The House of Komnenos, Like a Phoenix From the Ashes: An Eastern Roman Timeline

However not sure if I agree that the Romans will be entirely or even strongly successful in assimilation policies. For example counter them with the Russian Empire who IIRC did not majorly discriminate between subjects to the Tsar (provided they were loyal) and tried to assimilate people. But in the end failed with even the most similar groups like the Ukranians and Belorussians, though they came close. Where they had most success were disparate tribes, mainly from Ugro-Finnic types, so I guess the bigger the group the more they will present a challenge, with similarity to target group also being an issue.
I mean the Russian Empire was fundamentally different from the Eastern Roman Empire in structure, culture, and society. The Bulgarian revolts of the Asen dynasty that established the Second Bulgarian Empire was more or less a tax revolt. The Asens petitioned the Angeloi for a Pronoia. The Angeloi not only refused but insulted the Asens which prompted them to revolt. With their ineptitude they they created an extortionate tax scheme that alienated much of Bulgaria and the rest of the population of the Empire. The Asens tapped into this to create the Second Bulgarian Empire. Previous Bulgarian revolts were largely put down with native Bulgarian troops.

Also the Eastern Roman state was fundamentally different from the Russian Empire in society, government, and culture. The Serbians and Bulgarians were part of the Orthodox Eastern Mediterranean world similar to how the Franks/French functioned with the West. Had Karolyan or the Second Bulgarian Empire at another point taken Constantinople, its likely that the Bulgarians would have been Hellenized/integrated into the Roman state. The Bulgarians with Constantinople and the rest of the Balkans could have mobilized troops to then fight the Turks in Anatolia. The Serbian Empire after the Second Palaiologian Civl War also could of done something similar. Serbian artwork during that time period reflected Medieval Eastern Roman art styles of well with Stefan IV Dusan "The Strong" stylizing himself as Emperor of the Serbs and the Romans.

You can't really do much about racial differences without some truly heavy handed policies but they are not big enough to be a roadblock like in the US, just a speedbump.
The Romans were certainly brutal if that's what it took. A common joke about the Romans I heard in my history class is that the Romans were progressive because they "oppressed everyone even."

Ultimately I do not see major groups like the Copts assimilating, they are just too many to be ground down. Provided they were not fiercely pressured to convert or just expelled some Sunnies will stay too, same with Turks. Slavs in the Balkans as well probably. It is not impossible, but it will take a lot of effort on multiple fronts as I outlined, it would be a project that would take centuries.
The Romans can't exert direct control everywhere. Some autonomous solutions might be available with something like a Despotate being created in Egypt. The Copts might actually prefer rule by the Romans over rule by the Mammaluks who began persecuting them and kicked the "Islamization" of Egypt into high gear.

If you want an Empire that survives the Age of Nationalism more or less intact it simply needs a lot of unity in multiple layers. Or that is my thinking anyway, maybe you disagree.
The Age of Nationalism unfolded in the way it did due to a specific set of circumstances. Austria-Hungary almost emerged as a premier example of a successful multi-ethnic state. Had the Empire made it out of WWI, a new national identity based on common loyalty to the Habsburg dynasty would have emerged rather than being based on ethnic and linguistic grounds. Most of the population and large segments of the army were loyal to Franz-Joseph who was seen as a father to the nation due to his long reign. His death was a huge blow to the integrity of the Empire. Hungary during the interwar period and the duration of WWII was officially a Kingdom under a regency. Had a few things gone differently, Kaiser Karl I would have re-emerged as King of Hungary, and likely could have retaken Austria creating a rump Austria-Hungary as a counter-weight to Germany in WWII. Had the Sixtus Affair been a success, Austria-Hungary would have emerged intact but in a reduced form after the War.

And ultimately the USA was not that good at assimilation, they only really fully unified white protestants all other groups remained distinct to a degree. If you want an Empire that survives the Age of Nationalism more or less intact it simply needs a lot of unity in multiple layers. Or that is my thinking anyway, maybe you disagree.
I respectfully disagree with you here as comparing the development of the US government and Eastern Roman Empire is like comparing apples to oranges.
 
1204 Map
Here's a crude map of the political situation.

The Roman World in 1204
Komnenos Early 1200's (1).png

Key:
I. The Roman Empire in Exile (Trebizond)
II. The Empire of Nicaea
III. The Seljuk Sultunate of Rum
IV. The Latin Empire/Imperium Romanae (Frankokratia as the actual Romans call it)
a) The Kingdom of Thessalonika (Latin Empire)
b.) The Duchy of Athens (Latin Empire)
c.) The Principality of Achaea (Latin Empire)
V. The Second Bulgarian Empire
VI. The Despotate of Epirus
VII. The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia
VIII. Kingdom of Cyprus
IX. The Norman Kingdom of Sicily
X. The Most Serine Republic of Venice (The Romans would dispute this)
As you can see here, the Empire of Trebizond is a bit bigger than otl after it captured Sinope and Heracleia .
 
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I know the Copts will much prefer Roman rule over Mamluk one. That is their main trump card if reconquest of Egypt is to succeed as many sympathetic Christian uprisings could aid them. However what happens three, five or more generations after? Will they see themselves as the right believing heirs of Egypt beset by heretical Roman conquerors?

And clearly countries built on non-national foundations can exist and even thrive. But when the going gets tough things usually fracture along national lines and AH was no different.
 
I thought the empire of nicea was larger. I thought it controlled south Western Anatolia?
The Turks of the Sultanate of Rum in otl managed to push about that far. I'll go into more detail about Nicaea in the next chapter.

Great start .. looking forward to more
Thanks! Expect another update sometime late this month or early next month.

I know the Copts will much prefer Roman rule over Mamluk one. That is their main trump card if reconquest of Egypt is to succeed as many sympathetic Christian uprisings could aid them. However what happens three, five or more generations after?
I'm not quite sure. I haven't plotted out this timeline that far ahead. Plus something like that would be centuries away from the Komnenians of the 13th century. Even if the Komnenoi restore the Empire to the borders before Manizikert, the Empire would still spend a very long time consolidating. Many of the old irrigation systems in Anatolia were left to disrepair due to the nomad/pastoral nature of the Turks within the Sultanate of Rum.

And clearly countries built on non-national foundations can exist and even thrive. But when the going gets tough things usually fracture along national lines and AH was no different.
That depends on how the people within the region see themselves. The main driving force for Hungarian Nationalism in Austria's Empire was the growing Hungarian magnates. Had Franz Joseph cracked down on them and redistributed the land among the peasants, he would have gotten their support. This could have set the stage for a very different Austria emerging in the 19th century. Without the issue of Hungary holding it back, the Empire could have federalized, and Austria could have effectively mobilized against Sardinia-Piedmont since there would be no Hungary to oppose it.

Italy didn't really have a national consciousness until after Napoleon. The same is true for German nationalism as we know it since both were formed in opposition to Napoleonic France. There was a perception of people being Germans, but most Germans saw themselves as Thuringian, Saxon, Bavarian etc. The conscription and harshness of Napoleonic France's occupation of Germany turned many against him. People began emphasizing how German they were in opposition to France imposing itself on it.

In the case of Italy, a very small portion of the population actually spoke standard Italian, and the phrase "we have made Italy, now we have to make the Italian" applies. Most Italians didn't understand each other with only a small group of elites speaking Standard Italian. In the case of regions like Catalonia, they had enjoyed home rule as a part of Spain. Before separatism grew in numbers these regions were bastions for groups like the Carlists who sought a return to the traditional model of Spain. One feature of this was home rule for the Basques (Kingdom of Navarre) which was part of Spanish Throne for centuries. France had many different regional dialects. Modern French only was standardized by the time of the third Republic. France was also ravaged in long and expensive wars, but it didn't end up with an independent Occitania emerging from it.

The Empire will have to navigate through these challenges, that's true, but the Romans will have a different approach to say 19th century Europe.
 
I would say that if the Copts do successfully rise up and take control with Roman help, it's likely to be run by Coptic Elites, with a nominal Roman Strategos or Despot ruling over it and acting more like an ally than a part of the Empire.
 
The Empire will have to navigate through these challenges, that's true, but the Romans will have a different approach to say 19th century Europe
If a national consciousness emerges in the roman empire it is going to be greek ,it is the official language of the state and it has a history that can support the Βασιλεία Ρωμαίων,also if I remember correctly there was an emerging greek identity after the fall of Constantinople but it didn't spread to the lower classes
 
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I would say that if the Copts do successfully rise up and take control with Roman help, it's likely to be run by Coptic Elites, with a nominal Roman Strategos or Despot ruling over it and acting more like an ally than a part of the Empire.
Plus I wouldn’t say it’s impossible to mend religious relations either. I think Constantine X “dissolved the 50k Armenia garrison in the face of the Turkish invasion” Doukas despite his cartoon levels of incompetence, almost succeeded in mending the rift between the Orthodox and the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Plus Armenia was well integrated into Empire despite the differing religions of the Romans and Armenians.

The Romans likely will have to be conciliatory and gain the Copts on their side. They might initiallybe very pro-Roman because of how the alternative means the further persecution by groups by the Mamaluks. I can see it parallel otl Hungary which stayed with Austria to avoid being overrun by the Ottomans. But once Ottoman influence eroded in the Balkans, the Hungarians began chaffing at the dictates of Vienna with agitation for independence growing. I can see Egypt initially being made into a semi-autonomous Depotate organized along the lines of an Exarchate due to the strategic importance of Egypt.


If a national consciousness emerges in the roman empire it is going to be greek ,it is the official language of the state and it has a history that can support the Βασιλεία Ρωμαίων,also if I remember correctly there was an emerging greek identity after the fall of Constantinople but it didn't spread to the lower classes
The lingua Franca of the Eastern Med Greco-Roman world has been Greek since Alexander the Great. I can see “Hellenism” spreading throughout the rest of the Empire as it expands by default due to it being an established trade language for over a millenium.

Though some Romans might be enamored by their ancient past with a sort of Neo-Classical slant emerging with Latin being popular in some academic circles. If the Romans expand Westward, I can see Latin being (as the language of administration in the West) used to emphasize the uninterrupted continuity they have with the classical Roman Empire.

Greek identity was very tied to the word Romaoi (Roman) long after the Empire fell. It stayed until the 20th century with Greek soldiers arriving on Lemnos being shocked at how the people rejected the label of Hellene and called themselves Romans. Though modern Greek Nationalism ignores its Roman past and focuses on Ancient Greece.
 
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Greek identity was very tied to the word Romaoi (Roman) long after the Empire fell. It stayed until the 20th century with Greek soldiers arriving on Lemnos being shocked at how the people rejected the label of Hellene and called themselves Romans. Though modern Greek Nationalism ignores its Roman past and focuses on Ancient Greece
Yeah basically we called our selves Hellenic speaking romans which means that if nationalism emerges its going to take either a greco-roman approach or a Hellenic one
About greek nationalism we acknowledge the medieval roman empire as a hellenic entity before and after 1204,thougth nationalists tend to focus more on ancient greece
 
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Amazing timeline and great writing! Very interested to see how this goes.

Do you have any plans for the Mongols if they show up? They did ravage Georgia rather hard and forced them into tributary status
 
Yeah basically we called our selves Hellenic speaking romans which means that if nationalism emerges its going to take either a greco-roman approach or a Hellenic one
About greek nationalism we acknowledge the medieval roman empire as a hellenic entity before and after 1204,thougth nationalists tend to focus more on ancient greece
I personally disagree with Constantine Paparrigopoulos on this. His view that Byzatium or Βασιλεύς των Ρωμαίων was a period of decline and degeneration for Greece is a horrible misunderstanding of the millennia of history. I find this ironic because Greece spent over a millenia as the Romaoi then as the ancient Hellenes (323-700 BC). The term Hellene to the Romans of that age was insult since it was essentially calling them pagan. This type of historiography ignores the vast literary, cultural, and scientific innovations produced by Greeks for over a millenia. One of the reasons why I decided to start writing this timeline was because I felt that Byzantium was just ignored by everyone. When I was in high school for example, people only talked about Justinian and the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. I found it odd that no one talked about the centuries long gap in between those two dates, and I began reading more about Byzantium. I was fascinate by things like the Macedonian Renaissance, the Komnenian Restoration, the Palaiologian Renaissance, etc so I guess I'm a bit of a Byzantophile I guess. Hence the reason why my profile name is Basileus_Komnenos.

Amazing timeline and great writing! Very interested to see how this goes.
Thanks! I have a new chapter in the works and it should be out in a few weeks.

Do you have any plans for the Mongols if they show up? They did ravage Georgia rather hard and forced them into tributary status
The Mongols are going to be a very big part of this story. If you've ever played CKII with the Mongol invasion enabled, you'll have somewhat of an idea of what I'm referring to. Georgia did reach its zenith under Queen Tamar, and after a zenith comes the decline. Right now Alexios is kind of a puppet of his aunt, and is highly dependent on her for support. The Georgians expected that Alexios would merely carve out a buffer state to serve as an extension of their power, but Alexios is a Komnenos and the rightful Roman Emperor and he'll fight tooth and nail for the eagle to soar above Constantinople once more. The mongols are coming later though, the next few chapters are focusing on the Niceans, the Latin Empire, and the consolidation of the Roman Empire in exile (Trebizond).
 
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The Mongols are going to be a very big part of this story. If you've ever played CKII with the Mongol invasion enabled, you'll have somewhat of an idea of what I'm referring to. Georgia did reach its zenith under Queen Tamar, and after a zenith comes the decline. Right now Alexios is kind of a puppet of his aunt, and is highly dependent on her for support. The Georgians expected that Alexios would merely carve out a buffer state to serve as an extension of their power, but Alexios is a Komnenos and the rightful Roman Emperor and he'll fight tooth and nail for the soar above Constantinople once more. The mongols are coming later though, the next few chapters are focusing on the Niceans, the Latin Empire, and the consolidation of the Roman Empire in exile (Trebizond).
Quite interesting to say the least. This definitely has my interest piqued even more.

I do appreciate the more narrowed focus with the Nicaeans/Latin Empire/Trebizond you have planned for the next few chapters though. Keeping the focus with the immediate area brings more cohesion to the narrative.
 
They’ll get bogged down in Afghanistan after invading the Ghurid Sultanate?
For me they’re always this gigantic blob with a massive doomstack that always eats half of the HRE and pushing to Egypt. I once played as a King of Castile, and I mainly focused on Iberia. Next thing I know it’s the 1230’s and the have sacked Rome and are on my doorstep with their invasion of France.

Of course the Mongols won’t be like this of course in the timeline. They will act in a more realistic fashion.


I do appreciate the more narrowed focus with the Nicaeans/Latin Empire/Trebizond you have planned for the next few chapters though. Keeping the focus with the immediate area brings more cohesion to the narrative.
When I first started writing this I wanted to focus on the outside world too, but I realized that would bog me down and I would get nowhere. Plus it would have forced me to change the narrative format of the story.

Well if you’re excited for the Mongols and Nicaea then you’ll love what I’ve got planned for the HRE and the Angevins.
 
When I first started writing this I wanted to focus on the outside world too, but I realized that would bog me down and I would get nowhere. Plus it would have forced me to change the narrative format of the story.
Very true. I believe And All Nations Shall Gather to it by @Rdffigueira follows a similar process with a narrow focus on the Crusades and surrounding region. Keeping a narrow focus certainly helps the narrative and allows us to explore the long term consequences of the POD faster.

Well if you’re excited for the Mongols and Nicaea then you’ll love what I’ve got planned for the HRE and the Angevins.
Great, can't wait! Hopefully Frederick II gets to defeat Pope Innocent and establish a more centralised HRE. One can hope :)
 
When I first started writing this I wanted to focus on the outside world too, but I realized that would bog me down and I would get nowhere. Plus it would have forced me to change the narrative format of the story.
I imagine that is only for the start of the tl and once butterflies have affected surrounding regions your going to do an update on them or you will show events in regions other than the roman empire briefly?
 
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For me they’re always this gigantic blob with a massive doomstack that always eats half of the HRE and pushing to Egypt. I once played as a King of Castile, and I mainly focused on Iberia. Next thing I know it’s the 1230’s and the have sacked Rome and are on my doorstep with their invasion of France.
In my Charlemagne-into-SPQR playthrough I swore fealty to the Basileus after conquering Lombardy and then got elected Besileus Charlemagne. Then when the Mongols showed up I was well on my way to reuniting roman Europe when suddenly Ghengis Khan shows up. I absorbed his blood line via some shenanigans and eventually restored the empire after letting Mongolia wreck the Caliphate.
 
In my Charlemagne-into-SPQR playthrough I swore fealty to the Basileus after conquering Lombardy and then got elected Besileus Charlemagne. Then when the Mongols showed up I was well on my way to reuniting roman Europe when suddenly Ghengis Khan shows up. I absorbed his blood line via some shenanigans and eventually restored the empire after letting Mongolia wreck the Caliphate.
That’s both insane and brilliant. CK2 in a nutshell, I guess.
 
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