An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Basileus444, Apr 30, 2015.

  1. Evilprodigy Evil Overlord of NWCG Donor

    Mar 29, 2010
    inb4 'The Great Crime' just turns out to be when a Genoese cook didn't allow substitutions on the pasta.

  2. floppy_seal99 Full Master: Dungeon Master

    Oct 23, 2014
    Can Am Productions
    Based and halalpilled
  3. Βοανηργές Well-Known Member

    Aug 6, 2017
    Don't forget Iskandar the Younger still in Rhoman custody.
    EmperorJerome likes this.
  4. Lascaris Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Hopefully this does not work out as well as Maurice with Khusro II did.
  5. RogueTraderEnthusiast Winner: WillamOfOckham "Most Title" 2018

    Jun 15, 2016
    Awwww. We can't have anything nice like a Romano-Persian Alliance?

    Like, as much as I'm typically on team "Break Persia" whilst they're hostile, I'd be entirely down to have a Maurice-Khosrau scenario. Genuine peace between the Romans and Ottomans could be great for both parties. It doesn't need to be friendship, and no rivalry between them, but more akin to respected opponents holding the hill.

    We nearly had the chance with Andreas and Osman. The whole Great Crime and other foreshadowing suggests otherwise, but Ody and Iskandar COULD bring forth a lasting peace - perhaps even a familial union. Whilst it hasn't been done much ITTL, Trebizond IOTL repeatedly married into Muslim powers.

    Weirdly, as much as it gives each state significant power over the other, having them both holding a few heirs of the Imperial families could stabilise the rule of both families.

    It'd be a foreign policy triumph to achieve a peace between the Ottoman Caliph, the Roman Emperor, and the Kings of Georgia. Unlikely in the imminent term, but post-atrocities? Enough people may be cowed enough to draw a line in the sands.

    Still doesn't stop a group of radicals rising who do not let sleeping dogs lie, but still.
  6. JSC Member

    May 9, 2006
    I could actually see lasting peace happening after this next war and a suitable cooling off period of a generation or two. Rome will have gotten their “natural frontiers” and it will be so plainly obvious that in a war the Persian polity would be at a disadvantage that it may permanently move Persian focus east.

    At that point the two powers have no conflicting interests beyond your normal minor ones between powers. It will never be friendship but a “we both fought hard for centuries and we respect each others current spheres” could settle into both sides political elites.

    I really don’t see Rome and the Ottomans marrying into each other’s dynasties though. It’s one thing for Trebizond to do it and another entirely for the premiere Orthodox power to do it. Love it or hate it Rome is always going to be defined by their religion and having a member of the royal family willingly become Muslim would be a step to far IMHO. Given the growth of Orthodoxy and the just finished war with a Catholic claimant it wouldn’t surprise me if Rome more or less stops any marriages outside of Orthodox families for centuries.
  7. HanEmpire Delicious

    Oct 2, 2011
    The Land of Eh
    The last Emperor to marry a Muslim was the Spider. Such a predent doesn't make an Ottoman match look at all acceptable let alone desirable.
  8. Curtain Jerker Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2018
    Agreed. Rome is the Defender of the Faith in this world for sure, only without the research penalties :)

    Many are sitting here calling for a War of Wrath against the Ottomans and I'm just waiting for the damn Triunes to get their comeuppance on a large scale for once.

    Between the "Glorious Tenth of August," the Battle of Guernsey, the attack on Volos and a dozen more infractions against multiple countries the Triunes are begging for a beatdown. Sadly it doesn't seem like it is likely anytime soon as they're well-poised to become a superpower with the addition of Lotharingia and all the resources there. It has been more or less smooth sailing since France-England was formed in the mid 1400s.
  9. TheWanderingReader Active Member

    Nov 11, 2015
    Wacky it maybe but the predictions Nostradamus made ITTL could be a factor that would give the Triunes their much needed comeuppance since Theodore's interpretation was clearly wrong given he lost in the end. Coupled with the fact that the Russian nobles are gathering again a couple updates ago mskes me hype on how the war of Wrath might occur.

    I too wish on a Roman-Persian alliance but circumstances surrounding that possibility are very slim. We could hopefully get a Maurice-Khusru II situation with Iskandar (And hopefully no long war this time that left both states utterly exhausted). Other than that wishful thinking it's probably just going to be a very brief peace between Rhome and Iranshahr.
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  10. MarshalofMontival Well-Known Member

    Dec 21, 2013
    I'm actually rooting for the Triunes, if only because Ireland's the third monarchy in that particular polity. I've never seen a timeline where Ireland is anything but England's punching bag and I'm eager to see this one go well for them.
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  11. RogueTraderEnthusiast Winner: WillamOfOckham "Most Title" 2018

    Jun 15, 2016
    I'd love to see the script flipped tbh. The French still dominate the Triunes and I'd love to see the Irish rise as the Kings of the Atlantic. XD
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  12. Christian Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2017
    Its interesting to me that the Irish are seen as equal, I would've thought that they would be the lesser of the trio of kingdoms, France has the largest population and most fertile lands, England was the one who created it and where most of there kings came from, Ireland seems to pale in comparison.
  13. HanEmpire Delicious

    Oct 2, 2011
    The Land of Eh
    Only officially. I'm sure that Englishmen and Frenchmen like to mock their Irish counterparts in private as being a bunch of backward pig farmers or something.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 8:37 AM
  14. Βοανηργές Well-Known Member

    Aug 6, 2017
    Do the Irish like the French or English better ITTL? Or are they somewhat united in Bohmanism and their common Triune identity (at least a growing portion of the metropolitan elite)?
    EmperorJerome likes this.
  15. Basileus444 Well-Known Member

    Oct 30, 2011
    And I thought, based on the first day afterwards, that this would be a quiet update. Due to the number of responses (I’m not complaining, just observing), but since many are associated with a particular topic, I’m going to respond to the various topics with a specific response on that topic, rather than each individual post involved in that topical discussion. However any responses that fall outside of those particular topics I’ll respond to individually. I think this is a good compromise, as everything will get a response, but save me time that I could use instead for other things, such as writing the next update. ;)

    Yeah, the Mediterranean power-base means that the use of third-rates isn’t that big of an impact on Roman maritime defense. But this means that even if one manages to mitigate the logistical issues, Roman power projection into the Atlantic against Atlantic naval powers will be at a disadvantage.

    The Romans will concentrate more effort on gunnery drill and accuracy to make up for the smaller battle-line ships. Any Roman Kentarchos that doesn’t conduct gunnery exercises because it’ll ruin the paint job (cough, cough, Victorian British navy) would be immediately sacked.

    Thank you for the population figures. The Romans will be building lots of ships in the Roman East but I don’t think building ships there and sailing them all the way around Africa to Constantinople is cost-effective. It’d be a huge loss if you spend all the money and material to build a first-rate which then sinks near the Cape of Storms (original name of the Cape of Good Hope), plus the large crews needed for the big ships.

    Alternatively if you build a first-rate but don’t give it guns, so that you don’t need a big crew, there’s the risk some ambitious Latin privateer or fregata seizes it, which is just embarrassing.

    Roman Shipbuilding and the East: What I’m envisioning is a two-sphere system of Roman shipbuilding. In the heartland it follows the model as described in the update. In the Roman East, the issues of cost aren’t a factor as the shipyards there have plentiful access to local materials and labors, while the crews are also drawn from local populations. As a result, in the Roman East the ‘heartland disadvantage’ isn’t a factor and the Romans are in the ascendancy, save for the rare occasion when the Latin powers are able to send a serious expedition.

    This system stays in place until the construction of a proper Suez Canal, at which point the two spheres merge into a general Roman shipbuilding sphere, with the dimensions of the Suez Canal marking a limit on ship size, much as the Panama Canal did with USN battleships.

    Depends on what you mean by developed. Triune Bengal is, going by the native peoples, more developed than Roman Taprobane. It is the most developed part of ‘Rhomania-in-the-East’. Most of the shipyards, and all of the ones able to build the big ones, are in Taprobane and half of ‘heartland Romans’ living in all the east dwell in Taprobane. Half of the Roman kleisourai, the tourmatic districts that are independent of any theme, are in Taprobane.

    In short, Taprobane is equal to the rest of Rhomania-in-the-East, including the three Island Asia Katepanates, combined. The balance will shift eastward, but that’s where we are at in 1635.

    I didn’t know about the small 80s, but that makes sense. The Roman navy will be mostly third-rates, with a noticeable minority of small second-rates. But there won’t be very many 100+ gun ships because of the sheer cost.

    The fleet in the East, while locally-built, will look much the same. Although here the lack of first-rates will be because they’re expensive overkill. The teak-built third-rates get the job done. It’s not like the Triunes are going to send lots of first-rates to the east and have their huge crews wiped out by tropical diseases.

    That was…unexpected.

    Venetia is still a major shipbuilding center, supplied by the Istrian & Dalmatian forests, although it generally builds smaller ships nowadays.

    There are provincial squadrons at various points, such as Malta, Tabarka, Venetia, and Crete, which usually operate independently. Then there’s the main fleet that is typically stationed in the Aegean, although that is divided into squadrons that can operate either as part of a combined fleet or as separate squadrons.

    Friendly countries can place orders in Roman yards, although Rhomania quietly discourages any of the Black Sea states from building up anything more than a coastal defense/customs enforcement fleet. The Romans like being in control of the Black Sea.

    The Ottomans have, thanks to the Triunes, one of the most powerful navies of the eastern powers, although since it’s opposed by the Romans, Ethiopians, and Omani, it doesn’t make that big of an impact. The Zeng aren’t the maritime power they used to be when just a South China state; most of their energy is focused on their landward frontier. The Vijayanagari, on the other hand, have a formidable fleet but for now mainly use it to keep the western powers behaving in its backyard.

    Aceh used to be one of the great eastern naval powers, but its defeat at the Lingga Islands has knocked it down several pegs. Some of the other states in Island Asia, such as Champa, have significant naval strength in their immediate backyards but can’t project it. For eastern states that are naval powers able to project power long-distance, look to the Omani and to a lesser extent the Koreans. (The Ethiopian navy could be included here, although it is considered part of the Greater West and so technically doesn’t fall within the purview of your question.)

    It’s a tossup between the Romans and the Lotharingians. The latter have a lot of river gunboats as part of their defense plan.

    Regarding the corsairs, it depends. They couldn’t take one head-on, but they could potentially sting it to death, particularly with the support of a timely storm. A lot of Spanish attacks on North Africa in the early modern period were ruined by weather.

    Regarding the Knights, to some extent but not a lot. The Knights rule Minorca much as they did Malta ITTL, specifically to fight against the Barbary corsairs. They still have some activity in the Holy Land, but Minorca, since it’s their home turf, gets most of the attention. So think something like 75% of OTL’s naval focus is present ITTL. Although pound-for-pound they may be as powerful at sea as the Order IOTL, since the Romans will frequently subsidize their anti-corsair activities. Hospitalier ships regularly provision at Roman Malta and Tabarka.

    Tech and Learning ITTL: It’s a combination of a few breakthroughs showing up a little earlier than IOTL (printing was invented in the 1420s ITTL), which gradually add up. And a greater ‘discovering pool’, since there are more centers of innovation and learning. Rhomania and Russia are both part of the ‘college of letters’, Spain is much more active than IOTL because it doesn’t turn reactionary, and there’s more and wider correspondence. Lotharingian botanists at their great botanical gardens correspond with Roman wardens at the Sweet Waters.

    Romans and Ottomans: The issue with the Romans completely breaking the Ottomans is history. Let me explain.

    First the Romans faced the Parthians. The wars with Rome helped break them and they were replaced by the Sassanids. The last big war with Rhomania helped break the Sassanids, who were replaced by the Caliphate. When the Caliphate broke up, it was replaced by the Turks. After the collapse of the Great Seljuks, Rhomania didn’t have to face a mega-eastern power. There were certainly eastern powers, but no unchallenged hegemon, a fact crucial to Roman survival in the 1200s. By the time a new one appeared under Iskandar the Great, the Romans were strong enough to ‘live beside it’, much as the ancient Romans did with the Parthians and Sassanids.

    What that chain of events tells the Romans is that it is practically inevitable that they will face some mega-eastern power, and that usually attempts to destroy the current mega-eastern power ends up leaving the door open for someone worse from the Roman perspective. So the best that can be expected in the long-term is to establish a good defensive border and find a way to ‘live beside’ the mega-eastern power.

    In short, the Romans can ‘live beside’ the Ottomans, and it’s better the devil you know.

    Zagros, Persia, and Mesopotamia: I don’t see the Romans being able to project any power in the long-term past the Zagros. Raids are a different matter, but even any client state setup wouldn’t last past the moment the Romans have to pay attention to something else.

    A Georgian conquest of Persia would be most amusing, but I don’t think it could stick. The religious difficulties are, as @Evilprodigy pointed out, rather significant. Plus a ‘Georgia+Persia’ state, from the Roman POV, looks much less like a buffer state and more like a threat. The Romans would very much like the Georgians to get the Trans-Aras back, but not more than that.

    There’s no chance the Romans would take the trans-Aras themselves. It would pointlessly annoy the Georgians, and also negate the point of having the Georgians as a buffer state.

    On Mesopotamia, a Roman client state is more feasible, although still difficult over the long-term. Many of the Mesopotamian minorities, such as the Assyrians, are too small to feasibly rule such a client state without massive propping up by the Romans, which as has been pointed out, makes the client state pointless.

    For northern Mesopotamia, the ‘best’ minority for ruling a client state from the Roman POV are the local Kurds. But they aren’t a good choice. They have no reason to feel any loyalty to Constantinople, and northern Mesopotamian peoples, regardless of ethnicity, are generally the most anti-Roman of all the Ottoman peoples. That’s because if the Romans wreck any part of Ottoman lands during Roman-Ottoman wars, it’s northern Mesopotamia.

    The Arabs of southern Mesopotamia are a much better choice from the Roman POV. They’re much less anti-Roman and make up a good chunk of the population of southern Mesopotamia. However they’re weak in central Mesopotamia and nonexistent north of Baghdad.

    I would expect a lot of ‘it’s going to collapse any day now’ being repeated over and over again. Plus there may be a lot of pseudo-racist claims. “The so-called Roman Empire of the Greeks marks the absolute pinnacle of the Asiatic mode of production and governance, marrying it with enough European vigor to make the system stable and efficient. With their strategic position and plentiful resources, they are able to maintain themselves as one of the great powers.”

    I was inspired by a WW1 British poster, which said something like ‘with the help of the young lions (the white dominions), the old lion (Britain) defies his foes’. I’m envisioning some sort of relationship like that, although there will certainly be elements of Roman patronizing, as annoying ITTL as IOTL.

    The Despotates will be the framework on which a Federal Empire will be built, although I’m envisioning two types of Federal Empires. The first is a tight Federal Empire, similar to the OTL US, typified by TTL Russia. The second is a loose Federal Empire, typified by the Roman Empire plus Despotates, which may look something like a Roman EU: freedom of movement and trade within the union, an effort to maintain an united diplomatic front against the world, but with each region generally autonomous, perhaps voting for and sending delegates to a ‘Grand Imperial Senate’ that covers pan-Empire legislation even while there are regional Senates that cover legislation for each individual unit.

    This is far in the future, looking from 1635.

    That is 2 of the 3 reasons that the Georgians bowed out of the 1622 campaign. The third was that Demetrios II just assumed the Georgians would join, rather than asking them, so the Georgians stayed out as a way of asserting their independence. The Georgians are happy to be Roman allies, but don’t treat them as Roman auxiliaries.

    Come 1641, only the first reason will still apply, and that’s nothing a Roman subsidy can’t fix.

    Looks very nice. Only quibbles I have are that you’re too generous with colonial borders in the New World (Triunes aren’t past the Appalachians) and the Marinids only control the area around Timbuktu in sub-Saharan Africa. But they’re only quibbles. It looks good.

    Great Crime: The Great Crime will be used in two senses, the first being a specific event that hasn’t taken place yet. The second is to refer to a general process, which has already begun with the mass slaving and ethnic cleansing in the Levant, and which culminates in the specific event of the first sense.

    What’s going in Egypt is viewed both as a special part of the Great Crime, and also an exception, because of the presence of the Remainers. TTL historians will debate a lot on whether to include the Egyptian part in the Great Crime.

    They’re still proud of their Latin Roman past, but they make a very clear distinction between the Latin Romans of their forebears and the “post-Roman Latins”. They might say something like ‘we are the product of the best of the Latin Romans and the Hellenes, while the Latins of the West possess none of the Hellenes and only the worst of the Latin Romans’.

    I think there will still be Gibbon-like comments ITTL. There were attempts to deny the Byzantines’ (using the OTL term here for clarification) Roman heritage IOTL as far back as the 900s, referring to the Basileus as ‘the emperor of the Greeks’, which the Byzantines took as an insult. Latin Europe is still heavily invested in claiming the Roman mantle, and to do so requires denying the Byzantine claim to that mantle. So similar arguments will be made ITTL, although they might be more nuanced, saying that Rhomania is ‘a Greek copy of the Roman original, but not a continuation’ for example.

    After all, even nowadays on this very forum one can find posters denying the Byzantines’ Roman heritage.

    Republics are suspect in Roman eyes, but the Latins will have their own histories and ideas and act accordingly. While this TL revolves around Rhomania, the world of An Age of Miracles doesn’t.

    The Senate is sort-of around. There are still Senators and it is a valued and prestigious title, but there is no Senate that actually meets and does anything. It’s another of those fancy titles with associated stipend that the court gives out to reward and recognize people.

    The Romans have moved towards a more classical style, much as Renaissance art did in Italy IOTL. Although I briefly made mention like their colors are usually darker and somber than a typical OTL Renaissance painting. I admit I hadn’t given any thought to sculpture, but I can see some “hipster dynatos” starting a new fad.

    As much as possible, the monuments of Constantinople have been restored to their pre-1204 conditions, although this was a long process. It is also a long-standing Roman goal to recover as many of the items lost during the Fourth Crusade and Latin Empire and return them to Constantinople. This will be a plot point shortly.

    There won’t be a general assault on Sunni Islam in its entirety. The Romans don’t care about Sunni Muslims in territories that don’t have some kind of strategic importance to them. Outside of Aden being in the hands of a friendly power like Ethiopia, the White Palace couldn’t care less about Yemen for example.

    Yeah, that bit about Demetrios III not knowing what he wants is about to be extremely important. And there will definitely be more to Elizabeth’s story.

    1642 (Antioch): In late October, a Roman chef, for unknown reasons, decides to take the new pizza dish and add pineapple as a topping. Despite being triply-excommunicated by the Patriarchs of both Constantinople and Antioch, the damage cannot be undone and still affects the world to this day.

    Maurice-Khusro II and Roman-Ottoman Rivalry: I was thinking precisely of Maurice and Khusro II when I was writing of Iskandar the Younger, although I’m deviating substantially from the OTL script so don’t run too far with that analogy.

    Regarding Roman-Ottoman rivalry, to answer this post I’m styling my upcoming plan ‘The End of the Roman-Persian Wars, A Story in Three Acts’. The three acts in question are:

    1) The Eternal War
    2) The War of the Roman Succession & The War of Wrath
    3) The Last War (probably going to change that name, given it obviously couldn’t be called that while taking place)

    This story could’ve ended after Act 2, but people had to be greedy and stupid, and so Act 3.

    I believe I mentioned it before, but I’m planning for a BIG THING ™ to happen to the Triunes later in the century (1670s?) which will hurt them a lot. I’m in the process of planting some seeds (take a close look at the description of Puritans) right now.

    The Triple Monarchy: I’m planning a more in-depth look at the Triple Monarchy in the near future, so I’ll hold off on answering questions here. Because of the questions though, I will be adding more to that update than originally updated, so that should cover everything.
  16. TheCataphract Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2017
    Oh! I don't know if you have this already but there is an interesting article that I found a while back, not sure where (so it may have even been here!) about the feasibility of an Eastern Roman state building a preindustrial Suez Canal.

    The short answer is that it would indeed have been possible given the amount of money the Roman state had to work with, had anyone had both the wherewithal to do it and about a decade without major invasions and plagues to deal with (which is harder to come up with than it sounds. But then again anyone reading this knows exactly how hard it is for the Romans to go one year without getting attacked, let alone ten.)

    Then again. The Empire is potentially both in a position to get that peace before too long and possesses the right motivation to do it. Again according to the article the project would end up more than paying for itself even if someone is pessimistic about its effects on trade.

    One extra consequence however would likely be that suddenly Egypt would be far too strategic to have anything other than direct rule. At least the Suez would need a massive garrison of its own, and the increased traffic by Alexandria would likely massively increase as well. And you don't want the Despotates getting powerful enough to entertain particularly lofty ambitions.

    Another immediate one would be that the Romans would immediately be unmatched in the Indian ocean as far as power projection is concerned, and would have an even more massive advantage in the Indies. Genuinely the control of a Suez Canal would likely cement the Romans' status as the premier superpower at least in the Eastern Hemisphere for centuries.

    Here's the link:
  17. Cryostorm Monthly Donor

    Jan 9, 2012
    Charleston, SC United States of America
    There is likely to be less size issues with the Suez Canal when it comes to size of warships since there is no need for locks which are the biggest limiting factor for the Panama Canal.

    Also looking forward to end of the Roman-Persian Wars. I can imagine it could end up being a big comedy gag between the two asking which particular Roman-Persian War this was as they lost count.
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  18. TheWanderingReader Active Member

    Nov 11, 2015
    If the Rhomans are ever the ones to create Monty Python's Flying Circus I can imagine a comical skit where the Roman ambassadorial party are rejoicing after signing the treaty with their Persian counterparts before it suddenly reverts to them one upping each other in the number of wars they have won. Meanwhile they just casualy ignore the Triune diplomat who was watching the treaty boasting about their colonies. Throw in the Russian diplomat attempting to get the Rhoman's attention and you got yourself a 'Treaty of Westphalia' skit.

    Hell I know it's still in the far future but I really love the idea of the Blackadder series being a Rhoman creation as well. It'd be quite a show in attempts to make fun of the Latins in the early episodes :biggrin:
  19. floppy_seal99 Full Master: Dungeon Master

    Oct 23, 2014
    Can Am Productions
    Cook: *puts pineapple on pizza*

    Cook's smartphone: "The Office of Barbarians wants to know your location."
  20. ImperatorAlexander Well-Known Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Looks like the likely situation is an overwhelming Roman victory in Act 2, but they overextend and bite off more than they can chew (try to establish a Despotate of Mesopotamia?).
    With Act 3 being a war of liberation of sorts, restoring the status quo.
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