Renovation: An Eastern Roman Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Soverihn, Jan 4, 2015.

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  1. Threadmarks: Intro

    Soverihn Proud Tribalist

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    Hey there AH.com. I've been a member here for a few years now, and a huge fan of the Eastern Roman Empire and its history. Despite my decently good knowledge of the state, I've always been wary of attempting to do a timeline on the subject matter as I haven't felt confident in my abilities to create a good timeline that would stand out. I wanted to be unique in my efforts and craft a timeline that deals with a late Eastern Roman revival through an (to my knowledge) entirely underutilized and seldom discussed period: The Second Palaiologoi Civil War during the first half of the 1300s. Arguably one of the most critical periods of Byzantine history, its is perhaps best known as the war that really destroyed Byzantine Power, leaving it a bankrupt, tiny, rump state at the mercy of its neighbors with enemies at all sides.

    Here, I plan to turn the revive the Eastern Roman Empire into a power by means of transforming it into something... unique. A cross between a gunpowder empire and a merchant state, if you will, rather than having simple military victories and territorial expansion following a period of good luck and excellent leadership as is the norm here. If any of you are familiar with the Zealots of Thessalonica and their ilk, we may also see some elements reminiscent of socialism in the state apparatus.

    Now, some of you on the site may find this to be a time where its too late to return the Eastern Roman Empire to its former glories; and there is quite a lot of merit to that school of thought, though it is one I don't particularly agree with. Hopefully this timeline will attempt to tackles these issues and plot out a path to success.

    In any case, after a year of intensive research, the help of various members here and questionable amounts of that liquid courage known as alcohol, I humbly present Renovation (or rather the prologue). Any comments and criticisms are welcome.

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    Renovation

    [​IMG]


    “One of the most curious quirks of history is what the late Medieval Roman Empire refers to as ‘The Renovation’; this period of massive social, political and economic change that starts a new chapter in the empire. A fresh start if you will, where the slow, humiliating decline of the past 140 or so years is halted and the slate is wiped clean! This newer, stronger, healthier empire emerges from this period of restructuring better than it has been in ages. Its like a house getting refurbished -hence the name- and, like that refurbished house, it weathers the storms and the earthquakes and all other problems much better than it otherwise would have, so that the people residing in that house can live in peace.”


    The 14th century was not kind a kind one to the Roman Empire. Following the aftermath of the infamous Fourth Crusade, the remnants of Rome become a shadow of their once glorious self. They are fractured, stagnant and handicapped by a myriad of issues that impede renewal. Despite numerous attempts on setting the empire on the road to recovery, to keep the empire afloat, it all appears in vain. This new era is one of a slow, painful and seemingly irreversible decline.

    On all sides, the empire is under siege. To the east, Turkish incursions renew their offense clawing apart at Byzantium’s important Asian provinces, the first in a century since the mighty Komnenoi emperors have pushed them back. Multitudes of tribes have poured in and begun carving out their own small fiefdoms. Most worrying are the nascent Ottoman Beylik, under the rule of the ambitious and frighteningly competent Orhan. In the North, the rising power of Serbia and the Second Bulgarian Empire threaten the European holdings. And to the west are the Latin states. They exploit rather than aid. They fracture instead of unify. They harm when they should heal. Caught between all sides and weakened by generations of war, Rome is in a precarious place. But the worst comes from within the empire.

    Following the ascension of the Palaiologoi dynasty the balance of power has drastically swung in favor of the aristocracy. While this is not a new thing; (the aristocratic favoritism is something deeply Roman, going back to the days of the ancient republic), since the Komnenoi era this trend has dramatically accelerated. The meritocracy of the previous Macedonian dynasty has been eroded with time, as has their care for the lower classes; the smallholders and the urban mob. This trend further continues with the new dynasty, perhaps continuing to its logical extreme. It is this favoritism that has in part hastened the decay of the empire, as the aristocracy has been given freer rein to expand their power. The aristocracy, rich and bloated at the expense of the state and the poor, further bleed the empire dry. The government, struggling to reform is unable to fix the underlying problems of the state nor alleviate the problems faced by the peasants. Impoverishment and misrule have become depressingly common.

    In reaction, there is anger and resentment. Justifiably so. The people toil and yet there is no respite. No end to the staggering amount of problems that plague their homeland. It is fertile ground for those who wish to gain support for change… or for those seeking power. Some wish for reform, and others revolution. Either one has their merits in the people’s eyes. As the years pass and the situation grows ever more bleak, the more sway these advocates for change have… and the more the people wish to fight. To strike back at their tormentors.

    In 1341, the straw that breaks the camel’s back came with the death of emperor Andronikos, third of that name. In the ensuing power struggle there emerged two power blocs gunning for control: The camp of John Kantakouzenos, who fought to continue the Ancien Regime of aristocratic rule and traditionalism that the state has come to known, and the camp of Alexios Apokaukos, led by those who had wished for change to come to Rhomania. And so bloody civil war had broken out, further sapping what little resources remain.

    Currently, the year is 1341. The empire stands broken, battered and bloody. But it is far from beaten.
     
  2. Westad Banned

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    So a thought comes to mind. Two major problems that the Eastern Romans grappled with were not just the the ossification of its civilian government through the shifting relationship between the aristocracy and the ostensible core of the state, which you already touched upon, but also a long tradition of ossification in its military through hyper-specialization stretching back all the way to the fall of Western Rome.

    How would this, shall we say, Thessalonic Renovation, deal with both of these?
     
  3. ImperatorAlexander Well-Known Member

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    Look forward to following this, excited to see where you will take this.
     
  4. Sh3ba Human Hermit Crab

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    Another eastern roman TL :D subscribed
     
  5. Fredrick II Barbarossa Holy Roman Emperor

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    Byzantium is still recoverable from 1341 as long as the civil war between Kantakouzenos and poukapos doesnt cause too much damage since youve already started it. . Im curious will the ottomans, Serbians, Bulgarians, and all play a role in it like otl orr will you prevent the Serbians and especially the ottomans from taking part?
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  6. Uff Da the optimist Well-Known Member

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    Yes!

    Your premise is really cool, go for it man!
    Long live Rhomania!
     
  7. SlyDessertFox Warren/Castro 2020

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    Nice premise. Byzantium has one heck of a challenge to overcome, but it's doable.
     
  8. norlag Well-Known Member

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    Eastern Roman TLs are my favourite. I look forward to reading more.
     
  9. Russian woolly rhinoceros

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    That sounds promising. I'll be following it.
    But, er, easy on alcohol :)
     
  10. Bartholome de Fonte Melaninly challenged

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    Having got a sneak peek I think I can say that I endorse this as a fun project. This is coming from someone who normally detests the ERE.
     
  11. Soverihn Proud Tribalist

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    Thanks for the overwhelmingly warm support guys!

    To be fairly honest, it won't entirely. Hereditary landed elites are very difficult to get rid of permanently, and nearly impossible in a pre-modern society to my knowledge and thus will have some measure of influence in the state that leads towards the vicious cycle of specialization and refusal to reform. The Renovation is, for lack of a better term, a 'Reset Button', if you will that (for a time at least), displaces the ruling elite of OTL's Palaiologoi period and allows new blood to come in and dictate reforms that would otherwise not be considered. Hopefully by the time the elites can claw their way back into some measure of their former power things will simply be too different for reactionaries to change.

    Little role overall. My POD is essentially preventing the Serbian intervention in the war, which is when things really started to go downhill. As a result the Ottomans won't be called in, the state won't bankrupt itself (although that isn't saying much to be honest) and they won't gain their foothold in Gallipoli.
     
  12. Threadmarks: 1

    Soverihn Proud Tribalist

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    “… [The Restoration is] A period where reality kinda looks stranger than fiction, I mean, the story plays out like a cliche ridden fantasy when you read it: It starts off with the land in chaos. The bloated nobility has grown rich and decadent, and their abuse of the people they’re supposed to have managed has weakened the empire at all corners and just caused all sorts of problems. Meanwhile, the common people are angry, they are mistreated, they are overtaxed, invaded, their lands are taken from them… all sorts of humiliations. Eventually they have enough of it. They pray for a hero to come to them and deliver them from their problems and inflict righteous justice on the upper classes that mistreated them… sure enough, they get one! In 1341, this confident, forward looking, virtuous man comes on stage and he takes charge. and challenges the nobility for rule of the empire. He leads this... crusade against their decadence with the people rising up and joining him, where they proceed to crush and expel their abusers and usher in a time of peace and prosperity. At the same time, the hero stays, overseeing that his efforts are not in vain, with the future emperor raised under the guidance of their hero to make sure the future is in good hands, and after the hero dies, this new emperor takes over and leads his people into a Golden Age…. That’s the regular story. The truth is, of course, a hell of a lot more darker and murky.”

    To track the roots of the Renovation, one must go back to the era directly preceding it: the final years and death of the emperor Andronicus III and the culmination of a long dynastic rule. We must analyze the state of affairs, the trends and the geopolitics in and surrounding the Roman Empire during his era that led to its nadir of power. As such, let us briefly return to two different time periods. The year of our Lord 1204, at the dreaded Fourth Crusade, and directly following the imperial restoration at the reconquest of Constantinople from the Latin Empire in 1261.

    Now, when the Latin Empire captured the great city of Constantinople, the Imperial court relocated to the lakeside city of Nicaea in Asia Minor with the hopes of eventually retaking the capital when the time was right. Initially command was held by Theodore Lascaris whose reforms to accommodate the new position of the empire alienated many of nobles who had grown accustomed to the Komnenoi policies favoring those of high rank and social stature. However, his victory against the empire’s enemies and restoration of imperial territorial integrity allowed him to lead without much difficulty at home. But, when he died he left the empire in a regency for his son John. This in turn created a vacuum of power which allowed the conservative aristocrats to plan and make a bid for power. Rallying around Michael Palaeologus, a confident, charismatic man who was head of one of the largest noble clans, this aristocratic faction conspired against the young emperor and launched a coup. Installing himself as John IV’s Regent and Co-Emperor, young John IV was soon deposed by his supposedly junior-emperor, who then crowned himself as Michael VIII. This is where the trouble begins.

    Now Michael did rule successfully. Constantinople was liberated in 1261, the Empire was re-established in Greece proper (with a few exceptions), all the pressing enemies were defeated and it once more became a (borderline) great power. And yet, with his grab for power Michael VII set the stage for a conservative, aristocratic minded dynasty with increasingly limited resources. Despite energetic campaigns, the Byzantine state was too exhausted and cash-strapped to fully take advantage of the opportunities granted to them, and were undermined in commerce (a potentially large source of income to supplement taxes on land) by the Italian city states. The policy of “Europe first” had opened the empire to attacks by Charles I of Sicily (who dealt the empire a heavy blow) and renewed raids to the Turkish statelets of the east. With hindsight we can see the faults in this policy but few at the time could have predicted that. Constantinople was of course the pride and joy of the empire and retaking territory from the weak and divided Latin Barons who ruled over the unhappy masses of Greeks must have seemed like the easier and wiser thing to do than waste resources to retake land in Anatolia, where the previous dynasty had tried but failed to secure the former heartlands for almost a century.

    Now then, let’s fast forward several decades- almost a full century after the reconquest of Constantinople: The Empire has steadily been eroded on all fronts, too weak to retake its lost lands and too stubborn and unable to find effective means of solving their problems. Problems were dealt with the method and mindset that their forebearers used- to mixed to limited results. At the same time the aristocratic favoritism that has begun under the Komenoi has continued unopposed, granting new privileges to an already bloated nobility. This erosion of the tax base, weakening of the central government, loss of land, money and prestige has left an incredibly dissatisfied and enraged outlook on the masses while the elite increased their wealth, power and influence in the empire to levels that had not been seen since the Principate. This was due to, in response to losing all this territory, the tax burden had to be raised in order to maintain the same level of effectiveness. But the current government, in coordination and domination by rural elites created many an exemption for the nobility to pay taxes. Thus, the burden was placed onto the poor.

    To make it worse, the stubborn and conservative government refuse to adapt to potential new solutions, most prominently the refusal to invest in commerce and mercantile matters as a way to generate wealth like that of the great Merchant Republics. Commerce was seen as ‘un-Roman’ and ‘beneath’ the elite who preferred to place their investments into great landholding estates. (It is also this factor that made the noble dominated state less receptive to defending their territories; one can always move to another estate if they have more land after all, but the poor who have everything to lose if that small plot is taken from them will fight to the death) These two factions grew increasingly radicalized and inflexible as time went by from either the lack of meaningful change or the growing ungratefulness of restless masses (take your pick), eventually believing that only force would get them what they wanted.

    Thus the stage was set for a massive conflict of interests and worldviews. All that would need to spark this war was a power vacuum where the reformists and lower classes could make a play for power. In 1341, with the death of Andronicus the reformists got their wish.
     
  13. othyrsyde Sana ka'aha yo pendejos!

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    Looks good.
     
  14. Kosta Well-Known Member

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    Great stuff here, old boy! I rather look forward to the start of something new in Romania: Lord knows the Empire needed change in a bad way.

    I agree. I'd also like to say watch out for mercenaries: they devolved into wandering bands that raped and pillage their way through Greece at this time. The state needs its own honest-to-God army again. Throwing coins into the outstretched palms of greedy foreigners only makes the problem worse.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  15. Caesar Biden Trumpsplaining, apparently Banned

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    So this is what we talked about a few days ago, excellent. I have to admit, I'm already intrigued, even though the first two updates were little more than exposition (nothing wrong with that, of course). The idea of a smaller, more versatile and mercantile empire is something I've always found a little intriguing, and I mean to play with in my own TL, granted I can get off my lazy ass and overcome writer's block.

    This TL definitely has potential. I'll be following closely.:cool:
     
  16. Halagaz Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. Apokaukos may not be perfect but I feel like he deserved a better chance.
     
  17. Threadmarks: 2

    Soverihn Proud Tribalist

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    Once more I'm grateful for the support and commentary. Does wonders for creativity.

    Which is also why Im really sceptical of a lot of late Roman revivals. The just focus on obtaining more land and peasants to tax, maybe with a change in army structure and equipment but they dont focus on rooting out the key issues that plagued the state.

    The good news is that at this point due to the massive depression in wages for the local peasantry and the debasement in Byzantine currency it'd probably be cheaper to pay soldiers in cash while outfitting them the bare minimum to survive rather than hire a few elite mercenary units. So, if things go well and the state can get a better source of finances it can outfit a decently sized native force of 15,000 or so soldiers.

    This is a period where I kind of have to give background on to what the hell's going on. There's a myriad of factors in place that led to the rapid shifts in the balance of power and what not that's pretty easy to overlook to be honest. (Which sucks because most general sources just ignore the period) If I want to make it plausible, Ive to slow down and look at each and every change that's been going on.

    Apokaukos has honestly has to be one of the most underused statesmen in all of Alternate History.

    -----

    While the stage was being set for war, in this period lies the rise of the brilliant man who would orchestrate one of the most drastic reformations of the imperial state: The, competent, ambitious and forward thinking Alexios Apokaukos. A man of humble birth, who through combination of ambition, skill and knowing the right people rose to the positions of Chamberlain (Parakoimomenos)[1], Mesazon [2], and shortly before the death of Andronicus, Grand Admiral of the Byzantine Navy (Megas Doux), all while amassing great wealth. (Whether he got that money from successful business deals or plundering the treasury is up for debate; either way you shouldn’t care)

    Alexios, due to his origins as a non-aristocrat held drastically different views than that of the ruling elite, believing that the path to reclaim greatness lay in not copying the efforts of older generations, but moving towards the future in a completely new direction. Rather than focusing on military might, he believed the empire should use soft power. Instead of wealth through great landed estates, Apokaukos preferred commercial ventures. He was, in heart, a reformist and made no effort to hide his view the empire should be more in line with that of city states of Venice and Genoa. And through the visible success of Italian merchants being literally everywhere in the former lands of the Byzantine empire, he made a very convincing case. As a firm pro western advocate, Apokaukos did all he could to have the empire start mimicking the policies of the Italian city states. He was a huge promoter of the navy, at one point paying out of his pocket over 100,000 hyperpyra to repair and re-equip the fleet, which had now shrunk to a paltry sum of less than 30 ships, most of them reclassified transport ships.

    Now, as time went on and his position in the imperial government grew, he and like minded reformists (driven from the ranks of the bureaucrats and non nobles for the most part) worked to gain influence with the emperor and by extension, imperial policies. He succeeded, (partially) eventually becoming part of the regime's inner circle and gaining allies in the Patriarch John and the Empress, Anne of Savoy. Unfortunately this came at the cost of his relationship with his former mentor and friend, the equally brilliant John Kantakouzenos.

    With Andronikos’ death, there began a power struggle for control over the regency of his heir, John. We see two main blocs form, one initially led by Patriarch John XIV (although quickly sidelined by the younger and more ambitious Apokaukos), and the other led by another brilliant statesman, John Kantakouzenos.

    Kantakouzenos, in contrast to Apokaukos was the more stereotypical old money. Coming from a long line of government officials, he strove to become someone important in his life. Raised in wealth and privilege, the man became connected with the intricacies of the court from a young age and was distantly related to the ruling house through his mother. Like his father (the former governor of the Morea) before him, he joined the government bureaucracy, eventually became a close friend of Andronicus III, and helping to orchestrate the latter’s rise to the throne against his grandfather and predecessor, Andronicus II. An excellent diplomat, he secured an alliance with the Aydinid Beylik based in Smyrna and was a personal friend with its leader Umar, whom the latter referred to as “My Brother” (a testament of the close friendship the two enjoyed.) Umar frequently aided the Byzantines in many an endeavor, often bailing them out from raids and invasions from their many neighbors. Kantakouzenos was very popular back home, both among the nobility and the common man, but his position as a noble often alienated him from lower class bureaucrats unlike Apokaukos. Speaking of Apokaukos, John Kantakouzenos was indeed at one point the close friend and mentor of his future belligerent, aiding the former in his rise to power through good use of patronage and introducing the younger statesmen to powerful friends shortly after discovering the talented worker.

    Unfortunately, Kantakouzenos was extensively pressured by the nobility to disassociate himself from his protege. The nobility resented the commoner’s humble origins and his quick rise in the imperial state apparatus, and wanted no part of his schemes. Thus, they shunned John, forcing him to cut off his patronage little by little, a blatant and aggressive move [3]. This understandably caused something a rift between the two which only grew as time went on.

    [1] Chamberlain in the late Byzantine Empire occupied a position similar to a minister in the modern day UK government.

    [2] Literally “Intermediary”. Essentially, Mesazon referred to one of the chief aids of the Emperor, working as both a secretary and a government minister.’

    [3] I need to point out just how important patronage was to the Byzantine Empire at this time. With the establishment of a government run by a rather closed off group such as the nobility, patronage served as a way to introduce new people into the system. Who you knew was much more important that what you know. Good patrons and client system would ensure that you would gain access to high paying jobs, good land, business deals, etc. Thus it was a huge honor to be taken in by an aristocrat and shown the high society. Conversely, it was a very big insult to stop that patronage and recommendation, as it showed that the patron has lost all faith in the client.
     
  18. Schondloss Member

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    Long time lurker, first time commenter.

    This has got to be an interesting one; I don’t think I’ve seen anyone try to save everybody’s favorite empire with a POD this late yet. I’ll be interested to see how it develops!
     
  19. Westad Banned

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    I must ask, was that bit at the beginning of the second update an intentional dig at post-modernist writers of history? Because if so it was great.
     
  20. Threadmarks: 3

    Soverihn Proud Tribalist

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    There was another timeline that tried to save the empire with a POD of 1444, of all years!
    As much as I'd like to front and say it was, it actually wasn't.

    I do hope Im not taking too much time trying to detail the civil war. If anyone wants, I can wrap this up right now.

    -----

    “Our Lord once said said in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 7, Verse 24, the wise man built his house upon the rock. That this rock was the foundation of his house. That the foundation was pivotal in allowing it to endure the challenges it must face. My friends, Rome is an old house. A old, durable house with the most perfect foundation. A foundation that has allowed us for over 1,000 years to have stood strong, withstanding every tribulation, every storm, every tremor that would dare threaten our house! ...But, my fellow Romans, like every old house there comes a time where it needs renovation.”

    -Excerpt of a speech by Patriarch John XIV of Constantinople (1343)

    June 1341: The Emperor is dead. Long live the Emperor.

    With Andronikos’ death begins the ascension of his son as John V Palaiologos. The crowing is a relatively simple affair and John is crowned without much hassle. There’s only one problem: The Emperor is a 9 year old boy. The question of who is to be his regent is asked by the regime’s inner circle. Multiple arguments are given for who deserves the coveted position. One is for Kantakouzenos. John Kantakouzenos was the emperor’s best friend and ally for decades. He is a brilliant and educated man with experience and a successful career as a statesman. The alliance with the Aydins and the success in Epirus was his doing. Logically he should raise the child. But, custom dictated the Empress headed the regency. A boy should be with his mother no? Especially such a prestigious woman from the Savoyard family.

    In any case, almost immediately after her husband’s death Anna stakes her claim. She is backed by the Patriarch also points out a document from 1334 that dictates the care of John was to be dictated by a member of the imperial family. Being the boy’s mother and the closest living relative, she makes the argument that no one is better suited than her. John and his supporters say otherwise. They are many and they are influential. The opposing side claims she is a foreigner, unfit to teach the boy to be a proper Roman and that her influence may be corrosive. That she lacks experience in foreign policy and the domestic situation of the empire. But the family refuses to budge. Arguments brew in response. The ordeal soon becomes public knowledge. Displays of loyalty to the old emperor intensify. Appeal to his memory on both sides. Which one was closer to Andronikos? The Wife or the Friend?

    The tension grows as the days pass. Appeals turn into altercations. Fights in the street break out over supporters. A noble here is beaten by bureaucrats, a bureaucrat there is harassed by army officers there. Eventually a demonstration of the army is called in. The Polarization increases, yet nothing is resolved, and so John Kantakouzenos begins to pursue a new strategy. He leaves to rally support from both the international scene and the army in hopes this can pressure the opposing side into accepting his claim. He does not want war, but he knows he must show force.

    In all this Apokaukos keeps quiet. He has secretly switched sides, but no one but the Patriarch knows yet. The reason being is the growing rift between the two has become unbearable. Once again denied a new position of power by John Kantakouzenos, and the increasing ways Kantakouzenos goes out to avoid his protege have done a number on their friendship. The realization that he will not be able to dictate policy and start his reforms under the regency of his old mentor is too much. Whether for his own personal ambition or for his country’s well being is the debate of centuries of historians to follow, but it is certain that Alexious harbored extreme dissatisfaction with John and his potential policies.

    As John flees to the Macedonian countryside, he manages to gain the support of the Aydinid Beylik and the Latin Barons in Thessaly, Achaea and Athens. He attempts to also gain the recognition of Serbia and Bulgaria, but both sides were currently embroiled in war against the Hungarians to provide any meaningful support. [1] However, the army, drawn mostly from the ranks of the nobility and large landowners, enthusiastically supports him. With such prominent forces, John issues a proclamation demanding entrance to the city or face the wrath of the combined forces of his support. Despite the seemingly large numbers of support, it is a bluff- and Alexios knows it. The Latin Barons don’t have enough men to spare to create an army that can capture the city and Alexios, as the chief admiral of the navy commands the fleets loyalty. And without the Aydinids providing an alternative fleet, Constantinople remains impregnable. Thus he feels it is the perfect time to make his play. A message is dispatched to the Macedonian camp of Kantakouzenos’ army, denying his entrance into the capitol. John’s most overt supporters in the city are quietly reassigned, killed or exiled and the imperial bureaucracy proclaims the emperor’s mother as his regent with the emperor “promoting” Apokaukos to John’s old position. John himself is barred from entry and his army is told to disband.

    Word quickly reaches Kantakouzenos that he is no longer allowed in the city, that Anna of Savoy has been proclaimed regent and that he has been replaced by his apprentice. Infuriated by this response, and realizing that Alexios has betrayed him, John proclaims himself co-emperor and with the army’s support begin’s a march to the city, hoping that with a show of force he can pressure the Regency forces to submit. His declaration is taken as a pretender to the throne, and war is formally declared. Lines are drawn, supporters rally to their sides and the empire holds its breath as the conflict begins.

    Quickly, most of the powerful and large landowners (collectively known as the dynatoi) throw their lot with Kantakouzenos, seeing in him as ‘their own’ fighting to protect their interests against the ‘upstart’, Alexios Apokaukos, while the cities back the regency. This has the curious effect in which many of the ordinary peasants begin to rally around the regency. Perhaps it is the notion of “a Good emperor” who will deliver them from their toils? Perhaps because “One of them” is finally at the top? Maybe because its a chance to strike against their abusers? Perhaps a mixture of all. Whatever the reason, Alexius’ popularity grows in response- something he quickly takes note. War has begun and the fate of the empire rest of his hands.

    [1] This event here is our POD. Without Serbian support, Kantakouzenos’ position is drastically weakened. In addition, it is worth noting that John struck a deal with the barons, integrating their lands under the Byzantine state in exchange for respecting their lands and rights. A testament to his diplomatic prowess that he would have been able to restore most of Greece to Byzantine control with a stroke of a pen in a year when the state had been trying the same for almost 200 years.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
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