Chapter 28 - Carrion for the Vultures (1177-1179)

Werson

Captain
8 Badges
Aug 14, 2012
405
339
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
Chapter 28 - Carrion for the Vultures (1177-1179)

normans.jpg

The knights of Sicily arriving at the shores of Fatimid North Africa

Now free from the yoke of the Armenian Empire, the rebel leaders concluded their alliance, with each lord retreating to their small realms. Believing the storm to be over, Sparapet Vartam would march toward Tannah, hoping to start a reconquest of these lost territories, as most could not muster enough men individually to challenge the remaining Imperial forces.

Traitor.png

The Count of Tannah, a Danish noble who was granted lands in Egypt for his participation in the Second Crusade

The battle against the treacherous Dane would be fairly simple, destroy their smaller armies and siege his fortress until he surrenders. Unfortunately for the Regency Council, as the battle against Ernst's forces took place, a few envoys arrived in Cairo, looking to take advantage of the frail and battered Empire.

The first of these came from the Fatimid court in Arabia, announcing their rightful claim to the areas near Cyrenaica and their intent of taking them by force. The Fatimid Caliphate had been on a downward spiral for the past couple of decades, having been the target of the Second Crusade as well as multiple Norman invasions. Despite this, they still remained the strongest realm in North Africa following the decline of the Armenians, and with a recently signed tributary agreement with the Normans in Sicily, there was nothing that could stop the Fatimids from retaking what was theirs.

War.png

The Fatimid declare war, February of 1178

Soon after, a few city guards bolted inside the court of Regent Thoros, speaking of a massive uprising by the Egyptian Ismai'lis, more than likely supported by their brethren in the Fatimid Empire.

rebels.png

The Great Ismai'li Uprising, March of 1178


Faced with both an internal and an external threat, Vartam sent word to all the Empire's vassals to raise their armies in defense of the Egyptian lands. This request would be outright ignored or refused by most, claiming that it was not their war to fight, for the Kingdom of Egypt was but a far-flung province that was neither Armenian nor Catholic.

Armenia had been ravaged by the previous civil war, and it would surely fall if another took place, thus the Regency Council could not refuse when a faction within the Empire promised their support in Egypt if the succession laws were to change to Elective Monarchy, wanting to prevent the Empire to pass unto the Norman de Hautevilles, preferring to elect an emperor from within the Empire.

Faction.png

The new succession law is enacted by the council under threat of another civil war

The Armenian armies would experience a short period of success, defeating the Caliphate and the Muslim rebels multiple times, as their poor leadership failed to combine their armies into a large enough force to threaten Sparapet Vartam. This streak of victories can be largely contributed to the aid many of the Catholic realms in the vicinity provided the Armenians, including the Venetian Doge and many of the lords who had recently fought for their independence against the Empire. They must've figured that if the Empire was to fall to the Fatimids, they would surely be next.

Egypt.png

The Kingdom of Egypt at the onset of the war

early success.png

The Battle of Ibyar, April of 1178

more early.png

The Battle of Qartasa, May of 1178

another easy win.png

Battle of Al-Mahallah, June of 1178

yet another win.png

The Battle of Banha, July of 1178

Just when victory seemed within the grasp of the Armenians, the suzerain of the Caliphate joined the war on their side, aiding the Mohammedans in the conquest of the Crusader Kingdom of Egypt. Having been recently excommunicated over territorial disputes with the Pope, the de Hauteville monarch saw fit to destroy any legacy the Second Crusade could have by siding with the Muslims, shoving it to the Pope.

sicily fucks.png

The Sicilians join the fray, August of 1178

Hoping to expand his realm at the expense of the Empire, the Atabeg of Trebizond would declare war shortly after, hoping to exploit the lack of armies in the region, as they all had been relocated to Egypt. Despite the relatively small size of his realm, his armies were as numerous as those of the rebels or the Caliphate, further complicating matters for the Empire.

more wars.png

The Atabeg of Trebizond, September of 1178

new enemy.png

The Atabeglik of Trebizond, and the target of his conquest in Asia Minor.

Upon hearing of the treacherous Normans alliance with the Fatimids, the Pope sought to stop his advances by requesting the aid of the Holy Orders located within the region, greatly bolstering the armies of Sparapet Vartam, and bringing much needed leadership to the Armenian forces.

holy orders.png

The Holy Orders join the war on the side of Armenia

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Regent Thoros sure was desperate. With the Empire having been ravaged by the years of constant warfare within the realm, the influx of gold had all but drained up, emptying the coffers of the Empire. Unable to pay the interest of the loans he had requested from the Jewish merchants, and the Armenian armies growing restless due to the lack of pay, Thoros would have many of the clerical lands and properties seized, hoping their riches could last him for the remaining of the war, after which he'd request absolution from such a heinous crime.

desperate times.png

The desecration of the Armenian clergy, December of 1178

As the Norman armies landed in the coasts of Egypt, they would encounter the remaining Armenian forces, who would use their advantageous position to hold the land until the arrival of the Holy Knights, despite their defensive position and numeric advantage, the Normans would break the Armenian ranks, forcing them to retreat to Cairo.

battle vs sicily.png

The Battle of Tobruk, February of 1179

sicily defeat.png

The Battle of Tobruk, February of 1179

As soon as Rome heard of the atrocities the clergy was undergoing in Armenia, the Pope retracted his support, excommunicating Sparapet Vartam, Regent Thoros, and the comatose Emperor Leonardo. Denouncing the crimes against the faith their Armenian counterparts had committed, the Holy Knights would depart from Egypt, leaving the Empire to its demise.

excommunicate.png

The excommunication of the Armenian leaders, March of 1179

holy orders bye.png

The departure of the Holy Orders, March of 1179

As their allies departed from the land, a defeat against the Fatimid-Norman coalition seemed inevitable, forcing the council to capitulate on the loss of Cyrenaica and the surrounding lands.

defeat.png

The Empire signs peace with the Caliphate, April of 1179

With the lands in Egypt now secured, the Armenian forces and what remained of their allies marched North, clashing against the armies of the ambitious Trebizondian Atabaeg, but were soundly defeated at every turn.

defeat north.png

The Battle of Satala, August of 1179

Fearing yet another defeat to be inevitable, Regent Thoros prepared to announce their surrender, ceding the lands around Koloneia to the upstart Turk. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately?) for the Empire, this would never came to pass, as the Imperial physicians were left astounded at the recovery of Emperor Leonardo, who had just awoken from his long slumber.

MADNESS.png

The Emperor awakens, October of 1179
 

guillec87

Field Marshal
61 Badges
Dec 25, 2009
5.342
548
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Semper Fi
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • 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: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Battle for Bosporus
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
this is getting really interesting! hope you have enough time to put all those little ships again under the good shepherd's rule
 

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
124 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.973
3.654
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Deus Vult
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • 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
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
Oh my. I cannot imagine he is going to be in a happy mood.
 
Chapter 29 - Devil's Kiss (1179-1188)

Werson

Captain
8 Badges
Aug 14, 2012
405
339
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
Chapter 29 - Devil's Kiss (1179-1188)

leonardo.jpg

An artistic depiction of Emperor Leonardo's miraculous recovery following his supposed deal with the devil
After nearly a decade of journeying through the thin line between life and death, the comatose emperor would finally awaken from his long slumber, returning to a much changed world of the living. As he had been injured before he could see the completion of his conquests in Asia Minor, Leonardo would be shocked to find much of the region under the hands of his subjects, with the Seljuks being mostly driven out of the region.

His beloved sister Keran had succumbed during his slumber, leaving him behind the Kingdom he and his father had bled so much for. His wife too had perished, falling prey to a bad case of consumption, leaving their eldest daughter Alitz reigning in Galilee. He never had a chance to say goodbye to either of them, nor did he get a chance to see his daughters grow, now nearly unrecognizable thanks to the passage of time.

The moving of the capital to Cairo also came as a shock to him, for Leonardo had never even seen its walls, let alone the full splendor of the Egyptian city. His empire was deeply divided before his injury, being home to many disparate religions at conflict with each other, yet upon his recovery he would find out most of them had converted to Catholicism, which was an unwelcome surprise to him as he discovered he had been excommunicated during his slumber.

His relationship with Rome had never been a friendly one, crowning himself Emperor without the authorization or blessing of the Pope, as well as sacking multiple Catholic churches "by accident" during his campaigns. Leonardo longed for the days when the Armenian people were free of Rome's interference, lamenting his forefather's embracing of Catholicism.

Despite awakening to a very unrecognizable world, Emperor Leonardo remained unfazed, as he too had changed quite a lot during his coma, having lost much of himself during his slumber. Legend says that upon seeing his empire nearly ruined, Leonardo would forge a pact with the devil itself, willingly sacrificing his soul for a new chance at life.

There was a certain darkness to him, as if much of the good in him had dissipated, leaving behind a shell of his former self. He would make the Great Pyramid in Egypt his new home, becoming acquainted with ghosts and consorting with shadows, preferring to confide in them rather than the weak-willed fools at court. The clergy was quick to denounce him as a pagan, for he had grown obsessed with fire, desecrating many churches by setting them ablaze.

Having heard of the succession woes the council endured during his absence, and looking to replace his late wife, Leonardo would have himself a new wife, a young German lass who had become good friends with his daughter Alitz. Originally excited to join her friend's family through marriage, she would soon rue the day the Bagratids came into her life.​

new wife.png

The new empress consort Gertrud Dyvel

The young Gertrud would suffer much at the hands of her newly wedded husband, becoming the target of his rageful outbursts, and being a victim of the emperor's growing paranoia as she quickly became pregnant with his seed. She would find refuge in the libraries of Armenia, using books to escape the harsh reality she was now forced to contend with. Gertrud would become an avid believer, finding herself every night praying for Armenia's enemies to prosper and invade the Empire, for only in war she could find some respite from the madman who tormented her, as he would be forced to leave her side to lead the armies.

pregnancy.png

The Emperor's growing paranoia

Despite Leonardo's growing paranoia, he seemed to lack fear for death, almost as if he knew he enjoyed the protection of a superior being. He would constantly charge headfirst into battle, much to the dismay of his council who blamed such reckless actions in causing his injury in the first place.

Fearless.png

The bravery of Leonardo knew no boundaries, becoming a renowned duelist across the land and always leading the charge against their enemies

cruel man.png

Leonardo would torture his enemies in battle as well as any prisoners unlucky enough to be captured by his forces, torturing them until they clamored for mercy

wroth.png

He only wished he could've struck her himself, for how much she reminded him of his dead wife and his daughter, who he grew to despise for their devotion to the Catholic faith

need a drink.png

Occasionally, Leonardo would let his wife Gertrud find some peace, unleashing his wrath on his two daughters that remained at court instead. After he was done unleashing his wrath, he would be seen crying, drowning his sorrows in alcohol, wanting to forget

spear chuck.png

It would be those few times he'd regret the actions he inflicted on his family that he would seek alternative methods to let out his anger, organizing tournaments and competitions where he could freely unleash himself on the participants. Many would succumb to their injuries due to his actions, even in situations that would normally not be dangerous, such as spear-throwing contests, where Leonardo would be known to hurl spears into the judges for sport.

Cruel.png

Those unfortunate enough to become prisoners during his wars would find themselves atop a spike outside the city, threatening any who dared enter his capital. His vassals grew restless at the increasingly cruel nature of their Emperor, and started to conspire against him, even consorting with the neighboring Seljuks and Ridvans to plot his downfall.

trap ambush.png

Many assassination attempts would be tried, from explosives and arrows, to poisons and snakes. Nothing ever seemed to work. People claimed it was the Devil himself that protected him from his enemies, for everyone knew he had sold his soul to the devil. Perhaps it was mere luck, or maybe the many preventative measures his paranoia had made him implement, but Leonardo had a knack for avoiding his death.

Zoroastrian.png

As his increasing lunacy started to reign over the Emperor, he would start many great fires, holding conversations with the flames. To many, this confirmed their suspicions of him, his recovery and growing madness surely was a work of the devil.

Leonardo saw things differently however, it wasn't the devil who granted him another life, but Ahura Mazda, the God his ancestors had once followed before Christianity entrenched itself in Armenia. He would organize a massive conversion ceremony, forcing many of his vassals to attend and join him in the ritual. Afraid of what might happen if they refused, most complied, turning the once staunchly Catholic Empire into a Zoroastrian one.

failed assasination.png

Those who refused, would soon find themselves in great peril, as Leonardo was not a forgiving man, bringing them into his pyramid, and then assassinating them, away from privy eyes. Many would disappear in the darkness of Khufu's pyramid. Those who managed to escape would find their luck running out shortly, as Leonardo had a network of spies all over the Empire.

captured.png

Many would be killed this way, ambushed by highwaymen or having poison snuck into their food. Others would wish for that, instead receiving harsher punishments, like the recently-outed Sunni Sultan of Ikonion, who upon Leonardo's conversion to Zoroastrianism saw fit to leave the farce of Catholicism, revealing he had been a Sunni all along. He would regret this decision for the rest of his life, as would many others.

Emperor Leonardo would soon resume his leadership over the Armenian armies, driving back the invading the Trebizondian Turks and securing the borders of his Empire. He would then focus on reconquering much of the lost territory during the independence revolt, as well as crushing any rebels that dared to rise against him, of which there were plenty. Heretics, heathens, peasants, upstart vassals, Leonardo would swiftly crush any opposition to his rule, including the remains of the Fatimid Caliphate and the Salid Sultanate in Egypt.

victory.png

The defeat of Atabeg Alptigin, May of 1180

new revolt messalians.png

The Great Messalian Revolt of 1181

New rebels gosh.png

Yet another Ismai'li uprising in 1182

lollards.png

Even the Lollards rose up, somehow acquiring followers in the mountains of Kurdistan in 1184

Salids.png

The conquest of Salid Alexandria, October of 1185

egypt battle win.png

The conquest of the Sahid Emirate, cadet branch of the Salids, November of 1186

Fatimid reconquest.png

The conquest of the Fatimid remains in Egypt, June of 1187


While Emperor Leonardo seemed invincible to his foes, his second lease on life had taken a huge toll on his body (not just mentally), inflicting him with chronic chest pains which he'd be forced to deal for the remainder of his life. A particularly strong one would force him on the ground shortly after a training session, choking the life out of him as he clutched at his heart.

Chest pains.png

The death of Emperor Leonardo, 26 of June, 1188

With his heir Sergio still a young child, the nobles of Armenia would crown Sparapet Vartan as Emperor, wishing to rid themselves of the Bagratids whose legacy had forever been tarnished by Leonardo. Sergio would be crowned King of Egypt, as the crusader kingdom did not have elective succession, leaving him to rule the only home he ever knew, for he had never been to Armenia.

Sergio.png
 
Last edited:

Cromwell

Major
45 Badges
Jan 13, 2017
693
709
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Semper Fi
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Prison Architect
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Darkest Hour
Well it's good to see that his highness came back strongly. :p

I hope the Zoroastrian national conversion sticks, it would made for a far more interesting national story than just another Catholic nation.
 

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
124 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.973
3.654
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Deus Vult
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • 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
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
A grand finale for the old Emperor.
 

Werson

Captain
8 Badges
Aug 14, 2012
405
339
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
Well it's good to see that his highness came back strongly. :p

I hope the Zoroastrian national conversion sticks, it would made for a far more interesting national story than just another Catholic nation.
Strongly would be an understatement :D, he became quite a monster after his whole ordeal with death. I certainly welcomed the Zoroastrian narrative when it appeared, as you mentioned, I thought Catholic Armenia was boring, so this keeps me engaged and wanting to keep playing since I never played a Zoroastrian realm before.

A grand finale for the old Emperor.
Indeed, although his long absence caused the Empire to slip away from his family, not living long enough to change it back to hereditary succession.
 

Crimson Lionheart

The House Always Wins.
62 Badges
Jun 21, 2015
764
235
25
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Cities: Skylines - Campus
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Battle for Bosporus
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Victoria 2
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II
  • 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
Let the fires of Zoroaster burn! Let it burn away at the Abrahamic faiths that pretend to claim to uphold 'peace'
 

Werson

Captain
8 Badges
Aug 14, 2012
405
339
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
Oh I forgot to mention, for narrative purposes I gave Vartam the Kingdom of Armenia. He had inherited the Empire due to the overwhelming majority of votes in favor of him, but he only held one province in the entire empire, thus by giving him the Kingdom as well he is now strong enough to be a decent Emperor. It also didn't make sense that a young child would be able to rule the landlocked provinces of the Kingdom of Armenia all the way from Cairo, so it worked out well.

Of course, that makes my run harder, but what would be the fun in keeping nearly all of the Empire but the title itself. :p

Oh I also forgot to point out that during the regency of Leonardo, the Regent Thoros granted out the Kingdom of Cilicia to the Duke of Cilicia who held a claim to it, so that he would be happy and stay out of factions. The bastard would later go on to conquer much of Antioche as well so now he's basically King of Cilicia and Antioche, leaving 4 powerful Kingdoms in the Empire: Ikonion (Anatolia), Armenia, Cilicia and Antioche, and Egypt of course. There are other vassals here and there that do not belong to either Kingdom, but they're few.
 
Chapter 30 - An Unwilling Emperor (1188-1205)

Werson

Captain
8 Badges
Aug 14, 2012
405
339
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
Chapter 30 - An Unwilling Emperor (1188-1205)

Emperor Vartan.png

Emperor Vartan of Armenia, July of 1188

Shortly after Leonardo's death, the Empire would be embroiled by war from all sides, from Sunni Arabs and Orthodox Georgians revolting in the provinces, to invading Persians and Greeks on both East and West. Vartan would succeed in crushing the Muslim Arabs, but he would be forced to surrender and cede land to the other combatants.

3 Defeats Leaders.png

The three victorious leaders: The Greek Theodoros, the Orthodox Aboulgharib, and the Persian Hassan

3 Defeats.png

Emperor Vartan's territorial losses

The Greek Theodoros would seek an alliance with the Copts in Nubia who would attack the Egyptian provinces of Armenia. As most of the Imperial retinues remained loyal to the Bagratids, they drove back the Copts at every step of the way, swiftly crushing the Southern invaders. Such a thing would become commonplace during Vartan's reign, as he would be incapable of defending Egypt from rebels and further Coptic raids, leaving the Kingdom to its own devices.

Copts Battle 1.png


Copts Battle 2.png

Egypt would grow prosperously throughout Sergio's reign, as he would be an avid supporter of commerce in the region. As Alexandria and Cairo were the two last steps of the southern Silk Road, the Bagratids would grow far richer as Kings of Egypt than they ever were as Emperors.

Emperor Vartan would continue the Empire's steep decline, facing multiple rebellions from the Kings of Ikonion and Cilicia.

Revolt.png


Tutor, Kind.png

Far away from the intrigue of the Imperial court, Sergio would be raised the complete opposite of his late father, becoming a kind soul, ruling by the Zoroastrian rule of asha (truth and righteousness). His tutor Tigran was among the brightest minds of the Empire, preparing the young King to become a competent administrator. Despite his kind nurture, he still showed the typical Bagratid qualities, growing into a robust and ambitious monarch.

Tutor, Kind.png
Strong and Ambitious.png
King 16.png

Sergio would go on to marry a native Copt, hoping this would ameliorate relations with the native Egyptians. Queen Kasrin would aid Sergio greatly during his reign, ruling as regent during his campaigns. Despite her shy nature, she would help Sergio grow into a more diplomatic ruler, aiding him in becoming more comfortable around others, even at her expense.

Queen.png

The Great Queen Kasrin

King Sergio would embark on a campaign against the Fatimid Caliph, retaking the territories of Barqa and Cyrenaica. His campaign would end rather soon, as the fortunate capture of the Caliph during battle forced their surrender before their Sicilian suzerain could arrive and reinforce them.

Battle Fatimids 1.png

Reconquest Cyrenaica.png

Unfortunately the Copts would come back during the Fatimid war, poised to reestablish native rule to Egypt. As the Emperor was unable to aid Sergio during the invasion, he'd be forced to exhaust his coffers and engage in loans to hire mercenaries. The war went well at first, with King Sergio defeating the Coptic armies three times before finally facing a defeat, which can be attributed to the ailments of the flu which devastated the young monarch throughout the war.

Copts Come Back.png

Egypt After Fatimids.png

The Kingdom of Egypt after the Fatimid victory

First Battle Copts Again.png

The Battle of Al-Bahriya, March of 1198

Second Battle Copts Again.png

The Second Battle of Al-Bahriya, May of 1198

Third Battle Copts Again.png

The Battle of Abu Rowash, July of 1198


Fourth Battle Copts Again.png

The Battle of Al-Kharija, September of 1198
Shortly after King Sergio's loss in Al-Kharija, Emperor Vartan would finally arrive in Egypt, narrowly avoiding defeat. His intervention in the war would be short lived, as he would soon face rebellions in Armenia, forcing him to abandon Egypt once more.

Emperor Finally Arrives.png

The Second Battle of Al-Kharija, October of 1198
As the Imperial armies marched North toward Armenia, the armies of the Greek Theodoros had landed in Alexandria, and were soon marching South by the Nile, coming to aid their Coptic allies.

Pelagius Arrives, Emperor Retreats.png

The arrival of the Greeks.

Finally Win.png

The Battle of Fidaymin, November of 1199

Just as the Coptic-Greek coalition was starting to be driven out, a large Ismai'li revolt complicated things, granting the invaders much time to recuperate and reinforce their armies, greatly prolonging the war.

DAMN REBELLIONS.png

Yet another Ismai'li revolt, March of 1200

Rebels Damn.png

The rebel forces of Shahib
The unexpected passing of Emperor Vartan shook up King Sergio and all of Egypt, for he had been elected Emperor by the nobles of Armenia, a title Sergio was reluctant to refuse. He had been raised in Egypt and had never seen Armenia or the Asian Minor lands of the Empire, he didn't know the nobility up there, nor the local traditions, as his upbringing in Cairo and native wife had turned him very much into an Armenian-Copt hybrid. Despite this, he knew it was his duty, for he had the blood of Bagrat running through his veins.

With the help of the imperial armies, the Coptic invasion and the Ismai'li revolt would finally be put down, ending the hopes of native Coptic rule ever returning to Egypt for good.

New Emperor and heir.png

The death of Emperor Vartan and the birth of Leonardo, son of the newly crowned Emperor Sergio, April of 1200

Copts Finally in Retreat.png

The defeat of the Copts, January of 1202


The Imperial throne only brought more problems to Sergio, for he was now forced to keep the Empire together after the long period of decline Vartan had put it through, putting down rebellions every year.

Prosperity.png

Despite the many years of war against the rebels and Copts, most of Northern Egypt was left unscathed by the conflicts, leaving it to prosper as more and more of the Empire's commerce shifted toward the Mediterranean port of Alexandria, as opposed to the previous staple ports in Georgia and Cilicia.

King of Armenia Loyal.png

His great zeal in defending the Empire was not unnoticed, inspiring great loyalty even in those with claims to the Empire, such as the late Emperor Vartan's son, the King of Armenia.

Chaste and Temperate.png

Despite the attention the Imperial Crown brought to Sergio, he remained humble, preferring to avoid extra-marital, remaining loyal to his Queen.

Loyal even to muslims.png

Even the Muslim nobles of Ikonion became staunch supporters of Sergio's, leading to his family's adoption of Zoroastrianism after his death.

MORE REBELS WTF.png

The rebels NEVER stop (sometimes I hate this game :D)

Patient.png

As opposed to his father who'd forget or outright ignore innocents and charge into battle, Sergio would prefer to stay back and regroup, tending to their wounded before marching into battle again.

Kind.png

Emperor Sergio would have another son and one daughter after the initial Leonardo, whom he'd make sure to spend lots of time with. He never had a fruitful relation with his dad, for he was always out conquering some remote land or killing heathens. Having lost him at age seven, Sergio made sure to never risk his life unnecessarily, for he wished for his children to grow up with a father.
After reigning for seventeen years of non-stop rebellions and foreign invasions, the Empire of Armenia would once more be stable, and ready to expand into foreign territories. Just as Sergio prepared to invade the Kingdom of Jerusalem, envoys from Rome arrived in Alexandria, bringing terrible news...

OOF.png
 
Chapter 31 - The Age of Kings (1205-1215)

Werson

Captain
8 Badges
Aug 14, 2012
405
339
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
Chapter 31 - The Age of Kings (1205-1215)

smyrniote-crusades-1344-charles-alexandre-debacq.jpg

Crusader armies landing in the Levant

The Holy See could not be more outraged at the Armenians. After falsely crowning himself Emperor, Sergio's father had turned Armenia from a staunchly Catholic realm into the center of a Zoroastrian renaissance as he underwent a campaign of destruction against the Christian populace in Armenia. Hundreds of churches and monasteries were pillaged or razed, with most of the priests and monks imprisoned or murdered. Then, this Zoroastrian so-called "Empire" had the indecency of seizing the Crusader Kingdom of Egypt for itself, undoing the excruciating labor of the valiant warriors of the Second Crusade.

Opponents.png

The Catholic world rallied behind the Pope, with only the Nordic realms refusing the call to arms, and the Iberians and Occitanians unable to answer it for they had their hands full with the renascent Andalusian Sultanate ravaging their lands.

Emperor Sergio sent his spies on a journey to Rome, hoping to seek allies that could aid him in stopping the Crusade, whether it was by diplomatic means or... Well, he hoped it could be done diplomatically.

There were plenty in Rome who wished to rid themselves of Pope Innocentius, for he was a wicked man. Sergio's spies found no issue in gathering allies, quickly organizing a plan to ambush and murder the holy man. Their plot succeeded, but it backfired on Sergio, for the Catholics rallied behind his death as a martyr, turning even the staunchest of cynics into a zealot.

Assasination.png

Some crusader armies crossed the Bosporous, others arrived by ship, landing on the shores of the Levant. Others would land on Norman Tunis and march toward Egypt. There was no hiding from the invading armies, and wherever they went, they rallied the local Christian populations, greatly bolstering their forces. Even heretics joined their cause, for to the average peasant a heretic Catholic was preferable to a heathen Zoroastrian.

rebellion.png

The Armenian armies were among the finest in the entire world, and their morale was unmatched while fighting in home soil, as they knew what it was to be subjugated by a foreign foe. Emperor Sergio would enjoy great success throughout the war, losing only one battle to the crusaders. He would lead the armies from the front occasionally, but in larger battles he would attack from the flanks, leading a savage charge of heavily armored Norman-styled Cataphracts, a product of King Norman's reforms.

Victories.png

Despite losing every battle, the crusader armies were gaining new ground every day by merely throwing bodies at the unshakable Armenians. Unmatched in skill, the Armenians would be overwhelmed by the invaders, for every time Sergio defeated a Catholic army, two more would land in his shores the following week.

After nearly two years of constant fighting against the crusaders, the Empire would finally succumb to the invaders, suffering a devastating defeat outside the gates of Karkaron. Sergio wanted to regroup and fall back to the mountains of Armenia, but he soon realized how exhausted his men had become from the excruciating campaign. Emperor Sergio would cede the Kingdom of Antioch to the Catholics shortly after.

last battles.png

The Pope would crown Aron of house Aba as King of Antioch, Guardian of the East, a fellow kinsman of the Jerusalemite King. He hoped their blood ties would unite them against their common enemies, basking in the glory and prestige of their Crusader Kingdoms. Unfortunately for Christendom, it would be these same blood ties that would lead to their combined downfall, for King Aron would die shortly after his coronation, starting a succession war over his Kingdom, exhausting the Catholic forces in the region.

Antioch King.png


Antioch.png

Ironically enough, this great defeat would signal the start of a new period of prosperity for the Empire, known to future historians as "The Age of Kings," for the increasing power of the Kingdoms within the Empire, which would soon embark on numerous campaigns of conquest against the remnants of the Byzantines and Seljuks, Georgians, and even the Crusader Kingdoms themselves.

Originally, there was only the Kingdom of Ikonion, forged through war by an overly ambitious Turkic vassal of the late Emperor Leonardo, who consolidated his neighboring fellow vassals to crown himself King.

The Cilician Kingdom would be granted to the Duke of Cilicia during Leonardo's comatose regency, persuading him from joining any rebellious factions. The Cilician King would soon conquer most of the Levant, although it would be lost during the most recent Crusade.

The Armenian Kingdom was originally just a formality, as it was attached to the title of Armenian Empire. However upon the death of Emperor Leonardo, the former Sparapet Vartan would be crowned Emperor, granting him the lands of Armenia, which his successors would inherit after his death, despite the Imperial crown passing unto Sergio.

The Assyrian Kingdom (Al-Jazira) would also be forged through war, as an overly ambitious Duke would conquer the many independent principalities around the area, formerly under Seljuk control.

These four Kingdoms would act mostly autonomously from Egypt, where the Emperor resided, but remained completely loyal to the Emperor, still paying taxes and providing men for Sergio's wars.

King of Kings.png


As the Empire continued to flourish after the crusade, much of the commerce previously taking place in Antioch would relocate to Alexandria, the last stop of the Southern "Silk Road" route. This growing prosperity would soon spread throughout the entirety of Egypt, attracting Armenian settlers from all over the Empire to settle in the less populated Egyptian provinces, hoping to exploit some of the unused lands.

prosperity.png


As Armenia basked in their newfound success, a savage horde of nomads was on a warpath in the distant East. Every month a new report would arrive in Cairo, informing the Emperor of these barbarians' conquests. They would disturb trade from China for a few months, but after they apparently conquered it, trade was reestablished, and even flourished.

Mongols.png

Emperor Sergio would expand the Southern Marches, conquering the Egyptian regions under Nubian control, fully securing the borders of his rightful Kingdom. There are records showing plans for an expedition further South into Nubia, planning to conquer the whole area, but his inopportune death years later would see that they never came to happen.

Southern Marches.png

Emperor Sergio would reestablish hereditary rule to the Armenian Empire, with his council (comprised of the Four Kings) agreeing to the proposition, for they were content with their status as Kings, expanding their realm and wealth without worrying about protecting the other Kingdoms.

Primogeniture.png

Emperor Sergio would competently reform the taxation system put in place by his father, greatly increasing the revenue by delegating more power to the Kings, who were to administer the collection within their realms without interference from Egypt. These laws would streamline the process and fill the coffers of the Emperor, although would occasionally falter as the Kings would embezzle some of the income for themselves in times of need.

Imperial bureaucracy.png

Chivalry thrived during Sergio's reign, with the crown hosting a Great Tournament every year, rotating the venue between Cairo and the Kingdoms' capitals. These martial competitions would allow the nobility to show their skills, allowing Sergio to recruit the most promising ones into his personal retinues or promoting them to commanders, assuring only the very best men in the Empire led the armies.

Tournament.png

The emperor was renowned across the land for his swordsmanship abilities, able to defeat anyone in single combat. He would occasionally partake in the tournaments himself, easily overpowering his fellow contestants, but preferred to watch from the stands with the royal family, explaining to his children the moves and actions of the participants.

Duelist.png

Sergio would have his heir Stepanos follow him around as he partook on the daily duties of ruling, taking him across the capitals of the Empire to meet and greet who would one day become his fellow vassals, imparting on him many skills that would help him become one of the greatest Emperors in Armenian history.

Groom.png

The Armenian armies would march on Jerusalem to retake the Sinai Peninsula which had been taken from his late aunt Queen Keran of Egypt by the treacherous Aba dynasty. Weakened by the conflict with their neighboring Kingdom of Antioche, the Jerusalemites were swiftly crushed by Armenia's might.

Jeruslam.png


jerusalem 2.png


Trapped.png

During these later years of his reign, the amount of rebellions would scale down, as most of the peasantry began to convert to Zoroastrianism. Still, rebellions still occurred occasionally, but were easily defeated, as the Kings themselves were able to take them on if they dared rise in their lands.

Catholic Rebel.png

In the last year of his reign, Emperor Sergio would embark in another campaign against the declining Kingdom of Jerusalem, hoping to reconquer the lands around Edessa. The war would go smoothly at first, but during a especially unremarkable battle, Emperor Sergio would be struck down, succumbing to his wounds in battle.

death.png


While at a first glance Emperor Sergio would seem unremarkable compared to previous or future Bagratid monarchs, his reign would greatly stabilize the Empire, nearly extinguishing the fires of rebellion as the proselytizing of Christians and Muslims continued. Perhaps his most important contribution to Armenia would be the great involvement he had with his family, grooming the young Stepanos for the duties of ruling, a privilege his predecessors very rarely enjoyed.
Death 2.png
 
Last edited:

Crimson Lionheart

The House Always Wins.
62 Badges
Jun 21, 2015
764
235
25
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Cities: Skylines - Campus
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Battle for Bosporus
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Victoria 2
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II
  • 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
Fantastic chapter as always. Seems that the Zoroastrians are proving to be far more resistant and powerful than any Christians had thought, one makes me wonder about Persian matters however. The idea of a Armenian-led Zoroastrian Persian Empire or a Behemoth of an Armenian Empire within the Middle East is more than enough to make me wonder about what sort of ruler that Stepanos will grow up to become :p
 

guillec87

Field Marshal
61 Badges
Dec 25, 2009
5.342
548
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Semper Fi
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • 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: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Battle for Bosporus
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
is Stepanos an AhuraMazda worshipper too? I think the Armenian should return to Christ... if only to stop Cruzades...
 

Cromwell

Major
45 Badges
Jan 13, 2017
693
709
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Semper Fi
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Prison Architect
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Darkest Hour
Boo. :p I am sure the venerable native faith will survive this young upstart Christianity. It will take a few sacrifices of course but that's to be expected in this bloody age.
 

Werson

Captain
8 Badges
Aug 14, 2012
405
339
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
Fantastic chapter as always. Seems that the Zoroastrians are proving to be far more resistant and powerful than any Christians had thought, one makes me wonder about Persian matters however. The idea of a Armenian-led Zoroastrian Persian Empire or a Behemoth of an Armenian Empire within the Middle East is more than enough to make me wonder about what sort of ruler that Stepanos will grow up to become :p
Thank you! Well I think from here on out expansion will certainly slow down, as managing such a vast empire, even with the autonomous Kings can be a strenuous task, especially since the capital is so far away from the core lands. Persia is certainly the way to go however, for it is their duty as devout Zoroastrians to restore the High Priesthood and liberate their oppressed cousins in Persia.
is Stepanos an AhuraMazda worshipper too? I think the Armenian should return to Christ... if only to stop Cruzades...
Stepanos is certainly a Zoroastrian, for he was personally groomed and tutored by Sergio, who imparted the wisdom of Azura Mazda unto him. I think if anything, the Crusade has turned those who still remained attached to Christ away from it, as even the peasantry has started to adopt the imperial faith.
Boo. :p I am sure the venerable native faith will survive this young upstart Christianity. It will take a few sacrifices of course but that's to be expected in this bloody age.
Of course! Sergio realized that the best way to defeat the Christians was to surrender, ironically enough, leading to the Crusaders returning to their homes, exhausted and unwilling to return to the Levant for many years, hence why he was able to strike back shortly after, retaking much of Antioche and the Sinai.
 

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
124 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.973
3.654
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Deus Vult
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • 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
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
Sergio is an Emperor who certainly made a blazing fist of it - almost twice as bright lives half as long.

Certainly to say though Armenia is going though some serious see-saw changes in all of this.
 
Chapter 32 - The Scourge of God (1215-1222)

Werson

Captain
8 Badges
Aug 14, 2012
405
339
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
Chapter 32 - The Scourge of God (1215-1222)

749a5d534db8ddf7142d4c9457723982.jpg

One of the many paintings depicting the great Emperor Stepanos, painted by an unknown artist from Cairo, funded by the Emperor himself

The reign of Emperor Stepanos started in quite an unfortunate manner, losing his father in what essentially was a minor scuffle between the Empire and a declining Catholic kingdom. Regardless of his loss, Stepanos had been groomed by his father for fifteen years, and was more than ready to assume the throne.

A righteous Zoroastrian, Stepanos' reign saw the further admixture of native Armenian and Zoroastrian practices and cultures melting together, with traditional Christian burying practices fading away from the nobility's consciousness in favor of the Zoroastrian funeral rites.

Decomposition is seen as the work of a demon known as Druj-I-Nasush, and the corrupting influence of this process is viewed as contagious and spiritually dangerous. As such, Zoroastrian funeral customs are primarily focused on keeping contagion away from the community. Corpses are left on the platform of a Dakhma to be picked clean by vultures, a process which only takes a few hours. This allows a body to be consumed before dangerous corruption sets in. The bodies are not placed on the ground because their presence would corrupt the earth.

towerofsilence-5c73258c46e0fb0001076306.jpg

A Zoroastrian Tower of Silence (Dakhma), traditionally used for the ritual exposure of the dead to the sun and birds of prey
This abandonment of Abrahamic practices was not without critics, as many of the Muslim and Christians left in the Empire advocated for a return to the old ways, even insulting Stepanos to his face during his coronation, seeing him as weak and unready for the task of ruling such a vast Empire. These critics would soon be silenced however, as they would fall prey to a few too many rioters seeking to avenge their emperor's honor.

ridicule, murdered.png

The followers of Zoroaster are unforgiving

Stepanos was a tall man, with an imposing figure. While not quite as skilled with the sword as his predecessors, he possessed the basic skills to lead his man into battle, just as his father had done. Much of his reign would focus on the consolidation of the Empire, joining together the core provinces of the Kings with the Emperor's demesne in Egypt through the conquest of the Crusader Kingdoms in the Levant.

Emperor.png

Emperor Stepanos upon his coronation, 5 of February, 1217

What Stepanos lacked in swordsmanship, he had in administrative skill, becoming quite involved in the economy and internal politics of the realm, something his predecessors had left to their council and spouses, preferring to campaign against the Empire's enemies. His reign oversaw the development of massive construction projects, including the re-purposing of the many churches and mosques that dotted the land into Fire Temples and Dakhmas, along with many castles in the frontier to secure the borders against further Muslim raids from Arabia or Persia.

Ambitious.png

Stepanos' involvement in the Empire's economy and development

To follow on his new overseeing of the economy, Stepanos would issue the mint of new coins adorned with Zoroastrian symbols, as well as his portrait, becoming the new face of wealth that all within the Empire would aspire to have. While costly to mint, this new coinage would bring much prestige to Armenia, as the masterly crafted coins would be coveted by rulers all throughout the Mediterranean.

Known to be a lover of art and philosophy, Stepanos would seek great thinkers and artists from all over the Mediterranean to employ their services, moving them to Egypt and Armenia were he would fund their work as they greatly contributed to the development of what would be known as the "Armenian Renaissance," turning the Empire into the epicenter of trade and culture of the known world.

Sponsor Philosopphy.png

Emperor Stepanos was an avid sponsor of arts, philosophy and craftsmen

Coins.png

Stepanos administrative savvy saw the enriching of the realm to levels never seen before

As the empire thrived under Stepanos reign, more and more Armenians kept migrating to Egypt and the non-Armenian lands of the Empire, continuing the fusion of Armenian, Coptic, and Egyptian Arabic peoples of Egypt into a single Zoroastrian one. Cairo in particular would become the epicenter of this cultural change, as the increasing opening of workshops funded by Stepanos would attract many foreigners to try their luck in the prosperous capital.

Armenians.png

Seeking to further assert Zoroastrian beliefs upon the subjects of the Empire, funding many festivals throughout the land, attracting many unbelievers into the faith by seducing them with jolly celebration around the pyres of Ahura Mazda, particularly through the Sadeh festival, a mid-winter festivity celebrating the discovery of fire.

Festivals.png

The yearly festival of Jashn-e Sadeh

The pious Stepanos became well-read on the holy texts, particularly the Vendidad, becoming aware of the Daevas (demons) presence all around him and his family. As dogs are regarded as especially beneficent, clean, and righteous creatures who guard the bridge to heaven, and which gaze is considered to be purifying and to drive off Daevas, Emperor Stepanos would enact new laws protecting these righteous creatures. Chief among them was harsh punishments upon anyone who'd dare inflict harm upon a dog, as well as requiring the faithful to assist dogs, both domestic and vohunazga (stray), in various ways, for help or harm to a dog is equated with help and harm to a human. Soon the courts of every noble in the Empire would be filled with the barks of the these sacred animals, with Stepanos even adopting a few strays that lived near his palace in Cairo.

Pious Dogs.png
Stepanos sponsorship of man's best friend

The Kings in Asia Minor and Armenia kept enjoying the benefits of their nearly autonomous rule, as they previously had done during Sergio's and Leonardo's reigns, but would face increasing pressure as Stepanos' reign went on, with the Emperor enacting new laws intending to centralize the disparate provinces of Armenia.

Centralization.png

The increasing attempts at centralizing the Empire

While Stepanos was a righteous Emperor, he was not without flaws, succumbing to the pleasures of the flesh in more than one occasion. This would draw criticism from his subjects, as his wife Vartouhi exposed his illicit relationship in court, hoping to dissuade him from ever seeing his lovers again. He would pledge to do so, but would secretly keep his forbidden relationships ongoing.

Lover.png

Stepanos would keep the facade of faithfulness to his wife for seven years before being discovered

Unlike his predecessors, Stepanos did not seek to greatly enlarge the borders of the Empire, preferring to turn the Kingdoms of Jerusalem and Antioch into the target of his campaigns, destroying what remained of the battered Kingdoms after years of infighting.

The early part of his reign would see two incursions into Jerusalem, with the first having the Imperial forces breaking into the holy city of the Abrahamic faiths by October of 1215, depriving the weakling Kingdom of its namesake and capital.

October 1215 Battle.png

The Battle of Carmel, October of 1217

After solidifying his gains in Jerusalem, Stepanos would return just a year later, conquering the outer Jordan and securing the entirety of the Sinai Peninsula, fortifying it to prevent Arab raiders from Hejaz.

November 1218 Battle.png

The Battle of Segor, November of 1218

These campaigns against the Christian remnants would not be without opposition, sparking a great deal of revolts all across the empire, their last breath before the onslaught to follow. Composed largely of Catholics Arabs and Armenians, Apostolic Georgians, and Orthodox Greeks and Armenians, the rebels would be crushed by Stepanos' might, although not before managing to secure most of the recently conquered lands in the Levant.

Rebels.png

The Christian coalition of rebels

Rebel Catholics.png

The Rebel principality of the Levant, ruled by the Hashimid Arab family, leaders of the Catholic revolt

This principality would be short lived, as Stepanos would march down and reconquer the rebellious provinces in less than a year, bringing his conquests into the fold once more.

January 1122.png

The Battle of Adra'at, January of 1221

Merely two months later, Stepanos' wife Vartouhi would give birth to his firstborn Vahram, securing an heir for Armenia, although if there would be an Empire for him to rule would be put into question in the following years, as the great Mongol horde rallied once more under the son of their Great Khan, ready to march into the lands of the Empire.

March 1222.png

The birth of Vahram d'Avigliano-Bagratuni, March of 1222


Mongols.png

The Mongols rally around Ogodei, son of Temujin

 
Last edited: