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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Cromwell

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Igor 's reign started with dismembering his enemy and ended with the murder of his own son, not the actions of a lifegiver you might say. However it seems that paradoxically his embrace of religious toleration means he has saved countless lives in his realm and his crushing of his over mighty nobles has saved the state from anarchy.

Some modest (by the standards of the enourmous Polish state) expansion into Pskov and strengthening of an ally (vassal? was Igor only recognised as the Tartar's leige in the text?).

All in all a worthy performance and a solid base for his grandson to build a long successful reign on.
 

diskoerekto

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To hell with the boyars! I like that they got their noses kicked, and I like that we're friends with Tatars now.

But oh boy what a tragic way for a glorious reign to end like this :(
 

stnylan

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There is more than a little of Peter the Great about Igor II. I wouldn't want to push the analogy too strongly, but still.

But he leaves the realm vulnerable, as it always is. Hopefully Igor III will take up his grandfather's mantle and remain resolute and successful in the face of opposition.
 

Specialist290

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There is more than a little of Peter the Great about Igor II. I wouldn't want to push the analogy too strongly, but still.

My read was more Ivan the Terrible than Peter the Great, honestly, but you could certainly make a case for comparisons to both of them. And of course you're right -- sometimes pushing an analogy like this too far obscures the true nature of the man himself.

Igor's reign was certainly a brutal one even by the standards and context of the time, but it can't be argued that his measures didn't work, at least while he himself reigned. It would be interesting to see what future generations of historians in this world would make of him -- was he a genuine egalitarian who felt the boyars' shortsightedness was choking out the well-being of the nation as a whole, or a power-mongering despot who sought to cynically buy off the lower classes and political / religious outsiders so they would side with him against the nobility?

EDIT: Minor wording correction.
 
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Ebanu8

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I'm hoping that we can start establishing a long dynasty of authoritatian, impartial and fair, humanist rulers.

And when are we expanding into africa, might I ask?
 

Nikolai

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What a rollercoaster! :p
 

Tommy4ever

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Hail Caesar! – 1505-1526

Many of the political reforms of Igor II at the end of the 15th century had run contrary to the interests of the Jewish High Priesthood. For over a century the Kohen Gadol had been a strong supporter of the Golden Liberties – which kept the monarchy weak and allowed Jerusalem to exert significant influence throughout the Polish realms. Theologically, the High Priesthood was deeply sceptical of the new regime of the tolerance reigning in Kiev, that saw heretics and heathens treated as equals to Orthodox Jews in Poland, and even invited into the ranks of the King’s advisors. Worst of all – Igor II had interfered directly in clerical issues by convening a council of senior Rabbis in Kiev independently of the High Priesthood.

1593634791466.png

With this frustration swelling between church and state, the Kohen Gadol came to the conclusion that it would be impossible to limit the rise of the monarchy so long as Israel remained tied to Poland. At the death of Igor II, he boldly crowned the Prince of Samaria King Pekah II, drawing his regnal name from the ancient Hebrews, as King of Israel. Ivan had hoped that he could quietly extricate Israel from the Polish empire, and in doing so relieve himself and his successors from the interference of Polish Kings. This proved to be a dramatic miscalculation.

Igor denounced the Israelite revolt and promised to send an army to the Middle East to restore his birth right. The rebels had bargained on the Principality of Ascalon supporting them in their efforts to break with Kiev, allowing them to combine their navies in order to keep the Poles at bay. Instead, Ascalon remained loyal to the Poles and provided safe passage to the loyalist army to the Middle East. While these events all but doomed the project for an independent Israel, Jewish civilisation in the eastern Mediterranean itself was put under threat by the predatory actions of the Catholic Pope.

For centuries the Pope had been not only the spiritual master of Latin Christianity – but the overlord of a powerful secular domain. During the Middle Ages, the Pope had added the great Egyptian city of Alexandria to his territories In Italy. In the late 15th century the Papacy had dramatically expanded its dominion in Egypt – pushing the Templar Order into the Sudan and absorbing the minor Christian states in the region. The Israelite rebellion appeared to be an opportunity for the Pope to strike out into the Holy Land.

1593634812248.png

The Papal forces had the advantage of proximity to the battlefield in the summer of 1506. By the time Igor’s expedition reached the region, the Papal army had already occupied a large part of Israel, including the Holy City of Jerusalem itself. Faced by these twin threats, Pekah surrendered his throne to Igor in January 1507, however the Pope refused to return the occupied territories to the new regime. A Polish-Ascalonite army faced down the Papacy in a number of inconclusive engagements through Israel over the course of 1507 – reclaiming Jerusalem from the Christians but finding themselves in deadlock. With little prospect of victory without substantial reinforcements, Igor agreed to a truce – surrendering the southernmost Israeli provinces, that allowed the Papacy to create a direct land route between Egypt and their lands in the Hedjaz, including the sacred sites around Mount Sinai.

1593634830082.png

The Poles would soon compensate for their losses in the Levant through a flurry of territorial aggrandisement in the east. In 1512, the Poles took advantage of a conflict between the powerful Emirate of Tver and the Emyür Khagante to seize control of the rich cities of Tver, Moscow and Rostov – all historically important to the Russian people, but mostly inhabited by Tatars and Mongols. Tver in particular had become a world-renown centre of Hindu scholarship, with many of the most influential Turkic and Mongol holymen making their homes in the city. Five years later in 1517 Poland went to war once again, capturing a scour of territory from the Mongol Blue Horde just south of its recently captured lands around Moscow and Tver. Finally, in 1523 it annexed its Tatar vassals in Karamans – establishing control along the northern shore of the Caspian Sea. It was clear to all the Poland saw her destiny in the east.

1593635121479.png

The early 16th century was a time of cultural outpouring in Poland as the Renaissance, albeit one with Slavic characteristics, made its way to eastern Europe. Throughout, it appeared that many, within the Polish elite at least, were grappling with the position of Slavic civilisation in the world. This period saw the creation of a number of great works of art and architecture – with the Shamir Synagogue in central Kiev being the most imposing example to have survived to the modern day. The most influential piece of art produced in these years was a work of literature, the epic poem Illiya’s March which told the story of the Polish Crusade and Illiya the Bloodhound in suitably grandiose terms. The poem was authored by Kurt Warncke, a Pomeranian Samaritan, and openly linked the glories of King Illiya to the recently deceased Igor II – and quietly praised his policies of religious toleration through its emphasis of Poland’s Samaritan history, Illiya having been a proud follower of the faith throughout his life. While Warncke’s ballad told the story of an almost Asiatic Slavic race – irreversibly at odds with the cruel and corrupt Christian West, others looked more favourably on the Western tradition. In particular to the pre-Christian age of Imperial Rome, with Igor III endorsing a genealogy that preposterously traced the Vyshenky family’s roots all the way back to Julius Caesar.

1593635146024.png

While many in Poland looked eastward, in Europe a whole New World was discovered in the west. In 1508 a Dutch explorer named Willem de Lange reached the Caribbean Sea, having boldly set forth on an expedition across the Atlantic in the belief that it would lead him to Asia. There, he discovered the Lesser and Greater Antilles islands as well as continental South America. Within a decade the Netherlands had established their control over a number of the small islands of the Lesser Antilles, during the 1520s they would be joined in the New World by the Abaddids of Andalucia, who brought the might of one of Europe’s richest empires behind their efforts in a way the Dutch never could – beginning the age of colonialism in earnest. By the mid-16th century Italy and Denmark with notable early success, and Sardinia, Skotland and the Holy Roman Empire with greater trepidation, had all taken the first steps towards building empires in the Americas.

1593635176371.png

One of the most remarkable figures of this era, and a symbol of the age of religious toleration in Poland, was Oronartai Belugunutei. Oronartai was a Pecheneg – a Muslim Tatar tribal group of proud heritage whose fortunes had declined over the centuries. By the 15th century they were largely based in the area around the city of Orsha – midway between Minsk and Smolensk in northeastern Ruthenia. Having long been the subjects of various Jewish Russian Princes, the Orsha Pechenegs achieved a degree of autonomy under the reforms of Igor II in the 1480s when Oronartai’s father, Kushug, was made Beylik of Orsha in exchange for his support for the royalist cause.

When Oronartai succeeded his father in 1501 he based himself primarily in Kiev, where he developed a reputation for honesty and competence and developed an influential network of contacts. He held great respect among the Tatar and Mongol peoples of the east – both settled and nomadic, within and beyond Poland’s borders – who viewed him as an honest broker with the monarchy. A man of culture and philosophy, Oronartai had impressed the young King Igor III early in his reign during the 1510s through his elucidation of his vision of Poland as the point of unity of Asia and Europe, east and west, Tatar and Slav. Ever since the days of Igor II, Christians and Samaritans had begun to play a part in the royal administration – yet prior the idea that a Muslim Tatar could become a figure of influence was alarming to many traditionalists. Despite this, Igor made Oronartai his chancellor in 1519 – making him one of the most powerful figures in the land.

1593635088037.png

Oronartai would be one of the key driving forces behind the eye-catching establishment of the Tsardom of Poland. In 1526, the Kohen Gadol was invited to travel from Jerusalem to Kiev – joining Igor III as he prayed in the resplendence of the recently completed Shamir Synagogue, he placed an Imperial diadem upon Igor’s head and pronounced him Tsar, no longer a King, but an Emperor. The carefully choreographed abolition of the Kingdoms of Poland and Ruthenia, and creation of the Tsardom of Poland, with the title King of Israel being retained for its religious significance, had value beyond merely boosting the ego of the ruler. Firstly, it reemphasised the sublimation of the High Priesthood to the monarchy. Secondly it distanced the Tsar from the petty Kings of the Christian West and emphasised his seniority over them – placing him on a status equal to the Holy Roman Emperor, Arab Caliph and even the distant Chinese Emperor. Thirdly, with its insinuation of universal power – crowning Igor as an Emperor expanded the authority of the Polish monarch beyond a narrow Slavic ethnic-based Kingdom. Finally, the birth of a nominally new state, the Third Polish State according to some historiographers, was an opportunity to overhaul Poland’s laws and institutions to further solidify the political settlement created by Igor II’s despotism.
 
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Tommy4ever

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Bloody Nora, Igor’s was certainly an action packed reign! And what a way to end it! :eek: Eager to see how you press the advantage of not having to deal with ceaseless rebellions.

I've been looking forward to this update since I played through this period :D. The idea to end Igor's reign in such dramatic fashion actually came while I was looking for potential images for the update (that is Ivan the Terrible with his own son in his arms for information). I had been thinking about how/if to work in the fact he had his son and heir die - and that picture was so piercing I had to find a way to include it.

Igor 's reign started with dismembering his enemy and ended with the murder of his own son, not the actions of a lifegiver you might say. However it seems that paradoxically his embrace of religious toleration means he has saved countless lives in his realm and his crushing of his over mighty nobles has saved the state from anarchy.

Some modest (by the standards of the enourmous Polish state) expansion into Pskov and strengthening of an ally (vassal? was Igor only recognised as the Tartar's leige in the text?).

All in all a worthy performance and a solid base for his grandson to build a long successful reign on.

Igor II really was a titanic figure - the real founder of the Early Modern Poland (the first Tsar in spirit if not in name). Those Turkish allies were both vassals (and one is now gone!)

To hell with the boyars! I like that they got their noses kicked, and I like that we're friends with Tatars now.

But oh boy what a tragic way for a glorious reign to end like this :(

The Boyars will take some recovering from Igor II that is for sure! Not only have we become friendly with the Tatars - one of them is now the Tsar's right hand man! :eek:

There is more than a little of Peter the Great about Igor II. I wouldn't want to push the analogy too strongly, but still.

But he leaves the realm vulnerable, as it always is. Hopefully Igor III will take up his grandfather's mantle and remain resolute and successful in the face of opposition.

My read was more Ivan the Terrible than Peter the Great, honestly, but you could certainly make a case for comparisons to both of them. And of course you're right -- sometimes pushing an analogy like this too far obscures the true nature of the man himself.

Igor's reign was certainly a brutal one even by the standards and context of the time, but it can't be argued that his measures didn't work, at least while he himself reigned. It would be interesting to see what future generations of historians in this world would make of him -- was he a genuine egalitarian who felt the boyars' shortsightedness was choking out the well-being of the nation as a whole, or a power-mongering despot who sought to cynically buy off the lower classes and political / religious outsiders so they would side with him against the nobility?

EDIT: Minor wording correction.

I do like to take inspiration from different real life figures and histories in these updates - so there was more than a little of Ivan the Terrible, a bit of Peter and a good few others thrown in with Igor ;).

Indeed - Igor is interesting in that it will be easier for modern people to take political lessons out of his rule than many of the Medieval Kings. His was a conflict between ideas of a state - Liberty vs Order, as well as Tolerance vs Russian Supremacy. Taking options that the right may like on one hand, and the left the other.

I'm hoping that we can start establishing a long dynasty of authoritatian, impartial and fair, humanist rulers.

And when are we expanding into africa, might I ask?

We are already in Africa! ;) Our vassals in Ascalon rule the Nile Delta. We have our toes poking into Papal Egypt and the Sahara beyond!

@Tommy4ever I have nominated this AAR for the Weekly Showcase. Congratulations

Thanks again Jape, once again - an honour to be recognised by the community :). I had to make sure I gave you all an update while we were still the Showcase ;).

What a rollercoaster! :p

The whole period of the Anarchy (going back to the last few decades of the 14th century have been a very wild ride. We will see if Igor III and his successors can keep things a little more calm for a while, or if we will go back to those less stable times.
 

Cromwell

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Huge expansion in the east, a boost from Kingdom to Empire status, a fine new Chancellor, retaining the Kingship of Israel, a veritable bundle of improvements.

The only fly in the ointment is the loss of the territory around Mount Sinai! Surely for the legitimacy of the heir of David, King of Israel it must be retained!
 

DensleyBlair

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That picture of the imperial regalia right at the end is truly fantastic. Dressing head to toe in gold like that is surely the most obvious way to send a signal of your supremacy. Mind you, Poland is looking stronger and stronger the further we get past the Anarchy – unfortunate losses in Sinai discounted. Will it be eastward bound all the way, or are there a few surprises still waiting in the West?
 

diskoerekto

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congratulations about the tsardom, and good to have a tatar as the chancellor. cosmopolitanism is what makes a big kingdom a real empire!

speaking of age of discovery, did we have cores on the lost provinces on the red sea coast? my eu4 knowledge is a lot rusty but having a core there would let us colonize the indian ocean and beyond, right? if so, we shall avenge and take those from the pope!
 

stnylan

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I sense this will not be the last showdown with the Bishop of Rome.
 

Ebanu8

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I'd really wish we just establish Israel as a supreme dominion over all Africa and the Middle East. Speaking of which, wonder if we can bypass the Christian States entirely and build our empire in unconquered states?
 

Nikolai

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Tzar, eh? Quite a rise from the decades past. This tolerance though, can it last?
 

Tommy4ever

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Drive to the East – 1526-1542

1593852424538.png

In the decades before and after the turn of the century the foundation of Orthodox Judaism had been severely shaken. Still recovering from the violent confrontations with the Qahalists in the 15th century, the faith had lost much of its privileged role in the Polish realm with the new protections given to religious minorities while its High Priesthood had been severely humbled by the monarchy. While these changes left the centralised church hierarchy weaker than it had been in two centuries, he provided room for the flourishing of a new sort of Judaism at the grassroots in which local Rabbis regained much of their lost influence and the faith exerted its influence through religious conviction rather that sheer force. One of the great triumphs of Orthodoxy in the early 16th century was the final demise of paganism in the Pripet Marshes. After centuries attempting to eliminate paganism in the region through militant campaigns accompanied backed by force of arms, Judaism secured its final victory in the area through the hard work of a number of peaceful Rabbis preaching their faith.

1593852445286.png

In Poland’s far north, religious changes were occurring with greater long-term significance than the conversion of the Swamp Pagans. The so called ‘Little Russians’ of the north had long had a separate history and culture than their brethren in the heartlands of the Polish Kingdom. While they had converted to Samaritan Judaism in the 12th century, Roman Catholicism had surged in the region following the collapse of the indigenous Russian Principalities of the region in the Late Middle Ages. Christian influence in the area was always shallow, and the Polish conquest of the region in the mid-15th century had been swiftly followed by a Jewish revival. As the Little Russians had returned to the Jewish fold, they carried with them many of the customs of Christianity – many common folk continuing to celebrate Christian festivals and revere saints – while the influence of the area’s historic Hindu Mongol and Muslim Tatar proved durable.

For decades, Orthodox Rabbis rallied against these taints of heresy – until the emergence of a Rabbi from Pskov named Vladislav Oleg. He was tolerant of the quirks of popular religion – seeking to Judaisise old festivals and customs rather than stamping them out. This meant that many Muscovite Jews would celebrate the birth of King David on December 25th and regularly take in fasting during the summer months, while praising figures of Russian and Jewish history as saintly figures worthy of reverence. Most intellectually interesting was Oleg’s reinterpretation of sin. He believed in the Hindu principle of karma – holding that the moral and immoral actions of an individual would shape their fate in both this life and the next. The Orthodox hierarchy sneered at the Olegites as Neo-Samaritans, and heretics, being expelled from the Orthodox church. In another age he might have faced swift and terrible repression – but without the arm of the state to support them, the church hierarchy could do little to prevent Olegism from flourishing among the Muscovites.

1593852702501.png

Poland’s relentless push into the east continued at pace after the proclamation of the Tsardom. In 1534 Kegen-Volga was formally incorporated into the empire – with Igor III inheriting the Khanate following the death of his cousin the reigning Khagan. Between 1537 and 1538 Poland would join an alliance of Tatar tribes in destroying the once mighty Emirate of Tver – securing the lion’s share of its former lands for itself. Shortly later in 1540 it would destroy the small Beylik of Aq Sonqors to complete its domination of the lands west of the Volga. During this period the Poles would establish vassal relationships with a number of tribes in the region – with Yazi, Ipaosid and the pagan Ugric tribe of Vologda all accepting the Tsar’s overlordship. Despite the famous skill of the Tsar’s chancellor Oronartai Belugunutei in building alliances among the Tatars, the new lands would prove very restive and required a significant garrison to maintain order.

1593852724200.png

Economically, the early 16th century presented serious challenges to the Polish realm. Pushed forward by rapid advancements in commercial practises, the economies of western Europe were growing stronger and Poland was lagging behind. Her merchants and manufacturies, always less developed than their western equivalents, were being driven to ruin by European competition. The Tsar and his key adviser Belugunutei saw this as not just an economic but an ideological challenge – as the west once again sought to dominate Poland. Their shared vision of Poland’s future was as an Asiatic empire, separated from Europe. It was with this worldview that Belugunutei formulated a series of economic reforms in the 1530s that shut Poland off from much of its trade with the outside world. Heavy taxes were placed on many imported goods, and foreign merchants forbidden from all but a handful of Polish ports – most importantly Danzig, Azov and Astrakhan. These policies would achieve their desired effect of insulating domestic commerce from foreign competition, but at the long-term cost of cutting the country off from the fast-developing economies of the West.

1593852755968.png

As Polish rule spread eastward into the Tatar-inhabited lands huge stretches of rich agricultural territories that were lightly populated and underexploited were uncovered. In much of this region the Tatars had adopted settled agriculture centuries before. However, their farmers had largely been less productive than their Slavic equivalents, and the area was routinely ravaged by various nomadic hordes – whether Tatar, Mongol or in later times even Cossack. Combined, these factors had contributed to a low level of population growth and agricultural development. With their own lands comparatively densely packed, the Little Russians of the far north began a mass migration eastward from the early 16th century. Many of the Tatar lords of the region were happy to accept the new migrants, who aided them in extracting much larger yields from their holdings, while the Little Russian peasants themselves were attracted to the promise of land and, for some, the chance to return to the homeland of their ancestors. By the middle of the century the demography of the region around Moscow was already beginning to change – with hundreds of Little Russian villages cropping up, even outnumbering the Tatars in some areas.

1593852862975.png

In the half century from the end of the Anarchy, Poland had enjoyed a lengthy period of internal peace and had avoid any gruelling external conflicts, with its wars against the divided Tatar tribes requiring only a fraction of its military strength. To the south, the mighty Arab Caliphate had been deeply disturbed by Polish expansionism – seeing a historic rival grow in strength and the traditionally Islamic Tatars fall under Jewish rule. The Arabs and a deep well of contacts with the recently conquered Tatar tribes of eastern Poland and when a major revolt broke out in the former Emirate of Tver in 1541 they spied an opportunity to roll back the Tsar’s power. Timing their attack to coincide with a further Tatar rebellion, this time by the Oghuz Turks in the Caspian Depression, in the spring of 1542 Arab ships launched surprise attacks on Polish ports throughout the Black Sea while 80,000 Muslim Ghazi surged across the Caucasian Mountains into Polish territory. This surprise attack by the Arabs, their Christian allies in Pannonia and the Tatar rebels within Polish territory set off a seventy-year long battle for supremacy between the Tsars and Caliphs that would shape both the Jewish and Islamic world forever.
 
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Tommy4ever

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Huge expansion in the east, a boost from Kingdom to Empire status, a fine new Chancellor, retaining the Kingship of Israel, a veritable bundle of improvements.

The only fly in the ointment is the loss of the territory around Mount Sinai! Surely for the legitimacy of the heir of David, King of Israel it must be retained!

And that expansion continues! The loss of Sinai is painful - but war with the Arabs will put all of Israel at risk. The Holy Land is essentially indefesnsible against the Arabs - our hope must be that we can overcome the numerically superior foe in the Caucuses.

That picture of the imperial regalia right at the end is truly fantastic. Dressing head to toe in gold like that is surely the most obvious way to send a signal of your supremacy. Mind you, Poland is looking stronger and stronger the further we get past the Anarchy – unfortunate losses in Sinai discounted. Will it be eastward bound all the way, or are there a few surprises still waiting in the West?

Haha - the Russian elite surely have a fondness for gawdy displays of gold ;). The chance to push east over the past few decades was too appetising to hold back from with all those weak and divided Tatar states. But now our eyes have been drawn back westwards now that the Arabs have decided that our expansion gas gone on long enough.

congratulations about the tsardom, and good to have a tatar as the chancellor. cosmopolitanism is what makes a big kingdom a real empire!

speaking of age of discovery, did we have cores on the lost provinces on the red sea coast? my eu4 knowledge is a lot rusty but having a core there would let us colonize the indian ocean and beyond, right? if so, we shall avenge and take those from the pope!

Israel has cores on those lost lands on the Red Sea (as well as Damascus weirdly - which was given a Jewish majority in the conversion). If Israel were to regain those lands (or if I annexed/inherited Israel - my lesser PU partner) and chose the right National Ideas then the Indian Ocean would be wide open for colonisation.

I sense this will not be the last showdown with the Bishop of Rome.
A New Rome arises in the east. How will the Old Rome respond to this?

We've avoided war with the Christians for now - at this point they are experiencing the early stages of the reformation (something we will discuss in later updates - especially how it pertains to Poland's Christians) so have their only problems. But their increasing power and new religious zeal will surely make them look differently at this great Asiatic blob on their frontier :eek:

I'd really wish we just establish Israel as a supreme dominion over all Africa and the Middle East. Speaking of which, wonder if we can bypass the Christian States entirely and build our empire in unconquered states?

Well, if these wars against the Arabs go well enough there will be plenty opportunities to try to bring those ambitions to life!

As a Tsardom I actually get a mechanic called Siberian Frontiers that allows for rapid expansion into uncolonised land so long as it is contiguous to my capital. Its designed for use in Siberia (obvs) but is flexible.

Tzar, eh? Quite a rise from the decades past. This tolerance though, can it last?

Its been quite the turnaround after a 100-year civil war! The humanist regime hold for now - but there are surely many who despise it. Those voices are likely to grow louder as minority rebels join forces with an invading foreign power :eek:
 
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DensleyBlair

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Wow, a Seventy Year War is quite the promise for the next few updates. Thankfully Poland has had some time of peace, at least. This coming century feels like it will be pivotal for sure.

Cool seeing the emergence of the Olegites and a return to some internal pluralism, as well. I did enjoy the details about how exactly Judaism has been influenced by the other religions. The idea of King David having a holy day on December 25 is quite a neat one, and probably about as reasonable as re-presenting Chanukah as "Jewish Christmas". I wonder how the two festivals would interrelate.
 
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Ebanu8

Emperor of Axum
Nov 29, 2017
136
8
Nice interpretation of conversion throughout Poland. I feel this is far more effective than the Orthodox way of doing so - invites a lot of resentment, I might add. Are we going to take Asia Minor, if possible? Or are we going to turn our attention towards the Crusade States after this?