Index
  • Idhrendur

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    Welcome back to my megacampaign. It's been a while, I know. That's what happens when you demand perfection from the converter.

    New readers, welcome! This is part two of a megacampaign. In the first part, the Byzantine Empire rose to new glory. It reconquered the Mediterranean, mended the great schism, and reformed the Roman Empire. You can read of all that here.

    During this AAR, I welcome reader input. I'll try to leave some things obviously open, and will take any input people care to give. I do reserve the right to completely ignore others' input, however.

    Anyways, let's begin.

    CK2 Installments
    Konstantinos X, the Ill-Ruler
    - 1059-1085
    1. A New Beginning
    2. Internal Affairs
    3. A Sicilian Adventure
    4. The Sea of Galilee
    5. War, Wars, and Half a War
    6. The Ill-Ruler

    Konstantios III, the Saint - 1085-1112
    7. A Heathen Assault
    8. The Χριστιανός ρυπαρός υιοθεσία
    9. Prince of Egypt
    10. The Saint

    Konstantinos XI, the Peaceful - 1112-1163
    11. The Peaceful
    11a. Interlude: Religious Map

    Konstantinos XII, the Childless - 1163-1177
    12. The Egyptian Rebellion
    13. Childless and Bereft
    14. The Childless

    Makarios I, the Cruel - 1177-1189
    15. The Great Rebellion
    16. Castrato
    17. Ah, Venice!
    18. Losses
    19. The Cruel

    Konstantinos XIII, the Glorious - 1189-1260
    20. The War Regency
    21. The Glory of Battle
    22. De Jure
    22a. Interlude: Political Map
    23. The Donation of Constantine
    23a. Interlude: Updated Political Map
    24. The Glorious

    Niketas I, the Duke - 1260-1264
    25. Imperial Italian Irredentism
    26. The Great Rebellion
    27. The Duke

    Konstantinos XIV, the Great - 1279-1328
    28. Regaining the Throne
    29. River and Islands
    29a. Interlude: More Maps
    30. East and West
    31. The Great
    31a. Bonus Religious Map

    Konstantinos XV, the Cruel - 1328-1363
    32. The Sicilian War
    33. Civil Wars
    34. The Cruel

    Konstantinos XVI, the Wise - 1363-1408
    35. όχι πιο πέρα
    36. Thallasa Mas
    37. Gallia
    37a. Interlude: Strategy Request
    38. The First Timurid War
    39. The Second Timurid War
    40. The Wise

    The Empire in 1408
    41. The Eve of Change


    EU3 Installments
    Konstantios IV, The Reformer - 1408-1449
    42. The Reformer
    43. Europa 1408
    44. War in the East
    45. The Three Themas
    46. The Scottish Play
    47. War! What is it good for?
    48. The End of an Era

    Zoe I - 1455-1502
    48a. The World, 1450
    49. The Persian Plan
    50. Kings of Leon
    51. 1500 Update
    52. βασιλιάς είναι νεκρός…

    Konstantios XI, the Holy - 1502-1565
    53 . …ζήτω ο βασιλιάς!
    54. The 15 Year War, Part I
    55. The 15 Year War, Part II
    56. The Peace of Westphalia
    57. The New World
    58. A Minor War or Three
    59. 1550 Update
    60. The Holy

    Ioannes VII - 1565-1574
    Konstantinos XVIII, the Zealous - 1574-1637
    61. The Reign in Spain
    62. Solomon's Gold
    63. 1600 Update
    64. The Fall of the Papacy
    65. The Particularist Revolt
    66. The Zealous

    Demetrios I - 1637-1639
    Ioannes VIII - 1639-1650
    67. The War of Three Emperors
    68. Minor Wars

    Demetrios II - 1650-1658
    69. 1650 Update
    70. The War for Huron

    Theodoros I, the Sun Emperor - 1661-1669
    71. The Sun Emperor

    Konstantinos XIX - 1669-1726
    72. Expansion Resumes
    73. 1700 Update
    74. Gallia Falls, and More
    75. 'Murica

    Konstantios XII - 1726-1760
    76. To the Rhine
    77. The Epistle to the Empire
    78. 1750 Update
    79. War in Africa

    Alexander, Megas Alexandros - 1760-1820
    80. Alexander Goes to War
    81. Megas Alexandros

    Konstantios XIII - 1820-
    82. 1821 Update

    Vic2 Portion
     
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    42. The Reformer
  • Idhrendur

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    The Reformer

    This was Konstantios IV Doukas, Emperor of the Romans.

    42-1.png

    42-2.png


    He would be known to future generations as the reformer. On his ascension to the throne, he summoned the various dukes, counts, barons, and other assorted nobles to Constantinople. He proposed to them a radical restructuring of the Empire. The various rulers under the Emperor would be more akin to the military governors of old. They would still rule their lands, but only the Emperor would reign. All diplomacy with other lands would be done by the Emperor, and only by the Emperor.

    42-3.png


    The governors would no longer supply levees to the Empire. Instead, they would ensure there were a sufficient number of recruits to the Scholai Palatinae from their territories. The more savvy of the nobles recognized that this was a perfect method of disposing of the more troublesome commoners in their lands.

    As well, the governors would no longer pay a percentage of their income as taxes. Their lands and people would be taxed, and the governors would do the collecting, but they would not be directly taxed. Again, the savvy nobles recognized that this could mean greater profits for them.

    Finally, agents of the Emperor were to be allowed access throughout the lands. These agents would be in charge of various projects to improve the infrastructure and such. Their initial projects would pacify the peoples and increase the stability of the realm.

    42-4.png


    The nobles were not entirely happy at these reforms. While their feudal burdens were eased, they did recognize the loss of privilege. While none were inclined to rebel, nearly all maintained the notion that they had the right to reign in their lands. But for now, the benefits of reform were worthwhile.

    During the various visits to Constantinople, Konstantios inquired of the various governors what course the Empire should take. Despite the Timurid threat to the east, most of them were eager to see the former French King humiliated further. They suggested that Britain should again be Roman. Or at least Mercia should, for now.

    42-5.png




    Konstantios also assessed the institutions of the Empire. The church already preached loyalty, constables in the major cities kept crime down (and tax incomes high), the army and navy had armories and docks, and markets had been established everywhere. As well, there were major universities in many cities (Constantinople, Thessaloniki, Varna, Adrianople, Kozani, Sevilla, Córdoba, Amastris, Mus, Dayr Az Zor, Van, Alexandria, and Tripoli). Finally, there were textile manufactories in Nicaea and Cherson. Truly the Empire was wealthy.

    42-6.png


    The control over the Mediterranean meant an increase in trade. Konstantios began commissioning merchants to trade for the profit of the Empire.

    42-7.png


    There were various provinces that still swore by the Pope. Konstantios sent missionaries to lead them to the truth.

    42-8.png


    The ships donated by the different governors were sent to Constantinople to be organized into fleets. It turned out most of the donations were cogs, suitable only for transporting troops.

    The Scholai Palatinae were moved about and shuffled into different units to avoid attrition in the east. They were split into provisional units of 11,000 horsemen, each in a different province. The armies in Constantinople were sent to the unwatched borders with the Timurids, except for 1000 men who would watch over the City of Man's Desire.



    Finally, Konstantios considered the ideas that would rule the Empire. He had the opportunity to adjust the nature of the government while all the governors visited.

    42-9.png


    And with his agents beginning to go throughout the land, there was the idea to instill an idea in the popular imagination.

    42-10.png




    In case that wasn't entirely clear, I'm looking for advice on my sliders and first NI.
    Also, where should I stick my national focus?
     
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    43. Europa 1408
  • Idhrendur

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    Europa 1408

    This was Iberia circa 1400. The Mediterranean coast and most of the Pyrennes were controlled by the Empire, but the rest was controlled by Leon. At this time, there was a rebellion by nobles who felt King Bosón Jimena's rule was too strict.
    43-1.png


    These were the British Isles. They were mostly ruled by Scotland and England, with a smattering of petty kingdoms ruled by members of the de Normandie family. Though England was ruled by Anglo-Saxons, it mostly ruled over Norwegians, remnants of the second Danelaw. Most of the Anglo-Saxons lived in the South and West, though many in the South-central regions now spoke a mongrel French/Saxon language.
    43-2.png

    43-3.png


    This was the Holy Roman Empire, the last great refuge of Catholicism. Emperor Meinhard II Salian, King of Mazovia and Silesia, had been forced to take great concessions by the members of the HRE more powerful than he, which was nearly every ruler. The Golden Bull of 1408 greatly changed the nature of the HRE. The rulers of the HRE who answered directly to the Emperor would be kings and queens in their own right. The five most prestigious (Tirol, Galich, Karelia, Volhynia, and Korsun) would be permanent electors of future Emperors. Where the Empire's reforms were a centralization of power in Constantinople, the HRE's reforms were a decentralization of power to it's outermost edges.
    43-4.png


    This was the remnants of the Golden Horde. They had once ruled from the Urals to Iceland, and even briefly to the Horn of Africa. But the Timurid invasion provoked a series of rebellions, and the steppe Empire had fractured. Only time would tell if they could reassemble themselves.
    43-5.png


    This was Abyssinia. Long an independent kingdom, it had been conquered by Muslim powers, who were themselves conquered by the Il-Khanate. After the Il-Khanate's inheritance by the Golden Horde, the Timurid invasion isolated the region, which broke into several minor kingdoms. At the turn of the 15th century, Gondar and Adal dominated the region.
    43-6.png


    These were the Timurids. Unlike the other Mongol hordes, they had yet to convert to Christianity and settle. They had conquered much of the Central Asian region once ruled by the Il-Khanate. The Orthodox Christians of the land groaned under the oppression of their Shiite rulers, and many had converted to Islam in the false hope of relief.
    43-7.png


    And this was central Africa. Though there had once been trade between them and the north, but the routes had been lost. There were rumors of an Imperial expedition, and of a great Christian nation in Timbuktu, but the deserts were silent.
    43-8.png


    Thus was the known world in Anno Dominae 1408.
     
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    44. War in the East
  • Idhrendur

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    War in the East

    In addition to all the other changes, Konstantios instituted administrative reforms in the Imperial government. Officials would be appointed by their merits, and would have clearly delineated areas of responsibility. This would allow for better administration with less political infighting.

    44-1.png


    However, the initial crop of officials were all from territories directly controlled by Konstantios. This was not unnoticed by the other rulers.

    44-2.png


    Greagorios Monomakos raised 6000 men in revolt in the province of Judea, protesting this centralization of power. At the same time, the Timurids declared a new war.

    44-3.png

    44-4.png


    While the various nobles visited Constantinople to take part in the reforms, Konstantios was able to identify many who had the potential to be masterful advisers. He hired three: Matthaios Iagaris, a skilled artist who would make the various public works more beautiful, thus improving the stability of the Empire; Philemon Melissinos, a military officer who would help spread the best practices all over the Empire; and Thomas Psellos, a former overseer of peasants, who could identify ways of increasing the taxes.

    As the new agents of the Empire began their duties throughout the land, they were inclined to use old Greek names for the cities and territories. Over time, these names would become the ones used most frequently by the commoners.

    44-5.png


    With Konstantios taking a more direct role in trade, he put in place policies that gave advantages to Imperial traders in the Black Sea.

    44-6.png


    By October, the Scholai Palatinae had sufficiently reorganized from the military reforms. Two armies were dispatched to put down the Judean rebellion, while the rest moved into Timurid territory.

    44-7.png


    Meanwhile, Konstantios commissioned a tapestry to show the glory of the returned Empire. Many graduates of the University of Van were determined to take part in its creation. There were so many skilled graduates that Konstantios also commissioned an epic telling of the Empire's past glory and a series of paintings.

    44-8.png


    By 1409, the rebels had been defeated and nearly the entire Timurid border was besieged. Only then did small Timurid forces begin to appear. The battle of Azerbaijan demonstrated the superiority of Roman Cataphracts to Timurid archers and cavalry swarms.

    44-9.png


    Throughout the year, there were numerous Roman victories in Azerbaijan and Murgan, and a Timurid army was beaten and pursued from Al Jawf to east of the Persian Gulf. More and more territory fell under Imperial control.

    December of 1409 saw a Timurid push towards the center of the war front. Battles raged in Hamadan, Iraq-I-Arab, and Basra.

    44-10.png


    It was apparent that the Timurids would not easily give up. So Konstantios sent settlers to restore long-abandoned villages in Qarabagh and Shirvan, which had once been part of Imperial Armenia. Settlers were also sent to Alania. While not historically part of the Empire, the Caucasus Mountains made for a defensible border. More settlers were readied to travel to Murgan (the last Armenian province under Timurid control). They would travel as soon as the capital city was under Imperial control.

    44-11.png


    1410 saw the Timurid attack succeed. But they considered it a Pyrrhic victory. Even as the Scholai Palatinae retreated, the Timurid armies withdrew to recover.

    Meanwhile, the Empire had stabilized from Konstantios' reforms. Konstantios had his agents seek out all local advances in military equipment, training, tactics, and logistics. These advances were shared all over.

    44-12.png


    They were sorely needed. While the armies in the south held, the armies near Armenia and Persia began losing more battles. That the Timurids never pressed the advantage was scant comfort. And then in May, there was a disaster. Imperial armies in Gilan grew confused as they routed, and fled deeper into Timurid territory. By the time they realized their mistake, there was no hope of turning back before they reached Ajam. And one of the withdrawing Timurid armies was likewise marching for Ajam.

    44-13.png


    Before they could arrive, the Timurids decided that they had had enough, and sent a messenger to concede defeat. Konstantios had to decide: accept the surrender and save his men? Or refuse the surrender and finish resettling the Timurid provinces.

    44-14.png
     
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    45. The Three Themas
  • Idhrendur

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    The Three Themas

    Konstantios had been faced with a dilemma: he could accept a Timurid surrender and prevent a certain devastating loss of soldiers, or he could keep fighting and resettle some strategic Timurid provinces, bringing them into the Imperial fold.
    45-1.png


    Konstantios knew he needed the support of the military to hold the Empire together. As well, a time of peace could be put to use strengthening the Empire, while the Timurids' multitudinous wars would only cause them to weaken. On June 18, 1410, he accepted the surrender.

    With the end of the war, Konstantios had his agents focus on making the Empire more productive.
    45-2.png


    Meanwhile, the armies of the Empire were moved about, garrisoning the various regions. The most elite soldiers were sent to Constantinople, to join the more limited Scholai Palatinae. The other armies were renamed for the region they garrisoned.
    45-3.png


    During this peace, Heraklios Doukas, heir to the throne, decided to go hunting. The day passed and the dogs found no scent. As the sun was sinking in the west, they finally found a boar. In the deepening shadows, Heraklios missed the thrust with his boar spear, and before anyone could react, the boar had dealt him a fatal wound. That they killed the boar shortly thereafter was scant comfort.

    Konstantios did not seem to react when he touched his son's body and felt the chill of death. Whether it was fear of looking weak, the attempt to stay strong for the sake of the Empire, or something else that led him to not show his grief was unknown. The rumors were known: that he was cold, that he was uncaring, that he had preferred one of his other children to be his heir. He was not viewed quite the same thereafter.
    45-4.png


    Konstantios continued to build the cultural standing of Constantinople, recruiting artists from northern Italy. Their triptych honoring the life of Heraklios mollified the rumors surrounding his death a little.
    45-5.png


    By July of 1411, the armies of the Empire had finally recovered. Thema Ægyptus, Thema Africa, and Thema Gallia were positioned across from England. It was time to reclaim Mercia.
    45-6.png


    During the Eastern War, England had reconquered Oxford, and were at war to reclaim London, which would push the de Normandie family out of Britain.
    45-7.png


    As well, they had formed alliances with several other kingdoms. So the Empire faced a larger coalition in this war.

    45-8.png


    Soon enough, England had reclaimed London. The three Themas moved to attack the Anglo-Saxon army. The two battles of Kent completely shattered the English Royal Army. Scouts had seen the English Third Army in Oxford, so the three Themas sought it out. It was crushed in the battles of Oxfordshire and Wessex. The three Themas began besieging the whole of England.
    45-9.png


    Meanwhile, Thema Croatia hounded the Hungarian army until it was completely surrendered. Thema Dacia joined them to break the Danish siege of Moravia. But a Danish force sought them out instead.
    45-10.png


    The Empire won the resulting battle, but Danish reinforcements prevented the pursuit that would have been preferred. When the Danish armies marched to the west, the Themas again moved to break the siege of Moravia.

    Hungary was the first coalition member to ask for peace. Konstantios had no reason to refuse.
    45-11.png


    In Krain, Austrian nationalists fought the Danish besiegers.

    In Moravia, the Themas smashed the Danish besiegers. They moved to lift the siege of Sudety.
    45-12.png


    That was swiftly done, and they moved to drive back Danish excursions in Austria and Lombardia.

    In August 1412, Lyon was forced to surrender. They agreed to break their alliances, and their leaders would follow the Bishop of Aquitaine rather than the Pope.
    45-13.png


    England resisted until July 1413, when they finally acquiesced and released most of English Mercia to the Empire.
    45-14.png


    That accomplished, Konstantios accepted the offer of peace from Denmark.
    45-15.png


    Two other events of significance took place during the war:
    A settlement on Madeira found that sugar cane grew well there.
    45-16.png


    Konstantios sired a new heir on his wife.
    45-17.png
     
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    46. The Scottish Play
  • Idhrendur

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    The Scottish Play

    The Empire had a goal: to reclaim Mercia. The war with England had brought half of it into the imperial fold. Of the remaining three provinces, Scotland held two and England held one.
    46-1.png

    While the Themas reorganized in the wake of the victory over England, adventurous groups sought to reestablish a hold on the trade routes to central Africa. They left to form a settlement in Tuat.

    After the war with the Empire, England was devastated. Its armies had been completely smashed, its fleets sunk, and the garrisons in it's forts disheartened. Scotland had recognized the opportunity and declared war.
    46-2.png

    Emperor Konstantios IV, lacking the diplomatic skills to recognize that a Scottish victory that took Lincoln could save the Empire a war (and a full truce) in recovering Mercia, declared war on Scotland when the Themas were back in position in November 1413.
    46-3.png

    Gondar backed Scotland in the war. Thema Levant moved to punish them for this choice. Meanwhile Themas Ægyptus, Africa and Thrakes struck from imperial Mercia to besiege southern Scotland.
    46-4.png

    This plan was interrupted by the arrival of a Scottish army in Lancashire and a second Scottish army in Yorkshire.
    46-5.png

    When the first Scottish army attacked Thema Ægyptus in Marches, Thema Africa moved to support them. Thema Thrakes was forced to hold by themselves in Derby. The Themas won both battles, but were weakened enough that pursuing the retreating Scots would have been foolish.
    46-6.png

    Indeed, as soon as their retreat was completed, the Scottish armies sought battle again. Again the Themas won. This time, they pursued the isolated Scottish force to Marches, where it was completely scattered.
    46-7.png

    When the other Scottish army put Oxfordshire to siege, the Themas went on the attack. There mere march of them convinced the Scottish army to siege London instead. So the Themas again sought to besiege southern Scotland. Themas Aragón, Andalucía, and Croatia joined the assault on south Scotland.
    46-8.png

    Scotland eventually signed a peace treaty with England so they could focus on the war with the Empire. They combined their forces into a host of 24,000 men and attacked Thema Africa in Marches. The other Themas sent detachments to help. The Themas won, but at incredible loss of life.
    46-9.png

    After a months of sieges, the Scottish again forced battle, this time in Gloucester. Again the Themas won, again at great cost. This time, however, they pursued the disheartened Scottish forces. And in Oxfordshire, they scattered them beyond hope of recovery.
    46-10.png

    In the midst of the Scottish war, the Timurids again attacked Roman lands. The Themas that were not yet fighting moved to the Levant. More settlers soon began moving to Qarabagh.
    Southern Scotland fully passed to Roman control, but the Scottish were not yet willing to surrender. The Themas began to besiege Ireland.
    46-11.png

    In due time, Gondar agreed to a harsh peace. Chief Iyâsû Solomonid of Ethiopia had developed a close relationship with the Empire. His brother had even married one of Konstantios' daughters. Konstantios thought it best that Ethiopians be ruled by Ethiopians, as they had been for recorded history. So when Gondar gave up control of Shoa, Konstantios planned to gave it to Ethiopia.
    46-12.png

    With no more allies, Scotland was amenable to peace.
    46-13.png
     
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    47. War! What is it good for?
  • Idhrendur

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    I'm a day late, but there have been no comments on the last two posts, so I'm guessing no-one minds.



    War! What is it good for?

    The Empire had won its war against Scotland. Lincoln was the only province in Mercia under any others' control.

    47-1.png

    There was a peace treaty with England until 1423, so Konstantios focused on the East. The Timurids had attacked again, but were far weaker this time. Nearly all their northern territory was occupied; Sanaa and Qara Koyunlu had declared independence.

    47-2.png

    And large swathes of land were controlled by rebels seeking independence.

    47-3.png

    The Themas did their best to leave the rebels be. 'The enemy of our enemy is our friend' they would say. So they began to occupy northern Mesopotamia and western Persia. The villages of Qarabagh were soon settled with Imperial citizens, and the Empire began to administrate the province. More settlers sought homes in the hills of Azerbaijan. And once that was settled, in western Persia. Hamadan, Luristan, and Khuzestan soon were Imperial provinces.

    A disease sweeping through the court killed the seven year old Konstantios. Again the Empire was bereft of an heir. In Shoa, a temple was built in his honor.

    47-4.png

    And soon, yet another Konstantios was born.

    Qara Koyunlu could not resist attacking the Empire. They were swiftly overrun.

    47-5.png

    During this time, relationships grew warm between Ethiopia and the Empire. Chief Iyâsû even swore an oath of vassalage to Emperor Konstantios. Konstantios in turn sent advisers to Massawa to teach Iyâsû how better to govern. When Ethiopia had recovered from the changes, a second set of advisers was sent. And then a third. Ethiopia became the most rapidly-advancing nation south of the Sahara.

    47-6.png

    The time of truce between the Empire and England had long passed. Nearly all Timurid land was under Imperial military control, and the Themas had been moved back into position. Konstanios declared a new war against England. Scotland, Denmark, and a host of others joined the defense of England.

    47-7.png

    Shortly thereafter, Léon took advantage of the distracted Empire and declared war over Andalucía. Konstantios decided to pursue the war against England and its coalition first. But Léon had built a fleet of large ships, and prevented the Imperial fleets from leaving the Mediterranean. The fleets dropped off the Themas in Occitania, and the Themas marched to war.

    47-8.png

    By July of 1427, Denmark had realized there was nothing for them to gain from the war. Hungary, having just lost an ally, agreed to peace as well.

    47-9.png

    While the wars went surprisingly well, an ill-advised attack on Léonese forces led to an Imperial defeat. Thema Ægyptus and Thema Occitania were split from each other. The Léonese army pursued Thema Occitania, and before any help could come, massacred them all at Alicante.

    47-10.png

    And yet the wars continued. Konstantios used the continuing wars as an excuse to increase the power of his agents throughout the Empire. This led to some amount of confusion and uncertainty, and the agents proved their worth by quickly resolving this uncertainty.

    47-11.png

    It was not until February 1429 that Crimea surrendered. But that was two more Themas that could join the other wars.

    47-12.png

    Unfortunately, even the new Imperial fleet could not break past the Léonese ships by force.

    47-13.png

    Subterfuge, careful sailing at night, and a few naval races did see two more Themas delivered to Britannia.

    47-14.png

    The war in Iberia had long been won before a peace was signed. Konstantios was determined to punish all those who had attacked the Empire. Léon was forced to release Badajoz and Toledo as buffer states and their treasury was looted.

    47-15.png

    When the Empire made peace with England, not only was the last Mercian province finally taken from them, they were diplomatically isolated as much as possible.

    47-16.png

    Scotland was forced to give up much of their overseas territory, abandon any claims in Imperial Brittainia, and to be diplomatically isolated.

    47-17.png

    The nobles who had urged the conquest of Merica found many of their second sons made part of the Imperial bureaucracy in Mercia. Other nobles noted this, and urged the reconquest of Helvetia.

    47-18.png
     
    Last edited:
    48. The End of an Era
  • Idhrendur

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    The End of an Era

    By January 1433, Konstantios was ready for a campaign in the Alps. He began by declaring war on Upper Burgundy for Schwyz. The usual assortment joined in defense.

    48-1.png

    The Empire fought in Wales, in the Netherlands, in Smolensk, and in the Alps. Denmark's alpine provinces were captured, and Konstantios took advantage of the opportunity to take control of the ones in Helvetia.

    48-2.png

    As other belligerents fell, the Swiss in Zurich revolted from Austria, forming an independent duchy. Konstantios was pleased to have an easier war ahead.

    48-3.png

    In March of 1436, the fortress of Schwyz fell after a long and bitter three year siege. Upper Burgundy had long been clamoring for peace, and now it was given them.

    48-4.png

    With nothing more to fight for in this war, Konstantios made peace with Smolensk, in such a way that the Pope would be further weakened.

    48-5.png

    By October, he was again prepared for war.

    48-6.png

    The constant wars had not allowed Konstantios to focus on ruling the Empire. The aristocrats took advantage of the opportunity to ensure that family influence was important for securing a position in the growing Imperial Bureaucracy.

    48-7.png

    The war was initially fought in northern Italy and in Croatia. But the Themas swept away all attackers. Bavaria inexplicably offered a white peace before they saw much action. Denmark soon followed suit. And while Hungary did not offer a peace, they accepted one.

    In August, Konstantios finally held a coming of age party for his son. The party was the talk of Christendom, all other courts emulating the clothing, the dances, the foods in the feast.

    48-8.png

    During the party, Konstantios declared that he would give Moravia a gentle peace. Surely they did not consider it gentle, but they remained independent. Of course, it was not Konstantios being magnanimous, but him recognizing that his reputation was becoming quite dark. Annexing Moravia was sure to stir up too much trouble.

    48-9.png

    Schwyz was not so fortunate. It was a vassal of Bavaria, and Konstantios knew it would be a great deal of trouble to start a new war with a better casus belli.

    48-10.png

    In February 1438, Bern fell to Thema Lombardia, and Nürnburg was annexed.

    48-11.png

    Konstantios forced a few minor states to convert to orthodox Christianity before he accepted a peace from Greater Poland. The war was finished.

    In 1440, there had been enough graduates from Imperial universities that Konstantios could start establishing secular courthouses throughout the Empire. Control of legal matters could be slowly wrested away from the church and local nobles.

    48-13.png

    While Konstantios prepared for the next war, Prince Konstantios went hunting. Though he was an expert horseman, he was found beside his horse, his neck broken. Again, the heir to the Empire had died before his time.*

    48-12.png

    Konstantios suffered a deep grief at the loss of a third son. When he recovered, he was a much more cynical man, brimming with anger. He took this anger out on Tirol.

    48-14.png

    When St Gallen fell, Tirol was quick to surrender. But knowing there was a long truce with Moravia, Konstantios purposefully drug out the war, so to force many lesser states to stop worshiping the Pope.

    While Konstantios took out his rage on those who would dare defend Tirol, his brother was able to convince the court to name a niece as heir. This was not ideal, but did ensure a Doukas would remain on the throne.

    When the truce with Moravia was passed, Konstantios again attacked. Moravia was soon overcome, though the nations that came to its defense fought for much longer.

    48-15.png

    The brighter of the noble families saw the opportunity in becoming Imperial administrators. They pushed for the institution of Imperial administration in Timurid lands.

    48-16.png

    Meanwhile Konstantios felt that he had accomplished enough for one life. When he went to sleep, he never woke back up.



    *He was 9 7 6. Argh!
     
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    48a. The World, 1450
  • Idhrendur

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    The World, 1450

    This was the known world shortly after the death of Konstantios IV.
    48a-1.png


    These were the lands held by the Empire and its vassal state Ethiopia.
    48a-2.png


    This was Iberia. León and Toledo were in a truce, but Castillian rebels on the Azores were warring for their freedom.
    48a-3.png


    Britannia was divided between the Empire, England, and Scotland.
    48a-4.png


    The Holy Roman Empire ruled central Europe
    48a-5.png


    but was still a very decentralized empire
    48a-6.png


    dominated by Denmark in the north and Bavaria in the south.
    48a-7.png


    The partial withdrawal of the Golden Horde from Scandinavia had allowed Norway to grow stronger, but there was no real organization to the Baltic region.
    48a-8.png


    The Golden Horde dominated north-eastern Europe, but there were several powerful nations between them and the HRE.
    48a-9.png


    The Empire had taken most of Persia from the Timurids, and had made contact with other Central Asian nations to the East.
    48a-10.png


    The Empire had also come to dominate Arabia, though there were a few newly independent states, and the Golden Horde still had a strong foothold.
    48a-11.png


    Eastern Africa was divided between Gondar and Adal, but Ethiopia was an Imperial vassal, and was holding out well.
    48a-12.png


    These were the religions of the known world.
    48a-13.png


    The cultures of the known world. Note the spread of Greek and Tartar cultures, as well as the strange mix of cultures in Britannia.
    48a-14.png


    Some internal statistics of the Empire.
    48a-15.png


    And the friendly diplomatic relationships of the Empire.
    48a-16.png
     
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    49. The Persian Plan
  • Idhrendur

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    The Persian Plan

    The wars for Helvetia had been won, and the Timurid lands were quickly being pacified. Konstantios finally felt he could lay down his crown. He died in his sleep, 103 years old. The succession passed to his nine year old niece, Zoe. While the court scrambled to put together a regency council, a distant cousin in Rouergue proclaimed himself the rightful Emperor. He even raised 4,000 troops for his rebellion, which was swiftly put down.
    49-1.png
    49-2.png


    A female Empress, while not unprecedented, was seen as uncommon. The legitimacy of Zoe's rule was questioned by many. Manuel Rhagabe was brought on to the council of regents to address this issue. He began marrying less members of the Doukas family to other royal families to ensure their would be another heir. He spread rumors and tales of Zoe's life. Not all of them were true. Perhaps not even many of them were true. But the result was a steadily growing acceptance of the new Empress.
    49-3.png


    Meanwhile, Philemon Melissinos took advantage of his greatly increased authority. He had seen that waves of noble horsemen could not forever win on the battlefields of Europe, and so he began the greatest reforms of the military since Gaius Marius.
    49-4.png


    First, he insisted that the various dux would drill the men that they recruited for the Imperial armies. They would not just be given a spear and sent to war.
    49-5.png


    Second, the infantrymen would train with longbows in addition to the usual pikes. This would allow infantry formations to weaken enemy formations before breaking their spirit in melee.
    49-6.png


    Thirdly, he began a massive recruitment of infantry to add to the all-cavalry armies.

    Finally, he named the armies in the only appropriate way for the Empire.
    49-7.png


    Once this was complete, he retired from the regency council, dieing shortly thereafter.

    In late 1455, Zoe began ruling the Empire herself. She was skillful enough as a ruler, but was not exceptional in her abilities. She continued sending loyal nobles to begin administrating Timurid lands.
    49-8.png


    And when her cousin Michael was born, she took such a liking to him that she named him heir, even though he was from a distant branch of the family. Her habit of taking him to meetings of various dignitaries would have been normal, advisable even (how else would a future ruler learn? she would always insist), if not for the fact that he was still an infant. Her more trusted advisers were able to convince her to wait until he was older, but not before there had been some diplomatic incidents.
    49-9.png


    In July of 1467, all of the Timurid lands had been placed under Imperial control. But they were underdeveloped, suffered from near-constant rebellion, and bordered Muslim nations to the East. While the Empire's view on Islam now seems xenophobic and strange, at the time it was a very real issue. The most successful invasions of the Empire had been by Muslim empires. To blame it on the religion is now properly recognized as foolish, but in the 15th century, religion was one of the main sources of decision making in the Empire. The Persian question was thus very real. So Zoe elevated a priest in the Has Monastery* to rulership over the province of Azerbaijan. While Metropolitan Ibn'La-Ahad was not allowed an independent foreign policy, he was given full control to rule in Azerbaijan. And as rapidly as she could, Zoe began giving him more provinces in the Persian region.
    49-10.png


    Meanwhile, noble families were frustrated in their efforts to find more Imperial appointments for their sons. Some used trickery and guile to replace every non-Greek official that they could in Britannia.
    49-11.png


    Others clamored for Zoe to reclaim the Castillian region for the Empire.

    The Leonese war was a swift victory.
    49-12.png


    And the Toledo decision to attack Leon, while a distraction that sped the war against them, proved to be their saving grace against immediate annexation.

    The increasing stability of Persia allowed trade to flow along the old silk road. Imperial citizens developed cravings for spices. The merchants of the Empire pushed for a sea route to India to be discovered.
    49-13.png


    When Michael died on his first hunting trip, Zoe was overwhelmed with grief.
    49-14.png


    But her (matrilinear) marriage with King Totse of Kiev eventually produced an heir of her own body, little baby Konstantinos.

    * Actually the Hashshashin, but the localization glitched, and I only noticed it later.
     
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    50. Kings of Leon
  • Idhrendur

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    The Empire declared war on Toledo as soon as their truce ended. A few other nations came to their defense. Notably, León did. But it was no enough to save Toledo, which was annexed. The same nobles that gained appointments in newly Imperial Toledo insisted that the region of León be brought under Imperial control.
    50-1.png


    Many of the families that had not been pushing for new Imperial appointments for their sons began to recognize that by not becoming agents of the Empress, their power had been curtailed, and that this trend was likely to continue. They privately wondered if the more major appointments that many of them held might eventually cease to be hereditary. They began asserting their local powers again, resisting the work of the lesser agents (who answered directly to the Imperial government). But some money flowing through the hands of Zoe's more covert agents uncovered enough embarrassing secrets that these families were brought in line.

    The war against León was quickly won. But the region of León was too large and rich to be seized in one war. So a few provinces went to the Empire, and Badajoz became independent.
    50-2.png


    Not surprisingly, Zoe promptly declared war on Badajoz. What was surprising was that León came to their defense. It was not much of a defense, and León was forced to both give up their claims to rule much of Iberia and to release Beja and Castillo Branco as sovereign states.
    50-3.png


    After that peace, Badajoz was completely absorbed.
    50-4.png


    The nobles of the Empire looked north again, to Northumberland.

    But Zoe delayed any action. Her reputation was bad from the Iberian wars, and not getting any better thanks to the Greek nobles' work to supplant locals in Britannia. However, Bavaria soon made a legal case that since the Empire had not sought to force their claim to rule several provinces, that the Empire had in fact abandoned that claim. It was nonsense, of course, but the kind of nonsense that would make ruling those provinces later troublesome. And in the immediate, Zoe suffered a tremendous loss of prestige. She needed something to restore the people's faith in her, and only a victorious war could suffice in the near-term.
    50-5.png


    And then the nobles complained about commoners being giving military commissions. Zoe needed the legions strong, so she refused to forbid the occasional practice of meritorious promotions, and the nobles again worked to resist her rule. Other nobles took to fighting amongst themselves. Fortunately, a gift from the state was able to buy peace between them. The discovery that Imperial agents were taking inordinate bribes didn't help the stability of the Empire, either.
    50-6.png


    But the victory against Scotland did help her prestige.
    50-7.png


    As did the war against England, where the Legions proved the usefulness of their new pike square tactics.
    50-8.png

    50-9.png


    When Zoe restricted the privileges of the nobles yet further, Bartholomaios Melisurgos, an insane noble who claimed to be the rightful Emperor rebelled in Suakin. His insanity was demonstrated by the fact that he rebelled in a province where XVII. Legio was garrisoned.
    50-10.png


    With the acquisition of Northumbria, Zoe listened to request from her nobles again. After all, nobles who felt they had a say in the government were not so inclined to revolt. A faction of Iberian nobles claimed a navigator in their employ had proved there was a western route to India. As this would benefit the western Empire if discovered, Zoe agreed to send an explorer at the first opportunity.
    50-11.png


    But when Konstantinos died while on a Tuna fishing expedition, Zoe became wary of sending more people over the sea. Konstantinos' son, Konstantios, was soon after declared heir.
    50-12.png


    And in 1499, Zoe declared a series of wars to reclaim several Imperial provinces, before their current owners could claim they did not belong to the Empire.
    50-13.png
     
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    51. 1500 Update
  • Idhrendur

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    1500 Update

    By 1500, the Empire had reclaimed most of its territory in Britannia.

    51-1.png


    The Western Mediterranean was fully in the Empire's control, and Iberia was nearly fully reclaimed.

    51-2.png


    Persia and Arabia were stabilized and under the Empire's control.

    51-3.png


    The Holy Roman Empire control central Europe, plus a few far flung provinces.

    51-4.png


    It was internally chaotic, as always.

    51-5.png


    Scandinavia was a mass of petty states, with the Golden Horde still attempting to hold on to a little of it.

    51-6.png


    The Golden Horde controlled much of northeastern Europe.

    51-7.png


    The Empire had begun stabilizing the steppes to the east.

    51-8.png


    Imperial traders had discovered much of the Indian Ocean, as well as the coast of eastern Africa.

    51-9.png


    Greeks dominated the Empire, though the were a few other cultures. And a few peoples still followed the Pope.

    51-10.png


    Imperial traders completely controlled trade within the Empire, but had little influence outside it.

    51-11.png


    Imperial diplomats did much to secure the Empire's borders.

    51-12.png


    This was the world in 1500.

    51-13.png


    This was that portion of the world controlled by the Empire.

    51-14.png
     
    Last edited:
    52. βασιλιάς είναι νεκρός…
  • Idhrendur

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    βασιλιάς είναι νεκρός…

    Empress Zoe II had declared war on several nations to reclaim Imperial provinces. The allies of the attacked nations joined in, creating a very large series of simultaneous wars.
    52-1.png
    52-2.png
    52-3.png


    However, the Empire's many allies joined in, and most of the opponents were small. The only large foes were Bavaria and Lesser Poland. Minor nations were easily convinced to stop fighting, and then Lesser Poland decided it wasn't worth fighting.
    52-4.png


    The wars had been certain, but now they became, if not trivial, at least easy.

    January 1500 saw Upper Burgundy agree to Imperial terms.
    52-5.png


    March saw Champagne annexed.
    52-6.png


    Luxembourg had attempted to protect them. On failing, they agreed to Imperial terms for peace.
    52-7.png


    That left Bavaria.
    52-8.png


    Being the Emperor of the Germans, Bavaria was able to bring a great many men to the field of battle. But Zoe's generals were able to consistently force battle on their terms, and the Bavarians invariably lost. Still, Zoe held out for a strong peace treaty. However, IX. Legio was beaten back from Trent by a large Bavarian army. When most of that army pursued the Legion, Zoe realized she faced the same decision that Konstantios IV had faced. Sacrifice her men for a stronger victory, or accept a weaker victory to save her men? She chose as her predecessor did, and accepted a weaker peace.
    52-9.png


    And then on July 18, 1502, Zoe II died at the comfortable age of 62. While not considered the most ideal successor to the Reformer (Konstantios IV), she had strengthened both the Empire and the position of Empress. Ο βασιλιάς είναι νεκρός…
    52-10.png
     
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    53 . …ζήτω ο βασιλιάς!
  • Idhrendur

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    …ζήτω ο βασιλιάς!

    Konstantios was the grandson of Empress Zoe II. He inherited the Empire when he was almost six, just a month away, okay, fine he was five years old. He was a very smart and skilled emperor, everyone said so. And he had a regency council who made sure all his subjects loved him!

    53-1.png


    It was great being Emperor. He got to play anywhere he wanted in the Great Palace. And he had tutors who taught him all kinds of interesting things. And his armsmasters were teaching him how to fight now that he was the Emperor. It was the best time, even if he missed Lialia Zoe sometimes.

    Dionysos Tornikes, Matthaios Manmakos, and Thomas Rhodocanakis governed the Empire for Konstantios. They did their best to control dissent. In fact, Thomas' last act of governance before his death was to uphold the fishing rights of Imperial citizens in lake Balaton.

    53-2.png


    Iason Phrangopoulos was brought onto the regency council. He spent his time telling tales of the Emperor's abilities and love for his people. Under his touch, the Empire became comfortable with the idea of a boy-Emperor who had yet to be publicly seen.

    53-3.png


    Konstantios was confused. The people in Holland agreed that the Pope was bad. That was good! But they were still bad Christians somehow? He wasn't at all clear on what the differences in faiths were.

    And the people in Cumbria were also bad? But weren't Imperial missionaries telling them why the Pope was a bad man? Why were they bad when they agreed that the Pope was a bad man?


    53-4.png


    The expanding Imperial Bureaucracy needed more and more workers. 70 years previously, the nobles of the Empire had taken advantage of the Emperor's sickness to pass a law requiring a noble title to study at the more prestigious of the Imperial universities. This limited the number of bureaucrats.

    Meanwhile, many noble families had not handled the changes of the past century well. Many had been turned to beggars. Other families had died out entirely. A great many titles were left unheld by anyone. The regency council solved two problems at once by selling these titles to those who could afford them.

    53-5.png


    However, the new nobles found that the lack of family connections among the nobility made things difficult. Their wealth could still work wonders, as the older nobles needed them. But it made for a great deal of strife.

    53-6.png


    On August 12, 1511, Konstantios XI formally assumed power.

    53-7.png


    He immediately named his brother heir.

    53-8.png


    Konstantios' boyhood confusion regarding the protestants had led to intense religious study, a study that turned Konstantios hard. He proclaimed that heretics could expect only war from the Empire.

    53-9.png


    He soon put word to practice.

    53-10.png


    The Empire was at war with nearly the whole Catholic and Protestant world.
     
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    54. The 15 Year War, Part I
  • Idhrendur

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    The 15 Year War, Part I

    The Empire was at war with nearly all of the Catholic and Protestant world.

    Scotland used the opportunity to declare war on the Empire in the attempt to regain some of their lost lands.

    Their allies joined them in the foolishness.
    54-1.png


    Victories many the Legions won in the wars of religion. Battle after battle went in their favor. Bavaria was left confused. A few lands quickly fell under Imperial control.

    But there were losses too. A surprise attack in the Roman Netherlands forced XIII Legio to reverse to Caux to reconsider their campaign. During the maneuvers, the forward detachment that held the standard of the Legion was completely destroyed. The legion was left in complete confusion, and Gallia was left open to the enemies of the Empire.

    A daring naval mission was sent to rescue a cohort pinned in Zeeland. When they had rejoined the other survivors, and new forces had been raised to replace the lost ones, they were reorganized as the XVIII Legio (XIII being forever retired as a legionary number). Sadly, later in the year, XVIII Legio was also destroyed.

    As 1512 continued, the enemies of the Empire pushed west into Roman Helvetia, besieging the mountain fortresses. But XV Legio, which finished besieging Swabia, returned to push them back.

    By the end of 1512, the regions of Lombardia/Austria and Roman Netherlands were being heavily contested, but the advantage of the wars seemed to lean towards the Empire.

    Early 1513 saw the Empire advance heavily into eastern Bavaria, the region that had once been Hungary. The Helvetian region was swept of attackers. But Gallia was under attack with no relief. I Legio was busy fending off attacks in Occitania, and XVI Legio was pinned in Valinciennes, recruiting new men for the infantry.
    54-2.png


    In May, I Legio finished the enemies in Occitania, and moved to begin fighting in Gallia.
    54-3.png


    Meanwhile, the Empire's foes sent ships to bring armies behind the front lines and attack Mediterranean provinces. The western fleet was sent to drive back these ships, and brought them to battle in the Aegean sea.
    54-4.png


    In August, Konstantios gave instructions to his diplomats. Peace could be made with lands outside the Holy Roman Empire, but only if they were willing to accept Orthodox authority. Peace was made with the Scottish alliance before the end of the year.
    54-5.png


    The end of 1513 saw most of eastern Bavaria occupied, though small forces were seeking to regain many of the provinces. Two legions were advancing into Smolensk, and had barely beat back a counter-attack. Imperial allies were advancing into Lesser Poland. Gallia was freed from the attacking armies, and the the legions were preparing to push into the low countries.
    54-6.png


    But ominously, a Danish force had finally appeared outside of their own borders.
    54-7.png


    Early 1514 saw a second Danish force in land in Kaffa.
    54-8.png


    During the spring, the western fleet drove all enemy ships from the Mediterranean and then blockaded the Straits of Gibraltar. When a legion could be spared to sweep away the few enemies, the heart of Empire would be secure again.

    Summer saw the low countries start to stabilize. But new forces assaulted Helvetia, and by the fall, Denmark had recovered Savoie.

    The end of 1514 saw the eastern front greatly expanded, and Bavaria's heartland about to fall. III Legio had made a daring raid against Karelia, but had been driven back. Yet the conquest of Smolensk continued, and Karelia would be close behind. And a French nationalist revolt in Paris was being put down by I Legio.
    54-9.png


    The first half of 1515 saw Denmark attacking the Alps in force. But in May, VI and XV Legio drove one of the Danish armies out. This army was pursued to Konstanz, where it was completely destroyed.
    54-10.png


    Also in May, the last Bavarian province fell to the Empire.

    In July, VI and XV Legio defeated another Danish army in Helvetia. It was pursued to Wallis, then Savoie, where it was destroyed.

    And in October, VI Legio defeated the last Danish army in Helvetia.

    At the end of the 1515, enemy troops were still flooding into Helvetia, but VI Legio continually fought them off. Lesser Poland and Smolensk were almost completely occupied, and XII and XVII Legio were destroying the Smolensk army.
    54-11.png
     
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    55. The 15 Year War, Part II
  • Idhrendur

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    The 15 Year War, Part II

    With the arrival of a Hashashin army in Swabia in February 1516, VI Legio sought to reclaim the towns that had fallen to enemy control in Lombardia.
    55-1.png


    VII Legio spent most of 1516 doing the same on various islands in the Mediterranean.

    II, V, and IX Legio brought eastern Denmark under Imperial control, and began moving to attack the minor northeastern Germans.

    XI Legio fought off new incursions from the Low Countries, while I and XVI Legio brought the fight to those powers.

    In August of 1516, the leaders in Ersekujvar sent a messenger to Konstantios, begging to be allowed to swear fealty. Konstantios accepted their request.
    55-2.png


    At the end of 1516, the Eastern war was all but finished. The front was now between the Low Countries, Central Germany, and Scandinavia.

    When XVI Legio saw Amsterdam surrender to them, they attacked and defeated the Zeeland army in Utrecht. With it gone, the other legions felt safe to assault fortresses, and the front in the Low countries rapidly advanced.
    55-3.png


    In June, a Danish army regained Dresden, and their march towards Oberlausitz forced II Legio to retreat (V and IX Legio had nearly won their sieges in Leipzig and Meissen, and a nearby Brandenburg army meant they could not safely leave small forces to hold the sieges. They could not assist II Legio).
    55-4.png


    As II Legio moved from danger, Meissen and Leipzig surrendered. As the Legions maneuvered to attack the Danish army, the Brandenburgers attacked II Legio in Breslau. V and IX Legio carried the attack against the Danes.
    55-5.png


    Their victory was swift and total. When II Legio won their battle, V Legio moved to destroy the retreating army, while II and IX began besieging nearby provinces again.
    55-6.png


    In the midst of the war, the Catholic church held a council to consider reforms. They proposed several, but this was not enough to mollify Konstantios.
    55-7.png


    By the end of 1517, the last major battlefronts were in southeastern Denmark and the Low Countries, though a Tirol army had slipped into the Balkans.
    55-8.png


    Eastern Europe was under Imperial control. Finland would soon be likewise. IV Legio was moving to attack Danish holdings in Sweden.

    Early 1518 saw the last provinces in Finland fall to the Empire. II and XIV Legio also marched towards Sweden, this time to gain control of Upper Lorraine's northern holds.
    55-9.png


    The war had brought much discussion of tactics and strategy. Two opposing camps emerged, one that favored attack and direct assault on enemy armies, and one that favored sieges and drawing the enemy into traps. Konstantios sided with the defensive camp. "An army marches on its stomach," he was reported to say, "Take away their cities and fields, and they grow weak. They'll attack out of desperation, and then they can be shown the errors of their ways."
    55-10.png


    That March, the Legions had brought the Teutonic Order to the negotiating table. Imperial diplomats were ready for them.
    55-11.png


    By the end of 1518, the eastern front was in the area of the Elbe. The northern front was in the Southern tip of Sweden, and if the western front had not advanced much, it was for fighting off the incessant raiders from the Low Countries.
    55-12.png


    It was not until June 1519 that I Legio found the opportunity to attack the last large Danish army.
    55-13.png


    Their victory meant that the only opposing forces of concern were a Bavarian army in Jylland and a Hannoverian army in Hamburg.

    The latter snuck through Danish territory to attempt to besiege the Low Countries. XV Legio soon put an end to that.

    The end of 1519 saw the wars drawing to a conclusion. The Scholai Palatinae began escorting Konstantios to a suitable location for a peace conference.
    55-14.png


    Smolensk agreed to a harsh peace at the start of 1520.
    55-15.png


    Kurland did likewise.
    55-16.png


    In April, III and XIV Legio attacked the last Bavarian force in Jylland. Having nowhere to retreat, the Bavarian army was soon destroyed.

    September 1520 saw Namen's leaders ask to join the Empire. Konstantios agreed to this, as it fell within what should be the Empire's borders.

    In December of 1520, Östergötland's leaders requested to join the Empire. Konstantios agreed with the caveat that they would be soon be put under the protection of an Imperial ally. The leaders suspected Konstantios' intentions, and agreed wholeheartedly.
    55-17.png


    By the end of 1520, only three provinces were not under Imperial control and not besieged by a legion. And only one Elector of the Holy Roman Empire remained free.

    1521 was straightforward as can be in the last stages of a war. By the end, only three provinces were not under Imperial control (two Danish, and one rebel Hungarians hoping to start a new kingdom in Ersekujvar). All HRE electors were under Imperial arrest. Konstantios called for a peace conference.
    55-18.png
     
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    56. The Peace of Westphalia
  • Idhrendur

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    The Peace of Westphalia

    The conference began in the largest hall available. The various leaders and great landholders of the Empire's foes were gathered. Burly men with sashes of Justinian purple stood inside the halls, the Emperor's personal guard, the Varangians. The Scholai Palantinae kept watch outside, an imposing force. When enough time had passed to make the gathered men uncomfortable, Emperor Konstantios entered and stood on a dais at the front of the hall.

    "We are here to determine the new shape of the world," pronounced Konstantios, beginning the conference. There was a murmur at this, and a voice carried just a little further, "We do not wish a new shape."

    "You are not here to determine anything!" bellowed Konstantios, "We are here to determine the new shape of the world," he repeated, gesturing at himself. "You are here to learn your place in it."

    "We are the Imperial Diet," the voice rose again, foolishly. A Varangian moved forward from the side of the hall, but stopped at a look from the Emperor. It had the air of theatre about it, but the point was made to all.

    "At this moment, you are nothing," declared Konstantios. "Your so-called Holy Roman Empire is not Holy, else the legions had not needed these exercises. It is not Roman, as the true Empire has held Rome since the early 12th Century. Furthermore, your claim to succession to the Western Empire, the Donation of Constantine, was proved a forgery in 1233. And as of now, you are not an Empire."

    While the members of the conference had expected something terrible, this was worse than they could have feared. Many grew pale. Some were sick. A few fainted. One or two rose, and glancing at the Varangians, sat back down. There was weeping from more than one.

    One poor soul, in the depths of a turmoil not known for a millennium, asked between tears "By what authority do you do this?"

    Konstantios stood proud. "I am the one true Emperor, established by God to tear down and build up nations. I have torn down. Now let me build anew."

    "What once were powerful member-states will now by autonomous nations. The former lords shall be kings. To protect the integrity of these nations, gavelkind succession will be replaced with primogeniture. Second and third sons can join the church, the military, or the administration. Particularly skilled ones may even find a place in the Imperial Bureaucracy. However, in the case of lands split between several states, there will be one generation of gavelkind, to create cadet family branches and eliminate territorial confusion. This is the new shape of the world. Find what opportunity you may. Imperial diplomats will find you to discuss the particulars of peace between your various nations and the Empire."

    Konstantios strode out of the hall. As he left, the people in the hall looked about at each other. There would be new alliances, new rivalries. The shape of the world had indeed changed.

    56-1.png



    After the peace of Westphalia, Imperial diplomats worked hard to make peace in Europe.

    While they did so, the Legions began drilling with firearms, incorporating musketeers into the ranks of pikemen.
    56-2.png

    And the leaders of Friesland took advantage of the new political realities to change loyalty from Bavaria.
    56-3.png

    The process of peace-making took years. During these years, Theodoros, the heir to the throne, died. Konstantios nominated his grand-niece sister as heir, though she later died of an illness. Shortly after that, Konstantios' wife bore him a son: Ioannes.
    56-4.png

    Denmark and Upper Lorraine had their influence on Scandinavia completely removed as part of their peace deals. Their former lands would later be given to Norway.
    56-5.png

    The Pope had his lands completely stripped from him.
    56-6.png

    Konstantios began distributing new-won lands to nations he felt deserved them. The Fifteen Year War was ended in 1527.
    56-7.png
     
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    57. The New World
  • Idhrendur

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    The New World

    The 15 Year war was over, and peace reigned. But some of the harsh terms of the peace had left Konstantios XI with a terrible reputation.
    57-1.png

    He ignored the countries that still acknowledged the Pope (one had even given lands to the wandering heretic), at least for now. Instead, he recognized the long-standing claim in Iberia of a westwards route to India. No doubt the claim was born from desire; being on the far end of the Silk Road, Iberians would be desperate for an easier way to get the valuable goods. It was unlikely to be true, the world was too large for trade to cross the Atlantic. But English explorers had discovered a new land during the 15 Year War, which suggested that with a proper trade station, a route might be viable. Konstantios commissioned an explorer and sent him off.
    57-2.png

    Bartholomaios Nestongos did not immediately discover such a route, but he discovered islands that many nobles thought good for growing new trade crops such as sugarcane.
    57-3.png

    Konstantios took advantage of this idea to dispatch colonial expeditions throughout the newly discovered tropical lands. While Nestongos sought for a route to the north, nobles back in the Empire wondered if lands to the South might prove more temperate.
    57-4.png

    But on May 24, 1533, Nestongos made contact with the Cherokee nation.
    57-5.png

    While later proving that there was no easy western route to India, he also made contact with the Aztec nation.

    Eventually, Nestongos would send maps to Constantinople. The cartographer, Αμεριγκο Βεσπουσι , having realized that this was a landmass at least as large as the Empire, labeled it with his own first name.

    Meanwhile in Europe, Konstantios recognized the success of the Persian Plan by proclaiming the Metropolitan of Hashashin to be the ruler of Persia resurrected.
    57-6.png

    He followed this by turning over control of much of Siberia to the long-time allies in Muscowy. When they used their new found strength to attack the Golden Horde, Konstantios could not resist their call to war. Devlat Berdi I Aralid would pay for daring to claim he was also an Emperor.
    57-7.png

    During the midst of the war, Konstantios took command of the Legions himself, and then proclaimed that he was the commander-in-chief of all the military forces of the Empire.
    57-8.png

    During the war, Nestongos continued to explore the coasts of the New World. The discovery of more rich lands to the south encouraged second and third sons of forward-looking noble families to begin colonies. Sure, they were poor for now, but the lands seemed ideal for sugar and other rich crops. Within three generations, the cadet branches they formed would be as rich and powerful as any family in the Empire.
    57-9.png

    Families that preferred to recover past glories insisted that Konstantios recover the region of Essex.
    57-10.png

    Before long, the Legions had driven the Golden Horde to the peace table. They forced Devlat to give up his vassals and to release outlying territories as new nations. Konstantios' reputation took no harm from this peace, and he hoped that Muscowy could force an even harsher peace against the weakened horde.
    57-11.png

    The war complete, Konstantios promulgated a new law code, the last since the Code of Justinian, 1005 years before. Along with it, he established a formal system of courts to uphold the law.
    57-12.png

    The war against England for Essex was hardly worth mentioning. But Konstantios advantage of that: able bodied men throughout the Empire without means would now be required to train to join the Legions. He intended it as a poverty reduction method, the idea being to install discipline and skill to vagrants, so that they could find useful work. The success of this venture would be debated hundreds of years hence, with no real consensus being reached.
    57-13.png

    The end of the war with England saw the last of their lands within the Empire taken from them. They moved their capital across the Atlantic, to the rump state left them in South America.
    57-14.png

    The war complete, Konstantios had the church open a series of schools across the Empire, that the people would better know their faith. Historians would point to this reform as being the one that most decreased poverty through the ages, though Konstantios seemed to have no notion of that possibility.
    57-15.png
     
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    58. A Minor War or Three
  • Idhrendur

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    A Minor War or Three

    Konstantios continued the quest to regain Essex by declaring war on Scotland. This would be a tougher war than the one with England, as Scotland was larger and had powerful allies. Bavaria, Gondar, and Adal joined the war in defense of Scotland.
    58-1.png

    XIV and XX Legio fought in Abyssinia alongside the Ethiopian forces.
    58-2.png

    IV, V, VI, XVII, and XXI Legio fought against Bavaria (who was also at war with Saxony).

    VIII and X Legio fought in Britannia, striking at the Scottish homeland.
    58-3.png

    And II Legio moved to seize Scottish colonial holdings.
    58-4.png

    As the war was won, Adal was convinced to agree to peace for a small amount of money.
    58-5.png

    After Ethiopia signed a separate peace with Scotland, there was nothing to be gained from war with Gondar, so political concession were demanded for peace.
    58-6.png

    Bavaria was the strongest enemy in the war, and the biggest loser. They were forced to release Hungary as a sovereign nation.
    58-7.png

    For the peace with Scotland, Konstantios showed restraint. They only lost the province of Essex and their treasury.
    58-8.png

    The region of Essex had been recovered.

    Konstantios had made several reforms to civil society during the negotiations after the 15 Year War. Now, he sought to promote the religious education of the citizens of the Empire.
    58-9.png

    When Norway asked for help against Denmark, Konstantios could not resist. After all, Denmark had done a poor job of turning people to the true faith. The mere threat of the Empire's involvement was enough to convince Denmark to sign a peace with Norway.
    58-10.png


    The experiences of long sieges in the war for Essex, and the evidence that they would not have a long rest from fighting convinced the Legions to begin recruiting artillery centuries.

    The Empire's assistance to Norway against Denmark, such as it was, convinced them to ask for the Empire's help the moment they declared war against Trøndelag. The Legions again held back, as it seemed the war would go easily for Norway.
    58-11.png

    When Muscowy joined in the war on the opposite side, Konstantios was distressed. But he was soon able to convince Muscowy to sever their other diplomatic arrangements. They would soon be fast friends again.
    58-12.png

    Meanwhile, the Legions incorporated firearms into their cavalry tactics.
    58-13.png

    As 1549 drew to a close, Konstantios paid heed to the nobles who wanted the last of Iberia reclaimed.
    58-14.png
     
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    59. 1550 Update
  • Idhrendur

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    1550 Update

    Between 1500 and 1550, the borders of the Empire did not change greatly.

    More of England had been conquered.
    59-1.png

    The Persian plan was being applied to north central Asia.
    59-2.png

    And there were some colonies in the Americas.
    59-3.png


    Despite the stable borders of the Empire, its influence was greatly felt in Scandinavia, where Norway had regained most of its traditional borders and Norrland had made strides towards uniting Sweden.
    59-4.png

    The Empire's influence was also felt in the Germanies, which had become a very dynamic and chaotic region in the aftermath of the Peace of Westphalia.
    59-5.png


    Orthodox Christianity dominated the Old World, though a few newly-formed nations insisted on heresy.
    59-6.png

    The Empire itself was becoming much more homogeneous, but still had a strong variety of cultures represented in the west.
    59-7.png

    The Empire maintained friendly relationships with many nations.
    59-8.png

    This was the known world in 1550.
    59-9.png

    This was the portion controlled by the Empire.
    59-10.png
     
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