RossN

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guillec87: I know, I know. It caught me off guard I can tell you. Sadly his (admittedly not yet grown) son does not seem the stuff of greatness. :(

Robert II: Thank you. :) In fairness some of my monarchs have had long reigns, even if it might not seem like it at the moment.

Viden: Perhaps, though the Empire is very much about the drive to the Indus at the moment.

Specialist290:
Great point about Konstas and Julian - that is rather eerie.

Evanthia is a great character and I'll try and explore her more before the end of her regency (and after should she live so long.)

Asantahene: Thank you! :) As you see things are far from calm just yet...

dangerogre: Well, that is one way of putting it. ;)

Stuyvesant:
You're right. Right now - or at least immediately before the civil war the religious question was finely balanced with the Orthodox faction in Constantinople, Rome and Jerusalem and the hertics in Antioch and alexandria.
 

guillec87

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what are the rebels reclaiming?
 

RossN

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what are the rebels reclaiming?

Independence. The faction is led by the Doux of Provence, but he actually only controls Provence. Unfortunately three of the exarchs decided to join him (Egypt, Syria and Jerusalem), to say nothing of lesser revolters.
 

Stuyvesant

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An invasion followed by a rebellion followed by a civil war. At least the civil war is pretty tidy, concentrated in the Middle East. Not the usual intertwined mess of counties and Duchies I usually get. A side-effect of having Exarchs?
 
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Asantahene

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Yikes! That's a big civil war but as you say at least it's way out east...

Loved the fate of the16 year old: ouch!

As always superlative writing.
 
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RossN

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Allegorical%20battle.jpg

The Roman civil war, depicting an unidentified battle, c. late 12th Century AD.

Part Two - The 12th Century Crisis

The wars that gripped the Roman from 1169 to 1171 have defeated the efforts of historians ever since. By convention it is considered a civil war but in direct contrast to the Roman civil wars of the past, or the adventurism of Christophoros, the rebels were (mostly) fighting for independence rather than to overthrow the existing Roman government. The great coalition of rebels included the exarchs of Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia and Judea [Jerusalem]. All four were Monophysites yet it is hard to call this war a religious question when so many of the great rebels were Orthodox such as the powerful Archbishop of Fars. It was even true that some public Monophysites fought for Evanthia and Kallinikos. Yet it is impossible to believe the religious upheaval Konstas IV had brought to the Roman world was not a decisive factor. Konstas had turned the certainty of the universe upside down, even for Orthodox loyalists. The immediate consequence had been a mosaic of wars within the provinces. The constant conflicts of the 1160s had created a population of former soldier, rootless and ruthless in equal measure. In an age where Exarchs and Patriarchs clashed the bonds between the Emperor and the commoner were inevitably loosened, especially when the Emperor was a boy in thrall to his mother. The wonder is not that there was a war, it was that the Empire did not collapse completely

The rebels, though collectively powerful were fatally unable to agree on a unified strategy. Though nominally led by Doux Guiraud the rebels depended on their own strength, jealous of their allies. This made them easy to defeat one at a time as the Tagmata advanced into Syria. For the Empress Evanthia Antioch had to fall, and fall soon. It was the religious heart of the Roman world for Orthodox and Monophysite alike and when the loyalists recaptured the city in February 1170 after a short but sharp siege the Empress ordered a week of public celebration. Antioch was strategically important but her main value was symbolic; with the city in loyalist hands any murmurs against Evanthia in the loyalist camp abruptly ceased - and feuds broke out anew amongst their enemies. Antioch would soon be followed by Aleppo, Marseilles and Arles as the loyalists advanced in Syria and Italy. The rebel armies, overall outnumbered the loyalists but under Polkarpos and Megistos, the megas doux [1] the loyalists defeated them piecemeal, enjoying a strong local superiority. Matters came to a head at St Symeon on 28th October 1170 where the rebels, fielding a quasi-unified command where annihilated. Guiraud himself escaped capture but the loss was so devastating he would surrender within days.


Battle%20of%20St%20Symeon.png

The Battle of St Symeon, 28th October 1170 AD.

The war was over, but the peace would not last. Most of the arch-traitors died, and did so quickly. Adrianos of Ventimiglia, the heretical Exarch of Egypt was executed at once, followed by his Syrian and Mesopotamian counterparts Kyriakos 'the Cruel' and Laurentios 'the Wicked'. All three were heretics as well as traitors which perhaps accounts for the remarkable survival of Exarch Polykarpos of Jerusalem. Polykarpos, alone amongst the rebel exarchs had remained Orthodox in beliefs and had sheltered the Patriarch of Jerusalem, a feat to impress the devout Evanthia. Romanos had another theory, pointing to the fact that Polykarpos was married to Princess Alexandra, a great granddaughter of Konstas III and that young Kallinikos was won over by her pleading of family loyalty. The historian pointed to the success of Doux Thomas of Baghdad, also a Makedon who was appointed the new Exarch of Mesopotamia. Yet Thomas could claim a history of loyalism and after the war was one of many who publically renounced Monophysitism.

Another Makedon who recieved favour at the close of the war was Prince Tryphon of Italy, the younger brother of Despot Arsenios. A pious young man Tryphon had already embarked on a monastic career when he was proposed and elected Patriarch of Antioch. Tryphon's personal qualities were not those of sainthood - he had a temper, an appetite and a tendency towards laziness - but he was a just man and his decision to renounce the glittering Italian court for the monastery had evoked a pang of sympathy in Constantinople.

It was in Egypt where the most serious controversy took place. Adrianos had amassed enormous personal power and the Empress was unwilling to grant let any one man enjoy such power again in the most populous province of the Empire. Nikephoros, the newly appointed Patriach of Alexandria (replacing the heretical Anthimos) was given great temporal control - the Empress sought to restore the power and prestige of the Patriarchate[2]. Unfortunately the young Doux of Aswan, another Adrianos, the grandson of executed exarch feared for his patrimony and on 28th December 1170 raised the flag of rebellion.

The Egyptian crisis, though far less serious than the recent war, caused a collapse of confidence in Evanthia's government. On the morning of 22nd January 1171 a parade of senators and army officers suddenly intruded on the Imperial bedchamers to inform the scandalised Empress that the Senate had voted to strip her of the regency and hand control to a soldier 'to retrieve the Egyptian situation'. The soldier they had in mind was Vittore di Pallestrina, the twenty four year old son of Gabriele di Pallestrina.

It might seem astonishing that the Romans would appoint the son of a rebel, an Italian whose Greek was drenched in the accent of Venice, over the mother of the Emperor. It astonished many Romans too. Yet Evanthia, though popular with historians and much of the public had never truly commanded loyalty amongst the Roman elite. Her gender, her unmerciful ways, her sharp demotion of the role of the Senate in favour of the Church did her no favours. Yet whatever her personal rage the Empress was too shrewd a woman to launch a coup of her own and decamped in good grace to the Imperial retreat of Kallipolis, where she spent her time in theological studies.

Di Pallestrina, the unlikely Caesar soon resolved the immediate crisis. By June 1171 Doux Adrianos was forced to surrender. Surprisingly he recieved generous terms, being allowed to keep his title and land in exchange for an oath of allegiance and a public denuciation of heresy. Di Pallestrina, though a gallant and gifted soldier was an indolent regent, content to let the provinces go as they were rather than try the root and branch reform. Thus for the remainder of the regency Egypt, the most populous province in the Roman Empire lingered without an Exarch[3].

The next few years saw a partial return to stability. The Romans defeated a Sunni Jihad (1173-1175) that aimed to capture Jerusalem. The religious war and victory in particular left it's mark on many in the Roman world and even long time Monophysites such as Exarch Tryphon of Sicily and Despot Isaias 'the Just' of Anatolia[4] converted to the Orthodox path. The war also left it's mark on the young Emperor Kallinikos who was fast approaching his majority...


Vittore%20di%20Pallestrina.png

Vittore di Gabriele, 1171 AD.


[1] ie. the Exarch of Greece in game terms.
[2] Esentially in Egypt and Syria I removed the heritical patriarchs and restored most of their old demense - the Patriarch of Alexandria holds a duchy level title and so does his counterpart in Antioch.
[3] Irritatingly Vittore is one of those 'indifferent' regents who doesn't care about appointing new rulers. Probably the regency mechanic I find most aggravating.
[4] Anatolia became a true kingdom along the line somehow rather than simply an exharchate. I'm not sure if that was might fault or if the local ruling family amassed enough power to push for a throne of their own.
 
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RossN

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Back and apologies for my absence. :)

Dear God was that a long regency! I think I'm really going to have to consider steps to avoid another one somehow, perhaps even reinstitute Elective Inheritance. One bright spot is that the religious question has been partly solved with nearly all my vassals towing the line on the Church. Now that Kallinikos is of age I will be able to look at other options.

I do think this civil war showcases the strenghts and weakness of the Exarchate system. Fewer rebellions overall but when they do go they tend to bring big chunks of the Empire with them. It's an issue I admit but I need them to stay inside my vassal limit.

I fully intend to go into the absorbtion of Persia soon and I agree that it is a fascinating challenge to the Romano-Hellenic worldview. We'll see how things progress from this point.
 

MiasmicMoose

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Oh god I hate the indifferent regents they're SO annoying, especially if they don't like you, then they don't do anything and don't let YOU do anything! I'm glad it's over.
 

guillec87

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maybe the seniority system would suit you better... shorter reigns, no regencies
 

Stuyvesant

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Another update, another civil war done... ;)

Considering the scale of the rebellion, the war was finished quickly and decisively. Despite all the tensions, the Empire lives to rule and conquer another day. Let's see how effective Kallinikos is as a ruler, and how long you get to have him. :)
 

Asantahene

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Yup you got through it that's the main thing though the Emperor's mother was not exactly rewarded for her valiant efforts eh? I really like elective-it gives you the most control to pass the crown to the ost fitting heir
 

Specialist290

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A shame about Empress Evanthia falling victim to a palace coup like that, but she seems to have left with all of her eyes and limbs intact, which is probably an accomplishment in and of itself. The quiet, contemplative life probably won't suit her temperament that much, I'd assume.

As for her replacement: Pallestrina may be an annoyance, but at least he's both competent and relatively unambitious. Still, hopefully he won't have to hold his regency much longer.

Speaking of the Pallestrina clan, what's happened to old Gabriele in the meantime?
 
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Nikolai

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Too bad the Empress Dowager was removed, the Empire needed a firm and pious hand!
 

RossN

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Emperor%20Kallinikos.png

Emperor Kallinikos, September 1175 AD.

Part Three - The Emperor's Majority

The Emperor Kallinikos officially assumed his majority on 27th September 1175. While many were unsure of the young monarch, who had a reputation for indolence and gluttony few were sorry to see Vittore di Palletrina depart the scene. He had been an impious braggart and those at least were not sins Kallinikos possessed. He was a man of average height and the traditional Makedon broadness across the shoulders. His eyes, hair and full beard were all very dark, giving an appearance older than his years, which his humble nature aided. Though he had little opportunity to demonstrate it and was not a warrior by training he could be very brave. Most of all though he was a man of faith.

The Emperor's piety, inherited from his mother but with less of her strictness was the great pillar of Kallinikos' life. In time it would lead him to abandon his taste for lethargy and rich food [1] and devote himself to hard work. At the start of his personal reign he broke with decades of tradition by making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem rather than Antioch, leaving Constantinople to regency of the faithful Timotheos II who his father had exiled and his mother recalled. The ancient capital of Judea had always proven more popular with pilgrims from Francia, England and Ireland but Kallinikos, recalling his pardoning of the Exarch Polykarpos (and perhaps unwilling to thread on the toes of his cousin Patriarch Tyrphon of Antioch, painfully rebuilding church and city after the war) visited the city where Christ had died. It was during this journey that he met his future wife Romylia of Noto, a young Sicilian Greek woman of minor aristocratic family and similar piety. She would eventually bear him a son, Niphon, in 1178[2].



Jerusalem%20Pilgrim.png

Kallinikos breaks tradition by journeying to Jerusalem.



The first decade of Kallinikos’ personal reign saw success abroad and controversy at home. Wars were won against the Muslims of Kerman (1176 – 1178), the Ghaznavids (1178 – 1180) and the old enemies, the Kuru Persian dynasty (1182 – 1184), greatly expanding the Roman Empire to the East. The Varangian Guard did much to distinguish itself in these wars, the Norse and Saxon troopers provoking fear and awe amongst their foes. Lurid tales of blood drinking and paganism from these fabulously distant foreigners spread amongst the Persians, to the dismay of the Emperor; however effective a tool of propaganda this was he wanted the newly conquered lands to know they were under the sway of a civilised and pious ruler. Romanos, who shamelessly repeats fictional stories of the barbarian mercenaries also notes that one of these battles saw the capture of an ‘Indian pagan’ in Muslim service that later historians have tentatively identified as a Hindu mercenary. Sadly little evidence remains of this exotic prisoner, suggesting he was soon ransomed.

Yet this rapid expansion in turn brought problems as well as prestige. The Exarch Daniel of Persia, a great and powerful governor who had spent two decades introducing Roman ideas to the Persians quarrelled with the Doux Gerasimos of freshly conquered Kerman. Gerasimos was the younger brother of the Exarch of Mesopatamia and the resulting war dragged the whole Roman East into conflict. Territory won at great price from the infidel became the gameboard of powerful men enacting their personal ambitions.

‘Internal’ war between the Roman elite had been endemic for two decades, and many in Constantinople accepted it as the price to be paid for expansion but Kallinikos was shaken to his core. Not only did his religious beliefs and sense of authority revolt at the idea of Roman killing Roman and Christian killing Christian, this war that ran throughout the early 1180s drew close to home. His mother, the Dowager Empress Evanthia had after much cajoling persuaded her devoted son to let her remarry… which she had, to Doux Gerasimos. The Emperor’s sister, Princess Euprosyne was married to Alexios Makedon, a grandson of Konstas III, Doux of Tabaristan and (prior to the birth of Prince Niphon) designated heir to the throne. ‘Mother and sister, through their spouses, became embroiled in the feud to the grief and shame of the Emperor’ as Romanos gleefully put it.


Roman%20Empire%201184.png

The Roman Empire in 1184 AD.



Clearly something had to be done as the 1180s moved on Kallinikos attempted to increase the authority of the monarch. By the standards of much of Christendom Kallinikos’ personal authority was mighty indeed but it was not enough to stop his citizens fighting each other. It was an uphill battle and by 1185, a decade after ascending to the purple Kallinikos was as distant from his goal as ever. The trouble was that while many might decry the private wars being waged by the noblemen of the Roman world, very few of the elite were prepared to grant the Emperor total authority[3]. The sheer scale of the Roman World worked to Kallinikos’s disadvantage. By 1185 the Eagles stretched from the arid deserts and mountains of Baluchistan in the East to the River Rhodanus [Rhône] in the West. In known human history only the Umayyad Caliphate had been greater in size. An Exarch, especially a distant one, was for all intents and purposes a king in his own land. He might be replaced (though in truth only outright treason or heresy made that likely), his son would not automatically inherit (though in practice most Exarchs came from great landowners in any case) but otherwise he could rule as he pleased as long as taxes were paid and recruits provided for the Tagmata. He also controlled the Thematic soldiers, the same men currently killing each other in Kerman.

Ironically the very thing that increased Kallinikos’ determination to reduce the powers of the Exarchs also restrained his hand. After the nightmare of the recent civil war no one in the Roman World dared contemplate starting it again. On the one hand there was no appetite amongst the Exarchs for revolt, on the other the ability of the Emperor to enforce his authority was limited for fear of provoking the very revolt he wanted to make impossible.

Throughout the early 1180s Kallinikos attempted to gain favour for reform by distributing honorary titles, celebrating feasts and throwing tournaments… yet acquiescence seemed very distant.


[1] Kallinikos lost his Lazy and Gluttonous traits, though unfortunately picked up Stress enroute.

[2] Niphon is an awful name, but I do try and go with what I'm given.

[3] Currently I have High Crown Authority. I want to go to Absolute so I can adopt Imperial Administration - which seems unlikely at the moment I'm afraid!
 
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RossN

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MiasmicMoose: Me too. I'm getting used to the vassal limit but the regents make it hard.

guillec87: Hmm, that's an interesting idea. Unfortunately my vassals are so often at war I'm not sure Kallinikos will get the chance to change the law!

Stuyvesant: He is actually doing better than his intial traits suggested, though he won't set the world alight. Right now I'd love to shake off his Stress somehow. ;)

Asantahene: Yes, that's what I like about it too. Lots of politicking! :D

Specialist290: Yes poor Evanthia. :( She's still relatively young though, so you might not have heard the last of her. As for Gabriele he lived to the age of 70 and married a Greek woman, ending up pardoned by Konstas III. I rather admired his qualities as a soldier so the romantic in me spared him!

Nikolai: Well her son is pious at least! :)
 

guillec87

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well, at least there is peace, even if only the fear of old wars is what keeps the exarchs quiet... and as Cato the Old would any of his speeches at the Senate '... and I consider Georgia must be conquered'