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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

daemonofdecay

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The Sublime Ottoman State

An Ottoman AAR using Magna Mundi Platinum


Verily you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader will
her leader be, and what a wonderful army will that army be!



Sovereigns and Monarchs of the Ottoman Empire:


Kanuni Sultan Mehmet II el-Fatih . . . . . . . . . (1451 - 1475)

Sultan Giyasuddin I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1475 - 1490)

Sultan Bayezid II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1490 - 1515)

Sultan Abdulrahman I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1515 - 1540)

Intermission

Sultan Ali I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1540 - 1564)

Sultan Suleiman I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1564 - 1572)

Sultan Cihangir I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1572 - 1578)

Interregnum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1578 - 1581)

Sultan Abdülhamid I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1581 - 1603)

Sultan Mahmud I Öfkeli . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1603 - 1605)

Sultan Suleiman II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1605 - )





Author's Notes:

Well, here I am giving this whole "AAR" thing a go again. My last attempt was both a triumph (I got a shiny award!) but also a crushing disappointment (my laptop died on me only a short time into the game). I pray this time I don't suffer any hardware failures like last time.

I also think that I may have learned a little something from my last attempt in that I need to try and keep a regular update schedule, avoid getting bogged down writing imposing blocks of text, and keep a fair amount of screenshots handy. My fingers are crossed.

So; the Ottoman Empire! What drove me to choose the Ottomans, of all choices? The Ottomans have always fascinated me, and I love learning about them. I think because I am also fascinated with the history of the Byzantine Empire that secretly I am obsessed with the city of Constantinople/Istanbul itself. Personally I blame my AP history teacher for having They Might Be Giants' song "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" playing during class. Curse him and his yuppie "in-denial-about-my-age" ponytail!

It could also be down to having finished Caroline Finkel's excellent book Osman's Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire, which I highly recommend to anyone who is interested on the subject and likes to learn about history outside of computer games ("Can anyone tell me why the USSR beat Nazi Germany? Yes, Timmy?" "Because the Soviet Union had better gearing bonuses?").

I have done very minimal (see: none) research on the forums before I started this AAR, so I have no clue if my title has already been claimed a half-dozen times before and if Ottoman Empire AARs are like a plague of locusts o'er the land. If either is true, I offer you one, no two thousand pardons for my horrible transgressions.

I have slightly modified my copy of Magna Mundi Platinum v1.20, but these changes only really pertain to taxes and tax rates. I increased the global amount (I believe I reduced the base modifer from -40% to -20%) and reduced the 'aiglobal11/12/13' modifiers some to help prevent what I saw occuring in my last two games: the AI was loaded. Flush. Affluent. Rolling in the dough. It was downright Richie Rich-esque to see every one-nation minor, no matter how poor the province, able to build every building they could way before I even managed to place workshops in half of my lands.

Basically, I was jealous and incompetent. Not only that, but I also possessed the powers of a God over my little simulated world, and I quickly decided to change the fabric of digital reality itself into something far more pleasing to my tastes! Of course, it is difficult to feel divinely evil when all you are doing is editing a few .txt files, but I still managed a overly-dramatic pose and a hearty "Muahahahahaha!" when I clicked save. Scared the hell out of my dog.

I also tweaked the history files to make it so Istanbul (not Constantinople) became Turkish and Sunni within a few years of it falling to the Turks, something that I feel is reasonable considering historic realities about the city (it was already very depopulated even before the siege began). This date is, handily enough, where I chose to start my game. Coincidence? So enough of me prattling on about my own history and personal failings, I hope you will enjoy my AAR.

And no, don't worry: I will not try and turn it into a humorous AAR. I'm not funny enough to pull it off; I am no Prince Knud. Not even a Carrot Top or a (shudder) Gallagher.


Starting date: 30 December, 1458
Nation: Ottoman Empire
Version: IN 3.1 + MMP 1.26
Rules: All MMP defaults


EDIT: And before anyone gets too angry at me, just be aware that while some of the quotes I will be using will be genuine, others will be heavily edited or even (gasp) complete fabrications.

EDIT: If you want to know the style of the AAR, its a mix between the History Book and the narrative approach. Mostly the History Book, but I will also be exploring what is going on in Krieger's life while he is writing the book.

EDIT (Jan. 23): Wow, that was a long, long time between posts. I mean, I do have some convenient excuses (I was moving into a new apartment, school was starting back up again, etc. but to be honest, I was just being lazy. Hopefully a very interesting English teacher I have will help convince me to keep writing on a semi-regular basis.

EDIT (Feb. 13): Well, I updated to a newer version of MM again, but this time I was prepared with plenty of information to help make the transition easier. Namely I used a save game editor. So while it took me a while to make sure I got most of the details right, I think it was well worth it. Go try MM today, if you already havn't. And with the new version, any information above about changes to the game are pretty much nullified. No tax increases or the like from Giyasuddin onwards!

EDIT (Sept. 14): Dead? Hardly. There is still too much land not yet dominated by the Sultan of Sultans! Allāhu Akbar!
 
Last edited:

daemonofdecay

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__________________________________________________________________________________________

Herr von Steuben,

I hope this letter finds you in good health, Helmut. I have finally finished the last of my research in the near east, and I am sure that you will be glad to hear that the first portion of my manuscript is contained in the package this letter came with. I mailed it from Constantinople as soon as it was finished, as I still had a few errands to take care of before I left and didn't want to delay you more than I already have.

I know that you and the publishers have been more than generous with your time allowances for my extensive research trips, but I can assure you that I truly feel that The Sublime State: A History of The Ottoman Empire will be the definitive work on the Ottoman Empire. I hope you will excuse the quite messy nature of this rough draft, but under the circumstances I felt that time was of the essence and did not do my usual self-editing. I beg your indulgence for that, but it couldn’t be helped.

Tomorrow I board the train back to Berlin, and should finish the second portion on the long ride back. I wish I was there to see Wilhelm’s face when you show him the first part of my manuscript! He bet me 15 Marks that I would never get it done before the publishers cancelled my contract.

Say hello to Anna for me, and I hope to see you within the week.

Sincerely,


Johannes Krieger
May 17, 1854


__________________________________________________________________________________________

Part One
The Young Conqueror

__________________________________________________________________________________________


Stubborn in his purpose, and bold in everything, he aspires to no less fame than that of Alexander the Great. He has read to him by two Italians in his service the histories of Rome and other nations. He speaks Turkish, Greek and Slavonic. Eager for information about the Western world, he possesses a map showing the realms and provinces of Europe… he declares that there must be but one empire in the world, one faith, one monarchy – and that to realise this unity there is no place more worthy than Constantinople.
- The Italian Languschi describing Mehmet II on his rise to power in 1451 at age 19.

The extent of the Ottoman Empire, c. 1458​

On May 29, 1453 AD the last Roman Emperor Constantine XI died; he did not die alone, for with him the Roman state, with nearly two millennia of history behind it, perished as well. It had not been and easy or peaceful death as the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire had been dying for a very long time indeed. On that Tuesday the Ottoman Turks under the command of the young Sultan Mehmet II, given the apt epithet ‘the conqueror’, delivered the final killing blow to the long suffering Byzantines.

Constantinople, the great bulwark of Christendom, the jewel of the east, the Queen of Cities and inspiration for many a lovers poem fell after a mere two months of siege. The city once referred to as New Rome fell to “barbarians” from the east just as its predecessor had a thousand years before, and soon a wave of fear and shock swept through the Christian nations, creating renewed cries for a crusade to retake the city from the heathen Turk. Such a masterful twist of irony that the fall of Constantinople to the Muslim had created such strong desires to crusade for its liberation. Ironic because the demise of the Byzantine Empire, a long, slow, and drawn out process, had begun when Christian crusaders during the Fourth Crusade succeeded in sacking the city on their way to fight Muslims in the Holy Land.


__________________________________________________________________________________________



On the third day after the fall of our city, the Sultan celebrated his victory with a great, joyful triumph. He issued a proclamation: the citizens of all ages who had managed to escape detection were to leave their hiding places throughout the city and come out into the open, as they were remain free and no question would be asked. He further declared the restoration of houses and property to those who had abandoned our city before the siege, if they returned home, they would be treated according to their rank and religion, as if nothing had changed.
-George Sphrantzes, Byzantine Historian (1401-1478)​


__________________________________________________________________________________________



I, the Sultan Khan the Conqueror, Padishah [Emperor] of the mighty Ottoman Turks, Caesar of Rome, hereby declare the whole world that,

The Jews of the realm granted with this sultanate firman are under my protection. And I command that:


No one shall disturb or give harm to these people and their temples! They shall live in peace in my state. These people who have become emigrants, shall have security and liberty. No one from my empire notable, viziers, clerks or my maids will break their honour or give any harm to them!

No one shall insult, put in danger or attack these lives, properties, and temples of these people!

Also, what and those these people have brought from their own countries have the same rights...


By declaring this firman, I swear on my sword by the holy name of Allah who has created the ground and sky, Allah's prophet Mohammed, and 124.000 former prophets that; no one from my citizens will react or behave the opposite of this firman!

-Oath firman declared by Mehmet II, 1459​


__________________________________________________________________________________________


The young Sultan Mehmet II was one of the finest monarchs of his age: learned, diplomatically adroit, and a fine military commander. He possessed a keen intellect and a voracious appetite for learning: by the time Mehmet had conquered Constantinople at age twenty-one he already spoke seven languages and would go on to found multiple schools and colleges within Constantinople.

The Ottomans had come as conquerors, destroying the Roman Empire to replace it with their own. But Mehmet was more than just a mindless barbarian warlord, for Mehmet had more far reaching goals than to just loot and pillage. For Mehmet saw himself as nothing less than the true heir to the Roman Imperial throne, and his goals were to see the Ottoman Empire inherit what Rome had once possessed.




To this end Mehmet found ways incorporated many parts of the existing Byzantine administration into the Ottoman state apparatus, kept the Byzantine Orthodox Church operating, and began to invite men from outside his realm to travel to Constantinople: Italian artists, Greek philosophers, and Muslim scientists were all found within the cities rebuilt walls. Entire Jewish communities emigrated to Turkish lands, hoping to escape the conditions imposed on them by their Christian rulers. Frescoes and artwork began to fill Constantinople, helping to rebuild the city’s glory after centuries of decline, as if Mehmet felt that he needed to prove that the Ottoman’s were worthy successors to the Roman heritage by indulging in lavish public works.




But although the Ottoman state was constructing a tolerant society by medieval standards, the sultan valued stability for the growing empire more than individual liberties. Mehmet had Imam’s issues decrees against sect practices, hoping to ensure a more centralized set of religions within the empire. The sultan hoped that by targeting the more extreme or undesirable elements of the different religions while in the fringe he could avoid having their beliefs spread further through the state.

Mehmet was no fool; although he was possessed of a romantic attachment to the idea of recreating Rome, Mehmet knew that more practical measure would be necessary to keep the empire together by centralizing power and keeping subversive groups from gaining ground. Ever since conquering Constantinople and moving the center of Ottoman government there he had ruthlessly made moves to consolidate power into his own hands and away from the sometimes fickle Turkish nobility: from executing the grand vizier Çandarlı Halil Pasha mere days after the walls of Constantinople fell to expanding the devşirme system to slowly replace the nobility with a dedicated and well trained bureaucracy and the unreliable ghazis with a military of greater ability, loyal to the sultan alone.

The foundation was laid, but would take time to pay off. Meanwhile, the strength of Albanians opposed to Ottoman rule had grown so much that Mehmet could no longer ignore the problem. The Albanian’s had been a thorn in the Ottoman’s side for decades, as frequent revolts and resistance to Ottoman dominion had made them unruly subjects. Immediately dismissing the governor of that region for his failure to suppress the rebels, the young monarch gathered his army and marched from Constantinople early in the spring of 1459, hoping to crush the rebels swiftly and avoid letting the conflict drag on into the winter months. There was already talk amongst the empire’s Christian neighbors that the Ottoman’s had overextended themselves, and that the time was ripe to attack. Mehmet knew that by swiftly crushing the rebels he would send a message of strength to his neighbors and therefore avoid any conflicts before the nation was ready.

- Johannes Krieger, The Sublime State: A History of The Ottoman Empire; vol. 1

__________________________________________________________________________________________
 
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EUROO7

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I share your love for the Second Rome, and will be following this AAR closely.

And let me say, what an excellent Introductory post you have made. You'll surely have great success if you keep it up!
 

daemonofdecay

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EUROO7: Thank you kindly. Of course, with such a great introduction, it can only go downhill from here. . .

Colonel Bran: I'll take all the prayer I can get. The last time I tried to write an AAR my laptop spend 6 months in the shop before they finally decided "Oh yeah, its not going to work" and gave me a replacement.
 

Milites

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Damn you for using such an awesome title and damn your eternal soul for inspiring me into making another update!

Damn damn damn!


Damn this looks good :p
 

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Nice!

Looking forward to more of this. I have a fascination in the Ottoman Empire, I am very inclined towards studying its foundation in Grad school.

Good luck, I will be following.

Also, if I stop commenting it is not because I don't follow, it is because I am more of a lurker than a poster (*looks at postcount*). I'll certainly be following, leaving the occasional comment :).
 

Qorten

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If all your posts will be even half as good and interesting as your initial one this will make a great AAR! You've got a fan extra!
 

daemonofdecay

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__________________________________________________________________________________________

Herr von Steuben,

I am sorry that it has taken me so long to write, but only now was I able to finally sit down and complete this overdue letter. I don't have much time, so I will be brief.

My train was victim of heinous sabotage as our train passed near Budapest; a large amount of explosives was detonated in front of our train, tearing up the tracks and derailing the train. I escaped with only minor injuries, but many of my fellow passengers were not so lucky. I have spent the last few days recuperating in the local hospital, and reports now reach me of rebels openly attacking isolated Ottoman garrisons. It seems that the attack was only a sign of the deepening crisis here in Hungary.

With so much free time on my hands while recuperating I was able to finish the second portion of the manuscript, which should be attached to this letter. The hospital we are in is being evacuated in fear of a coming clash between the rebels who have declared the independence of Hungary while I was being treated here. There is genuine concern that a battle between the two could endanger our lives, so we are being taken by cart further west.

I will send you another letter when I arrive. It looks to be a long journey, so hopefully I will have more of the manuscript finished by the time we arrive at our destination which, I admit, is not exactly clear to us. Some say Croatia, other that we are heading further on into the Italian cities. No one knows for sure, but I feel that once the carts and carriages get moving I will be safe, so don’t worry about me.

Sincerely,


Johannes Krieger
June 3, 1854


__________________________________________________________________________________________

Part Two
A Stirring Sight Indeed

__________________________________________________________________________________________


In the spring months of 1459, Sultan Mehmet II lead his armies into the Albanian country side, looking to quickly suppress the rebels before any of its neighbors decided to strike while the Ottomans were distracted. A strong and deliberate demonstration of strength would, Mehmet believed, help persuade the neighboring Christian nations not to risk war with the Ottomans.

The sight of thousands of the finest Turkish soldiers, veterans of the fighting for Constantinople, advancing across the countryside would have been a stirring sight indeed. Contemporary eyewitness reports claim that that the army was a glorious display of colors and martial skill, and the army advanced to the pleasant sound of mehterân drummers that could be heard for kilometers around. . .

- Johannes Krieger, The Sublime State: A History of The Ottoman Empire; vol. 1
__________________________________________________________________________________________


Sultan Mehmet II, Sultan of Sultans, Khan of Khans, and Caesar of Rome swore loudly as he waved his hand in front of his face in a futile attempt to ward of the ever-present flies and gnats. “Lanet olsun! I hate these damn bugs.”

The man riding next to the sultan just shrugged. “But at least it is nearing the end, my lord,” Savas Akın said with a smile, revealing a row of broken teeth. “We’ll soon be done with this miserable country and back where we belong.”

Mehmet grumbled wordlessly, knowing his bodyguard was right. Once they had finished off the last of the Albanian rebel's strongholds, the region would be pacified. At least until they rise up again, Mehmet thought darkly.

Out ahead of the sultan the long lines of Turkish soldiers weaved along the narrow paths through the hilly terrain, each one feeling the effects of moving through the soggy terrain that was the only route through to their target. Weeks of torrential rain had turned the land into marshland and a veritable plague of insects had befallen the Turkish soldiers. At least the constant and annoying companionship of the bugs made the high heat and humidity pale in comparison.

Mehmet hated the bugs, and he hated the heat. Not only was it unbearable for him personally, but it was destroying the morale and fighting ability of his forces. He said as much to Savas, pointing to a nearby group of spearman who barely resembled his proud army of just a few weeks ago. “Look at them. No cohesion! No discipline!" Mehmet jabbed a finger at Savas as he spoke, his entire body animated with his passion. "How am I supposed to prosecute a war against these Albanian scum if my soldiers won’t have the will to fight? Instead of soldiers, we are leading a dirty, smelly, sick mob!"

The Sultan turned away dejectedly, fury in his eyes. “If anything is going to loose me this war, its going to be bugs. Bugs!” Mehmet suddenly spun, slapping a hand hard against his thigh. “Ah-ha! Got you, you bastard!” he exclaimed triumphantly as he inspected his kill with exaggerated care, like a proud hunter downing a large stag. He was taking a malicious pleasure out of seeing the pest twitch in his palm before he flicked it carelessly away, relieved to have killed his tormentor.

“Good job, my lord. Just a few million more to go,” Savas pointed out. As if on cue, Mehmet could feel another of the devils land on the back of his neck. It was going to be a long campaign indeed.



__________________________________________________________________________________________


The Albanian rebels put up a spirited resistance, but their eventual fate was never in doubt. But the Albanian campaign had dragged on till Fall approached, much longer than Mehmet had planned for. Even with Mehmet outnumbering his opponents tand possessing a fine cadre of experienced veterans, he was powerless to fight the weather. Bad luck had plagued the efforts as rain, insects and disease reduced the effectiveness of the army by a large degree.

When the final keep fell, Mehmet was glad to leave and head for the fertile lands of Greece. The Sultan foresaw the independent Greek state of Morea being a thorn in his side that had to be dealt with before it began acting as a forward base for any potential Christian offensives. Mehmet still possessed romantic notions of reuniting the Roman Empire under his rule, and he felt that the first steps would take place by ensuring that all of the Greek states were crushed. In some ways, Mehmet was also fulfilling the old stories and claims made by the Ottoman Turks that they were the decedents of the Trojans, and that this was revenge for their conquest of Troy.

But again, Mehmet would find that his fate would be decided by things far outside of his control.

- Johannes Krieger, The Sublime State: A History of The Ottoman Empire; vol. 1
__________________________________________________________________________________________
 
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daemonofdecay

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Milites: If it helps, I really don't have a soul.

basharious: Technically it looks like I'm more of a lurker than you are. :D

Qorten: Thank you! But then again, a third is still setting the bar pretty high. I'll try for "not bad enough to cause people to track me down in through the interwebs and slap me".
 

Winner

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Ambitious, I like it! :)
 

canonized

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Boo I hate the Turks XD But i'm curious nonetheless . Great updates so far
 

daemonofdecay

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Winner: Ambitious, eh? Thanks for the compliment! :D

Colonel Bran: Its a little bit of both is really. But the again, there was that whole "We Ottomans are decendents of the Trojans so we have a grudge against the Greeks"

And Mehmet II does want to unite all of Rome. And I do mean ALL of Rome. IRL the Ottomans even began to impliment plans for invading Italy. Now thats ambitious!

canonized: Sounds like someone has a little personal history with the Ottomans. Maybe a failed WC attempt as Albania? :rofl:
 

basharious

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They actually occupied parts of the southern-eastern tip of Italy for a few years, most notably, the city of Otranto.

Nice progress! Very well-written.

Although the Historian seems too progressive in his ideas for 1854. It sounds like something written in the past 30 years or so. Still, I like the style of the AAR very much, it is literally a history-book :D
 

Throne

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I agree with canonized. I'll follow this AAR as your loyal opposition. ;)
 

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Make sure you humiliate Russia before they get a chance to humiliate you. :)
 

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Does Johannes know there is a war going on?

It will be interesting what happens to him. As well as with Mehmet, will he unite Rome, or die before even reaching Greece?

Your presentation and use of maps, screenshots, paintings, fonts and special characters make me want to read on to the end. An excellent beginning!
 

daemonofdecay

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basharious: Yeah, but that was my intent with Krieger: an intelligent and very progressive thinking Historian, but also prone to more romantic and optomistic interpretations of history. Plus hes a smug ass who thinks his book is going to be the best thing to happen to the printed word since Johannes Gutenberg decided that hand writing the bible was for punks.

Throne: I think its funny that, in a way, I am my loyal opposition. The Knights still hold a special place in my heart. Maybe I'll redo the AAR when EU5 comes out.

naggy: I have to worry about everyone it seems! :(

EUROO7: Thanks! I spent nearly an hour experimenting with the fonts for the text in my first post, and I still have trouble nailing down which ones to stick with. But I want to try and present a consistent look to the AAR, which means sticking with what was chosen.

Or going back and secretly editing all the posts in the middle of the night when only the Swedes are on.
 

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daemonofdecay said:
EUROO7: Thanks! I spent nearly an hour experimenting with the fonts for the text in my first post, and I still have trouble nailing down which ones to stick with. But I want to try and present a consistent look to the AAR, which means sticking with what was chosen.

Or going back and secretly editing all the posts in the middle of the night when only the Swedes are on.
I think they look great!

Certainly much better than I could do! :p