Our Fractured Crown: An Eastern Roman Timeline

More this:
I just wanted to be clear I meant it's intellectually interesting, but - well, anyone acting like OTL Timur/Tamerlane is going to make things pretty awful.
Ah, now I understand you perfectly.
I wonder if the church starting its own trade will lead to snowball effects down the line. Hybrid Clergy-Merchants?

Anyways, with the Anatolia frontier secure for now, the next move is likely cutting Serbia down to size and moving down towards Epirus/Thessaly or Morea?
The Church itself as the institution isn't trading. It's something that's occurring right now within Orthodox monasteries, irl. Basically the monasteries produce select goods to sell as an income to provide for themselves. Like some monasteries on Mount Athos today produce foodstuffs and art which they sell. It's just a measure to ensure the survival of their homes. There won't be any hybrid clergy-merchants as far as I can see ahead.

Perhaps, perhaps. Serbia is a question that will be answered down the line. Epirus and Thessaly however, as well as what remains unconquered in Morea? Most definitely. Kantakouzenos' plan of a united Rome from Thrace, unbroken down to the Peloponnese is a major stepping stone to survival.
 
How though? The might of Michael VIII Pailaiologos was testament enough to the Empire's strength. The man managed to use Byzantine funds and diplomacy to orchestrate the destruction of the Sicilian Kingdom during the War of Sicilian Vespers. The island was ravaged by the war and now the courts of Palermo and Naples were rivals against each other. This allowed Michael to concentrate on matters pertaining to the his Empire. The Empire was largely hobbled by the ineptitude of Andronikos II and his other weak successors completely squandering away everything they had for short-sighted gains.

While I wouldn't say that Andronikos II did a great job, I also don't think that civil war was the solution. Obviously it works out here, but with enemies on every front a civil war is essentially deadly. Serbia and Bulgaria weren't inherently hostile, but only one of them could be an ally at a time.

I'm intending to keep the Ottomans around as a sort of perpetual enemy of the Empire. To avoid spoilers, they eventually form a powerbase in Mesopotamia after being forced out of Anatolia and weather the storm that is the Middle East until rising up and controlling the area--growing to become a major power.

While nothing I say should be considered as intended to force any creative decision, nor do I expect it to; I feel the need to discuss this point. I simply don't find it all that plausible. If the Ottomans are forced ever eastwards, they're going to lose all their prestige. Historically being on the frontier against the Christians is something that drew a lot of support towards the Ottoman polity, with all sorts of Ghazi and Turkomans drawn to the Ottoman military during times of conflict. These troops were a big part of the Ottoman army albeit not the core, but are important nonetheless. If the Ottomans are refugees again and in the middle of Muslim controlled and populated territory those sorts of volunteers simply won't be there. The Osmanli family would just be another group of migrants fleeing defeat and no one would want to join them to fight other Muslims. It's also been done before.

I want to stress that in no way am I trying to discourage your plans here, I just feel compelled to at least give my opinion in as polite a manner as I can.
 
Historically being on the frontier against the Christians is something that drew a lot of support towards the Ottoman polity, with all sorts of Ghazi and Turkomans drawn to the Ottoman military during times of conflict. These troops were a big part of the Ottoman army albeit not the core, but are important nonetheless. If the Ottomans are refugees again and in the middle of Muslim controlled and populated territory those sorts of volunteers simply won't be there. The Osmanli family would just be another group of migrants fleeing defeat and no one would want to join them to fight other Muslims.
I mean it took around 200 years for the Ottomans to become the state that we would recognize. Here they’re in their early infancy. But there more westward position allowed them to be influenced by both Western Christian ideas/military doctrine in addition to traditional Turkish/Islamic ones. This was a key factor in the formation of the Ottoman military in fact the early Ottoman troops comprised of many Greeks and Armenians who had converted to Islam.


The Osmanli family would just be another group of migrants fleeing defeat and no one would want to join them to fight other Muslims. It's also been done before.
I mean the Mamaluks essentially went from slave soldiers fighting for the Ayubids to the rulers of Egypt and the levant.
 
The main thing I can think of, and this is more "food for thought" than trying to describe it as impossible - if Andronicus III reviving Byzantine control of Anatolia to any meaningful extent is imaginable, this may not be more unlikely:

Why do people follow the Osmanli family in this situation? What do they have to offer that other, better established rulers don't?

Whether they're relying on Greek and Armenian converts or on Turks (and how sharp a distinction there is between those two groups), attempts at establishing a power base in Mesopotamia is probably not going to go very much like their OTL 8th century (AH) did for them - and I'm not nearly familiar enough with the events in Mesopotamia to offer much of a suggestion beyond that this is going to be a big deal to any "and rise to a major power" possibilities.

https://www.academia.edu/4117180/Re...ative_When_Was_the_Ottoman_State_a_Gazi_State This article is interesting, though.
 
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OTOH, Averious did say this eastward migration would contribute to Ottoman survival. Maybe part of this means staying small before the Timur Storm then growing to fill the vacuum after Timur is dead. We all know the Timurids were rather fond of infighting.
 
Good start at TTL. Nice premise , I will keep an eye for this one.

I have a question though. Why did the Ottomans abandoned Bursa? I mean if they wanted time a siege is better than to leave the place completely. The loss of prestige for that abandonment is big as well.
 
To everyone who's made notes on the Ottomans in Mesopotamia idea, thank you, it's given me food for thought. But I will admit nothing said actually challenges or changes the idea I had for it.

This is a spoiler, so I'll be marking it as such;
effectively a branch of the Ottoman family becomes mercenaries for the shattered Mesopotamia around the time Timur is set to arrive. They survive because they keep their head down, and once the storm clears they are there to fill in the power vacuum. The approach the Ottomans took to integrating people, and the like, is one of the main reasons they were able to convert the Romans they conquered. This approach will work wonders for them in a part of the Muslim world which has suffered for decades.
So what's the pod of this? Andronikos III getting slightly different genetics then otl?
Andronikos III himself had fine genetics, lol. He died from what was likely Malaria--we're all susceptible to disease regardless of how perfect our bodies are. The POD is that Andronikos never gets Malaria, as well as having his rougher traits smoothed just enough to allow the Empire what it needs to survive by the skin of its teeth.
Good start at TTL. Nice premise , I will keep an eye for this one.

I have a question though. Why did the Ottomans abandoned Bursa? I mean if they wanted time a siege is better than to leave the place completely. The loss of prestige for that abandonment is big as well.
I noted this in the actual post as well, but you have to consider specifics. Bursa had time to become a vibrant city and the core of the Ottoman state until they took Adrianople, and later Constantinople, because the Romans weren't able to interfere with it or the Ottomans in general after being kicked out of Anatolia in OTL.

Here, Bursa is a city that's just come off of the siege that took it (the Ottomans did a number on it, and its population, to take it because they were inept at siegecraft during that time) and hasn't had time to recover. It's also in an untenable position due to its proximity to Nicaea. Simply put defending it would be a waste of time. By abandoning it Orhan forced Andronikos to spend time patching it up--because that's what the Romans had to do. That time gave him the opportunity to relocate to the old capital at Sogut and muster his vassals and nobles properly to cut Andronikos off at the right time. He almost succeeded in this.

In basics; Bursa wasn't defendable enough, or viable enough, to fight over after the Ottoman forces had just been hammered twice. Orhan needed time, and he got that time by playing the Roman mindset like a fiddle.
 
Here, Bursa is a city that's just come off of the siege that took it
They had the city for 3 years (April 1326- June 1329) so if they had time to build those
The Ottomans had built a bath, a soup kitchen, a mosque and a small center of learning in the town
They certainly had time to repair the fortifications. And even 1000 militia could keep the city for more than a month looking at how few the Romans were. Also it's always better to have the Romans make a siege rather than just giving it cause that would bleed Roman manpower and money, both on a very low reserve at the time. Also it took Orhan 2 weeks almost to muster an army and catch up to the Romans. Now if the Romans were pinned in a siege wouldn't that be more effective?
The proximity to Nicaea is the whole point of why Bursa was taken in the first place so to leave it because it's too close doesn't make sense to me.
 
Andronikos III himself had fine genetics, lol. He died from what was likely Malaria--we're all susceptible to disease regardless of how perfect our bodies are. The POD is that Andronikos never gets Malaria, as well as having his rougher traits smoothed just enough to allow the Empire what it needs to survive by the skin of its teeth.
I'm just askign this question because the POD is just not clearly stated. What made ittl Andronikos III different than otl Andronikos III?
 
They had the city for 3 years (April 1326- June 1329) so if they had time to build those

They certainly had time to repair the fortifications. And even 1000 militia could keep the city for more than a month looking at how few the Romans were. Also it's always better to have the Romans make a siege rather than just giving it cause that would bleed Roman manpower and money, both on a very low reserve at the time. Also it took Orhan 2 weeks almost to muster an army and catch up to the Romans. Now if the Romans were pinned in a siege wouldn't that be more effective?
The proximity to Nicaea is the whole point of why Bursa was taken in the first place so to leave it because it's too close doesn't make sense to me.
Building those amenities takes less time than rebuilding the parts of the city that were damaged. Notably however is the population. Bursa was effectively starved out. We don’t have much information on the siege itself besides the fact that the Ottomans had no skill with siegecraft and that it was long and drawn out affair.

I’m inferring from this that the cities population and akin were badly harmed by the siege, which would explain Orhan’s push to immediately build amenities; a practice he would continue for Nicaea as well.

Added, you have to think on the previous battles Orhan has fought against the Romans. In the last one Andronikos pulled a last minute win by buying enough time for the garrison of Nicomedia to arrive and reinforce him. Orhan knows Andronikos’ greatest strength is the aid he can call on from the surrounding cities.

Forcing Andronikos to overextend by giving him Bursa, and then catching him far enough away from aid and forcing him into a pitched battle is a functional way to cordon off the Emperor and his men. Had Orhan won, which he very nearly did, it would have been simple to circle back and simply retake Bursa; the city would have given itself back up to Orhan—something I think you can agree with me on.
I'm just askign this question because the POD is just not clearly stated. What made ittl Andronikos III different than otl Andronikos III?
Andronikos OTL was a militaristic and opportunistic man; but he lacked foresight in many cases and relied on others to make major decisions for him while he handled the easier work. He was a good soldier.

In this TL he’s more well-rounded—able to weigh pros and cons better, and is more in control of his position. It allows him to make decisions that will allow the Empire to survive.
 
Basic Map Post-1329 Anatolian Stabilization
A very basic map I've made. Aspects of it are likely wrong, and I'm open to correction.

For my own sanity I only showed the states that border the Empire. Maps like this aren't my thing. This is mostly here to give you all an idea of things.
 

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I have a question, wouldnt amastris be byzantine ?
Also was Burgas allready bulgarian at that time ?
Edit: as far as I know Lesbos was still greek and the Balkanborder more to the north
 
I have a question, wouldnt amastris be byzantine ?
Also was Burgas allready bulgarian at that time ?
Edit: as far as I know Lesbos was still greek and the Balkanborder more to the north
Amastris would be under control of the Genoese at this point according to what I could find.

As for Burgas if I recall correctly it was only regained by the Romans when they betrayed the Bulgarians and took it from them after the Bulgarians lost to the Serbs in 1330.

Lesbos alongside Chios were in Genoese hands at this time. They were recovered historically after Andronikos failed in Anatolia. Since Andronikos never abandoned Anatolia it's reconquest is being left to early 1330, rather than in 1329.
 
@Averious by god this is a good start. I still remember when I found your first story. It is actually nearing one year ago in about 2 weeks.
I found it after I had begun reading The Eternal Empire: Emperor Maurice dies before being overthrown. I searched up Byzantine empire and I believe you can Guesswhat was the first thing I found on this forum.

I found this today when I was reading about the late empire and searched up Andronikos III her on Alt history.com.

I can really see you are improving on your storytelling and you really found an interesting POD. Also is each chapter going to last a year in the timeline?
Also are you going to have updates about the army and about other places. And in universe is this a biography of andronikos or just general information about him.

Regardless of that I really am Wishing you luck with the story.
PS when do believe the next update is ready
PSS good map.
From the north
 
@Averious by god this is a good start. I still remember when I found your first story. It is actually nearing one year ago in about 2 weeks.
I found it after I had begun reading The Eternal Empire: Emperor Maurice dies before being overthrown. I searched up Byzantine empire and I believe you can Guesswhat was the first thing I found on this forum.

I found this today when I was reading about the late empire and searched up Andronikos III her on Alt history.com.

I can really see you are improving on your storytelling and you really found an interesting POD. Also is each chapter going to last a year in the timeline?
Also are you going to have updates about the army and about other places. And in universe is this a biography of andronikos or just general information about him.

Regardless of that I really am Wishing you luck with the story.
PS when do believe the next update is ready
PSS good map.
From the north
Thank you for your kind words!

I'm trying to make each chapter roughly a year, at least for now. During periods of lax interest several years might be crammed into a single chapter. For reference, each 'part' is in reference to a reign. So Part 1 is Andronikos' reign, and Part 2 will be John V's.

I'm definitely going to be posting updates on the army and akin when the time comes. The next 'update' will be the army following the reforms that are started in 1330, so roughly the post after the next post.

In universe 'Part 1' is written by Alexandros Komnenos around the early 1600's. It's a complication of multiple historical works. I won't spoil who Alexandros is, and what his place is in the story, but effectively the TL we're getting is a History of the Empire and its Emperors in select volumes which correspond to the parts they're broken into. Alexandros Komnenos stops being our 'source' in the mid 1600's.

Thanks! I try to do at least one update every 1-2 days. I banged out 2 yesterday so I'll be taking a break until later tomorrow for me (I'm on GMT +2 time). The map is decent, but thanks anyway, lol.

Keep safe and healthy :)
 
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While working on potential banners I ended up producing this; a banner of the Four Betas. Hopefully this'll help you visualize the symbol the Romans carry into battle under Andronikos at this stage.
 

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When would they use the double headed eagle flag then? I think the Palailogos used that too, so?
The Double Headed Eagle at this point isn't really used on banners. The Palaiologoi's Four Betas were easier to produce banners with. The main thing the DHE is used for is signet rings and family crests.

In universe it begins to supplant the Four Betas around the reign of John V, as he uses it as a more 'Imperial' icon during his reign.
 
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