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60. The Holy
  • Idhrendur

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    The Holy

    Before launching the war for Portugal, Konstantios took advantage of his steadily improving government to convince people to found new colonies.
    60-1.png

    Despite having a great many powerful allies, León faced the Empire alone. Before the end of the year, they had been completely defeated. They were forced to give up their eastern provinces in exchange for peace.
    60-2.png

    During the war, Konstantios' third son Markos got into a fight with his father. Konstantios wished Marcos to help govern one of the colonies, but Markos wished to work as an artist. Konstantios threatened to disown him, and Markos left Constantinople during the night. Konstantios mourned the loss, and was distressed that the fight had been so disruptive to relationships in the Empire.
    60-3.png

    Months later, Konstantios had word of Markos in Île-de-France. He traveled there himself to reconcile himself to his son. When he arrived at the art academy, he found Markos had created a magnificent statue, the likes of which had not been created for over a thousand years. Father and son were reconciled, and Konstantios' praise inspired others to excel where they might.
    60-4.png

    Konstantios had not changed too much, though. He declared war on the Golden Horde, ostensibly to help his allies, but really to continue punishing them for claiming to be an Empire. While their armies were no match for the Legions, their large wooded territory took a long time to occupy. But they were defeated, and forced to release most of their lands, and give up nearly all of their claims to far away lands they once owned.
    60-5.png

    With this defeat, the Golden Horde's cultural hegemony over much of Europe and Asia was broken. Where once many had striven to emphasize the parts of their culture most similar to the Golden Horde, now they strove to emphasize the parts that were different. Even in the lands they still held, the people distinguished themselves from their leaders.
    60-6.png

    After this war, Konstantios sought to make founding colonies even more promising: the first thousand people to found a new city would be granted titles of nobility to go with the lands they claimed in the area.
    60-7.png

    Before Konstantios could resume efforts in Portugal, Norway again asked for assistance. This time in a war of aggression against Denmark. Konstantios was pleased to see Denmark taken down yet further, so he agreed to help.
    60-8.png

    The Legions did the bulk of the fighting, but there was nothing to negotiate for that the Empire wanted. One by one Denmark's allies were removed from the war. Finally, Norway forced them to surrender. Most impressive was how Norway forced Denmark to release Holstein, as Norway had conquered Holstein in the war. The small nation moved south as a result of the war, to Norway's benefit and Denmark's loss.
    60-9.png

    While that war was being fought, Konstantios began another war against Castelo Branco. Castelo Branco had pounced upon the weakened León and completely conquered them. This opportunism might have served them well, if they had not been in lands the Empire sought to recover.
    60-10.png

    They fell within a year, and while they were yet too strong to completely absorb, they were left destitute.
    60-11.png

    Now, the Empire was governed by administrators assigned by the Emperor. But during the middle ages, local nobles had gained much power, until the Empire could be compared to the feudal kingdoms of the rest of Europe. These nobles would often petition the Emperor when they had a specific desire, and it was a reality that the ones nearer to Constantinople had the ability to petition the Emperor more. Konstantios felt overwhelmed and distracted by these requests, so he streamlined the process. He would assign a regional Kyvernítis (governor) to handle local needs. For petitions that could not be addressed by the Kyvernítis, the nobles could pick a representative who would meet at a regular Oloméleia tis Vouli (Session of Parliament) in Constantinople. Konstatios promised to call a Oloméleia at least once every three years, and if he did not, he would sacrifice the tax income owed to Constantinople. 1562 was truly a monumental year for the Empire.
    60-12.png

    Three years later, Konstantios XI died in bed. He would be known as 'The Holy' for his efforts in protecting the faith. On 17 December 1565, Ioannes VII took the throne.
    60-13.png

    Theodoros, his much more skilled younger brother, was declared Heir the same day.
    60-14.png
     
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    61. The Reign in Spain
  • Idhrendur

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    The Reign in Spain

    Ioannes VII became Emperor as 1565 drew to a close. He was not a skilled leader. In fact, fighting was all that he was good at. He had some awareness of his lack of ability, but his pride made him insist he was just as good as his father. So he wasted little time in starting wars with non-orthodox nations.
    61-1.png

    And of course, he led the legions himself.
    61-2.png

    While the strength of the Legions was enough to win the wars, Ioannes did not show the restraint his father did in victory. Instead of just converting the rulers of a heretic nation, he would also seize as much territory as he could from within the old Imperial borders.
    61-3.png

    While many of these wars were minor…
    61-4.png

    …others dragged in many allies, even what had just been Imperial allies.
    61-5.png

    During the midst of this war, dissidents began circulating broadsheets denouncing Ioannes. He did not respond well to this, and the bodies of the guilty parties (or those thought to be the guilty parties) were displayed as a warning.
    61-6.png

    Later, Theodoros, who was ruling as Ioannes regent, died of a disease.
    61-7.png

    Ioannes was too distracted to appoint a new heir. Or even a new regent.
    61-8.png

    Finally, Vouli declared an infant cousin to be the heir.
    61-9.png

    This proved to be wise, as Ioannes died on campaign in 1574. Most of his nine year reign had been spent at war. The regency period for Konstantinos was expected to be a peaceful period.
    61-10.png

    Local nobles were able to take advantage of the Vouli-dominated regency to increase their own power.
    61-11.png

    And not much happened for many years. Infrastructure was built, technology advanced, colonies were founded, traders opened new markets. And then in 1585, Khiva asked for help in a war against Sibir. Muscowy had occupied nearly all of Sibir, so Boules agreed to help in a war they knew the legions would not have to fight.
    61-12.png

    When Muscowy asked for help in a war, they were more worried, but could not refuse.
    61-13.png

    In the midst of the war, Konstantinos XVIII came into his own.
    61-14.png

    He wasted no time in siring a son.
    61-15.png

    He waited until the Golden Horde had been quite devastated before making a peace with them.
    61-16.png

    But he was rather more kind to Smolensk.
    61-17.png

    After the war, he looked to the low countries, which Friesland had united. He sent them his blessing to proclaim themselves the kingdom of the Netherlands. They likely would have done so on their own, but the Emperors loved to insist it was their right to create kingdoms.

    Konstantinos then looked to Iberia, where the goal of reclaiming Portugal had long been neglected. Castelo Branco stood no chance against the Empire, but their friends' assistance was an annoyance to Konstantinos.
    61-18.png

    When Castelo Branco fell, the dream of regaining Iberia was complete.
    61-19.png
     
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    62. Solomon's Gold
  • Idhrendur

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    Solomon's Gold

    Iberia was fully returned to Imperial control. The members of Vouli then suggested that Konstantinos might impose a little more order on the upper Nile regions.
    62-1.png

    Konstantinos agreed to the value in that, but insisted that he would remember his grandfather's goals and must fight a few more minor wars in Europe.

    The first of these was against Volhynia. Konstantinos was unusually harsh with them. “I am also King of Kiev,” he explained. “I must also look to their interests.” Soon enough, the Volhynian lands were transferred to Kiev control.
    62-2.png

    62-3.png

    Konstantinos then made war on Tirol. As frequently happened, the war became larger than had been hoped. But many of these opponents wanted cutting down to size.
    62-4.png

    A foolish overextension led to V. Legio being trapped and massacred in Schwaben. Konstantinos did not react well to this news.
    62-5.png

    Most of the other belligerents received a peace appropriate to their status, but Konstantios forced the most humiliating defeat he could on Bavaria for the slaughter of V. Legio.
    62-6.png

    The Pope's lands were cut down to size purely on principal.
    62-7.png

    In the following peace, Konstantinos focused on promoting the burgeoning artistic renaissance sweeping the Empire. He attracted the most skilled court artist he could.
    62-8.png

    And also promulgated the ideal of being a patron for artists. The Empire found itself becoming culturally renowned, not simply powerful.
    62-9.png

    Knowing how to fight better than how to negotiate, Konstantinos sought to bring order to the upper Nile by forcing Atbar to become an Imperial vassal. XX Legio stormed the city of Al Damar and forced their acquiescence within a month of war being declared.
    62-10.png

    Vouli was well pleased. They asked Konstantinos to send explorers east. As they explained, they had found evidence of the place Solomon's riches had been taken, and an Imperial expedition might uncover not just riches, but knowledge lost for millennia.
    62-11.png

    Iason Argyros was commissioned to lead a group from the Eastern Fleet stationed at the northern end of the Red Sea. His first expedition found the isles. And found them to not be what the rumors had promised. Still, the proof that there was yet much land to be colonized galvanized many people to seek their legacy abroad.
    62-12.png

    Meanwhile, Vouli complained of an insufficient supply of skilled artists. They requested an art academy to be established in Galicia. Konstantinos complied.
    62-13.png

    Eventually, bored with peace, Konstantios declared war on Lubusz. The goal, as always, to bring them to the faith. IV. Legio crushed them in no time flat, and prepared to move on to 'Greater Poland'.

    Swabia and Denmark chose to defend Greater Poland, but this did not worry Konstantinos.
    62-14.png

    Denmark was forced to the true confession, saving an additional war. Greater Poland was a vassal of Swabia, so the best peace was one that released them from that protection.
    62-15.png

    As 1599 drew to a close, Khiva asked the Empire for their help in a war. Konstantinos agreed, as it seemed clear that drawing the Empire into the war was purely to intimidate Chagatai. There was no need to send the Legions.
    62-16.png
     
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    63. 1600 Update
  • Idhrendur

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    1650 Update

    From 1550 to 1600, the Empire had not expanded too far in Europe. Portugal and more of Britannia had been returned to the Empire, but that was all.
    63-1.png

    The continuing wars of religion had brought nearly all nations back into the Orthodox fold. The forms of Orthodoxy became quite diverse, of course, but the church was in communion with itself. Sadly, Norway's rulers had strangely turned to Protestantism. Fortunately, the only significant population of Protestants were in the capital.

    Northern Ireland had been captured by Mali, after an ill-fated war started by Scotland. The fabled Imperial expedition had apparently not formed a great Christian kingdom in Timbuktu. Or perhaps it had, and the Zikri nations around it had destroyed it and taken its secrets for their own. How else would a region that had so long been isolated be so strong as to stand against a Christian kingdom?
    63-2.png

    Meanwhile, there had been great expansion in the Americas.

    The wave of colonization owed much to the memory of when the Greek city-states had colonized the Mediterranean. The colonists would find a suitable location and build a small city. They would manufacture or import modern goods, and trade those to the locals for food. As the cities grew, goods would be traded for land, used to create farms and plantations. Later colonists or sometimes natives would work those farms. Sometimes the natives would race to establish their own farms and plantations, seeing the riches they could gain by emulating the Imperial settlers. Soon they would be attending Mass, speaking Greek (at least while trading and working, if not at home), and living in cities of their own.

    Or at least that's what the colonists envisioned. Where they expected savages scrabbling in the dirt, they instead found rich cultures. There were, of course, a large variety of such cultures. Some centered around fishing, others farming. A few even roamed constantly, surviving on hunting, gathering, and short-term farming. If they lacked anything, it was a political organization. And perhaps a few technologies. Not that those technologies were needed for their lifestyles. Perhaps that was why the locals had yet to invent them.

    In general, the colonists were able to establish villages. And they did trade with the locals. But the locals had a far greater influence than the colonists would have expected. For instance, Greek style clothing did not fit well in tropical climates. Most colonists adopted local clothing styles. Those that did tended to suffer for their stubbornness. And while the truism that pagans were just waiting to be introduced to Christianity* was demonstrated (at least among the locals that had the most contact with the colonists), their beliefs also influenced the practices of the local churches. Several more branches of Orthodox Christianity were forming.

    Over time, the cultures of the colonists and the locals syncretized into something new. Some of the locals moved into the growing cities, becoming skilled craftsmen and traders. Some colonists moved out of the cities, adopting local lifestyles. But the trend over time was for the cities to grow, and for cash crops to be grown more and more.

    However, a few locations did not experience this peaceful syncretism. On Triada in particular violence would break out frequently. It was never clear how it started, as frequently the city of Elladikos was completely destroyed. But always more colonists would come to rebuild and to trade. Other locations had more limited outbreaks of violence, the locals and the colonists eventually finding a new way of life and culture together.
    63-3.png

    In North America, contact had been made with some organized groups, the Cherokee confederation and the Aztecs. There were some basic diplomatic agreements in place, but still they were too far from Constantinople for much to be known of them. The Incas in South America had been contacted, but even less was known of them. Scotland had begun colonizing North America, and England had worked to acquire a few new territories as well.
    63-4.png

    In eastern Africa, Adal had expanded along the coasts, even beginning to take control of the south-western coastal regions.
    63-5.png

    In Hindustan, three great Kingdoms had coalesced.
    63-6.png

    However, most of the region was no longer Hindu, long Muslim rule having taken its toll.
    63-7.png

    The Spice Islands consisted of a variety of Kingdoms, some great, some small.
    63-8.png

    Muscowy worked to civilize the nomads of the steppes.
    63-9.png

    Meanwhile, Central Europe remained a mess. Though 'Lesser' Poland was quickly becoming a Power.
    63-10.png

    The Empire maintained many friendly relationships.
    63-11.png

    And became ever more homogeneous (mostly via the expansion of its borders in the Americas).
    63-12.png

    This was the known world in 1600.
    63-13.png


    * A belief owing to the Il-Khanate and Golden Horde both converting to Christianity so rapidly after their first direct contact with the Empire.
     
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    64. The Fall of the Papacy
  • Idhrendur

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    The Fall of the Papacy

    Konstantinos began the 17th century by continuing the wars of religion. On the 20th of February, 1600, he declared war on Styria. Their allies joined them, of course, though converting them to Orthodoxy before the war would have been a better defense.
    64-1.png

    In the midst of this war, a colony was founded in Banten, on the island of Java. Konstantinos commissioned the Imperial East India company to transport and sell the spices that would surely be flowing from this colony.
    64-2.png

    Styria agreed to a peace after IV. Legio stormed and captured Kärnten. Their other allies took a little longer to agree to a white peace.

    Despite the near-constant wars, so many artists, philosophers, and poets were in Thrace that it was becoming hard to find new patrons. Konstantinos gave the more adventurous ones the funds to start a new university in Algarve. In the coming years, many more groups would request funds to start new universities. Konstantinos funded the ones that picked more practical locations.
    64-3.png

    While XIX. Legio marched east to help Khiva in a war against Tibet, Konstantinos declared war on the largest Protestant nation in existence: Norway.
    64-4.png

    Displaying a lack of sensibility to the Emperor's desires, the members of Vouli took the time during the war to request that Konstantinos provide an opposition to the English colonies in North America with a new Imperial colony. He remained focused on the war. Despite being outnumbered, XI. Legio attacked the Norwegian army.
    64-5.png

    Meanwhile, XIX. Legio explored the Tibetan lands, hoping they did not run into any Manchu armies (Manchu having joined the war in the east in Tibet's defense).
    64-6.png

    When the Delaware colony failed, accusations flew. Many claimed that Konstantinos let it fail on purpose. As evidence, they pointed out his lack of effort to colonize North America at all. Before matters got too out of hand, Konstantinos was able to produce the ministers whose ineptitude had allowed the colony to fail. That he had bribed them to confess remained a secret for now.
    64-7.png

    Vouli decided a North American colony was not worth the effort, and instead asked Konstantinos to recover an Imperial province in Hungary. Again, Konstantinos ignored the request.
    64-8.png

    Meanwhile, by the end of 1602, Norway had agreed to become Orthodox again.
    64-9.png

    The following war against an inconsequential Baltic power drew in Adal. It took time for three legions to march to eastern Africa, but in March of 1605 XII, XIV, and XX Legio forced Adal to give territory to Ethiopia.
    64-10.png

    At the beginning of 1606, the Empire again went to war, this time against Meckelemburg, a Catholic nation. Most of the northern German nations rose to its defense and Lesser Poland eagerly joined the war.
    64-11.png

    Before 1607, all but Lesser Poland had been forced to the negotiating table. For Lesser Poland's efforts, they were stripped of their outer territories in September of 1608. As recompense, Konstantinos would later declare them the Kingdom of Poland, no longer the Lesser.
    64-12.png

    While the nations freed from Poland were initially exuberant, they grew worried when the Empire broke all treaties with them. They may have been relieved when there was no immediate attack. Unbeknownst to them, this was because Konstantinos had received word of the powerful effect of artillery in war, and was taking the time to ensure the legions were equipped with plenty.

    Meanwhile, the Empire had developed closer ties with the Cherokee. They were suffering from a terrible plague. When they requested aid, Konstantinos sent healers, led by the most compassionate priests he could find. It was little wonder when the Cherokee leaders turned to the true faith, again demonstrating that a pagan was merely waiting to hear of Christ (a belief dating to the Il-Khanate's and Golden Horde's wholesale conversions centuries before).
    64-13.png

    After just a year of peace had passed, the Empire began wars against the newly freed nations, also forcing them to Orthodox practice. They would have fallen easily, but for their allies. Those allies were punished: broken up, humiliated, or even absorbed. The absorbed ones were given in pieces to friendly states, unlikely to arise again.

    As this war finished, the Inca sent word, asking for healers and missionaries to be sent to them. There had apparently been good word from the Cherokee.
    64-14.png

    It was 1615 before the Imperial diplomats had specified all the border changes from the last war. Once that was done, Konstantinos declared a war on the last nation supporting the Reformed church. Many allies defended them, as always, and many allies fell, as always.
    64-15.png

    Shortly thereafter, Reformed zealots — believing they had nothing to lose — attacked Michael Doukas while he was hunting. They killed him, mutilating his body, and leaving it prominently displayed. The shock of their actions reverberated throughout the Empire. Konstantinos was even more convinced he must remove all heresy.
    64-16.png

    Just before 1620, the last political support for Protestantism was removed, though Protestant communities remained in Köblenz and Slesvig. Early the next year he began one of the last wars against the Papists.

    The Inca had been most impressed by the Imperial customs mentioned by the priests that had traveled to help. An exchange of diplomats a nobles began between them and the Empire.

    The next Papist war brought a resurgent Golden Horde to the fight against the Empire. The Golden Horde was broken apart again and forced to concede again that they were no longer a significant power in the world.
    64-17.png

    The penultimate war against the Papists was a minor thing.
    64-18.png

    During the war, the Cherokee recovered enough from their religious confusion to take a hint from the Inca and request closer Imperial ties.

    Finally, in December of 1625, Emperor Konstantinos began the final war against the Papacy. No-one came to the Pope's defense, and he himself was trapped be rebels who controlled his small territory. XXI. Legio found an army from the Netherlands at the gate and helped them gain entry. The Pope was forced to surrender his lands to the Dutch, and would after that point wander between the few Catholic enclaves not yet stamped out by their rulers.
    64-19.png

    Konstantinos commissioned a monument to mark this final victory. And then he made a decision whose ramifications were unprecedented since the time of Diocletian.



    Also, the Q2 ACAs are under way! If you are so inclined, you can vote for this AAR under the other category.
     
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    65. The Particularist Revolt
  • Idhrendur

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    The Particularist Revolt

    The Imperial colonies had grown greatly in just a few years. This was largely due to the locals. Where the peoples of the Empire expected to "bring civilization to the natives", the natives proved to be more canny and clever than the incoming settlers. They took advantage of the Imperial technology, adopted Greek as a trade language, and reorganized their localities on their terms. The connection to trans-Atlantic trade was a major boon for them. As was the political organization from the Empire. Those settlers who had dreams of rulership were mostly disappointed. A few rose to prominence, but there was little aristocracy in the colonies. Or at least, the aristocracy was not so formally defined.

    The English colonies were different. The Anglo-Saxons had spent centuries caught between the anvil of Scotland and the hammer of the Empire. When they had the opportunity to leave and form new homes, they remembered their ancestors of a millennia before and took to the sea. The natives in the lands that they occupied swiftly became a lower class. And the English were ravenous for new land.

    The political boundaries between the Roman colonies and the English colonies was ill-defined, and the English took advantage of this to keep spreading. Konstantinos sympathized with their desire for a homeland, and so he gave them an offer. Accept the locals as equals, and the entire Brazilian region would go to England.

    The English were well pleased with this offer. They might not be able to simply expel the Brazilians from a given area of land, but there was so much land that there would not be a need. They agreed.
    65-1.png

    For the aristocracy of the Empire, this was too much to bear. They had suffered under the Emperors' slow centralization of power, they had been taxed, they had seen merchants be given more and more rights, their requests to the Emperor had been ignored for decades, and now territory was just given away? This was intolerable! It would not stand!

    The revolt was sudden and severe. The revolutionaries raised the Empire's flag over their one million troops[1] as a sign of opposition, the Emperor's flag being much more well known for centuries. The most significant cities were immediately under their control, the only exceptions being ones hosting various legions.
    65-2.png

    Konstantinos' reply was just as strong. He declared himself the absolute ruler of the whole Empire. Justice would be by his agents, taxation by his agents, all administrative work by his agents. Nobles would not be allowed to field their own armies. Nobles would no longer be much more than significant landholders. Of course, this would be a legal fiction of sorts, just as the nobles' former rights of justice, taxation, and administration in their lands had been a fiction. Imperial agents had long been assigned to the different provinces and directed the power of Constantinople into local affairs. Once the revolt was ended, local powers would soon be at work directing the local powers to their own ends. But the legal framework had now been set.

    Gallia was defended by II Legio, XIX Legio, XXI Legio, and XXI Legio as a result of the religious wars in the Germanies. The rebels there did not last long.
    65-3.png


    Lombardia was defended by VII Legio, XIV Legio, XVI Legio, XVIII Legio, and XX Legio, also placed due to the wars of religion.
    65-4.png

    Britannia was defended by IV Legio and XVII Legio, long resting after the wars with Scotland and England.
    65-5.png

    Iberia, Egypt, Syria, and the Imperial heartland were undefended as the revolt began.

    The Lombardian campaign slowly pushed their opponents south, towards the morass of revolutionaries along the peninsula.

    The Gallian campaign defeated the rebel armies, but found that an army of Norman patriots had traveled to try to carve out an independent nation.
    65-6.png

    In Syria, I Legio and IX Legio made their move.
    65-7.png

    In Egypt III Legio, X Legio, and XV Legio did the same.
    65-8.png

    The Britannian campaign subsided to a siege of Oxford by XVII Legio, while IV Legio shipped off for Iberia.

    The opening move of the Syrian campaign was a resounding defeat.

    Meanwhile, three legions made a bold stroke into central Italy while two sought to bring Liguria and Mantua back under control.

    As the Egyptian and Syrian campaigns diminished to sieges, III Legio and IX Legio were transported to Anatolia to attempt to bring matters under control there.
    65-9.png

    In turn, IV Legio, XXI Legio, and XXII Legio began their work in Iberia.
    65-10.png


    When the rebels on the Italian peninsula inexplicably began to move south, the Legion took advantage of the opportunity to push the boundaries of the war.
    65-11.png

    The war continued everywhere, but slowly tightening for the rebels. In Iberia, XXI Legio got too eager for battle, racing ahead of their IV Legio and XXII Legio. Their eagerness saw them all captured at Lisboa. The complete capture of the celebrating rebels in Lisboa two days later was scarce comfort, as too few soldiers could be found to reform the lost legion.
    65-12.png


    The rebels in Dacia were more clever than most. When four legions moved to attack them, the rebels quickly moved to attack one first, before the others could change their course. Thanks to Pavlos Diasorenos' clever tactics, III Legio was able to withstand a force twice their number. The legions all moved to intercept the rebels in Transylvania.
    65-13.png

    By 1629, only the Sicilian and Greek regions had rebel troops remaining. The legions continued to press forward.
    65-14.png

    VIII Legio was lost as the Sicilian campaign moved to the island of Sicily. And then III Legio was lost in the Greek campaign.

    But the legions continued to press the rebel armies, and finally in June of 1630 no rebel armies remained. Only the city of Palermo resisted the Konstantinos' will, and VII Legio had brought them to desperation by siege. They held out until September.
    65-15.png

    The revolt had lasted four and a half years. A short time from a historical perspective. But a long time to live through. And for the estimated one million Imperial soldiers lost in battle or the uncounted numbers of the rebel forces, it was far too short a time to live and to die.[2] But now the peoples of the Empire could begin to rebuild what had been lost.


    [1] I count 1103 units total, as opposed to the Empire's 489.
    [2] I have 463K manpower out of a max of 848K. On average I gained 6K per month during the war, so it adds up to a really bug number of losses. Also, while not literally true, for all practical situations, the Empire has bottomless reserves.
     
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    66. The Zealous
  • Idhrendur

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    The Zealous

    In the aftermath of the civil war, the Empire was feeling the pain of the war. Konstantinos had instructed his agents throughout the land to try to bring peace and order, and had authorized them to spend money to make it happen. Some gifts, some feasts, and a whole lot of quelling the hotheads would be needed to restore stability. As well, the legions needed some time to recover, and to be placed where they might be helpful. But during the war, Holstein had declared support for the Reformed heresy. So in January of 1631, Konstantinos declared yet another war.
    66-1.png

    Holstein fell quickly and reaffirmed the true faith. Poland, once again showing the temerity to get involved in a war with the Empire, was once again cut to size.
    66-2.png

    Konstantinos had additionally had his agents reporting on what might help pacify the nobles who were not under arrest in Constantinople. The agents told of greed for the rich mines of Austria.
    66-3.png

    So when the legions were in position, Konstantinos declared wars on all the nations holding Austrian land. The many nations that jumped to their defense made the war stretch (and caused the loss of III. Legio), but soon enough all of Austria but Graz belonged to the Empire again.

    The truce with Hungary would not end until 1641, so Konstantinos looked in a direction not ever undertaken by previous Emperors: south. Mali had learned much from the long-ago Imperial expedition[1] across the Sahara. But they had not learned to follow the true faith. Instead, they followed the teaching of Mohammed and were directly ruled by the Imams who lead the Zikri variant of their faith. And Muslims had been a bane to the Empire ever since they had exploded out of Arabia. A strong Muslim nation bordering the Empire (much less one that had formerly gone toe-to-toe with other Christian nations and won) was unbearable. Konstantinos would put this to rights. The Dutch, who had clashed with Mali several times in Africa, were only too happy at the idea of Mali being weakened and allowed II Legio and XVI Legio to use their African holdings as a staging area. And so in March of 1637, the Empire struck at Mali.
    66-4.png

    At the same time, Mucowy began to reclaim more of their territory from the Golden Horde. Konstantinos sent I Legio and IV Legio to help.
    66-5.png

    Various groups of old nobles near Calais thought that with the Empire engaged on two fronts, they could threaten to revolt to force lowered taxes. An earlier Konstantinos might have negotiated a settlement. But after the civil war (and with men who had lost everything in that war flooding to join the Legions), he was more interested in stamping out the idea of revolt entirely. He called their bluff, then sent in XXIII Legio.
    66-6.png

    But sadly, in the midst of these wars, Emperor Konstantinos was found dead in his rooms. He was remembered as 'Konstantinos the Zealous' for his efforts to bring all into the fold of the true faith.


    [1] A vassal back in the CK2 era went on an independent conquest spree down into western Africa. But by now it's remembered as an official expedition. The nature of the expedition is the stuff of legend and story. It was a bitter blow years later when no Prester John was to be found on the other side of the Sahara.
     
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    67. The War of Three Emperors
  • Idhrendur

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    The War of Three Emperors

    Demetrios I was the son of and successor to Konstantinos the Zealous. He was excellent at war, skilled at diplomacy, and good at administration. His son Ioannes, who promised to be even more skilled, was appointed heir.
    67-1.png

    Demetrios garnered good will among the nobles when he reestablished parliament. He insisted on appointing the members, but the nobles took this as a sign that they would again have some form of power. They did not see it for the trap it was.However, Demetrios had inherited three wars along with the Empire. His plans to neuter the nobles would have to wait. And wait they did. For he died on March 7th of 1639, Emperor for less than two years.

    Ioannes took his place. He was skilled at military matters, a genius at administration and diplomacy, but young and inexperienced. He announced his younger brother Demetrios as heir, and focused on the wars.
    67-2.png

    The war in the north had slowly wound in favor of Muscowy. With the Legions' help, they were able to capture the main cities of the different nations opposing them and force them to surrender, typically with harsh terms. By the time Ioannes came to rule, the war was half over or more.
    67-3.png

    The war against Mali worked more slowly. There were rumors of an army yet unkilled by the Legions, so they did not dare to spread out to besiege the land, and so little territory was just captured. But the Empire was sure to win eventually.
    67-4.png

    In February of 1640, a routine correspondence with England mentioned that Maranea had been captured by Mali. It was clear that the missing Malinese army was in that region, so XII Legio moved to hunt them down.
    67-5.png

    By the end of the year, all in the north but Hlynov had surrendered, and even that country was fully occupied. Ioannes made peace with them and left them to Muscowy's mercies.
    67-6.png

    While the Mali war still raged, Ioannes implemented reforms of the Imperial mint. The silver stavraton coin was to be replaced by the gold líras. A sample of the minted líras would be stored every year. If the currency was questioned, it could be compared to a standard measure stored by the Emperor. And if the líras at question disagreed with the measure the master of the mint would be punished most severely: castrated, half-hung, and quartered. Thus, the currency could be trusted to not be debased.
    67-7.png

    And finally in early 1642, Mali was fully defeated. They were forced to give up their coast, their overseas trade now handled by Imperial merchants. Sufficient garrisons were created to keep trade flowing. As well, their central land was returned to a descendant of the Songhai ruling class.
    67-8.png

    The war, while lasting only five years, was later called the war of three Emperors. While this could have and should have been a satirical reference to the quick succession at this point in time, it became propaganda of the danger and strength of Muslims.
     
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    68. Minor Wars
  • Idhrendur

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    Minor Wars

    In the wake of the Mailnese war, there was little war to be had, so Ioannes focused on administrating the Empire while his various truces expired. He also focused on administrating Kiev, often overlooked by the Emperors. With its great expansion, the feudal organization was insufficient to govern it well. So Ioannes reformed the government, centralizing the power and renaming it the Kingdom of Ukraine.
    68-1.png

    He also convinced the Duchy of Atbar to surrender the last of their independence, and then transferred their lands (Dar Ja'al) to Ethiopia's control.
    68-2.png

    And of course when Muscowy requested help in their conquest of Ryazan, Ioannes was glad to send the Legions to help.

    Around this time, the artistic renaissance clearly demonstrated its effects on other area of life as a group of natural philosophers began to make great discoveries about the natural world. Ioannes provided them support, organizing them as the Imperial Society of Constantinople for Improving Natural Knowledge (generally known as the Imperial Society). His most significant requirement was that their results must be published in a regular journal.
    68-3.png

    Later that year, Scotland incorporated Ethiopia into their realm when their mutual King died. It had been bad enough that a nation in the Empire's sway was ruled by a Scot, but this was intolerable. War was given for the sake of the Ethiopian people. In 1646, Scotland agreed to the loss of nearly all their colonies and protectorates not in North America. They had lost a North American colony to the Aztecs, but on the whole their colonies there were safe for now.
    68-4.png

    Just before the end of 1646, the truce with Hungary expired. I Legio, IX Legio, and XIX Legio moved to the attack. And when Lorraine announced their defense of Hungary, XVI Legio and XXIII Legio moved on them.
    68-5.png

    Lorraine had often been a thorn in the side of the Empire, and Ioannes suspected many nobles would desire their lands soon. So the greater part of their Kingdom was given independence.
    68-6.png

    Hungary was forced to give up the last of the Austrian lands the Empire desired, as well as finally give up their claims to several other promises.
    68-7.png

    Roman Austria had been recovered. And the nobles soon hungered for the Roman Netherlands. Hainut was the first to fall, friendless and alone.
    68-8.png

    The rest of the independent nations there would soon follow. But Ioannes had received notice that Smolensk now supported the Reformed faith. This, like the former religious disputes, would be solved with violence.
    68-9.png

    Before I Legio and IV Legio could get in position, Muscowy declared war on Yaroslavl and asked the Empire for help. Ioannes agreed.
    68-10.png

    Though this did not preclude a war with Smolensk at the same time.

    Sadly, Ioannes died of natural causes[1] before he could see his wars through. Demetrios was at war as soon as he ascended to the throne.
    68-11.png



    [1]A surprising number of things count as natural causes when one is the Emperor.
     
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    69. 1650 Update
  • Idhrendur

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    1650 Update

    From 1600 to 1650, the Empire had again not expanded much. Instead it had put it's efforts towards enforcing religious unity.

    Christianity was no less diverse for these efforts. Many times a nation's conversion allowed the ruler to appoint to new archbishop residing over his territory. This archbishop would be technically equal with all others (though in practice the Archbishops of Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Rome were first among equals). Just as frequently, the ruler was able to exert control over the local Archbishop and thus tighten his power over his nation.

    As well, local practices could not possibly have been stamped out, even if this was desired. Many of the particulars of the liturgy varied locally. There were even differences in theology between different regions.

    Still, the Church was united. The most important theological disagreements could be resolved through synods and councils, and heresy could be countered via internal pressures. Likewise, the decentralized organization of the Church served as an effective brake on corruption, unlike the hierarchical nature of the Papist church had been.
    69-1.png

    In the Americas, firm diplomatic contact had been made with three different organized powers. All took the opportunity to learn all they could from the Empire. In turn, the Empire hoped to use them to block the expansionism of other European states.
    69-2.png
    69-3.png

    The leadership of all three American nations had eagerly converted to Christianity. Most of the Cherokee people had likewise converted.
    69-4.png

    The Inca leaders seemed disinterested in instructing any of their own people.[1]
    69-5.png

    And the Aztecs had not had much time to figure out how to instruct many of their people.
    69-6.png

    The African coast was proving valuable to trade – either to extract goods or to supply ships rounding the Cape of Africa. This would surely be an area of much fighting in the future.
    69-7.png

    Deccan had tightened their control of Hindustan, but the Spice Islands had shattered into chaos.
    69-8.png

    And Imperial explorers were discovering new lands to the East of Asia.
    69-9.png

    In Eastern Europe, Muscowy was growing ever stronger.
    69-10.png

    And borders continued to shift within Central Europe.
    69-11.png

    Within the Empire, the Imperial Bureaucracy had left power firmly in the Emperor's hands. The Legion's practice of drill had led to great defensive strength, though the navy was neglected. The long-ago declaration on Unam Sanctum had led to the Legions making war all throughout Christendom. There was a strong desire to explore and to settle new lands, though frequently the settlement was just enough to bring those lands under the Empire's political sway. The locals would remain the dominant local powers. The patronage of arts among the aristocracy had led to a renaissance of arts and natural philosophy. As well, there was a growing class of merchant nobles. They had little protection from the state in their trade, but they rarely needed it. Among the lower classes, many were still tenant farmers, though they had a great many rights and protections from church and from Constantinople.
    69-12.png

    This was the known world in 1650.
    69-13.png



    [1]I've checked. They've got missionaries, they've got money, but they seem to have no interest in placing them.[2]

    [2]Playing further, they seem to have gotten over their indecisiveness. Finally.
     
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    70. The War for Huron
  • Idhrendur

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    The War for Huron

    Demetrios II was now the Emperor.
    70-1.png

    As Demetrios began his reign, the Empire was involved in two wars: one to bring Smolensk back to the true faith, and one supporting Muscowy in their takeover of Yaroslavl.
    70-2.png

    Focused on the war, he proclaimed a newly born cousin to be his heir.
    70-3.png

    The war with Smolensk was over quickly. As this region had proven to be difficult for the faith, it was placed under direct Imperial control for the immediate future.
    70-4.png

    Murom had descended into complete chaos, so the Legions imposed peace and settlers arrived to establish order. And then word came that England had declared war on the Huron people. The Empire was not in contact with the Huron, but this non-peaceful interaction with a native American power was not acceptable. There was war with England, and with their allies.
    70-5.png

    While the Cherokee armies fell immediately, the English forces out of Florida were much stronger (especially against a Legion that had been split apart to defend against rebels).
    70-6.png

    But the Huron were able to seize the advantage of England’s distraction and seize the colony in Lenape. The Empire immediately made a formal declaration that the Huron were within their sphere of influence. Given the war, it was a gesture without much practical meaning, but it was a strong diplomatic opening.
    70-7.png

    When VI Legio had a chance to form up, they were able to beat back a new English attack.
    70-8.png

    The Cherokee soon saw reason and made a gesture for peace. Demetrios took it and started restoring the damaged relations between the two nations.
    70-9.png

    Lorraine was forced to negotiate next, their carefully constructed kingdom further ripped apart.
    70-10.png

    Dauphine was diplomatically isolated.
    70-11.png

    And England was eventually forced to give up their alliance with the Cherokee and several colonies that had achieved self-sufficiency (the rest of their colonies having already been seized).
    70-12.png

    Demetrios took time to sort out the ownership of the various seized colonies (the Empire did not need such far-flung lands). In the meanwhile, he sent missionaries to the Huron.
    70-13.png

    In 1658, during this time of relative peace, Demetrios died, leaving his eight year old cousin Theodoros as heir. The resulting regency forced a change of relationship between Ukraine and the Empire. Ukraine's parliament agreed the nation would be subservient to the Empire, but they brought forth a local as their ruling Duke. The regency council for the Empire agreed, not least because much Imperial effort had been spent expanding Ukraine's borders instead of defending Imperial interests.
     
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    71. The Sun Emperor
  • Idhrendur

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    The Sun Emperor

    Theodoros became Emperor at age eight. A regency council ruled for him, but was of marginal competence. Being a more distant cousin, Theodoros was also not considered completely legitimate as ruler. The regency council hired Nestor Boumbalis to counter this perception.
    71-1.png

    Meanwhile, Theodoros was sent to be raised at an estate just outside of Constantinople. The estate was little more than a hunting lodge, so it was refurbished to be a suitable palace for the young Emperor.
    71-2.png

    In the meanwhile, the regency council expanded the core of the Imperial Bureaucracy, creating several new administrative offices that improved the efficiency of the management of the Empire.
    71-3.png

    Finally, in April of 1665, Theodoros became Emperor in his own right.
    71-4.png

    He began his reign by standardizing the weights and measures used throughout the Empire. No longer would traders have to learn multitudinous local measures, instead they could simply use the Imperial System. Failure to use the Imperial System with any trader would lead to a stiff fine and the potential loss of trade rights in the given town or city.
    71-5.png

    He soon resumed the conquests that the nobles of Empire so desired. A chain of alliances came to the defense of little Luxembourg, to no avail.
    71-6.png

    Baden was forced to sever a few alliances. Luxembourg was annexed. Livonia was forced to swear vassalage. Poland was forced to give up what few lands they had outside the region later known as the Polish Corridor, and to give up any claims to lands outside that region that they already had given up (these lands were shortly thereafter given to more appropriate powers to rule).
    71-7.png

    During the war, Theodoros sired a son, who was named heir upon his birth.
    71-8.png

    Also during the war, Theodoros began an interesting habit. He invited nobles in different provinces to join him at his new court at the Royal Palace where he had been raised. There he began holding elaborate court ceremonies, focused on his glory. Those nobles who most flattered him found themselves assigned to important positions or even assigned to Parliament. Those who did not found themselves marginalized. This may be thought the actions of a narcissist or megalomaniac, but in fact it was a scheme long planned by successive Emperors and passed down in secret until it could be achieved. To achieve more than a local power, a noble would have to attend court. But if a noble did so, they could not focus on their own lands. The Imperial Bureaucracy would then be able to ensure that legally and practically, the only allegiance in said lands was to the Empire. The nobles may yet have held their legal rights, but in practice, they were held tightly to Theodoros' sway. Best of all, they were so focused on drawing near to his glory that they did not even notice the loss of their power.[1]
    71-9.png

    Although they did not greatly like that a sufficient donation from a rich merchant would see his family invited to court, Theodoros was just deft enough to play these events in a way that left everyone feeling pleased: the nobles at their court experience, and the former merchants (now 'unlanded nobles') pleased to be at court. The unlanded nobles found further advancement easy, marrying children to the children of landed nobles in need of money to maintain the fashions Theodoros kept establishing and changing. It was an expensive endeavor being at court.
    71-10.png

    Shortly after this this time, Theodoros received word that Kexholm had given refuge and homage to the Pope. He was surprised that there was still a Pope, but he still took the ways of his ancestors and made war on the heretics.
    71-11.png

    In the end, all of the wooing of the nobles did little to preserve Theodoros' life. If anything, the growing formal court only brought more of the typical danger his way. He died in 1669, only nineteen years old. Though short-lived, he was remembered for his glory and later for how he brought the political life of the Empire into orbit around himself. Thus his epitaph: the Sun Emperor.


    [1] I added a province-level decision. For the cost of a diplomat and 10 prestige, all accepted-culture cores (of non-existent nations) in the province are removed and I get 10 cultural tradition. To fire it, I have to be at peace, have at least two diplomats, and at least 50 prestige.
     
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    72. Expansion Resumes
  • Idhrendur

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    Expansion Resumes

    Konstantinos inherited the Empire while little more than an infant. In fact, the same regency council that had governed in his father's childhood reigned during his.
    72-1.png

    The continuation of building a glorious court continued during the regency. The daily positions by which a noble could gain glory by being near the Emperor and assisting him with daily tasks were quite frankly ridiculous. Never before nor after have otherwise pompous adults been positively eager to change diapers.

    During the regency, there were advances in all areas of technology. Improvements in light ships required the classification of Heavy Frigates as opposed to Frigates (the regency worked to replace the existing pirate patrols with these most advanced ships). The Legions began to use mortars during engagements.
    72-2.png

    And the regency was able to establish itself as a permanent cabinet of close advisers, even closer (and far more politically protected) than the itinerant advisers used for six hundred years[1].
    72-3.png

    When the Inca reorganized their government and announced themselves as the Republic of Peru, the regency eagerly approved relations, and even established a betrothal between Konstantinos and a daughter of one of the noble families ruling the new republic.
    72-4.png

    Finally, on April 24, 1681, Konstantinos XIX came into his own.
    72-5.png

    His first act was to declare war on both Brabant and the Netherlands in order to recover the last of the Roman Netherlands. Many nations came to Brabant's defense (a lost cause if ever there was one), but strangely no-one wanted to assist the Netherlands.
    72-6.png

    This proved to be the most difficult war in a generation, even to the point of XIV Legio being destroyed by Scottish forces in Britannia. Still, the tide of the war was with the Empire. Konstantinos' betrothed was even safely brought to Constantinople during the war. Nevertheless, Brabant was soon forced to give up their last European land, their rulers fleeing to their one small colony in the New World.
    72-7.png

    The Netherlands soon followed, giving up Luik, releasing Norrland, and giving up their claims to Vlaanderen.
    72-8.png

    Parliament soon requested the conquest of Occitania. So while the other war was still raging, XVI Legio and XXII Legio were sent to annex Dauphine.
    72-9.png

    Eventually, the Huron were forced to give their territories south of lake Ontario to the Cherokee. The Iroquois locals felt closer kinship to the Cherokee, so this was fortunate.
    72-10.png

    Scotland was also forced to give lands to the Cherokee, as well as surrender all claims to some lands they had lost previously.
    72-11.png

    England only lost their claims on Florida. Adal would be punished far further, however. They had grown too powerful in Africa, and must be broken apart. As the war continued, the legions adopted new line infantry tactics.
    72-12.png

    Finally, in February of 1686, Adal released Mutapa and gave up the last of their Arabian holdings in return for peace.
    72-13.png

    And finally, Dauphine was fully annexed. Of course, parliament was not satisfied, and insisted that the last bit of Roman Britannia be brought under Imperial sway. But there was still a truce with Scotland. So during the peace, the Emperor's cabinet administrated the Empire, and Konstantinos sired a son.
    72-14.png

    During this time the Aztecs reformed their government and proclaimed themselves the republic of Mexico.
    72-15.png

    Finally, restless from a lack of war, Konstantinos declared war against Polotsk for 'the good of the Empire'. Only the minor nation of Manych came to their defense.
    72-16.png

    Polotsk was soon conquered and their lands split between Ukraine and Livonia.

    The day the truce with Scotland was ended (in May on 1693), Konstantinos declared war. Bavaria joined Scotland, but this was offset by all of the Empire's allies joining as well. Bavaria soon agreed to a white peace. Then in July of 1696, Scotland agreed to not only give up the last of Wales, but to give up many of their North American holdings. Much of this was later turned over to the Huron.
    72-17.png

    Parliament's new request was that the rest of Lombardia be recovered.
    72-18.png

    However, Konstantinos first reformed the legions, adding yet more infantry and artillery to each legion[2]. In late 1699, the reforms were complete and Konstantinos declared war on Lorraine for Savoie. Of course, many German states rose to their defense, despite the inevitability of the war's outcome.
    72-19.png


    [1]Infamy -1.00 per year.
    [2]12 Int/6 Cav/12 Art
     
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    73. 1700 Update
  • Idhrendur

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    1700 Update

    From 1650 to 1700, the Empire had begun expanding again, if only a little, regaining the Roman Netherlands and Occitania.
    73-1.png

    The greater part of the Empire's warring was to establish strong nations in the eastern Baltic regions and in the Americas.
    73-2.png

    Both the Incas and the Aztecs had reformed their governments, proclaiming themselves Peru and Mexico respectively.
    73-3.png

    The Cherokee and Huron had both expanded, as well.
    73-4.png

    The church had been further unified in the Eastern Baltic, leaving just three provinces predominated by Catholics, one by Protestants, and one by Reformed Protestants.
    73-5.png

    Africa had changed a little, but not terribly so.
    73-6.png

    India, South-east Asia, and east Asia had changed even less. But Imperial explorers had discovered more of the eastern world in the south (in fact, they had mapped all the world's oceans), and colonists were swarming to the new land of Australia.
    73-7.png

    The Empire had a stronger, more politically protected cabinet of advisers to the Emperor than in 1650. As well, power was more centralized, plutocrats more powerful (and more protected by the government of the Empire), peasants more free, and the legions were more defensive.
    73-8.png

    This was the known world in 1700.
    73-9.png
     
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    74. Gallia Falls, and More
  • Idhrendur

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    Gallia Falls, and More

    In 1700, Emperor Konstantinos XIX gave greater restrictions on joint-stock companies and their operations. This increased the efficiency and competitiveness of Imperial companies, but at the cost of shutting out many new and small companies.
    74-1.png

    And it allowed for better control of the trade across the Bosphoros.
    74-2.png

    The war for Savoie still raged.
    74-3.png

    As the Imperial infantry proved the worth of their line tactics, the kataphractoi responded by adjusting their tactics and weaponry to incorporate pistols into their charges, although they mainly used sabers once the range was closed.
    74-4.png

    It took until February of 1703 before Lorraine surrendered to the inevitable. After that Sens quickly agreed to a peace, releasing much of their territory (the same often freed German regions).
    74-5.png

    Of course, Parliament's next request was the recovery of Gallia, exactly the territory that had not been conquered. The truce with Sens was 10 years long.
    74-6.png

    During this truce, Konstantinos fell terribly ill. During his weakness, the court managed to expel several of the unlanded nobles, though this caused disruption and dissatisfaction across the Empire.
    74-7.png

    Bored of peace, Konstantinos declared war on all the states between Poland and Livonia, with the intention of giving their lands to Livonia. This led to more war than he expected as many allies joined in their defense.
    74-8.png

    The minor states were soon enough absorbed, and peace made with the other nations. Meanwhile the Huron reorganized themselves as Canada. And during the peace, Konstantinos fell ill again. Again, unlanded nobles were expelled from the court during his weakness. When he recovered, he did his best to show his strength by declaring war on Scotland. The Netherlands joined them, and paid for it by losing all lands and all claims west of the Rhine.
    74-9.png

    Scotland themselves lost all of their new world lands. With this war, they ceased to be more than a local power.
    74-10.png

    During the following peace, Konstantinos sent a herald to Muscowy, suggesting that Andrei V Abbaghai anoint himself King of the Russians. Andrei took this suggestion heartily, and was crowned within days.
    74-11.png

    After a long wait, in May of 1713, Konstantinos declared war on Sens for the last of Gallia. No one came to their defense. In September of 1714, they were completely annexed.
    74-12.png

    To little surprise, Parliament asked for all of the territory west of the Rhine to be conquered. Konstantinos agreed to even this, though he recognized he needed to take some time to allow his reputation to recover if he did not wish for great instability within the Empire.
    74-13.png
     
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    75. 'Murica
  • Idhrendur

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    'Murica

    Konstantinos was enjoying an extended time of peace. He needed to enjoy it, for this peace would be there if he liked it or not. He was not foolish enough to continue waging war while his reputation suffered so. He used this time to tighten relationships in the court, keeping the nobles ever more engaged. If this meant excluding the rich, they could be trusted to find their own rewards.
    75-1.png

    During this time, Russia made war on the Golden Horde for the last of their territory. It did Konstantinos' reputation no harm to send officers into the field, so he did so, eager to hear reports of the action.
    75-2.png

    As the reports came, he excitedly worked with the Scholai Palatinae to find ways improving the Legions' abilities to wage war. They devised the idea of creating a specific corps of engineers, who would be specifically trained in how to create defenses…and how to destroy them. The Imperial Corps of Engineers was born.

    Shortly after the Golden Horde successfully sued Konstantinos for peace, the Cherokee used the promise of a federal-style government to convince their territories to organize as a modern nation-state. The United States of America had come into existence.
    75-4.png

    And shortly after this was done, Konstantinos decided his reputation had sufficiently recovered. War was made in the West Rhine region.
    75-5.png

    The first Rhineland War saw Lower Lorraine completely annexed and Upper Lorraine pushed back to their capital and surrounding lands.
    75-6.png

    The second Rhineland war soon after declared against Bavaria. This one saw the province of Worms taken.
    75-7.png

    The Legions used their experience from this war to reorganize yet again, taking advantage of the engineering works that they often had available now.
    75-8.png

    During the peace after this war, Konstantinos died peaceably. Konstantios XII was now emperor, his ten year old son Konstantinos the heir.
    75-9.png
     
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    76. To the Rhine
  • Idhrendur

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    To the Rhine

    Konstantios XII inherited an Empire with an imperative to conquer all the way to the Rhine. This was very nearly done, but the Kingdom of Schwyz held some of those lands and was heavily influenced by the Netherlands.
    76-1.png

    Schwyz would accept nothing but full defeat. The Netherlands took much more fighting and besieging, but in the end, they gave up Breda and Limburg (the Imperial Corps of Engineers having better surveyed the regions of the Low Countries and redrawing the borders on the official Imperial maps[1]).
    76-2.png

    The third Rhineland war was fought against Thuringia for Mainz. The war was straightforward, and Mainz was taken.
    76-3.png

    The fourth Rhineland war was fought against Upper Lorraine to annex the rest of their territory. While they fell quickly, their allies took a little longer but soon all agreed to white peaces.
    76-4.png

    There was a time of peace, but in late 1734, a Russian war against Novgorod escalated into a war between Russia, The Empire, and most of the Empire's allies against Peru, England, and Novgorod.
    76-5.png

    X. Legio was sent to take England's African holdings. Several other Legions were sent to the Americas, to fend off Peru and to take as much as they could from England. But they had to move cautiously, as the English fleet was even more mighty than the Imperial fleets, which lost two battles to the English.

    Novgorod was left to Russia. At least until a Novgorod army was spotted marching through Lombardia. XII. Legio and XXIII. Legio soon outmaneuvered this small force, besting them in battle.

    The northwestern Americas fell to XXII. Legio.
    76-6.png

    But while VI. Legio destroyed several Peruvian armies in La Plata, English armies were able pour over the border and take much Imperial territory.
    76-7.png

    The English armies were harder to defeat, but VI. Legio eventually did the job.

    XXII. Legio made a bold strike toward the Hawaiian islands, but an English fleet drove them away before they could land. Many transports were sunk, thousand of soldiers drowning at sea.

    X. Legio was able to take all of England's new colonies in the South Pacific. After doing so, it moved towards north-eastern Asia.
    76-8.png

    Once any English colonies that could be seized had been taken, Konstantios finally agreed to a peace with Peru. A peace that gave the Empire the few English lands in the Indian Ocean that had not already been taken.
    76-9.png

    While the Legions were shipped home and brought back to full strength, a more maneuverable mortar was developed and distributed.
    76-10.png

    Konstantios was waiting for his reputation to improve when Adal attacked Mutapa. Russia came to Mutapa's defense, and the next thing anything knew, the Empire was leader in a much broader war.
    76-11.png

    Fortunately, Ethiopia could be bought off for 50 gold. A small price to keep the Empire's ally in the Empire's camp. Bavaria was forced to give up Pfalz, the very province that Konstantios had been planning to start a war over in the near future.
    76-12.png

    With this, the West Rhine was recovered. Parliament was disappointed when Konstanios declared that no more war would be made in Europe to recover ancient territories:
    "We have regained our ancient lands. We do not wish any more German lands or subjects. The Germans have from ancient times been entirely ungovernable, and more recent history demonstrates no end to their chaos. It were best we leave them to their own devices."

    Upon hearing this, Pieter von Zwiebrücken declared that the Netherlands were a nation where all Germans could live, free from Roman oppression.
    76-13.png

    When the Imperial parliament asked Konstanios to capture Lothian from Scotland, he refused and refused to hear any new requests for years.

    Baden gave up some land claims and much of their treasury. And eventually Adal was forced to release Swahili, give a little of the south African coast to the Empire, and give up their claims on other lands the Empire had taken previously.
    76-14.png

    There was a time of peace, but eventually Konstantinos Doukas, heir to the Empire, died in a hunting accident. Konstantios was not entirely convinced of the accidental nature of this death, remembering both the way that several recent emperors had died of 'natural causes' and of the way parliament had recently been denied. The resulting purges of the nobility were mercifully minor, and the effects less than rebellious, as their families' new cadet branches eagerly joined the glory of the Imperial Court. But several who were almost certainly innocent had been caught up in the purge, and many nobles were uneasy about coming to the Emperor's notice.
    76-15.png

    The young Theodoros was immediately declared heir, though he may have learned the wrong lessons from the events that led to his elevation.

    When parliament was again allowed to suggest ideas, they asked for the annexation of Austria, and were again rejected and ignored. Konstantios spent nearly a decade focusing on building the Empire's infrastructure and institutions. These years were peaceful and unsurprising. Until Konstantios XII wrote his most famous of letters.


    [1] I've started doing test conversions to Vic2, and boy do some of those regions change in shape between the games. I'm adjusting EU3 a bit to match.
     
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    77. The Epistle to the Empire
  • Idhrendur

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    The Epistle to the Empire

    Konstantios, XII of his name, Basilious

    Landholders, businessmen, plantation owners of the Empire, I remind you of St. Paul's letter to Philemon:


    Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,​
    To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker—also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home:​
    Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.​
    I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.​
    Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus—that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.​
    I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever—no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.​
    So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.​
    And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.​
    Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.​
    The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.[1]​


    As Philemon owed St Paul his very self, you owe the Empire (and thus me) your prestige and wealth. As St. Paul did, I insist that as Emperor, I could order you to do what you ought to do, but I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. I appeal to you for my long-suffering subjects, the slaves. Are they not sons of God, as you are? Were they not put into your power than they might learn their place in Christ? Therefore I implore you that you now treat them as dear brothers[2], rather than as slaves. I write this confidently to you, knowing you also would do more if I asked.



    Konstantios, XII of his name, Basilious

    Sealed orders to the Commanders, Centurions, and Legionaries of the Empire

    My command went to the Empire to free the slaves, an iron-fisted command in a glove of velvet. It has been a year since the command was given.

    Any slaveholder you can reach who has shown mercy, you shall show mercy. Remove them and their families from reprisal, and place them as officers or governors. For did not Christ insist that those who humbled themselves might be glorified?[3]

    As for those who have refused to give up their terrible ways: did not Christ warn that the last would be first and the first would be last?[4] Therefore in such cases, make the slaves the owners and the owners the slaves. Make those who sell slaves to be sold as slaves, and those slaves being sold to gain the profit.

    Once it is done, there shall be no new slaves. Those who seek to make new slaves will incur these punishments and more.



    77-1.png



    [1]The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers: 2001.
    [2]The Greek word used here can refer to both male and female siblings.
    [3]A reference to Luke 14:7-11, and perhaps also Luke 14:12-14.
    [4]Matthew 19:30-20:16
     
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    78. 1750 Update
  • Idhrendur

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    1750 Update

    By 1750, the Empire had finally reclaimed all of its historical holdings.
    78-1.png

    Eastern Europe had mostly stabilized, though Bjarmia, Novgorod, and Novgorod-Sversk had not yet succumbed to Russian consolidation.
    78-2.png

    In central Europe, Germany had begun the first of its wars of consolidation.
    78-3.png

    The only change of note in South America was a concession of land from Peru to Russia in Russia's war against Novgorod.
    78-4.png

    Eastern North America had changed significantly. The Huron had formed Canada and consolidated the north. The Cherokee had formed the United States of America and begun working to consolidate the plains. A few potential territorial disputes had been resolved by the Empire, with the lands under the temporary control of the Empire.
    78-5.png

    Western North America was a land of shifting claims, though few actual members of the claiming nations were actually present and control of the lands was nominal.
    78-6.png

    Eastern Africa saw Adal weakened, with Ethiopia, Swahili, and the Empire growing stronger.
    78-7.png

    In western Africa, Konstantios had made war on Mali to stop the slave trade at its source.
    78-8.png

    The settlement of Oceania had gone nearly as far as anyone considered worthwhile.
    78-9.png

    The Empire had advanced greatly in learning, with art and science flourishing throughout the Empire. Lonely Castile, holding only the Azores, had managed to import and apply nearly everything the Empire knew, though this was their only claim to any fame.
    78-10.png

    The Empire had the world's largest army (by far). Russia had the next largest, and the rulers of almost all India followed after that.
    78-11.png

    After the Empire, it was England and Peru that had the largest navies.
    78-12.png

    In the time span between 1700 and 1750, the Empire had extended yet more protection to the lower classes, though nearly everyone but the hereditary aristocrats had been shut out of the highest levels of influence and power. The merchants had given up direct influence in the government without too much fuss, as the Empire gave them more protection against outside traders. And the Imperial Corps of Engineers was proving ever useful to the Legions.
    78-13.png

    England, despite having been forced to abandon their homeland, had grown to be a power. The Kingdom was focused on their naval power, and on claiming as many colonies as they could. They controlled much of eastern South America, the New England region of North America, the North American south-west, and a strip of the Siberian coast. Their armies, while no match for the Legions, had proved well trained and equipped in the recent war, and their navy was the best in the world, giving even Konstantios pause.
    78-14.png

    Muscowy had long been spreading across the steppes, aided by the Empire, which had not wanted to manage those lands itself. After proclaiming itself the union of all Russians, it had reclaimed most of the traditional Russian heartland. Militaristic and aristocratic, who knew where it would turn next?
    78-15.png

    This was the world in 1750.
    78-16.png
     
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    79. War in Africa
  • Idhrendur

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    War in Africa

    Mali was an old and rich land. Wisely led by their Imams, they had grown powerful in western Africa. The legions were able to beat Mali's armies in any battle, but had a hard time maintaining any sieges as the Malinese army would travel to where the Legions were not and put Imperial controlled regions to siege. It took two years for the Legions to find some semblance of order to the war. By 1752, the western parts of Mali were besieged by XVII. Legio, XVI. Legio was bringing the Timbuktu region under control (with constant marching by the largest part of the Legion to defeat newly raised and organized Malinese forces), IX. Legio was clearing the Guinean region of forces and beginning the critical sieges, and XII. Legio (shipped over when it was apparent Mali was not an knockover) fended off Malinese raids and dreamed of marching on the Lake Tchad region.

    The war was a draining one for the Legions. In order to better recruit replacement soldiers, Konstantios tied each cohort to a particular province from which recruiters could find replacement soldiers.
    79-1.png

    Finally in November of 1753, Mali agreed to release Kanem Bornu and to give up a swath of territory to the Empire. Missionaries were sent to the conquered territories, and Kanem Bornu was disavowed of any ideas of alliance that they held.
    79-2.png

    During this war, the North Andean people had expressed dissatisfaction with the neglect their region had faced. No doubt, the fact that the North Andeans a primarily local culture that integrated themselves into the Imperial system once given the chance played a role in their independent mindset. A corrupt governor did not help their dissatisfaction, even though they were repaid for their losses.
    79-3.png

    Konstantios, recognizing that it would be a long time (if ever a time) before the Empire could directly administer them to a degree that made their lands worthwhile, granted them a great measure of independence.
    79-4.png

    During the peace while the Legions recovered, Theodoros (who was heir to the Empire and had recently had a coming out party) died of a strange fever. While Konstantios made no overt moves, he was suspicious of this death.
    79-5.png

    To no-one's surprise, Konstantios declared war on Kanem Bornu.

    Not too long after, the Empress gave birth. The astrologer's advice was ambiguous, and Konstantios chose to remember the Greek heritage in his heir's name.
    79-6.png

    This proved to be a good choice, as Kanem Bornu soon after agreed to give up most of their lands.
    79-7.png

    As did Songhai after them. With truces yet to expire in western Africa, Konstantios looked to eastern Africa. The old cursed land of Sennar was attacked so its land could be given to Ethiopia.
    79-8.png

    It was during this war that Konstantios died a little too soon, leaving a regency council to rule for Alexander until his majority.
    79-9.png
     
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