Finally, there are the Polynesians, who are going about as normal, bar only their anomalous contact with the Andean civilizations.
What is the extent of the contact between the Polynesians and Incas? Do they get some polynesian crops along with the chickens? Do they get pigs too? Also, does polynesian sailing tech get adopted by the incas? If so, that'll change the incans a lot. The spread of polynesian crops may cause the incas to colonise the lands to their north, and continue spreading polynesian tech in the americas.
 
The last three chapters does not make any sense. There is perfectly no reason for Alexios to behave like a madman during the reign of his father. He was the eldest child and was the prime candidate for the throne considering his younger brother was pretty awkard as well. By acting like a madman, it hurt his chances of getting the throne as was the case here. If he hadn't acted like he was insane, his father most likely would have handed him the throne. The act made far more sense if he was the younger son or nephew of Alexander.

By the way, given Alexios is married to a French princess, and that Anastasia Katsarina was invested as co-empress, does that mean that Alexios has legalized bigamy?Also, given Anastasia Katsarina was the court prostitute, does that mean that she was the mistress of Alexios' father? Scandal.
 
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The last three chapters does not make any sense. There is perfectly no reason for Alexios to behave like a madman during the reign of his father. He was the eldest child and was the prime candidate for the throne considering his younger brother was pretty awkard as well. By acting like a madman, it hurt his chances of getting the throne as was the case here. If he hadn't acted like he was insane, his father most likely would have handed him the throne. The act made far more sense if he was the younger son or nephew of Alexander.
But, at least as I understood it, Alexios was not a sane man pretending to be insane, he was an insane man pretending to be crazier than he was. Which makes sense, as insane people had almost zero chance of getting on the throne, him playing it up was a hyperbole meant to keep him safe. Mainly because, in court politics, insane people were either too insane to be a threat or insane enough to try to overthrow the king even though they have just suffered a massive defeat to their biggest rival. Alexios was a bit tamer version of the latter, so he made himself look like the former to avoid being served the delicious byzantine breakfast of poison.

By the way, given Alexios is married to a French princess, and that Anastasia Katsarina was invested as co-empress, does that mean that Alexios has legalized bigamy?Also, given Anastasia Katsarina was the court prostitute, does that mean that she was the mistress of Alexios' father? Scandal.
He probably divorced the French princess, if he didn't then he would have been immediately overthrown by the nation of Trebizond.
 
Fair warning, this is kind of experimental, and I can always do a rewrite.

------------------------
Report on Timeline L-843

Dear Doctor Rosewell,

I hope this finds you well. Firstly, I must extend my deepest condolences to you over Doctor Patel’s unfortunate demise. He was far too kind a person to wind up spit-roasted by Papua New Guineans.

My own work on Timeline L-843 is going quite well. It has now been nearly a century since the point of divergence (seventy-three years, to be exact) and I am eager to construct my first first world report. Do you have any suggestions on how to compose these? I know you have a great deal of experience in matters such as these. Anyway, I hope to have the report completed shortly and will present it to you by the end of the quarter. I can’t promise that, though. My team is rather small, and while the developmental stage that L-843 is in is conducive the collection of information we are still overstretched.

Sincerely,
Doctor William Sarkozy

File One: A Global Overview: 1500

Before I begin, I’d like to note that I’ve never done this before and I humbly ask that any readers have patience with me as I find my feet.

Events in the New World are mostly unchanged from our timeline. Mesoamerica and Andeoamerica are both puttering along nicely. The Aztec Triple Alliance has risen to prominence in TL-1’s Mexico, and they are currently in the closing years of the great conqueror Ahuitzotl. Interestingly, there appears to be an ongoing revival in the fortunes of the Maya people, and several new city-states have been founded in the mountainous interior of the region. Meanwhile, to the south, the Muisca appear to be on the verge of developing currency, an interesting development which may radically alter the fate of the pre-Columbian societies. Further south, the Incan Empire is larger than in TL-1. Ali, I mean Mr. Mohammed, believes that this may be due to the introduction of chickens from Polynesian contact. It appears that the two civilizations made contact on TL-1’s Easter Island in 1480, an event which is speculated to have occurred in our timeline. I should also note that there is a small band of Amerindians who have begun planting mesquite pods along the Canadian River in TL-1’s Texas. If they are left alone long enough they have a good shot at civilization, but alas colonization has already begun.

The Americas were opened in 1480 by an English sailor named John Jay the Younger. Jay the Younger was able to secure enough tobacco, or as it is known in this timeline, ‘jachaing’, for tobacco farming and trading to become lucrative trades. The English have conquered Manhattan and the western half of Long Island and begun their settlement, with an estimated population of 1,500 Englishmen in the western hemisphere two decades after first contact. The capital of the colony is the small port of Fort Saint George, located on the southern tip of Manhattan Island. The tribes of the Sanhican and Shinnecox, known in this timeline as the Sanheecans and the Shynecocks, have been incorporated into the English crown, their chiefs being invested as earls and their peoples converted. Unfortunately, the usual bout of Columbian plagues began in 1497, and I expect that their ravages will be as devastating as they were in our timeline.

The English are not the only Europeans to have reached the New World. The Portuguese also made landfall in our timeline’s Brazil in 1486, although knowledge of this was not made public until 1491. This is a good place to note some developments in etymology. The English have named North America ‘Brasil’ after the legendary Isles of Hy-Brasil, while the Portuguese have names South America ‘Virginia’ after the Virgin Mary. Any agents sent to observe this timeline will need to be briefed on this, and I imagine it will be the cause of a great amount of confusion. The Portuguese have established a number of forts in Virginia, all intended to provide resupply ports for their voyages to India. The largest of these is Rio de Agosto, which is located at our timeline’s Natal. The first plantations are being formed in Virginia, as cacao becomes a valuable good in Europe.

In Europe, things look quite different. In Iberia, a different end to the War of the Castilian Succession has seen Portugal and Castile enter personal union under Afonso V & XII of the House of Avís. The civil war was significantly longer than in TL-1, lasting from 1475 to 1482, but Afonso and Joanna were able to win a decisive victory with the aid of the French. Afonso then helped soothe the hurt feelings between his two realms by finishing the Reconquista in 1485, carrying the fight over into Morocco and capturing Tangier, Larache and Tetouan before his death in 1491. Portugal is now ruled by Duarte II (b.1477), who is expected to inherit Castile upon his mother’s death. Aragon, meanwhile, has been exhausted by the long succession war and repeated conflicts with France. The once-proud Aragonese Crown is a shadow of its former self, having lost its eastern territories to the Turks and its Italian ones to the French and barely clinging on in Sardinia. Fernando II was overthrown in 1494 after the loss of Naples and was succeeded by his minor son, Juan I, who is essentially a puppet of the nobility.

Further north, the British Isles are remarkably calm. The strength of their French allies has given the English pause in attacking the Scots, who are busily expanding their control into Ireland. The War of the Roses ended much earlier in this timeline, with the Yorkists retaining the throne under Edward IV. The succession is secure, with three male heirs waiting in the wings, and Edward IV is a strong and capable monarch. The Lancastrian claim to throne has been extinguished, with the Tudor brothers assassinated in 1489. The Scottish, meanwhile, are enjoying a period of peace and prosperity under James IV, whose frequent communications with the French have made him appear as more trouble than he is worth to hawks in London. Across the Irish Sea, the House of FitzGerald has been steadily gathering influence as the Scottish attempt to win them over to their cause for a war against the English. The Irish lords are even more powerful than in our timeline, as Gerald FitzGerald had foolishly been invested as governor of the Pale, making him King of Ireland in all but name. He may soon become the legal King of Ireland as well, as he is in the process of attempting to win an alliance with the French, which would completely secure his independence.

Across the English Channel lies the hegemon of Europe, France. An earlier victory in the Hundred Years’ War saw the English exiled from the continent bar only Calais, and Brittany and Burgundy proper brought into their sphere of influence. A succession of capable monarchs allowed France to rise to great heights, becoming the de facto hegemon of central and western Europe with no Austria to counter-balance them. Charles VIII still sits upon his throne, as the fluke door incident that killed him in TL-1 never occurred. With a steady hand on the tiller throughout the 1490s and with no unified Spain to oppose them, the French solidified themselves as hegemons of Italy, with Savoy, the northern Italian city-states, Florence and the Papal States themselves being effective vassals of the French crown. Naples and Milan are in personal union with France, whose tendrils now extend as far as Epirus. However, not everything is well for this great hegemon, and France’s many enemies have begun to conspire against her, with her great size even forcing many of her former allies to reconsider their relations with the great power. Many of the dukes were also going tired of Charles’ centralizing reforms.

Italy in L-834 is radically different from our own. Genoa and Venice, who dominate the peninsula in most timelines, have been significantly reduced in power. Genoa was burned to the ground in 1480 by the Milanese, the survivors fleeing to Corsica, where they established the Calvian Republic under Paolo di Campofregoso. However, they were unable to recover their former colonial empire, which was divided between many different states and powers. However, the Genoese shadow would be filled in at least one area, Liguria, with the rise of Savona. Many former Genoese traders and captains defected to the Savonese after the republic was proclaimed by Cristoffa Corombo, a former Genoese merchant. Savona was able to fill the void in the eastern Mediterranean left by Genoa’s downfall, and was able to beat back Venetian efforts to extend their control west of Sicily. Venice, meanwhile, has been dealt one bad hand after the other. They had lost a good portion of their navy in a struggle with the Ottomans over the eastern territories of Genoa in the 1480s, and as a result had lost much of their eastern trade network. Then, they had come down against Charles VIII in his invasion of Italy in the 1490s, which had resulted in them losing all of their mainland territories west of Padua. However, they have managed to cling to their Egyptian trade network, which is just barely keeping their head above water, and the doge, Agostino Barbarigo, is a capable and skilled ruler.

Things are even more chaotic in central Italy. Charles was able to claim the throne of Milan, which he quickly expanded to include much of the Po Valley, seized from the Venetians. The many counties and cities of the plain were vassalized to Milan (and thus, indirectly, France), which has angered many. However, there is little any of them can do, and for now they are limited to angrily stewing. The Florentines were also reduced by the French, with the Medicis being forced into exile in the trans-Appenine cities of Urbino and Ancona. However, they have not been fully defeated, and from exile Lorenzo de’ Medici plots his revenge. In the place of the Medicis, the reformist priest Girolamo Savonarola and his followers have taken over Florence, preparing their state for what they believe will be the final battle with the forces of the devil. Needless to say, Savonarola is unhinged. In Rome, meanwhile, Pope Alexander VI threads a narrow line between advancing his own interests and that of King Charles. He was initially a supporter of French intervention in Italy, but has come to resent Paris’ constant meddling. Charles has won in Italy, but he has not won Italy.

Across the Alps, Germany is in a state of flux. The Habsburgs had formerly been the chief hegemons of the Holy Roman Empire, but their sudden and unexpected destruction by Matthais the Raven in the 1490s had left the Empire adrift. Into this void stepped Bogislaw X, the Duke of Pomerania and Margrave of Brandenburg, jure uxoris. In a long and surprise-filled reign, he restored the unity of the Duchy of Pomerania, then turned the tide against his former overlord in Berlin, invading in a long and bloody multi-year struggle that culminated in the installation of his wife, Margaret, as Electress of Brandenburg. His meteoric rise had made his name in the Holy Roman Empire, but also the animosity of many, several of whom believe him to be a warmonger. One of these men is Fredrick the Wise, Elector of Saxony. Bogislaw and Fredrick are the chief candidates for the vacant office of emperor, and the two are attempting to muster the votes needed to secure the office for themselves. This is almost certain to spill over into open conflict.

Before I cover the events of Eastern Europe, it is important to note unfolding events in the Low Countries. While the Burgundians had been ejected from Burgundy proper during the 1470s and 1480s, they still clung on in their northern possessions. Philip IV attempted to preserve himself via an alliance with Austria, but when this state unceremoniously collapsed under Hungarian assault, he was left without a patron. Reluctantly, he submitted to Paris, managing to secure an arrangement similar to that which the English had before the Hundred Years’ War, where he was recognized as King-in-the-Rhine-Mouths in vassalage to the King of France. Philip’s reign has been spent in a centralization effort that has stitched together the lands around the Mouths of the Rhine--

(Transmission Ended due to Data Overage)
Awesome timeline and thread !
 
But, at least as I understood it, Alexios was not a sane man pretending to be insane, he was an insane man pretending to be crazier than he was. Which makes sense, as insane people had almost zero chance of getting on the throne, him playing it up was a hyperbole meant to keep him safe. Mainly because, in court politics, insane people were either too insane to be a threat or insane enough to try to overthrow the king even though they have just suffered a massive defeat to their biggest rival. Alexios was a bit tamer version of the latter, so he made himself look like the former to avoid being served the delicious byzantine breakfast of poison.
He doesn't seem to be that insane if his only problems were that he couldn't form any bonds with other humans. His alliance with Anastasia and Vakhtang on the other hand showed that there was a pragmatic and calculating side to him. He could form working bonds with others if he need to.Had he bothered to use it during his father's reign, he wouldn't have been in such troubles to begin with. Even Caligula for example behaved like a sane person before he took the throne.

He probably divorced the French princess, if he didn't then he would have been immediately overthrown by the nation of Trebizond.
I still wondered how he pulled that off. He clearly consummated the marriage and repudiating his wife for a literal scheming whore would have been fairly unpopular with the people as well.With the death of his brother and other candidates to the throne, he hardly needed Anastasia around.
 
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Just a suggestion, but could 'King in the Netherlands' be an alternative title? I don't know if 'Netherlands' was in common usage at the time, but King-in-the-Rhine-Mouths sounds a bit odd to me.
You could also name it in French, as it's a french king : Roi de la Bouche du Rhin.
 
He doesn't seem to be that insane if his only problems were that he couldn't form any bonds with other humans. His alliance with Anastasia and Vakhtang on the other hand showed that there was a pragmatic and calculating side to him. He could form working bonds with others if he need to.Had he bothered to use it during his father's reign, he wouldn't have been in such troubles to begin with. Even Caligula for example behaved like a sane person before he took the throne.
I agree, but as this last chapter shows there's probably significantly more than just "I can't bond with humans".

I still wondered how he pulled that off. He clearly consummated the marriage and repudiating his wife for a literal scheming whore would have been fairly unpopular with the people as well.
I'd assume he divorced her some time before Alexandros abdicated. But then again, marrying non-nobles and former whores wasn't the worst some royals around the same time did.
 
I agree, but as this last chapter shows there's probably significantly more than just "I can't bond with humans".
I think his paranoia was consistent with his inability to bond with others. There's a degree of trust in relationships. If you cannot trust other people, naturally you cannot form bonds with others.

I'd assume he divorced her some time before Alexandros abdicated. But then again, marrying non-nobles and former whores wasn't the worst some royals around the same time did.
I find that fairly unlikely. Divorce or more appropriately, annulment was hard to get even for emperors. If he was to be some crazy prince, the church would hardly grant such a request, and there's doubt that Alexandros would back him on that one. There are major diplomatic consequences for divorcing foreign princesses, and he would likely be remarried quickly by his father even if this was done. Upon thinking, I think that the only plausible explanation is that the French princess was already dead due to natural causes.
 
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I can't post right now, but I can respond to questions, so...



No civil wars, actually, but several palace coups.

Alexandros II, actually.

Well, he wants his treasonous brother where he can keep his eye on him, and not in the wind, where he could stir up all kinds of trouble. God help Jan Olbracht if he got to Matthew's court.

It's to the story I Am Skantarios actually.
I don't know this story, i'll look up thanks :)
 
So I’m going to start this with a disclaimer. I do not have a psych degree so take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt. I’m just a guy who’s always found mental illness and human development fascinating and took several psychology classes in college.

To me it’s seems that while Alexios isn’t “crazy”, he certainly is seriously mentally ill. He’s a text book case of Schizoid Personality Disorder which you can read more about here. He also shows many signs of both Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Paranoid Personality Disorder which you can read more about here and here respectively. I’d need to know more about how he views events and the world around him before I could possibly even armchair diagnose him for either none, one, or both of them. Oh and you can have more than one personality disorder so he could actually have all three believe it or not. It seems apparent that Alexios is a very ill man regardless of the exact diagnosis though.
 
For the Ottoman Empire to fall into civil war, something of very grave must have happened. I wonder what caused the issue... But, if Trebisund was involved in a border war just the couple of years before, the crisis must have present since then... I mean an Emperor of Trebisund wouldn't decide to enter in a conflict if didn't know the Sublime Porte was unable to intervene against him...
 
Going with 2. Too tired to respond to questions. Will in the morning.

Part XXX: The Brief Reign of Nikephoros I (1506-1507)

The sudden abdication of Alexandros II in 1506 sent Trapezous and the Trapezuntine court reeling. The aftokrator had presided over more than two decades of stability during a period of intense court politics and foreign diplomacy after the siege of 1485, and many believed that he would continue doing so for another decade, at least. As such, none but the most paranoid and cautious of the courtly schemers had made plans for the aftokrator’s surprise abdication, and even fewer of these had considered that it would be neither of his sons who took his place but instead an obscure nephew. The coming times would be interesting, and not just in the Chinese sense….

Of course, when unexpected events strike, those who are best in a position to exploit them are those who had already made contingency plans for them. In the above mentioned case, the only court figure who had considered the possibility of Nikephoros ascending to the throne--as well as every other male member of the Imperial family, and then some--was a woman named Anastasia Katsarina. Katsarina had been born into the ranks of a minor merchant family from Sinope in 1472, shortly after the return of Trapezuntine control. Unfortunately, the Katsaroi had been bankrupted when their entire mercantile fleet (an old cog and a small galley; they were a minor trading family, after all) was burned in the Ottoman attack on Sinope in 1485. The Katsaroi had then picked up stakes and moved to Trapezous, where it was hoped that a revival in the family fortunes would occur. It did, in a way, because in the 1490s, Anastasia became a hetaira[1] in the Imperial court. This brought her into close proximity (heh) with a number of prominent noblemen, and within a few months she had turned to the far riskier but far more profitable business of information dealing. Throughout the 1490s, she was able to construct a network of informants--mostly prostitutes and servants, but also a handful of impoverished nobles and aides--throughout the court, which allowed her to gather information on the goings-on of the darker corners of the palace practically at will. An anonymous poet noted around 1498 that “Upon an agreement being made in secret, three parties know of it; the former two being those who conducted it and the third being the Universal Spider[2].” This, of course, made her both a loose end to be tied up and an indispensable information (and thus power) broker to many courtesans, often at the same time, and so Katsarina was forced to have contingency plans for any occurance to keep her head upon her shoulders. This eventually paid off with the sudden accession of Nikephoros I, for which she was the only figure prepared to shift to make the best of this new ruler.

It is often said, and probably true, that Anastasia Katsarina was more prepared for the beginning of Nikephoros’ reign than Nikephoros was. The aftokrator’s nephew[3] was on a hunting trip in the Pontic mountains when Alexandros abdicated, and it took several days for a dispatch from Trapezous to track down the aftokrator at an isolated hunting lodge in the eastern foothills. Upon being informed that he was now the aftokrator, Nikephoros initially dismissed it as a failed joke, and told the courier that he should be more careful and not deliver treasonous messages. After several hours, he was finally convinced to at least return to Trapezous and, upon returning to the capital, was shocked to be greeted by a cheering crowd, who hailed him as Nikephoros I. Supposedly in a state of shock, Nikephoros was crowned as aftokrator that afternoon by Basileios II, the Patriarch of Pontos, in the Trapezuntine Agia Sophia, and retired to his chambers in an isolated wing of the palace to mull things over.

Nikephoros, it is important to understand, was far from a good candidate for the throne. He was a quiet and unambitious man, a member of the Imperial bureaucracy who occasionally went out for hunts with his cousins but otherwise was effectively a non-entity as dynastic matters were concerned. In 1494 he had married a Lazic woman named Eirene of Oph[4], a quiet and timid woman, whom he appears to have married out of love, an exceedingly rare occurrence for a nobleman during the Renaissance. The marriage had produced only a single daughter, Alexeia (b.1498) and several unfortunate stillborn pregnancies. Most importantly, Nikephoros, outside of his surname, had no connections to the traditional aristocracy whatsoever, which made his rule tenuous at best and doomed to failure at worst.

After a great deal of consideration, it finally dawned upon Nikephoros that he was now the aftokrator, and that even if he abdicated now then there would still be a target on his back because he was one of the scarce few who had managed to sit upon the throne that so many lusted after. However, he never made the change in character, the adoption of the certain ruthlessness that is needed to stay in power once you have gained it. His first mistake was to refuse to treat with Katsarina, even after his advisors hastily informed him of the great deal of power she held in court. In Nikephoros’ mind, it would be wrong for him, a married man, to have anything to do with a courtesan such as her, and so he willingly cut himself off from a potentially vital source of support. His second, and most egregious, mistake was to allow Alexandros’ sons to go free. Nikephoros, it appears, felt guilty for displacing the two poor men from what he considered to be their birthright, and so refused to heap the further misfortune of imprisonment or blinding upon them. This flew in the face of both common sense and the special unspoken rules of Byzantine and Byzantine-derived courts, which stated quite plainly that any rival claimants needed to be done away with, be it by blinding, tonsuring, imprisonment or straight murder, as quickly as possible. Nikephoros either could not bring himself to do this or believed that they simply didn’t pose a threat; After all, Alexios was, to all appearances, insane, and Romanos was almost comically indecisive.

After taking office, the new emperor went about continuing the policies of Alexandros, especially in regards to foreign alliances. He spent most of his time focused on diplomacy, by which he neglected the eternally festering court and its politics, as well as the feelings of the army and the bandons, by which he might have been able to preserve his rule indefinitely. Remember, the survival of any Trapezuntine regime rested upon three pillars--the army, the church and the court. The church, for the most part, backed the deeply pious Nikephoros, and had the aftokrator been able to rally the army to his cause, he could have easily clung to power for much longer than he truly did. That Nikephoros barely altered the policies of his predecessor leads to the obvious conclusion that he was an empty shirt, albeit one with the presence of mind not to abandon a well-function system on a whim. This view of him is furthered by his lack of decisive action against the schemers and intriguers of the Trapezuntine court. Alexandros had allowed the managed chaos to exist, because he viewed it as a way to knock down any budding rivals through clandestine means. Nikephoros, it appears, allowed it it continue to exist for no apparent reason. All in all, it seems that Nikephoros was an unimaginative but decent ruler, the sort of monarch whose reign would be glossed over in most history books barring some unforeseen disaster.

The surprise ascension of Nikephoros had left the court divided into two factions. The first had banked heavily on the ascension of Alexios following his father’s death or abdication, and so they had a great deal of invested interest in installing him upon the Imperial throne. The second party were those who were willing to work with Nikephoros, seeing an opportunity to increase their own power at the expense of a weak monarch. The leader of this second faction was one Konstantinos Romanou, and exiled westerner who had managed to work his way up into the nobility with a great deal of murder and blackmail. Romanou had managed to set himself up as an information broker similar to Katsarina. Her spurning by the aftokrator in mid-1506 had placed the ‘Universal Spider’ decisively in the former camp, and so throughout 1506 and into 1507 the two intriguers and their many supporters were having it out in the darkened halls of the palace. Nikephoros, of course, remained willfully ignorant of all of this, because he believed that if he became aware of a murder plot or something similar and failed to stop it, no matter the realpolitik impacts of it, it would count against his soul on God’s ledger. A noble belief, to be sure, but the kind of belief held by nobles.

These events culminated in August 1507. Alexios Katsaros, Katsarina’s half-brother, was a merchant of middling repute in Trapezous, having succeeded in reviving the Katsaros family name in the mercantile currents of the Black Sea. One night, shortly after one of Romanou’s chief lieutenants had been poisoned, a small group of mercenaries broke into Katsaros’ home. They abducted the poor merchant and tortured him for several days, trying to discover some incriminating evidence they could use against his sister. To his credit, Katsaros refused to give up anything for several days of agony, but finally broke down and confessed that his sibling had been involved in a plot against the aftokrator’s life. This was false, but by that point the poor wretch was willing to say anything to get the pain to stop. This information was relegated to Romanou, who at once set out to inform Nikephoros, who was at that time at a hunting lodge in the western mountains. However, Katsarina was also informed of her brother’s death and, furious, made plans for Romanou himself to be axed. A few nights later, Romanou and his retinue arrived in an inn near Sinope. They went to bed suspecting nothing, only for the building itself to explode less than an hour after their arrival. This was attributed to a great deal of manure stored in the building’s basement, and Romanou’s death was written off as an unfortunate accident. Katsarina was now the uncontested power broker of the court.

Alexios, throughout all of this, had remained in court, seemingly ignoring the potential danger to his own life and freedom. As before, he remained primarily engaged in riding out in the wilds beyond the city, with his social experiences consisting mostly of talking to himself and occasionally having violent seizures, neither of which were traits that made him an ideal ruler. However, there were a great number of noblemen who had invested a great deal of time and money into winning them to their side and so there was still a potential candidacy for him. There were also some hardliners who believed that the throne was his by right, as Alexandros had ignored centuries of succession precedents to cover up for his own failings in neglecting the rearing of his heirs. However, support for his cause was limited by the general public opinion being that he was crazy. This was not true, Alexios was (mostly) fine. He genuinely disliked human contact, but the general insanity, such as randomly convulsing or having nervous breakdowns upon being exposed to certain types of fruit, were all an act. Alexios was fully aware that he was a loose end that would be tied up even a semi-competent ruler, and as such he had adopted the mannerisms of a lunatic so as to not appear threatening. Even as Nikephoros seemed to ignore him, Alexios retained this healthy dose of paranoia and kept up the act. However, he also maintained his own network of spies and informants, albeit under the guise of his secretary, Andronikos Ralleis Kantakouzenos, and as such remained quite aware of ongoing trends in the court. He used this to maneuver himself into a position to advance his claim to the throne, in spite of his outward appearance of retardation.

In November 1507, Alexios spoke to Katsarina, a momentous occasion for such a reclusive man. A few weeks previous, Nikephoros had finally stirred from his stupor, and had ordered the arrest of a priest named Basileios Davidopoulos for insulting the monarchy. Basileios had been the only one of Alexios’ childhood tutors to show even an ounce of kindness to the poor boy, Alexios had clung to him dearly. He had been the closest thing to a mentor and advocate for the prince in court, and when Nikephoros had repeated the common insult that Alexios liked horses, Davidopoulos flew into a rage and snapped at him, for which he was arrested. His ward was quite angry at this, but also feared that this would lead to Nikephoros arresting him. Katsarina was more than a little shocked to have the prince, who normally spoke through intermediaries due to his hatred for human contact, speak to her directly, but was willing to listen to his proposition. As Alexios said, the two had a shared interest in getting him upon the throne. Alexios’ interest is quite obvious, but Katsarina’s is slightly less so. Alexios had correctly guessed that her ultimate desire was to keep a firm grip on power, for which she would need to be an active member of the sitting regime or at the very least tied to it in such a way that she could not easily be foisted out. For a woman in this time period, the only position that she could aim for that wouldn’t leave her as disposable (at least in the Orthodox world) was as aftokratorissa, the wife of the sitting ruler. Alexios promised that if Katsarina leveraged her considerable network to help him get into power, they would marry, thus securing her her desired hold on power and Alexios his desired support of the court. Neither of them found the other especially attractive or even pleasant to be around, but the proposed power-sharing agreement was acceptable to the both of them. And so, the plot against Nikephoros began in earnest.

Of course, it isn’t exactly easy to stage a coup, and before Nikephoros could be dethroned a great deal of planning was needed. The court was fairly solidly under Katsarina’s control, but the court alone was not enough to overthrow a sitting monarch. The church was firmly in Nikephoros’ corner, and this left the army as the final potential column that could be knocked out from under the sitting regime. The army had remained uninvolved in court politics during Alexandros II’s long reign, but many of them had expressed discontent with the abdication of their veteran commander in favor of a literal who. Nikephoros had since done little to earn their loyalty, having refused to call out the bandons to defend the frontier from Turkmen raiders in 1507. As such, while many of them were skeptical of giving Alexios power over anything, several of the higher-ranking officers were willing to help install a new aftokrator. Chief among these was Mikhael Kantakouzenos Philanthropenos, who was on the verge of retiring at the age of seventy-three. Alexios chose to reveal his ruse to Philanthropenos, which proved to be all that was needed to convince him to join his cause. With Philanthropenos would surely come a sizeable chunk of the army, as he was well-respected as a wise and capable commander.

However, they couldn’t just march on the capital. The eleutheroi had, just as Alexandros I had intended, remained completely apolitical and fiercely loyal to the throne. Any Trapezuntine rebels would have to fight through them to get through the aftokrator, in which case they could very easily be defeated. Instead, they needed to attack Nikephoros while he was without the protection of his guards. This opportunity came in the autumn of 1507. Nikephoros had remained completely unaware of the brewing plot against him, and so when in October 1507 word began to spread across the court of a legendary, almost mythical, really, albino stag spotted near Kapnanion, he at once rushed out to go hunting. He traveled only with a handful of eleutheroi and his usual hunting companions. On 26 November , Nikephoros and his party rode into the interior along a narrow, winding road. Here, Alexios, Philanthropenos and three Alexian bandons were lying and wait, and as soon as Nikephoros and his party passed by them, they rushed out and fell upon them. Taken by surprise, the eleutheroi were quickly overwhelmed, and Nikephoros was summarily executed. Alexios and Philanthropenos then marched back to Trapezous, with Nikephoros’ head on a pike.

With their nominal leader’s head no longer attached to his body, the eleutheroi accepted the coup as a fait accompli and allowed Alexios to enter the capital. The church, of course, protested, but it’s not like they had an army to resist, and after a few hours of soldiers drilling outside of the Hagia Sophia, Patriarch Basileios II reluctantly followed the guardsmen’s lead. On 1 December, 1507, Alexios Alexandropoulos Megas Komnenos was crowned as Alexios V of the Trapezuntine Empire. A few hours later, Alexios V married Anastasia Katsarina, who was then invested as co-empress. Alexios then had a dozen people arrested and executed for treason, including Martha, and several dozen more blinded and exiled, including his own brother and two cousins. This was both incredibly ironic for a blatant usurper as well as an ominous hint of the shape of things to come.

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[1] This is a nice way of saying courtesan, which in turn is a nice way of saying prostitute.
[2] The Greek form of this is ‘O Katholikos Arakhne’, or in its Anglicized version, ‘The Catholic Arachnae’. I just find that amusing.
[3] ‘Nephew’ was a term bestowed upon all male relatives of the sitting emperor to within four degrees of affinity, regardless of their actual relation. In truth, Nikephoros was a distant cousin of Alexandros II.
[4] Oph is actually home to the largest Greek-speaking population in Turkey in OTL.
Wasn't he already married ?
 
For the Ottoman Empire to fall into civil war, something of very grave must have happened. I wonder what caused the issue... But, if Trebisund was involved in a border war just the couple of years before, the crisis must have present since then... I mean an Emperor of Trebisund wouldn't decide to enter in a conflict if didn't know the Sublime Porte was unable to intervene against him...
I think this is more in line with the growing conflict between the Sultan and the Grand Vizier ever since Mehmed II and Notaras' War. Regardless, this is a prime opportunity for their neighbors to cannibalize the Sublime Porte, especially Trebizond, Karaman, Serbia, and maybe even Wallachia.

So far Alexios is actually mentally ill, which does suck since I thought he would be more like Claudius as Eparkhos said, although I think he'll do fine even if his manic episodes and paranoia have caused some blunders for the Kartvelian War. I'm hoping that we will see a united Kingdom of Georgia eventually, but that might be for later.

I do think this Civil War with the Ottoman Empire is an opportunity for the Trapezuntines to expand and avenge the betrayal done by the Candarids. Although, we'll see if Alexios can actually manage to do it, despite his crippling illness. Can't wait for more from this timeline and your new one as well.
 
I like how this tl isn't afraid make the trapezuntines lose or suffer but at a certain point it just becomes kind of unrealistic that their doing as well as they are, I mean since this has begun they haven't had a peaceful transition of power, no significant times of peace and what seems like only one good ruler.
 
I like how this tl isn't afraid make the trapezuntines lose or suffer but at a certain point it just becomes kind of unrealistic that their doing as well as they are, I mean since this has begun they haven't had a peaceful transition of power, no significant times of peace and what seems like only one good ruler.
I mean that’s just kinda how late Byzantines where, and the trapezunites are essentially still a continuation of them. At some point there will inevitably be a reformer who puts an end to most of the backstabbing and throat cutting. But until then this is an understandable continuation of past issues imo
 
I mean that’s just kinda how late Byzantines where, and the trapezunites are essentially still a continuation of them. At some point there will inevitably be a reformer who puts an end to most of the backstabbing and throat cutting. But until then this is an understandable continuation of past issues imo
Alexios might be the first steps towards more stability, since he's a clean slate, but his tenuous position isn't doing him any favors towards that. The next war with the Ottomans could be a make-or-break moment for the Komnenoi. If they don't have a smashing success to legitimize Alexios's reign, then he's an easy target for a coup or assassination, which can set off a whole another can of worms.
 
I mean that’s just kinda how late Byzantines where, and the trapezunites are essentially still a continuation of them. At some point there will inevitably be a reformer who puts an end to most of the backstabbing and throat cutting. But until then this is an understandable continuation of past issues imo
I guess I find it weird since most tls have that reformer show up early , where here it feels like the Byzantine aren't doing better everyone else is doing worse. Good tl though
 
1500 Europe Map
Europe, 1500.png

Credit for the base map to @Comte de Dordogne
 
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Finally got a precise idea how much Trebisund is extended so far...is quite a respectable territory for how it went so far, so, quite well despite all odds. Hope would proceed so well in the 17th century.
 
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