Chapter XIII - Bigger Fish To Fry
It was April of 1644 and Naples had just been annexed - the realm was overextended by more than 120% but Pius would have killed himself if he had let slip the opportunity of annexing Naples. The Imam was informed by one of his trusted advisors that the realm was in chaos. Rebels had risen in many of the newly conquered African provinces.
The truce with Spain lasted for another year wand was set to expire in July of 1645. The Spanish had found new friends and allied Burgundy and Portugal. In the first Roman-Spanish war, Spain was only allied to Bohemia but back then they also ruled over Portugal.
In Bavaria, cork bottle stoppers had become popular after developments in bottle making allowed wine producers to create bottles in more standardized sizes and as a result they had been able to reintroduce the use of the bottle cork. The Roman Empire was a big exporter of wine but the consumption of alcoholic beverages like wine was prohibited by spiritual leaders.
Being overextended this much came with new challenges like nationalist sentiments in many provinces. Pius started to regret of being greedy. Maybe it would have been indeed wiser if Naples had not been completely annexed..
In 1646, war was declared on Persia with the intention to increase the territory that Armenia controlled. Shia sided with Persia - both nations followed the Shiite faith.
Omani rebels had occupied so much territory that were close to enforce their demands. This was prevented when Roman mercenaries cleared the area.
Shirvan ceded two of its provinces to Aremnia before the war even really started. Persia was not as weak as it looked. In Khuzestan a battle between Roman and Persian armies was fought that turned out to be a key battle of the war. The majority of the Persian died on the drylands of the province. Some in the Roman Empire believed that attacking smaller nations like Persia was a waste of time. There were bigger fish to fry they claimed, mainly in Europe. Especially the Roman subjects who lived in Avignon were angry that the Imam had not declared war on the French but on the Persians instead. Avignon felt that it was time to hit the French hard. Now. But the Imam disagreed for the moment.
The Imam enacted a policy which greatly reduced the diplomatic annexation cost. This was done because after Avignon it was also planned to integrated Armenia into the realm. This decision was made after the Imam decided that he wanted to establish a new vassal in Persia instead of conquering the territory for Armenia, seeing that they had already problems with rebells in the past.
That's why in 1649, when the war with Persia came to an end, Persia ceded only two provinces to Armenia and nine to the Roman Empire; two of these provinces were used to release Ardalan as a Shiite vassal. Soon they were forced to convert to the Sunni faith though. The other seven provinces were cored directly by the Roman Empire.
News arrived in Rome that Spanish Brazil had won the war against Spain but somehow they had not demanded to become an independent nation! This was most silly said Pius to Roman spiritual leaders.
In 1649, an alliance was formed with Tlemcen which had successful revolted against Spain a few years ago. Maybe there was a way to peacefully vassalize them. In the same year, overextension was no longer an issue, the Imam finally agreed to Avignon's demand and made preparations for attacking France again. Russia declared their interest in siding with the Roman Empire and so a call to arms was sent to them. Bavaria, Portugal and Sweden sided with France.
France was also at war with Brittany and this war came to an end pretty much the moment Rome declared war on France and resulting in Brittany losing some provinces to France, namely Anjou and Maine.
Unfortunatly, the war with France went horrible and tens of thousands of Roman mercenaries died in the first two years of the war. That's why Tunis was called into the war as well. Hopefully their troops were going to help to turn the table! Russian forced completely rofl-stomped Sweden, which had left its country undefended by sending all their forces to Italy, and so it was no-brainer to sign a separate peace treaty with Sweden just to get their troops out of Italy. Then things started to mode in the favor of the Romans who occupied Bavaria before concentrating on France. This allowed the Imam to declare a simultaneous war on Qara Qoyunlu which held some core provinces that rightfully belonged to the new Roman vassal, Ardalan.
In 1652, the integration of Avignon was completed but the war against France continued. News also arrived in Rome that Spain had completed the integration of her vassal Galicia...
After Qara Qoyunlu was fully occupied, it was annexed by Ardalan. This increased their realm greatly and now they were able to field an army to support their overlord.
The war against France was now looking better and better and even the Russians were now helping. Russian troops had arrived in Caux by boat. They must have sailed all the way from Narva to Caux just to support the Roman claims on France.
At the Battle of Lisboa 34.000 Portuguese troops were slaughtered like dogs - the Poruguese army was so weak, it felt like fighting pagans, especially compared to strong armies like the one of the Commonwealth.
Fighting with France continued for a while but after all hostile armies were destroyed, France agreed to cede Gascgone and Armagnanc to the Roman Empire as well as Savoia. The first two provinces were convert to Islam with the intention to use them to release Guyenne as vassal.
The nobles of Qsar Ibrim challenged the Roman Empire after the war with France had come to an end. They demanded more privileges on top of the already granted rights. Imam Pius was angry and crushed them.
In February of 1656, both province were Sunni and together with Bearn they were given to Guyenne. In order to give Guyenne a border with Spain, Pius instructed his administrators to sell Pirineo for the sum of 0 ducats to Guyenne. Guyenne accepted the offer and the province became part of their nation. With them having a border with Spain, everything was set for another major war against the Spanish. The Imam declared that there were two important goals: 1. Conquer at least one former Granandan province which could be used to release Grananda as vassal. 2. Expand the territory controlled by Guyenne with Spanish lands.
In March a Holy War was then declared on Spain and her allies Burgundy, Bohemia and Portugal. This meant that the Roman Empire was at war with Portgual for a second time with a break of less than one year in between. 39.000 Romans had been stationed in Lyonnais at the Roman-Burgundian border. 108.000 soldiers at the Roman-Spanish border. No armies were in position to defend the Roman Empire against a Bohemian counter-attack. Nobody sided with the Romans in this war. Russia and Tunis said that had recently fought along-side Rome against France and therefore had no interest in helping Rome again.
Volunteers from all over the Muslim world joined the Roman Empire for this Holy Fight against the infidels. 11.000 recruits arrived in April alone.
The plan to quickly force Burgundy out of the war failed when a doomstack of 70.000 Bohemia forces arrived in Franch-Comete only giving the Roman army time to retreat in time and wait for reinforcements from Arabia.
Tactic-wise, the idea was to force Burgundy out of the war after having occupied their capital. That's why a Roman army had been stationed near the border with them. One of the two armies in Spain was sent to besiege Valencia and provinces along the Mediterranean coast; the other army was busy in Canabria and slowly moved on to Galicia. At least that was the plan.
In Spain the situation was progressing much better, the Portuguese army was still non-existent and no threat what-so-ever. One year into the war and the mighty forts of Valencia and Valladolid had already been sacked.
Onc additional troops from Arabia arrived in the war area, the Burgundian army was defeated and the siege of Dijon continued. The Bohemia army was busy besieging Vaud, a province with a rare star fort. Star forts were among the most difficult forts to take during the mid 17th century.
The Bohemia forces abanonded the siege of Vaud and launched a counter attack on the Roman forces at Dijon. The battle was won but many soldiers died on both sides.
In July of 1658, thanks to Pius III's impressive military skills, quality ideas had finally been completed! In autumn of the same year, Burgundy was forced out of the war after Dijon fell. Meanwhile Bohemia forces laid siege on Milan. The siege was lost; Bohemia now controlled the city.
Russia called the Roman Empire to war in the Russian Crusade against Kazan - the call to arms was naturally accepted.
Pius III died a natural death in 1659. The spiritual leaders elected Imam Xystus IV as his successor. His skills: 2/4/4.
Xystus sent 26.000 mercenaries along the Horn of Africa to reach the Cape of Good Hope which had been heavily colonized by Portugal. The region had to be conquered!
Bohemia accepted a white peace in autumn of 1660. This made the war much, much more easier. After more than 700 days the siege of Lisboa came to an end. Roman troops were victorious.
A separate peace was signed in 1661 with Portugal. The Portugues ceded five of their Cape of God Hope provinces to the Romans.
With Portugal having left the war, Spain saw no way out of this war but to offer unconditional surrender. Xystus was just and accepted the offer. It was agreed that Spain ceded all former Granadan cores to Rome as well as Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia. Guyenne received control over Valencia, Tarragona, Urgell, Zaragoza, Teruel and Soria. Furthermore, a 15-year-long truce was arranged.
It took the missionaries 11 months to convert the Granadan provinces to the Sunni faith before they were used to release Granada as vassal.
News arrived in Rome that England had established a protectorate over Mutapa! This complicated any potential conquest of that African tribe immensely. That's why Rome focused instead on Baluchistan which had no allies and recently lost a war against Afghanistan. The war goal was to fully annex them. This was sure going to be easy given that Baluchistan was also bankrupt! In fact, the war lasted for less than 90 days and the war goal was accomplished with no difficulties at all.
The Roman Empire founded a trade company in the East African Charter and a second trade company in the South African Charter. This was done in order to compete with English and Portuguese trade companies in those areas.
In 1663, Ardalan sent an envoy to Rome. Xystus spoke with the envoy who had asked him to declare war on Persia. The loyal governor of Ardalan wanted more land and Persia was a good target he believed. Xystus felt that the envoy made a good case and so war was declared the following day. Armies were already in the area so no preparations were necessary. Afghanistan and Gazikummuk sided with Persia. The defenders had a total of 40.000 men; in comparison the Roman army consisted of 259.000 soldiers and sell sords!
At the same time, Xystus called for a Jihad against westernized Alodia and her ally Ethipia. In that war the Battle of Soba was decisive because the majority of the defending Alodian forces were killed during that battle.
Armenia was fully integrated into the realm in 1665. This was crucial was the Roman Empire had already been over its diplomatic relations limit.
The reign of Xystus was rather short. He died in the winter of 1665 and was succeeded immediately by Pius IV, a very competent, young 5/3/2 ruler. Most Imams that were usually in their late 50s or 60s when they assumed office. Pius was only 45. At the day of his inauguration, a comet was sighted. Was this an omen? Was the end nigh?
A separe peace was made with Persia's ally Gazikumukh which ceded one provinces to the Romans. Then Persia agreed to peace, too, and gave the control of nine provinces to Ardalan. Furthermore, one province was ceded to the Romans. Ethiopia ceded three provinces and was forced out of the war against Alodia. The Roman Empire returned to peace a couple of months later when Alodia agreed to cede the large majority of its territory to the Romans. Rome triumphed again!
The World in 1667
This turned out to be a rather long chapter. I usually end a chapter when I feel it's a good time to end it which is why some are longer and others shorter.
Our new ruler is very nice. Let's hope he'll have a very long life
The war against France was more difficult than initially anticipated but ended with a nice victory. Spain was not difficult to beat, even with their mighty allies. Their armies were really weak.
In the next chapter, we should probably begin integrating one of our vassal - maybe Guyenne. The remaining territory of Spain can be given to our new vassal Granada so we don't really need Guyenne anymore. In the French region we could then release Normandy as vassal after conquering the necessary provinces.
We've beaten the Persians twice during this chapter - soon we could make a move into India.
The plan to peacefully turn Tlemcen into a vassal won't work anymore. The Tlemeci ruler spent too many monarch points into development and now their realm is one of the best-developed regions in the world. This makes peaceful vassalization impossible We'll probably cancel the alliance soon. Tlemcen also allied our ally Tunis..
Thanks for reading!