Grandest Lan 2023! Info and newsfeed

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Grandest Lan 2023 is here!

Since 2017, EUIV The Grandest Lan Party events have introduced completely new ways of playing EUIV. Together, almost 100 LAN participants will forge their great stories all under one roof.
This Lan consists of multiple nations lead by a team of 2-3 people, these players will work together to gather espionage and enact diplomacy with other teams, keep their nations running smoothly, and work towards their goals. This is not a competitive event! There will be no losers or winners.

More info on the event itself here:

And for those who couldn't make it, this event will be streamed live to the world! In addition to the PDX livestream, we'll also be updating this forum post as well as our Newsfeed on Discord with the latest LAN developments. We hope you enjoy!

Resources Header.png

Watch our stream live on (The Game begins 19:30 CET):
EDIT: The event has finished, but you can watch the VODs here:

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

Get live updates through Skanderbeg here
See what the players are roleplaying this year here

Starting Nations:
Player Map.png





The Knights


Livonian Order







Commander Swift



Three Leagues
da blak mon/camowns




The Papal State






Teutonic Order






updates header.png

Day 1 (Nov 17th)
Update 0: Teams are getting organized and Prep for the game is beginning.
The live stream will begin shortly before the game at 19:30 CET

Update 1: The Stream is now live!

Update 2: In a noteworthy turn of events, Provence, the picturesque region in southeastern France, has issued an urgent plea for assistance from France as tensions with England surge. The escalation of disputes and rising hostilities has prompted Provence to request diplomatic and potentially military support from France, seeking to ensure regional stability and security.

Update 3: The small nation of Kildare has fallen to the might of Wales!
The team playing Kildare will now take part in an assembly to choose a new nation to play.

Armenia has been chosen!

Update 4: Navara has decided they want a bit of Ireland >: D

Update 5: Gotland has declared a unification war on Denmark!

Update 6: It seems Gotland is now being invaded by denmark

Update 7: Granada has successfully formed Andulsia

Update 8: A large player war featuring The Papal states, Ferrara, Bavaria and more has erupted.

Update 9: Snakey Moldovia

Update 10: Ferrara has fallen and will be relocating to Gilan (Northern Persia)

Update 11: Gotland is now eliminated and is relocating into newly spawned Fars
Update 12: The wars in Italy continue! The three leagues is declaring war on Milan (AI) who is under the protection of the Papal States (Player)

If you are curious what our player treaties board looks like:

Update 13: Tver has become Catholic, and is expanding North of Muscovy. Possibly trying to form Russia?

Some interesting stats to share at the time of writing!
- The Province of Hamburg has reached 50 devlopement
- Zaporozhie is at 200k Unit kills! More than any other player nation in the game

Update 15: Three Leagues has formed Switzerland

Update 16: Spain was balkanized and now features 9 different tags

Some Day 1 Stats!
- Bavaria invested the most money into building, with its total buildings value being at 3700
- The Papal States is by far the richest, with an income of 41 ducats/month
- The biggest country in terms of area is Zaporozhie, with roughly 2.8mln km^2 in area
- Hamburg has the most ideas, at 10

And a final image for Day 1:

End of Day 1, Player Map Mode:

Day 2 (Nov 18th)
Day 2 has begun!

Update 1: The Islamic Nations have decided to form the Holy Islamic Empire soon. Possibility of new nations joining them. HRE won’t be happy.

Update 2: Treaty board is going wild right now. Provence and Hamburg are lingering...What could they plotting?


Update 3: The previously Catholic nation of Provence appears to have shunned it's loyalty to the Pope and converted to...

This latest addition to the Holy Islamic Empire is easily the most scandalous so far.

Update 4: Morocco has declared themselves Emperor of The Holy Islamic Empire during the latest Parliament Assembly!


During this assembly, also the matter of Swiss vs Bavarians was settled by sword duel!



Bavaria was victorious and the claims of oath breaking has been dismissed. Bavaria had a defensive pact with the Papal State and claimed the Swiss brought wrath upon themselves by a much too aggressive expansion in the provinces of former Austria.
Also, King Arthur returned successful with the Holy Grail. Pomerania was appointed keepers of the grail!


Holland has posted a proclamation of affection. "Holland Doth Declare that the pope's existence makes even the angels above question their perfection"

Update 5: Representatives of all religions are about to gather to a meeting called by Merlin to try and sow peace in this holy war.

Update 6: Bavaria has turned... Shinto!?

Update 7: Jerusalem has formed!

Update 8: The pope has lost the great holy war!

Update 9: With the fall of the papal states. The Papal players have undersably left their stations (For now >: D)

Interesting fact time! At the time of writing (Day 2 13:23 CET):
• Total player income: 910 Ducats
• Bavaria will soon catch up to Ming in terms of buildings value! 14300 vs 10900
• Bavaria is at 160 dev clicks, so 30% of their dev comes from deving

Update 10: War in northern europe rages on. 1513 and we already see some classic big MP battles

Update 11: A great assembly has been held! The house of lords will gather and discuss ongoings
House of lords.jpg

Update 12: Bavaria is demanding the Pope puts an end to the bloodshed
Bavaria Pope.jpg

Update 13: Hamburg has proposed a ban on Naval ideas

Update 13.1: Naval ideas were not Banned. Naval idea enjoyers rejoice.

Update 14: "Navarra shall be Norse!" Is Declared

Update 15: The snakey shape of Zaporozhie is under debate at the assembly. After fierce debate between the sides of "Let the snake be" or "Cut the snake!", cutting has won out.

Update 16: Avalon had decreed that Korea must be converted to the Catholic faith

Update 17: Parliament has now closed!

Update 18: Player map mode as of 15:30 CET!

Update 19: The Knights are now... Sunni

Update 20: Zaporozhie has formed Poland and intends to create an umatched horse army

Update 21: In the Grandest Lan Oathbreakers are those reneged on their sworn promises, and as a result are viewed with suspicion and disdain. Mornings have been Declared Oathbreakers! (No one likes waking up in the morning anyway)

Update(?) 22: What FlorryWorry does when he is not casting the Grandest Lan:
Burger Florry.jpg

Update 23: Andalusia has announced there will soon be a playable Serbia colony in Brazil, They have also declared they will not conquer lands outside the Iberia in Europe.

Update 24: Britanny has formed Quebec (Old Brittany lands are now owned by France)

Update 25: Tver has formed Russia!

Update 26: Navarra Iceland lets goooo!!

Update 27: There are whispers that and holy Alliance of Northern Protestants and Catholics are forming against Shinto...

Update 28: Map of Europe 1543 (left), Old world player map (right)
Update 29: One of the largest battle we have seen so far! And a very large war in eastern Europe.

Update 30: Bavaria and Nitra have lost the war, and as a result, Nitra will no longer be Shinto.

Update 31: Player Map Mode as of 20:00 CET

Update 32: A dark day... France has Declared war on Bavaria while Bavaria was in an interview on stream!

Update 33: (AE is just a number). With 635 Aggressive Expansion, France now faces a large coalition against them.

Update 34: Another very large battle, this time in Western Europe on the borders of France in the war of France/Saxony

Update 35: After heavy fighting France has managed to secure a pyrrhic victory! Some stats on the war:

- Switzerland managed to pull off 4 stackwipes, coming up at 80k troops stackwiped total.
Order of casualties taken, France 550k, Hansa at 330k, Livonia at 260k
- The biggest battle had 800k troops!
- Switzerland managed to kill 600k troops, and lose around 220k, meaning they had about 3:1 K/D ratio
- Interestingly, the defenders seem to have struggled with attrition, attrition made for 36% of their total casualties taken in the war, compared to 23% for the attackers

Update 36: A war between the mighty player nations of Miao and Poland has broken out.
The Polish hussars are stand strong in the mountains!

Update 37: While Polands troops are occupied in the east... Russian forces invade from the north.

Update 38: Curia controller Qubec

Update 39: 1572 map of Eurasia!

Update 40: Nitra and Saxony have initiated a series of in-game "humiliation duels" - eleven 1k stacks of infantry will go up each other (Generals allowed), the loser has to rename their capital to "[opponent] country is the best

Update 41: Miao has won in the war with Poland! (See update 36)

Update 42: "The great content war" has begun!
Declare Letter.jpg

Letter reads: "With the permission of the great states of France And Andulusia, we, Switzerland, Request the deletion/forgiveness of (at least some) of our debts that occurred during the french saxony death war.This will ensure our contribution to make the Humiliation war, aka, THE GREAT CONTENT WAR much Greater"

Update 43: Some Final Stats as we wrap up Day 2!

- Players now have a combined 3600 income, of which Hansa makes for nearly 1/7th, at over 500
- Tuscany is the most built up nation with each of their province having 18 development on average and 825 ducats in buildings value
- Hansa managed to become a pinnacle of progress and innovation.. by reaching 100 innovativeness!
- The dividends on Poland's rulers are still paying, as they are still at the top of the list of countries by mana generation
- Players have breached 6000 dev clicks, and 2200 development, which means that by now, roughly one third of each player country is made from developing on average.
- We are at 22.5mln player casualties combined!
- Andalusia and France are fiercely competing for the highest manpower counts, with both having roughly 220k, and Andalusia narrowly managing to take the edge

Player map end of day 2:

Day 3 (Nov 19th)

Update 1:
The third days kick off with an assembly in parliament where a number of matters were settled:
- First order of business is King Arthur declaring that the Holy Grail has been stolen! Expeditions will be launched to recover it
- Mongolia and Russia settled their differences and are now the best of friends
- The Parliament votes on whether Aggressive should remain unchanged or removed altogether. It is decided to let it remain unchanged.
- The Pope has been declared the patriarch of both the Catholic and the Coptic faith
- The first order of business for the newly appointed patriarch is to crown an Emperor of the Catholic Mongol Empire

- Last but not least: the matter of who's best, cats or dogs, is debated and voted on. Following persuasive arguments from both Big Miao and Lord Nuff Nuff of Pomerania the matter is decided in favor of cats. The hall erupts in approving meows.

Update 2:
On the coasts of Western North America we can see some... interesting faces

From north to south: Armenia, Saxony, Netherlands, Venezuela, Morocco.

Update 3: Map of Europe, 1609:

Update 4: A Large player war of the waves has begun!

Update 5: Russia has declared "war" on Mongolia (Formerly Poland). This "war" involves a lot of standing at the border staring at their enemies.

Update 6: A former spymaster of King Arthur's Court, Morgana has stolen the Holy Grail and is holding it in her evil new world Lair! Only with the combined forces of good can the grail be taken back and morgana's dark powers be vanquished!


Update 7: Jerusulum has converted to Coptic and become the New Zealots!

Update 8: Eranshahar has declared on the two Miao's. But the real news here is that there are 2 Miao's and one of them is SIamese Miao :3

Update 9: Texas has been formed by Morroco! "Hell YEAH" - Florry

Update 10: Stonehenge has been moved to it's Rightful home of Paris.

Update 11: Switzerland and Bavaria are engaged in a brutal war! Although the swiss suffered a substantial stack wipe, they have quickly rebuilt their mercenaries.

Update 12: Player map mode as of 18:00 CET!

Update 13: A word from The Lan game masters:
In the grand arena of the Grandest Lanparty, where nations rise and fall in the digital realm of Europa Universalis IV, the spirit of good sportsmanship shines as brightly as any conquering empire. It is a testament to the camaraderie and sportsmanship that define this incredible event.

In a heartwarming display of unity and fairness, all participating teams recently came together to sign a pact that showcased the true essence of sportsmanship. They collectively decided to grant another team the opportunity to control the formidable nation of Brazil, allowing for a more balanced and competitive experience.

This act of generosity and camaraderie exemplifies the ethos of the Grandest Lanparty—a celebration of both fierce competition and mutual respect. It's a reminder that, beyond the strategies and battles, it is the friendships forged and the shared love for the game that make this event truly grand.


Update 14: FlorryWorry has joined the game officially in the province of Dragonville. Serving as the evil Morgana Le Fey's Marshal (See update 6). Will the world survive?

Update 15: In a great betrayal, "Florry's Ponies" have turned against Florry to fight with King Arthur!

Update 16: The Ponies have seen the error of their ways, and have joined team Florry and Morgana! (Green)

Update 17: Morgana's Armies lead by Florry have successfully invaded King Arthurs court on Avalon! The forces of Morgana reign!


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Day 2 stream is starting in just a few minutes if people want to tune in :)

Who are the streamers / commentators? Do they do eu4 streaming or videos normally?

We have four this year. Two streamers: Florry and @Enigmaticrose4 (also Prison Architect community ambassador). Then there is Mathieu/The French Paradox (former EU dev, currently working on HOI) and myself. We're mixing up casting pairs this year so it's a lucky dip who you'll see when you tune in.
Why is this using a mod?
Firstly, for RP; the mod can enhance that aspect by adding some cool events, rewards for 'quests' (done irl in castle)
Secondly, just organizational aspect. Usually MP groups would do all sorts of save edits inbetween sessions.
Last year, we were doing them kind of whenever needed, but in the context of a LAN environment, it means halting the game for some time, which ideally needs to be avoided
Hence a mod, which allows doing some save edits(say, to preare a country for a player being reseeded on it) without ever stopping the game.
Is there going to be another update to address the huge amount of bugs left over in the latest patch?
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Well, I promised it: Theodoro's AAR of the Grandest Lan, forward and Chapter 1

As a note, if a text is listed as being from another state's archives, it is a quote (though usually paraphrased to make it fit the style) from one of the other players of the Grandest Lan.

Fortress of Orthodoxy: A History of the Gothic Principality in the Revival Period, 1444-1675

By Sigeric Monaphylatzes, University of Gotha Press, 1866

Introduction and Foreword

This history cannot necessarily capture all the events, characters and twists of the period, but only what this humble scholar of the early modern period can find in the records of our great Gothic Kingdom and her allies. While these archives can be quite detailed, unusually interesting or otherwise engaging, they have inherent limits. First, none of the peoples of this time were accustomed to having constant minutes or transcripts taken, and so any quotes must be either recollections or probable reconstructions of what was truly said.

Second, the Gothic Kingdom of this age simply had a very limited scope of its diplomacy for much of time period this history covers. While events may have influenced it by proxy from Europe or Asia, in many cases the Kingdom simply did not take an interest in these far off happenings or record more than vague rumors from their representatives at the Avalon Court when such matters were presented. Indeed, the Kingdom engaged very little with the Court, making few speeches or announcements and voting rarely and quietly on their own interests.

Third, many names have not survived. In these cases, what is instead often recorded is what I have called a “typonym”, a stereotypical member of these nations used as a template for referring to them, for these typonyms are common personality types in the nations to which the histories refer, it seems.

Fourth, while the official titles of these states are often known, they may not be what those states called themselves or preferred to be called. Despite being required by law to sign “Theodoro” in its treaties, our great nation often referred to itself as the Gothic Kingdom or Gothic Principality, a matter which I shall cover the implications of shortly. Still, this often means that the exact titles by which I refer to a state may change.

With these warnings in mind I hope to write a history which, while perhaps not approaching the quality of the great writings of our discipline’s founder, Herodotus, shall at least avoid his title as Father of Lies. Without further ado then, let us launch into the histories.

Chapter 1: 1443-1449 Ambition in the Reign of Alexius I

The Gothic Kingdom, our kingdom, was not even called as such for much of its history. In 1444, it was simply the two provinces of the Duchy of Theodoro, a former province of the Byzantine Empire which had survived the Ottoman advances by distance and fortune. It referred to itself as the Gothic Principality or Gothic Kingdom of Theodoro, direly aware of its status as the last bastion of Gothic culture.

Another cultural wave was also sweeping the zeitgeist of Theodoro: religious fears. Rumors had reached the court that the Livonian Order sought to form a bloc of all Catholics, who would agree not to fight each other and to act as one against “heathens” and “heretics”. A proud people, the Goths had already decided to refuse conversion in any but the most dire circumstances of their own survival, and were both shocked and anxious at the thought of renewed ages of crusade and Jihad.

This had two outcomes in the culture of the state, especially its diplomatic culture: anti-catholicism, and secularization. While the Orthodox religion remained important, the government now focused on splitting off Catholic nations through diplomacy and promoting an attitude of machiavellian realpolitik. While a true Catholic League never organized, preventing one remained a serious policy goal through the early 1500s, and a deep concern to the very end of the Restoration period.

Why do I refer to this period as the Restoration? Because the state was very aware that if it did not restore itself to power, and quickly, it faced utter extinction. Well aware of its status as the edge of Orthodoxy, the final home of Goths, the Principality had developed a fortress mentality. This is not to say that it was wildly militarist. Indeed, the key part of its strategy was in marrying an extremely skilled and qualitatively superior army with cunning diplomacy, forming a web of alliances with nations which it could push to its ends, while also maintaining at least passible relations with as many other nations as possible. While it did not always succeed at this latter goal, the spirit of the spiderweb fortress remained throughout the period. This also led to a strong honor culture in the diplomatic corps, namely that Theodoro endeavored never to lie, and absolutely refused either to break treaties which it had signed, or to request that others do so, though it did at times skirt the line of this through legalism and loopholes, such as in the Tripartite War of the 1540s.

Alexius I has often been called a martyr, a warrior king, and even a Saint of the Orthodox faith. In truth, I feel his reputation is overstated. His younger brother, the Orthodox Patriarch of Theodoro Leontius Gavras, was both the primary diplomat of the period and the regent for his son. Alexius died in 1449, and the regency and expansion under his son that are his major legacy, in truth have very little to attribute to him. Indeed, with his son only at the age of five when he died, the young future Prince Manuel of Gothia was more influenced by the tutelage of his uncle than of his father. What Alexius did establish was the very basis of the restoration period: The Triple Alliance.

There were two founding events of this period, which would set the tone of relations for the following two centuries. The first meetings with the Moldavians, and the emergence of the Zaporozhian Rada.

The first appearance of the Moldavian Vovoide was in 1443, when an envoy of the Moldavians named Felix Movilești arrived at the Avalonian court. Leontius wrote

This Moldavian, Felix, was tall, red of beard and quite imposing. He sat where I played cards and made merry with a general of the Irish, Tomás Gallagher, and began to ask after an alliance with my Prince and what Theodoro could do for Moldavia. His manner was so direct and his questions so sharp, I felt compelled to dissemble for fear that he would gain some advantage over us by a hasty reply. Instead, he noted that our lack of strong answers would be remembered, and left me to my merrymaking, leaving me troubled, though not for long in the face of Irish hospitality.

The general ill-feeling toward Moldavians continued for a few months before the Vovoide himself brought Alexius and Leontius to his court and spoke of alliances, where a very different side of the Moldavians unfolded.

The King of the Moldavians, this Stefan Musat, took us into a great room where many crowns, swords and other treasures were displayed, and coins of many countries, and bid Alexius choose from among them a crown which most fit his taste. After studying the crowns for a moment, Alexius placed upon his own head one which he favored, and the Vovoide told him to take it and have it for himself and his descendents. He then pressed into our hands a pair of coins from distant Cathay, which he said would mark out a sign of our long friendship.

In truth I left this meeting both overwhelmed with the friendliness and the wealth of the Moldavians, and felt there could be no closer friends nor more generous.

In turn, a courtier of the Moldavians, unnamed but likely one of the dynasties along the Carpathian mountain borders who would have been known to the Goths as a Westeraz would write of the visiting Goths

I felt from the very beginning that these Goths could be trusted as an ally and trusted in their honor in diplomatic negotiations.

The emergence of the Zaporozhian Rada threatened to herald Cossack invasions into Crimea, and so the state sought alliances with their former lieges, the Byzantine rump emperor Ioannes VIII Palaiologos in Constantinople, and the Vovoide of Moldavia, Stefan II Musat. The three powers agreed in principle, though no document was signed, to support each others interests and that the Zaporozians and Wallachians could be added to an official treaty if the two powers which bordered them agreed to allow them entry. This unnamed and indeed, unsigned treaty would still affect Theodoro’s diplomacy for centuries to come. This was the closest the state would ever come to friendly relations with the Byzantine and later Latin Empire.

The further aims of Gothic diplomacy were coalitions, not alliances: Forming a coalition which would allow them to seize the territory of Genoa, Georgia, Circassia and Crimea in their region. Alexius’ plan had been to align the nation with either Circassia or Georgia, and use their aid to seize the territory of the other, before turning on their former coalition partners. To deal with Genoa, a partner would need to be found in both the Aegean and in Italy, interested in seizing Genoan lands in those regions while the Goths pursued the Genoese territory in Crimea. Finally, the Crimean Khanate would be confronted with a strong alliance and with the nation strengthened by its gains.

This aim was pursued by Leontius, approaching envoys of allied powers in Italy to discuss partitioning Genoa. While the records of these meetings, and even the exact powers involved, are now lost, it is this author’s opinion that the likely partners were either Ferrara, the Three Leagues, or Provence. Unfortunately, the records of these meetings were lost to the sands of time, and indeed, they represent the general lack of interest in affairs beyond the Balkans or Eastern Mediterranean in the Gothic state of this time, that the exact identity of their collaborators in the west were not even of note to their archivists. The other member of this coalition was the King of the Crusader State of Cyprus, Jean de Lusignan. This was also a vitally important relationship, though the Goths could not know it at the time. While Leontius only offered an alliance to seize the islands of the Aegean and the Crimean lands of Genoa before parting ways, the diary of the Cypriot envoy, Dominicus de Ibelin, was more telling.

In the beginning it took much convincing of the Theodorans to even make them consider alliance with us. I knew in my heart that it was vital to have the Goths as an ally, at least for the near future. May the Lord God forgive me, for I was a little proud to convince them, because the strategy which they proposed in the beginning seemed sound and set in stone.

This Dominicus de Ibelin would go on to become one of those typonyms of which I spoke: A cunning diplomat, though one who often was seen as a possible wild card, and a man of straightforwardness.

These plans, however, broke down nearly immediately. The Circassians immediately declared themselves as tributaries of the Great Horde to the east, a foe far stronger than the Goths could possibly face alone. The Khanate of Crimea allied itself with the Khanate of Kazan to the north, and all three of the Georgians, Circassians and Crimeans declared Theodoro to be their rivals. The mood in the court was despondent and resigned. Alexius himself told Leontius privately, as recorded in Leontius’ journals.

This whole affair was one of extreme peril, and Alexius mentioned that he felt that two times out of three that the Kingdom would be lost and that everything had been ordained against us.

I responded to him that our course was set: We could not survive as we were now, and we would either live in glory, or die in it.

Hope arrived with the first envoys of the Zaporozhian Rada, Kaspar Lanckoroński. A private meeting followed, which Leontius records in his diaries.

So rolling out a map upon the table I asked the Cossack envoy to indicate on the map which lands his Hetman had expressed an interest in acquiring around the Black Sea, privately praying and fearing that he might demand lands of Crimea or around the Azov sea.

As quickly and cooly as he breathed he replied that his Hetman had dispatched him to seek the lands up to the state of Azov and no further, and that he had been allowed to promise that the Zaporozhians would not seek entry to Crimea and indeed, wished to seek an alliance with us.

At once, my fears lifted as if the hand of god had plucked them from my shoulders. I exclaimed that this was exactly what we had planned to offer them, and that any relationship which started with such serendipity could only be ordained by God himself.

We agreed that I should go and meet with the Hetman and his court at Krivoi Rog, and I immediately set about packing for the journey.

This journey though, was spoiled by the collapse of the planned Triple Alliance over a miscommunication. Leontius had sent his deputy, Ioulos Amalricaritzes, to represent the Kingdom at the Treaty of Constantinople, where the Byzantines had gathered representatives from all the nations of the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean to divide the lands of the Ottomans between them and to commit to a coalition war against them. The deputy of the Moldavian Vovoide, a man unfortunately only recorded by the typonym of “the Westeraz”, was undercut in his negotiations against the Wallachian claims by the Byzantine negotiator. Unfortunately, this was not passed on by Ioulos, who had signed before departing without watching the remaining negotiations, and instead a letter was received from Felix Movilești which conveyed the tale to Leontius as he went to the court of the Zaporozhians. Unknown to him, the Wallachians and Byzantines had then negotiated a defensive alliance between the three which resolved all concerns, but this was not sent onward to Leontius, and thus he could not know that the situation had been resolved.

With this miscommunication, he was convinced that the alliance between the Zaporozhians, Moldavians and Goths would be required to protect themselves from the West, and that the Byzantines could not be trusted. Indeed, this feeling would persist in Gothic memory long after the issues of the Treaty of Constantinople had concluded.

Leontius met with the Zaporzhians, and both sides seemed to warm immediately. He told them of the failure of the Triple Alliance, and the betrayal of the Byzantines, and suggested a strong alliance, which the Zaporozhians immediately accepted. The Zaporozhian Hetman, Benedict Prymyslid, also told Leontius the most closely held desire of the Zaporozhians: That they sought to take the title of Mongol Khan again, and to hold the whole steppe as their lands. To do this, they would need an ally or vassal which held Persia, and so they proposed to aid the Goths in expansion into Persia, to the very borders of the Indus. The two sides split territories and signed a pact in the gatehouse wardroom of the castle at Krivoi Rog, the Gatehouse Pact, which bound Moldavia, Theodoro and Zaporizhia to mutual defense and to inform its allies of any offensive attacks before launching them, and to aid the others where they could.

The Zaporozhians record the thoughts of Kaspar Lanckoroński about this meeting.

Before we had met them, I had thought the Goths were rather active and quite interested in diplomacy. If anything, I expected them to be more ruthless and expansionistic, already having some plans for the region. But this was not the case, to our lasting joy.

Before his death, Alexius would begin the alliance with Zaporozhia by joining them in a war against Poland, beginning on the 19th of July, 1448. Theodoro was not required to send troops, but declared war in solidarity. This was not expected to be any great concern, with Zaporzhia having brought Muscovy, Moldavia, and no small number of Russian vassals of Muscovy against Poland and Lithuania already involved in a war with Hungary. However, within the first week of the war, the armies of Poland entered the country through Zaporozhian lands without fighting and engaged the army at the gates of the city of Theodoro itself.

Unfortunately, Alexius would not live to see the fulfillment of any of his plans. On October 6th, 1449 the Poles arrived outside the gates of Theodoro with an army of twenty thousand men, engaging the Gothic army in battle. Alexius died in battle at the gates of Theodoro along with all 8000 of the men of the Gothic army. His son and brother fled the city, leaving the regency of his young son Manuel Olubei to Leontius and Theodoro in the hands of foreign invaders with no army to defend itself. Things seemed dire for the Goths.​
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Chapter 2: 1449-1465: The Leontine Regency

Legally, the Regent was not allowed to declare wars. The first two wars of the period for Theodoro were thus both wars they did not declare. This does not mean, though, that the war did not affect the Goths. Manuel Olobei’s father was killed in 1449, just before his 6th birthday, and the court and his uncle and regent were forced to flee to the Zaporozhian capital of Krivoi Rog. There Leontius begged the Zaporozhians to return and liberate the country from the Poles. This period influenced the young Manuel, as well as Theodoran relations with the Zaporozhians for the rest of the period. The Zaporozhians returned, freeing Theodoro, and privately noted the great sacrifices the Theodorans had made to honorably uphold their alliances and stick to their word.

The Goths took a different view of the matter. The occupation left a scar on the Psyche: never again would Theodoro be so unprepared, nor would they appear weak before their allies again. Additionally, occupation by Catholics had hardened Leontius against the Catholics, and he declared that the Goths would stand as the “Fortress of Orthodoxy” forevermore. Hundreds of hectares of crownland were sold, loans taken from the city guilds of Theodoro, and the Regent hired four thousand mercenaries to engage the Poles in battle, led by general Crysanthos Kamil, and supported by four thousand newly levied Gothic troops. The war overall went well, with the later half of 1449 seeing the arrival of the absolutely massive Muscovite armies, over twenty-three thousand men at its height, and a series of crushing battles that drove Mazovia, Poland and Lithuania from the field. While Theodoro did not take the field in many engagements, their army was quite involved in siege work, and did support the Zaporozhian army in a handful of direct field battles. These stories of siege, war, and the memories of the flight and terror of the occupation were likely strong influences on young Prince Manuel, which may explain his later growth into a true militarist and his later army reforms.

The vast privileges granted to the various estates and the weakening of central authority under the Regency were also a theme which would be repeated throughout Gothic history, with later rulers lamenting the lack of prestige and decorum in their court as compared to some abroad, but these did help strengthen the state in a time of crisis. In close association with their cousins in Zaporozhia, the cossacks were granted almost complete self-governance, free raiding into the Crimean and Genoan lands, and exemptions from much bureaucracy in exchange for serving as elite troops, trainers and generals for the army. Some commentators have even suggested that the freedoms granted to the Cossack bands were possibly intended as revenge for the Polish ravaging of the countryside. I personally dispute this, as the damage done was quite light, and the occupation only held for a few months. Far more likely, in my opinion, is the idea that the Cossacks' rights were granted as an olive branch to the Zaporozhians, or in recognition of the high quality of the liberating armies that they brought to Theodoro.

In addition to the Cossacks, the wealthy and noble received further privileges as well. The nobility were granted freedom of speech to the Monarch, guarantees of their rights as officers, and nearly eclipsed the crown in power during this period. The burghers of the city of Theodoro were granted access to private trade fleets and free trade in their own self-representation, and the Clergy, the backers of the Regent, received unparalleled privileges.

The Orthodox church provided priests and patriarchs as diplomats, ministers, bureaucrats, and to watch and enforce the laws of the regent. Being Gothic was linked with Orthodoxy, and those who were neither Gothic nor Orthodox were watched as potential spies or saboteurs. The Polish occupation had soured the Goths on Catholicism, and only fellow coreligionists could be considered truly Gothic. This also led to a cultural renaissance, as in the next few years the influx of Pontic, Circassian, Dagestani and Georgians into the kingdom would be tempered by many members of those groups converting to Orthodox christianity and therefore becoming swiftly integrated. Regent Leontios even placed an icon of St. Michael in the Church of St. John the Baptist in Caffa, dedicating it “to those armies who fight under his holy banner, to those men who fight in the spirit of the Miracle seen in these lands,” referencing the miraculous battle of Caffa in 1442 which drove the Genoese from the Crimean peninsula.

The Genoese, however, were the next concern of the Goths. Before the army had even left Theodoro after the liberation, Leontius received word that the Pope had declared war on the Genoese in Italy. Joining the war in alliance with the Pope, the Knights of Rhodes and the French state of Provence, the Theodoran new army was blooded in the Battle of Matrega on December 26th of 1449, the mercenary armies of Theodoro clashing with the one thousand Genoese defenders of Matrega, the last Genoese forces left in Crimea. Taking Matrega and Azov from the Genoese in short sieges, the war was swiftly concluded and Gothic forces returned to the war with the Poles. Privately however, Leontius sent a letter to Dominicus de Lusignan, apologizing for not being able to follow through on his planned alliance and expressing wishes for cordial relations. As we now know, the Cypriots were themselves engaged in wars against the minor Muslim powers of Ramazan and Dulkadir, still deeply interested in securing a Theodoran alliance, but at the time Leontius seemed concerned primarily with the concept of maintaining Theodoro’s honor and preventing hurt feelings. He wrote shortly thereafter:

A nation in a situation as dire and precarious as ours cannot afford to have long-surviving enemies, only allies wherever possible and neighbors where not.

The war with Poland dragged on into 1452, ending in a great victory for the Triple Alliance on the fifth of December which gained huge swathes of territory. Moldavia followed up on this with its own war against Poland, while Leontios turned his attention to the Crimean Khanate, now separating the new territory at Azov from the main body of his lands. Another concern was the Ottomans seizing the northern end of the Crimean peninsula from the Khanate, a territory that Theodoro had not known to ask for at the conference of Constantinople, but one which they were promised by the Byzantines without any delay or negotiation. As Leontios was still officially unable to declare wars, the Zaporozhians declared again, setting their sights on Kzyl-Yar, while Theodoro focused on the eastern edge of the Crimean Khanate around Kuban.

The Zaporozhians, anxious to repay Theodoro for their sacrifices in the war, joined against the Crimeans with their own army in full. While we may be tempted by later periods to expect the Zaporozhians to be much more stronger militarily in this period, it is arguably Theodoro who held the edge at this time, with both armies consisting of 12,000 men, and the Theodorans navy consisting of five galleys to the Rada’s 2 light ships. In any case, battle information seems completely missing from the period, but it is known that by 1454 the Crimeans were completely driven from the field, and by 1456 the Khanate was extinct.

However, another piece of the Goths' future had arrived nearly unnoticed. In 1451, a coalition of Navarra and Wales had invaded Ireland, sending a vast diaspora of “wild geese” into Europe as mercenaries and advisors. While Theodoro had not noticed this directly, they did notice when in 1453, the Armenian population of Bitlis and Aq Qoyunlu rose in revolt, led by the irish general Tomas Gallagher. Achieving their independence, the Armenians set about a rapid expansion into eastern Anatolia and the southern Caucasus, one which quickly brought them into tension with the Goths. Gallagher’s own journal notes,

After our great migration we found ourselves in a strange new land. Hearing tales of great riches in the mountains east of this mysterious place, we set their sights on migrating further eastwards. Soon though we came across the same envoy of Theodoro who had drunk with them back in the court at Avalon. The meeting started amicably but before long they too spoke of mountain riches and how they intended to claim them. Though it pained us to confront a nation that had shown us such hospitality, forced from our homeland once before, we can not give up on the wealth that would secure our independence. Thus started the cold war between the two nations.

The Goths, of course, worried for their planned expansion into Persia. But the 2nd Matrega War, which Theodoro joined late in 1458, was in fact a harbinger of the future, for it placed Armenia, Cyprus, and Theodoro on the field of battle as allies for the first time. While the Cypriots and Armenians had done hard, extensive fighting in the south against Aq Qoyunlu, they did not have an easy route to face their allies, the Great Horde in the north. Theodoro did, and moved swiftly to seize the provinces of Kajar, Manyich, and the Lower Don. By August the Theodorians had contributed enough for the war to end with these provinces annexed to the growing Gothic territory, and Armenia and Cyprus had utterly annihilated the Qoyunluans to the south.

As well, at the age of 15, Manuel Olubei Gavras was ascending the throne in part, though the now aging Leontios still acted as his prime minister and was known to be the power behind the throne. Young Manuel, however, was the first of the true warrior princes of the Goths. He fought in the style of the Roman Cataphracts, and was known even at fifteen as a brilliant general and capable of smashing into an army with overwhelming force. His deep interest in military strategy, the loss of his father, the long war, had all combined to create a prince whose interests lay on the field of battle, while his uncle, the Patriarch, wove his diplomatic webs in the capital and bound states together.

His first act, in fact, was to leave the capital and drive his army into Circassia in November of 1458, following his father’s ambitions. This move was well-timed, as the Circassians allies, the Great Horde, had been largely smashed following the Matrega War, and were simultaneously being invaded by the Zaporozhians from the north on the urging and through the coordination of Leontios.

Prince Manuel’s performance in the war was impressive for his age. Under Manuel, the armies were honed to a razor’s edge, beginning the transformation into the form that more modern scholars would know. A first drive into the Horde’s territory destroyed the reforming cavalry of the Mongol successor, with a mere 31 Goths killed to the destruction of the regiment. This was no impressive feat, but it showed Manuel’s overwhelming aggression on the field.

His army then turned east, meeting the Circassian’s army at Kuma in the Astrakhan steppe. Here, 13000 Gothic infantry met 3000 Circassians, and poor coordination hampered the Goths, causing them to take more casualties than they dealt. But the true thrust was to the south. As the Circassians retreated, his army split into multiple parts, spreading out to occupy the Khanate’s land. Manuel himself took two thousand of his best troops south after the retreating army, and met it in Terek, where his army, now nearly even with the enemy in numbers, annihilated it. The entire remaining Circassian army, including its general, were either killed or sent back to Theodoro as prisoners.

This also marked the first war with a major Naval component, with the Gothic fleet of twelve ships under Admiral Aineas Cimzir meeting the Circassian Navy of eight in the Sea of Azov in January of 1461, just before the war’s end. While only three ships were lost overall, the fact that the two Circassian losses were captured in boarding meant that the Circassian fleet, now heavily outnumbered, retreated into port at Adyghe, where it would remain for the rest of the war.

A final battle with the forces of the beleaguered Horde would come in February of the following year, but here too, Manuel defeated the enemy, facing 13000 Mongols with 16000 goths and shattering their army. They retreated north, where they would eventually be destroyed piecemeal by the Zaporozhians, and the remaining two years consisted of sieges without further combat in the field until the surrender and complete partition of both Circassia and the Great Horde in August of 1461. To no small part, this was because the Byzantines, finally tired of waiting for the Ottomans to make the first move, had decided to strike first instead, calling in Theodoro against the Ottomans, Gazimukh, and the Avvars. While the war continued in the south and no major battles involved the Theodorans in the north, the remaining army of Theodoro left north of the Caucasus besieged and occupied the lands of the Avvars and Gazimukh along with the Ottoman presence in northern Crimea. In the south, Manuel engaged in battles alongside the Zaporozhian general Mycheslav Vychina until early 1465, when the Byzantines ceded the territory north of the Caucasus to Theodoro and the armies returned home. For the first time since 1448, the nation was at peace.

Manuel, following this war, returned to Theodoro, where he was crowned by Leontius at the end of his triumph. His procession was upon a white horse, leading lines of captured Mongols, Circassians and Turks behind him to the square, where all were strangled. Placing the crown upon the new Prince’s head, his uncle and the army all proclaimed him as their new Prince, before Leontios led them in prayer.

Where his father had ruled a mere two counties, the son now ruled over twenty. He was now sovereign of Crimea entirely, along with the newly added states of Circassia, Azov, and Dagestan. Under the Regency the size of the country increased by a factor of ten, the experience of the army had almost tripled, building a strong military tradition, and the income of the state had nearly octupled.

The celebrations following were also a belated wedding celebration for the young Prince, who had married the much older Princess Sotiria Khuitani after meeting and becoming enraptured with her on the march into the Horde. A daughter of one of the merchant families of Azov who was both Gothic and Orthodox, she was an unusual but acceptable wife for the young Prince, and worries that a woman in her early 30s would not produce heirs was quickly proven false by the birth of their first son, Alexius II, only ten months after their wedding. A secretive woman, Sortira was a good match for Manuel if only because the two were both enraptured by the army, and each other.

Regardless, Leontius considered his regency over, and the aging statesman served only a few more years before gracefully retiring.​