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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

volksmarschall

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Greetings AARland! It has been a while since I last prodded the forums and was working on an AAR. The last AAR I was undertaking was back in 2010/2011, playing the original Victoria. Being back on the forums, I figured it’d be time to start another AAR, this time in the wonderfully produced EUIV!

For those who were not familiar with my style, it is rather simple (and for those old friends of mine who might stumble across my work again, I do bid you hello and hope we can return to our cordial relationship we had before I left!). I write primarily in the narrative or history-book format, that is, imagination rules the world based on what has happened with the gameplay, with much artistic license to fit either the narrative story, or what would be appropriate history of the period. I do not undertake gameplay intensive AARs, so if you’re expecting an AAR with loads of screenshots, continue at your own discretion because you won’t find it here. While I have followed some amazing gameplay intensive AARs that have influenced how I play with certain nations throughout the various Paradox games I own, I prefer not to conduct an AAR in that manner. This AAR will be in the history-book format, it will have a handful of pictures, but mostly historical paintings and etchings. Also, the early updates will not be in-game but historical background leading us up to the start of the game – so the first handful of updates will be astutely historical and imbued with popular scholarship.

So I bid you all welcome, and hope what you find to be enjoyable. For those who I have not had the blessed opportunity to get to know, I do wish through your frequent comments and my responses we may develop a cordial relationship on these forums.

House Rules: I do not play using gamey-tactics, no reloads, no intentional selection of the best event choices (I will try and pick the events based on my ruler’s stat skills, therefore, rulers with greater administration, diplomatic, and or military skills will reflect the event choices I pick in-game). Gamey-tactics, for example, would be for me to wait for the Ottomans to move their land armies into Anatolia, DoW them, and use my navy to block the Bosphorus Straits and have my forces run-rampant over Greece and conclude a peace without much of a war. (Yes, I am playing as Byzantium, which is the continuation of the Roman Empire – the term Byzantine was invented by 18th Century French scholars to denote the “Eastern” Empire from the “Western Empire” after 476 AD).

Disclosure: I do not take responsibility for any pictures that appear in this thread. All credit should be reserved to their rightful owners, artists, and websites. I claim no ownership. Furthermore, I am writing this at my own leisure and for your enjoyment (and mine as well). I can get quite busy with my work, so I cannot promise consistent repetitive updates (daily, every other day, etc.), so hopefully that means we will all be able to keep up in this journey together.

Note from the Author: I am writing a history of the Romans, while the history will eventually incorporate what has happened in my game, the history will be as accurate as possible. Please skip to Volume 1 if you want to read the history as it pertains to the actual game. The first handful of updates, which will be part of my introduction, are primarily based on primary and secondary sources on the "Byzantine Empire" and are intended to provide all of my readers with an accurate depiction of what happened to the Byzantine Empire from the late 12th century bringing us to where we begin in-game. Please also note, when referring to Muslim powers in game, I use the archaic word "Mohammedan" very often. I do not use this word in my professional work, and there are potential problems with the word through historical linguistic evolution (cf. Edward Said, Orientalism) - but since this history is mimicking a history as it would have been written around the turn of the 20th century, the word would have been used, as it was until the 1960s/70s when the word rapidly fell out of favor.


Bonus points for the first person to know the work that the title of my AAR gives homage to, as well as the painting used above (a third point if you get the painter right)!

Index:

Introduction (below), pgs. 1-2 (up to post #31, there are 5 introductory posts spanning the history of the Roman state, historically, from 1181-1444 AD)

Preface to the Reader for Volume 1
Preface to the Reader for Volume 2
Preface to the Reader for Volume 3

Note to the Readers, 07/7/14, upon the completion of Chapter XVI.
Crash Course (with four screenshots) of the Empire history's (gameplay wise), from 1444-1497.
Some Interesting Facts about Constantinople
Myths and Facts about the (Late) Roman Army, ca. 100-400 C.E.

The most important primary document in the writing of this AAR - Evagrius, Life of Theodoras! (read Chapter XV and XVI to understand the joke).

List of Emperors and Abridged Timeline of Important Events (I advise new readers who would not otherwise want to read ca. 3-4 pages of word text, which is what I am averaging per update post, in order to catch up to my current progress with a general understanding of what has transpired in game)

Volume 1: The Late Period Empire
Part 1: The Empire of John VIII
Covering the reign of Emperor John VIII (naturally)

Chapter I, (pt. II) The Late Period Empire
Chapter II The Influence of Sea Power upon History
Chapter III, (pt. II), (pt. III) Diplomacy and Caste in the Late Period Empire
Chapter IV, (pt. II), (pt. III) State and Society of the Late Period Empire
Chapter V, (pt. II), (pt. III) The First Macedonian War
Chapter VI, (pt. II) The Army of the Late Period Empire
Chapter VII, (pt. II) Consolidations and Death of Emperor John VIII

Part 2: The Rise of the Despotates
Covering the reigns of emperors Constantine XI, John IX, and Theodoras I

Chapter VIII, (pt. II) The Siege of Constantinople and the War of Constantine XI
Chapter IX, (pt.II) The Foundations of the Greek Renaissance and Restoration of the Imperial Cult
Chapter X The Rise of the Despotates
Chapter XI, (pt. II), (pt. III) The Non-Possessor Movement and the 1477 Council of Constantinople
Chapter XII, (pt. II) A Triumph for Greece and the Neapolitan War
Chapter XIII, (pt.II) The Death of John IX and the Reign of Theodoras the Mad

Volume 2: John The Great and The Rise of Empire
Part 1: The Rise of the Last Roman, John X
Finishing the reign of Theodoras, and starting the reign of John X

Chapter XIV, (pt.II) The Economy of Late Period Empire
Chapter XV, (pt.II) Theodoras' Descent into Madness and the First Italian War
Chapter XVI, (pt.II), (pt. III) The Last Days of Theodoras and the 100 Days
Chapter XVII, (pt. II), (pt. III) The Rise of the Last Roman, Emperor John's early character, and the Syrian Wars
Chapter XVIII, (pt.II), (pt. III) The Roman-Turkish War of 1499-1503
Chapter XIX, (pt. II) Building the Universal Empire
Chapter XX, (pt. II), (pt. III), (pt. IV), (pt. V) The Italian Wars

Part 2: The Last of the Romans
The last half of John X's reign as emperor

Chapter XXI, (pt. II) The Greek Renaissance under John X
Chapter XXII, (pt. II), (pt. III) State and Society under John X
Chapter XXIII, (pt. II), (pt.III) (pt. IV) Dreaming of Alexander (John's Eastern Campaigns)
Chapter XXIV, (pt. II), (pt. III) Of Byzantines and Men
Chapter XXV, (pt. II) The Fall of the Last Roman

Volume 3: The Long Regency
Part 1: The Long Regency and the Conquest of Constantinople
Chapter XXVI, (pt. II), (pt. III) The Last Triumvirate
Chapter XXVII, (pt. II), (pt. III) Melissinos Marches East
Chapter XXVIII, (pt. II) (pt. III) (pt. IV) Gabras Sails on Constantinople
Chapter XXIX, (pt. II) The Iron Empress & Roman Society during the Regency
Chapter XXX, (pt. II) The Third Syrian War & Murder in Byzantium
Chapter XXXI, (pt. II) The Last Regent and the Year of Coups
Chapter XXXII, (pt. II), (pt. III) The Reign of Constantine XII
Chapter XXXIII The Fall of Constantinople

Part 2: The Heirs of the Roman Legacy
Chapter XXXIV
The Successors to the Roman Empire
CLOSING NOTE FROM AUTHOR AND EDITOR
 
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volksmarschall

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Introduction: The End of the Komnenian Restoration, 1181-1185 AD

The Death of Andronikus Komnenos

Having recently moved through the Komnenion restoration, during which the Romans re-emerged as a major power in the world, the death of the Emperor Manuel could not have come at poorer of time. While the empire was re-established as a major agrarian and trading power, his only son, the long awaited male heir of the empire – Alexios II, was just a boy at the time he ascended to the throne of Constantine. Being eleven years of age at the time, his mother, Maria of Antioch, led a regency council in his place. Unfortunately for Maria, who was highly despised by the city’s populace, supporters of the rightful heir spread rumors of her scheming and supposed rejection of the chastity vows she had taken up after the death of the Emperor Manuel.

The city rose up in rebellion, but was crushed. Alexios’ supporters fled, but a cousin of the Emperor Manuel, Andronikus, took advantage of the situation and entered the city in the midst of the chaos. While the rebellion was defeated, the city was left in lawlessness, showing the limited power of the regency of Maria. The arrival of Andronikus was anything but divine – riding in on a horse, with the city’s population laying forth palms as he entered the city, Andronikus won over the hearts of the fabled city of Constantine and overthrew Roman regency and effectively seized power for himself – although he was, “bringing stability until Alexios came of age.”

This, of course, never happened. While the two were proclaimed co-emperor, this divided rule was not what was needed, nor what was desired by the Roman people. A courtier and person favourite of Andronikus, Stephanos Hagiochristophorites, affectionately and appropriately nicknamed Antichristophorites, “bringer of the Anti-Christ,” was ordered to murder the young Alexios. Inside the Church of Christ the Savior, or Chalkè, Stephanos murdered the boy emperor by strangling him from behind with a bowstring. This left Andronikus as the sole emperor, now officially known as Andronikus I.

Andronikus was quickly hated by the city, and his power did not extend much beyond the Imperial Palace. His rule was measured by swift and often brutal punishment upon the commoners, and his constant fears concerning the nobility of empire. The latter fear was valid, for the many noble families within the empire were rivals to the throne; many saw Andronikus as an invalid claimant, and more importantly – many were suspicious of the death of Alexios, which was blamed on drowning.

His fears of a potential overthrow led him into conflict with the powerful Angelos Family. The Angelos Family was a powerful military family with strong ties to Komnenos Family proper, having served the emperors John and Manuel during their campaigns in Asia Minor. Isaac Angelos was the most powerful noble in the city, and Andronikus’ plans of eliminating the Roman aristocracy began with him. He sent forth his faithful servant Antichristophorites to “arrest” Isaac, but when Stephanos entered into his home, the two engaged in a struggle where Isaac managed to slay Stephanos instead. Isaac fled to the Church of Holy Wisdom, the Hagia Sophia, where he was sheltered by the clergy asking for forgiveness of his deeds. Safely hidden and sheltered, Isaac gained the support of much of the city, and when Emperor Andronikus returned, expecting Isaac to be dead, he was greeted with an angry mob at the gates. Further to his surprise, he learned that Isaac had been proclaimed emperor.

Fearing for his life, Andronikus fled with his wife and mistress to the Golden Horn to escape, but was captured by Isaac. Instead of ordering his death, Isaac, like Pilate, offered him up to the people of the city. Andronikus was tied to a wooden stake in the center of the city, and was subject to the vengeful wrath of the people who he so cruelly terrorized as emperor. It is believed that the crowd ripped off his arms, pulled out his teeth, and gauged out one his eyes. Remarkably, the aged emperor, who was in his late 60s, was still alive. He was carried to the Hippodrome where he would be put out of his misery. He was hung upside down, and two Italian mercenaries, presumably in the service of the Emperor Isaac, decided to have a competition to see who could thrust their sword deepest into his body. His body was then deposed, torn apart by the satisfied crowd. Upon hearing the news of the death of Andronikus, his son, John, commander of the Roman Army in Thrace, fled for safety but was captured by his officers and beheaded. The Komnenian restoration had come to a grisly end; the Angelos Dynasy had begun – and it would be anything but angelic.


A manuscript detail of the death of the Emperor Andronikus I Komnenos in the streets of Constantinople.
 
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AgisTournas

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Book: Edward Gibbon's "History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire".
Painting: "Destruction" (Oil on canvas, 1836, 39 ½ × 63 ½ in.). It is the fourth painting of "The Course of Empire" a five-part series of paintings created by Thomas Cole in the years 1833-36.
 

GulMacet

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Interesting concept. Of course, since this is the EU4 start, you have your decline and fall already behind you - it can only go up from there! (Well, you could also simply be annexed by the Turkish hordes a few years in, but I am guessing that would not make for a very interesting story. Also, it's what happened historically.)
 

volksmarschall

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Book: Edward Gibbon's "History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire".
Painting: "Destruction" (Oil on canvas, 1836, 39 ½ × 63 ½ in.). It is the fourth painting of "The Course of Empire" a five-part series of paintings created by Thomas Cole in the years 1833-36.
Edward Gibbon's "Decline and Fall" is one of the greatest works in historiography, and therefore holds a special place in my heart. In fact, this entire AAR is a tribute to him. Thomas Cole's 'Course of Empire' series, of which you are correct in this painting being "Destruction" is perhaps one of my favorite series of paintings. Either you are extremely refined and cultured, or you looked it up, I am inclined to believe you are the first! :cool:

*The original graphics used the painting listed by agistournas above. I eventually changed the paintings, so the answer and the "minigame" are no longer applicable.

Interesting concept. Of course, since this is the EU4 start, you have your decline and fall already behind you - it can only go up from there! (Well, you could also simply be annexed by the Turkish hordes a few years in, but I am guessing that would not make for a very interesting story. Also, it's what happened historically.)
Well, the first handful of updates will be all historical, bringing us up to the point where the game begins - so decline is definitely part of our early posts. Afterward, the skies the limit, or we can sink into the abyss; either way, I hope what you find beside an interesting concept is an astutely written History AAR, of which much will be historically accurate (up to 1444) and after it, I guess we will find out. Wien is a wonderful city btw, very cultured and beautiful, more-so than Paris.
 
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Introduction: The Betrayal of Constantinople, 1185-1204 AD

The Angelos Dynasty and the Fourth Crusade

Having emerged the victor in the personal struggle against Andronikus I Komnenos, Emperor Isaac II embarked on a timeless Roman pastime in engaging in diplomatic marriages by entering into dynastic relationships. First was the King of Serbia, by marrying his neice – Eudokia Angelina, to a Serbian Grand Prince. His sister, Theodora, married the most famous Italian nobleman and future King of Jerusalem, Conrad of Monteferrat. The emperor himself married Margaret, Princess of Hungary, further strengthening his claim as emperor and protecting against potential Latin aggression from the north and from internal rivalries from jealous nobles.

One might ask why members of the Greek Church were so quickly engaged to royal persons of the Latin Church? Truly, the Schism between East and West is often misunderstood. The formal schism did not occur until the repudiation of the Council of Florence, which we shall cover in the coming sections. Since their inception, the Eastern Church and the Western Church developed along strong linguistic and ethnic boundaries, at least the latter is true for the Eastern Churches. The Eastern Church was dominated by the Greek Fathers, just as the Western Church was dominated by the Latin Fathers, more often known as the Early Church Fathers. The two churches developed along these lines, the Western Church adopting the theological teachings of the Latin Fathers, and the Eastern Church adopting the theological musings of the Greek Fathers; but West and East remained united in communion – despite the fact the Ecumenical Patriarch always struggled to maintain independence from the Primacy of Rome.

The initial schism that occurred between East and West can be read by the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas, one of the great medieval church doctors of the Latin Church. The initial disputes were part of the controversy regarding the relationship of the Holy Spirit with the Son of God. Neither denied the Trinity, nor the divinity of Christ, like the Arians of latter days, or the Mohammedans for that matter. Both churches held that the Spirit proceeded from the Father and returned to the Father. The dispute was whether the Spirit proceeded to the Son without the intercessions of the Father. The Latin Church said no, the Spirit, on its own will and power, could proceed to the Son (in other words, the Son and the Spirit have their own relationship apart from the Father). The Greek Church rejected this as heresy and maintained that while the Spirit could proceed to the Son, as it is written in the Scriptures, the procession of the Spirit to the Son is a continuation of the procession of the Spirit from the Father. Although this did make the Latins “heretics” in the eyes of the Greeks, and the Greeks “heretics” in the eyes of the Latins, both Greek and Latin Churches remained in communion with one another despite growing animosity, confusion, and jealousy of one another. Thus, a marriage between a Greek and Latin Church royal would not have been very controversial until after the Council of Florence officially divorced the two churches from one another.

Outside of marriage, Isaac had to contend with a resurgent Bulgarian nationalist uprising. When the Normans invaded the Balkans in 1185, the Bulgarians seized upon the opportunity to declare their independence. The Normans were defeated at Demetritzes, but the Roman efforts against the Bulgarians were less than fruitful. At the Battle of Tryavna, sometime in early spring 1190 AD, the Bulgarians under Tsar Ivan Asen I attacked the Roman army personally led by Emperor Isaac. The Romans were pressing deep into Bulgarian lands, hoping for a knockout blow to end the uprising and restore Roman hegemony to the area, but Tsar Ivan was most intelligent and figured the Roman armies would have to move through the deep mountain passes, and planned to ambush him. The Bulgarian armies rained down upon the Romans, and the Romans were ill prepared for battle. The Romans were quickly routed and Isaac barely escaped with his life. The victory ensured Bulgarian independence, sapped Roman military power, but also secured, to a certain degree, Roman hegemony in the lower Balkans. Although the Bulgarians had secured their freedom and formed the Second Empire, they had to concede some lands in and around Greece to the Romans.

The Emperor decided to regroup and fight again, but was once more stymied in his efforts. The constant land war against the Bulgarians meant that Isaac was neglectful of the Roman navy, which shrunk to just a handful of galleys and dromons. In the midst of the chaos, and with a war weary population, the emperor’s brother, Alexios, arrested him and proclaimed himself emperor. Alexios became Alexios III, and Isaac was blinded and sent into captivity while his brother reigned over the Roman lands.


A medieval manuscript showing Bulgarians attacking Romans.

Unlike his brother, Alexios III was not well-liked by the Latins. The Holy Roman emperor, Henry VI, demanded tribute or face the wrath of the ‘true’ Roman army. Realizing he could not refuse, for the Bulgarian Wars had sapped Roman manpower, Alexios resorted to heavy taxation on the peasantry and tomb raiding previous emperors entombed at the Church of the Holy Apostles in order to come up with the money, which he managed to do, but became increasingly unpopular as a result. His actions against the peasantry made him hated, and his impious tomb raiding in one of the holy sites of the church made him appear to be an impious ruler, something the people of the Roman Empire could not accept – indeed, the Greek Church believed that the emperor of Constantinople was God’s vicar on the earth, and that when Jesus would come again, the emperor would hand over the keys of the kingdom of earth to the Son of God, who would then unite the kingdom of the earth with the kingdom of heaven and bring about eternity centered at the New Jerusalem, which was Constantinople.

In Anatolia, the Mohammedans took advantage of the predicament and force the Romans out of the imperial heartlands that had been reconquered by the Komnenians. To make matters worse, the son of Isaac II, Alexios the younger, escaped Constantinople and joined the Latin crusaders gathering in Venice who were about to embark to Egypt. This meant, yet again, another large Latin army marching through Roman lands and expecting the Romans to feed and house them or face the fury of the savagery. Alexios the younger promised to finance the Latin crusaders, end the conflict between the two churches, and depose Alexios III as emperor.

Initially, the Latins marched through Greece with the support of the emperor, but the Latin army was not well financed, ill-equipped with proper rations and soon Alexios III found a hungry and unpaid army of Latins at the gates of his city. The Latins were further angered when Alexios the younger told them of the “Slaughter of the Latins” when Alexios III came to power, who closed down the Latin quarters in the city of the world’s desire and killed several thousand merchants and pilgrims. In response, Alexios the younger begged the Latins to overthrow Alexios III and reinstall his father, Isaac II, as emperor. With their help, Alexios the younger promised food, pay, and most importantly, safe passage through the empire.

The first siege ended with Alexios III being deposed of and Alexios the younger becoming emperor Alexios IV. To make matters worse, the death of his blinded father, the former emperor, then co-emperor Isaac II, meant the political situation was destabilized. Rivalries between the Romans and the Latins led to distrust, riot, and Alexios IV’s plan was falling beneath his feet. The Latins, who were promised entry into the city at Alexios IV’s coronation, were rebuffed, causing anger. Led by the Dodge of Venice, the Latins planned to take the city for themselves, rescue the Latins “trapped” in the city, and return the favor the Romans had done upon the Latins when Alexios III was crowned.

On 8 April 1204 AD, the Latins made their approach against the city walls but were stopped. However, the neglected Roman navy meant the Venetians had a 10-1 ship advantage (the Roman navy had been so neglected that it comprised itself of only around 20 galleys). The Dodge Enrico drew up a daring plan. The Venetians would transport their men by ship across the Golden Horn and into the city’s harbor, defeat the Roman fleet, secure the docks and harbor walls, enter the city, and open the gate. The plan was executed to perfection on the 12th, and the Latins seized the port walls. About 100 Venetians scaled the walls into the city and cracked small one-man holes into the walls of the fabled city of Constantine. One-by-one, Latin knights crawled through the holes into the city. No one knows how it happened, but a section of the city caught fire, right where the Latins were entering. The fire made the walls impossible to defend, and effectively meant the Latins controlled the outer walls. The Romans fled the city in fear, and the emperor sailed across the straights to Nicaea.

The next three days was a scene from the end times. Three days of pillage, murder, and conquest. The famous Horses of Saint Mark, which sat atop the Hippodrome, were torn down and dragged to the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice. The Imperial Library, which housed some of the classic works of Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, even Cicero and Livy, was burned to the ground, taking with it many ancient manuscripts of wisdom. The Latins did things to children and women that I cannot write of, they set fire to churches and monasteries, plunder the imperial crypts, and the city of Constantine burned like Sodom and Gomorrah. When the pillage and fire ceased, the city was split among the crusaders. The Latin Empire of Romania was declared, and Baldwin Count of the Flanders was crowned as Baldwin I, Emperor of Constantinople, and Emperor of the Romans – an insult to the Romans which was crudely calculated no doubt.

The betrayal of the great city was complete. The Angelos Dynasty was in ruins, and the future of Rome was in doubt. Several noble families, including the Komnenians, who fled to Asia Minor, secured their positions at Nicaea in preparation for a Latin invasion that never came. The Roman empire was now controlled by petty families, the Laskaris family controlled Nicaea, the Doukas Family controlled Epirus, and the Komnenians repositioned themselves to control Trebizond. While all three claimed to be the new seat of the Roman continuation, neither had the authority to declare themselves emperor with consent from one another. Despite the claims of Alexios Komnenos in Trebizond, and Michael Doukas in Epirus, the true seat of power, although disputed, rested in Nicaea where the Laskaris family also garnered the support of the Palaiologos family, who would prove instrumental in the reclaiming of Constantinople and the formal reestablishment of Roman civilization in the city of dreams.


Palma il Giovane's painting of the "Siege of Constantinople" showing the arrival of the Venetian fleet into the city's docks. It is clearly a romanticized depiction of the actuality of the siege.
 
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GreatUberGeek

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Wonderfully written, Volksmarschall! And-damn, Agistournas beat me to it! :( :D
We learned about the Fourth Crusade in history today. Coincidence? You decide. :D
 

TheLittlePrince

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Lurker on these forums, first post! Got to say, even though it's just a introduction history of the Byzantines right now GreatUberGeek is right, it is well written! Can't wait to see what happens when you get to include the game to it. :)
 

AgisTournas

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Edward Gibbon's "Decline and Fall" is one of the greatest works in historiography, and therefore holds a special place in my heart. In fact, this entire AAR is a tribute to him.
My favorites are the "Byzantium, volumes 1-3" by John Julius Norwich and "Byzantium and Its Army 284-1081" by Warren T. Treadgold.

Thomas Cole's 'Course of Empire' series, of which you are correct in this painting being "Destruction" is perhaps one of my favorite series of paintings.
I found about that series almost by accident (while "surfing" some time ago) and I must admit that the whole concept is truly amazing!

Either you are extremely refined and cultured, or you looked it up, I am inclined to believe you are the first! :cool:
THANX for your kind words...
:rolleyes:
 

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Romans Byzantins in America? We shall see...
 

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Boy, there was a lot of blinding people in those days. I especially like how you set the stage, before the Turks. The work is well composed. Looking forward in seeing how the ARR progresses.
 

Enewald

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Damn, I need to reread some Gibbon. :cool:
 
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Deus Eversor

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I just have to write this, History of Rome makes me so mad, as if Romans were graced with utterfailures of rulers, administration and aristocracy, beginning with the Phocas coup that led to the loss of Levant and all of Africa... Leaving aside the fact that Alexandrean Church would eventually join the schism fashion that would have led to a probability of Egyptian secesion.

I think this AAR should go back that far...
 

volksmarschall

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Wonderfully written, Volksmarschall! And-damn, Agistournas beat me to it! :( :D
We learned about the Fourth Crusade in history today. Coincidence? You decide. :D
Thank you for thinking it is wonderfully written, granted this is AARland, and coming from my background - any AAR with a good prose and style makes me smile, and I feel I would be cheating myself if I didn't provide you all with a well-written prose. Definitely a coincidence that you learn of the "Fourth Crusade" on the day I post a quick summary of what happened! :happy:

Lurker on these forums, first post! Got to say, even though it's just a introduction history of the Byzantines right now GreatUberGeek is right, it is well written! Can't wait to see what happens when you get to include the game to it. :)
Welcome on board! Glad to be the thread of your first post.

My favorites are the "Byzantium, volumes 1-3" by John Julius Norwich and "Byzantium and Its Army 284-1081" by Warren T. Treadgold.

I found about that series almost by accident (while "surfing" some time ago) and I must admit that the whole concept is truly amazing!

THANX for your kind words...
:rolleyes:
The internet is such a great invention isn't it? :rofl:

I have a book by Treadgold, not the one you mentioned, I'll have to look into it. Also, Norwich's trilogy earned great praise - ironically countering much of the assertions of Gibbon. Although I have not read his work, perhaps that may happen in the future. Lay Byzantinist perhaps? :)

Romans Byzantins in America? We shall see...
I would presume that this would be rather unlikely, but in Medieval 2 Total War, I always enjoyed preserving the Byzantines and pretend that I hired Christopher Columbus to the services of the emperor and sent him off to discover America! More than likely we will stay in Europe...

Boy, there was a lot of blinding people in those days. I especially like how you set the stage, before the Turks. The work is well composed. Looking forward in seeing how the ARR progresses.
Damn, I need to reread some Gibbon. :cool:
How is it going Enewald, my old friend? Long time no see! By the amount of posts you have, doesn't seem like you dropped a heartbeat since the 3 years it's been since we last met(?), mostly because of my long absence! :wacko:

I just have to write this, History of Rome makes me so mad, as if Romans were graced with utterfailures of rulers, administration and aristocracy, beginning with the Phocas coup that led to the loss of Levant and all of Africa... Leaving aside the fact that Alexandrean Church would eventually join the schism fashion that would have led to a probability of Egyptian secesion.

I think this AAR should go back that far...
HaHa! I share your sympathies regarding Gibbon's rather unrelenting criticism of everything "Roman" in his work - I myself am much more sympathetic than he is. That said, I am still indebted to his work. Being trained in the field of historiography and Enlightenment era ethics, philosophy, and history - the one thing people seem to forget about the "modern" historians is that they were all blinded by the bias prejudice of everything "Rational" and Western and looked upon all other cultures and histories as primitive and pathetic (I myself contend that all history is subjective, you will never find any work of objectivity, even if one claims it). Yet, the historian has so much power - as evidenced by the fact that much Enlightenment theory of the East (The Byzantines, the Orthodox Church, and Islam) has had so much staying power and it has only been the past two or so decades many of their assertions have been challenged - to a mixed reaction.

Granted that Gibbon's work serves as the inspiration for mine, I can assure you that I will not take the same tone that he has. However, it's still a classic! Nice to see that someone else read it, and did not like it (I disliked it immensely the first time, but as I reread it - it grew on me, not his manner of conclusions, but his prose and selection of reference material)!

I think I will follow this.
Thanks for joining the ride! Somewhat sorry for throwing your comment in the my prior response sheet though - I did not feel it right to bypass your comment, but also did like the idea of having a single post response...call me weird, that's ok! :)


Note: I should have another post, introduction of course (sigh), probably later tonight or tomorrow - I guess we'll see. I think perhaps 4-5 introductory posts will bring us to the start of the game - so expect more actual history! P.S. In-game it's 1457, so fear not, we survived the historic fall of the empire by 4 years so far! :cool:
 
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Forster

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I think I will follow this.
 

volksmarschall

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Introduction: The Palaiologoi Restoration and Renaissance, Part 1, 1205-1261 AD

The Empire in Exile and the Palaiologoi Restoration

The new situation of the Romans was compressed by the establishment of the Latin Empire of Romania, hereafter I shall refer to them as the Latin Empire. The Roman nobility who fled to Asia Minor expected the Latin Army to follow for the final blow against the heirs of Caesar – this invasion never happened, as mentioned earlier. It did not happen for several reasons. First, the Latins were exhausted, and after their conquest of Constantinople, many returned to their homes (this was true mostly of the Venetians who carried away some of the great trophies of victory like the Romans had done when they sacked Jerusalem in 70AD). The Horses of Saint Mark, gold, marble pillars, and a few precious pieces of paper that would help spark the renaissance, were all carried away as the ultimate humiliation of the so-called Roman Empire in the eyes of Latins. Second, the Latins that remained did not have a fleet to cross the Bosphorus Straights. The Venetians had most of the ships, and with their departure, the Latins were stuck on the wrong side of Greece. Third, the Bulgarians took the opportunity to try and expand their lands at the expense of the newly declared Latin Empire, therefore Latin soldiers were sent to deal with this more immediate threat to the north, which they did so rather poorly. Fourth, the emperor Baldwin I died one year into his reign, bringing forth confusion as to who would replace him as emperor and political turmoil that prevented any hopes the Latins may have had in pursuing the Romans into Asia Minor. Effectually, the Latin Empire had lost any power it may have had after their conquest of the city.

In the meantime, the Romans repositioned themselves for an eventual re-conquest of Constantinople. News of the defeat and capture of the Emperor Baldwin I after the disaster of Adrianople, where nearly all the Latin soldiers, princes, and knights were either killed or captured by the Bulgarians, hastened the situation for the Roman princes in Nicaea. However, situations were complicated when the Komnenian-Doukas army of Epirus, which posed more a threat than the Laskaris and Palaiologos armies forming in Nicaea, was brutally defeated by the Bulgarians at Klokotnitsa in the year 1230 AD. With the Despotate of Epirus shattered, and Theodore Komnenos-Doukas captured, one of the principal pretenders to the throne of Constantine had lost all legitimacy in such humiliation. Indeed, the titular emperor was lucky to be alive, for he was one of the few survivors. Rumor had it that he hid beneath the bodies of the slain court, for the Epirote court was present at the battle also, confident of victory – when the battle turned against them, none saw mercy. With the rest of the Komnenos family in Trebizond, the hope of Roman restoration in the Greek lands fell to the “Empire of Nicaea,” which still called itself the Empire of the Romans, with a new power base – this time in Asia Minor.


A contemporary painting of a battle between Bulgars and Crusaders (Latins), presumably the Battle of Adrianople, 1205 AD.

The Emperor John III, aware of the new developments, pushed for an alliance with the Bulgarians so as to aid them in retaking the city where the legacies of Caesar and Augustus presumably remained. In the same year of the formation of the alliance, Roman influence returned to Epirus and Thessalonika, and a Roman army, aided by the Bulgarians, laid siege to the city of Constantinople. Ironically, the walls of Theodosius, which formerly kept the Romans safe, were now being used against them. The Romans had a taste of their own medicine that had kept the Mohammedans and various pagan steppe tribes at bay for 500 years. The siege ended after two years, concluded by a status-quo truce – the Latins remained in the city, and the Roman army returned to Nicaea to regroup, and the alliance with the Bulgarians was shredded.

To make matters worse, the Mongols had invaded Anatolia. The Romans feared that they would come upon them within a few years. In a brilliant stroke of luck however, the Mongols stopped short of Nicaea, and the Mohammedan threat was eliminated – albeit temporarily (that is the threat posed by the Turkic Rum). John then embarked on renewing diplomatic marriages across Europe. He married the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. Various other nobles around the empire married off to the European princes and princesses as well. It should be noted however, had the Roman Army in Nicaea marched against the Mohammedans, it would have been highly likely that the Mohammedans would have had to pay tribute and be subjugated servants of the Romans, but for whatever reason, no move was made against them. With their weight recovered, the emperor returned to Thrace and began to seize Latin and Bulgarian lands in preparation for their eventual re-conquest of Constantinople. Unfortunately, Emperor John died before this could happen. In domestic affairs, he is remembered as a man of justice and charity, having provided extensive welfare programs to help the underclasses, which included giving away most of his personal wealth. As a result, he was made a saint in the Greek Church within a century of his death.

John III was succeeded by his only son, Theodore, who became Theodore II. His father’s exploitation of the Bulgarians was not easily forgotten, so after the news of his coronation reached the Bulgarians, they quickly marched to gain back much of the land that they had lost to John. Theodore reacted swiftly, gathered his forces, and scored a decisive defeat against the Bulgars and quickly concluded a favorable peace. This was terrible news for the Latin Empire, for the Roman army was now situated in Europe, and they were posed to score a major victory against them when they decided to besiege the city.

Theodore continued to expand and bring under his dominion the former territories lost during the sack of Constantinople. Also, unlike the mediocre emperors and princes that had come before him (and mediocre is a very kind word on my part) – he favored the middle-class over the aristocracy. Many policies enacted benefitted the merchants, tax collectors, smaller land owners, and other otherwise insignificant persons who yet had a decent proportion of the empire’s accumulated wealth. This sparked the beginning of what is known as the Palaiologoi renaissance, which is a bad name since it truly started with the Laskaris Dynasty, in the sense that the newfound wealth of the scholarly and middle-classes would be put to effective use in the arts and literature after the Emperor Michael VIII, who was the founding emperor of the Palaiologos Dynasty, recaptured the city, and returned the empire of the Romans to some credibility as a moderate regional power in Southern Europe and to a lesser extent Asia Minor.

So it seems appropriate that we now move to the man who would restore Roman rule to the last proper Roman city in the world – even though by this time the language and customs of the Romans had been long forgotten, and the traditions of the Romans appeared more Greek than they did during the days of Trajan. Michael had brilliantly made a secret alliance with the Genoese to help him claim the Roman throne for himself, with the help of Italian mercenaries, Michael eliminated John IV, who succeeded Theodore II, as emperor.

The Palaiologos family, like the Angelos family, was a military family of the upper nobility which had been granted the title, Great Domestic, the titles used by the leading military generals of the Roman armies since the eleventh century. By 1261 AD, Michael had moved the Roman army into position outside of the walls of Constantinople and laid siege to the city. The year earlier, the Romans had failed to defeat the Latins, but the emperor’s trusted friend, advisor, and general, Alexios Strategopoulos, devised a cunning plan. He removed his armies from sight of the Latins, who also had to worry about the Bulgarians to the north. Alexios hid his men in a nearby church outside of the walls of the city, and when the Latins went out to conduct raids to protect the city (having made the assumption that by fending off the Romans the year prior, and the disappearance of Alexios’ small besieging force), the Latins literally handed over the keys to the city over to the Romans. He sent forth a small group of Cuman soldiers through a secret passage near the Seymbria Gate, and entered the city and took the few guards that remained by surprise. Slaughtering them, his men opened the gate and allowed for the rest of his men, which were no more than 1000 men, into the city. A few Roman soldiers recanted, “It was like the Siege of Troy.”


A manuscript of the siege of Constantinople, whereby the Romans recaptured the city of Constantine and re-established some political hegemony in the Southern Balkans.​

Upon hearing the news, and with the Latin army outside the city and not in position to return to the city, the Latin Emperor Baldwin II, as well as the Latin court, fled to the Golden Horn to escape the city. Thankfully, an escort of Venetian ships arrived just as the city was falling – which allowed for Baldwin and the Latin nobility to escape, but they were in no position to hold the city. Constantinople had been recaptured by the Romans through what some might call a miracle, but what most respectable gentlemen would clearly see as luck. Michael VIII was hailed as great liberator, and when he entered the city, he did so in the same ways of the Roman conquerors of world past – Parousia, or Victorious Triumph, an ancient Roman and Greek tradition where the victorious king would enter his city and be hailed as a conquering divine (it is in the same manner that the Christian doctrine of the Second Coming is formulated, in fact, the “return of the Lord” in Greek is called Parousia). He took the opportunity to cement his legacy and legitimacy as emperor; he was crowned by the Patriarch at the Hagia Sophia, imprisoned John IV to remove him of his claims as emperor, and had ridden into the city manner as Jesus of Nazareth had done when he rode into Jerusalem. The restoration of the empire was complete, in the sense that the mission to retake Constantinople had succeeded, and the Roman renaissance was about to begin, and it coincided with the decline of the Palaiologos Restoration after the death of Emperor Michael.


-----


Teaser and Note from Author: Just to keep all of you interested as we proceed through the introductory history leading us to the point of start that the Byzantines find themselves in the game, late 1444, I did find it appropriate - since I generally conduct my AARs with a stunning lack of screenshots (see again my first post as to why), that a nice image of where I have found myself so far in the game would be appropriate. Perhaps we should rename ourselves the Empire of the Black Sea or Georgia or something...

The planned first volume of this history shall detail how the empire reached this point in its lifespan.

 
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GreatUberGeek

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That actually makes sense. I have also seen people go to Serbia and Bosnia as well, but that looks like it could be better. The Black Sheep are easy to take out, and Candar is weak as well. Good luck. :)
 

TheLittlePrince

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Very interesting to see that you have lands along the Black Sea. So I will look to your explanations to how you managed to conquer Trebizond and part of Georgia.
 

Enewald

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Ah, I had to slow my post tempo a lot during the last two years.

Will you ever finish Presidents?
At least maybe post there, some old guard might not yet know of this new splendid AAR.

As for the update, the Mongol menace was probably not yet Muslim at this point?
Didn't they become Mohammedians later in the 13th century?
Wasn't there some diplomacy happening between Romans and Mongols?
 

volksmarschall

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That actually makes sense. I have also seen people go to Serbia and Bosnia as well, but that looks like it could be better. The Black Sheep are easy to take out, and Candar is weak as well. Good luck. :)
Well, since I handicapped myself without gamey-tactics, and granted it's a game - I really do not find it that impressive when you wait for the Ottoman AI to move into Anatolia or DoW an Anatolian minor, then DoW them and block them off. Granted also, the blocking of straights is accurate, and I will use that aspect if necessary - I really want to fight the Ottomans in Greece (even if 1/3 or a 1/2) of the Ottoman army is in Asia Minor. I already had to resist a great (gamey) opportunity to DoW them when they ventured off into a war with Poland and Lithuania to protect Crimea. Where's the fun it that? (I suppose a lot of people find it greatly enjoyable)

Very interesting to see that you have lands along the Black Sea. So I will look to your explanations to how you managed to conquer Trebizond and part of Georgia.
Last resort really. There was no where else to go, otherwise I'd be drawn into a conflict with much larger powers just to gain back a tiny island or something...

Ah, I had to slow my post tempo a lot during the last two years.

Will you ever finish Presidents?
At least maybe post there, some old guard might not yet know of this new splendid AAR.

As for the update, the Mongol menace was probably not yet Muslim at this point?
Didn't they become Mohammedians later in the 13th century?
Wasn't there some diplomacy happening between Romans and Mongols?
Well, seeing you have like 20,000 more posts than me, I'd say you're still upbeat! LOL! Hmmm...I doubt I will go back and finish my Presidents AAR, although it still is my favorite AAR; and I'm a bit disappointed with 20 years to go (ca. 20 or so more updates, perhaps another 3 or 4 months of writing and posting) I would have completed it and could have called it my magnum opus - so here's hoping that this AAR will become that! Tbh, I couldn't even remember what happened the last 20 years of that game - since I no longer have the original Vicky file on my current laptop.

I ran back into Nathan Median's Presidents AAR a week or so ago and dropped a post to say hello. I'm glad that you think this is already "splendid". :)

As for the Mongols and Islam, that's a far more complicated story as to when they may have converted. Franciscan missionaries (in French) write that Muslim Mosques existed in Mongolia when they visited on a mission (ca. 1200) so Islam had penetrated Mongolia no later than the late 12th Century. Also, I suspect the Mongols may have converted en masse during their Persian conquests. Genghis Khan reportedly did (but that is only one source from an otherwise sketchy Arab historian). Furthermore, since the Qur'an forbids Muslims from owning slaves who are also Mulsim, I take that position because I've never read a document saying the Mongols took the Persians (or other conquered Muslim territories) as slaves. But, I see your concern - because my sentence prose is rather poor seeing I give the impression that by Mohammedan I mean Mongol - by Mohammedan I meant the Seljuks, I will clear that up. Yes, there was some historic diplomacy between Rome and the Mongols, but not that much to mention in an introduction.
 
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