[LoR AAR] Resurrecting the Legacy of Rome

[LoR AAR] Resurrecting the Legacy of Rome

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Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome After Action Report v.1.07 dated 16/10/2012

Ρωμανός Ελέω Θεού Πιστός Βασιλεύς και Αυτοκράτωρ Ρωμαίων ο Διογένης
Romanos by Grace of God Faithfull Emperor and Sole-Ruler of the Romans the Diogenes

RESURRECTING THE LEGACY OF ROME

by Dimitrios Kiminas




The Byzantine Empire on 15 September 1070, date of my appointment as the Emperor’s Chronicler



The ethnicities distribution in the Empire and its immediate surroundings

I began writing this chronicle on 15 September, in the year 1070 of our Lord or the year 6579 since World’s Creation, during Roman Indiction IX. I was the new chronicler of the Roman Empire assigned to serve, document and preserve for posterity the acts of our new Emperor, Romanos IV Diogenis.



The late Emperor Konstantinos X managed to die by natural causes, though his rule left a lot to be desired...

At the time the Empire was facing a serious threat that could put its very existence in jeopardy. The previous 8-year administration of Emperor Konstantinos X Doukas had let the Empire’s once-mighty army fell into disarray, while the treasury was depleted by continued embezzlements in mismanagement of expenses.



The Seljuks certainly have what can be described as ‘strategic depth’



Will he bring our doom?

A new enemy, the Seljuk Turks, under their capable leader Alp Arslan had declared war on the Romans, asking for all the lands that previously belonged to Muslims and were reclaimed for the Empire by the three warrior Emperors Nikephoros Phokas, Ioannis Tzimiskis and Basileios II Makedon. Left unchecked in the last years of Konstantinos Doukas’ reign, numerous bands of undisciplined Seljuk barbarians roamed Asia Minor’s countryside, pillaging, looting and terrorizing the local population.





Emperor Romanos VI Diogenes and his Basilissa

Romanos, a competent general of the Empire, was installed precisely for his military expertise at this hour of need. Selected by the late Emperor’s wife, Basilissa Eudokia Makrembolitissa (then 36 years old), to be her husband and Emperor, he was the only man deemed capable to resurrect The Legacy of Rome.







The three Princes

Basilissa Eudokia was mother of three sons of the late Emperor Konstantinos X: the young and bitter Michael Doukas (then 20-years old), who felt that he was unfairly set aside from the Empire’s succession line, and his two minor brothers Andronikos (13-years old) and Konstantios (10-years old). Nevertheless, the Basilissa quickly bore a newborn son and heir to Romanos Diogenis.



Born in the Purple



Prince Konstantinos, feeling rather disgruntled

The Porphyrogennetos (“born in the purple”) infant Leon Diogenes was placed directly first in the Empire’s line of succession, greatly disappointing Romanos’ own son from his previous wife, Konstantinos Diogenes (then 24 years old), who too felt that he was unfairly set aside by his newborn half-brother.



The retinues are here? The retinues are there? The retinues are nowhere!



How hard it’d be to Become Exalted among Men?

On assuming the throne, Emperor Romanos immediately tried to call the Empire’s retinues to Constantinople, only to find out that there were none! Apparently the late Emperor Konstantinos, once a civil bureaucrat, did not care to pay soldiers just “to sit and wait until they can find an opportunity to overthrow me!” Romanos, whose only ambition was to restore the Empire’s fortunes to their former glory, enabling him to Become Exalted among Men, devoted his first 4 years as Emperors in tidying up the Empire’s economy and painstakingly trying to raise and train the Empire’s armed forces in order to face this new enemy in the field of battle.



Collecting... Collecting... I sure hope he’ll eventually deliver!

Now at last, with the state income flow diverted away from Konstantinos Doukas relatives’ pockets and back into the Imperial Treasury, gold coins started to pile up again giving hope to Emperor Romanos that he’d be able to reform the 8,000-men-strong retinues, that once where the elite striking force of the Empire. To help achieve this goal sooner, the Emperor tasked his Steward with the efficient collection of the tax in our capital city of Constantinople.



This is the dough with which we must work. The elderly gentleman who’s third in the line of succession is the Emperor’s father.



Father, who art in heaven -- hmm, not yet, but he’s certainly on the way!

But still, the current laws of the Empire that upheld Medium Crown Authority and allowed for no Feudal Taxation were unsuited for an Empire aspiring to reclaim its long-lost greatness. Romanos did not enjoy the popularity needed to change these laws, which were very much favored by the Empire’s aristocracy.



The factions are here to stay -- and this is a fact!

On the contrary, the Emperor was aware of a powerful faction led Michael Doukas aiming at lowering the Empire’s Crown Authority even further. Michael himself commanded over 15% of the Empire’s armies, and if his faction was left unchecked it could plunge the Empire into civil war.



The religions followed in the Empire and its immediate surroundings

And on top of all these, there was of course the problem of the heretics. The heresy of Bogomilism was present in Macedonia, very close to the Empire’s capital, but even more seriously, the Armenian population living in the eastern themes of the Empire adhered to Miaphysitism, making the clergy of Constantinople lament about the enlargement of the Empire’s borders to encompass the eastern heretic populations being the cause for the trials the Lord had thrown onto us.



Court Chaplain Manuel trying hard to spot the heretics’ hidden hideout

Romanos sent his Court Chaplain to personally address the closer problem of the Bogomils, but success was far uncertain over time.




They certainly seem to be in a hurry...while the Emperor doesn’t look so happy seeing them!

It was on this fateful day that news reached Constantinople, the Queen of Cities, of an army numbering 16,000 Seljuks that had been sighted in the easternmost borders of the Empire, moving unhindered to enter the province of Vaasprakania (Vaspurakan). This was the first serious Seljuk invasion by an organized army. It seemed that Alp Arslan was ready to realize his threat to reclaim all former Muslim lands.



The Seljuks starting their blitzkrieg

Emperor Romanos knew that at this time he did not possess an army capable to meet head-on the invaders. He understood that the size of this attack force necessitated the establishment of a Maximum Feudal Levies law, and he immediately asked from the Imperial Senate to approve it. He was hoping that the Empire’s Maximum Feudal Levies and the expected attrition the Seljuk army would face on Anatolia’s treacherous terrain would give him the ability to defend its lands.



Stuck at 43/98. Damn!

It is characteristic of the times that the majority of the nobles (even now at this time of crisis putting their personal interests above those of the Empire) were resisting the new law, forcing the Emperor to distribute honorary titles to the most influential amongst them in order for the law to be approved.



Gold changed hands for this to be achieved. Typical.



The general mobilization order has just been given

And approved it was. Immediately the Emperor called for a general mobilization, using the Empire’s navy to gather what little levies the nobles could offer into one cohesive army. Meanwhile, the still 15,000-men-stong Seljuk invasion force had completely occupied the provinces of Vaasprakania and Khliat and was moving towards our province of Melitine. In comparison, even under Maximum Feudal Levy law, all the Empire’s vassals’ combined forces added to 14,000 men, still less in number than the weakened Seljuk shock wave.



High Crown Authority. Will it ever come?

Simultaneously on the internal affairs front, the Emperor called for the institution of High Crown Authority. Current support for such a serious law change was miniscule, but Romanos hoped that a possible success against the Seljuk threat would increase his popularity and eventually rally support towards his cause.



The true Roman Emperor’s natural position is in front of his army

The treasury had just enough gold to mobilize the trusty-and deadly-Varangian Guard back into active service. With the 3,000 Varangians and the army of the Emperor’s personal demesne, a force of 18,500 men was assembled and boarded the Imperial Navy to be carried to the Front. By the time our army was at sea, the Seljuks had completed the conquest of the provinces of Melitene, Teluch and were moving away from the sea towards the province of Lykandos.




Imperial “entanglements” won’t be avoided this time

The Imperial Tagmata landed at Adana on 9 August 1071, and with Emperor Romanos himself at the lead, proceeded to engage the enemy forces at Lykandos. The latest news were that the Seljuk numbers had fallen to 14,000 men, but more armies were travelling from the Seljuks’ capital in the heart of Asia towards our hallowed lands.




The bloody battle nearing its end

On 14 September 1071, the two armies met in the field of battle near Tzamandos. Although the Seljuks had the advantage of high ground, careful placement of our soldiers in the battlefield and even more careful selection of the army’s section leaders (even the Emperor decided to lead the army’s right flank and handed over the army’s central section to Mayor Ioseph, a Brilliant Strategist) brought a decisive victory for the Romans in a relentless battle that lasted almost a month.




What treachery is this?

In the end, after liberating all occupied Lykandos settlements, 15000 Romans were hot on the trail of 6,700 Seljuk survivors who fled towards Teluch. There, near Germanias, another battle took place, that left 4200 Seljuks running for safety back into their Aintab province. And as our own still 14,500-stong force was ready to pursue, a new 10,500 Seljuk army appeared in Aintab, waiting to protect their previous army’s survivors.




Army on the move

While the two infidel armies merged into a 14,900 force, our God-serving army liberated Teluch and was moving into Melitene. The Emperor wisely decided not to engage the Seljuk army inside Seljuk land. He’d go to liberate the occupied Anatolian provinces and wait to see the Seljuks’ next move.

[Continued in part 2]
 
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[Part 2]





Giants dancing on the strategic playground

Indeed, as our Tagmata liberated Melitine and moved into Khliat, the Seljuks laid siege to Teluch.




Where are they going?

After our army liberated Khliat and was moving into Vaasprakania province, the Seljuks completed their occupation of Teluch, returned to Aintab and then were lost from sight. Where they going to secretly merge with yet another Seljuk force?




Patrolling the frontier...

The Imperial Army liberated Vaasprakania and the Emperor decided to apprehensively travel along the Seljuk border towards occupied Teluch, when suddenly the Seljuk horde appeared in the province of Amida, headed towards us. They were seeking a direct confrontation!




Look who’s coming to dinner!

A quick estimation of the enemy forces raised their number to about 15,000-strong, while our own were still 14,500. Still, our Glorious Emperor re-arranged his army and with the full knowledge that this time WE were the ones holding high ground, pretended that we were trying to flee towards Khliat.




The Battle of Haykaberd



The Emperor’s flank is holding well



Victory for the Romans!

And there, in Vaasprakania province, on 10 August 1072, near an obscure place called Haykaberd in the language of the locals, the second decisive battle of the Seljuk War was fought -- and won! Though initially ambiguous, by the battle’s end 11,600 Romans stood triumphant on top of thousands of Seljuk dead bodies, with the remaining alive 7,000 Seljuks fleeing towards Amida.




Are you sure?

Encouraged by our consecutive victories, the Emperor sent envoys to the Seljuk Sultan asking for his surrender. Alp Arslan replied angrily that from his point of view “the war was still indecisive”.
Our Emperor then decided that he could not let the 7,000 Seljuk survivors to regroup and possibly unite with new Seljuk armies to fight us again. He ordered his army to cross into Seljuk lands and hit their army remnants in the province of Amida.




Playing in their field...



Survivors few and far between...



Battle prowess EARNED

This was done: 11,500 Romans against 7,000 Seljuks; a river crossing favoring them, morale favoring us. And just out of the gates of Amida, the Seljuk survivors were slaughtered. 10,000 Romans stood over 5,500 corpses, with the surviving 1500 Seljuks seeking refuge towards the province of Bira, still further away from our borders.




-“Did you say the Battle of Beer?” –“Ehm, no, I said the Battle of Bira!”



-“Hmm, I can’t accept, the war is indecisive -- just kidding!”

Nevertheless Romanos pursued -- and right there in the province of Bira, as soon as we engaged the pitiful remnants of the once powerful and filled with pride Seljuk invaders, an envoy of Alp Arslan reached us. It was the turn of the Sultan to ask for white peace.




Peace EARNED

Our Emperor accepted the Sultan’s offer on 6 January 1073 and led our army back to Teluch, dismissing the realm levies but keeping the 3,000 Varangians in order to protect the public order.




An old Romaion proverb says “he who digs another’s grave, may fell himself in it”

This victory diverted the Seljuk threat away from our borders. As soon as he concluded peace, Alp Arslan faced serious insurrections against his rule all over the vast Seljuk realm which kept him occupied for many years. And still, after many decades had passed, the weary traveler who would wander into the old battlefields where the two decisive battles were fought (in Lykandos and Vaasprakania) would be met by an expanse of white bones stretching as far as the eye could see.




Show me the money!

The war weighted heavily on the Imperial income. When peace was restored we only had 186 gold pieces in the Imperial treasury, but the Emperor decided he could not postpone the reestablishment of the Empire’s retinues any longer. They have always been a reliable defender and by just their presence they would serve as deterrent to any aspiring invader.




Creation of the first retinues!

Of course the Emperor would prefer to create heavy Cataphract units, but at this point the treasury could support the creation of only 1 such unit of 500 men, so the Emperor opted with about the same amount of gold to create 6 inexpensive archer units (total 3,000 men). However, this expenditure only created the infrastructure for the formation of each unit. Years were needed for the actual retinue numbers to reach their peak; but once fully formed, they’d become an indispensable ‘tool’ in the restoration of the Roman Empire’s former glory.




Isn’t it nice watching them grow?

The Emperor created more retinue units every time the treasury allowed him to, throwing some heavy infantry, cavalry and pikemen into the mix, until in the end all 16 units where created and kept reinforcing at the maximum rate.




You call this progress?

Returning to Constantinople after his long absence, the Emperor was not met with the results he hoped to achieve by repelling the invaders. Whereas before the war the Emperor controlled 40 of the 158 votes needed to pass the High Crown Authority laws, he now found out that he controlled 52 of 157. Not much progress there.




Now, this IS progress!



Careful, you may fall from there!

However he was met with another type of progress. Michael Doukas, sitting behind the safety of Thessalonike’s walls had all the time to strengthen the power of his faction. And strengthening it he certainly did, having enlisted 3 Dukes and a Count, their combined forces totaling now over 70% of the Empire’s. Something had to be done quickly to avert this faction escalating to critical heights, so Emperor Romanos quickly dispatched his Spymaster to the court of the Duke of Samos, in an effort to persuade him to leave Michael’s faction.




Which color do you prefer?

The condition of the treasury did not permit a traditional triumph to be held, however the Emperor was enthusiastically hailed by the people when he attended the chariot races at the Hippodrome.




-“My Lord, should we fabricate a claim?”

Soon afterwards the Emperor decided to bring back to the ‘fold’ the little breakaway Duchy of Diokleia. Not long ago part of the Empire, its Serb leadership successfully managed to gain its independence during a time of crisis. Our chancellor advised that perhaps he should go fabricate claims on these provinces “to acquire the legality needed for such an act to be recognized by the western Europeans”. “Nonsense”, replied Emperor Romanos:




-“Fabricate a claim? ARE YOU KIDDING?”

“Our Roman Empire controlled all the lands from here to Hispania and Megale Brettania for hundreds of years, and not one of their barbarian Kings has the right to question our actions. Nor an Emperor appointed by the Grace of God to rule over the Roman World need justify any of them. Our Divine Right for Imperial Reconquest of our former territories that have been unlawfully occupied by barbaric nations and are still held by their descendants was not only bestowed, but also dictated by God!”




An unexpected pleasure!

The Emperor used his newly-established idea of the Imperial Reconquest Casus Belli to attack and annex the Duchy of Diokleia. The Varangians were more than enough for the task, and the provinces of Zeta and Ragusa were soon part of the Imperial Demesne.




You serve your Master well. And you will be rewarded!

During the war the Orhodox Count of Hum rebelled against the Catholic Duke of Diokleia and after the later was no more, accepted our vassalization request and became part of the Empire willingly and peacefully. To reward him for this, our benevolent Emperor created the title of the Duchy of Rashka and granted it to the Count of Hum.




Born to be proud!

During the Diokleian war, happy news reached the Palace: The Emperor’s son Konstantinos Diogenes’ wife gave birth to twin sons! The Emperor’s grandsons were named Andreas and Romanos.




Here comes Tripolis!



And here comes Berytus, but, oops!, there went Tyros!

The turning of the tide of the Seljuk invasion had strengthened the Empire’s position in the east, and the Emperor decided to capitalize on that success by annexing the 3 independent Sheikhdoms of Tripolis, Berytos (Beirut) and Tyros, located on the Mediterranean seashore south of Antiocheia. Again the Varangians proved to be enough for the task, although as soon as our mercenaries appeared in the area the Fatimids invaded and annexed Tyros to halt our southern expansion.




Reached for the sky... and got there!

Still the Empire gained 2 out of the 3 provinces, something that certainly was not a failure. Soon afterwards the Emperor realized that he had amassed so much prestige that his lifelong ambition to Become Exalted among Men, had been realized!


[Continued in part 3]
 
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[Part 3]





Hmm, yes, I had my Court Chaplain there, but it seems he had nothing to do with it!



Here we go again: I spy with my little eye... wait a minute! A heretic! -- Bah, false alarm; it was just the local Duke’s retinue...

Right after Christmas of 1075 news reached us that the Bogomils were no more. The Emperor immediately sent his Court Chaplain to bring back to Orthodoxy the Nestorian heretics who meanwhile had appeared in the province of Tyana.




Attaboy!

In 1076 the Porphyrogennetos heir of the Empire Leon Diogenes turned 6 years old and the Emperor decided to personally oversee his son’s education. On the law-passing front, the Emperor was now in control of 70 votes.




I was framed!

During his visit to the Imperial City, Doux Manuel Komnenos of Antiochia challenged the Emperor for a horseback game of tzykanion. The Emperor’s athletic prowess was however a little rusty and he graciously ceded victory to his worthy opponent, in a noble display of Fairplay and Imperial Magnanimousness!




Jurisdiction from the Mediterranean to the Arctic Circle

In order to atone for his ‘pride’ in the game, the Emperor decided to pay more attention to the Empire’s religious affairs. The Empire controlled the Sees of two of the ancient Pentarchy Patriarchates: The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchate of Antioch.




Regional Autocephaly was complex to implement, but here it is in all its glory

There also existed the Church of Georgia, granted autocephaly by the Patriarch of Antioch long ago.




Can it be done?

The Emperor dreamed that if the remaining Patriarchates of the Pentarchy (Rome, Alexandria, and Jerusalem) were brought within the borders of the Roman Empire, he would have acquired the gravitas needed to call a new Ecumenical Council of the church and unite the eastern-western schism that had occurred 20 years ago at the time of Ecumenical Patriarch Michael Keroularios. With the Pentarchy restored under Roman rule, the possibilities would be endless...




In time all will be again ours...

An even further goal would be the restoration of the Empire to its Justinianian borders. This was a task that would need many generations to be accomplished, but if it was realized it would force the snob western monarchs to recognize our True Roman Ancestry instead of the fabricated monstrosity that was the Holy Roman Empire: a pseudo title for the Kingdom of the Goths which in the Emperor’s own words was “not Holy, not Roman and certainly not an Empire”.




Please, do come again!

In the recent war in Tripolis and Berytos a Turkish Timariot was apprehended trying to backstab our Emperor during the battle. To punish him for his traitorous battle tactic our Emperor decided to blind him, and then in a display of his never-ending benevolence he released him, supplied him with a walking stick and allowed him to try to return to his own realm.




And hard work it was!

Then the Emperor decided to focus his attention to the Empire’s western lands in southern Italy and Sicily, where Romaioi Orthodox people lived under the foreign domination of the Normans. He used the Varangians to annex the independent Sheikhdom of Palermo in Sicily; then offered to vassalize the Romaios Orthodox Count of Napoli, who, having observed the Empire’s display of force in Palermo, accepted the Emperor’s offer immediately.




Conquering provinces is teamwork!

In the past the Emperor had created all 16 possible retinue units, the combined strength of which had by now reached 5,300 men. Although still far from its full 8,000-men potential, the Emperor reckoned that it was time the retinues’ army was put to good use. As a result, the Empire’s new Standing Army attacked the independent province of Salerno, demonstrating an excellent performance, while at the same time the Varangians were used to annex the independent county of Capua.




?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?



Why, oh why?


And then suddenly, fate struck hard on our Emperor. At age 8, the porphyrogennetos Leon Diogenes was murdered. The murderer was caught and forced to admit that he did so at the orders of Doux Michael of Koloneia. It soon became clear that the moving force behind Doux Michael was the Emperor’s firstborn, Konstantinos Diogenes who now became the first and sole heir. Although the Emperor, struck by sadness, tried to cover up the story, the rumors that circulated branded Prince Konstantinos Diogenes as a kinslayer in the minds of all the Empire’s vassals...




I’m concerned too -- for his sanity!



Anyway, let’s not ignore what may be his last wish!

In the midst of all this, the Emperor’s 78-year old father, Konstantinos Diogenes, asked from his son to find him a wife (and a rather young at that!). The Emperor decided to fulfill his father wish and married him to a 19-year-old lady from the distant land of Hollandia (Holland), named Mechthild. The Emperor ordered the young lady to care for his father, as due to his old age he was frail and needed constant care. In Emperor Romanos’ eyes, in the form of this young wife he was actually giving his father a housekeeper and a nurse...




Miracles DO happen!



This Tax will breed Cataphracts!

In the year 1080 the lords of the Roman Empire approved the institution of the High Authority Law. It took 10 years for the ratification of the law, but the satisfaction from this achievement stayed with the Emperor for the remaining of his life. Nevertheless, given the favorable opportunity, the Emperor proceeded to pass a Small Feudal Tax law to lighten some of the burden on the Imperial Treasury.




“I didn’t know he still had it!”

Barely a year after father Konstantinos Diogenes married his young Hollandian bride, the baffled Emperor was informed she gave birth to twins: a boy and a girl! “I didn’t know he still had it!” mumbled silently at the thought of his new half-siblings.




Apulia reclaimed

The next logical step would be to declare war on the Normans for the Duchy of Apulia. With the combined force of the Varangians and our new Standing Army, the Apulia was soon reintegrated into the Roman Empire. The Normans where in no position to offer serious resistance anyway, since they were locked in a bitter war with the Arabs of north Africa, who were trying to annex the two Norman provinces in Sicily.




I hear Maltese Falcons are nice...



The ‘struggle’ for Dalmatia



The ‘pacification’ of Wallachia



Retinues revisited

The Empire then proceeded to conquer the independent Sheikhdom of Malta, annex the Duchy of Dalmatia after a brief war against the Kingdom of Croatia, and to annex the Duchy of Wallachia in a war against the Pechenegs. The enlargement of our realm allowed us to increase our retinues to 10000 men and the Emperor created his first Cataphract units.




Farewell father, you certainly led a ‘productive’ life!



She is my step-mother, for God’s sake!

In 1084 the Emperor’s father died at age 81 leaving behind the 2-year-old Emperor’s siblings, whom the Emperor vowed to raise like if they were his own children. This was probably misunderstood by young Mechthild but the Emperor knew very well what was proper!




Is this a multiple-choice test?



Much obliged!

Following a letter sent by the Duke of Samos, saying that he withdrew his support from Michael Doukas faction, our Spymaster was sent to carry out the same mission in the Court of the Doux of Dyrrachion. Michael’s faction remained powerful and dangerous, however, and the Emperor sent our Chancellor to Michael’s court in an attempt to improve their relations.




“Couldn’t have done it better myself!”



“Let’s hope he’ll now give us some breathing room, him and his damned faction!”

Other related good news were that a plot organized by our vassals succeeded in usurping the entire Duchy of Vidin from Michael Doukas, whose power now halved, since he retained only the Duchy of Thessalonica.




Isn’t she just adorable? (I mean the inheritance!)



“I like these odds!”

The new Doux of Vidin died shortly thereafter, inheriting his Duchy to his minor Bulgarian daughter, Boyana. Should anything happen to that little angel, the Duchy would be added to the Emperor’s demesne: Her own Spymaster and Regent, Eirenaios of Vranje, shared the Emperor’s concern for her well-being and took extra steps to ensure her safety...




“Foolish Infidels!”

On 2 September 1084, while the army was still entangled in the conquest of Wallachia, the Caliph of the Fatimids, God let him rot in hell, called a Jihad for Anatolia, hoping to succeed where Alp Arslan failed miserably 10 years ago.


[Continued in part 4]
 
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[Part 4]





“A job well done!”



“Where do they think they are going?”

The annexation of Wallachia was completed in November and our armies were now free to be transferred to Anatolia, just as the first Fatimid army (numbering 4,500 men) entered our province of Berytos.




Ah, another display of Roman hospitality! Don’t forget to get your jar on the way out...

During the Wallachian war a treacherous Cuman General was apprehended during battle. To punish him for his evil conduct our Emperor decided to castrate him, and then in another display of his ever-eternal benevolence he released him and allowed him to return to his own realm.




“Ah, sweet anticipation!”



“What? Next time you better deliver!”

Meanwhile Regent Eirenaios informed the Emperor of an unfortunate incident with little Boyana playing on her Castle’s parapets, putting her life in danger. The Emperor was furious and warned Eirenaios not to neglect his duties again.




Our new enemy

The sight from the palace balcony of our armies returning from Wallachia brought a steely look of determination on Emperor Romanos’ face. He immediately called all his Generals in a closed-door meeting inside the Palace grounds:




We’ll meet again, old ‘friend’

“I foresee we will need a full mobilization of our armies to counter this so-called holy war against our eastern provinces. But I am not going to mobilize the entire army of the Empire without any hope of making some land gains to compensate us for our efforts. Our intelligence says that the realm of the Seljuks is still plunged into civil war, with their lands in Edessa and Mesopotamia occupied by the rebel Emir of Haleppo. This is an opportunity that we’d be foolish not to take advantage of.”




That’s a LOT of hostile territory!



Here we go yet again...

Shortly thereafter the Roman Empire declared war on Alp Arslan for the Duchy of Edessa, and on the Emir of Haleppo for the province of Archa, near Antiochia. The Emperor then proceeded to order the general mobilization of all the Empire’s levies.




-“But, why you came out of Antiochia’s walls?” -“It was an accident!”

The first battle was fought against an invading army of 2,500 men who had entered the province of Antioch. The local forces of 500 men were insufficient to battle this force, and only the rapid mobilization of the Empire’s naval forces, continuously transferring forces to Antioch, enabled us to overpower them.




Besieging Archa

In the end, an army of 9000 men was gathered in Antiochia. It rooted the invaders and proceeded to siege the province of Archa. Meanwhile the initial 4,500 army of the Fatimids re-entered enemy territory and joined with some small bands to reach 5,500 men.




Fatimids entering Tripolis

It then proceeded to meet another 5,000-men army which suddenly appeared from the east, and created a respectable 10,500-strong force. The Seljuk force decided not to engage our 9,000 men in Archa; instead it entered our province of Tripolis and kept moving northward towards Anatolia.




Really? It was unexpected!



Ssshh! Don’t say that out loud!

It seems that little Boyana liked to sneak out and play on her castle’s parapets, because she did it again and this time she met with a tragic accident. Our sorrowful Emperor on hearing of the devastating news congratulated Regent Eirenaios on his genuine efforts to avert her tragic but unavoidable fate, signed a decree that integrated the Duchy of Vidin to the lands of the Imperial Demesne, and withdrew to his inner quarters to mourn in privacy.





But not so bad to not be good!

To those sycophants who dared implicate the Emperor’s name in the case, trying with their twisted minds to find intent and malice where there was only innocence and kindness, the Emperor promised the fate of the Cuman General. This promise of justice helped eliminate the false rumors, dispelling their dark cloud.




The current situation at the Front



The battle near Ikonion

Meanwhile our 2nd Tagma of 9,000 men laid siege on the province of Aintab, while our 3rd Tagma of 5,000 entered the province of Edessa. After securing Antab, this 2nd Tagma joined the Empire’s Retinue Army to form a new 14,000-strong 2nd Tagma, which met the main Fatimid force of 10,500 men in the desert plains of Ikonion. Our 12,500 victors soon were chasing the 3,000 Arab survivors back to the province of Seleukeia.




New developments at the Front

By that time our 1st Tagma had completed the occupation of Archa and was besieging Haleppo, our 3rd Tagma completed the occupation of Edessa and was besieging Taron, while a new 7,000 Fatimid army entered Edessa and was moving towards our province of Melitene.




Well, if you insist...

Then an offer was received by the fellow co-Orthodox King of Georgia to join our anti-Jihad defense. Our Emperor graciously accepted although he knew that the Georgians could not deploy any significant armed forces to make any difference in the overall war effort.




Formation of the Mercenaries’ Tagma

Afterwards the Emperor, being notified that the Imperial Treasury had amassed 966 pieces of gold, decided to make a move to bring victory much closer. He hired ALL available mercenaries, forming a Mercenaries’ Tagma of 11,500 men and arranged for their transfer to Antioch once their training was completed.




Another battle fought, this time near Adana



Our Retinues sliced them like butter...

In the meantime, our 2nd Tagma, now numbering 13,000 men, met in the battlefield near Adana the new Fatimid army which had merged with some stray bands and reached a 9,500-strong size. Only 4,000 Seljuks survived the encounter and were pursued by 11,500 Romans into the province of Tyana.




Aintab ‘relieved’

In May 1086 our 3rd Tagma completed the occupation of Taron and moved into the province of Bira. In June our Mercenaries’ Tagma landed in Teluch and proceeded to eliminate a small Haleppian band of 2,000 men who were besieging our occupation forces in Aintab.




What do you mean, ‘inconclusively’??

In July our 3rd Tagma finished the occupation of Bira and was moving towards Amida, when the Seljuk civil war ended and the Emirate of Haleppo was reintegrated into the Seljuk realm, ending our war for Archa inconclusively. We now had 3 armies inside Seljuk territories: The 1st Tagma besieging Haleppo, the Mercenary Tagma moving towards Tell Bashir and the 3rd Tagma moving towards Amida. Our 2nd Tagma was still performing clean-up operations on the remnants of the Arab army in Tyana.




Time for good old Alp Arslan to go home...

We had to move swiftly before the Seljuks could regroup and focus all their strength on us -- and swiftly we moved: The Mercenaries’ Tagma had sliced through all settlements in Tell Bashir while the 3rd Tagma had occupied the first settlements in Edessa, when our war progress forced the Seljuk Sultan to surrender the entire Duchy of Edessa to the Empire and conclude the war.




Tyros fell. Where to now?



Time to go home...



The new frontier, carved by blood and steel

Our forces where now free to deal with the Fatimids. Immediately the Mercenaries’ Army was landed by our fleet in Tyros, bringing the war inside Fatimid territory for the first time. This action was taken in order to force them to call-off their Jihad and indeed, no sooner than Tyros’ occupation was complete, the Fatimid Caliph panicked and called-off his Jihad!




An unforgettable event!

Following this new success, the expensive Mercenary Tagma as well as all the vassal levies and navies were disbanded and the weary soldiers returned to their homes. This most glorious victory on all fronts was indeed worthy of a triumph!




Calabria liberated

The sounds of the mighty triumph still echoed through the Hippodrome, when the Retinue and Varangian forces, combined into a single Tagma were dispatched to southern Italy to liberate the Romaioi of Calabria. The Norman King, still trying to defend against the Arabs the little parts of Sicily he held, was quick to admit defeat and surrender.




And so an adventure begun...

This was the time that we suffered the Roman Fire incident. What started as a seemingly random accident soon proved to be an elaborate heist orchestrated by dastardly pirates to steal the Empire’s most closely-guarded secret. The Emperor had to employ the Fleet in searching, locating and eventually engaging in shady dealings with these treacherous brigands, before succeeding in recovering the priceless formula. Alas, the details of this mammoth event, comprised of seven distinct stages that unfolded over time, were kept secret and confidential even from the Emperor’s own chronicler. In the Emperor’s own words “You had to live it to believe it!”




And something was indeed done!

The second most closely-guarded secret of the Empire is the method to produce Silk. The secret of silk was brought to Constantinople in 550 AD by envoys of Emperor Justinianos who smuggled silkworm eggs inside their hollow canes travelling all the way from faraway Cathay. All top-quality looms and weavers are located inside our Palace complex and the cloth produced is used in imperial robes, or in diplomacy as gifts to foreign dignitaries. The remainder is made available in our Capital’s market at very high prices.



[Concluded in part 5]
 
Last edited:

constantinople!

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[Part 5]





”Now I’ll at least feel safer!”

This unfortunate event with the Roman Fire made the Emperor think that no one was safe from determined wrong doers. In order to increase his resistance to intrigue he arranged for one of the most trusty eunuchs of the Palace to be appointed as his parakoimomenos.




"Hmm, perhaps we should initiate some Roman public works to dry off all these useless canals!"

There followed a disagreement between the Emperor and the Venetian traders in Constantinople. Venice enjoyed trading priviledges in the Empire's ports, a remnant of the times that Venice was part of the Empire. However, it seemed that the Venetian merchants were not satisfied and demanded more. After some careful thought, the Emperor decided to grant them increased privileges, after a brief excursion that annexed their island to the Empire!




Hungary must be stopped!

The Empire’s military attention was now called to the Vlachian lands in the Black Sea. Hungary had invaded the Pechenegs in Moldavia and if victorious they would get access to the sea and slowly convert the Orthodox inhabitants of the area to Catholicism. The Emperor decided not to allow this to happen and he too declared war on the Pechenegs for Moldavia.




The Georgian slice

It should be noted that some years ago the Kingdom of Georgia annexed the province of Galaz which was controlled by an independent Cuman chieftain. Galaz was in the middle of the Empire’s coveted territories of Moldavia so war for it was also declared against the Georgian Kingdom.




Pressing the claim of a vassal

Finally, the Emperor decided to press simultaneously Doux Damianos of Cherson’s claim on the sole independent province of Korchev, which had recently broke away from its Russian overlord. Korchev was the first province to be besieged by our 9000-men standing army. It swiftly took possession of the province and handed it over to the Doux of Cherson.




Annexation of coastal Moldavia

Following that, our standing army, complemented by a 10,000-men Tagma raised from the provinces of the Balkan peninsula, invaded the Pechenegs who soon capitulated along with Georgia. Hungary’s gain from its Moldavian war was the sole landlocked mountain province of Birlad.




Operations deep in Hungarian soil

However, just as our vassals’ levies were disbanded, Hungary suddenly plunged into the chaos of Civil War. For the Emperor it was a golden opportunity to finish the business he had just begun. Our standing army invaded Birlad and after occupying a couple more Hungarian provinces (the Hungarian army being out of sight fighting rebellious lords), it forced the hapless Hungarian King to surrendered Birlad to us.




Paying a visit to Galichia

There followed a brief war against the Russian Duchy of Galich for the remaining Moldovan province of Torki and at last all Moldovlachian lands were brought under Roman control.




The Hashashashas? I can’t even pronounce their name!

During the year 1089 a strange rumor reached Konstantinoupolis about the creation of a religious order in the mountains of Persia, calling themselves “the Hashshashin”. Apparently their most beloved activity was to murder the local nobles in imaginative ways. I suppose those infidels deserved what fell onto them...




Coming of age...

In that same year our grandsons, Andreas and Romanos, came of age. Andreas completed his civil studies to become a Charismatic Negotiator and Romanos, finishing his military training, was hailed as a Brilliant Strategist. The Emperor arranged marriages for both of them.




The Kingdom of Croatia about to be seriously mutilated...

In the year 1092, after our truce with the Croatian Kingdom expired, the Emperor waged war with our Standing Army and annexed the Duchy of Croatia.




After Taranto and Benevento, the time for Sicily had come

Meanwhile the Arabs had managed to reclaim Sicily and expel the Normans from the island. The Sicilian Muslim possessions were held by three different Muslim realms (two Emirates and one Sultanate). Probably as a result of this mishap, a civil war was taking place within the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. The Empire took advantage of this to effortlessly annex the provinces of Taranto and Benevento.




Halfway there

Right afterwards our Emperor simultaneously declared Holy War for Sicily on all three infidel realms (the two of them being already at war for Christian lands in northern Italy). The presence of our standing army on the island was enough to conquer all settlements and eliminate any Muslim forces that futilely attempted to land on the island.




Operations in Africa

Eventually the two infidel realms whose forces were engaged in northern Italy capitulated. To accomplish the defeat of the last Emirate, an expedition into Tunisia was required. It forced them cede to the Empire their last Sicilian provinces and at last reunited Sicily under Roman control.




The Muslims of Africa managed to carve a significant slice out of the Holy Roman Empire’s belly

The Emperor then decided to turn his attention to northern Italy. The small independent duchies which in the past managed to break free of the Holy Roman Empire’s clutches had faced a north-African Muslim invasion and were under the control of Algeria’s Arabs.




A Crusade for Italy? How low the mighty have fallen...

As a result the Pope had to call a Crusade for Italy, in order to reclaim the Italian lands from the heathens. All the Papal States’ mercenary armies were north, fighting the Muslims.




The Romans return to Rome



Jurisdiction of the restored Patriarchate of Rome

This was the time, the Emperor thought, for the Empire to reclaim Rome. Indeed, after out Standing Army took Rome by force, the Pope was forced to surrender. The Empire proceeded to install its own Orthodox Patriarch of Rome and the spiritual leadership of all Orthodox in Italy was transferred from the Ecumenical Patriarch to the newly installed Roman Patriarch.




The Pentarchy’s restoration begun from Rome

Still, the westerners continued to recognize the Pope-in-exile as their religious head. Oh well, the time would come when they wouldn’t be able to continue doing so...




Illyricum Restored

The Emperor then usurped the title of King of Croatia and destroyed it. The disjoined Douches of Bosnia and Slovenia proved an easy target, and after their annexation, whole historical Roman province of Illyricum was restored under Roman Control. This province, birthplace of Glorious Emperor Justinianus the Great, was meant to be the first of many to be reacquired in the long road towards resurrecting the Legacy of Rome.




Faction Power

The Emperor was still wary on the Faction situation. Prince Michael Doukas’ faction for lowering the Empire’s Crown authority was still the strongest, with 29% of the Empire’s manpower supporting it. Prince Andronikos Doukas and Prince Konstantios Doukas had their own factions that were trying to install them on the throne, though with 4% power for Andronikos and 3% for Konstantios, their prospects were not very bright. Of more concern was the faction supporting Princess Theodora Doukas’ claim for the throne (daughter of Konstantinos X Doukas), the power of which had reached 11%. Even Konstantinos Murzuphlos, son of the late Anna Doukas (sister of Theodora) had a faction (power 10%) trying to install him on the throne. Other than that, Doux Alexios Murzuphlos of Achaia was the leader of a faction (power 5%) trying to obtain independence for his Duchy. It was a blessing that the factions were so fragmented, unable to agree on a common contestant for the throne and thus posed no present danger -- yet they required the Emperor’s continuous vigilance.




Do we look like Templars?

A more immediate cause for concern was the news that the mystical cult of “the Hashshashin” who brought havoc all over the Seljuk realm had now spread to Syria, next to our very borders.




The End of an Era. May he Rest in Peace.

These were the last news to reach the Emperor’s ears. On the night of 30 December 1096, Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes died a natural death during his sleep.




The Beginning of a new Era. Will he reign uninterrupted?

Konstantinos, the late Emperor’s only living son and heir, was crowned Emperor Konstantinos XI Diogenes on the next morning. He was 50 years old, branded as a kinslayer, detested by most of his vassals for his cruelty and arbitrariness, and was destined to face perils unheard of in the time of his father.




Not if these factionists have their way...

But that... is another story.




THE END​
 
Last edited:

constantinople!

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Well that's it. I hope the end result justified this white night... :unsure:

Nevertheless, I'd like to hear the opinion of whoever is brave enough to read it!
 
Last edited:

Doomdark

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We asked our beta testers to write an AAR for you, here's the result, written by the inimitable constantinople!
 

unmerged(457435)

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is it ok I can't see any picture but only red crosses on white background, yes? no?
 

ZechsMerquise73

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Where do Paradox AARs host their images for threads like this? You should let BETA AARs use that service :/ Image hosting websites get maxed out pretty fast.
 

Serathion

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You got my attention when you used the right indiction. I liked it! Once more with pictures, please.:happy:
 

Arakhor

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I use Photobucket. I haven't had service issues yet.
 

constantinople!

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I am very sorry for the technical difficulties, I was unavailable to fix them but now that I'm back I've fixed the pics of part 1 and will slowly work the other parts too. Please be patient with me...
 

Lord Finnish

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Diogenes is a very interesting choice for your dynasty. I always wanted to play as Romanos but I don't like their clown vomit CoA :p
Looking forward to see you restore the Empire.


And keep your eyes in your head!
 

constantinople!

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  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • For The Glory
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
Your comments give me strength! :)

Part 3 is all fixed, now working on part 4...

Note that the whole AAR contains 149 images!