Idhrendur

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That's a fun kind of entry. I find the implication of a major fire disquieting, though.
 

Specialist290

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Count me as another reader who's really liking the "man on the street" perspective from that last update.

I think the view through converted outsiders works nicely. How does Norse Orthodoxy work out, anyway? Is there straight-up fanaticism from the newcomers who wish to prove themselves, or is there a certain amount of syncretism? Do they use Greek as a liturgical language or did they translate the Bible into Norse? And what is the situation in the Rus?

If historical precedent means anything, they would probably translate the Bible into Norse. That was common for Eastern Orthodox missionaries who went into various areas of the world (for example, the Russian monks who went into Alaska, and translated the New Testament into the local language of the natives).

What I find interesting is how this development might end up affecting written Norwegian. Instead of the Latin alphabet, we might end up with Norwegian being written in some Greek- or Cyrillic-derived script, or perhaps even some sort of runic / Cyrillic hybrid if we assume that the Orthodox missionaries would have been more likely to adapt the local script rather than impose a completely new one. At any rate, I'd imagine that it would end up looking rather alien to a Norwegian from this world!

I also vaguely recall from a previous update that while Norway went Orthodox, Sweden went Catholic. That's probably going to have a pretty huge impact on their evolution from a common Norse identity into separate nationalities.

That's a fun kind of entry. I find the implication of a major fire disquieting, though.

Indeed. Looks like RossN is teasing some ominous tidings to come in the next update...
 

Henry v. Keiper

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RossN

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Part Nine -The End of an Era

Symmachos.jpg
Prince Symmachos, crowned Despot of Italy (from a late Eleventh Century mosaic.)​

The Romans seized Upper Egypt from the weakening Hassan Caliphate in 1075 AD in what proved to be the last territorial expansion of Anthemios' long reign. The recovery of all Egypt after four centuries of Muslim control made the Romans a force to be reckoned with in the Red Sea and opened up the possibility of sea trade with India (much to the delight of the Pisans, Genoese and Venetians[1].) It also restored Egypt, once a bastion of the Christian world to the Church.

However all this lay in the future. In the late 1070s as the Emperor aged a scandal emerged that threatened to sweep everything aside. The Empress Gyrid was exposed as having taken a lover, one Philippos, a Senator and recently appointed governor of Quena in Egypt. The two had grown overconfident, their affair being a longstanding one, and had been discovered in bed together as the Emperor returned early from a hunting trip, his horse having thrown a shoe. The tale was whispered by horrified gossipmongers in the Forum and at the Hippodrome the following morning and many wondered about the three young children Gyrid had borne. Where they all Anthemios'? Where any of them Anthemios'?

The Emperor, whatever his other faults was not about to punish the children for their mother's affairs but his reaction against the adulterers was harsh. Philippos was crudely cut down in the streets by a supposedly inebriated Varangian Guardsman. Gyrid's fate was less immediate; divorced from the Emperor and stripped of her possessions she was ordered to a convent to spend the remainder of her days. The beautiful former Empress was not there a full day when her body was discovered; she had seemingly taken her own life by swallowing hot coals from the brazier in her cell. Very, very few voiced doubts over whether anyone, even the desperate would be able to hold burning hot coals long enough to willingly swallow them...[2]

Anthemios took the whole episode very hard and withdrew further from public life. He was growing old and tired, though he did emerge to oversee the second marriage of his heir Eusebios, Count of Damascus. His second son Symmachos, already Count of Padua was given control over Italy as 'Despot' - king in all but name[3]. Finally Anthemios was persuaded to marry once more for the sake of his youngest children. In contrast to his previous wife, Princess Mthvarsia of Georgia was no great beauty but she was an intelligent woman who brought some comfort and stability in the time left, which was not long.

The Emperor Anthemios died on 23rd May 1078 at the age of sixty six. He had worn the purple for fifty nine years and few of his subjects could recall a time before him. A thin, frail looking man whose hair was little more than grey wisps he was escorted through the streets of Constantinople with a funeral whose splendour almost eclipsed that of his jubilee nine years earlier. The citizens watched, not so much grief-stricken but numb with shock and uncertainty. What next?

Emperoranthemiosat66.png
The Emperor Anthemios at the time of his death.​

Anthemios emerges through history as a gifted man and a fine ruler, if not as noble or likable as some of his dynasty. Throughout his early reign he listed to the advice of loyal and wise advisors like the eunuch Sebastianos and Patriarch Sergios of Antioch. Later on his style grew more autocratic but he never dispensed with a talented advisor simply for being talented. He was always a great patron of the church, founding several new bishoprics in his time and waging ceaseless war on the infidels. Though he was personally distrustful of the Pope and the power of the Papacy he was willing to listen to Patriarch Sergios and avoid forcing the issue. An open schism was avoided, even if the differences in theology pointed towards future problems.

At his heart Anthemios was Hellenic and Oriental; he instinctively looked towards the East. By a quirk of longevity he inherited the throne of Italy long after coming to the purple in Constantinople and though he visited his grandmother’s kingdom and appreciated Italian gold he never much cared or understood the place which was full of feudal nobles and arrogant nobles who followed a rite that raised the Bishop of Rome above the Patriarch of Constantinople. It is hard to escape the conclusion that he saw Italy as duty to be borne rather than an integral part of his Empire.

In contrast Roman expansion in Asia and then into Egypt restored the old borders of the Eastern Roman Empire. When he came to the purple the Empire was in a strong position but still faced with formidable opponents. When he left the stage the Romans were supreme along the whole coast from the Golden Horn to Cyrenacia. The Greek language and to an even greater extent the Orthodox faith blossomed as never before. In effect Anthemios overthrew the legacy of the original Arab invasions. The ghost of Heraclitus was avenged.

At almost six full decades Anthemios had the longest reign in the entire history of the Roman Empire, though Basileios, who came to power as a grown man, lived to be even older. His son Eusebios who now donned the purple was already forty five, the oldest man to become Emperor since Leon VI 'the Wise'. It seemed unlikely that whatever his other qualities Eusebios II would surpass his father's record.

Romanempire1078.png
The Roman Empire in 1078 AD.​


[1] Believe or not the Roman Empire had a lot of sea trade with India before the Arab invasions closed off the Red Sea.

[2] Who said vengance is best served cold?

[3] Symmachos was going to inherit Italy anyway so I decided to give him a headstart!
 

RossN

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Khryses: Thank you! :)

Stuyvesant: Very glad you like it!

GulMacet, Henry v. Keiper and Specialist290: I'll be doing an appendix on the state of the world soon, including the religious situation. :)

Nikolai: that sounds like a messy set of borders! :D

Asantahene: Thanks!

scelestus13: Well, perhaps. :)

Idhrendur: Well it is still possibly a while away...

Mettermrck: I fully agree!
 

GulMacet

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Rome had trade relations with China, too! They sure got around... How about integrating Georgia the same way you did with Italy?

I hope Eusebios spent his time before becoming Emperor reading about Alexander - under him, Hellenic civilization stretched to the Oxus, the Jaxartes and the Indus. Surpass him by going even further East!
 

DKM

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Try to get Bavaria or at least the Southern part so as to create a land route to Italy.
 

unmerged(58610)

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Italy is detached from the main Imperial holding. Those Bavarians do indeed need to be removed. The Talibids -what am I bid for a Tali? Please conquer it, if only to stem the flow of bad puns coming from my pen. Byzantine Empeors could only marry three times under Orthodox rules - not all at the same time mind - more than one Emperor encountered opposition from the Patriarch of Constantinople for marrying a fourth time.
 

Specialist290

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Farewell Anthemios, you shall truly be missed. A shame about how his last few years ended up in such a domestic scandal, but overall I'd call his reign quite solid indeed. 59 years is a good run for anyone, especially after that string of short reigns by his predecessors.
 

Nikolai

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Yeah, farewell. The golden age of his will be missed by the people, I'm sure.:) In my current Byz game, the emperor died after 60 years on the throne. Available troops plummeted from 24k from vassals to a mere 9k... I guess you face a similar problem, Ross. That means golden time for vassal plotting, eh?
 

guillec87

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Maybe its time to inherit somehow Georgia
 

DKM

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Oooh goodie! Hopefully this will mean the end of relentless expansion for now.
 

Henry v. Keiper

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So happy to see Byzantium grow and retake much of the land it lost. I think it's pretty much regained most of the land it had under Justinian, hasn't it?
 

NACBEAST

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So happy to see Byzantium grow and retake much of the land it lost. I think it's pretty much regained most of the land it had under Justinian, hasn't it?

Well, there's still a lot of North Africa and Southern Spain that isn't under the Empire's control, there's no land connection to the Italian Peninsula and Rome isn't directly under the Emperor's control, so no, he hasn't gotten to Justinian levels quite yet. however, what can be said most definitely is that he's reconquered the old borders of the Eastern Roman Empire (that is, the territory the Eastern Roman Empire controlled separate from the Western Roman Empire).
 

RossN

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Appendix - The World in 1078 AD

Worldin1078.png
Politics in 1078 AD.​



Britain & Ireland


The Ninth Century had seen the Pagan Norse overrun much of the British Isles. By the closing decades of the Eleventh Century only Jorvik remained in the hands of the now Christian Norse (though King Eadread was of a Norsified Irish dynasty.)

Most of the rest of England was in Karling hands. Queen Hereswith the Great of Essex had married Gebhard the Great of Germany and their grandson, another Gebhard had inherited both crowns and made his capital in Kent. In practice his power fell short of his pretensions; Essex itself was in revolt and much of Germany was in the hands of his rivals. To the north King Gregor of Scotland ruled the strongest and most stable throne in the Isles. Both Gebhard and Gregor had established footholds in Ireland.

Western Europe

The two Karling kingdoms of West Francia and Aquitaine had last been united under Arnaut I 'the Great' (who had been the granson on his mother's side of the Emperor Basileios.) Since then they had followed a seperate path with Aquitaine even falling under Arab control before the First Crusade. By the 1070s West Francia was clearly the more dominant of the kingdoms, even if neither was powerful enough to assume the mantle of empire.

King Michael of Bavaria was a relative of the Emperor on his mother's side (her father had been Adrianos the Great) but his kingdom, the richest and most stable of the Karling lands was very much focused on German affairs. The cause of his anxiety was King Simon of Lotharingia, an elderly heretic deemed possessed by many both within and without his kingdom.

The great Swedish Empire had fractured after the death of King Faste the Great in 1061. The ancient Faste had united all Scandinavia besides Norway under his crown and introduced Christianity but now Sweden, Denmark and Finland were all squabbling independent kingdoms. Sweden itself was gripped by civil war.

Norway had been tremendously affected by her contacts with the Romans and the East and the tradition of the Varangian Guard and the pilgrimage were both strong amongst the Norse. The current 'King' of Norway, Ilik 'the Fat' was an Avar in culture who preffered the title of Khan. His wife was Irish and both were devout Orthodox Christians.

Eastern Europe


The Christian kings of Bohemia, Pomerania and Poland were ever mindful of their powerful neighbour, the Pagan kingdom of Lithuania and beyond that the still greater threat of Ruthenia.

King Dénes Ironsides of Hungary continued his nation's traditional friendship with the Romans, and his son and heir was married to Eusebios' sister.

The Steppe

The great Cuman Khanate dominates this great stretch of land though Khan Togli II is currently fighting for his throne against two different rebel factions.

Though the small Duchy of Crimea should not be ignored the second power around the Euxine Sea is very much Georgia. Though King Kharkvare is merely a boy of four his kingdom and dynasty have very strong routes and with the ruin of the Muradids and the benign indifference of the Romans there are few obvious threats on the horizon.

Mediterranean Sea

The Knights of Santiago have proven very effective masters of Spain and little remains of the once all powerful Hassan Caliphate, which is cut off from it's lands in the Near East.

In North Africa the Talibids have become a power to be reckoned with and their ships are becoming a strong presence in the western Med.

Asia

Following the collapse of the Saffarids in the early part of the current century the Khuru dynasty has ruled Persia. The ongoing distergration of the Hasan Caliphate may provide them with opportunities to expand into the near east but Shah Jhandar is wary of the Romans. He also has to luck to his eastern borders where the various Indian principalities or the Ghaznavid Turks are hungrily eyeing his territory.

India proper lies outside the scope of this worldview though at the start of Eusebios' reign a small number of Roman merchants have tentatively made contact with the sub continent.

Religion


ReligousMap1078.png
Religions in 1078 AD.​

Islam, whether Shia or Sunni has rapidly waned in power in Spain. Elswhere it is more slowly declining as Roman control spreads.

The Orthodox Church has expanded greatly thanks to the power of Constantinople, though missionary efforts have introduced the faith in previously undreamt of directions.

Roman Catholics have cemented their control over western Europe (Norway excepted) and the slow march of the Orthodox in the Balkans and Italy has been compensated by the conquest of Spain.

The Miaphysites and Monophysites are mostly in Africa beyond Egypt though Edessa remains a Monophysite stronghold.

Pagans have retreated to Lithuania, Ruthenia and the northern steppe, those these holdouts are formidable and unlikely to vanish soon.

 

RossN

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A lot to digest amongst your replies guys, for which I'm very grateful. I have to admit I'm still trying to decide what next! :)

I do hope this overview of things in the late 11th century helps!
 

DKM

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:blink:

Orthodox Avars in Norway?!