The Third Rome - A Byzantine Timeline

AFAICT, this description of the siege and fall of Constantinople is almost entirely the same as OTL. While well written, there doesn't seem to be any AH content, except the exile of Antigonos (and possibly the dispatch of Gattilusio troops, which seems to have been in response to the prince's arrival; did the extra defenders extend the siege?).

The recapitulation of OTL should have been limited to a required summary, with divergences noted. IMO.
otoh, dudes like me with no idea what happened during the siege on constantinople, kinda don't mind a little story-telling and filling some basics c:
The presence of the Gattilusios and also the contingent from the Duchy of the Archipelago are the main divergences, so far -- so is the birth of Antigonos and the survival of Caterina.

The Siege is such an instrumental part of the backstory that I couldn't just skip it over. This is Antigonos' tale; but I couldn't ignore the importance of Constantine and Constantinople.

From here on out, it'll all be divergent.
The Emperor of the Romans

The ships that had escaped Constantinople now scattered like windblown chaff, fearing a pursuit from Hamza Bey's ill-disciplined fleet. This was no glorious armada; rather, it was a ragged coalition, some of the ships overburdened with refugees, others sailing under half-crews.

William Crispo, who had acquainted himself well during the Siege and, indeed, been tremendously wounded during the last moments, fled with a war-mauled band of his warriors aboard the galley Saint Catald. Scarcely half the men who had accompanied Crispo had survived the bloody, bitter Siege -- some poor souls, too injured to make the ships, had made a desperate last stand within one of Constantinople's churches and had found themselves surrounded, captured and executed -- and not all of those had managed to find refuge aboard the Saint Catald.

Also aboard the Saint Catald was a small group of Roman soldiers and their families. These were commanded by the Achillean warrior Rhangabes; a man of formidable stature and skill who had, on the 6th of May, hacked one of the Ottoman standard bearers, Omar Bey, to death in a breach. Rhangabes, it was said, had been the last of the Romans to flee the fallen city -- a claim that he would use to strengthen his reputation, in later years, as the truest of the defenders -- and now wept bitterly at the news of his Emperor's death.

During the journey back to Naxos, William Crispo's wounds grew gangrenous and the man ailed. William Crispo, however, was a stubborn man and refused to die aboard a rocking, creaking boat, and so survived long enough to bid farewell to his kinsmen when the Saint Catald returned to her homeport.

On Naxos, news of Constantinople's fall was received with a mixture of shock, terror and sadness. It was though, a later chronicler of Antigonos would note, the Horns of Judgment Day had blared. In the streets and the farms, the people of Naxos lamented their dead. Grief struck down the island.

Theophilos Palaiologos, the master of Antigonos' small household, now quietly convened with Rhangabes and the other survivors of the Siege. He listened to accounts solemnly, hard-faced, offering them quiet words of condolence and enquiring, stiffly, of the Emperor's fate.

Now, Theophilos was faced with a dilemma -- did he throw his support behind the young, untested Antigonos or did he travel to the Morea and swear himself to the dead Emperor's brothers?

Theophilos remained true. In a small, private ceremony attended only by Rhangabes -- as the senior surviving Roman of the Siege and now Antigonos' champion -- Theophilos, Giacomo II Crispo and Ginevra Gattilusio, Antigonos was crowned Emperor of the Romans.

Antigonos was not yet eleven. At the end of July, the Romans -- Rhangabes and his soldiers, Theophilos and his household and the young Emperor -- set sail from Naxos.

They were bound for the Morea.
Itd be cool if u could integrate some opposition nomads into the army or maybe like berbers or other nomadic groups dunno history that well but i know like alway with most changes opposition was slaughtered if they didn’t convert.
Let’s hope the morian brothers get their shit together but considering how quarrelsome they are .... ehhhh
Antigonos in the Morea: Part One
I had, it would seem, a moment of inspiration. Here's the next part.


Of the poor dead Emperor's two brothers, Demetrios, Lord of Mystras, was the worst. Aged 46, Demetrios was a sly, greedy man who had long harboured dreams of ruling the Empire -- indeed, only a few years earlier, Demetrius had marched an army to Constantinople in an attempt to crown himself -- and so, Theophilos and Rhangabes decided to approach Thomas, the younger of the brothers, first.

Thomas had been a firm supporter of Constantine; he was, the accounts attest, a good man -- if as quarrelsome as the elder Demetrios -- and had despaired when news of Constantinople's fall had reached his ears.

The ship bearing the newly-minted Emperor and his retinue landed in Patras, an important, strategic port in the northern Peloponnese, on the 14th of August. They had made the journey from Naxos almost unhurriedly; always on the watch for Ottoman vessels, travelling under the cover of darkness and spending the daylight hours in the cover of secluded coves and empty bays.

Antigonos' household numbered just sixty men capable of bearing arms. Most had survived the Siege of Constantinople and could, upon cohesion, display scars taken fighting at the walls. Giacomo II Crispo, the Duke of the Archipelago, had outfitted them all magnificently from his own coffers -- each man attired in a fine helmet, coat of mail and cloak proudly bearing the Palaiologos' twin-headed eagle -- and Antigonos' own gold had ensured that every man had a horse.

Thomas the Despot was, however, away on business. The commander of the garrison in Patras, one Manuel Laskaris, received the Emperor and his supporters graciously. He feasted them in the citadel of Patras and listened closely to Rhangabes' account of the Siege, being moved to tears when the giant man recounted the Emperor's last stand and the desperate flight to the harbour. Laskaris sent riders to find Thomas and then swore himself to the new Emperor -- who had, despite hearing of his father's death on Ottoman blades, remained taciturn and dignified -- and the next morning, when heads were heavy and muddy with wine, the entirety of the garrison took oaths to Antigonos.

The young Emperor found himself master of a mighty city and a garrison of several hundred men. Alongside Theophilos and Rhangabes, Laskaris now became one of Antigonos' foremost advisors; a man who had served a string of Palaiologoi Despots -- including Antigonos' own father -- loyally and capably. In the following months and years, Laskaris would prove an instrumental, irreplaceable ally to Antigonos, helping the young Emperor maneuver through the politics of the serpents'-pit Morea and his daughter, Irene, quickly became one of the Emperor's favourite companions -- and lovers, in his adulthood.

Upon hearing news of his nephew's arrival in the Morea, Thomas Palaiologos made haste back to Patras. He had spent much of the last two years campaigning against the Ottomans and presented a haggard, sinewy figure to Antigonos, a man with a lined face, a beard gone prematurely white and a sad smile. To Thomas, the Emperor seemed almost a man grown -- dark-haired and dark-eyed, charming and witty, keen to discuss matters of import and keener still to show off his skill with the sword -- but it was only after much deliberation did the Despot swear himself to the new Emperor, perhaps entertaining the idea of crowning himself.

Summons now flew across the Morea. The Emperor Constantine, remembered with a great deal of fondness by the Moreote Greeks and the Albanian peasants that lived therein, was dead. All knew this by now.

But his son, Antigonos, lived on. Romans came from across the Despotate to visit the young Emperor; swearing oaths of fealty and friendship to the boy. From further afield, ships bearing Byzantine refugees arrived. Those who had fled Constantinople, who had hidden across the islands of the Aegean and prayed for salvation and revenge, now found their answer. By December of 1453, Patras' population had swollen by almost five thousand.

And Demetrios Palaiologos, Despot of the Morea, uncle to the new Emperor, had still not stirred himself from Mystras.

Antigonos now convened a council. How, then, should he deal with Demetrios? His uncle was proving both stubborn and insubordinate. Thomas and Laskaris, who knew the man well, erred on the side of caution -- Demetrios was, they said, a viper; slippery, plotting, dangerous -- whilst Rhangabes, ever the warrior, suggested that Antigonos should mount an expedition against Mystras and, if Demetrios did not submit, deal with him with force.

The Emperor listened to his councilmen closely.

And then he made his decision.

With a hundred horsemen -- captained by Rhangabes the giant -- he made the journey to Mystras to confront his uncle, once and for all.
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With a hundred horsemen -- captained by Rhangabes the giant -- he made the journey to Mystras to confront his uncle, once and for all.

This needs a:

Αν κάποιος θέλει να σκοτώσει τον αυτοκράτορά του, είμαι!

(An kápoios thélei na skotósei ton aftokrátorá tou, eímai!)

[If any man wishes to kill his Emperor, here I am!]
Demetrios need to fucking go preferably blinded and become a monk. Him not being taken care of will in the Long run he disastrous to the Byzantine cause
Antigonos in the Morea: Part Two
@NotAMyth thank you kindly!

@Oda see below.


Through the rugged Morea, the Emperor of the Romans and his one-hundred man escort marched, untroubled, uninterrupted; a column of mailed horsemen, the Palaiologos' twin-headed eagle once again fluttering above their helmeted heads.

Though he was but a boy -- none would ever accuse Antigonos of being a child -- Antigonos was, clearly to all who saw him, the master of this expedition; so determined and proud was his bearing. And it was now, on this journey south to Mystras, that the Emperor's troops truly began to love him. Everywhere he went, men saw the ghost of his soldierly father in Antigonos -- in his rough mannerisms, in the way that he would enjoy no comfort that his soldiers could not share, in how he would sing his warriors' ribald marching-songs.

On and on, they rode; slow, deliberately slow, their mail rustling, leather creaking, horses snorting and sighing. The Emperor slept beneath the stars, surrounded by his faithful retinue, always with a blade besides him. He visited small villages and offered their inhabitants whatever gifts he could spare -- rings, pieces of gold, precious gems -- sharing the poor villagers' figs and fermented milk, but always careful to not outstay their welcome or take too much.

Demetrios, holed up within Mystras, must surely have dreaded the arrival of his young nephew. He had been recalcitrant and, indeed, treacherous. Ambassadors from the court of his brother's killer, Mehmed, had enjoyed the Despot's hospitality. It would seem that Demetrios' dreams of becoming the Emperor of the Romans -- indeed, even as the catspaw of the Ottoman Sultan -- had never strayed far from his mind.

And yet, what did Demetrios have to worry about? His garrison numbered some nine hundred men; hidden within Mystras' sturdy walls, fierce men all. Not only that, he was also more than twenty years the Emperor's senior; a veteran of conflict, a man whose lips had been wetted by the blood of the Turk -- Turks who he now courted, avariciously.

If -- when -- the young Emperor arrived in Mystras, Demetrios would make his nephew submit and recognise him, as the senior Palaiologos still alive, as the true Emperor of the Romans.

Or so he thought.

A fortnight after their quiet departure from Patras, Antigonos and his escort arrived at the gates of Mystras. The gates, old wood banded with iron and carved to display the House of Palaiologos' eagle, remained barred.

The soldiers of the Emperor's retinue grumbled amongst themselves and grew weary. It was a cold midwinter day, the sun pale and watery, with a biting wind and the threat of rain upon the skies. Only after some time did the gates open and Antigonos led his men within the walled city, riding with long-haired Rhangabes at his side.

His uncle Demetrios awaited within the Palace. Here, the Despot greeted his nephew formally and coolly, offering his condolences to Antigonos about the loss of his father, mother and, perhaps most importantly to the greedy man, Constantinople. Then, in a moment of brilliance, he charmed Antigonos with his daughter, Helena. Helena was a few months older than Antigonos, as pretty as she was bold, high-spirited, her father's flower.

Demetrios had, in his efforts to woo the Sultan, offered Helena's hand to Mehmed. Now he watched -- perhaps infuriated, perhaps ashamed of his plotting -- as Helena and Antigonos became firm friends; sharing smiles and laughs, Antigonos regaling his cousin with tales of Constantinople and Naxos and his father, all under the careful eye of Rhangabes.

That night, at a grand feast thrown in the Emperor's honour, discussion turned to matters of importance. Antigonos lanced his uncle with questions. He inquired, with increasing pressure, why Demetrios had not come to swear fealty to him in Patras. Demetrios no doubt weaseled his way out of the predicament, because the next morning the two enjoyed a boar-hunt together in the forests surrounding Mystras.

For three weeks, Antigonos enjoyed the comforts of Mystras; hunting with his uncle, remembering his father in solemn fireside stories and spending great deals of time with Helena.

On the fourth week, an ambassador from the Sultan arrived almost unnoticed in Mystras. Mehmed's terms were clear: seize Antigonos and Mehmed would see that Demetrios was crowned in his place.

The Despot had, however, grown fond of his nephew and hesitated. Word of Demetrios' duplicitous nature somehow reached the young Emperor and he acted at once.

As Demetrios said his morning prayers, Rhangabes and a dozen of the Emperor's retinue seized him and clamped him in chains. Helena and Demetrios' wife, a member of the prestigious Asen family named Theodora, were also locked away. Antigonos, now enthroned in Mystras, summoned the garrison commanders to his side and presented them with evidence of Demetrios' treachery. Those found complicit were executed. Most, ignorant of their master's true nature, knelt and swore themselves to Antigonos.

Antigonos showed his uncle mercy. He spared Demetrios' life, but had the man blinded and castrated and confined to a life in a monastery. No longer would he plague the young Emperor. Theodora, Demetrios' wife, was given a charitable appanage and permitted to remain in Mystras.

Helena, despite her father's mutilation and imprisonment, did not suffer any consequences. Indeed, in the Emperor's court, she flourished; a favourite of her cousin, a constant companion until her marriage, and if the rumours were true, his first love -- although Antigonos would himself deny such a notion.

Demetrios languished for another three years before his death. Some tales -- unproven but popular -- suggest that Demetrios was killed on orders of the young Emperor. One account, particularly fanciful, names Rhangabes himself as the killer.

The Turkish ambassador, imprisoned during Antigonos' seizure of Mystras, was allowed to leave unharmed on account that he bore a message to the Sultan on behalf of the Emperor.

It read, in Antigonos' typical laconic manner:

'Stay away.'