Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by EparkosTonTrapezous, Jun 22, 2019.
How large is the army and any possibility of retaking land?
The Rhoman army total, in 1305, is about 40,000. There are about 20,000 soldiers in Anatolia, 15,000 in Haemica, and the other 5,000 are either in Kypros or Kimmerika.
As for expansion, Alexios is currently going for the low-hanging fruit and conquering other Orthodox lands. There will be more wars against the Turks in the future, but for now peace is fairly good. I'm not saying that Kalavria will be a target in the Neapolitan War of 1305-, but it will.
What the relationship with western countries specially trading rivals ?
In the late 13th and early 14th centuries, the Silk Roads were by far the richest trade routes in the world. There were three major routes, the Chang'an/Samarkand-Antioch line (Golden Road), the Chengdu-Alexandrian line (Incense Road), and the Chang'an-Tmutarakan/Trapezous line (Old Road). While the Golden Road was by far the richest of the routes, the Chagatai, Yuan and Il-Khanates were involved in a three-way struggle, resulting in most trade going through Alexandria and Trapezous. The current Mameluke sultan, al-Nasir Mohammed, was the Mad Caliph on steroids, and refused the Italian traders access to the ports of Alexandria.
By 1305, Trapezous and Tmutarakan processed roughly about 70-80% of all trade between the Orient and Europe, which obviously gave the Romans a crap ton of influence in international trade. Of Frei and Alexios took full advantage of that, barring Venetian and Genoese traders from their ports, encouraging the smaller republics of Pisa, Ankona and Ragusa against them. The two rival banded together against the Romans several times, but internal infighting always destroyed them before they became large enough to pose a threat to the Romans. So both the Venetians and Genoese hate the Romans, but this was balanced out by strong influence with the rising powers of Ankona and Pisa.
Moving outside of Italy, the Romans have had fairly positive interactions with the English, as the fabric manufacturers of Namen have good relations with their producers across the channel. This obviously only worsened their relations with Phillip IV, bringing the two groups to the brink of conflict in 1301, when French troops briefly occupied Namen. This spooked the electors into throwing together a coalition of 30,000 men and marching to meet Phillip. King Albert threatened to bring in the English and Bohemians, which would bring tensions to a boiling point and start a pan-European War, which no one wanted.
Speaking of tensions, in 1305 Antipope Nicholas V was elected in Rome in opposition to Clement V in Avingnon. Nicholas V crowned King Albert of Germany as Holy Roman Emperor in 1305, ending the fifty-year Great Interregnum. This really pissed off Phillip IV, but he couldn't do anything about it as deposing Nicholas V would lead to war with the HRE, which would open up a flank to the English, which would in turn open up an opportunity for the Socts to invade, which would then do the same for the Norweigans.
This July Crisis-esque scenario brings us to Europe's most eligible bachelor, Wenceslaus the Thrice-Crowned. OTL Wenceslaus was a middling ruler, but in this TL he's a Peter the Great-esque great ruler, which just makes everyone else more nervous as Wnceslaus is the King of Hungary-Croatia-Bohemia-Poland. (Insert the I fear no man meme) As of 1305, Andronikos Raoul, Alexios' nephew, is betrothed to Wenceslaus' illegitimate daughter Elizabeth. However, there is still serious competition to maneuver a dynast into a marriage with the Thrice-Crowned.
The Hungary-Rome alliance has effectively convinced Stefan Milutin to just say no and stop making trouble on either border. It has also lead Yuri, the theoretical King of Ruthenia and Alejsi of Bulgaria to form an alliance to keep the allies off their back.
The Ilkhanate is enough of a hot mess that I'm going to go over it separately tomorrow.
What going on in Levant?
The Mamelukes still control the southern half, whilst de facto independent Ilkhanate Governors rule the north. Pilgrimage routes were mostly closed in 1299, and Bonifacius VIII was gearing up for a crusade when he died in 1303. But like I said, I'll cover it in more detail during the Ilkahanate bit.
Daniil Sklavenopolous was born the son of a vineyard owner outside of Patras on 23 March 1262. Not much is known of his life before 1291, when he presented a printed Bible to Duke Florent of Achaea as a gift. According to I Zou Moi (1309), Sklavenopolous' autobiography, also printed, he based his press off of early cuttings into the plate of a wine press, and printed the first woodblock text in 1288. Before his death in 1311, Sklavenopolous printed 26 Bibles (17 in Greek, 11 in Frankish) and multiple proclamations in Frankish for Duke Florent. In 1307 he traveled to Thessalonika and helped Ioannes Pediasimos establish a Greek press in the city. He then moved to Konstantinopolis in 1308, where he and Manouel Holobolos and his student Giorgios Galesiotes built another press. The Franco-Roman Jews also establish two Hebrew presses in Thessalonika and Konstantinopolis.
Printed Bibles began to spread out from the presses in all three cities. In 1298, one of them came into the hands of one Andreas Frangopolous, a Catholic priest in Bostitsa. Frangopolous began to compare the Church's doctrine with what it actually said in the Bible. The result was the beginning of the Patranite schism. The Patranites (misnomer, the first Patranite parish was in Khatzes) believed that
Laypersons could administer the sacraments
Parishes (a single church, for those non-Christians out there) should be independent with no bishops, archbishops, etc.
The Church shouldn't receive tithes, and charity should be given voluntarily
Masses take place before sunrise on Sunday
Worship should take the form of group prayer instead of sermons, and should be performed in vernacular
There are no dedicated churches, worship is held in houses
The agape was a thing again (The agape was a ceremonial meal of fish, leavened bread, and wine, discontinued at Nikaea)
Patranism began spreading quickly, and by 1307 there were Patranite parishes as far afield as Konstantinopolis, with the new sect centered in the Morea, Aitolia and Epirus. Patranism was popular amongst both the Orthodox and Catholics, with most converts coming from the mixed Cathorthodox population in the Northern Morea. It was too small to be of notice until 1302, by which point the Catholic Church's revenue in Achaea had dropped by a third. In 1303, the Achaean Inquisition was established in Andrabida. Efforts to suppress the heretics were somewhat limited, due to the lynch mobs that kept on burning the Inquisition's buildings to the ground.
So, in 1306 the religious make-up of Achaea was 1/6 Catholic, 2/6 Patranite and 1/2 Orthodox.
Edit: Phillip IV expelled the French Jews in 1296, and about 150,000 Jews settled in the empire, mostly around Thessalonika.
Hmm, Printing press, a new heterodox (and a cross-church one at that!) movement, I'm getting some early reformation vibes here, also Orthodox Reformation maybe?
A visual aid for the wider world:
Jesus Christ what the hell happened to Hungary/Poland? That is way too big to last.
As I said above, in 1304 Wenceslaus/Vaclav III was the King of Bohemia, Hungary and Poland. However, due to him being the pop-culture Mikhael III, it collapsed two years later in 1306. I decided that in in this TL, Wenceslaus/Vaclav is a Peter the Great-like figure, and by 1306 he's strung up Władysław the Elbow-high and drop-kicked Károly Róbert's head into the Adriatic and convinced King/Emperor Albrecht of Germany to "convince" Otto III to not try to invade Hungary. And yes, Stefan Milutin is having a nervous breakdown, what with Wenceslaus/Vaclav's alliance with Alexios VI and all.
I feel I should also elaborate on the situation in Italy.
In the south, James II had not ceded Sicily to the Pope, which leads to a bloody war in Sicily and Calabria that drags on until 1296, when Pope Boniface VIII arranges a ten-year truce, resulting in effectively a Cold War in Calabria. So James II marries Marie de Lusignan in 1295 instead of Blanche d'Anjou.
In the north, a coalition of Italian and Provencal city-states (plus the Swiss confederation) had risen up in the 1290s and pushed Albrecht out of Italy between 1291 and 1303, resulting the HRE losing its last non-German regions and retreating permanently beyond the Alps. This also results in Benedict XI essentially stating that "Alright, folks. We're not crowning anymore Emperors in Rome. Decide who it's gonna be among yourselfs. Don't care anymore."
This is huge in hindsight, but there's no immediate effects in Europe. Alexios laughs in Konstantinopolis, and Albrecht is crowned emperor in Trier. But otherwise, the only noticeable impact is the independence of the Italian north.
Makes sense I guess, after Vaclav’s death it will shatter into Bohemia-Poland and Hungary I think. Speaking of shattering, Benny XI has effectively erased the HRE’s (I suppose its the Holy German Empire now?) claim to Roman Emperor since they aren’t crowned in Rome. No wonder Alexios VI is dying of laughter in Constantinople.
The Ilkhanate Civil War of 1304-1306
So, as I mentioned before, Mahmud Ghazan died in Tabriz in late 1304, without heirs. This resulted in a civil war between his brothers Oljaitu and Timur. To cut a long story shot, in 1306 the two brothers met on opposite sides of a gorge in the Zagros, where both sides dug in in preparation for the next day's battle. Whilst Oljaitu slept, Christ and Zoroaster both appeared to him in a dream and told him to use their combined powers to beat Timur. Oljaitu did so by grabbing the nearest Orthodox and Zoroastrian priests and putting them in front of his lines to pray whilst Timur charged. Timur did so, but whilst he was charging through the gorge the walls collapsed and killed him and his entire army. Oljaitu (now rebaptized Nikolya) strolls to victory in Tabriz. So now the Ilkhanate's state religion is a syncretic Christianity-Zoroastrianism.
In July 1305, a small ship set sail southbound starting south of Sinestra (Odessa) in Halychia (that neon-green blob in Eastern Europe). The ship was bound for Varna, carrying Anastasiya Rjúrikoviči, the second daughter of Grand Prince Yuri of Halychia. Grand Princess Anastasiya was to marry Tsar Alejsi of Bulgaria to establish an alliance between the two states.
However, less than a day out of Odessa, one of the Black Sea's infamous storms rose and blew the ship far off course. It landed a week later just north of Kherson in the Kimerrikon. When the Roman authorities entered the ship, they were horrified.
Now, for some context:
At the time in Europe, dowry was a common feature of marriage. For those of you who don't know what dowry is, dowry is payments made to the husband/husband's father by the bride's family so that the bride could maintain the lifestyle that she had before marriage. For aristocratic families, dowries were often either coin money or huge tracts of land. So Yuri, seizing upon the 'maintain the lifestyle' bit, had starved his daughters to the point where they were barely alive so there would be no dowry payments!
"And then it got worse."
The Halychians were brought to Manouel Tarkhaneiotes, who happened to be in the city at that time. Tarkhaneiotes instructs that they be taken care of humanely until they can figure out where they came from. A Gothic merchant is found who speaks both Greek and Russian and he translates for them. Upon learning of the intentional starving of Anastasiya, Manouel hits the roof, but sends a messenger to the provincial governor, Isaakios Sonila, in Kaffa. Sonila orders him to return the Halychians. Envoys arrive from Yuri about a month later, but during the interval Tarkhaneiotes and Rjúrikoviči begin to develop a budding romance, because what else could aggravate the situation more? When the envoys arrive, the Halychians are turned over to the other Halychians, but as their ship leaves Manouel changes his mind and sends out a group of ships that overhaul the Halychian ships and drag them back to port. Anastasiya and Manouel are married in a local church the next day, and the other Halychians are released.
News of this clusterf*ck reaches Yuri in September and he sends a messenger down to Konstantinopolis, passing through Tarnovo on the way. The joint Halychian-Bulgarian delegation arrives in the city in mid-October where they meet the newly-returned regent Manouel Planoudes. Planoudes promises to recall Tarkhaneiotes as soon as the Black Sea is navigable again in May. The delegation leaves unsatisfied.
What countries the grey and brown?
Which countries are you referring too? The Livonian Order and Aragon?
where Austria Hungary and Germany were in 1914
Separate names with a comma.