortable amount of mysticism, he held far too much favor with the Sultan, and the his interventions on behalf of the Sufi orders and the protection of their charitable activities made him too powerful and popular with the people to easily remove.

To handle this problem, and secure his throne from domestic pretenders who might take advantage of a child on the throne, Mehmed sought to garner support from the traditional power-brokers in Anatolia: the nobility and Islamic clergy, to silence any rumors that he might be "Going Greek" (In a strange irony, many of the Catholic powers had feared the prospect of being forced to "Turn Turk" in the face of Mehmed's victory had the exact opposite fear the the Sultan would be an uncivilized barbarian). So, with many of his vassals already assembled in the capital from the campaigning and resulting victory, he announced a firamin declaring his intent to seek "The council and wisdom of the esteemed men of my country: so I may better serve Allah and my State, and be aware of the grievances of my realm". The resulting assembly would be the first Divan-i Vezirler; The Council of the Viziers; a later tradition in Ottoman society which served as a sort of mixed between the Diets and Clerical advisors of the Christian world, in which the Sultan would officially record the demands and advice of his Umera and Ulema and officially integrate their words into the Imperial records, which would also serve as an occasional re-affirmation of their homage to him so his vassals would not forget they were, in fact, the Sultan's servants and not petty kings in their own right.

DCT1.png


The First Divan-i Vizirlier: Note the Sultan's bodyguards being the only men carrying weapons and the kissing of the feet by Bey Sergios Aoinos of Selnik. The pagentry of the Sultan's sovereignty was carefully designed to insure his "Gracious Acceptance" of his vassal's petitions would not be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

During the week of courtly proceedings, official audiences, and meetings between groups of politking/scheming nobility, many factions sought to assert their interests during this period of proximity to state power. Key among the complainants were those of the Eastern Anatolian provinces: mostly neglected by and isolated from the rest of the Empire by the still-independent Beyliks of southern Anatolia and exposed to raids by the Shia Kurds of the Qara Qoyunlu Khans. The trade routes through the central Anatolian highlands had been infested with bands of highwaymen for years, many of whom were headed or sponsored by families who held at least nominal allegiance to the Karaman or Dulkadir Beys or at least took refugee in their domains, while attempts to trade on the Black Sea coast were hampered by the tolls demanded by Candar ships and the constant threat of "Freebooters" operating out of Genoese ports. With the army's attention focused on securing the Balkan frontier for the past several years, these problems had grown increasingly severe, with dozens of prominent landowners demanding the temporary peace in Europe be used to create a more peaceful

In response to these demands, official assurances were given that the Sultan would fulfill his obligation to provide order to the Asian provinces. This began with issuing an official denunciation of the presence of Genoa's colonies in the Black Sea and Ionia and the Qoyunlu Khan's mistreatment of Sunnis; declaring them both "Apostates infringing upon the Dar-al Islam, and doing unforgivable harm to the Uma, whom we shall one day soon drive from our rightful lands". To put weight behind this rhetoric, one of their own and a proven commander, Kamit Lefkeli, would be to Agha of the Royal Barracks. As the first of his kind to establish a training regime for the Yaya levees alongside the Janissary slave-soldiers, Kamit Pasha introduced both discipline of fire and a heavier focus on skirmishing tactics to even the lowliest of the Sultan's soldiers; increasing the already formidable effectiveness of the highly mobile Ottoman battle line even further. Being at the head of the guardians of the Sultan's throne, he would also be entitled to his liege-lord's ear, and would serve as a close reminder of the needs of the otherwise distant provincial Timarli.

There was also the question of what to do with the land seized from the Orthodox Bulgars who had risen in rebellion to support the Crusader Armies and the the monasteries which had supported them. While some had already been taken privately; sold by Bulgar prisoners-of-war to their captors as the price for freedom, the rich farmland of the region was of particular interest as a source of cheap, plentiful grain to supply a burgeoning capital. Using his influence on the young Sultan, Phouskarnaki managed to have the former monasteries donated to pious foundations who would provide the bread to the poor; worked both by locals and darvish wanderers immigrating from western Anatolia. In addition to their work, these holy men brought with them both a charitable and missionary spirit, acting alongside official Ottoman authorities to help convert the population of the region.

Having earned the loyalty of both the army and clergy, the Divan was ended with Mehmed's final address, insuring all his servants that their petitions had been heard. However, at the end, it is written that he stood up he stood up on his throne, pointed due east, and said "Then you are mine to command. Here are my orders: Echoing Allah and the Prophet, all glory be to them: let the Romans be brought among the Faithful. To the City of the Caesars!". While accounts that the righteous cries of approval could be heard echoing through Emperor John VIII's palace might have been embellished, their was no doubt the he made his intent to invade to City of Cities clear and establish the legitimacy of his rule early on with a great conquest.


DCT5.jpg
DCT2.png

Mehmed II, His Court, and the results of the Divani-Vizirler: Pre-Conquest of Kostantiniye/Islambol

----

The Ottoman World in 1444

DCT6.png

Though even then one of the more power nations in the Islamic World, the Dominions of the House of Osman in 1444 were still seen as simply a "First among Equals" in the region; sharing borders or territorial waters with no less than 19 governments (and one rebellious region of upstart Albanian Papists), in an area of ill defined borders on often sparely-populated hitherlands. In Rum-eli, her dominion mostly ran up to the Danube, sharing her border with the frontier-prince of Moldovia, the Principality of Wallachia under the rumored black-magic trafficker Vlad II Dracul, the now chaotic dominions of St. Stephen, and the Despot of Serbia. Dotting her coastline a smattering of rocks hosted the mercantile activities of the Venetians and Genoese and decaying relics of Crusader orders: both seeking to profit off the honest labor and traffic of the Sultan's subjects through trade and piracy. And surrounded at the heart of it all, isolated behind her ancient walls, were the last remnants of the Roman Empire; reigning over the south of Greece from the isolated City of Constantine, alongside their break-away empire of Trezbond isolated at opposite end of Ottoman Territory

As for her Muslim neighbors, the rapid retreat of Tamerlane's once-great host from the Near East had created a power vacuum in south eastern Anatolia, where the minor Anatolian Beys and the minor Kurdish khanate of Aq Qoyunlu served as targets for expansion and influence by the three major powers in this strategic region: the Empire, the up-jumped slave-soldiers of Mamluk-Egypt, and the Qara Qoyunlu Khans. The profit the region's trade routes: serving as the main supply of silk and spices for the wealthy merchants of the Italian city-states, was so great the desire to expand control over the area would prove the catalyst for more then one war. Beyond them, Tamerlane's Empire and the Sultanates of Hindoostan; visited only by the occasional envoy or traveler but respected as forces of Sunni Islam in seas of misbelievers. And in the north, the endless steppes of Tartary; a land vaguely remembered by some of the less pious and more nomadic Turks as their ancient home, now dotted with successor to the Great Khan's Empire; Uzbek, Nogai, Kazan, and most import to the Osmanoglu the Crimean Khanate: the slaves and cattle taken in their raids often sold to Ottoman buyers.
 

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I'm looking forward to reading this, as it'll help me learn to play.
 

volksmarschall

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Wonderful update, nice to see a background post setting the stage instead of just delving right into the world of EU at the close of 1444.

Looking forward to seeing how you develop and play from here on.
 

stnylan

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I'm playing through an Ottoman game at the moment (into 1670s now) and I will be very interested to see how you diverge from mine.
 

OttomanHeir

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Chp. II: The War of the Islambol'un Fethi

Mehmed II had ample reason, both practical and in principal, for wanting to take control of Constantinople. Straddling the strategic Bosporus straits, the Eastern Roman's control over the straits created serious problems for the flow of goods and supplies to the Sultan's subjects; both by the threat of inditing supplies while the Ottoman fleet would have to be used to ferry troops across the Aegean to the theater of war and the rising expense of the tolls the city leveed on all ships passing her. With the cost of administrating his conquests, equipping his troops, and providing for his influence advisors and their staffs ever rising, the profits from the taxation of the Black sea-Mediterranean trade would not only go a long way to insure the solvency of the Imperial treasury, but serve as an additional weapon against their Genoese rivals by making it prohibitively expensive for them to support their Crimean colonies. Officially taking control of Constantinople would also issue a very powerful political and religious message: as not only as having a proper Imperial capital undeniably establis the Ottomans as a legitimate, civilized power to the Christian world, but would inform the Muslim world that they were the one's fulfilling the commands of the Prophet and the dreams of the Rightly Guided Umayyad Caliphs. Finally, as had been proven during the Crusade of Varna, Emperor John VIII's continued adherence to the terms of the Council of Florence and its nominal submission of the Greek Orthodox church to Papal doctrine; despised by Muslims and the vast majority of Orthodox alikes, raised the threat that a Roman presence at the heart of the Empire might serve as a springboard for later crusades which would have to be eliminated before the Papists could recover from the fallout of their defeat.

It was precisely that offical union of the Church, however, that would prove to be John's downfall. While the Emperor, the Patriarch, and some of the high echelons of the nobility practiced the Latin rite, the vast majority of the Greek Orthodox population and clergy, both within Imperial borders and under Ottoman rule, angerly rejected this apostasy and the Uniate Patriarch Gregory III's attempts to force Catholicism upon them. Bolstered by the arguments of the Patriarchs in Rus and the Rumanian States who rejected the Council outright, and fearful of the spread of the repression and forced-conversion efforts being implemented by the Catholic government of Lithuania, marches of defiance by the Roman subjects in the Peloponnese and virulent anti-Uniate tracts written by devout Orthodox priests had slowly spread over the past 7 years: a number of which argued that freedom the practice their faith as they pleased under the Turkish infidel was more pious in the eyes of god then being forced to follow the heretical doctrine of the barbaric Franks. While accusations by the Catholic Church that prominent Anti-Uniate priests based in Ottoman lands, such as Georgios Scholarios and John Eugenikos, received patronage from the Turkish nobility and prominent Iconclasts, have never been proven, it is true that Bey Sergious Aoinos allowed the exiled heretics to take shelter in Selnik, providing a forum where they and disgruntled Ottoman priests could organize a formal opposition. As one of the highest ranking viziers in the Empire, he was able to gain a private audience with the Sultan to discuss the possibilities this council opened for providing legal justification to seize Constantinople.

The end result was that, on Dec. 4th, a collection of no less than 300 Orthodox priests and pious nobles signed a document known as the Epitemia Frankokratia Hairesis (Penance for the Rule of the Frankish System), declaring Gregory III and John VIII to be heretics and traitors of the Greek traditions who threatened the people with eternal damnation and demanded the denounce The Council of Florence. Appointing John Eugenikos; brother for the former leader of the Anti-Uniate movement Mark Eugenikos, as the "Rightful" Ecumenical Patriarch, the schismatics established themselves in the Church of St. Demetrius and, upon receiving Emperor John's refusal to surrender his throne, petitioned Mehmed II to 'restore' them as heads of the Orthodox church in Constantinople and protect their right to worship as they please in return for submission in earthly matters. This "invitation" would serve as the Ottoman's causus belli for The War of the Conquest, and as news of the Declaration spread would prove particularly popular among the Dhimmi in the Sultan's Aegean territories; who were happy to see their traditional rights and protections affirmed by the new Sultan, and the loyal Bulgars who's autocephalous status and right to use their language in rituals was restored by the Anti-Uniate Patriarch.

In Constantinople, the beleaguered Roman's; who caught wind of the events from a Naxosi merchents, swiftly began preparations for a war they had long feared was coming: imprisoning or expelling any Turks they could find in the city, calling up retired veterans to bulk up their armies, and evacuating as much as they could from the Church of St. Mary of Pege outside the city walls even as Anti-Latin citizens: claiming that God would save the city if the Emperor repented for his sinful ways, held a demonstration in the Forum of Arcadius; a few half-mad men even trying to call on the gods of ancient Olympus by blood sacrifice of some of the city's scarce livestock. Politically, the Emperor's main response was one which had happened countless times in the past: sending an urgent call for help to possible allies in the West, but in the end it didn't help much. The Eastern European states needed to recover from the lose at Varna, particularly King-less Hungary and and Poland, while the Venetians; disgruntled with the Roman's favoritism to their Genoese commercial rivals (Venice, for obvious reasons, was not trusted by either the nobility or the citizens) and seeing their defeat as a bygone conclusion sought to maintain good commercial relations with the Ottomans. In an attempt to gain the support of more far-flung nations, Constantinople attempted to cede the island of Lemnos to King Alfonso of Aragon and Naples in exchange for his aid, but by the time Barcelona was made aware of the offer the area would be firmly under Ottoman control. The only help they would end up receiving were a collection of mercenaries and volunteers from the leadership of Genoa's colony in Galata, just across the Golden Horn, a few hundred zealious Crusaders from the Orders of St. John and the King of Cyprus's/Jerusalem's island.

Finishing the final preparations, Sehabeddin Pasha and his armies marched out of Edrine on Dec. 11th; the auspicious day selected as the anniversary of the Prophet's near-bloodless seizure of the Holy City of Mecca and prayers with hopes that this war would be just as glorious.

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The City of the World's Desire: The Siege of Kostantiniye

By the time of the Conquest, the Queen of Cities was but a pale shadow of its former self: still staggering from the scars inflicted on her by the equally merciless Black Death and Ventenain-Crusader occupation. Riddled with corruption, backstabbing, and lacking in an effective tax system, the Roman government simply couldn't muster the political will or resources to maintain such an expansive capital: many buildings, particularly those in the outer Rhegion District between the Theodosius and Constantine walls, having fallen into disrepair. Former gardens and abandoned districts lay choked with weeds, or converted to goat pastures and small wheat fields worked by squatters. She was home to around 45,000 souls, who over the previous decades had begun a gradual migration towards the inner city and the docks: a trend the Romans had found worrying as it was these outer regions that provided the city with most of its food production. This did not mean they were helpless, however: Constantinople still had its world-famous, multi-layered walls which had frustrated the previous 12 attempts to take the city, and had the Lycus river and several Roman-era cisterns ensured fresh water wouldn't mean an issue. Indeed, in a siege her small population and decay might prove a benefit: allowing the city to supplement its food stores with an internal harvest and stretch out its supplies long enough for much-hoped for aid from Aragon or the Italians to arrive.


From this small population, John VIII had managed to muster an army of 11,000 to defend the city: 5,000 Legionary Infantry, 2,000 Cataphracts (Largely from the Peloponnesian territories), 1,500 foreign auxiliaries (500 of whom were Genoese soldiers protecting their outposts in Pera/Galata), and 2,500 watchmen and recalled veterans who would be used exclusively to protect the walls. These forces were lead by Matthious Doukas; an mediocre general who's primary reputation before had been his stalwart refusal to give or accept bribes, and the strict discipline he imposed on his staff to do the same. It is commonly believed the Emperor selected him so as to avoid any attempts at subterfuge on the part of the Ottomans to bypass the great walls.
Doukas kept the main body of his professional soldiers camped around the Aelios Cistern, just behind the Gate of Charisius: believing the Muslim's would attempt to take control of the area around the Golden Horn at the first opportunity, and had heart from the refugees coming into the city of particularly intense cavalry raids in the northern parts of Constantinople's remaining suburbs. He planned to launch harassing sorties to keep the the enemy off-balance while the Lycus would protect his men from rear attacks whenever they left the walls.

On the opposite side, Sehabeddin Pasha marched out of Edrine with the 13,000 soldiers of the Ordusu Suvarileri (Army of the Slaves to the Sublime Porte); nearly half of the Sultanate's total strength; 11,000 men in the Ordusu Rum-eli left behind in Selnik to respond to any attacks out of the Emperor's southern Greek territories. Made up of 4,000 Janissaries, 6,000 Yaya, 2,400 Akinci, and 600 Timarli Sipahi, the light Akinci were sent along the north bank of the Lycus to harass the locals while the main body of the army traveled along the south; planning to make camp closer to the coast where Ottoman ships could more easily ferry supplies and depost/sell off any products of their coastal attacks/seizures. The cavalry raids were in fact nothing more then a combination of aggressive reconnaissance and the less-disciplined and rapacious attitude of frontier troops in general running amuck. As such, when the main Ottoman armies arrived at the city on Chirstmas Eve and began establishing siege lines near the Gate of Pege of Selymbria, they were surprised to find only a few hunderad troops manning that section of the wall: Shabeddin seizing his good fortune and ordering an immediate assault on the defenders to gain a foothold on the wall.

By the time messengers reached the camp at Aelios, the Roman position along the southern flank was already beginning to fall apart. Within the first two hours, siege towers had already managed to bridge the first layer of the Theodosian walls: fire from the local defenders too sparse to drive them back and largely suppressed by volleys from the Jannisaries. The Emperor's brother, Constantine: commanding the 2,000 Legionnaires still available in the south of the city, sought to take the already engaged Turks by surprise by ordering a sortie out of the Gate of Romanus. In another time, perhaps, this would have been effective, but the attack was spotted by a spotter stationed in the tower of The Church of St. Mary; Sehabeddin Pasha countering the action by ordering his heavily armored Sipahi body guard to lead a counter-charge just as the blocks of infantry began to engage. Trapped between the Yaya's spears, a crushing mass of peerless Turkish horsemanship, and the city walls, they had no choice but to attempt a retreat through the 3rd military gate. This allowed the Ottomans, hot in pursuit and fighting interspersed among them, to take their first steps into Constantinople proper; trapping the beleaguered wall defenders in their towers where they would be slaughtered to the last. Constantine's survivors, meanwhile, broke off and tried to retreat to the Walls of Constantine, joining up with Doukas's army and making camp for the night at the food store and pre-prepared defenses at St. John's of Studium. Having seen their leaders abandon them and fearful for their lives, most of the isolated pockets would either surrender during the night: accepting either slavery or conversion to Islam as the price to pay for their lives, or stage a quiet retreat to the Walls of Constantine.

What the Roman's had not expected, however, was that during the night the Ottomans had moved in troops through their captured gates in the north and by sunrise were forming a battle line between St. John's and the city's inner gates: cutting off any possibility for retreat. The Roman survivors, now numbering only 4,200 after the various clashes of the previous day, faced off against an Ottoman force nearly twice its size: most off the defenders shaking with fear after Muslims had awoken them with a mass, thundering call to prayer; prostrating themselves before God and showing no fear at doing so in front of their enemy's weapons. In the face of such a certain and mighty foe, a number of the poorly-trained Greeks broke even before the charge connected; trying to flea towards the sea only to find Ottoman galley's waiting in the shallow. In the ferocious melee, the Romans began loosing cohesion and surrendering in small pockets; Constantine, Doukas, and the remaining 742 survivors placing themselves themselves to Turkish custody. Particular attention must be paid to the Catholic volunteers in this case, none of whom were among the surrendering forces even though they made up around a fifth of the combatants; having refused to surrender on the anniversary of the prophet Jesus of Nazareth's birth. As befitted the rules of civilized and Islamic warfare, the noble commanders were kept as as comfortable hostages in the Ottoman camp, and the surviving prisoners given the choice between conversion, paying ransom, or being sold into slavery.

DCT8.png
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The Battle of of the Rhegion, preceding the formal sieges of Constantinople's "Old City".


The Siege Stage

Ironically, the lose of Rhegion provided a temporary reprive for the remaining Roman defenders, as the narrow streets, gates, and dense buildings made it impossible for the Ottoman forces to deploy their massive, clumsy cannons against the Wall of Constantine, and the breakdown of discipline as the victorious Turks scattered to sack the area allowed a number of wounded/scattered defenders to make their way back to the inner city and re-organize. As such, the Romans were easily able to repulse the next day's attacks on their position and: having used up most of their arrows during and exhausted by the long march and battles on the wall, Sehabeddin was forced to conduct an inglorious siege. This was made exceptionally problematic my three factors; a lack of patience and cohesion from his Anatolian troops, who chafed under the tedium and would frequently break off the raid the countryside or hunt down half-imagined bands of Greek bandits/zealots, his inability to bring up weapons powerful enough to make a breach in the Roman walls, and the structure within the Ottoman navy: who lacking in real objectives or notable leadership of its own and unwilling to start a major conflict with the Genoese allowed a number of grain ships to slip into Galata under false flags: allowing the Italians to smuggle food to the defenders and extend their endurance.

The contemporary Ottoman account of the siege, written by a subordinate of Sehabeddin's quartermaster named Turasan, is fairly sparse, as the army lacked any dependable informant within the Roman-controlled portions of the city. Much is instead dedicated to the interactions between Sehabeddin, the army's imams, represenatives of the Anti-Unites and the ottoman governors left to manage the Constantinople suburbs on one hand, and Constantine, Doukas, and the Roman citizens under Ottoman supervision on the other. Constantine is depicted as noble and humble in his defeat, if still apologetically Catholic and at one point spitting in the face of John Eugenikos when he was sent to facilitate a church service for the Roman prisoners and oversee the conversion of those temples not slated for conversion to Mosques to the solidifying doctrines of the Anti-Unite church. Doukas, on the other hand, is overtly rude Muslims at every opportunity he is given, whispering words of insurrection to the Greeks on every occasion and eventually attempting to escape with the help of a Genoese spy (While it is true he left Ottoman custody, this was actually due to him being ransomed by Thomas Palaiologos of Morea, as part of an agreement between the Despot and the commanders of the Ordusu Rum-eli to avoid any pitched battles of looting in Greece proper). The outlying Greeks, being generally more pious then their cosmopolitan brothers, welcomed the return of their old priests under the new Orthodox structure, and it is stressed how much the (mostly Bulgar) administers toiled to provide them with food from Mehmed's infinite generosity, and the transfer of fresh labor and skilled artisans from western Anatolia to repair their communities (The raiding was, as is common in such cases, downplayed). While only vaguely realized by the locals at the time, this is often considered the first steps in the transformation of Roman Constantinople into Ottoman Islambol, stocking the immediate countryside with loyal Ottoman subjects to quickly re-populate the city once it fell.

The least bias account of the situation inside Constantinople is generally attributed by both Ottoman and Western scholars to Photious Morosini: a middle-aged Naxosi-Venetian merchant who ended up a guest of the Roman Emperor after being trapped in the city by the Ottoman blockade. Often acting as an informal middleman between the Ottoman and Imperial commanders to negotiate temporary cease-fires, prisoner exchanges, and the like, he was considered trustworthy and fair by both, resulting in his his logs At the Deathbed of Antiquity, being widely translated and read among the upper class throughout the continent. The following are a series of exerts from the book.

January, the 1445th year of Our Lord: Despite the defeat, the spirit among the population remains high: the Emperor staging a public parade of icons and rings the bells of the church to fill the air and block out the Mohammedans' droning songs. All believe that their Emperor will not abandon them, and the memory of the enemy's ravaging is still fresh in their minds ...
The words among the guards are slightly less hopeful, missing the stocks of rope and others supplies lost at St. John's and, in whispers, sometimes doubting the wisdom of the sortie against the lost church. Yet even they believe God or the Franks will still prove their savior.

February, the 1445th year of Our Lord: Barricades have been erected across east back of the Lycus; the people their willingly allowing the soldiers to use their boats to escort material from the old city. The Merchants of Genoa still stand loyally by us, singing the praises of His Imperial Majesty and graciously accepting the gold from his treasure for their good, prices low enough to be unheard of in times of major siege...
A Catapult has been assembled on the Forum of Arcadius, smashing two of the Turkish rock-throwers before meeting its own fate.

March, the 1445th year of Our Lord: The Emperor's Consort has begun pleading with the ladies of the city to search abandoned homes from iron vessels, so they might be melted down to forge new arrowheads for the garrision. The people dutifully comply, as the shortages are not severe enough yet that the salvage of the the absent can not yet provide...

April, the 1445th year of Our Lord: The nobility met with the Genoese today, demanding an explanation for the plume of smoke rising up from the shoreline. Their representative, a rotund man in clean white robes: a nigh impossibility among the Romans, claims that a night raid by the Turks set one of their warehouses alight, sending the Azov flour inside up in smoke. A week later, for the first time, the bakeries were unable to open due to lack of bread; a few poor coming out to protest...
Negotiated the return of the bodies of Turkish miners, who's tunnel was discovered and were slain before they could escape. It saddens me that the treasures will almost inevitably be melted down to pay for food.

May, the 1445th year of Our Lord: The Pasha came before the walls today, demanding to see me. I do not feel ashamed to take his company; he is a rough and dusky man, but the savagery of the Turk it war is not as insurmountable as the rumors say. He was not, in fact, a 10 foot tall giant, but barely greater then my own height. I am asked if the Emperor might accept an abandonment of the city, in exchange for free passage for his citizens and goods to the Peloponnese. When I heard that, I could only think back to his pledge to remain, the continues assurances that the soldiers of the Reconquesta would save Christiandom on this side of the Mediterranean just as easily as they did in Iberia. Did he realize what his people were suffering, safe in his palace? Had his royal barge been confiscated for wood with which to build scaffolding? I had to insure the Pasha that it would do no good: never the less, he kindly gave me a robe trimmed in ermine as a gift: his own horsemen providing me safe passage back to The City...

June, the 1445th year of Our Lord: The Genoese smugglers continue to raise their prices in the marketplace. It seems all the gold and silver in the city is slowly flowing into Galata; many families finding even their stews might soon be gone as the garrison is gathering up pots from which to make new weapons. Very little new iron is coming into the city: the Italians will not sell it, but hope is beginning to waver. Indeed, today I saw my first case of open Anti-Uniate services in a makeshift church. I myself pray that the Roman soldiers will not find it...

July, the 1445th year of Our Lord: The Patriarch of Naxos has officially aligned himself with Eugenikos of Salanik. I no longer feel entirely safe within the halls of the Palace, the more radical followers of the Latin rite giving me glares when I see the Emperor or his servants now. Thankfully, they are few in number though: the reverence of the icons in the city starting to lax as they are torn away: no doubt to be bartered to the Italians for whatever can be had. Even young children have been informally organized to salvage now: centuries of wealth being drained away to continue this war...

August, the 1445th year of Our Lord: A stone was thrown at the Emperor as he paraded through the streets that day: a woman raving madly about how he was killing her children with his senseless war. It was a rather nasty bump on the head, and she received a sword in the back as punishment. Yet... I wonder how many more would have done the same if the guards were not around? The common man's face continues to sink: the old working themselves to near-collapse for the sake of the women and children, most of the men already gone...

September, the 1445th year of Our Lord: The front has gone quiet this month, all of the higher-ranking Turks I spoke to in the previous months having seemed to leave the city. In their place, disfavored or minor dignitaries tell me the Pasha and nobles have been called by to Edrine by the Sultan Mehmet, to celebrate his "Engagement". I could barely follow their explanation of the "Harem" system upon which their sovereign takes his wives: a sinful den of polygamy that their Sultan yet now seeks a single favorite from. I recall the name of her father vaguely... brought up occasionally in the Anti-Uniate services as a "Patron of the Church", though as an Aoinos he drinks no wine and can not take a sacrament himself...

October, the 1445th year of Our Lord: It has finally happened; the ships have left the ports of Galata, laden with nearly all of the City's gold. With no more profit to be made, the Genoese merchants and guards have taken their ill-gotten gains back to their capital, allowing the Turk cavalry to occupy the striped-down neighborhood. Their men have ripped down the great chain, opening the Golden Horn to their gallies and cutting off the last routes into the city. Open clashes have broken out between the citizens and the soldiers: demanding that the Roman Navy who has thus far sat cowardly in Eleutherius Harbor attempt to break out. The Emperor himself no longer leaves his palaces much anymore, increasingly only moving at night to avoid the starving mobs demanding peace. I myself have returned to my ship, defended by my crew and a number of locals who depend on me for charity. What a sad day this is...

November, the 1445th year of Our Lord: The hope of the city is gone. The final harvest; stunted wheat and shriveled vegetables, are hardly enough to filled the thousands of starving bellies. None but the army still has their horses left, and the poor have been reduced to roots and rats to keep body and soul together. The Emperor has not made an appearance in weeks; rumors say he's sneaking supplies onto the ships. There is nothing left to do but wait for the end.

December, the 1445th year of Our Lord: It is over. This morning, the Emperor's fleet has sailed out of harbor, the notables of the city in toe. Such a betrayal, I'd imagined there would be more anger, more resistance but... the people here have no strength left to even raise their arms. I can see the white flags going up atop the towers as the purple banners race towards the horizon. The Turks will be in the city soon...

But the foolish John will suffer for his heresy. A reckoning came upon his fleet with the dawn, flying the horsetail standards of the Scourge of God and shouts of "Allah Akbar!" on their lips, as the Ottoman ships swarmed the tight-knits Romans. Gallies crashed, sails were set alight as these boarders cut their ways to the poor imitations of a Praetorian guard. The Marmora ran red and brown, hours upon hours of chaos before, finally, the crowned figure of the Emperor tumbled into the sea; nearly bludgeoned to death by the remains of his ship collapsing around him, surviving only one one of the Muslims fished him from the waves with his spear.

In the Abode of Peace: Mehmed II during the Conquest.

Though often overshadowed by the events on Constantinople's walls and later battlefields, Mehmed II's minority was not without its civil and diplomatic developments. Though his relationship with the major power players had been strengthened by the Divan-i Vizirlier, the size and nomadic character of the Ottoman dominions up to that point meant that wasen't particularly stable. Though not overtly rebellious, the tribal leaders of eastern/inner Anatolia and governors of the far reaches of the Balkans; separated from Edrine by rough terrain with little oversight from the central bureaucracy, continued their practice of skimming a fraction of their taxes for personal use and clashing and scheming in their local power-plays: something Mehmed with his vision of a a more settled Empire wasn't every fond of. So while his Pashas fought and waited out the Romans, he dedicated his time sorting through men of learning: aided greatly by Phouskarnaki and his connections among the monasteries and Islamic schools, to build up a core of loyal Kalfas and Kadis to manage them. Charged with insuring the Jizya and Zakat were collected only so far as was required by the Sacred Law, the Kalfas would be organized with one to each village, with the superior Kadis each managing 20 subordinates and responsible for alerting the sovereign of (excessive) corruption or extortion of the peasantry, providing a visible presence to insure the Empire's subjects that their Sultan was at least interested in trying to prevent their abuse.

Much more important however was the testing of the authority of the Valide Hatun, the Sultan-Mother. As the highest ranking woman within the Ottoman state and with a cloistered husband and underaged son on the throne, Halime Huma held a degree of power unimaginable for a Muslim woman at the time: second only to Phouskarnaki in influence over Mehmed and nearly sovereign over the affairs of the Imperial Harem. Of noble stock herself; her father having been the cousin of Durad II of Zeta, she was particularly concerned with keeping her son away from women of slave or common blood; scheduling Mehmed's visits and maneuvering the residents so the consorts who had the most contact with him were of the highest rank possible, even if he was yet to young for such contact to carry risk. As puberty descended, though, she became increasingly worried that one of the many Circassian or Ukrainian-Cossak beauties might catch his eye, sullying the Imperial bloodline, and so was rushing to establish order in the intrigues for the position of Haseki Sultan. Of particular interest to he were the daughters of Sergios Aoinos; who had entered the Harem following their father's move to Edrine, as their Greek nobility could be traced back as far as the 9th century, and such a marriage would further cement the loyalty of one of the most powerful family's in the region and Ottoman influence over the Anti-Uniate Patriarchate. Of the two of them, the 15 year old Nurbanu was her favorite; being more fertile and closer to her son in age. Sergios, on the other hand, attempted to persuade the Sultan of the virtues of his older daughter Mihrimah; who while more comely was also older and more manipulative, making her difficult to marry off to older, more experienced nobles. It was in September when this conflict finally came to a head; when the sisters ended up physically fighting one another after both tried to set up a "chance meeting" with the Sultan in the same hallway: Mehmed showing great interest in the "catfight". Ordering the Eunuch guards to stand aside as the two wrestled, the Sultan watched for several minutes before Nurbanu finally pinned Mihrimah. It was this that finally gave Halime the ammunition she needed, convincing her son that Nurbanu had proven her love and getting Mehmed to declare her his "First Consort" on the 19th. Interestingly enough, however, he did not insist upon her conversion to Islam a per-request, as would later become the custom among the Ottoman Padishahs. While shocking to most modern Muslims, one must remember that the Dhimmi had a great deal more power at the Empire's core during the 15th century then it would later enjoy, particularly in Selnik with the rise of the Anti-Uniate church.

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The increasing influence of Halime could also be seen on the diplomatic front, as she began playing up her blood-ties to the noble houses of Serbia and reminding her son that, he too, had a claim to that land. With this connection, Mehmed was able his agents: Serb subjects of Macedonia, into the country to start piecing together genealogical and legal claims for himself in the region. Of particular interest to him was the small region of Kosovo which; while fairly infertile, was home to one of the largest concentrations of gold mines in eastern Europe. Lacking a dependable source of bullion in his own domains, Mehmed felt he couldn't truly be the greatest among Islam's sovereigns if his sacred right to mint coins depended on metal mined in the Darulhab and hoped to gain Kosovo for his own.



The diplomatic front also saw a mission to the Crimean Khanate; under the leadership of Cihangir Piyale, acting as a permenant ambassador to Haji Giray; co-ordinating the Ottoman's and Giray's mutual interests against the Genoese, peace for Muslim merchants in the Black Sea, and, after the fall of Constantinople, setting up a new pattern of trade of slaves and cattle to the new Imperial capital and smoothing the transition from Genoese merchants carrying the goods to Venetian and Islamic ones, beginning the long-term "Special Relationship" between the Crimeans and Ottomans. Though not particularly powerful or wealthy, the Giray family possessed something that the Osmangula could only dream of: noble blood, having been descended from one of the three great fonts of legitmacy: Genghis Khan. As the Sunni Remnant of the great Mongol Empire, the Crimeans reminded the Ottomans of their great past, and their strategic position on the northern Steppes acted as a a shield against potential naval threats on Constantinople from the less easily protected North. Meanwhile, the every-hungry and wealthier Empire provided the Khans with an outlet for their booty, as well as support for the country in the face of the cronic instability of the traditions of the steppe hordes and the conventional strength of the Lithuanians and Poles.



 
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Rome ends, the shattered shell of a once great thing.
 

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(My apologies for the delay. Chp. II is finally complete, so be sure to check up on the updated version. So this dosen't come across as just a bump, please enjoy this pre-veiw of Chp. III)

Chp. III: Islambol, not Kostantiniye

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Though the city had surrendered on Dec. 10th, the formal end to the Islambol'un Fethi did not take place until January 14th, 1446 A.D/ Shawwal 16th, 849, to allow for the recovery of the captured emperor for his near-drowning in the Marmara and to allow time for the Sultan to travel to Kostantiniye to tour his new city and formally treat for terms with the surrendering Romans. Arriving with his entourage on January 8th, Sultan Mehmed entered a shell of a city devastated by looting and months of desperate salvage, vacated by starvation and the marching of much of the city's surrendering population to the slave markets. Only 6,000 of the city's original inhabitants remained; mostly women and old men, who'd either come into the service of the Ordusu Suvarileri as washerwomen, cooks and the like, or were identified by the previously-expelled Muslim inhabitants as friends or strong Anti-Uniates. Flanked by the Şeyḫülislām to his right and Ecumenical Patriarch to his left, Mehmed's first stop was the baslica of Hagia Sophia, where he famously stopped before the entrance and "Removing his sandles and turban, knelt to the ground and seized a handful of sand, which he poured over his bare head as a sign of humility before the earthly house of God". As one of the few sacred sites not yet ransacked (having been Emperor John's church), the splendor of the interior placed nearly all the Turks who stepped inside under its spell; frozen with awe at this work of the great Justinian. So impressed was Mehmed by this visit that he would order its conversion its transformation into the Ottoman Imperial Mosque; a task which lead to the impressively hasty removal of the bells and crosses and the erection of a temporary pulpit and prayer mats to be ready in time for friday prayers.

More controversial was his demand to have the mosaic "Icons" depicting humans covered by thick curtains, with plans to remove/plaster over them later and have them replaced by acceptable Islamic imagery, which offended the sensibilities of some of the more traditional Orthodox within the city, though it is believed this decision was heavily insisted upon by both Georgious Phouskarnaki and John Eugenikos; both of whom insisted on enforcing the offical Anti-Uniate line that Iconography was "A sinful violation of the 2nd Commandment, and as sign of the barbarity and arrogance of Romanism). The great statue of the Emperor Justinian in the courtyard, however, was allowed to remain; the Sultan ordering that the works and memory of the "Great Emperor of the Romans" be respected. Despite his piety, Mehmed held a great deal of respect for the Emperors of Rome, seeing them as the previous peaks of civilization: though, just as the Word of Mohammed had superseded with Word of Jesus, he had divine assurance that his Empire would surpass even that of Augustus, but still sought to learn from their examples. As part of his immediate reforms of the city, he had his troops gather up every book and scroll in the city they could find in the city and have them stored in the security of the city's ancient Byzantium acropolis, having Phouskarnaki lead a team of scribes and scholars to begin writing a definitive history of the "Great Emperors of the East"; Constantine, Leo III, Justinian, and others, hoping to distill a model of proper behavior for an emperor of the region.

In violation of established Turkmen tradition: where the vanquished would be brought to the victor's capital to discuss terms, John VIII would be allowed to make his petitions from atop his throne in the Palace of Blachernae; albeit under the eyes and blades of ethnically Greek Janissary "escorts" as opposed to any soldiers of his own. While much of the initial discussion was done behind closed doors; with only loyal eunichs and sworn religious leaders accompanying the royal families and the Roman Emperor's personal physician (who needed to keep a close watch during the earily stages of his recovery), accounts from both Ottoman and Greek notables attended the public ceremonies show the two emperors kept a great deal of cordiality; the boy-Sultan respecting the Emperor as a fell sovereign and elder statesmen and, newly married, sympathetic to the Palaioglogos' sadness at the lose of his wife. When brought to question as to why he had not taken personal command of his troops, John responded that "That he could no longer call upon the spirit to inspire his men; having resigned himself to God's judgement after having taken his beloved Maria from him, seeking nothing more than a chance to repent for his sinful nature so he might join her in heaven". In addition, his armies had not been entirely shattered; his brother Thomas still commanding a stronghold and army 7,000 men strong in Morea, and the city of Athens had not yet been reduced, leaving the Romans with some negotiating power: especially since Mehmed desired to begin his re-construction of Constantinople and taxing the Bosporus trade as soon as possible.

The widely known portion of the peace was very simple; Mehmed "graciously" presenting safe passage from the city for the Emperor, those subjects who wished it, and their portable goods in exchange for forfeiting control of the city and renouncing his Catholicism, with the "Palaioglogos Kingdom" being allowed to remain as a Orthodox/Anti-Uniate state in southern Greece. These terms, when presented to the Romans, were accepted in a pre-planned ceremony attended by the Ottoman and Roman courts, as well as dignitaries from the Anatolian Beys, Venice, Crimea, Theodora, and whatever Western traders could be gathered up from the nearby ports as "Honored Guests". Hoping to demonstrate the extent of his power and overawe Europe, however, Mehmed had insisted on another secret condition, made clear when the John, stepping off his his throne, knelled before the Patriarch and declared that as punishment for abandoning God to Popish heresy, he himself had been abandoned and was no longer fit to be called the Roman Emperor. Renouncing the Imperial Regalia, he asked the Patriarch to "give this burden to the most noble Christian present", to which John Eugenikos walked over to the Sultan's side and placed the crown atop Nurbanu Aoinos, declaring her the Rightful Empress of the Romans in the eyes of the True Church and God. The response was one of both joy and confusion on the part of the Haseki Sultan and onlookers; everybody having expected the Sultan to claim the title of Roman Emperor himself. The Sultana's response was "Frozen in place, all the vigor in her body rushing to her face at the unimaginable honor, yet like a dutiful wife stepped forward at her husband's word, curtsying to accept the crown as Mehmed placed the bejeweled vestments around her neck and golden scepter in her hands; reminding the world under who's power she was, before escorting her up to the Caesar's seat, gently guiding her to seat to the joyous cries of Greek and Mohammedan alike".


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Nurbanu I of the House of Aoinos , Eusebestatē Basilissa of the Romans, Kaisarissa of the Ecumenical Orthodox Church, Haseki Sultanefendi to His Sacred and Imperial Majesty, Padishah Mehmed II of the House of Osman


Outside the pageantry of the palaces and highest temples, the city remained little more than an impoverished and depopulated shell. While costly in the short term, this provided Mehmed with ample opportunity to place his mark on the future Imperial city and reform it to his vision of an Islamic metropolis. The most obvious of these changes were the large-scale building projects ordered both to provide the infrastructure needed for Ottoman immigrants to continue their usual lives and restore the city's position as a center of commerce and production.
 
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An important step to higher and mightier things.
 

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After reviewing some other AAR's for advice on format, I've discovered my writing might be a bit "Wall of text"-y. As I continue to write Chp. III, I've realized this is a problem of me trying to cram in a lot of nuance/background detail.

As such, for the sake of readability, I'm wondering if it would be better to have separate entries for " fluff" (For example, the details of how Byzantine Constaniople was rebuilt as Ottoman Islambol) and actual gameplay content, as combined my chp. 3 is already above 2,000 words.
 

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Sometimes it is a good idea to break up an update. Not just for your readers, but for yourself as well.
 

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I don't necessarily mind a wall of text, per se, although if it's large I'll have to put it on backburner sometimes due to time, but the most important thing--for me, both as a writer and reader--is that there are well-placed and relevant images: screenshots or historical works related to what you're writing, to break the text wall and provide a visual. That, in of itself, helps break the "text wall." 2000 words of just words, I read books and magazines for that. :p 2000 words with well placed pictures every 3 or 4 paragraphs, I find makes this go by a lot easier--and it's nice to break the text with a picture for the eyes too.
 

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JerseyGiants88 takes a sort of hybrid approach to his Florence game. He has a gameplay update where he provides a history-book summary of events, then he writes up "historical vignettes" following characters in a narrative or primary sources.
 

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Quick Announcement: My apologies for allowing this tale to lapse. A combination of Paradox burnout, personal issues/Holidays, and nit-picking in dealing with how to justify a change in a key part of the map (Albania) from the update mid-narrative ended up throwing me off. Now that I've managed to get the new DLC and recover, however, I plan on reviving A Dream Come True. After editing my earlier posts to conform to the events/naming shifts of the new play-through, expect the next update (Vignette I: Grasping the Apple) within 24 hours.
 

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  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
Looking forward to it.
 

volksmarschall

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Nov 29, 2008
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  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Victoria 2
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
Well, nice for the note and looking forward to your new update. :)