• We have updated our Community Code of Conduct. Please read through the new rules for the forum that are an integral part of Paradox Interactive’s User Agreement.

Lucius Sejanus

77 Badges
Jul 9, 2009
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Divine Wind
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Victoria 2
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Battle for Bosporus
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Magicka
  • 500k Club
Good morning everybody.

I've been a longtime lurker here, and finally decided to try my hand at this AAR business. I'm a great fan of Alfred Packer's and Kommunaut's work, which is why this AAR won't be anything like theirs.

This AAR will describe the first stage of my intended Byzantine megacampaign, and will be styled as a fake history textbook from the alternate present, in which the Roman Empire not only survived, but continues being a major power. Well, unless I get overrun by Communists in Vicky, in which case I will need to rewrite first two parts to present the history of the People's Socialist Empire from a Marxist perspective. We'll see.


Chronicle of the Middle Emperors

Table of Contents

Part I - The Era of Crisis, 602 - 867


Part II - Macedonian Restoration, 867 - 1073


Chapter IV - Time of Troubles, 1025 - 1073
- Constantine X, 1059 - 1067
- Michael VII, 1067 - 1073

Part III - The Early Komnenian Era, 1073 - ...

Chapter V - Reign and Reforms of Emperor Alexios, 1073 - 1107
- Alexios, 1073 - 1107
- - Conquests
- - Reforms

Chapter VI - Expasion under Alexios' successors, 1107 - 1189
- Eusebios, 1107 - 1115
- Theodoros, 1115 - 1159
- - Italian Campaigns
- - The Settlement in Italy
- - The Conquest of Croatia
- - The Recovery of Carthage
- Demetrios I, 1159 - 1181
- - Military reforms of Gabriel Komnenos
- - Invasion of Gaul
- - Siege of Arelate
- Basil III the Mad, 1181 - 1189

Chapter VII - The Age of St. Zeno and the Dynastic Crisis, 1189 -
- St. Zeno II, 1189 - 1224
Last edited:
Another Byzantophile! Looking forward to this with interest!:)
Part II - Macedonian Restoration, 867 - 1073


Chapter IV - Time of Troubles, 1025 - 1073


Constantine X, 1059 - 1067

Constantine X Doukas was a proud successor to the tradition established at the death Basil II, namely, the tradition of gross incompetence. Faced with a dwindling treasury, he disbanded a large portion of the Imperial Army on the advice of his bureaucrat and church supporters, alienating the military aristocracy in the process. When that predictably resulted in the complete loss of Southern Italy to the Normans, he reversed that policy completely, and, after instituting harsh taxes on the general populace, assembled a large force for the invasion of Sicily. The choice of the target, an island ruled by a patchwork of squabbling Arab sheikdoms and the appointment of Alexios Komnenos, future Alexios I, as the commanding general were perhaps his best decisions. However, he never got to see the success of the invasion, having died of old age in 1067, when the invasion has barely gotten underway.

Michael VII, 1067 - 1073

The reign of Michael VII marks perhaps the lowest point of the Empire since the reign of Basil I. However, this happened largely due to his inexperience and the sheer scale of the problems accumulated by his predecessors, as in our sources he appears a well educated and capable man.
His reign started out fairly successfully. All of Sicily was quickly subdued, except for than the city of Messina, held by the Normans. Most of the island was left under the command of Alexios Komnenos, a mistake as unfortunate for Michael VII personally as it was fortunate for the Empire.
The success of the invasion of Sicily was quickly overshadowed by the rebellion in the east: the underpaid armies in the themes of Armenia, Mesopotamia, Coloneia and Armenia Minor proclaimed their strategoi Emperors and stopped paying imperial taxes in 1068. This created a very dangerous situation, as the Seljuk Turks, led by Alp Aslan, who have been harassing the Imperial frontiers for some years now, saw the rebellion as an opportunity to make a full-scale invasion of Asia Minor.
Michael VII quickly responded by signing truces with and partially legitimizing the rebel strategoi, and diverting the army raised to crush the rebellion to fight Alp Aslan. However, by the time Michael VII's army marched from Constantinople to Cilicia, most of Armenia Minor, half of Mesopotamia, all of Armenia and even parts of Galatia were already lost to the Turks. Michael's army, in two drawn out campaigns managed to push Alp Aslan out of Galatia. At that point, both sides reached an agreement: Michael VII recognized the Turkish conquests other than Galatia in exchange for peace.
With the Turkish threat out of the picture for the time being, the emperor turned his attention towards the remnants of the rebellious themes. His main concern was Coloneia: its independence isolated the theme of Trebizond from the rest of the Empire. In 1073, he invaded the rebellious theme. His troops were victorious in the battle of Chaldea, the only major battle of the campaign, and Coloneia was forcibly brought back to the fold. However, during the battle, Michael was mortally wounded by a stray arrow, and died a few days later.

Map of the Empire at the death of Michael VII


1. Republic of Venice
2. County of Capua
3. Independent theme of Armenia Minor
4. Emirate of Aleppo
Last edited:
Good start. Don't go too fast though, you want some challenge when you set this over to EU3 and further, don't you?
I always love a good Byzantine AAR! This start looks promising. And already history is kinder to the Byzantines since Alexios will inherit a state a lot stronger than in reality.

~Lord Valentine~
Very interesting so far, very crisp, clean descriptions. :)
Let the Armenians go Turkish over time- that way, instead of recounquering non-Greek Armenia, one could go postal on the Levant against weakened emirates once the Fatimids inevitably collapse. Then Egypt, and Beni Hilal, a two front war.

The only game where I haven't seen a Fatimid death knell is when they went elective, which both eliminated the Fatimid dynasty. It's 1107, and there has still not been a crusade, although I own (as the Komnenoi emperor of Rome) all actual Egyptian provinces, save Tobruk. But enough of my prattling...

Get Alexios Komnenos to be emperor, and go salic consanguinity- it lets the best martial kid out of all of his be emperor. That, and as BT has proven, the Komnenoi are THE best dynatoi. They are certainly better than the Dukas clan or the Angeloi (1204 loss) or the Paleologoi (1453, final conquest). Rome is a state run on the work of good generals (Constantine, Caesar and Octavian, Aurelian, Trajan, Diocletian- Rome runs on generals, so the consanguinity law is the best.)
Sorry for the humongous interval between posts. I was bulding me a new computer, and only now have it in any shape to be making AAR updates (i.e. installed Photoshop. Not that there'll be any fancy pictures in this update. So much for the validity of that excuse.)

I also have a simple favor to ask of those who still read this: if I ever write something completely stupid/improbable from a historical perspective, tell me. Of course, as alternative history fiction based on a game that tends to warp history into something rather silly, this AAR will deviate from what actually happened quite a bit. But, I'd hate for it to deviate in stupid or improbable ways. So, if I ever start going on about the Glorious Plebeian Revolution of 1342, point it out and I will change it. This particularly concerns those readers who know Byzantine history, as I know just barely enough not to date the reign of Alexios I by the consuls of those years.

Also, this forum wizardry baffles me, so no detailed feedback to each reader yet. Sorry. I'll try and figure it out by next time. To summarize, Hannibal X has my strategy pretty much exact, and I stop expanding for the sake of expanding by the time of Alexios' grandson.

And now, the update.
Part III - The Early Komnenian Era, 1073 - [blank for now]

The significance of the first Komnenos Emperors to the history of the Empire and the rest of the Western World cannot be understated. Much like Augustus and his immediate successors established the Empire and, through that, shaped the history of the next 500 years, and much like Justinian I and Heraclius shaped the fates of the Empire through the Dark Ages, Emperor Alexios and his successors can be considered architechts of the Revival of the Empire in the 2nd millenium. Of course, much of the groundwork for the Revival was laid down by the preceding Macedonian dynasty, but without the reforms of Alexios and the able administration of the following emperors, the empire would not have prospered as much as it has. While it is doubtful that the Roman state would have been utterly annihilated, it would definitely not have grown to be the cultural and economic driving force of Europe. In addition, the early Komnenian period gave us some of the most colorful charachters to ever don the purple: Emperor Theodoros (nicknamed Caligula II by a seventeenth century historian), Basil III the Mad, and Saint Zeno II.

Chapter V - Reign and Reforms of Emperor Alexios, 1073 - 1107

Early Life

We do not know much about the early life of Alexios. He was a descendant of Manuel Erotikos Komnenos, a general of Basil II, and a nephew of Emperor Isaac Komnenos, Manuel's son. His connections to the throne explain why at 18 he was already strategos of Paphlagonia, and why, despite his youth, he was tasked with the reconquest of Sicily a year later. The war in Sicily took two years, and removed Alexios both from Constantinople and the eastern rebellion and subsequent war with the Seljuks. In fact, for most of the reign of Michael VII, Alexios stayed in Sicily, arranging administration of the newly conquered province. In late 1072 or early 1073, he and his army were summoned by Michael VII for the war against the rebels in the east. His forces, however, never got to the front lines, as Michael VII decided to invade Coloneia without the additional forces. In fact, Alexios' army only got as far as Nicea when news of the Emperor's death reached him. Michael VII's only child was a daughter, which, coupled with Alexios' army's location, gave him a perfect opportunity for the throne. Michael's brothers, Andronikos and Constantine, were too young and had too little support to challenge him. Alexios entered Constantinople unopposed and was crowned Emperor April 4, 1073.
Last edited:
Actually Michaels brothers were in a strong position.
And having a strategos as a magistrate of a theme, who is younger than 20 is quite odd. :p

But I still like the update.
Brisk pace, there.

But to echo to good General - a fellow Byzzie. Huzzah!
Military Campaigns of Emperor Alexios

At the ascension of Alexios Komnenos the Empire was in a dire position. Armenia and Cilicia were lost, the rebellion in Eastern Anatolia was just subdued and could flare up any moment, and the legitimacy of Alexios’ ascension was questionable at best. After his affirmation by the Imperial Senate, Alexios sent out grants of gold from his personal fortune to the strategoi to insure loyalty, and started assembling the army for inevitable war in the east. The war with the Turks was much shorter than anticipated. Cilicia was quickly overrun by Imperial forces, which met little resistance. Alp Arslan gathered his forces in Armenia, preparing to invade from the east. However, before Alexios set out to meet him from Cilicia, the powerful Emir of Mosul declared independence. Alp Arslan quickly made peace, giving up any claim to Anatolia in return for Alexios’ recognition of Seljuk conquest of Armenia. Both sides regarded the agreement as a temporary ceasefire, in fact; it set borders for centuries to come. The rebellion of Mosul was just the first in a series of revolts faced by the Seljuks, which weakened them to the point where they did not pose a threat for decades.

Seeing an opportunity, Alexios then turned his armies south, against the multitude of emirates of the Levant. At the time, the Levant was in open rebellion against the Fatimid Sultan. In three campaigning seasons, from 1079 to 1081, Syria had been restored to the Empire, after having suffered under the Arabs for nearly 500 years. However, Alexios stopped just short of recapturing Jerusalem. The troops were weary of years of fighting, and domestic affairs called the Emperor back to Constantinople. The borders set by his wars in the east remained unchanged for nearly 200 years, until the Mesopotamian crusade of Emperor Kosmas, known in our sources as the Dark Emperor. At any rate, Frankish Crusaders captured Palestine before long.
The next conquests of Alexios were the Serbian Principalities. Those had been reconquered under Basil II in 1018 and slipped out of Imperial control by 1045. Alexios reasserted Imperial dominance in 1087, by appointing a friendly local ruler strategos of inland Rascia, and replacing the ruler of coastal Diocleia with a Roman strategos.

The new provinces proved valuable as staging grounds for Alexios’ last campaign, the reconquest of Southern Italy from the Normans. The last Imperial garrisons were only expelled during the reign of Constantine X, and only the fact that the Emperor’s attention was turned to the east prevented a military response. However, in 1089, the response, long overdue, was finally coming. Alexios landed with army of anywhere from 15000 to 40000 men in Bari in April. By summer 1091 the last Norman stronghold in Apulia was breached and Southern Italy returned to Imperial control.


Europe at the death of Emperor Alexios, AD 1107
Last edited:
All of a sudden, this is revived. After all this time, I don't remember the details of what happened to well, so the format works even better as I can blame some courtier's "Secret Histories" being an unreliable source. Good thing I have a save from every 25 years from 1107 to 1399, and an overall sense where this goes, so can accord due importance to events. Anyway, next post (tomorrow or in 2012) will be about the administrative reforms of Alexios, otherwise known as "Byzantines as shown in CK are incorrect, so Alexios reformed them that way".

1. CK is wrong, therefore I fix it - that's the best way to deal with CK.
2. Welcome back
3. I like your maps. Very slick.
4. I see Qarakhanids in the Caucasus as always. :eek: