guillec87

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the Mongols are coming!
 

stnylan

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Given the topsy-turvy nature of Armenian history to this point I woudl not be surprised by a Mongolian interregnum.
 

Crimson Lionheart

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I worry about how much damage the Mongols are about to do to an Armenia, hopefully a second collapse can be prevented :eek:
 

Werson

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Great AAR ! I only could read from Chapter 27 onwards yet, but it's a very good read - the lasting conversion to Zoroastrianism making it even more interesting. I will try to catch up with the previous 26 chapters :)
Thank you very much! May I ask why you started at 27 rather than 1? Just curious :D
Here come the Mongols, this biggest threat of them all. :p May the great fire protect all Armenians, particularly their beloved leader and his heirs.
the Mongols are coming!
They certainly are, although perhaps Ogedei lacks a bit of the conquering zeal his father had... Ahura Mazda works in mysterious ways :p.
Given the topsy-turvy nature of Armenian history to this point I woudl not be surprised by a Mongolian interregnum.
So little faith in the Bagratids! :p
I worry about how much damage the Mongols are about to do to an Armenia, hopefully a second collapse can be prevented :eek:
The Mongols certainly are ruthless, but if history tells us anything is that everyone that has dared oppose the Armenian people has suffered greatly afterward. Greeks, Arabs, Persians, Seljuks, all but footnotes of history against the might of the Armenian Empire! We shall see if the Mongols join that list as well.

Again, thank y'all so much for reading :D.
 

Yvanoff

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Thank you very much! May I ask why you started at 27 rather than 1? Just curious :D
Well I just opened this AAR at the last page to look a look at the AAR, simply by curiosity, and something which I didn't expect - I was immediately entranced by this great AAR, even going back one page to Chapter 27 because I was lacking some context. Yesterday night I went further back and read everything from chapter 11 onward - now why chapter 11 ? because reading from chapter 1 looked like an huge task so I decided to not start from there yet, and I stumbled upon chapter 11 at random. I like reading things in a weird order, don't mind me too much :D
 

Werson

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Well I just opened this AAR at the last page to look a look at the AAR, simply by curiosity, and something which I didn't expect - I was immediately entranced by this great AAR, even going back one page to Chapter 27 because I was lacking some context. Yesterday night I went further back and read everything from chapter 11 onward - now why chapter 11 ? because reading from chapter 1 looked like an huge task so I decided to not start from there yet, and I stumbled upon chapter 11 at random. I like reading things in a weird order, don't mind me too much :D
Well I'm glad you're enjoying it! To be honest, you can skip chapters 1-4 if you want since that is mostly the history of Armenia up to where the gameplay starts, which is Chapter 5.
 

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I enjoyed the first four, it was nice to have everything in context. A lot of AARs have a "year zero" sort of approach when they start. I think your way gives far better immersion.
 

codie

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Stephanos seems to be a more prudent ruler than many of his predecessors, hopefully that will be enough to fight off the mongols. I really enjoy this, it's not everyday you see an Armenian aar!
 

Werson

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I enjoyed the first four, it was nice to have everything in context. A lot of AARs have a "year zero" sort of approach when they start. I think your way gives far better immersion.
Oh for sure, I just think I could've done a better job making them more concise, maybe fitting them all in one single "prologue" chapter. Something to keep in mind for my future endeavors ;).
Stephanos seems to be a more prudent ruler than many of his predecessors, hopefully that will be enough to fight off the mongols. I really enjoy this, it's not everyday you see an Armenian aar!
It's funny you mention that, since it kinda stopped feeling like an Armenian AAR a few chapters ago, becoming sort of an Egyptian/Zoroastrian AAR, not that I'm not enjoying it though, it's far more interesting when the game throws you curve balls like these :p.
 

Idhrendur

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I fell behind just as things were getting wild! Caught up now, though.
 
Chapter 33 - The Steppe Menace (1222-1243)

Werson

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Chapter 33 - The Steppe Menace (1222-1243)

October 1221.png

Ogodei Borjigin, and Emperor Stepanos at the outbreak of the Mongol Invasion

The Mongols swept the Muslim world by storm under the leadership of Temujin, also known by his moniker of Ghengis Khan, integrating or destroying the steppe hordes as well as subduing and splintering the Turkic realms in the Tarim Basin, as well as the Seljuks. His unfortunate death came as a shock to the Mongols, who elected his eldest son Ogodei to lead the horde. Fearing retaliation from his brothers, who pretended the throne, Ogodei decided to campaign against the largest realm on their borders, the Armenian Empire.

War Mongols.png

The Mongol Horde (not picturing their domains in China) at the borders of the Bagratid Empire

The Mongol state was largely autonomous, with most of the administration falling in the hands of the local lords who bent the knee, while the horde itself was always moving into new territories to expand their domain. As such, it was with unnerving ease that Ogodei led his riders into the mountains of Armenia, expertly commanding his troops through this hostile territory, while establishing a large supply train, securing their future in the region.

Emperor Stepanos was quite adept at leading troops, but he lacked the experience a life in the steppes provided, and was unable to assemble the armies at a quick pace. By the time the Armenian armies had arrived in Azerbaijan, nearly twenty-thousand laid dead to sickness and attrition on their journey there, becoming demoralized and exhausted by their travel, ending subdued by the Mongols in just one disastrous battle.

Mongols Loss.png

The Battle of Chaldiran, 25 of July, 1222

While the Battle of Chaldiran effectively destroyed the Armenian forces, the territorial impact was minimal, as the Mongols only subjugated the provinces of Azerbaijan, fulfilling their conquest of Daylam. Surely this was but a first excursion, a test of strength. The Mongols would be back.

The great loss inspired a new wave of rebellion across the Empire, from Egypt to the Armenia and everything in between, Muslims and Christians alike raised arms to free themselves from the Armenians, but the humiliating loss against the Mongols only served to unite the lords of the Empire further, who would go on to defeat the rebels without assistance from Stepanos, taking it on their own hands.

More Rebels.png

Just some of the many, many rebel uprisings after the Mongol invasion

As the Empire of Armenia struggled to come to terms with the new state of affairs, trying to put down its many rebellions and strengthening the fortifications in the borderlands, the fledgling Paulicians had usurped control of the Balkans, overthrowing Orthodox rule and restoring the Byzantine Empire, in name only, for it lacked its core lands in Asia Minor, now firmly loyal to the Armenians.

Byzantines 2.png

The Neo-Byzantine Empire

Stepanos proved to be a diligent monarch, restoring peace within a couple of years, proving to hold quite a sense of justice. He would go on to forgive any rebels who'd put their weapons down, absolving them of their crimes if they returned to their former lives, inspiring many heathens to convert to the one true faith.

As he'd perform his daily duties as Emperor, he'd have Vahram join his entourage, hoping to instill in him some of the same values he possessed, grooming him to become a great Emperor upon his passing. Vahram seemed to pay no mind to his lessons however, preferring to horse around while Stepanos lectured him. The Emperor would occasionally indulge the child, but over time Vahram would start to reject the lessons outright, becoming stressed by the pressures of being heir to such a vast empire.

Just, grooming child.png

Emperor Stepanos had grown into a kind and just ruler, although his duties blinded him as he started to put much pressure into his sole heir Vahram

While most of the Armenian armies had been annihilated following Ogodei's campaign, the few remaining ones marched on the Kingdom of Jerusalem, taking the lands around Galilee in just a short year, not facing much resistance from the fading crusader state.

Galilee War.png

The war for Galilee (Feb. 1230 - Feb. 1231)

While the war for Galilee took place, the Mohammedans embarked on a holy war against the Mongol Empire, hoping to restore the lands of Persia to their rightful owners after the devastating losses of the Seljuks. Despite the vastness of their realm making defense difficult, the Mongols would successfully defend against their aggressors, even riding South to sack the Holy City of Mecca, much to the dismay of the Muslim World.

The Christian world too was changing, as heresy ran rampant across Europe, with the upstart Paulicians in the Byzantine Empire acquiring the legitimacy the Orthodox and Apostolic Churches had once enjoyed. They were few in numbers however, as the Eastern Churches had been dwindling since the fall of the Byzantines and the conversion of Armenia. Surely Christianity in the East was on its way out.

Mongols Jihad.png


Paulicians.png


The so called "Age of Kings" would peak during Stepanos' reign, as the number of Kings increased, with the Kingdoms of Georgia and Alania being conquered by the King in Armenia, the crowning of Stepanos' brother Bedros in Damascus, and the crowning of the Duke of Shirvan, who despite only holding one duchy would crown himself King in Shirvan.

King Bedros' reign would not last however, as his proud nature led him to take on many personal duels, the latest of which took his life. His son had too succumbed to disease, reverting his lands back to Stepanos. He would grant the lands of Damascus to his father's half-brother Adalbrand, securing loyalty in the region for years to come.

Damascus Kingdom.png


While the shuffling of power took place in the West, the Great Khan Ogodei struggled to keep his realm together, as thousands of Muslims rose up against their oppressors. Always ruthless, the steppe barbarians would put down the upstarts, but their realm started to show cracks.

Mongol Revolts.png

Just some of the many rebellions the Mongols would face in the coming years

As Vahram reached the age of twelve, he was becoming ready to formalize introduce himself as heir to his father's subjects, embarking on a year-long journey to meet the many Kings and lords of the Empire. Still a child, the burdens of it all had gotten the best of him, vanishing the luster of life in the young child, who would reluctantly follow on his father's footsteps, becoming quite gloomy and distant as time went on.

Heir Training.png

The many affairs Stepanos would engage in did nothing to alleviate his sons' worries, as he would watch his father gladly engage in the pleasures of the flesh in every new court they visited, all while swearing fidelity to his mother. Stepanos would father three known bastards that he acknowledged, although there might have been many more with his blood walking around the Empire.

Acknowledge them.png

The "Three Royal Bastards" of Emperor Stepanos

The Armenian forces would launch an attack against the Muslims to the East, securing the province of Maan and further extending the buffer zone between the Arabs and the core provinces in the Levant.

December 1236.png

The Conquest of Maan, December of 1236

Sensing weakness following their sack by the Mongols, Stepanos would continue his Arabian campaigns, taking the entirety of the Hijaz, including the two holiest cities in Islam by October of the next year. Stepanos would grant the newly conquered lands to his son Vahram, for nothing could prepare him better for ruling the Empire than ruling itself.

October 1237.png

The Conquest of Hijaz, October 1237

Vahram Mecca.png

Prince Vahram Bagratid, heir to the Armenian Empire and lord of the Hijaz

As the Armenians expanded their graceful rule unto the Arabian heathens, the Christian world engaged in self-destruction, as a Crusade originally planned against Stepanos' hold in the Levant turned on its own and destroyed the renascent Byzantine Empire.

Fourth Crusade.png

The destruction of the Byzantine Empire, 25 of August, 1242

With the crusaders far too preoccupied with holding their gains in the Balkans, Jerusalem stood alone against the Armenian onslaught, being forced to seed the provinces around Acre to the expanding Empire. One more such war and the Crusader Kingdom would be no more.

October 1242.png

The conquest of Acre, October of 1242

Only a year later, Khan Ogodei would succumb to disease, starting a large rebellion that would see an end to Mongol rule in China, restoring native Han rule in the region, as well as splitting the remaining lands in three: The Golden Horde in the northern Steppes, the Ilkhanate in what formerly was the Seljuk Empire, and the Chagatai Khanate in the Tarim Basin and the Central Asian steppes.

While at a first glance this seemed like trouble for the Mongol Empire, the fracturing of the vast realm made for an easier task at administration, allowing the centralizing of its constituent parts, making each part nearly as strong as the formerly united Empire. Khagan Guyug of the Ilkhanate seemed hell-bent on completing what his father had started, and called upon his riders to once more move unto the lands of Armenia twenty years after the original expedition force had crushed the Armenian forces.

Mongol Death.png

The death of Ogodei Khan, 21 of December, 1243

Khaganates.png

The splintering of the Mongol Empire following Ogodei's death
 

Crimson Lionheart

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That's one menacing Mongol Empire.:eek: Hopefully the now divided splinters are much less of an issue
 

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He could have avoided all that adultery stuff if he just took his lovers as concubines.

It is good to see your rulers taking an interest in their children, after the horrors of the past. This is quite a rebound for Armenia, is ist even Armenia any more? I've never seen a Zoroastrian AAR before.
 

Werson

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That's one menacing Mongol Empire.:eek: Hopefully the now divided splinters are much less of an issue
It was a huge threat, but surprisingly they only attacked once in over twenty years. Seems Ogodei wasn't really half the Khan his predecessor was.
He could have avoided all that adultery stuff if he just took his lovers as concubines.

It is good to see your rulers taking an interest in their children, after the horrors of the past. This is quite a rebound for Armenia, is ist even Armenia any more? I've never seen a Zoroastrian AAR before.
The people of Armenia are still working through their inhibitions. Centuries of Christian customs and traditions were quite ingrained in the people of the Empire, and even though they have started to adopt many Zoroastrian practices, the process is a slow one. Concubinage was still a taboo practice during Stepanos reign, even if it wasn't in the Zoroastrian realms of old.

That thing about the children though... Too much of a good thing can become bad. And yeah :p, the capital's move to Egypt and the conversion to Zoroastrianism, as well as the vast expansion of the Bagratid lands has turned this run into a different beast than it once was. Guess such things always happen to large Empires though, Rome didn't start as a multicultural, Christian Empire to give an example. :D
 

stnylan

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Looks like the Khanates are still an existential threat
 

codie

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As devastating as the loss of all those men in the war might be, it is at least offset by the splitting of the Mongol realm. Great job!