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

Great cliffhanger! Moment of truth for the new dynasty.
Though in otl wasn't it some angeloi who instigated the crusaders to attack Constantinople? Is that guy still around?
Great cliffhanger! Moment of truth for the new dynasty.
Though in otl wasn't it some angeloi who instigated the crusaders to attack Constantinople? Is that guy still around?
Very much so. The butterflies couldn’t have gotten rid of him, sadly.
Part 6, Pt2
"They call me Toíchos, the 'Wall'. For what? I held the wall as any man did that day," - Romanos V Gryphas.

1203 - The Crusaders, and Venetians, wintering in Zara had little left to do in the area but continue on their way to the Crusade--yet they lacked the resources and funds to go about it due to the near year-long attacks they undertook in the Adriatic. Even added to that, their number had dropped by roughly a 1,000 men due to combined battlefield losses and regular army-shedding. Such losses had been replenished by late-arriving Crusaders in excess of roughly 500 men (Now at 12,500, or so), but the writing was on the wall. If the Crusaders and Venetians failed to move now, they would die as an unmoving shark would. Interestingly though, around this time Innocent II would rescind his excommunication of the Crusaders themselves, regarding them as coerced by the Venetians; leaving the Venetians themselves excommunicated. This information was kept from the non-Venetian members of the Crusade by the cunning of Enrico Dandolo; who had the messenger's letter funneled directly into the hands of his personal aid.

Their saving grace would appear, when, in January of 1203 following their wintering at Zara they would receive a letter from a unique source. Alexios Angelos, the nephew of the Emperor Romanos V has deposed to take power. Alexios had been sent fleeing from the Empire into the territory of the HRE, following his father Isaac II's deposition by Alexios III--later migrating to the Republics of the Adriatic. By now Alexios had his fat fingers on the pulse of the area, and made a deal; the Crusader and Venice would be given tens of thousands of hyperpyron (roughly 20,000) and further aid in their Crusade against the Ayyubids of the Egyptian Caliphate, the submission of Rome to the papacy, and continued payments and military support if they were to defeat and depose Romanos V in favour of him.

His words rung even more firm in that he could claim that Romanos was a true usurper, as he was of an alien dynasty to the Angeloi that had usurped him previously. As if to add the cherry on top Alexios noted that the people of the Empire would side with him against Romanos, using reports of the ire the Roman European nobility felt towards Romanos' economizing to back up his supposed claim. Enrico himself was a firm pusher of this, and his word rung the loudest verses the Crusaders who were still functionally indebted to the Venetians, as well as relying on them for transport--yet it is odd that Enrico himself would do as such; considering his previous ambassador status to Constantinople; meaning he should have known the politics of the Empire well-enough to know it was lies at best. Regardless of this though, the Latin Massacre, fresh in the minds of many--namely Enrico who had been supposedly blinded during it--helped press many of the Crusaders over the line; with Boniface of Montferrat bribing many to go along with it from his personal coffers. There were those that refused though; namely Renaud of Montmirail, a French noblemen who took his entire retinue and moved on to Syria to aid the Crusader states.

Within April the decision was reached; and the entire force took to ship on their mission to Constantinople. When the papacy heard of this Innocent II was incensed; ordering that no more attacks were to be taken against Christians save for if they inherently caused issues with the Crusade; yet crucially he failed to denounce the 'expedition' to Constantinople itself.

By May the Latins had arrived (which is what I'll call them for now, since constantly writing Venetians and Crusaders is gonna get irritating), laying anchor at Dyrrachium to the greetings of traitorous Roman nobles. What would follow was a massive gathering of disgruntled European Roman nobility and their retinues within the southern Balkans; lighting the fires of rebellion and invasion against the Emperor of Rome.

The Latins and traitors had to march fast, lest Romanos be able to secure the support of his loyal troops and allies in Anatolia; with the combined force marching at a fast pace across the past-prime Via Ignatia. They would be halted at the environs near Thessaloniki by John Klephos, ever loyal to his friend Romanos. Klephos inspired the loyalty of his men, and the general people of European Rome--as he was considered a hero for helping to hold back the Bulgars and continuing to uphold the taxis (order) of the area.

The notion was firm; Klephos would not allow them to pass, no matter how much the traitors attempted to bribe him; with his fiery words and presence inspiring a good chunk of the traitorous retinues to turn-coat and join the dynamic general. It was an untenable position; and a skirmish between two retinues of the Latin-Traitor and Klephos camps forced their hands.

On the 29th of May a brutal battle was fought against the two sides; Klephos' dynamic leadership pushing the tide further and further; yet Boniface and Louis of Blois continued to hold the central line for over an hour as the hardened troops of Romans crashed against them. It was down to a final charge by Klephos; the armoured horsemen of Rome crunching into the off-center mass of the Latin-Traitor forces with success looming on the horizon... only to fall as Klephos was caught in the back of the head by the maceblow of a ride-passing French Knight; crushing the back of his skull and sending his horse ridding off with his corpse.

What followed was a route; as Klephos' skilled lieutenants barely managed to hold together the Roman force of roughly 8,000 (over 3,000 having died by this point, verses the Latin-Traitor's own roughly similar numbers). Notably Nikephoros Rekavae and Michael Antilos; both of whom rallied the Romans and pulled a functionally orderly retreat. It was a disaster; the most skilled general Romanos had in Europe was dead; and his army was on the retreat.

And to cap it all of Kaloyan, the Tsar of Bulgaria that had accepted a rather functional treaty with Romanos in 1200, broke said treaty. He began leading raids past the undefended Haemus following Klephos' march-away to deal with the Latin-Traitors. Such a thing would force a decision on Nikephoros and Michael. The two would split up; with Nikephoros taking 2,000 men, and the recovered body of Klephos, to Constantinople to warn the Emperor--meanwhile Michael would take the remaining 6,000 to run-off Kaloyan and his forces.

The Battle of Thessaloniki, as it was known, would prove decisive in the moments to come; as the death of their hero, Klephos made sure that the European Roman populous refused to aid the Crusaders--making their acquisition of supplies harder and forcing their hand in pushing towards Constantinople with haste. On this end though, Michael would prove himself a skilled defender--effectively playing chicken with Kaloyan; keeping the Tsar from being able to do major damage to Rome while it was occupied with the forces of the Latin-Traitors.

On the 9th of June, 1203, Nikephoros would reach New Rome--and his reception was one of quiet. Romanos was notably silent upon hearing the news of his friends death; only remarking two words to the Patriarch George II; 'Bury him,"--with the only light in Romanos' eyes within that day being his beloved wife Maria and his now year old son; Little John (nicknamed as such to differentiate from his namesake; his uncle 'Big' John, the Sebastokrator). By the 10th of June though Romanos was into high-gear; energetically preparing for a siege of the City of the World's desire as more and more reports rolled in of the encroaching, and more and more desperate, Crusaders.

They would arrive on the 15th of June, a force of roughly 9,500--their supplies dwindling as the Venetian navy was skillfully skirmished with by Romanos' noted Shipmaster Bardas Isandos. There would be no massive fleet to aid the Crusaders; as roughly half of the fleet made it through Isandos' efforts. While the supplies they brought upon their arrival in Thrace aided the Crusaders, and gave them time, they dared not push against Constantinoples reborn fleet, at least not yet.

What would follow would be the most bloody siege in Constantinople's history; and Romanos' greatest challenge.
This promises to be rather interesting. A siege of Constantinople without strong naval support is not going to be fun for the besiegers, but they seem intent.
It's really something how far Roman mobilization capabilities have fallen compared to the heydays of the Republic..
This promises to be rather interesting. A siege of Constantinople without strong naval support is not going to be fun for the besiegers, but they seem intent.
Its an interesting position; because one of the major reasons for the success of the Siege, besides the failure of Roman leadership, was the fact that the Roman navy was at this point nothing more than 20 worm-eaten hulls. The fact that Romanos was around to rebuild the navy enough to the point that it could skirmish with the Venetians, although only under the command of a noted Shipmaster such as Bardas, is a key factor in why the Siege itself is different.
It's really something how far Roman mobilization capabilities have fallen compared to the heydays of the Republic..
The Republic had a unique demographic position, and an inherently different civilian culture. By the time of the 1200's the Empire's population was only, around, 10 million; contrasted with the 60-65 million at the height of the reign of Trajan. It's no wonder that the Empire of the 1200's can only viably muster 40,000 men at the best of times--considering they're beset on all sides by skilled opponents.
Part 6, Pt3
"This Icon, oh Icon, of our Virgin, represents New Rome; the City of the World's Desire. As long as I hold it I shall not fall, I shall not scamper, for God is with His Chosen People," - Prayed mutterings of Romanos V Gryphas upon the Hodegetria of the Virgin Mary.

July, 1203 - The Latin-Traitors were not a united force; that much was made quite obvious roughly 3 days after they set camp outside the imposing Theodosian Walls. The fleet that had managed to arrive past the Shipmaster Bardas' skirmishing attempts was simply too small to viably be used as the Crusaders had intended in encircling the city. Thus, a decision was reached by the prodding of several members of the Crusader faction; namely Baldwin and Louis, in that a count be taken and if there were extra ships, those that weren't needed to transport the Latins should they need to flee, be broken down for further siege equipment; as they were to be forced to settle in for a supposedly long siege.

Dandolo, and his Venetian retinue, refused at first--but as talks of enhanced spoils by Alexios Angelos became louder it was eventually agreed that roughly 10 ships would be torn apart for scraps to use to build towers and low-tier fortifications. Such a thing caused an issue in the camp in that several sailors were now left without a ship to manage; and were thus conscripted by their Venetian brethren into basic soldiers.

It is unclear how it started, perhaps an off-hand remark, or a physical bump here and there--but it is clear what triggered a fight within the camp. One of the French Knights made an off the cuff remark on how the 'Greeks' were holding their ground within Constantinople better than expected--as the world knew the 'Greeks' as cowards and web-weavers. The Traitor Romans quickly began an altercation, which eventually spiraled out of control when one of them took a swing at Baldwin; although the Count of Flanders was far too quick and tore out the man's throat with a riposte from his blade. The whole camp descended into chaos that could be heard from the Walls by the defenders, and was quickly relayed back to Romanos.

By morning the Traitor Romans were driven from the camp, with Alexios Angelos being killed in the confusion. The Latins hadn't lost many men, roughly 28, but they'd killed over 60 of their allies and driven a further 200 to retreat. They'd also, irritatingly, killed their sole reason for being there. From here is where the talks of partitioning the Empire began--and Venice wanted a massive chunk of it (namely Southern Greece and the various islands of the Empire) as compensation for the continued mess that was this Crusade.

This was a boon for Romanos, as it bought him time to draw together a new unit within the city that had been in the works since the reconquest of lands in Anatolia. At the center of this new unit was Andronikos Romanos, formerly Aksay Bayrak, a young converted Turk who had taken Romanos' first name as his new last name upon his conversion. Andronikos had united with him several other young Turks who would convert to the One True God, and take on Roman names and culture; forming the basis of Romanos' Lakonoi--named for the homeland of the long-gone Spartans. They would be a new elite Household Guard of converted Turks that would supplement the dwindling Varangians; and perhaps even replace them later. Andronikos was a loyal, and capable, commander for the Lakonoi--seeing Romanos as a father of sorts; this aiding in the collection of the Lakonoi and Varangians together for what Romanos saw was coming.

Without any other options, and time running out, the Latins pushed their objectives heavily. A bombardment of the Theodosian Walls would begin, continuing for over a week as they sought out the destruction of the garrison. The Walls held, and the garrison pulled back between bursts of trebuchet fire, and back in to pose a threat to anyone trying to pull up the towers. More than one innocent pack animal was killed trying to draw the towers. Regardless though, losses for the Romans were beginning to mount, and Baldwin, Louis and Boniface successfully pushed for a firm attack on the Walls on the 29th of July, 1203.

It was a bloody affair, as the towers were forcibly pushed up by hundreds of the conscripted sailors, many dying to the arrow fire of the defenders even as the trebuchets kept firing. Soon the Crusaders would break up onto the outer Walls, and begin pressing against the defenders with a force only managed by the zealous 'defenders' of Christ.

Romanos had broken up his forces, taking command of his Varangians and Lakonoi on the more heavily assaulted western section of the Walls; leaving the garrison to Nikephoros on the eastern section of the Walls.

Nikephoros used a basic, yet well-timed, system of shifting his 2 ranks between each other; the spears and shields fighting back against the Crusaders as they pushed on the eastern Walls--although notably Nikephoros kept back a group of roughly 100 men that were equipped with well-sharpened hatchets that could come in at a moments notice to hack away at any Crusader who managed to push past the shield-and-spear line Nikephoros had cooked up.

Romanos' lot was a lot tougher, as Baldwin himself and his elite retinue converged on the western section of the Walls. Baldwin had surmised that only Romanos himself would wield the Hodegetria--proven when the purple cloak of the armoured Romanos was seen by Baldwin for the first time as he and his men pushed in via the towers. Baldwin well-knew of the reputation of the Hodegetria, and what it would mean for the 'Greeks' if it was taken by the Crusaders.

The Emperor was at a disadvantage, wielding his blade in one hand and the Hodegetria in the other, yet the fact that he was flanked by his loyal Household troops proved a defining factor. Yet, it wasn't long before the Emperor of the Romans, and the Count of Flanders, squared-off even as the battle raged around them. It was a quick affair; yet not an easy one. Romanos was impaled through the side by Baldwin, the Count attempting to pull the pole of the Hodegetria from Romanos' weakening grasp.

Yet the Emperor tightened his grasp, and pulled Baldwin closer; smashing the Count's face in against his helmeted head--before pushing him from the Walls. It is said that Baldwin cried out for God before his body smashed against the ground beneath the Theodosian Walls.

This display broke the Crusaders, who were quickly forced off the Walls by the Romans. Over 5,000 people had died, roughly 3,000 Crusaders and 2,000 Romans. But the Siege of Constantinople was effectively over, even as the wounded Emperor was carried back to the Great Palace to be tended, by an inspired soldiery. He'd earned his epithet; Toíchos, the 'Wall'.
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Part 7, Pt1
"Many call us traitors, and heretics, for our efforts against the Greeks. They're right, purely because if it had succeeded the sheer daring of the event would have proven it correct; but it failed. We failed. Thus, it is wrong," - Boniface of Montferrat, later titled as Stratigos of Cappadocia, on the failings of the Siege of Constantinople.

August, 1203 - The Siege of Constantinople had been an unmitigated disaster for the Latins, with thousands dying on the Theodosian Walls--and even the noted Crusader Baldwin being killed by the Emperor of the Romans himself. The situation had been worse from even before the Siege, as Louis of Blois had caught a fever the night before the first bombardments commenced--and with the death of Baldwin there were only two functional centers of power for the entire Latin base; Dandolo himself and Boniface of Montferrat.

Boniface had been the original leader of the Crusade; until Dandolo had usurped him following the debt owed to Venice. Boniface was popular; a skilled soldier and orator--alongside having noted connections with the Roman nobility of Constantinople (at least until Romanos purged it following his ascension)--this popularity skyrocketing post-Siege when Boniface had been the one to see the writing on the Walls, literally; successfully leading those who remained on the Walls on a safe retreat. Such popularity would prove notable, as Boniface began exercising more power against Dandolo--trying to pressure the aged Doge to aid the Crusaders in heading to Egypt to make up for their clearly God-hated plan of assaulting the City of the World's Desire.

Dandolo refused--with he and his Venetians boarding their ships in a hurry and fleeing the scene on the night of the 9th of August, leaving the Crusaders behind and pushing out of the Aegean with the aid of their skirmished half-fleet before the noose was tightened. Shipmaster Bardas would patrol the Aegean firmly following this, considering the fact that Dandolo and his Venetians escaped as his greatest failure. Dandolo himself would die due to a sudden chill on the voyage back to Venice, notably remarking in fear that he was bound for Hell due to his excommunication.

Boniface was forced to face facts, and offered up himself and his remaining 4,000 or so Crusaders to the Emperor's judgement; notably ignoring the newly fever-free Louis' demands that they march south and try and charter ships to leave, due to the fact that Boniface feared they'd be attacked by the Bulgars invading Rome, or simply crushed by the weight of lacking supplies.

Romanos himself had been severely wounded, bedridden for over a week, before he could hobble himself to his feet to attend to Imperial matters. The Emperor would be able to attend to Imperial matters properly in time, but he'd never fight again as he once had; the damage was too great. The last great blow of this time being the death of the Patriarch George II, who lingered on long enough to see for himself that Romanos survived--before passing on peacefully in his sleep on the 17th of August 1203. He would be succeeded by Mathew I, the late-middle-aged third pillar of the Empress Maria's Three Pillars from when Romanos was still on heavy Campaign. It would be Mathew who held a large ceremony for the victory against the Latins in the Hagia Sophia, championing the Emperor in his wielding of the Hodegetria on the Walls--noting that it was the Emperor who acted as God's divine leader against the 'Traitorous Franks'. Said Emperor would shock many with his following actions against the Crusaders.

Romanos was merciful, marching out with his now 4,000 strong bodyguard of Lakonoi and Varangians, alongside 2,000 troops from the garrison. With them they carried food, supplying the weakening Crusaders while Boniface and Romanos spoke. The two sparked up a respect, and later friendship, despite it all over the following two week talks--haggling out a deal that could be beneficial to them all.

The Crusaders were Persona Non Grata in the west, especially with Innocent III being forced to play damage control against the failed expedition against the Romans. Romanos offered them a simple thing; they would enroll in the Empire's army, be ferried across the Bosphorus, and crush the frontier of the Seljuks to reclaim land for Rome. In return for this they would be settled in the Empire, given salaries--and ultimately lives to live for themselves when all was said and done.

Boniface was forced to accept this, after much thought and haggling--the hardest challenge for the Crusader being convincing Louis of Blois to accept this deal; a hard task, but Louis eventually relented. By the 2nd of September the deal was finalized with the signing of the Metánoias Órkos, or 'Repentance Oath', which affirmed the loyalty of the Crusaders, now Imperial Soldiers, to Rome, Romanos, and his descendants.

The world itself was changed notably by the fact that the Crusade would live on in infamy for its failings; with Al-Adil crushing the forces that arrived in Syria and Egypt firmly enough to prevent major territorial losses--and over 6,000 Crusaders dying due to misguided Christian v Christian battles and notions. The Crusades only saving grace being that those who survived, and remained in the Crusader States, provided a much needed backbone to the formerly dwindling forces of Antioch and Jerusalem. Innocent III's legacy was noticeably tarnished, with Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV using this to his favour in crushing Philip of Swabia--the Kaiser (used to differentiate between the Roman Emperor and Holy Roman Emperor) marching down through Italy following his victory; forcibly dissolving the Leagues set up by Innocent III, before forcing Innocent himself to crown him as the true Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day of 1203.

The stage was set for something unique, in that with the constant wars in the West picking up pace between Philip and Otto suddenly being cut short there was a more 'dedicated' infighting between minor lords and their rivals. To the East? At least for Rome it now had two problems on its hands; the ending of Kaloyan's invasion and the use of the Crusaders as they were intended; a hammer of God, to crush the infighting Seljuks. The 1204th year would prove to be an intriguing one indeed.
The Laconic Tagma, do they gain a reputation for dry one liners?
They're not a Tagma by themselves, as by this point the term Tagma is largely used to refer to all the standardized units of the Empire. They're a Household Guard on-par with the Varangians.

But yes, they definitely have a pension for dry one liners; considering their upbringing, lol.

*Edit, just noticed you were in fact jokingly referring to Laconic in the verbal sense rather than in reference to the area of Sparta XD
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Will we see a sack of Venice instead of Constantinople?....
We’ll have to see!

If it was a later time period, say an earlier Laskarid restoration of the Empire, it would have been an obvious thing; as Venice stole much of Nova Roma’s greatest treasures and monuments following the Sack. Such things would need to be taken back, obviously.

However, considering they failed to take anything from the city, leaving Constantinople as the richest and most populated city in the Known World, I’m not sure sacking Venice would be high on the list of priorities for Romanos and his descendants.
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Part 7, Pt2
"When I took the title I failed to realize just how much it would weigh on me, and how hard the Romans would weigh in on it," - Kaloyan 'the Romanslayer' on his deathbed.

1204 - The distraction offered to the Bulgars by the sudden attack of the Crusaders on Rome proved to be too great a thing to resist for the Bulgarian Tsar Kaloyan. The Tsar broke the amicable treaty made between himself and Romanos nearly a half-decade ago and began an invasion of the Empire; hoping to take back the territories taken from him in the previous 'war'.

Such thoughts only got louder and grander as he was met with little resistance following Klephos' death at the hands of the Latin-Traitors a near-year gone. Throughout late 1203 Kaloyan raided the Empire, being forced away from the true major cities by the skilled former lieutenant of Klephos, Michael, as the Siege of Constantinople drew on--and then ended. The Bulgarian Tsar had done significant damage to the countryside of the Empire and had even rolled back the borders as far as Thessaloniki in the south-western Balkans; well-past the Haemus. In this time he'd taken on the title of 'the Romanslayer', mocking Basil II's own moniker and setting it true with the brutal murders and captures of several Romans.

Upon the end of the Siege of Constantinople, and the induction of the Crusaders into the Roman fold, Michael was met with a new unit of troops and a letter from the Emperor. Romanos had resurrected an office defunct since 840, the Praetorian Prefecture. During the period of the 'United Empire', following the loss of the West, the Praetorian Prefect essentially became the commander of one of the two halves of the remaining Empire, the Prefect of the West in the Balkans, and the Prefect of the East in far east Anatolia, Syria and Egypt. Such an office was needed, at least in a mimic-degree, now. Michael was bestowed the title of Prefect of the West, the whole Praetorian aspect dropped for a simplistic title, effectively making him commander of all the troops available to him to crush Kaloyan and retake the lands stolen from Rome.

The troops that had arrived with the letter were the Lakonoi, the Christian Turks who had been turned into elite troops through dedicated training and Christianization, under the leadership of the loyal and near-silent Andronikos Romanos. They would prove a decisive factor in the coming battles; as Michael rallied his force of now, roughly, 10,000 to face off against Kaloyan's own 13,000 strong force of blooded warriors.

Throughout the first quarter of 1204 the Romans and Bulgars skirmished, as Kaloyan refused to get bogged down in a true battle against the Romans after what happened at the Battle of the Pass that near half-decade ago, such an affair naturally resulting in the lines of battle drifting further and further north as Kaloyan was forced to give up the territory he could not viably hold onto without fighting. This would end in April, as the Tsar finally set himself firmly on the note that he had to crush the Romans then to ensure his conquests--and force Romanos to an even more beneficial peace for himself and his state.

It would be on the fields of Skopje that the battle would commence, with the Romans and Bulgars playing chicken for almost a full day before finally settling on a site for their confrontation. It would be the moment that Kaloyan would regret his new title, as while the battle had gone well at the onset; with Michael being forced to ride along his lines to keep his men from breaking at the constant efforts of Kaloyan's cavalry--yet when the Lakonoi joined the battle in earnest any cheers of victory died in the throats of the Bulgars; as the Turks brutalized the Bulgar cavalry in an almost mechanical, ungodly manner, their skilled arrowfire tearing holes in the cavalry lines, before these Lakonoi dismounted and brutalized the Bulgarian infantry with the fear-inducing cleavers they were uniquely equipped with; sheering off limbs at worst and cutting large and deep gashes at worst.

It was a total route, as the Bulgars under Kaloyan's command outright refused to face the Lakonoi again--with Michael and his forces pursuing them well-past the Haemus by May of 1204. By this point the army Kaloyan had put together had fractured, over 3,000 being captured and another 2,000 or so being dead. On the 19th of May Romanos would receive Kaloyan's response; a note for peace.

Kaloyan was willing to leave the Romans alone, and pay back the 20,000 Hyperpyron Romanos had given him in 1200 for peace, as well as give up any claims on the lands he'd just attacked. Romanos was blunt in his follow up letter; Kaloyan and his Bulgarian state would give up all territory just-post the Haemus, giving the Romans firm control over the entire mountain range (although again this stopped short of taking Sofiya from the Bulgars)--and the entire area of Burgas, known to the Romans as Pyrgos, would be returned. Too add insult to injury, the Bulgars would release every Roman prisoner taken, while the Romans would keep the Bulgar prisoners they'd taken as 'payment' for the lives lost to the murders committed under Kaloyan and his men that had earned the Tsar his 'title' of 'the Romanslayer'. This would be firmed up by 10 year long treaty this time, as Kaloyan had shown himself unable to deal with a 15 year one.

It is said that Kaloyan's response spat on Romanos, and his Empire, as well as his Lakonoi as; 'Godless wolves'. Yet, the Tsar agreed to the terms, and was forced to settle in with his lot.

On the 3rd of June Michael, Prefect of the West, would be enveloped in a triumph in Constantinople, bringing with him the Bulgarian prisoners taken, riding side by side in the front-chariot with the near-healed Emperor himself. This would prove a massive coup for Romanos and his efforts, as well as firming up the loyalty of the inducted Latins as they were ferried across the Bosphorus at least to be led by John the Sebastokrator in July 1204.

These prisoners would prove useful, as they would be settled in the lands taken in Anatolia, firming up Roman control with the skill the Bulgars had in farming and carpentry.
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Good to see the Bulgarians dealt with.
Whats up with Serbs though? How independent are they?
Also hoping for a Map soon...
Good to see the Bulgarians dealt with.
Whats up with Serbs though? How independent are they?
Also hoping for a Map soon...
Yes, they would have proved to be a constant problem to the north regardless, at least this way they can continue to exist and move on from there.

The Serbs are effectively independent now, as the previous ties to the Empire through the Angeloi have largely been cut. They lack the functional resources to expand though; and watching the Bulgars fail twice to backhand the Empire has left them unwilling to try it themselves.

As for a map? Several changes are going to occur within the next 2 years, so I’d rather do a map once everything settles down once more.
Considering the constant fighting in Greece and Bulgaria, the Serbs are likely to have a free hand with maybe a superficial homage to Constantinople.

The Romans are going to be focused on Anatolia for next few years, while the European provinces recover. Hopefully, they'll manage before the Mongols come a knocking.
Considering the constant fighting in Greece and Bulgaria, the Serbs are likely to have a free hand with maybe a superficial homage to Constantinople.

The Romans are going to be focused on Anatolia for next few years, while the European provinces recover. Hopefully, they'll manage before the Mongols come a knocking.

As for the Romans dealing with Anatolia before the Mongols? It'd be unrealistic to see them retake the entire peninsula before the Mongols arrive and punch a hole through it. The arrival of the Mongols itself will be the catalyst for the full reclamation of Anatolia though; as well as the birth of an Ottoman state outside of Anatolia since I don't want to see the Ottomans just be butterflied off into history.

As for the Romans dealing with Anatolia before the Mongols? It'd be unrealistic to see them retake the entire peninsula before the Mongols arrive and punch a hole through it. The arrival of the Mongols itself will be the catalyst for the full reclamation of Anatolia though; as well as the birth of an Ottoman state outside of Anatolia since I don't want to see the Ottomans just be butterflied off into history.
I'm thinking maybe Syria or maybe Mesopotamia for the Ottomans? Possibly as a Mongol tributary ala the Russians?
I'm thinking maybe Syria or maybe Mesopotamia for the Ottomans? Possibly as a Mongol tributary ala the Russians?
Syria is more viable; considering Mesopotamia would be a much harder area to set down roots. This is aside from the fact that I believe this was already done in Isaac's Empire.