Should the Austrian Empire exist, and continue to exist? If so, in what form?


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Constantine Hohenstaufen. My god that little boy has some massive shoes hes going to fill
He does yes. Whether he's up to that sort of challenge will remain to be seen.
The Mongols should be some 20 odd years away, now?
The Mongols only become an issue for the Empire around 1251, this is due to butterflies resulting in the invasion path to Anatolia and the Levant taking longer as Al-Adil, the skilled leader of the Ayyubids, died later than OTL. For reference this is roughly an extra 9 year difference from history.
 
Romanos V Grypas; Emperor and Stabilizer - 1172-1229
"Information is victory," - Romanos V's famous maxim.

Romanos V, as an Emperor, proved a turning point in Roman fortunes that had been in decline since the death of Manuel I Komnenos in 1180. His rise to power was unexpected, as he and his brother John had only been minor Pronoia holders in Anatolia prior to the disasters wrought by Alexios III Angelos which forced the failed Emperor to empower several Pronoia holders in order to try and stem the tide.

Romanos would, as many had before him, take his newly given power and turn on his overlord--although his efforts to play both fronts and divide his army between himself and his brother in order to ensure that the Anatolian front was not lost almost, in turn, lost him his bid for the Purple. Romanos was lucky in that the man he faced was a craven coward who would fail to destroy him outside Constantinople before trying to flee; only getting himself killed.

His personable nature and inherent verbal skill would allow him to make several allies, notably the Patriarch George II and his successor Michael I--as well as giving him a wide pool of skilled personnel to draw from for the benefit of the Empire such as the skilled Shipmaster Bardas Isandos and several 'star-generals' such as John Klephos and David Komnenos.

Throughout his reign however Romanos proved to be more than a usurper; reforming the bureaucracy, laws and military--as well as proving defining in the defense against, and later victory over, the 2nd Bulgarian Empire led by Kaloyan. In his reign he specifically reformed the coinage, destroyed the powerbase of the nobility (although this would later come back to bite him during the Latin Siege of Constantinople), reformed several laws and practices--and through the semi-joint leadership with his brother John, would reform the army into one capable of defeating both the Bulgarians and Turks in battle. This was all compounded with Romanos' unique skill with the 'carrot and stick' policy that few Emperors in the Empire could master, such as Basil II, which allowed him to cow the Bulgarians, and the Latin Crusaders who had attacked Constantinople.

His main failure however was, through his reforms, treading the same path as previous Emperors; thus repeating some of the same mistakes--notably the reformed army, while loyal at first, began to fracture in loyalties the further it got away from the Capital, which would result in a minor rebellion that claimed the life of his brother--as well as his failure to identity with the previous works of the Empire and firmly resettle the last retaken lands in Anatolia with loyal subjects, which in turn caused a major rebellion.

His greatest victory was his patronage of construction and repair projects, as well as the general improvement of the Imperial Economy (also unshackling it from the Italian Merchant Republics through his victory in the Latin Siege of Constantinople); only added to by his diplomatic efforts that had seen Bulgaria and Armenian Cilicia become important 'partners' in the Empire's sphere--while also building the first bridges between East and West in centuries with his noted friendship, and later father-in-law status over, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. His efforts to refurbish Constantinople when possible would leave a firm bedrock for future rulers to rely on.

He would bequeath a strong, if tenuous, Empire to an adult male heir who was competent of mind and body at the time of his death; creating the long term stability the Empire needed.
--
Statistics by the end of his Reign;

Population; 9,200,000~
Size of the Mobile Army; 40,000~
Direct Manpower Pool; 100,000~
Navy Size; Roughly 100 ships strong, 1/4 of which are purpose-built warships, the rest either refitted merchant vessels or troop ships.
Treasury Status; Semi-Full
Debasement Status; Near-nil
Status of the 'Three Organs'; Cooled, and cooperative
 
A centralising Holy Roman Emperor pushing for a marriage to an Eastern Roman Princess? This might ruffle a few feathers. Does Frederick have a descendent named Sigmar?

On a serious note, does the friendship between the two Emperor's mean that the Holy Roman Emperor is referred to as Basileus rather than the deliberately insulting Kaisar?
 
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I just want to say that Bulgaria being an empire wouldn't last long. Maybe a few decades but their stability is and always questionable.
You’re right on the mark with that one. Bulgaria won’t last long as an independent state; this being down to its own internal strife. The issue of Bulgaria will form the centerpiece of John’s early reign.
A centralising Holy Roman Emperor pushing for a marriage to an Eastern Roman Princess? This might ruffle a few feathers. Does Frederick have a descendent named Sigmar?

On a serious note, does the friendship between the two Emperor's mean that the Holy Roman Emperor is referred to as Basileus rather than the deliberately insulting Kaisar?
Basileus would only refer to the Roman Emperor himself, as to refer to someone else as such would imply they ruled the Empire proper. Going forwards, the friendship between Frederick and John would result in the two simply dubbing each other as; “Augustus,” in each of their letters.
 
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That makes sense, although calling the King of the Romans Caesar would probably confuse the hell out of the HRE.
Definitely, lol.

Either way, I'm going to be frank on the matter; Frederick is only a centralising Emperor within his own domains. As he did historically he's going to outright neglect the HRE proper north of the Alps--and the fact that he is destined to have 3 sons will prove auspicious for the Thrice-King Emperor.
 
3 organs? I wonder how this affects the development of music and the arts. :-D

Does the ERE's reliance on infantry spark an early medieval infantry revolution, or does the west simply dismiss this as a poor man's substitute for decent cavalry?
 
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Part 9; 1229-1230
1229 - Romanos had been a beloved Emperor by the time of his death; a fact that leaned well into the required 40 day mourning period. John had to act quickly to secure power though--as he'd swore to himself that he would not let the efforts of his father die with him; aiding in this by his brother Theodore who quickly rallied the Lakonoi; crushing any hopes by what was left of the nobility that they might be able to edge out the Grypads.
By the end of the year--following a large memorial for the deceased Emperor as well as his internment into the refurbished Church of the Holy Apostles alongside the greats such as Constantine I himself. John secured his throne thereafter by his crowning as John III, Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans, alongside his dearest wife Theodora as Empress--at the hands of the aging Patriarch Michael I Psenas.

1230 - John hit the ground running, at least as well as he could; producing the Chrysosbull of 1230; a massive document that put into place the laws he and his father had worked on in the latter's last years. Within the document were largescale reforms to the provincial functionality of the tax-income system as well as the military infrastructure; both inspired by the issues faced by the Empire throughout its existence.

The Empire was unique among the other states of the Known World in that all the wealth flowed to the center, Constantinople herself. This uniqueness filled the Empire's treasury in good times, but drained it in those bad ones--and even had the effect of making it rather 'easy' to simply abandon lands each time they got to hard to hold considering that the wealth of the Empire simply wasn't inherently tied to them in terms of those who would abandon them. This was why Anatolia had been lost in the first place; the magnates and other groups who held the power to hold it simply didn't because it inherently didn't matter to them on a monetary level--even the Komnneoi prior to becoming Emperor's simply abandoned their estates in Anatolia. Such a thing had been realised when, offhandedly during a meeting between Romanos, John and Boniface, the latter had let out some 'westernism' when speaking on his own territories.

The core of the Chrysosbull of 1230 was to forcibly embed the wealth of the Empire back into the lands itself through a complex reworking of laws and taxation ballots; which would make every person fight tooth and nail to uphold what they had. This had a twofold effect; one it pushed everyone--magnate to peasant--to exploit their territories to their fullest, as well as providing the Treasury with a steady stream of constant taxes; as any out-of-line stepping would see the investments these groups made into their now-important land be easily torn away through legalities.

The secondary take-away from this is that it inherently bred a system of taxation that bled itself dry of corruption (due to the emphasis on exploitation of resources in a functional manner in order to make a profit in the first place), thus allowing for more to be gained for less in terms of income and resources, and it pushed the military to compete in turn with constant self-improvement and drilling to maintain their own positions.

Such reforms were only possible because Romanos and John had both made themselves well-known just prior to Romanos' last years--as well as Theodore Laskaris, and his counterpart in the west Michael, efficiently handling the functionalities of the east and west for the Emperor while this took place. Throughout 1230 the Empire was influx with heavy reform; only added to by the Shipmaster Bardas Isandos demanding an audience with the Emperor on the important matter of the navy.

The Empire had recovered its strength navy wise, bit by bit, but it was still functionally lacking in its ability to patrol its major areas outside of the Aegean. Bardas, after having skimmed over the letters between himself and Romanos in which Romanos referenced Frederick II's experience with the Venetian Arsenals, pushed John onto the fact that building Arsenals of their own was the only way forward.

By the end of the year the Empire's new economic and territorial policies were beginning to bear fruit; although much of it had to be spent bribing, integrating and then salarying Venetian defectors and builders who had begun the construction of 4 main Roman Arsenals; one in the Sykai district of Constantinople, one in Smyrna, another in Heraklion and a final one in Trebizond itself. These Arsenals would produce ships for the Capital Fleet, Aegean Fleet, East Mediterranean Fleet and Black Sea Fleet respectively.
 
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The rate at which you update is amazing. For that alone it’s one of the better timelines I’ve read, but the detail and depth elevate it up to just short of An Age of Miracles
 
You’re right on the mark with that one. Bulgaria won’t last long as an independent state; this being down to its own internal strife. The issue of Bulgaria will form the centerpiece of John’s early reign.

Basileus would only refer to the Roman Emperor himself, as to refer to someone else as such would imply they ruled the Empire proper. Going forwards, the friendship between Frederick and John would result in the two simply dubbing each other as; “Augustus,” in each of their letters.
I'd figure as much Bulgaria will be retaken back to the empire and this time for good. Having a buffer is nice but Bulgaria is a bad buffer its a powder keg that will erupt as soon as something happens.

If I were the roman emperor retaking the lands from serbia to Armenia would be my main goal.
 
Is there a map of the ERE at the time of John III's accession?
I’ll work on one within the next hour!
The rate at which you update is amazing. For that alone it’s one of the better timelines I’ve read, but the detail and depth elevate it up to just short of An Age of Miracles
Thanks for the compliments! I hope that eventually I’ll be able to match AAoM.
I'd figure as much Bulgaria will be retaken back to the empire and this time for good. Having a buffer is nice but Bulgaria is a bad buffer its a powder keg that will erupt as soon as something happens.

If I were the roman emperor retaking the lands from serbia to Armenia would be my main goal.
The thing is that Bulgaria is a hard enemy to deal with when things are going great for them. It took Basil II rolling in with experience from the previous civil war as well as sheer determination (he campaigned every year against Bulgaria until he finally cowed it) to put it down.

Bulgaria, in its current iteration, was always on shaky grounds; compounded by the fact that in his TL the Bulgars never succeeded in getting Papal Acceptance of their Kingdom.

The next content update will go into detail on it’s failings.
 
The Empire, plus her Vassals, at the death of Romanos V Grypas
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