An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Just a question, how does Rhomania manage to have such a firm grip on their government? Even in France, during the time of the Sun King, it still didn't wrest as much control from the nobility as much as Rhomania does here.
 
Just a question, how does Rhomania manage to have such a firm grip on their government? Even in France, during the time of the Sun King, it still didn't wrest as much control from the nobility as much as Rhomania does here.
Short version: Nobles' Revolt waaaay back, and Nikephoros the Spider cracking down on conspiring dynatoi.
 
Just a question, how does Rhomania manage to have such a firm grip on their government? Even in France, during the time of the Sun King, it still didn't wrest as much control from the nobility as much as Rhomania does here.
Short version: Nobles' Revolt waaaay back, and Nikephoros the Spider cracking down on conspiring dynatoi.
This and the Byzantine Government is not the French Government. The system present was inherited from the classical period and its powerful central government while the French system was inherited from chaos, anarchy, and Germanic tribal custom that slowly tried to get back the classical period's powerful central government. We're talking a thousand years of different governmental systems and competing socio-economic and cultural traditions.
 
One thing that comes up in a divided north america; where is the border? The Appalachians are really not much of a geographic barrier, and any power that controls them will want to expand beyond into the fertile midwest. Certainly you can't control the midwest from Mexico. I think a Tribune colony, if it stays United, will inevitably grow into OTL Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio, Inidiana, Michigan, Wisconsin,etc.

The Mississippi could be such a barrier, though that's a border that would have to be settled with blood. And if you go beyond that and put the border in the Rockies, plus say the Brazos river, the Triune colony will be almost as strong as the OTL US. Missing the west coast but gaining Canada.
 
I do want the Rhomans to have all of Italy but i think its been indicated that taking Milan would be a step too far. Perhaps the best way for Rhome to secure Italy would be the soft power approach, although even then that can only help so much
 
One thing that comes up in a divided north america; where is the border? The Appalachians are really not much of a geographic barrier, and any power that controls them will want to expand beyond into the fertile midwest. Certainly you can't control the midwest from Mexico. I think a Tribune colony, if it stays United, will inevitably grow into OTL Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio, Inidiana, Michigan, Wisconsin,etc.

The Mississippi could be such a barrier, though that's a border that would have to be settled with blood. And if you go beyond that and put the border in the Rockies, plus say the Brazos river, the Triune colony will be almost as strong as the OTL US. Missing the west coast but gaining Canada.
The river networks of North America provide for the borders. The communication networks of rivers in an age before the railroad makes them uniformly better as a lifeblood of trade and thus the nexus of any colonial community without actual road or railroad networks. So borders would, without railways making travel not using rivers easier, naturally follow the basins of North America. That would be (From north to south) Rupert's Land, St. Lawrence & Great Lakes, American Eastern Seaboard, American Western Seaboard, and the Mississippi.
 
The river networks of North America provide for the borders. The communication networks of rivers in an age before the railroad makes them uniformly better as a lifeblood of trade and thus the nexus of any colonial community without actual road or railroad networks. So borders would, without railways making travel not using rivers easier, naturally follow the basins of North America. That would be (From north to south) Rupert's Land, St. Lawrence & Great Lakes, American Eastern Seaboard, American Western Seaboard, and the Mississippi.
Okay, but unless you somehow unite dozens of American Indian tribes, and quickly, there's nothing to stop expansion across these rivers. IOTL the US made controlling and exploiting these waterways a top priority, and any triune colony controlling the east coast would as well.

It's all those wonderful navigable rivers that made the US an economic superpower IOTL, after all.
 
Okay, but unless you somehow unite dozens of American Indian tribes, and quickly, there's nothing to stop expansion across these rivers. IOTL the US made controlling and exploiting these waterways a top priority, and any triune colony controlling the east coast would as well.

It's all those wonderful navigable rivers that made the US an economic superpower IOTL, after all.
That's sort of my point. These river zones would be, as they were historically, focal points for colonialism. The Triunes don't necessarily have to be the ones to do that. The Spanish, Lothairingians, Scandinavians, Germans, Aragonese, Arletians, or any other Atlantic-ish power could project power over large amounts of land from the rivers rather than the Triunes. North America as it looked prior to the Seven Years War used exclusively water-shed based borders and so would likely be the defining way that the continent could get divided until infrastructural development becomes strong enough to allow natural barriers and pathways to be ignored.
 
That's sort of my point. These river zones would be, as they were historically, focal points for colonialism. The Triunes don't necessarily have to be the ones to do that. The Spanish, Lothairingians, Scandinavians, Germans, Aragonese, Arletians, or any other Atlantic-ish power could project power over large amounts of land from the rivers rather than the Triunes. North America as it looked prior to the Seven Years War used exclusively water-shed based borders and so would likely be the defining way that the continent could get divided until infrastructural development becomes strong enough to allow natural barriers and pathways to be ignored.
Of course they can project power. But look at it like this. The various colonial powers are over in Europe, far, far away. They can't sustain an army in north America of any size. The triunes are right there, with what will eventually be millions of people. There's nothing Europeans can do against that.

I'm talking more about as we get to the 19th century, not right now. Right now Europeans can trade and set up outposts into region easily. I'm sure they can cultivate native allies and turn a nice profit.

But as the years go on and demographic pressure mounts, the triune colonies taking over this area is inevitable without a drastic change. I could see this drastic change being one of two things: 1. Another colonial power settles the region in force, 2. A native ally of a European power grows strong enough to unite much of the region with modern weapons. Either way you need a power native to the region, in numbers, to contest the triune. And the triunes will not take this lying down; as I said, the border would be set in blood.

It's still a long ways away ITTL before we get to that, this is just me musing on the situation.
 
Of course they can project power. But look at it like this. The various colonial powers are over in Europe, far, far away. They can't sustain an army in north America of any size. The triunes are right there, with what will eventually be millions of people. There's nothing Europeans can do against that.

I'm talking more about as we get to the 19th century, not right now. Right now Europeans can trade and set up outposts into region easily. I'm sure they can cultivate native allies and turn a nice profit.

But as the years go on and demographic pressure mounts, the triune colonies taking over this area is inevitable without a drastic change. I could see this drastic change being one of two things: 1. Another colonial power settles the region in force, 2. A native ally of a European power grows strong enough to unite much of the region with modern weapons. Either way you need a power native to the region, in numbers, to contest the triune. And the triunes will not take this lying down; as I said, the border would be set in blood.

It's still a long ways away ITTL before we get to that, this is just me musing on the situation.
If you're talking about so far into the future then there's no point hypothesizing.
 
Just a question, how does Rhomania manage to have such a firm grip on their government? Even in France, during the time of the Sun King, it still didn't wrest as much control from the nobility as much as Rhomania does here.
I'm not entirely certain 17th - 18th century France is the best paradigm here. While heavily centralized ancien regime France was suffering from certain problems unique to how it had come to being after the 100 years war, from regional trade barriers to an overtly powerful nobility. Byzantium didn't quite have anything similar to start with...

Post that we are just seeing the establishment of fiscal-military states 2 generations ahead of OTL, with the explosion in army and navy sizes this entails.
 
I'm curious, what do we now about the Scandinavian colony in north America? Do we know the names of any cities? Is there a considerable settler population?
 
Italy at this point has a population in the order of 12-13 million minimum, probably higher TTL. The core territories of the empire are 18 million. Even granting that roughly a third of the Italian population is the despotate of Sicily how exactly is the empire supposed to integrate a 50% increase of its population?
If they can't have Italy then arles or the bernese league shouldn't have it. The latins in the west are all untrustworthy, only in a position of strength should Rome deal with these backstabbing bitches. Them gaining a foothold in Italy poses a threat to central and southern Italy as I have said. As we all know northern Italy has a bigger population, people have stated dividing northern Italy into tiny million pieces is the way to go, for one I do agree since Rome and it's despotates will likely control the entire coastal area as well as central Italy. If the lombardian civil war ends in draw with both mastino and parma backing down after some time, Rome should apply pressure to make them tributaries or protectorate. It doesn't matter what kind of arrangement Rome should form but the more important thing is that they stay on roman orbit.

If the arletians and bernese league were to move and take some land in Italy, Rome should just consider burning everything in the north to make it uninhabitable or carting off a lot of its population. Anything to weaken northern Italy is to be considered, ToT after all left Roman Italy under the hands of a despotate. Making sure it stays weak and divided is more or less the strategy that Rome always uses against it's enemy.
 

Vince

Monthly Donor
I can’t believe I as a southerner am going to have to defend yankeedom but upstate New York (Adirondacks, Hudson Valley; Fingerlakes) and PA mountains can be absolutely beautiful. Now New Jersey on the other hand. . .
Yeah, I go camping in Little Long Lake in the Adirondacks every year. It's quite beautiful.

 
The Edge of the World: Korea and Japan
It seems that most of the posts were speculations or conversations amongst the people, so it in the interests of brevity and getting to the next update, I'll be going straight to the next update. Apologies if I missed a burning question and feel free to repost it. Thanks.

The Edge of the World: Korea and Japan

The Joseon Kings of Korea have much to be proud of in reviewing their history of the past few decades. While China has been ravaged by war and disunity, the Korean Kingdom ceased paying tribute to the Tieh back in 1594 and despite some scares, has bowed to no one since. Taking advantage of the chaos outside their borders, in the past two decades Korean writ has extended northward to embrace the Liaodong Peninsula and much of the Jilin area, lands that have not been ruled by Koreans since the days of Goguryeo and Balhae.

Doing so has resulted in much interaction, both hostile and peaceful, between the Koreans and the various Jurchen clans. Any Roman familiar with Constantinople’s playbook would recognize the Korean system. Friendly chiefs are granted subsidies and titles while trade is common, with many Jurchen notables traveling south to become royal bodyguards at the capital of Seoul.

Those clans not willing to play nice are met with force, although much of the military might is supplied by other Jurchen clans. Subjugated clans pay tribute as Korean vassals, which helps subsidizes the retainers Seoul pays to keep the other clans sweet. Korean hegemony does not extend over all the Jurchen clans, but they are certainly the most dominant foreign power in the region.

In the lands of the Jurchen, the Korean monarchs often have to rely on Jurchen auxiliaries for military muscle. However in Korea itself they have a monopoly of force, the Kings enforcing strict limitations on the number of retainers the yangban-the Korean term for the upper class-families may possess. The yangban do not seem to mind, as in exchange they completely dominate the bureaucracy. While the Koreans have an exam system modeled off of the Chinese system, only those of the yangban families are allowed to take the exams and become officials. Leaving aside the class barrier, appointments are supposed to be meritocratic based on test results, but the competition between yangban families for the plum positions can be fierce and even cutthroat, particular when the King is of a less forceful personality.

Korean society is very class-centered with extremely limited social mobility. Most of the Korean population are known as sangmin, a mix of farmers, laborers, fishermen, and artisans. The majority are poor farmers, very few of whom own their own land. Most are tenants, with a royal, yangban, or monastic landlord.

Below them are the nobi, which can be called slaves or serfs, depending on one’s definition. Nobi can be bought and sold like property by their masters, but some possess something in the way of property and legal rights. Some nobi work in yangban households and are paid a salary, while others work in the field and are practically indistinguishable from free tenant farmers. A few nobi even have nobi of their own.

There is nothing race-based about the nobi. Just as nobi can purchase their own freedom if they have the money or perform military service, freemen can sell themselves into slavery to pay debts or be forced into servitude as punishment for a crime. While the proportion varies from time to time, even reaching a third of the total Korean population at certain points in Joseon history, typically nobi make up about 10% of the Korean people.

Aside from the monarch and the yangban, another major power player in Korea is the large Buddhist monasteries. The monasteries vary in size, but the greatest are prominent landowners on par with the most significant yangban, with many tenant farmers and nobi of their own. While neo-Confucianism has had some impact on the Korean court, Chinese influence is currently at an all-time low. No Korean students have gone to study in China for two generations and Buddhism remains the dominant faith of the land.

While the majority of Koreans toil in the fields with little hope of advancing in status, the literate classes are benefiting from a cultural and economic boom. The Hangul script, nearing its two-hundredth birthday, is growing in use with text production also rising rapidly in the last two decades. One common genre is books on agriculture as yangban landlords seek to improve crop yields or produce new items.

Those yangban wish to do so in order to participate in commerce and trade, which is proving fruitful to its participants. (That said, this is done with intermediaries as gentlemen are not supposed to sully their hands in trade.) There is a vigorous Korean commerce with the Japanese who value Korean textiles and ceramics while the Koreans want Japanese silver and the wares of Southeast Asia. Most Korean merchants do not go further than Nagasaki or Osaka, but they are sometimes active down in Pyrgos.

The shift in Korean-Japanese relations is due entirely to the reunification of Japan. During the Sengoku Jidai many of the warring daimyo had raided westward as a means to boost their wealth. Shimazu success had much to do with their own highly lucrative raids against China, with substantial support and firepower from their new Roman allies. However the Shimazu never raided Korea for two reasons. Firstly, China was simply a more lucrative target. Secondly, one of the earliest Shimazu vassals was the So family that ruled Tsushima, through which legitimate trade between Korea and Japan flowed during the Sengoku period. Taxes on the trade was another useful revenue stream for the Shimazu, one which they did not want to disrupt by piratical raids on the Korean coast.

With the Shimazu now in control of all of Japan, they have been cracking down on the wokou. The last thing they want are loose cannons running around making messes that need to be cleaned up. The Shimazu want any Japanese force to be directed and controlled by them, for their political purposes and not the self-aggrandizement of an ambitious daimyo.

Keeping an eye on the daimyo is a key task for the Shimazu, as the reunification of Japan did not result in the destruction of the samurai class. Systematically crushing each individual daimyo domain would’ve been a long and grueling process, one certainly beyond the means of the Shimazu. The Azai had ruled most of Honshu, with resources far outmatching that of the Shimazu. The latter had only turned the tide by convincing many of the Azai’s vassals to switch allegiances and fight for the Shimazu.

In 1635 Japan has 190 han, the term for daimyo landholdings. Each han is ruled by a daimyo who has autonomy in their realm, but pays taxes to the Shimazu Emperor based on how much rice their territory can produce. The daimyo have their own castles and samurai retainers, with the han varying in size, the largest as much as 20 times bigger than the smallest. There are three daimyo grades, the first being those families related to the Shimazu, the second being their earliest and most loyal vassals from the Sengoku period, and the third being those who fell into line at the end of the Sengoku period. All three grades benefit from gifts of land taken from those daimyo who opposed the Shimazu rise, but only the first two grades can hold offices in the central government.

While the han take up much of the countryside, the Shimazu control the cities, trade, and vast landholdings of their own, including practically all of Kyushu. Their landholdings dwarf those of even the most prestigious daimyo, which combined with all their other resources gives them financial reserves that allow them to easily outspend their feudal vassals.

An important rule to keep the daimyo in check is the stipulation that they must spend every other year at the capital, and the other year on their estate, while their wife and heir must reside at their capital residence. The expense of maintaining two establishments, plus the travel costs, limit the amount of funds available to even the wealthier daimyo, limiting the trouble they can cause. Although in 1635 this stage has not been reached, eventually the poorer daimyo will need financial subsidies to keep up appearances, subsidies the Imperial government will be happy to provide as a means of keeping further control.

The Shimazu, after setting themselves up as the new Emperors, selected Osaka as their capital. The ancient capital of Kyoto had too many connections to the old Japan. Osaka is centrally located, with sea routes leading south and a new Imperial road leading up to northern Honshu. With the daimyo and their retinues constantly shuttling back and forth between the capital and their han, improved transportation and hospitality amenities such as roadside inns are increasing drastically in quality and quantity. The Imperial court and the daimyo also wish to cut an impressive figure, especially when presenting themselves to the Emperor, leading to an increased demand in Chinese, Korean, and Indonesian goods.

While Osaka is the Imperial capital and the main port for intra-Japanese trade, Nagasaki is the prime port for trade between Japan and the outside world. While all comers are welcome provided they behave and paid the customs dues, the Romans and Koreans, followed distantly by the Lotharingians, are the main foreign traders.

Nagasaki is also the only port of departure and arrival for the Red Seal ships, those Japanese vessels that are authorized to trade with the outside world. The Shimazu are all for encouraging overseas trade, but want it controlled so that they can exact maximum revenue from it. Only those vessels with a Red Seal permit can sail overseas, and must do it through Nagasaki. (Allowances are made for storm-damaged Red Seal ships that return to another Japanese port, but they are boarded by officials and not allowed to offload any cargo unless the ship is in danger of sinking.) In exchange for the payments, it is made quite clear to the peoples of the Western Pacific that anyone attacking a Red Seal ship will incur the wrath of the Japanese Emperor.

Most of the Red Seal ships go to Pyrgos, but some sail as far as Java or Ayutthaya. One place that suffers greatly due to the rise of Pyrgos is the Ryukyuan Islands, which had initially served as a conduit for trade between Japan, China, and Southeast Asia. Producing little of interest themselves, the Ryukyuan Islanders had thrived in the past few centuries as a port of call. Even after the establishment of Pyrgos they held their own, until the arrival of the Mexican silver galleons put an end to the struggle.

Nagasaki, like most of Kyushu, is almost wholly Orthodox Christian. As for the rest of Japan, the extent of Christianization wanes as one heads east and north. The Shimazu Emperors have made no effort to prorogue Shinto shrines or Buddhist monasteries in their entirety, having already done enough to embroil the countryside after their annihilation of the Yamato dynasty.

That said, many monasteries had turned themselves into fortresses with their own armies of monks during the Sengoku Jidai and many resisted the imposition of Shimazu control. Many of the Shimazu campaigns to solidify their dominance over Honshu were against these monastery-fortresses, which served a twofold purpose. Firstly, the campaigns destroyed a military threat to Shimazu control. Secondly, the buildings, lands, and tenants of the defeated monastery-fortresses were then turned over to Japanese Orthodox churches and monasteries, helping to spread Orthodox Christianity across the Japanese islands.

By 1635 these campaigns, and others like them against Japanese still resistant to the new Shimazu order, are largely done. There will be a few more minor ones in northern Honshu, but the ones truly dangerous to the Shimazu are past. With Japan now finally secure, the Shimazu feel free to direct their gaze to the wider world.
 
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