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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

SeanB

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Thanks the the encouragement. Please do send those files Mr. Capitalist, I'm sure they will really come in handy. Oh, and does anyone know why Ioannes VIII is not instead named John VIII? o_O Oh, by the way, Albania is Catholic at this point, not Orthodox, go figure. Anyway, sorry for the wait, but this one is special, as you’ll see. ;)

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The air was misty, the ground damp with the morning due. Across the plains of Macedonia, and through the mountains of Albania 20,000 men of the Roman Army marched. Autocrator Ioannes VIII rode at the head of this force, along with his Megas Domestikos, Epiphanius Dermokaites. Ioannes had demanded that their army be in Albania before the week was up, forcing Epiphanius to march his troops across Thrace, Macedon, and Albania, in just seven days.

Through a narrow valley, they now marched. The men were exhausted, yet Ioannes still insisted they march on, determined to clear the valley. For once, Epiphanius was in agreement with the hot headed and self centered Autocrator, they needed to clear the valley before the enemy had a chance to use it to their advantage.

Glancing over to Epiphanius, Ioannes clenched his fists tightly around the reins of his horse, "You said we would be out of this valley by now, what is taking so long?!" he barked at the Megas Domestikos, who, biting his tongue, calmly responded, "Autocrator, I have studied many maps of this region, and I can say with utmost certainty, that we are nearing the end, do not fear."

Ioannes simply growled under his breath, "You better be right Dermokaites."

Despite being tired and exhausted from their constant marching, the troops were certainly a better sight than they were 7 years earlier. With their victory over the Ghazi tribe, the soldiers now knew they were capable of actually defeating a serious enemy. With their recent economic prosperity, the Empire was able to better equip their soldiers, and could afford to devote more funds towards proper training. While they still were far from the best soldiers in Europe, they were at least no longer among the worst.

"Stay strong men, look alive! Soon we will march on Kruja! The Albanians have never faced a foe such as us!" One of the Strategos shouted to his men, in an attempt to boost their moral.

Many years earlier, the valley they now marched through had served as a vital choking point when it came to repelling invasions into Albania, however, 23 years prior, and Earthquake violently destabilized the region, making it unsuitable for combat, for either side.

Finally, before Ioannes could once again complain to or threaten his loyal General, the end of the great valley was sighted. Epiphanius ordered the army to a halt abruptly, "Sire, I recommend sending a small scouting party ahead, the Albanians may be waiting to cut our army off as it exits from the valley." he stated bluntly to Ioannes, who quickly responded with a scoff, "There is no need. No matter what the Albanians try, our army shall crush them utterly! Under MY leadership. Do you understand this, Dermokaites?" He said, purposefully looking down on the Megas Domestikos.

"Yes sire..." He said calmly, doing his best to not lose his temper with the Autocrator he was now sworn to serve.

With that, Ioannes quickly gave the order to march on through the valleys exit, more or less blind. However, indeed, no enemy waited to ambush them. Rather, they had formed on the far side of the plains, only a few miles from the Albanian capital of Kruja.

The Albanian army stood before them 20,000 strong on its own right. While the Roman Army had a clear advantage in dromons, the Albanians did outnumber them in cavalry. Epiphanius was nearly speechless, why were they deployed in such a simple fashion, and why are they making now attempt to disrupt us as we move into formation? It made no sense!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gjon I Kastrioti, King of Albania, sat upon his horse, watching as the Roman Army formed into their classic offensive formation. One of his officers quickly rode to his side, "Your majesty...why do we not attack? They are at their most vulnerable now, as they move into formation. If we deploy our Longbow men we-"

Gjon quickly silenced him with a wave of his hand, "While what you say may be true, it is also not the way for properly nobility to behave. I do realize that in our age, Honor and Chivalry may be considered foolish, and tactically unsound, but...I am an old man, set in his ways, you could say. It is better to die with honor, than achieve victory without."

"Sire..." His officer sat, speechless, before smiling slightly under his helm. "Very well my lord. We will allow them to form before moving on them."

"Thank you...that is all." Gjon continued to watch his enemy move into formation, remember the battles of his childhood.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

The line of attack had been established on the Romans side, having no time to rest, and no time to set up camp, all 20,000 men would participate in this battle, for better or worse. The Autocrator allowed his infantry to move ahead of him, as he and his Kataphractoi bodyguards stayed behind with the archers, ready to lend fire support, and if needed, to charge into the fray.



At the head of the army marched the dromos, armed with spear and shield, they were to lead the initial charge against the army of King Gjon. Behind them marched the well trained and disciplined Varangiai Agemata. As the two armies closed on one another, the outcome of the battle seemed uncertain at best.



Epiphanius rode to the front of the army, offering them encouragement, “Dromons, prepare to charge! Let them feel the power of Constantinople!” He shouted to the men, having a noticeable effect on moral, as he reminded them of what they fought for and why.

Ioannes lips curled past his teeth slightly at the sight of the popular and powerful general. How dare he undermined me in front of the men…

The lines grew ever closer, until both sides where within several kilometers of one another. Epiphanius, pumping his sword towards the enemy screamed with all of his might, “Δαπάνη!” The dromos quickly charged into the enemies spearmen, the archers on both sides opening fire, while the cavalry engaged one another in hopes of routing their counterparts and flanking the enemy.



The elite Kibanophoroi rip into to Albanian cavalry on the right flank, the young and little trained peasants horsemen routing before the more worthy Knights of Albania could arrive. Ioannes sat back behind the lines, eagerly watching the battle unfold, though still unwilling to participate himself.

The battle continues to rage, with the Army of the Romans slowly gaining the upper hand. Thousands of arrow fly past the warring soldiers with every passing second, as the ground becomes soaked with the blood of the countless dead on both sides. Gjon and his loyal Knight bodyguards ride to the front, hoping to encourage the men to fight on.

“Stand strong against these Roman devils men! They come to steal you from the true faith, to condemn your soul to hell! Fight on men, God is with us!” Gjon shouted as he rode into the fray, his lance poised for attack. With a thunderous crash, he and his Knights slammed against the dromons, yet, these peasant warriors held their ground, and did not retreat in the face of the Knights.



Ioannes continued to sit behind the lines, simply observing the battle, noticing that Gjon had rode the front, “How absurd, a King fighting amongst lowly soldiers.” He muttered under his breath.

Gjon hacked away at the dromons with his blade, his loyal and elite bodyguard with him the entire time. Together, they began pushing the Roman infantry back, bit by bit.

Epiphanius had spotted King Gjon in the fray, however. Turning to his own guard of Kataphractoi, he order them to follow him in a charge on the center of the enemies line, and on King Gjon. “Come men, we move on the Albanian Rigas! He shall lay dead before nightfall!” He shouted as he charged forward, into the fray.

As the Megas Domestikos and his guard closed in on the flank of the Albanian King, Gjon found himself surrounded. From the front and sides, the elite infantry of the Roman army, the Varangiai Agemata closed in on his paralyzed cavalry. No longer able to charge, and use the shock and momentum of their lances, they were slowly being cut to pieces. From behind, Epiphanius had managed to close in, trapping the King and his bodyguards between their enemies, with no way to escape.

Gjon never once thought of retreat however. If he was to die here, it would be in the glory of battle, like the great Kings of history.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ioannes smirked slightly, seeing the battle had turned decidedly in his favor. He quickly rode forward, to one of the Strategos in charge of a group of archers. “Listen carefully, do you see the Albanian Rigas, there?” He questioned him, point to Gjon fighting in the distance. “Aye my lord,” The Strategos quickly responded, “But the Megas Domestikos is there too, if we fire, we risk hitting him as well, sire.” Ioannes simply shrugged his shoulders, “There must be sacrifices in war, Strategos, now fire!”

The Strategos quickly nodded to his Autocrator, “Right away sire!” He held his sword in the air, “Aim…” with this, the men drew their arrows back, marking their targets, in particular, the Albanian Rigas. Everyone wanted to be the man who brought the King down. “Fire!” He shouted as the arrows were then unleashed.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gjon, seeing his situation grow ever more hopeless, made one last attempt to rally his soldiers forward. He ordered a forced charge by his Knights, one, which he would lead. For a moment, he and his loyal bodyguards pushed back the Varangiai soldiers, but where unable to clear a safe passage through, in the end, the noose around them only continued to grow tighter.

Sighting Gjon amongst the conflict, Epiphanius charged head long into the fray, preparing to engage the Rigas in personal combat. Gjon caught sight of him, and attempted to turn to face his foe, but could not turn his back on the infantry.


Epiphanius continued to charge towards his foe, shouting out to him, “Rigas! I challenge you! Prepare yourself!” Gjon had by then managed to turn his steed to face the Megas Domestikos, “You wish to fight me? Then prepare yourself!” With that, Gjon kicked his horse and charged towards him, Epiphanius mimicking him in this. Before the two old warriors could meet, however, Epiphanius was struck in the chest by an arrow, from his own men.

Epiphanius slowly gazed down at the protruding wood, as blood began to seep through his armor. Unable to hold himself straight, he fell from his horse, hitting the ground hard. Gjon was baffled, thinking it was his own archers, he glanced over the field, only to see them being routed by the Roman Cavalry. Before he could think more on the subject, two arrows struck him in the back. Gjon’s eyes widened, as blood spurted from his mouth, causing him to fall from his horse onto the ground, bleeding, and barely alive.



Seeing his opportunity for glory, Autocrator Ioannes orders them to charge into the fray, where the Rigas had fallen. His loyal bodyguard of Kataphractoi followed him in his “glorious” charge into the ranks of an already broken enemy, already in the process of routing. As he rode up to the side of the body of the mortally wounded Rigas, as he struggles on the ground to even sit up, he allows his bodyguards to charge ahead.

Ioannes smirks down at his wounded adversary, “Your Kingdom is mine now, as is your life!” Ioannes rose his blade into the air, and with one swipe, cleaved the head from the bewildered King, his lifeless corpse falling to the ground, whilst Ioannes picks the head of the defeated man of honor off the ground, holding it high. “I have slain the Albanian Rigas! All of Constantinople rejoice! Albania is ours!”

Epiphanius sadly lay dead some distance away, from blood loss. Though his body had gone unnoticed so far. The Albanian army was in full retreat, unable to muster the courage to stand any longer, especially without their King, the remaining soldiers fled to Kruja, where they hoped to make their last ditch defense. Victory was now assured, Kruja would be the next to fall, Ioannes was sure.

In the end, the Army of the Constantinople had lost around 3,500 men, while Albania had lost over 9,000, almost half their army.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aftermath


With the defeat of their army, the Albanian forces retreated to Kurja. However, with the loss of their King, and with their heir only being 14 years of age, the walls of the great capital were soon breached by the high spirited Roman Army. The flag of the Roman Empire was hoisted high over the ramparts of Kruja, to let its populous know that the realms of Albania were now once more Roman territory.

The position of Megas Domestikos went to Konstantinos XI Ioannes young heir to the throne. Epipharious however, was never acknowledged with a funeral of any sorts, much to Konstantinos’ surprise and anger. He had always admired Epiphanous not only for his tactical prowess, but for his personal honor as well.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Within Constantinople, Ioannes proclaimed a holiday in his honor, in order to celebrate his “single handed” conquest of Albania. While the people were fooled by this, Konstantinos was not. He knew Ioannes could not have possibly done all he claims, he was a coward, and a fool. He even suspected that he might have had a hand in the death of Epiphanous, Ioannes had to be dethroned, for the good of Constantinople, and the Empire.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Whew, sorry for taking so long, really. But there you go. I PROMISE I’ll have the next one out soon. So don’t worry. ;)
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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I like the battle pictures. Total War is much better than EEII, because of EEII troop limits....
 

Rensslaer

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Quite impressive battle scenes! How do you do those?

I'll be interested to see how your empire develops!

Rensslaer
 

SeanB

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Rensslaer said:
Quite impressive battle scenes! How do you do those?
They were done using Chivalry: Total War, a mod for Rome: Total War. :)

I'm glad you all liked them. Now if I could just improve my horrible writing skills. :p
 

unmerged(15557)

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I need to buy Rome Total war.

Simple as that.

Nice going on the Albanians, get morea and hellas and you're good to go!
 

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And here we go again. This is just a short holder update, as I'll be going out in a minute, but I'll post the "real" update later to day, no worries.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The city of Constantinople was truly a sight to behold once more. With the recent increase in the Empires wealth, the city had been rebuilt to reflect its great legacy, a statue of Ioannes VIII, Autocrator of the Romans being erected in the center of the great city.

Ioannes had been celebrated as a great hero and conqueror by the common people, his victory in Albania making him a legend in his own time, just as he had dreamed. However, though Constantinople's treasury was once more stable and growing, Ioannes constant insistance that great monuments be construct in his image were beginning to take their tole on the Imperial treasury.

In secret, the Imperial Court whispered of rumors that he killed the Megas Domestikos Epiphanius, and that he had been secretly having prominent politicians who he viewed as a threat to his power assassinated. On top of the more or less true rumors, were the usual accusations of demon worship and a lust for young boys.

In any case, most of the upper class knew the truth about their Autocrator, in particular, his heir Konstantinos XI knew of his brothers corruption, and jealousy of their father, Manuel’s legacy. He had grown to hate his brother over the years for his self centered attitude and for the death of Epiphanius, his mentor. He feared he would bring the Empire into ruin with his absurdly lavish, and unnecessary "art", based solely around his "glory".

He also knew that many in the Imperial Court felt the same way, and wished for him to take up the mantle of autocrator, rather than his brother. If he was to do so however...it would mean having him killed. His choices seemed to be growing more narrow as time passed however. His brother had continued to slip into his own delusional world, slipping ever farther from reality.

He had taken to stealing the flower pots around many prominent nobles homes, and forcing them Imperial Guards to wear them in the place of their normal helms, claiming they would keep them safe the weed people of Athens.

On December 1st, 1430, Ioannes announced his "Most ambitious masterpiece".
A great bridge, constructed between Thrace and Smyrna, made of solid marble, with small to life size statues of himself lining the rims. This "masterpiece" of his cost the Imperial Treasury 30,000 pounds of gold to construct, and was completely unnecessary.

Things had to change, and fast. With this, Konstantinos made his way to a privet meeting with the Imperial Court, and several prominent noble families, in order to the discuss the plan...the plan to assassinate his brother, the Autocrator of the Romans.
 

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Mettermrck said:
A Thrace-Smyrna bridge out of marble? Now that's a project worthy of a mad emperor. :) I shudder to think of the difficulties involved, hehe.
Was that possible at the time? :eek:
 

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Heh, indeed, they could actually do such a thing back in Roman (Ancient Rome) times. Sorry for the wait, things came up.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ioannes XIII walked along his great bridge of marble, alone. He had requested no escort, and the Imperial Guard was happy to comply, for he had began to scare many of his closest and most loyal subjects. As he gazed at the many statues that lined the bridge, each portraying him as the equal of Alexander, Ceaser, Hannibal, among many other great heroes of Antiquity, he threw his arms into the air, "Ah, my father in heaven, have you ever made a man as magnificent as I?"

However, unbeknownst to him, he was being watch carefully, and not just by God.

As the Autocrator of the Romans approached the end of the bridge to Smyrna, an unassuming figure hid along the roadside, apparently tending to his small farm. Ioannes made his way towards his Smyrna beach house, another one of his recent constructions, which was made obvious by the many nude statuettes and portraits of himself that adorned it, which had upset many prominent members of the Clergy a great deal when they came to visit him there one summer.

Growing ever closer, and ever more tired as the sun sank behind the horizon, Ioannes became increasingly dazed. The assassin saw his opportunity, and quickly dashed towards the unsuspecting Autocrator. Too tired to react to the surprise attack, Ioannes was pierced in the side by the blade of the Assassin. His eyes wide with shock, as he gazed down at the man driving the blade ever deeper into his blood soaked clothes, the disgusting sound of his flesh being cut by his killers blade filling his ears.

And yet, Ioannes began to laugh, as the Assassin pulled the dagger from his side. Falling on the ground, his face looking up towards the sky, he continued to laugh as the life slowly drained from him. “How…appropriate…that one as great as I should die…just…like….Caesar…” And finally, the Autocrator lay dead on the blood soaked road.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

News of the Autocrators death was taken well by the people. While at first he was hailed as a hero for his conquest of Albania, many soon began to feel the effects of his lavish spending, and many feared the wrath of the heavens, as he had began to make himself out to almost be a God himself in the eyes of many, especially the Clergy. Almost everyone was happy to see his brother Konstantinos XI ascend the Imperial Throne.

Konstantinos, like his brother before his lapse of sanity, was an excellent economist, and made many reforms that improved the flow of income into the royal treasury. Fortunately, unlike his brother, he was not willing to throw the Empire into senseless wars simply for popularity. He was content with his position, and was happy with the small, but stable Empire he had. Expansion was the farthest thing from his mind upon ascending to the Throne.

However, this began to slowly change as time went on. Roman trade had began to be compromised by the increasingly harsh tariffs being imposed on them by the Venetians, whose whine, and Sugar cane from Crete and Ionia they relied upon. The Empires delicate trade network began to unravel as the tariffs made it less and less profitable every passing year.

And yet Konstantinos desired to avoid war at all costs, so he abstained from possibly offending the Venetians by asking them to lower their tariffs. However, the next set of events he could not ignore.

On the 8th of march, 1430, Venice fully integrated the Duchy of Athens into its Βασίλειο. The Roman Empire had a agreement of military access with Athens, allowing them access to Morea. Venice refused any invitations to enter a similar agreement. Trade with Athens was also a great deal cheaper, and with their absorption into Venice, their only reasonable trading partner close to home was gone, devastating Roman trade.

Unable to overlook this, and with the merchants, middle class, Megas logothetes, Logothetes ton oikeiakon, and even the Logothetes tou dromou demanding action, he sent an official envoy to the “Venetian Trade Republic” as many had taken to calling it, demanding the tariffs on goods going into Constantinople and Smyrna be greatly reduced.

The Venetians as he had feared, refused, and threatened war should they attempt to end trade with their nation. Conflict seemed inevitable. Konstantinos chose to be the one to make the first move, however, and catch Venice off guard.

He quickly rose an army of 25,000 men, and marched on Hellas from Albania. If Venice would not open the rout to Morea, they would have to force it open by sword point if necessary. Konstantinos was very careful in timing his war, Hungary had recently declared war on the Venetians, and was threatening Venice itself with its powerful army.

Konstantinos believed that with Venice so distracted by a war that was already going poorly for them, they could easily defeat them in their southern provinces, and claim Hellas and the island of Ionia.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Roman Empire declared war on Venice on December 1430. Quickly marching towards Hellas with his army, he engaged the 10,000 man force that awaited him. The battle was over with few losses for the Romans. However, the siege of Hellas would prove to be more difficult than Konstantinos would have believed.

Attrition set in, and began to take its tole on the Army of the Romans. Meanwhile, Albania had been lain siege to by the combined forces of Venice and the Papal States. Eventually, however, Hellas fell, and though his army was now reduced to under 20,000 men, he quickly marched towards Albania to lift the siege.

The battle was over fairly quickly, with only minor losses to the Romans. Konstantinos quickly lead their army to Ionia. The city fell within six months, and only one last goal remained, Corfu. By now, three years had passed, almost four, and the people of Constantinople were becoming tired of this war. They were eager to see it resolved, and Konstantinos knew the siege of Corfu would need to be resolved quickly, and a peace deal signed between their two Empires.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sitting upon a small hill, his horse at his side, he gazed at the city of Corfu. For eight long, long months, the Autocrator and his army, now no more than 10,000 men waited, and continued to starve out the garrison of Corfu, hoping for a surrender any day now. Once this task was done, they believed Venice would see reason, and come to terms, so that they could devote all of their strength to the war with Hungary.

An officer rode towards the hill, and the Autocrator, slowing down to a trot as he grew closer, and bowing his head in respect. “Autocrator, we have just received word from the city of Corfu, they are willing to surrender, as long as we promise their nobles amnesty…

Konstantinos smiled slightly, running his fingers through his hair, “Very well then. Those are acceptable terms. Tell them as long as they offer no more resistance, we will not harm them or their city.”

The officer nodded his head in acknowledgement and quickly rode off towards the city of Corfu to deliver the “Good News“. Within the hour, Roman troops marched into the city, and slept in real beds for the first time in almost 10 months.

Another ship was on its way to Corfu however, a diplomatic envoy from Venice. Konstantinos, ordering the Imperial Navy to allow it safe passage, met with this envoy in the governors palace in Corfu. The Venetian diplomat announced the pace terms to the Autocrator of the Romans.

The diplomat was a dignified man, obviously of noble roots. He stood around 5’6, and carried himself with pride. Unraveling a small scroll, he read from it in a slightly accented Greek. “In recognition of your success in the following war, Venice is willing to cede to the Roman Empire the lands of Corfu, Hellas, and Ionia, as well as pay 27,000 gold pieces in indemnities. Does the Autocrator of the Romans see these terms as acceptable?” He asked, his eyebrows furrowing slightly.

Konstantinos looked over the agreement briefly, “I will need to defer with my Megas Domestikos for a moment.”

Moving a distance away from the foreign emissary, he spoke in a quiet whisper to his Megas, Guistiniani “I feel this term is acceptable, and I do not believe it wise to try and press further into Venetian territory. Regusa is something of an over ambitious goal, I do believe.” He finished. “I agree, sire. The offer they have given us is more than fair, and accepting it would be most wise.” Guistiniani said, nodding his head slightly.

Konstantinos made his way back to Venetian emissary, and smiled, “We find these terms acceptable, and are ready to declare this war to be at an end.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Celebrations had broken out all over the new Empire, even in the newly conquered lands. They were happy to be a part of the great Empire they had been stolen from. Greeks now ruled Greeks once more in the lands of Hellas, Ionia and Corfu. Konstantinos was now considered the savior of the Roman Empire, and was hailed as the greatest Emperor since Justinian! No longer were they simply a city and collection of small towns within Thrace. Now, Constantinople once again ruled over an Empire, however small it may be in the eyes of the European powers.

With the strength gained by the Roman Empire, Konstantinos demanded the prince of Morea give up his title, and bring his state back into the Imperial fold. Fearing a civil war he could not possibly win, he quickly agreed, and Morea was once more a part of the Empire.



However, not everyone rejoiced at the success of the Romans…

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Welp, that’s all for now. As you can guess, the Ottomans had the Hellas event and declared war on me. ;) Now here is the biggest challenge of the game for Byz. :D
 

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Keep the straights locked with your ships, then use a big army to defeat their european conquests one by one. Never mind with sieges, you can deal with that later, just annihilate their armies. Then use a siege army for taking away their provinces, and a cavalry army for KO the armies they will be building in their unconquered and not yet sieged territories. For the first war, take territories in europe. For the second war, go for broke and take Micrasia Back!
 

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The Byzantine Empire still has many chalenges ahead. You must reforge the Empire what ever the costs! :cool:
 

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Hi,

nice work so far. I have some questions as my campaigns as Byzantium are not as easy as your seem to be:

- what settings did you start with?

- didn`t the Ottomans try to steal your siege of Smyrna? I usually have this happen 3 times out of 4 forcing me to restart until I get Smyrna for myself.

- did you really beat the Ghazi in Smyrna immediately with only 15000 men?
I can wear them down with such an army, but for outright victory I need at least 12000 cav + my all remaining inf and even then I loose a couple of battles in their second province before I can lay siege to Ghazi capital.

- what is your inflation level?

- did you take loans and how many?

- did you go bankrupt?

I`m asking because usually I can take 4-5 provinces till 1450-ies but then my inflation is in the 50-ies and I have level 1 techs only as loan interests and bankruptcies make it impossible to develop techs and keep inflation down. It`s not very fun to continue under such premises. That at default settings.
If you managed to avoid problems I use to have as per above I would appreciate guidance.
I`ll be following this, good luck.

Regards, Oldtimer
 

SeanB

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OLDTIMER said:
Hi,

nice work so far. I have some questions as my campaigns as Byzantium are not as easy as your seem to be:

- what settings did you start with?

- didn`t the Ottomans try to steal your siege of Smyrna? I usually have this happen 3 times out of 4 forcing me to restart until I get Smyrna for myself.

- did you really beat the Ghazi in Smyrna immediately with only 15000 men?
I can wear them down with such an army, but for outright victory I need at least 12000 cav + my all remaining inf and even then I loose a couple of battles in their second province before I can lay siege to Ghazi capital.

- what is your inflation level?

- did you take loans and how many?

- did you go bankrupt?

I`m asking because usually I can take 4-5 provinces till 1450-ies but then my inflation is in the 50-ies and I have level 1 techs only as loan interests and bankruptcies make it impossible to develop techs and keep inflation down. It`s not very fun to continue under such premises. That at default settings.
If you managed to avoid problems I use to have as per above I would appreciate guidance.
I`ll be following this, good luck.

Regards, Oldtimer
- Normal, Coward, as I heard that yields a more historical map.

- Nope, you just have to strike fast, and strike hard before the Ottomans can declare war on the Ghazi.

- I'm not sure about your game, but the Ghazi simply never trained any more troops when I attacked them. And Karaman, their supposed allies never sent aid, odd. Funny thing, after I beat them, not five years later did Karaman declare war on Ghazi and annex them.

- 17.3%

- No. Do not take any loans unless you are SURE you will be able to repay them. Push your slider all the way towards treasury, and disband most of your army after a war if you aren't expecting another soon. Once you have a few hundred gold, you can start devoting some to your tech.

- Nope, see above.

And on a side note, it just takes getting a feel for it. This is like my 10th Byzantine Start. I played most till the 1500's before getting bored, and I've completed four, 1 vanilla and three AGCEEP's, 1 without Lyls mods, 1 with, another with an updated Lyl mod, and I'm playing this one with a once again updated Lyl mod. :p I like Byzantium if you can't guess.

By the way everyone, I'm working on the next post in word, hit a bit of a writers block, but I'm starting to get some new ideas. ;)
 
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SeanB

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Now, I know you will have expected a more decisive outcome from my first war the Ottoman Empire, but with the war being as hard fought as it was, I was pushing it with what I did gain. But anyway, as things in game start to happen at a more accelerated pace, I’m going to gradually start shifting the focus from second person “Konstantinos said ‘I shall not surrender!’” to a more historical-style telling.

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The first Ottoman War - February 1437

With the resounding success of the Roman Empires war with Venice, Konstantinos was hailed as the greatest Autocrator since Justinian. All of the controversy surrounding the death of his brother had disappeared after that. The Empire was now the most powerful Balkan power, next to the Ottoman Empire, of course. The authority of the Autocrator of the Romans was finally returning, however slowly. The people in Constantinople felt secure within their new Empire. Thrace, now safe from raids, settled in for a new era of peace and prosperity.

God apparently had other things in store for the Romans, however.

The Ottoman Empire, the unquestioned power in the Balkans and Anatolia, were growing increasingly concerned with the growing strength of the Roman Empire. This was the second time the Romans had discarded their warnings and conquered the Hellas region, along with the straight of islands that surround it.

The Roman Empire was quickly becoming a threat to the authority of the Sultan, and Murad II, the current Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, knew that drastic actions were needed in order to halt the Roman advance, lest they grow so ambitious that they try and claim Thessaloniki once more! The thought of such was unbearable to the Sultan. The Ottoman Empire had grown mighty indeed under his rule, he had reconquered much of the lands lost by their defeat at the hands of the Timurid Empire. He would not allow any of them to fall to the Romans.

Unbeknownst to the Sultan, however, war with the Ottomans was the last thing Konstantinos wished for. He simply wanted to preserve the modest Empire he had forged from his war with Venice, and let his small but stable Empire rest in peace. However, to the Ottomans, he was a massive threat. They feared that if he attacked, and heaven forbid, seized territory from them, massive Greek revolts would break out in Anatolia and the Balkans, throwing their Empire into anarchy once more.

On February of 1437, the Ottoman Empire declared war on the Empire of the Romans.

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The great city of Constantinople was in chaos, as people, fearing the “inevitable”, left Constantinople in droves, certain that their home and Empire was doomed to obliteration. The population of over 60,000 people was quickly reduced a meager 20,000. The city now felt, and looked completely deserted. Only the most loyal citizens now walked its streets, mostly noble families.

Within the Imperial Court, Konstantinos spoke with his Megas Domestikos in privet, desperately trying to find a way to emerge from this battle with at least the signing of a white peace. In all honesty, in his heart, Konstantinos knew the Sultan would not let the Empire get this strong without trying to stop them.

“All hope is not lost Autocrator.” The Megas Domestikos broke Konstantinos from his thoughts, “If we can prevent them from entering Thrace and the Balkans, we may have a chance against the meager forces they have stationed there. They were primarily concentrating on securing Anatolia before the war, and need time to cross the straights either into Thrace or into Macedonia. If we can prevent this, we can secure their Balkan territories and defeat them!” He finished.

Konstantinos sighed heavily, stretching his muscles slightly. He had been up since news of the declaration of war reached him. “Very well, send all available ships to the Aegean Sea, with only a modest fleet guarding Thrace. If they can’t penetrate the Aegean, then they can’t send ships to attack the fleet at Thrace. Once the Balkans are secure, we may be able to come to terms with them.” Konstantinos said, remaining calm despite all of the pressure.

The other court members were meanwhile busy trying to balance the cost of raising more troops for the war, as well as supporting them with Constantnioples greatly reduced population. They feared this would put Constantinople in massive financial debt, and perhaps even bankruptcy, which after their war with Venice, they certainly could not afford. Things were not looking good for the Romans, but they would certainly not give in without a fight.

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Chapter 1, The first Ottoman War, Princeton’s History of the Roman Empire, 1437 - 1920



The Roman Army, now around 28,000 and directly under Konstantinos and his Megas Domestikos Guistanioni’s leadership, quickly marched into Macedonia, where they engaged a Turkish army of 22,000 men. The fighting was brutal, according to French historian Adrien Beaudoin, with over 10,000 Turks dead by the end of the day, and over 4,000 Greeks. But it was a victory for the Roman Empire, and after a relatively quick siege, Thessaloniki fell.

However, the war did not go completely to the Romans advantage, the Turks, and their Mameluk allies had crushed the meager army guarding Smyrna, and besieged Izmir. The Autocrator of the Romans feared they would be unable to reclaim it from the combined Turkish/Mameluk armies should it fall. However, he could not render it assistance at the moment, lest he leave Constantinople vulnerable to attack.

The Imperial Army moved towards Bulgaria, a strategically valuable position, for it acted as a barrier between Thrace and the rest of Europe. The Roman Army of 24,000 men once again met with the now weakened 12,000 man Turkish army in battle, once again resoundingly crushing them, though with few losses to either side. However, while the Imperial Army laid siege to Sofia, the Mameluk’s had successfully broken through Izmir’s defenses, draping their flag over the ramparts, though being unable to progress further because of the Roman Naval blockade.

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The Battle of the Hellespont

Being unable to progress beyond Smyrna as a result of the Roman blockade, and fearing the loss of their Balkan territories, the Ottoman generals devised a plan based around King Xerxes’ Persian invasion of Greece in the 5th century BC. It involved constructing a bridge between northern Smyrna, and northern Macedonia. Using the combined arms of they and their Mameluk allies, the Ottomans managed to successfully complete the bridge. However, Roman spies had gotten word to Konstantinos, who quickly took 5,000 men from the main bulk of the army, telling Guistanioni to continue the siege, while he went to prevent their crossing.

As the Ottoman and Mameluk’s attempted to ferry their combined armies of over 40,000 across the bridge, Konstantinos and the 5,000 Romans awaiting them hatched a plan to stop the Ottomans before they could even cross the channel. The Turks, expecting their crossing to be a surprise to the Romans did not think of the consequences of them being discovered. As their armies grew closer to the shores of Macedonia, the Roman army rained arrows of fire down upon the approaching Turks and Mameluks, the fire catching the bridge ablaze in the process.

Though the Turks quickly ordered a retreat from the collapsing bridge, the Romans had waited till they were well across the Hellespont to launch their attack. Roman historians claim that 25,000 Turks and Mameluks drowned in the cold waters of the Aegean Sea. Though modern historians question this number, and place it at around 10,000. Not only was this a costly defeat for the Turks in term of manpower, but it also was a massive moral hit. The Turks would never attempt to cross the Hellespont again.

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The Balkan Campaign of the First Ottoman War

Upon his return, the siege of Sofia was quickly concluded. His army quickly made its way towards Kosovo, which was left undefended by the Turks. With the failure of the Ottomans attempts to defeat the Roman Fleet, and with their catastrophic defeat at Hellespont, the Romans were free to take their time in the siege of Ras, eventually breaking through its meager defenses, and marching their army towards Rumelia.

However, a harsh winter struck the lower Balkans that year, devastating the Roman army, and reducing it from 24,000 men, to 17,000, and crushing the moral of its soldiers. Arriving at Rumelia, they encountered an Ottoman army of over 15,000 men, along with General Hesse Bey. Already demoralized by the winter snow, and with many of their best Meraches either dead, or too ill to fight, the Roman army was utterly defeated at Rumelia, being forced to withdraw to Constantinople to regroup. Estimated casualties for the Romans are around 3,000, with the Turks suffering around 1,500.

Growing confident after his victory over the Romans in Rumelia, Hesse Bey lead his army in an attack on Constantinople itself! However, Konstantinos, anticipating this had sent some of his mercenaries trained in guerilla tactics to harass and demoralize Hesse’s forces, and eliminate their cavalry wing commanders. By the time of the battle, Hesse’s army was disorganized, and was beaten back soundly by the Roman soldiers, motivated by a desire to protect their precious capital and families.

With the capture of Smyrna, the Roman treasury was slowly but surely shrinking, so the royal court was understandably upset when Konstantinos requested more soldiers from their already depleted population. With his army recovering some of its former strength, he marched once again on Rumelia with 20,000 men, against Hesse Bey’s 12,000, resoundingly defeating the Ottoman general, and laying siege to Rumelia.

With most of their Balkan territories now under Roman control, the Sultan and his generals began thinking defensively, fortifying their position in Smyrna, determined not to lose it to the Empire of the Romans. They watched, helpless to stop them as they took Rumelia, and then, marched towards Silistra.

The army of Hesse Bey, now reduced to a meager 9,000 awaited the approaching Roman Army, roughly consisting of 14,000 infantry, and 4,000 cavalry. Though Hesse did his best to attempt to hold the Roman advance at bay, with his back against the wall, he had no chance of winning. As the Romans surrounded the desperately fighting Turks, Hesse Bey gave the order to surrender, and throw down their arms. General Hesse Bey was taken prisoner, and sent to Constantinople.

With the fall of Silistra, the Ottoman territory of the Balkans was now under Roman rule, and the now confident Konstantinos began to devise a way of invading Anatolia, and securing their final victory.

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The liberation of Smyrna

After their defeat at Hellespont, and as things grew more desperate in the Balkans, the Ottomans had been working on fortifying their defenses in Smyrna. It now looked to be a fortress, with nearly 30,000 men from both the Ottoman Empire and the Mameluk Sultanate defending it. Straining the Empire's coffers for all they were now worth, Emperor Konstantinos chose to make a daring move and took 18,000 troops via his primary fleet into the Anatolia region, and besieged the Ottoman capital Edirne. (I don’t know why its still Bursa in game.)

As he had hoped, the Ottoman Army in Smyrna, immediately turned to attack this force, leaving their Mameluk allies alone to defend Smyrna. Konstantinos quickly loaded his troops back onto the ships, and sent them into Smyrna, along with 6,000 troops that would be attacking directly from Thrace. This bold and dangerous plan paid off in the end, and the Mameluks in Smyrna where overwhelmed and driven back into Anatolia. While the Ottoman Empire tried to assault the Roman army and drive them back into Thrace, Konstantinos now had their own fortifications on their side, and easily broke their attack.

Izmir was quickly besieged by Konstantinos and his army, and despite constant harassment by Ottoman and Mameluk armies, they eventually returned Izmir and all of Smyrna to Roman rule. Having lost this crucial battle, the Ottomans for the first time in the war, began to consider the possibility that they may be defeated. Talks of acceptable peace terms began in the Sultans court, as Konstantinos began to plan his assault on Angora.

However, his plans were cut short by news of Rebellions in the Balkans, even among loyal provinces like Hellas and Morea. His army was now once more also looking rather rugged, reduced down to a meager 16,000 men from the constant attacks from the Ottomans and their Mameluk allies. He began to realize that he would need to strike a peace deal with the Ottomans, and soon.

On March 18th, 1442, the Roman Emperor sent an emissary to the Sultan, with his demands. In exchange for peace, the Ottoman Empire would need to give up the territories of Macedonia, Rumelia, and Bulgaria, as well as pay 100,000 gold in indemnities. Though the Sultan hated giving up his richest Balkan territories, he knew he had little choice other than to continue fighting a war that looked to have no end, when his own once loyal provinces were on the verge of Rebellion.

Begrudgedly, the Ottoman Sultan accepted these terms, and the Roman Empire emerged victorious from a war with a foe they thought invincible only a few years earlier. Konstantinos, hero of Constantinople, hero of the Orthodox church, hero of the Roman Empire, had recovered lands taken by the Ottomans over a hundred years ago! Celebrations were held in Constantinople, as well as the rest of the Empire it now ruled over.

The Romans were now a Balkan and Anatolian power once more, and were feared and respected from Serbia to the tribes of the White Sheep.

Sum Roma Regenita!

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Well that’s all for tonight folks, I hope you enjoyed this long post. ;) More tomorrow, as I attempt to stabilize my new Empire, and claim the rest of the Balkans from those pesky Turks.
 
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