• We have updated our Community Code of Conduct. Please read through the new rules for the forum that are an integral part of Paradox Interactive’s User Agreement.
Good job subduing Wallachia, that's an expansion the Byzantines never got around to IOTL.

Too bad that Romanos was killed by the Serbians. But I bet that Michael is going to carry out retribution against the Serbs for this, so another expansion.

Great series of updates.
Noooo x2

Kill the serbs...
so... this is the end of the Romaion?
Fron 753 BC - 1080 AD.... a shorter live...
RIP Senatus Populusque Romaion... :(

But good luck with orthodox empire.
Just added a small sentence explaining the gains of the Caucasus and some of Serbia, nothing too important or significant to warrant a lot of writing:

In 1076, Romanos IV also ordered small excursions into the Caucasus and some parts of Serbia, easily gaining them with large Roman armies.

update? (maybe),
:) asd
Saint Estonianzulu, Patron Of Virginia Tech, Estonians And Zulus

The Glorification Of Estonianzulu​


Hello again! Lets all congratulate our second saint of AARLand, Estonianzulu!

1. Welcome, first off, tell us a little bit about yourself:
Well, I am a recent graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, better known as Virginia Tech. I have spent my entire life in the United States, first in Ohio and then in the Old Dominion. Although I have always had a love of history and international politics I have never left the USA. With my history degree I will be teaching high school history, and hopefully continuing my studies here in Virginia. As a lover of history I find myself drawn most specifically to the study of identity in history; nationalism (and its predecessors), historic identity and religious beliefs are all very interesting to me. I will be working on research for a Professor here at Tech about the idea of the Frankish identity in the 11th century.

Beyond that, I am a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a medieval recreation group, and am a rabid Cleveland Browns (that’s American football for those wondering) fan.

2. Why did you choose such an obscure and unique username as “Estonianzulu”?
This goes back to when I first gained access to the internet (so, circa 1997). At the time I was looking for a screen name that would be both easy to remember and unique. I had just finished reading an article about the religious orders of Eastern Europe, and was interested in the conversion of the Estonians-Lithuanians.

While thinking of the screenname, my father was watching the Michael Caine movie Zulu. And since Estonia was hardly a unique username, I threw on a second noun and blamo, Estonianzulu. I never felt the need to change it and it has stuck after all these years.

3. So how did you discover the amazing games of Paradox?
Well, technically I discovered them through the forums. I bought my first copy of Europa Universalis from Best Buy. They had a grand total of 2 copies tucked away with other Strategy First games.

4. How did you discover the forums?
I was a big fan of the old RTS game Warcraft. So, when its successor game Starcraft came out, I was quick to jump on the opportunity to buy it. I got the game the day after it came out (and somewhere, deep hidden in my closet is the Protoss T-Shirt I got with the game), and played it constantly. I joined a clan, like most Starcraft players, way back in 1999. Eventually we moved to the “Use Map Settings” games, which included fights across Europe with nation-specific special units. During a game someone mentioned Europa Universalis, which I just thought was a Starcraft map. I looked into it, and discovered the forums.

5. Describe some of your first experiences on the forums:
Oh dear, some of my first experiences on the forums? Well, its tough to remember really. I came on first and asked some basic newbie questions, like most people do. I downloaded the mod that let you play any nation, and do some neat things with the map (independent Wales, etc.) for EU1. I wrote my first AAR about a failed game with Prussia back in 2001, and went from there. I officially joined the forums in 2001 of September, which was hectic for everyone, so a lot of what the forums were like back then are a haze. But suffice to say, I was a serious newbie.

6. Let me first say that The Footsteps Of Illustrious Men is one amazing AAR, who or what influenced you to create such a great AAR?
Thank you. Its been a great work to do and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. As to who influenced me, that’s actually the easiest question yet. M.ShawPyle wrote an AAR entitled “‘Sweet, Just, Boyish Masters’: the Liberal Empire of the Americans”, concerning the late 19th century, early 20th century United States. I loved that AAR, and it still sits as one of my favorites.

I also really wanted to sit down and do another political-historical AAR. I had started an AAR on Colombia in 2004, but I failed in staying with it (I sort of took a hiatus), and this was my attempt to sort of make it up to the universe for abandoning that one.

7. How do you manage to create such in depth updates for your AAR? Do you have any advice to other authors out there?
Well, I don’t know how in-depth my updates have really been, I always feel like I should be doing more. But the Internet is truly an amazing resource in adding detail to your story. Frankly, the ability to go onto Wikipedia and find the names and terms for every Senator and Representative in US history makes my job so much easier.

Mostly my advice to other authors would be don’t give up, and never be afraid of adding too much detail. A lot of us who read AARs, in fact I’d hazard a guess that most of us, love history in some form. If some element of history interests you more than any other, go with it. For me, that is politics and nationalism, and so a lot of my AAR is based on that. If you love what you are writing, you will want to see it completed. After I finish an update, I always want to jump up and continue.

I’d also advise you never to be afraid of making a mistake. It will happen, but no one here is going to make you feel bad about it. I’ve actually learned so much more about American history in working for this AAR than I have ever learned before.

8. One of the things about your AAR that’s amazing, is the fact that you make the world different, yet not too different, as it is still recognizable, can you give us more insight into the actual gameplay of your AAR game and how all this came to be?
Sure. When I first went to play a game, potentially for an AAR, I wanted to stay a relatively realistic path. This was also my first experience in Ricky, so I was sort of exploring what I could do with the new game. So I went about keeping track of how the computer handled economic development and growth, how politics shifted and changed, and how the rest of the world re-acted. The first big shift really came with the Colombia issue. I really kind of wanted to see if the British AI was going to back down, and low and behold it happened.

The other big shift early was Texas, and man did Texas turn out differently. The Mexicans defeated the Texans in my game, as such my annexation of Texas was a two part process. This formed itself in game in terms of the two-state system in Texas. From here I just let my imagination run wild. When Texas failed to join the CSA it got even more interesting to me. (so, Albert Sydney Johnston serving the Union at Shiloh, etc.) But a lot of what has changed has been my take on how things may have turned out differently. One shift here, one change there, and suddenly the idea of a Socialist party in the United States may not be so obscene.

9. What are your favorite parts of “Footsteps”?
Well, the Civil War was a lot of fun, but I think my favorite part of the AAR has been the process of going back over the story to do the Timeline and the List of People/Places. I love looking at how the story has evolved from the opening lines through the 20th century.

10. You just started The Legacy Of The North, can you tell us a little bit about that AAR and where it might go?
Legacy of the North is my attempt to bring together the ideas and themes of history I love, nationalism and identity, with a narrative story. I’m not a great writer, so it will likely be rough, but I hope to really show how the idea of identity changes over time.

11. What do you like most about Paradox games and the forums?
The game provides such a free flowing, wide open take on history. I love that about the whole Paradox structure. No other game lets you have such detail and control over everything about history as the Paradox games. And I love the openness of Paradox with its fan base. The number of Mods and patches for these games are phenomenal. It is a clear sign that Paradox cares about the people who buy their games.

As to the forums, I have never seen a more friendly, open and cooperate place. I love the atmosphere of AARland as a community of friends. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

12. Do you have any favorite AARs out there that you’d like to advertise?
Why of course, there is this great AAR about the Byzantine Empire, I think everyone should read it. I believe its called Heaven on Earth

I would just encourage everyone to go to the Ink Well and scroll around and look for some stories that interest you. It’s a great way to become introduced to new authors, new stories and different forums/styles.

13. Do you have any favorite experiences on the forum?
There used to be a forum based role playing game entitled Eutopia. I spent a long time in Europia, and loved every minute of it. It was a politics based game on a mysterious tropical-esque Island in the Atlantic. That is where I really became super active and spent a lot of my time on the forums. Some people may still remember the character Konstantin Vilms, the long time politician and monarchist. It is an experience I enjoyed so very thoroughly. Although the game ended rather disappointingly (I was finally elected President, just in time to watch the island explode), it was a great ride.


Once again, lets congratulate Estonianzulu on his glorification! He is now the patron saint of Estonians, Zulus, and everything in between!

:) asd
Last edited:
That's right. Saint Estonianzulu.

Mwahaha :D
Agios Estoniozoulos!

So much better in pseudogreek.
Thanks for all the comments!

I'm working on the next update now, however it probably won't be posted today. And my weekend is filled with things to do, so there may not be time for me to update over the weekend. Nevertheless, I hope you have enjoyed the AAR!

And for the Love Of God, how is the mood music?! :p

For God's sake, post some feedback!,
:) asd
Michael VII: I of ?

Heaven On Earth

Emperor Michael VII: Tears Of War
(Mood Music)


Emperor Michael VII was hastily crowned by the Patriarch Kosmas I in Aghia Sofia as soon as news reached Constantinople that Romanos IV was killed in an ambush. The city wept for three days while Michael VII tried to maintain order. It seemed as if the Empire was about to collapse into chaos as the bad news spread across the Empire. The Orthodox people were sent into grief and mourning. Riots nearly broke out during Romanos IV’s funeral, as some people were reluctant to accept a stepson as Emperor, when they could have Romanos IV’s underage children as leaders instead. At some points during the procession through the city, people even tried to jump on the grand coffin of the Emperor, but they were brutally stopped by Varangians. There even are reports of the body falling out of the coffin as crowds pushed towards it; however, these are probably fictional romanticized stories of later generations. Nevertheless, Michael VII needed a war to improve his popularity, and it would as long as it was victorious. And just the type of thing was about to happen.

Now while only a small band of Serbians, not affiliated with the Serbian nation, except by ethnicity, had killed Romanos IV in cold blood, not many people knew this. So Michael VII decided to invade Serbia. Even the Serbian king, upon receiving news of Romanos IV’s death, started to prepare defenses. Because he knew that the death of the Orthodox Emperor at the hands of Serbs would surely result in war, and it did. The Orthodox-Adriatic War began in late 1080, as soon as the Orthodox army was ready for war.


The Orthodox campaigns in the Adriatic War.

When the Empire invaded Serbia, the nation of Norman Sicily came to the rescue of the Serbs and declared war on the Empire. Michael VII knew that he had to defeat the Serbs fast, or else the Normans would have time to invade mainland Greece. He also needed a swift victory in the war, to raise his popularity. But the death and popularity of Romanos IV would, ironically, help the Orthodox. Thousands upon thousands of Orthodox men joined the Imperial army after Romanos IV’s death.

The numbers of the Orthodox army in Serbia had swelled above 100,000 within weeks. Most of the joining men brought their own equipment with them, as the army had run out of standard equipment to give the men. Finally, Michael VII rode out from Constantinople and went to Belgrade to meet up with the army. The scene was one of celebration. The entire city hailed the new Emperor with festivities and extravagance. It seemed that even before the war had truly begun, Michael VII’s popularity was already on the rise. Finally, after a few days of drunken revelry, the large army set out from Belgrade with war on their minds. They marched into Serbian territory and the war began.
Last edited:
Despite the video being the cheesiest thing ever made, I think that the mood music is the best fit for an update in this AAR so far. Starts off sad/mournful, then goes into a sort of Viking party song, :p , who agrees?

A nice little war is coming along!

comments appreciated, and...(Happy Mother's Day!)
:) asd
Nice little advance you have going on there, it will be interesting to see what kind of resistance the serbs put up
Heaven On Earth

Emperor Michael VII: Old Thunder
(Mood Music)


The massive Orthodox army crashed through the initial Serbian defenses. The Serbian king had indeed prepared some impressive defenses. He destroyed bridges, roads, cut trees in front of pathways, built crude walls at key points, among other things. He did everything he could within a reasonable amount of time, to keep his nation from falling, or at least, falling easily.

And these Serbian defenses did provide problems for the Orthodox army. The army was constantly harassed by small bands of Serb scouts and archers. But, by the time the Orthodox army had reached the main Serbian army, the two armies were forced into open combat. The large Orthodox army won this, of course, with minimal casualties. They had vastly outnumbered the Serbs, about 10 to 1. By early 1081, the Serbian nation had been crushed. Their armies were dead, their castles and cities destroyed. The massive Orthodox army had taken brutal retribution upon the Serbs.


A depiction of the Serbian campaign made in the 17th century. It is considered propaganda, as it show Muslim banners for the Serbs, falsely portraying them.

Once the Serbs had been thoroughly destroyed, Emperor Michael VII and his army turned its attentions towards Norman Sicily. He requested that an Orthodox navy come to the Croatian coast immediately to pick the army up and take them across the Adriatic Sea, to southern Italy.

So Admiral Voulgaris and his fleet sailed for Croatia, departing from Epirus as soon as the messenger reached him. However, along the way, they were surrounded by a Norman fleet. Within minutes, Voulgaris realized what had happened and ordered the fleet into a battle formation. One group of ships formed a pyramid-like shape, and the other formed a curve. The Normans were just as ready, and formed into their battle position. They lined one group of ships up, facing the Orthodox ones, yet sent another behind the Orthodox fleet.


A modern depiction of the strategies and movements that took place at Battle Of The Adriatic.
Pink – Orthodox ships, movements /// Yellow – Norman ships, movements

The battle commenced once Voulgaris realized he was surrounded and sent two ships back to face the rear group of Norman ships. The fighting in the rear was the most brutal of the battle. The ships did not ram each other, but rather, they boarded each other. The fighting on the small ships was very intense. Many men were packed into a small area and hacked away at each other. The piling dead caused some men to fall overboard. There are even accounts of a few ships sinking due to all the excess men and weight. Either way, the two groups of ships nearly completely killed each other. Eventually, the Orthodox came out on top, albeit with many casualties.

Elsewhere, the two main navies were still fighting. However, they were fighting traditionally, instead ramming each other, and using Greek fire. Most historians agree it was a combination of the vicious Greek fire, setting Norman boats alight, and Admiral Voulgaris quick reaction to the battle. But the battle did secure the Adriatic Sea for the Orthodox Empire. After a couple of days, the weakened, yet victorious, Orthodox fleet came to the Croatian coast and picked up as much of Michael VII’s army as they could.


A medieval depiction of Greek fire, which was typically used on enemy warships.
Last edited:
A close call in the naval battle. But with the the Byzantine victory, Norman Sicily should fall to you.