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Attalus

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The Story of House Dalassenos from 1066 to 1453



Part One : Cherson, an haven of peace in the Empire (1066-1137)
Chapter 1 : Cherson, its theme, and the brief life of Theodoros Dalassenos (1066-1069)
Chapter 2 : Damianos of Cherson, the allegory of decadence (1069-1078)
Chapter 3 : Safer than Anatolia (1078-1088)
Chapter 4 : The failed capture of Taurica (1088-1099)
Chapter 5 : A new strategos and the annexation of Bospor (1099-1108)
Chapter 6 : Consolidating the Dalassenoi holdings : war, diplomacy and trade (1108-1137)

Hello everyone, I’m Attalus, a newbie to CK II AARs but I got some experience in AARland with “Up to the Euphrates and Tigris” and Unione, Forza e Liberta! (not that it really matters after all :p )

The Reaper’s Due brought me back in CK II (like a lot of people I believe) and since my previous projects are abandoned I thought of a new one set on the northern border of the Roman Empire, from where a family will try to bring civilization, stability and peace in the grazing lands of the Horse lords.

I present you, “Pushing the Border” where we will follow the Dalanessos Family which starts in 1066 as Strategos of Cherson, in the contemporary Crimean peninsula. I know that you might think that it will be just a random Byzantine AAR restoring the Roman Empire, just this time starting in Crimea. Stop right now cause you’re wrong! :p

The goal of this AAR is to expand the Dalanessos demesnes north in the steppe and convert as much land as possible to Feudal government and see the Greek culture spread along the Tanaïs, Danapris and the Rha.

House rules (list will be updated if the need arises ; if you have suggestions they are welcome) :
- Never become Byzantine Emperor or if I become because of accident then play with the new Crimean leaders
- Expansion south will be severely restricted : outside of Black Sea Coast there should be no Dalassenos holdings in Anatolia or Greece. Wallachia and Georgia don’t count. Meanwhile expansion in the Rus lands will be avoided, no Greek Moscow for example
- The goal of the AAR is to feudalize the Steppe, that should be enough to summarize the goal :p
- No abuse of marriages : matrilineal will be used in extreme cases and no searching for a lowborn genius if there is a close noble woman with clubfooted available
- Independence must be actively undertaken once I’ll get a Kingdom title. No Byzantine shields to counter Nomadic hordes

Also game rules :
Not ironman cause I like to have pretty borders and a bit of sense in that world :p

Shattered Retreats: Off

Defensive Pacts: Off

Gender Equality: Historical

Sunset Invasion: Off

Mongol Invasion: Historical

Raiding: Historical

“Supernatural” Events: On

Adventurers: Normal

Provincial Revolts: Normal

Regencies: On

De Jure Drift: Default

Dynamic Kingdoms and Empires: On

Diplomatic Range: Restricted

It will follow an historic book style, with quite a few pictures (I'm not a great fan of walls of texts without screens from the game :p ), with maybe a bit of narrative but well I'm not really good at that. Anyway let us hope I can finish this one :D

NB : Dalassenos is the masculine singular form of the word. The feminine is Dalassana, and the plural is Dalassenoi. So if I use one of the two latter terms, don't worry it's still the same family.
 
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Following!
 

Attalus

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The Dalassenos Family has left such a mark over the history of the Pontic Steppe and the neighbouring areas that you would think their lineage well known and their ancestry verified. You’d be wrong. All sources agree on the fact that the first Dalassenos to enter history was Damianos (940-998), doux of Antioch under the reign of Basil II. The name of the family comes from the city of Dalassene in Northern Anatolia where they originated from. A renowned general, Damianos was able to strike into the Levant before dying during the battle of Apamea against the Fatimids. He had three sons, Konstantinos, Theophylactos and Romanos. That much is sure and verified. The link between Damianos doux of Antioch and Strategos Theodoros of Cherson is unsure.


Konstantinos Dalassenos (on the right) receives gift from John the Orphanatrophos, brother of Michael IV the Paphlagonian. John would end up turning against Konstantinos and have him imprisoned in a Marmara island with the rest of his family exiled.

The three sons of Damianos were high ranked officials of the Empire during the early 11th century. Konstantinos nearly became Emperor, while the two other brothers were chosen for various military and civil offices. The opposition of Constantine to Michel IV provoked the exile of the family in 1041 and many historians date the arrival of Dalassenoi in Cherson to this date, a point of view I share.


A reconstitution of the Dalassenos family tree as depicted in the Family Chronic of 1336. The link between Anna (married to a Komnenos dynatoi) and Damianos is not clear and Damianos of Antioch does not even appear

One Imperial record from late 1066 then shows a certain Theodoros Dalassenos as Strategos of Cherson. Even the official Chronicle of the Family, a source always used when studying the history of the Dalassenoi or their neighbours only begin in 1111 at the initiative of Strategos Thomas I of Cherson, and mentions briefly the previous rulers, the earliest being Theodoros, son of a certain Damianos, an unknown aristocrat who left this world barely a few weeks after the birth of his only son (as told in the aforementioned Dalassena Chronicle). Later works don’t bring much evidence to support either ancestry and so we are left with only a few clues. A dominant theory, early in this field of research, was that the Dalassenoi of Taurica were not related at all to Damianos Dalassenos and just took the name of dynatoi when their power began to increase (as was evidenced with the Doukai by Werker in his works on Byzantine aristocracy in Epirus) but alas for this theory it was invalidated by a letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch Nilos, dated from 1112-13 which was found in Theodosia at the end of the last century.

So were Dalassenoi descendants of Damianos ? It’s a question I can’t answer easily, and it is one of the great controversies amongst Byzantine and Pontic academics. Suffice to say that this fact could change a lot of analyses on the dynasty but in the absence of proof I will not burden the reader with this truly Byzantine intrigue. This book can now truly begin, with this small overlook of the complex genealogy of the Dalassenos family done, with the life of Theodoros, strategos of Cherson.​
 

germandjinn

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another Attalus AAR eh, sign me up!
 

loup99

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Attalus

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Following!
Welcome :)
Viva la Rivoluzione! Oh, sorry, wrong AAR. :p
Maybe we could consider the act of civilizing the steppe as something revolutionary ? And then it works :p
This ought to be interesting.
I hope so!
Your self-imposed limitations could make for a very interesting game. I do humbly suggest that depending on character traits, the marriage preferences for your rulers may vary. A kind ruler versus a cruel one for example.
Abusing Byzantine mechanics for the goal I've set would have made a poor story to tell. And there are (and has been) so many AAR set in Byzantium that I prefer to tell something unique.
I'll keep that in mind but I'm already nearly a century into the game so you'll forgive me if I made strange choices in the meantime.
another Attalus AAR eh, sign me up!
Hopefully this one will be finished :p
Subbed, really cool premise!
Thanks and welcome!
Subscribed!
I knew shameless advertising would be a good thing :p
 
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TheAnguishedOne

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Another chance to be along for one of your stories from the start... I'm not missing out on this. Good luck. I like the unique goal. It's far down the line, but once you're independent, will you try and create an empire tier title, or will you just remain a king?
 

Attalus

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Another chance to be along for one of your stories from the start... I'm not missing out on this. Good luck. I like the unique goal. It's far down the line, but once you're independent, will you try and create an empire tier title, or will you just remain a king?
I'll have to become King before this, a thing that will not be simple (my expansion until 1134 has been painfully slow and will continue I think for some time.
So first Taurica, and then we'll see if I go for Tartaria or whatever name I find good for what the Kingdom will look like.

But maybe a Dalassenos will rise and make the nomads bow ? Who knows ? :p
 
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Palks

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I loved your Divergences AAR and recently got back into CK2 so this is perfect timing!
 

Shebedaone

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I'll be following also will you stay Orthodox ?
 

Attalus

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I loved your Divergences AAR and recently got back into CK2 so this is perfect timing!
Thanks :)
Well I think the Reaper's Due will see an increase in CK II playing, at least that's what I gather from here and reddit. Anyway I must say that the team made a great job on this one.
I'll be following also will you stay Orthodox ?
Welcome!
Well unless there is a narrative opportunity, I won't. I don't know which religion would be more adequate.


Also I may make some personal events for the game, to create more interesting situations. (vanilla leads often to too much weird results :p )
 

loup99

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Also I may make some personal events for the game, to create more interesting situations. (vanilla leads often to too much weird results :p )
Do you mod CK2 too?
 

Attalus

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Do you mod CK2 too?
Never did but well I'll see as it goes along, shouldn't be too complicated (at least I hope). And it won't be too complicated, just stuff like adding troops or some claims.
Otherwise I will go to the old method of "switch character -> add_claim -> make him declare war" and watch the results. :p
 
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loup99

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Never did but well I'll see as it goes along, shouldn't be too complicated (at least I hope). And it won't be too complicated, just stuff like adding troops or some claims.
No, it definitely isn't. And the wiki is really helpful for beginners (not sure if you should be defined as one though, given your records on V2 modding and that you did some for EU4 too).
 

Duke of Awesome

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The Mongols should be fun bosom buddies for you once the Golden Horde comes.