The Eagle of the East, Rhomania: An Eastern Roman Timeline (1196 - Onwards)

Hopefully the Byzantines will be able to secure Anatolia from Rum. Another great chapter.
The Empire has a long way to go before it can viably push past the Komnenoi borders, but they have a chance now. Hopefully Romanos V and his surrounding friends and family can continue the momentum needed to keep Rome from collapsing.


I'm glad you enjoyed the Chapter!
 
That’s a well needed victory right there. Hopefully these butterflies can cause an early collapse of the sultanate. I’m also curious as to how Romanos V will deal with the crusade in 1204.
 
I suppose you have good reason to believe that anyone choosing to read a late-Roman TL would already know what a "Pronoia" is. This is not my area of enthusiasm generally but I do think I've picked up some fair knowledge of the Eastern Roman system over the decades, and I had not heard of the term or forgot it if I had.

For general information of others as ignorant as I was until looking it up today, I suppose the Wikipedia page is reasonably useful.

My takeaway is that the person holding this grant, the pronoeir, is basically granted the right to tax-farm the grant; the term "pronoia", meaning "forethought " literally, can mean the territory (or apparently other revenue sources could be granted), the value estimated of the grant, or the actual revenue stream produced. In Latin the corresponding term for each pronoearios would be "curator." The class of persons (I don't know if any were ever women, but institutions such as monasteries could hold the office) is pronoetes; the persons included in the grant to tax are "paroikoi." (Am I right in thinking that word relates to the English word "parishoners" in etymology? As in "parochial"?)

This is not the same as west European feudalism in many respects. The Pronoeir may tax their paroikoi and keep part of the revenue, forwarding the rest on to the Imperial treasury, but they have no authority to say draft any paroikoi to military service, nor does the granting of a Pronoia to a Pronoeir create any feudal obligation for the latter to provide military service in person or sending any specified troops. At least until the final generations of the empire OTL, the office is not hereditary (though if granted to an institution, obviously it would be perpetuated until either than body was extinguished or the Emperor revoked it). Indeed the grant is revocable.

Per the article:

The limits and specifics of a pronoia were recorded in an Imperial document called praktika ("records")...
...
The size and value of the pronoia, the number of paroikoi, and the duties owed by them were recorded in praktika. A pronoiar would likely be able to collect trade revenue and part of the crop harvested on the land, and could also hold hunting rights and transportation rights. A praktika also recorded the duties owed by the pronoiar to the emperor. If necessary, the emperor could request military service, although the pronoiar could not force his taxpayers to join him. Pronoiars were often reluctant to give military service if they lived a prosperous life on their grant, and they had some autonomy if they chose not to serve. If they could gain the support of their taxpayers, they could lead rebellions against the empire, but these were not as dangerous as rebellions in the capital, which Alexius' system could now more successfully avoid...

From that I infer that each Pronoia grant was pretty much ad hoc, though I would guess in a particular time frame a grant to a particular category of candidate was closely equivalent to such a grant to another recipient in a similar status. But the precise terms in each praktika might be wildly at odds with those in another, granted to a person of higher or lower status or in a different time frame when the negotiating position of the Emperor was different, stronger or weaker.

The key point I think is that the Emperor could revoke them, so in terms of useful aid to the Empire, an Emperor was in a position to make sure they contributed a reasonable amount. I don't know if the praktika generally put upper limits on the power of the Pronoiar to extort from their parikoi, but if not obviously two practical limits would exist--one, extreme rapacity would drive the parikoi into revolt in sheer desperation, also somewhat less extreme extortions could visibly break the ability of the parikoi to yield sustainably, so prudence would tend to set an upper limit, versus the desperation or relaxation of a particular situation. Two, the Emperor overseeing it all could get wind of extremism in this matter--aside from the astute desire to maintain loyalty and morale among subjects, and a reputation for justice for Imperial institutions, an Emperor might well suspect the purpose of squeezing the parakoi is to build up a war chest in a bid for the purple or perhaps secession as a splinter state.

At the other end of the scale, I presume the Treasury expected a certain revenue, probably often or maybe always stipulated in the praktika granting this Pronoia, and failure to forward that amount in full would bring down suspicious and angry inquiries and investigation pronto. Perhaps such inquisitions would be satisfied to see specific hardships such as plagues or famines plainly smiting the region and forbear in such hard years, but the Pronoiar would be best advised to send in the expected revenue at whatever cost, to maintain the good will of the Emperor and his court and avoid hostile scrutiny.

The bit about the lack of any inherent military obligation of the Pronoies to serve themselves or provide specific levies inherently suggests the Empire maintained direct fidelity of sworn officers and troops to the Emperor himself.

OTOH, I would expect that Emperors often did tell Pronoiar that they were in fact drafted, probably on an officer level of course, and bloody well would provided some levies of a thousand or so as auxiliaries. The Pronoiar is not bound to obey but then, the Emperor grants and rescinds at personal pleasure, so the option is practically to either comply or rebel. Presumably any troops raised this way are folded into the regular ranks, with something of a watchful eye on inexperienced or questionably loyal Pronoies and factoring the greenness or indiscipline of suddenly drafted levy troops--either in practice deploying them as auxiliaries, or with them folded into regular bodies, generals and sergeants are on the lookout for substandard behavior.

Also, this smacks of actual feudalism to me:
Alexius' grandson Manuel I Comnenus continued to grant land to the aristocrats, but also extended pronoiai to aristocratic officers in the army, in place of giving them a regular salary.
Around this same time, it is my impression the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem reversed this--the King, Baldwin or his heirs, controlled all tax collection, and granted his knights fixed salaries he doled out to them from the collective revenues. (I don't know if the knights just had specific salaries granted them generically, or if on paper each one was collecting from specified tracts of territory the kingdom was parceled out into, but either way, I believe they had no direct control of the process of taking and keeping the revenue. However unlike Pronoies, these knights did pass their claims and obligations on to their heirs in a hereditary fashion).

As a practical matter, the KoJ's knights resided in big cities, not dispersed over the countryside as in the Pronoia system.

Per the article, on the whole it was a good thing for the Empire the Pronoies were dispersed to their rustic or distant bailiwicks: on the downside, they could and sometimes did plot disloyalty and organize locally for various kinds of subversion, but the fact their power centers were far from the capital was more benefit than the decentralized potential for rebellion was cost.

As with feudalism, dispersing and devolving much bureaucratic burden to self-interested Pronoies would also mean the wealth of the Empire in a logistic sense was dispersed as well, meaning Imperial forces thrown upon some threatened zone could be supported with resources largely at hand, including raising local auxiliaries; in peacful periods regular imperial forces could be dispersed to provide stiff resistance against surprise attacks, then others pour in from the region and eventually whole Empire.

So I infer anyway.
 
Somewhat Explanation on Pronoia
I suppose you have good reason to believe that anyone choosing to read a late-Roman TL would already know what a "Pronoia" is. This is not my area of enthusiasm generally but I do think I've picked up some fair knowledge of the Eastern Roman system over the decades, and I had not heard of the term or forgot it if I had.

For general information of others as ignorant as I was until looking it up today, I suppose the Wikipedia page is reasonably useful.

My takeaway is that the person holding this grant, the pronoeir, is basically granted the right to tax-farm the grant; the term "pronoia", meaning "forethought " literally, can mean the territory (or apparently other revenue sources could be granted), the value estimated of the grant, or the actual revenue stream produced. In Latin the corresponding term for each pronoearios would be "curator." The class of persons (I don't know if any were ever women, but institutions such as monasteries could hold the office) is pronoetes; the persons included in the grant to tax are "paroikoi." (Am I right in thinking that word relates to the English word "parishoners" in etymology? As in "parochial"?)

This is not the same as west European feudalism in many respects. The Pronoeir may tax their paroikoi and keep part of the revenue, forwarding the rest on to the Imperial treasury, but they have no authority to say draft any paroikoi to military service, nor does the granting of a Pronoia to a Pronoeir create any feudal obligation for the latter to provide military service in person or sending any specified troops. At least until the final generations of the empire OTL, the office is not hereditary (though if granted to an institution, obviously it would be perpetuated until either than body was extinguished or the Emperor revoked it). Indeed the grant is revocable.

Per the article:



From that I infer that each Pronoia grant was pretty much ad hoc, though I would guess in a particular time frame a grant to a particular category of candidate was closely equivalent to such a grant to another recipient in a similar status. But the precise terms in each praktika might be wildly at odds with those in another, granted to a person of higher or lower status or in a different time frame when the negotiating position of the Emperor was different, stronger or weaker.

The key point I think is that the Emperor could revoke them, so in terms of useful aid to the Empire, an Emperor was in a position to make sure they contributed a reasonable amount. I don't know if the praktika generally put upper limits on the power of the Pronoiar to extort from their parikoi, but if not obviously two practical limits would exist--one, extreme rapacity would drive the parikoi into revolt in sheer desperation, also somewhat less extreme extortions could visibly break the ability of the parikoi to yield sustainably, so prudence would tend to set an upper limit, versus the desperation or relaxation of a particular situation. Two, the Emperor overseeing it all could get wind of extremism in this matter--aside from the astute desire to maintain loyalty and morale among subjects, and a reputation for justice for Imperial institutions, an Emperor might well suspect the purpose of squeezing the parakoi is to build up a war chest in a bid for the purple or perhaps secession as a splinter state.

At the other end of the scale, I presume the Treasury expected a certain revenue, probably often or maybe always stipulated in the praktika granting this Pronoia, and failure to forward that amount in full would bring down suspicious and angry inquiries and investigation pronto. Perhaps such inquisitions would be satisfied to see specific hardships such as plagues or famines plainly smiting the region and forbear in such hard years, but the Pronoiar would be best advised to send in the expected revenue at whatever cost, to maintain the good will of the Emperor and his court and avoid hostile scrutiny.

The bit about the lack of any inherent military obligation of the Pronoies to serve themselves or provide specific levies inherently suggests the Empire maintained direct fidelity of sworn officers and troops to the Emperor himself.

OTOH, I would expect that Emperors often did tell Pronoiar that they were in fact drafted, probably on an officer level of course, and bloody well would provided some levies of a thousand or so as auxiliaries. The Pronoiar is not bound to obey but then, the Emperor grants and rescinds at personal pleasure, so the option is practically to either comply or rebel. Presumably any troops raised this way are folded into the regular ranks, with something of a watchful eye on inexperienced or questionably loyal Pronoies and factoring the greenness or indiscipline of suddenly drafted levy troops--either in practice deploying them as auxiliaries, or with them folded into regular bodies, generals and sergeants are on the lookout for substandard behavior.

Also, this smacks of actual feudalism to me:

Around this same time, it is my impression the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem reversed this--the King, Baldwin or his heirs, controlled all tax collection, and granted his knights fixed salaries he doled out to them from the collective revenues. (I don't know if the knights just had specific salaries granted them generically, or if on paper each one was collecting from specified tracts of territory the kingdom was parceled out into, but either way, I believe they had no direct control of the process of taking and keeping the revenue. However unlike Pronoies, these knights did pass their claims and obligations on to their heirs in a hereditary fashion).

As a practical matter, the KoJ's knights resided in big cities, not dispersed over the countryside as in the Pronoia system.

Per the article, on the whole it was a good thing for the Empire the Pronoies were dispersed to their rustic or distant bailiwicks: on the downside, they could and sometimes did plot disloyalty and organize locally for various kinds of subversion, but the fact their power centers were far from the capital was more benefit than the decentralized potential for rebellion was cost.

As with feudalism, dispersing and devolving much bureaucratic burden to self-interested Pronoies would also mean the wealth of the Empire in a logistic sense was dispersed as well, meaning Imperial forces thrown upon some threatened zone could be supported with resources largely at hand, including raising local auxiliaries; in peacful periods regular imperial forces could be dispersed to provide stiff resistance against surprise attacks, then others pour in from the region and eventually whole Empire.

So I infer anyway.

The main issues that lay with the Pronoia is that functionally they draw funds and resources away from the Imperial Treasury due to the fact that these are given over as effective payment to an important family or individual. While the Empire still, in functionality, owns the land/taxes given out this isn't often the case as precedents were set during the reign of Manuel I Komnenos which saw them gradually become hereditary, and held by the 'elites' of the Empire.

When used in proper practice they are fundamentally similar to the Thematic System in that they are designated resources given to an individual to rule/manage during their lifetime before reverting back to the Imperial Treasury/Dynasty upon the death of the holder. This was the case during the reigns of Alexios I Komnenos and John II Komnenos; both being uniquely skilled rulers and administrators who kept the usage of the Pronoia in check.

Manuel I Komnenos on the other hand was heavily inspired by the west, and its feudal values, so its hardly a wonder that under his tenure is the first we see of the feudalization of the Empire that would continue to rot out the internals of the Empire during the mismanagement of the Angeloi.

Notably, the Laskarids were able to uniquely pull the system back into function in an Alexios/John fashion, but the following Palaiologos dynasty would bring about the further downfall, and feudalization of the Empire by legally making them inheritable.

Inherently, within the timeframe of this TL, the Empire is in drastic need of a reform--likely to a system similar to the older Thematic System, to ensure that the destabilization that had allowed Romanos V to take power doesn't reoccur; as while Romanos is a capable and energetic Basileus it is not a done-deal that anyone who replicates his rise to fame will be as 'worthy' as he is.
 
That’s a well needed victory right there. Hopefully these butterflies can cause an early collapse of the sultanate. I’m also curious as to how Romanos V will deal with the crusade in 1204.
It is a much needed victory, however its one made on shaky grounds considering Romanos V and his allies will need to hold onto the taken lands while facing the full attention of Suleiman II. We'll have to see just how much damage, if any, is done to either Rome or the Sultanate following the battles to come.
 
It is a much needed victory, however its one made on shaky grounds considering Romanos V and his allies will need to hold onto the taken lands while facing the full attention of Suleiman II. We'll have to see just how much damage, if any, is done to either Rome or the Sultanate following the battles to come.
Perhaps a less confrontational campaign would be wider. With less pitched battles and more sieges and skirmishes. So that large amounts of casualties can be avoided and land can be retaken gradually.
 
Perhaps a less confrontational campaign would be wider. With less pitched battles and more sieges and skirmishes. So that large amounts of casualties can be avoided and land can be retaken gradually.
Such a system of campaigns was the foundation of the Komnenoi's campaign; which inherently dragged out into bouts of destroying and rebuilding forts in an odd mimic of the days of Justinian I and Dara. Functionally though, win or lose, the following campaigns of Romanos and his allies will likely be skirmish based in nature; with a need to take major cities to retain previous minor gains obvious.

It is safe to say that Romanos V will be around for a long while yet, he has only reigned for 2 years, and in front of him is a massive task. We shall see where he, and Rome, go.
 
Part 5, Pt1
"Justice is the firm and continuous desire to render unto everyone what is his due," - Justinian I, 'the Great'.

As this timeline has grown over a day of writing, I'm amazed by the response I've received. A part of me though the work I'd put into it would simply be ignored, but I'm glad this is not the case. Thank you all for reading!

This section of the TL will be inherently written like the first post, as the scale of the following battles in Anatolia that will take up the next near-year require a more stepped back approach. However! The following TL will be another in-depth look at the current courtly status of Romanos V's capable wife, Maria Komnene, and her struggles in upholding her husbands authority while he is away on campaign.
--
1200 - May - Romanos, and his allies, spread out across the newly claimed territories of the Empire, are forced to think fast; with new Tagma drawn forwards from the now back-ranking sections of Roman Anatolia; such as Nicaea, Nikomedia, and Mysia. Roughly 10,000 men are pulled up; depleting western Anatolia, with obvious connotations... if Romanos and his allies lose then Anatolia might be rolled all the way back to the sea, as these are the last of the trained and viable fighters in all of Roman western Anatolia. Of these 10,000, 6,000 are sent to reinforce John, who has to lead alone following Alexios Komnenos departing for Kastra Komnenon to heal, and meet up with his brother.

Those remaining 4,000 are combined with a further 1,000 from Theodore's personal retinue, as the new territory is broken up into three functional zones; built via scouting the surrounding area. John, the greatest general of the three, would lead his 7,000 men against the incursion of Suleiman II himself (as the Sultan was moving towards Pisidia in order to ensure the safety of his capital at Konya). Theodore would hold the least defendable, yet also least likely to be attacked, Phrygia with his host of 5,000 men. Romanos himself would hold the harder, decimated territory of Dorylaeum with his, by now, 9,200 men; since there were sightings of significant Turkish force coming from Ancyra towards Dorylaeum.

By the 21st of May, the Romans are as ready as they can be... and the forces of the Sultanate have converged on them.
-
Romanos V Grypas

The morning of the 21st was windy, with a thick cloud coverage within the area. It was likely to rain. Yet Romanos had heard the tales from the scouts; a force of near 11,000 Turks had been hastily rallied from within the domains of Ancyra and Charsianon, most of which were semi-trained infantry levies--as most of the skilled horsemen had gone with Suleiman II to deal with Armenia (a sizable chunk of which being destroyed by John and Alexios at the Battle Baris). With Romanos was elements of the Varangian Guard, despite its diminished nature since the Angeloi had taken power, making up roughly 2,000 of his 9,200 strong force. Among this number was also 500 settled Cumans, those former prisoners Romanos had relocated to Anatolia, who uniquely wielded large and rather impressive cleavers (most having become butchers due to their former nomadic lifestyle).

The Emperor knew he couldn't face the Turks coming after him in a pitched battle, instead he opted to draw them into a fight they couldn't win--a thought on the fly, as the weather began to turn horrid--and rain began to pour across the defended area.

The 11,000 Turks were led by Bey Masud, half-brother of Suleiman II himself. Masud was a craven man, obvious by his tendency to spend most raiding seasons within the safety of his estate in Ancyra. Yet now, the man had worked up the courage to muster all his functional soldiers--a move to impress his brother and earn favour. Masud had a plan of his own; knowing of a unique valley that led along the right-side rivers of the Dorylaeum area. He and his men would march through this valley, later known as the Valley of Rust, in order to come up around Dorylaeum and push into it's flanks before the Romans would have time to react.

This would prove to be a mistake.

'Information is Victory,'--that was Romanos' maxim, and, it's tenants had led to the creation and firm progress of the scouts Romanos was, by now, famous for using. They'd found the passage, and had caught the movements of Masud's forces as the rain began to pick up. They'd walked into a trap.

Arrows, and then large rocks, would begin to pound on the Turks trapped within the soon muddy valley--the Cumans breaking out from cover behind the lesser hills of the valley; their cleavers proving their worth as they hacked whole-heads off of the horses of the Turks just as well as they took limbs. Then Romanos committed his Varangians; the skilled axemen crashing into the now compact and quickly panicking left-flank of Masud's forces. It would turn into a blood bath, as arrows and large rocks continued to rain down on the right-flank--Masud himself was decapitated by a Cuman cleaverman, his head taken as a trophy. That spot, covered in mud, would be the death of roughly 7,000 Turks--many simply sinking into the mud and drowning.

It would take a full hour, before the Turkish officer Tekin organized a breakout, managing to save a battered force of near 5,000 Turks with a skilled breakout. They would be harassed by Turcopoles a further distance, before the chase was given up.

The Rust Valley Massacre, as it would later be known, would be one of Romanos' notable crowning achievements--effectively shredding most of the easily-levied Turkish forces in north-central Anatolia, and killing one of Suleiman's own brothers.

How did the valley get its name? Romanos ordered the Turkish bodies left there, to decay in the mud, their armour would remain; forming a pit of rust that would deter anyone else from trying a similar movement. Romanos' battlefield magnum opus.
--
End of Pt1.
 
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Nice work @Averious !
Few questions-
What is the military potential of the empire as a whole?
And what is the nature of the troops? Untrained levies, mercenaries,...?
 
Nice work @Averious !
Few questions-
What is the military potential of the empire as a whole?
And what is the nature of the troops? Untrained levies, mercenaries,...?
The Empire fun functionally call on roughly 40,000 men when under the correct conditions; such as a full Komnenoi-swing. As it stands the Empire’s potential in that regard is the same; considering that this doesn’t functionally count the retinues of Pronoia holders. We’ve seen Anatolia have functionally 20,000 in ITL. However, obviously, after the losses at the Battle of Baris this was reduced by a staggering 4,000.

As for their nature? The troops from Anatolia are veteran via experience, not really training. This is why in Roman Europe the armies were effectively barely trained troops—because they had to content with the less frequent but more devastating Bulgar-Vlach raids that ended roughly a year ago--verses the constant assaults by the Seljuks on Anatolia throughout the period of 1196 to the current year, 1200.

Added to this, the Empire can still call on roughly 2,500 Varangians—although Romanos V only brought 2,000 in order to leave some behind to defend his wife.
 
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Damn. Quite the bloody affair.
It had to be. Romanos needs to break the ability of the Turks to fight back. With the destruction of the largest force in north-central Anatolia the Romans can effectively hold onto half of what they’ve taken without major issues—but if Suleiman II defeats John and his forces then the Empire will have a massive hole in its territories.
 
Part 5, Pt2
"I am forced to force those whom I do not wish to force," Isaac I Komnenos, the Alexiad.
--
John Grypas

The lands of Pisidia formed a functional basin of unique communities--with trade flourishing due to its proximity to Konya, the capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, yet by now--due to the near constant fighting between the Romans and Seljuks; as well as the destructive policies under Romanos and John that were enacted against the land, the area was desolated and depopulated.

John knew that he had to be proactive to destroy Suleiman II's army, and the general moral of the Turkish peoples that could possibly contribute to the loss of the taken territories down the line. Thus, with his forces allocated to him, 7,000 (after the filling of major garrisons in the taken lands of Pisidia) veteran Anatolian soldiers, he moved to press Suleiman II into a major battle.

Suleiman was no fool, he'd by now heard of the major victories won by the Romans as they took the territory they now held, and against his officer Tugrul and the forces he'd sent to crush John previously. He would not face them near a defensive structure where his cavalry would be unable to do viable damage against the Romans, thus he intended to press a firm battle against the Romans with his roughly 15,000 strong force.

Throughout the movement of the Turks into the Roman held lands of Pisidia Suleiman had been forcing John further and further back into the taken lands; outright avoiding siege warfare for now due to the fact that his army had shed its siege equipment to more quickly pursue the Romans--and because Suleiman would not risk his forces being bogged down in territory that was no longer theirs.

John had to think fast, knowing that he had to find an advantageous position to force the Turks that were at his rear into a definitive battle. On the 23rd of May, after 2 days of backpedaling, he found his location. Lake Burdur had been home to a prosperous trading community that had been annexed by Kilij Arslan II; becoming more viable due to its proximity to Konya. This community had been thoroughly depopulated by the efforts of John and Alexios, and was now the perfect spot for a battle due to the nature of the terrain--which would force the Turks to take a westward position due to the eastward positioning of the lake-slopes.

Trenches were dug, to force the Turks to commit to a surrounding tactic, and John ordered his men to form a functional shield wall as they had at Baris; breaking his forces up into three lines, the first two split into curved formations of shield-holding troops while the third would be functionally meshed in to hide their major presence.

Dust would be kicked up, as Suleiman and his forces broke-ground on their ride. 15,000 horsemen, a terrifying thing to the unprepared. But, John and his men were prepared.

The Sultan pressed for a measured approach, his men circling the Romans, again and again, pelting the men with arrows in an event likened to the first Battle of Dorylaeum--John's constant cants holding his men's resolve as the bill began to tick up as it had at Baris. Yet the Turks, after an hour of this, moved to tighten the noose of their formation to crush the Romans with the sheer force of their arrows.

Then John acted.

On his command the frontlines opened up--and he led a charge of his third, hidden, line of 3,000 spearmen. This charge burst a wide hole in the Turkish noose, shattering their cohesion and sending them into broken formations left, and right. Such a move was met with darts, dozens of them, as John's first two lines opened up with salvo after salvo of the metal rods; a move taken directly from the Strategikon of Maurice.

Suleiman was still alive though, rushing forwards with his personal retinue to batter John and his spearmen. In response, John gave the signal to his first two lines--who broke the current formation and crashed forwards with their large kiteshields; battering into the confused left and right remains of the Turkish noose.

The mass confusion caused Suleiman to misjudge the terrain as he and his retinue charged, the ground having become broken and uneven due to the trench-works and the circular riding of his forces, quickly turning into a dust-bowl. The Sultan would be thrown from his horse, as its legs were shattered by jutting rocks hidden in the the swirling dust of the battle. He was unceremoniously cut down by the charging front lines, and his men were sent to into route. John and his men had paid dearly with the lives of roughly 3,500 Romans.

Functionally, what would be known as the Battle of Burdur, would not be as staggering a loss in terms of Turkish manpower as the Rust Valley Massacre, as only 2,000 Turks had been killed, yet the psychological effects it had on those that had face the Romans was itself staggering. This, when combined with the powerstruggle that was to follow within the Sultanate between Suleiman's son, Kilij Arslan III, and brother Kaykhusraw I, would see the Sultanate unable--and unwilling--to contest the lands taken by the Romans.

Although, not all was as 'great' and cheery as it seemed. Combined, the entire campaign had cost the lives of roughly 10,000 trained Romans, and had gained naught but ravaged lands. Yet, the prospect was still attractive as it functioned as the first real check to Seljuk aggression in roughly 20 years, and had broken the Turks ability to face the Romans for a while yet.
 
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Part 5, Pt3
"For my own part, I adhere to the maxim of antiquity; that the throne is a glorious sepulchre," - Empress Theodora, wife of Justinian I 'the Great'

1200 - May - Maria Komnene was a woman of several traits, the best of them being a noticeable patience--especially considering the fact that she had to effectively run the government while her husband was away campaigning in Anatolia for roughly a month now; the longest period she'd been asked to run the government in his name. She was exposed to continued prodding by several members of the court, namely those from Roman Europe, as the courtiers drawn from Anatolia were almost all from the Grypas estates in Sakarya and thus kept a measured and quiet air about them as Romanos V himself did.

While Romanos was able to 'win' glories in Anatolia, alongside his friends and brother, Maria earned her own via her actions in Constantinople--often going out alongside the Patriarch George II to give things such as bread and wine to the poor, as well as attending every service called within the Hagia Sophia. It was remarked, by some, that she was the embodiment of the Hodegetria, the Icon of the Virgin Mary who was seen as the 'Patron-Saint' and Guardian of the Queen of Cities.

Through these actions she, and George II, would from a close friendship and bond--with the Patriarch forming a vital pillar of support for the new Imperial Regime, considering it was his pragmatism that had seen Romanos able to enter the city and be crowned as Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans. But the Patriarch was getting older now, and while still able to complete his duties as the head of the Orthodox faith in the Empire it was looking likely he wouldn't live past the next half-decade.

George himself was candid on the matter, noting that he intended to push forward a viable successor to his position to Romanos once he undoubtedly returned to be present for the birth of their firstborn child--a prospect that was becoming evermore looming as Maria was showing herself to be roughly 6 months pregnant, with the notion that she'd soon be bed-bound.

Georges noted suggestion for his successor would be Mathew Psenas, a notable Monk who worked within the Church of the Holy Apostles; noted for being one of the few to protest Alexios III's looting of the Imperial Tombs for valuables--as well as being the one noted to have put the tombs back in order when Romanos had been declared Emperor. Like George he was a well-known pragmatist, but also pious; a good choice for the Patriarchate.

Maria would meet with Mathew on the 24th of May, the two forming a firm relationship based on the continued perpetuation of the current Imperial Regime; Mathew uniquely noting that he would stand by Romanos' seemingly vital policies--well-knowing the knife's edge the Empire balanced on. These three, the two churchmen, and the Empress, would form a fundamental pillar of support for Romanos while he was away from the capital; ensuring the people were ready and waiting for their by now beloved Emperor to return.

As an added note, Maria would further push the spreading of the revalued coinage, following the precedent that Romanos had set and making use of the recollected resources of the torn down palaces to strike hundreds of thousands of coins and fill the Empire with a revalued internal money system.
--
 
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Not a lot in this chapter but the previous one was pretty big. Losing a sultan, veteran troops, and good land is a major win for the Romans.
I'm glad you enjoyed it.

It took a while to put together; as I had write up a decent battle that made sense. Once I got to the portion of the river, it simply flowed from my fingers.

The effects of this battle with have profound effects on the east; as well as the lands taken eventually proving worth it once they stop being desolate.
 
Part 6, Pt1
With the major events of this section of the TL wrapping up I've decided to return to a more basic TL formula considering the fact that I now have less time on my hands to work on it; at least at this stage--due to the exams being written by my students here in South Africa.

Sorry for the long wait; work caught up with me!
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"You will spread your coin for the people; for you dynatoi seem to have forgotten you are Roman. Let the tax remind you," - Basil II 'the Bulgarslayer'; attributed.

1200 - May to December - Following the death of Suleiman II during the Battle of Burdur the Sultanate of Rum erupts into chaos as the military returns home following their psychologically damaging defeat. In order to sow more chaos, Romanos V orders that Kaykhusraw; the brother of the now dead Suleiman II, be ejected from his hiding in Constantinople--causing a dynastic dispute as Kaykhusraw refused to acknowledge his nephew, the newly crowned Kilij Arslan III. The army supported Kaykhusraw, but the 'nobility' supported Kilij; giving him access to a huge core of skilled cavalrymen. In order to ensure a steady internal war, both Kilij and Kaykhusraw conduct separate peace's with Romanos and Rome; utter status quo. Romanos, and Rome, would hold onto the taken lands--and not interfere in any way with the ongoing Seljuk Civil War. No prisoners, or money, would change hands. This treaty would become official only after Romanos and his allies had secured Roman Anatolia, and returned to Constantinople in Triumph for Christmas 1200; the 6,709 year of the Roman Calendar.

1201 - The Seljuk Civil War would prove to be a drawn out endeavour; as the young Kilij proved himself uniquely capable of administrative capacities; allowing him to continue facing his uncle on more or less equal footing. It was a grinding attrition that saw fortresses destroyed and rebuilt in an odd mimic of the Komnenoi-Seljuk relationship. Within Rome however great changes were taking place. Now that Romanos was able to take a breath and look upon the Empire more firmly; his economic reforms were beginning to bear fruit, but he knew that the new additions being plugged into the Imperial System would cause further issues. The Emperor would spend the entire year effectively fine tuning the basics of the new economy with functional decrees; although the nobility could easily see that it was building up to something. Such a notion would be proven correct when in November of 1201 the wealthy landowners of the Empire would be hit with a refurbished 'Allelengyon', or 'Mutual Security'. The Allelengyon was a law devised by Basil II, a man ahead of his time who understood that the wealthy landowners needed to be curbed; whether they be Churchmen or Magnates. The new Allelengyon was functionally altered to both include the increased state of the Church, and the uniqueness of the remaining Pronoia holders. While the landholders in Anatolia handled the news well; considering they well-understood what was at stake due to their position, those in Roman Europe were much less pleased--their power already tampered with by Romanos when he took power and purged the corrupt members of the Imperial Court. Near Christmas of his 3rd year of reigning the Emperor was given news of a conspiracy laid against him by a few notable European landowners; and while it was quickly crushed by the loyal John Klephos, it was an obvious sign of things to come. At least though, it had allowed Romanos to clear the board of further unwilling landowners. To cap off the year, the reconstruction efforts of Romanos began to bear fruit much like the economy, as the fleet began to regrow in size under the skilled efforts of the Anatolian-born shipmaster; Bardas Isandos. Although, an incident where an important supplier was found to be embezzling both resources and gold verses the navy occurred; with Romanos seeing to it that the man was quite brutally, in full view of the city, drowned in a bucket following the end of the Christmas celebrations.

1202 - The skilled military and administrative force that was Al-Adil, brother to Saladin himself, had by 1202 reformed the power-base and territories of his great sibling; fully encircling the weakening Crusader States of the Levant. It was within the year that Al-Adil began to clench his fist over these states, although the aid of the battered Cilicia helps them hold out for now. Such a state of affairs only compounded the Pope, Innocent II's word on the matter; the Bishop of Rome having called for a Crusade against the 'Great Enemy' since 1198 (having seen little if any success in calling it in considering Europe's preoccupation; namely the Germans who still refuted Papal power, and the English-French wars). A Crusade of sorts had been in swing since 1199, with efforts made to contact Venice for ships in 1200, but it only came into full swing within the early-year of 1202. By October, what Crusaders had been roused (mostly from France) would arrive in Venice; with their force being roughly 3 times smaller than anticipated at around 12,000 men (4,000 cavalry, 8,000 infantry). The effect this had on the Venetian economy would have been disastrous; as they'd build 3 times the ships needed for the voyage and had needed to call away thousands of their own people to sail these ships; this being compounded by the fact that the Crusaders didn't have enough funds to pay for it all--even after making themselves utterly impoverished. To counter act this, the old and blind, yet cunning, Doge of Venice; Enrico Dandolo, devised a plan to use the the Crusaders as one would a club in re-securing dominance of the Adriatic. Many Crusaders refused, including Simon de Montfort, and broke off to go about the Crusade on their own as being used as a 'club' by Venice would see them disobeying the Papacy and attacking fellow Christians. Regardless of this, throughout the rest of the year crushing the various coastal cities of the Adriatic and thoroughly wounding the army of King Emeric of Hungary when the King attempted to stop it. On the 24th of November, 1202, the main target of the attacks, Zara, was taken; with the sack so vicious and greedy that the Venetians and Crusaders even fought over spoils; with the cities defenses being torn down following an agreement amongst the leaders to winter there while they thought up their next moves.

Innocent II, when he heard of the brutality of the sack, excommunicated everyone involved. But, this news was never relayed to the Crusaders by their leadership; who kept it back to hold the Crusade together. They were running out of money, and options--and yet, the following year, they would have a target.
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