• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

mike the knight

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A templar reference is coming ? ;) I think that Leon was indeed the shield of the Empire ...
 

Stuyvesant

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65,500 gold?!? I... I...

I'm sorry, I just drooled on my keyboard. ;) That is a LOT of money. Now, I don't have Sons of Abraham, so I don't know how this works - who gets this money? Does the next head of the Order inherit it, does it go to Leon's heir (if he even has one), or does it come back to the Empire... Sweet, sweet money, come back to the Empire...
 

CzokletMuss

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A templar reference is coming ? ;) I think that Leon was indeed the shield of the Empire ...
He was :( And I don't think repeating 1307 would be that easy.
65,500 gold?!? I... I...

I'm sorry, I just drooled on my keyboard. ;) That is a LOT of money. Now, I don't have Sons of Abraham, so I don't know how this works - who gets this money? Does the next head of the Order inherit it, does it go to Leon's heir (if he even has one), or does it come back to the Empire... Sweet, sweet money, come back to the Empire...
Alas, it goes to the Brotherhood heir. But yeah, that's A LOT - every Orthodox character can donate money to the holy order and since there is only one holy order, the Brotherhood basically get's money from over the Europe.
Leon in the secret bunker of the knights of the Holy Sepulchre :


Anyway, great story as ever. Both sides of the map are full of opportunities. And for the first time, Europe seems to unite to repeal the barbarians hordes!
It's kinda embarassing when your vassalized holy order is thrice as rich as you, isn't it? :)
Thanks! The opportunities are great, true - but as it turned out the reality differs from what one wants it to be...
You should really post house of angelos family tree with comments.
Like the whole tree? I'll cover all POV characters through the Chronicle, I don't think that every single member of the House Angelos is fascinating enough to write about him.
 

CzokletMuss

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THE CHRONICLE OF THE HOUSE ANGELOS
PART TWO
THE DARK HOUR




***
Manuel III Angelos

Doux of Samos

Born - 20 December 1122
Died – murdered on 31 January 1135 at age 13


Scheme against the Angeloi

Manuel III Angelos wasn't destined to rule. His father Leon was the first son of the doux Manuel II and the first one to die. Although the cause of his death was natural (Pneumonia) unlike – according to rumors – death of his brother Michael, it was very unfortunate for the prosperity of the House Angelos. For it caused the thema of Samos to fall into hands of a child – Manuel III, son of Leon, became doux when he was merely 8 years old.


Contrary to the common belief, the present of his uncle Niketas wasn't detrimental to him. In reality this ruthless and cruel man was probably the only thing standing between young doux and ambitious aristoi. Many feared that he will be the one bold enough to take power from his nephew. But these rumors were also far from truth – nobody understood how big were his ambitions. In the end, after years spent on scheming and collecting resources, the power-hungry Niketas finally realized his plan.


A giant army assembled on 1134 consisting of mercenaries, Latins, exiles and common bandits. Assuming leadership of what became to be known as Niketas Host, he declared war on Latin king of Castille. Sailing away on Venetian ships with his men and leaving thema of Samos behind him, Niketas wanted to carve his own realm far in the west – even status of a doux wasn't enough to satisfy his ambition, as it turned out. As soon as his uncle left, the now free to act aristoi led by mayor Belisarios, cursed be his name, decided to act. The first assassination attempt was unsuccessful but what chance stands a child against the ruthless lords?


Defenseless Manuel III was brutally murdered after 5 years of “his” rule. He was 13.


***
Manuel IV Angelos

Doux of Samos

Born - 3 April 1104
Died – unders suspicious circumstances on 22 May 1135 at age 31


Second victim

As the oldest living son of doux Manuel II, Manuel IV became a new ruler of Samos. This brave soldier who could become a strong ruler just like his father unfortunately suffered a severe injury during hunting just a few weeks after his nephew death. Injured and incapable, with his only potential ally fighting in a distant Spain for his crown, he died just a few months later. Although there wasn't any proof, it's now believed that he also was murdered by the faction led by mayor Belisarios, cursed be his name.


And although soon after these tragic events the schemers were captured and executed, it was very possible that the Throne, unhappy with the situation in thema of Samos, could decide to revoke all the titles from the Angeloi and give them to another House, more worthy of the Emperor's trust. But son and heir of dying Manuel IV not only saved the House Angelos from oblivion and ruin but also transformed it into one of the Great Houses of the Empire.

His name was Markos.


***
Markos I Angelos

Basileus consort
Doux of Samos, Cibyrrhaeot, Thracesia and Anatolia

Born - 10 January 1133
Died – bedridden and infirm on 8 January 1195 at age 62


With sword and fire

The role of Markos I in stabilizing the realm during the Second Doukas Anarchy and his role in bringing peace to the neighboring themata are described in detail in “Live and conquests of Markos I the Just” written by his son (although one must notice that using the word “conquest” while describing his actions is somewhat inappropriate) and because of that they will be only mentioned in this Chronicle. Being a head of one of the most powerful Houses in the Empire for more than half century he clearly was one of the key players in the internal politics of Basileia Romaion during this period. Without a doubt, he was the one who layed the fundaments for the ascension of my House to the Imperial Throne. Unfortunately, due to the Great Fire of Chios in 1172 there isn't as much preserved documents about the early years of his rule as one would want.

The story of my House would have inevitably ended in year 1135 when Markos I in the age of 2 became a new doux if it wasn't for the Komnenoi. It was thanks to their support young Markos was able to survive until he reached the age of 16 – a gesture which will never be forgotten. House Komnenos was so magnanimous not only due to the kindness of their hearts, for the regent for the young Markos had to be one of the Komnenoi, who by controlling another thema wanted to improve their chances to press the old claim to the Throne (from the days of basileus Isaakios Komnenos, the same who granted titles and lands to the Angelos the Messenger). Whatever the reason for their support, it was thanks to the regent from their House that the scheme against Angeloi was crushed and all opposition against doux brutally eliminated. Markos never forgot about this and so can't we – whatever the future will bring, the Alliance of the Two Houses will survive and Angeloi and Komnenoi will be brothers and sisters till the end of time.

And so Markos survived the first years of his long rule thanks to the House Komnenos but many perished during these tough times and not only children but men and women alike. After all it was during his regency when the Westerners in an unprecedented aggression against the Muslims killed thousands to reclaim the Holy Land.


The Second Crusade, unlike the first one aimed against the heathen Pechenegs, was a complete success and on 6th November 1142 for the first time in centuries followers of the Prophet lost control over Hierusalem. The realm was controlled by Knights Hospitaller, an order of holy warriors created after the First Crusade. But the infighting amongst the Latins soon caused their downfall.


Even the revolt of 1150 during which a powerful order of Hashashins became independent didn't help the Westerners, who were desperately trying to survive, their realm reduced to few small counties. It must be said that the fall of the Latins was very beneficial for the Empire – with a new enemy and Hierusalem in the hands of the Catholics, the infidels concentrated all their efforts in reclaiming the Al-Qud, as they call the Holy City. Still suffering from the constant civil wars during Second Doukas Anarchy, the Basileia Romaion was to some degree protected by the Knights very presence in the Holy Land. But unfortunately for the order, there was nobody who could have helped them.


The Investiture Controversy divided the whole West for decades. Power struggle between bishops of Rome and kaisers of the Germans led to numerous civil wars, unrests and rebellions since its beginning. And although for a long time the Rome was winning, after kaiser Eudes IV pressed the claim for France of one of his dukes, the balance of power was inevitably lost. The last hope for the bishop of Rome to maintain his authority over the Catholic world was the Concordat of Worms. However, its failure together with the immense power of the kaiser and a fall of the crusade state was the last straw for the Germans.


On 26 January 1168 in Wittenberg kaiser Eudes IV declared bishop of Rome heretic and declared his Ninety-Five Theses, thus effectively initiating what was later called a Cathar Schism. Being a great scholar, he argued that the Catholic Church has become corrupt and that he as the God's representant in this world has to reform it, starting by rejecting confession and other sacraments and clergy in general. This was of course nothing more but a heretic gibberish, a jabber of a madman – but being the leader of a powerful German state, he imposed his will on tens of thousands, changing Europe forever.


Today kaiser Eudes IV is called the Wise by the German heretics but it is clear that Schism started by him brought only ruin to the Latins, who consumed by religious wars couldn't face the threat from the Far West. Indirectly, it was because of him that the reconquest of Rome was possible – it shouldn't be surprising that when the brave soldiers of the Empire stormed the walls of the Eternal City, no western king was able to help the bishop of Rome. There were always rumors that his madness was caused by evil spirits and in fact, knowing to what Dark Powers savages from the Far West owe their allegiance, it's no longer so improbable.


In the same time, Basileia Romaion was still being consumed by Second Doukas Anarchy. On 10th December 1172 basileus Polykarpos was assassinated by the party unknown, throwing by Empire into even greatest unrest when even younger then he Bertha became the Empress. In the same time, doux Markos as a loyal servant of the Empire was successfully fighting the rebels and soon he was in complete control of not only themata of Samos and Thracesia (inherited from his mother Martha Skleros), but also Cibyrrhaeot and Anatolia. It was during these harsh years when he became one of the most powerful aristoi in the Empire, so powerful that he was even able to secure alliance with House Doukas by marrying porphyrogenetissa Euphrasia after a tragic death of his previous wife.

Now there still are some enemies of my House who like to spread the false rumor that it was Markos I who was the true author of the plot against basileus Polykarpos. It's nothing more but a blatant lie, a way for the jealous to calumniate and backbite the good name of my great great grandfather. It's obvious that such terrible deed couldn't have been committed by my ancestor, a faithful and pious man who was always loyal to the Throne. It's also obvious that only members of the House Doukas could benefit from spreading such disgusting lies. But let every Angeloi remember the words of our Lord: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”.


The Cathar Schism reached a whole new level in 1173, when the bishop of Rome declared Third Crusade, this time against kaiser. Soon the whole West was in flames of the first crusade against Cathars, with countless thousands dying every month. It was during this year when the news from the Komnenoi reached Smyrna – Niketas the Cruel was dead.

Finding safe heaven on the court in Paphlagonia after the failed conquest of Portucale, Niketas was a broken man. Not wanting to return to thema of Samos in which he was hated by commoners and aristoi alike and frustrated, he decided to concentrate on theological studies and, if the rumors are true, became the spymaster for the Komnenoi, which was supposed to enable him to indulge in cruelty. They also say he in secret became a heretic and that he continued blasphemous rituals for the glory of the dark gods. Whether it is true or not, Niketas the Devil (as some called him) died alone, abandoned and hated by everyone. But for my House and the Empire the following year was much more important than conflicts between the heretics.


With the intronisation of Euphrasia Doukas on 19 February 1174 the Second Doukas Anarchy was finally over. Being her husband, doux Markos I became the basileus consort – a turning point in the history of the House Angelos. The peace was finally restored in Basileia Romaion, largely thanks to the troops of Angeloi and Komnenoi. The House Doukas being responsible for the ruin caused by long Anarchy was going to lost the Throne – everybody knew that. The only question was whether it would mean even more bloodshed.


In the meantime the Catholics were triumphant: they won the Third Crusade and liberated France from the hands of the Cathars. But it was only a beginning. Infighting between the Westerners didn't end to this day, despite the threat of the Aztec invasion. Immediately seizing the occasion, the bishop of Rome created a new holy order known as the Knights of Santiago and destined to fight with both Cathars and Muslims. As it turned out ten years later, it was a true blessing for Spanish kingdoms.


A mighty Sultanate of Al-Andalus was the first to join the jihad against Aragon, with more to come later. Without a doubt only thanks to the Knights of Santiago the Catholics prevailed. Many feared that the Shia won't stop on Aragon and that they will continue their conquests, making a good use of a Cathar Schism. But the infidels weren't united either.


The division between Shia and Sunni was nothing compared to what happened after the Ibadi finally became the majority amongst the Sunni in 1192. Distrust and hostility between the infidels suddenly transformed into a pure hatred. A thousand swords were raised, a thousand cities burned during the Second Al-Islam Schism. How ironic that the very religious zeal which filled Shia and Ibadi ruthlessly fighting amongst each other during these years was a direct cause of their downfall in the years to come when the Horde arrived and instead of a monolithic Muslim world faced a countless small realms.

And so thanks to Our Lord Iesus Kristos, with heathens and heretics completely absorbed by their internal struggles, Basileia Romaion emerged from the Second Anarchy not only with a strong Empress supported by a powerful basileus consort, but also with a great prospects for future. It fills me with sadness that basilissa Euphrasia wasted such an opportunity. With doux Markos I dying in 1195 the Empire instead of expansion saw stagnation, lacking a visionary ruler. It was not until his namesake ascended to power when the Basileia Romaion experienced a (too short) time of restoration and growth.


 
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CzokletMuss

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Two things:

1. I decided to start this AAR when in game there was already year 1264; because of that, I don't have enough screenshots to cover everything what happenned in 1066-1264 period. And that's why for instance I concentrated on Europe and Muslims while describing rule of doux Markos I Angelos - I simply don't have images and don't remember what exactly I did back then :) I'm doing my best however to provide interesting story for you and one that makes sense story-wise (this being a Chronicle written by basilissa Martha)).

2. There were a lot of updates recently but the next week won't see any new chapter I'm afraid. But here's the thing - I'm going to make a new prett map (like the one in the first post) sometime soon (maybe in year 1353 or 1344). Besides, I guess I'll play until 1453 and then I'll export to EU4; starting de facto in 1264 means 200 lost years, so it would be a pity to loose also these extra few between 1444 (when EU4 starts) and 1453.

Take care!
 

mike the knight

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Αngeloi had many misfortunes but the dynasty survived and saved the Empire ! Hail all of them!
 

Winner

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What's happening in Europe in your timeline is truly madness! I love it :D
 

TheDeaconBosco

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Sad to have caught up with this wonderful AAR... right after it has ended. You can definitely expect me to follow your EU4 conversion of this save and see what other evils may threaten the very foundation of Christendom. Why, I've heard there's some babarians who are so forsaken by God that they do not even worship the false Deities of the other savages. :eek:
 

CzokletMuss

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Αngeloi had many misfortunes but the dynasty survived and saved the Empire ! Hail all of them!
All hail Saint Markos and His children!
What's happening in Europe in your timeline is truly madness! I love it :D
Trust me, what is coming in the next chapters is truly INSANE...
Sad to have caught up with this wonderful AAR... right after it has ended. You can definitely expect me to follow your EU4 conversion of this save and see what other evils may threaten the very foundation of Christendom. Why, I've heard there's some babarians who are so forsaken by God that they do not even worship the false Deities of the other savages. :eek:
Huh? It's still going and it will be going for quite a long time I suppose :)
 

Stuyvesant

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And so we see the selfless, innocent and peaceful ascent to power of the Angeloi, a dynasty always acting with the best interest of the Roman Empire firmly in mind. Nothing untowards has happened here. The Angeloi don't need to resort to such base tactics as violence, war and assassination: they are humble servants of the Lord and are rewarded as such. Peaceful and inevitable: that's the Angelid rise to power. As to all the suspicious deaths - well, accidents do happen...

I like the interplay between the sanitized, self-serving version of history as presented by the Chronicle and the in-game screenshots that show the little differences that have occured in the 'real world'. ;)
 

CzokletMuss

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My mistake, thought the game had reached 1444 already. Let the goodness continue. :laugh:
And so it shall (be continued)!
And so we see the selfless, innocent and peaceful ascent to power of the Angeloi, a dynasty always acting with the best interest of the Roman Empire firmly in mind. Nothing untowards has happened here. The Angeloi don't need to resort to such base tactics as violence, war and assassination: they are humble servants of the Lord and are rewarded as such. Peaceful and inevitable: that's the Angelid rise to power. As to all the suspicious deaths - well, accidents do happen...

I like the interplay between the sanitized, self-serving version of history as presented by the Chronicle and the in-game screenshots that show the little differences that have occured in the 'real world'. ;)
Very interesting, we got to catch a bit of the chaos in western Europe. I wonder what the Hassashin (sorry for the orthography) became. I find it quite interesting to see it as a independent realm.

like Stuyvesant, I also LOVE the difference between the chronicles and the screenshots! History like spoils belongs to the victors.
Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. We all know how reliable medieval chronicles were, considering that they were frequently written by monks or priests on a direct order from a ruler to, for instance, explain why the previous king against whom current one rebelled was a tyrant, infidel and generally a bad person. Even more this tendency is obvious when the nobles wrote about themselves - like Anna Komnenos, who did everything to make Alexios Komnenos look awesome in her "Alexiads". So I thought i's only natural to do the same thing with Martha :)

If you like the story I encourage you to vote for it in Crusader Kings II AARland choice awards! (2nd half) thread. :)
 

ekorovin

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Your writing style is magnificent. And the dire situation your empire is reminds me of one of my games, where after losing Constantinople and Western Asia Minor to Hungary and Balkans to Muslims, Empire turned Tengri and reemerge from the Anatolian hinterland as nomadic Tengri Greek horde. Let us hope your Basileia won't turn Aztec
 

CzokletMuss

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Let us hope your Basileia won't turn Aztec
This is blasphemy!

Thank you very much, I'm glad you enjoy the story. I hope that I'll have some time to write the next chapter soon; currently in the game itself I'm few decades ahead of the AAR and I can't wait until I catch up. There is so much going to happen! :)
 

dangerogre

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Great updates! This AAR has actually convinced me and I just started my first game with the Aztec invasion turned on :rolleyes:

Have you thought about christianising the region the ancient called Scythia? :)
 

CzokletMuss

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Great updates! This AAR has actually convinced me and I just started my first game with the Aztec invasion turned on :rolleyes:

Have you thought about christianising the region the ancient called Scythia? :)
Thank you very much! Yes, as I found out playing this particular game Sunset Invasion can be pretty awesome.
Not really actually but everything's on the table. :)

I'm planning to release next chapter this week - stay tuned!