Holy Mother of Pearl. I didn't realize I hadn't posted for a week, I'm so sorry for being gone for so long. I wanted to make sure I got the War of the Three Leagues done properly, and then there were the snowstorms, and I just got wrapped up in it all. I should post the next update tonight, once again, sorry for not posting. I've written 13 and a half thousand words in the last week, though, so I should be able to keep posting on a consistent schedule.
 
Holy Mother of Pearl. I didn't realize I hadn't posted for a week, I'm so sorry for being gone for so long. I wanted to make sure I got the War of the Three Leagues done properly, and then there were the snowstorms, and I just got wrapped up in it all. I should post the next update tonight, once again, sorry for not posting. I've written 13 and a half thousand words in the last week, though, so I should be able to keep posting on a consistent schedule.
oh, no problem take your time :)
 
Glad your back but don’t ever feel bad for putting a timeline on hold for real life. Especially if your writing but not posting. We all understand man
 
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 Incas have pigs, which will change things a great bit.
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.
I agree, but as this last chapter shows there's probably significantly more than just "I can't bond with humans".


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.
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 probably divorced the French princess, if he didn't then he would have been immediately overthrown by the nation of Trebizond.
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 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.
Alexios is a very mentally ill man, but the severity of this can vary due to surrounding factors. I'm not actually going to tell you what illnesses he has (I need that wiggle room!) but I'm sticking to the script in regards to him.

Also, recall that the French princess refused to convert to Orthodoxy and was shunned by the Trapezuntines, in addition to getting into theological arguments with a number of priests. The Patriarch was already more than pissed at her, and was willing to grant a divorce.
I don't know this story, i'll look up thanks :)
Welcome aboard!
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.
Good to know. Do you mind if I PM you about this later.
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...
A sane Emperor of Trebizond wouldn't intervene, yes.
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
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.
All of this is true; I recommend you check out the Wikipedia page of Byzantine coups towards the end.
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.
It will be doing fairly well in the 17th Century, but before that....not so much.
 
oh, no problem take your time :)
That's been my excuse for not realizing or doing things all week. Don't feel bad.
Fantastic
Glad your back but don’t ever feel bad for putting a timeline on hold for real life. Especially if your writing but not posting. We all understand man
We had a winter storm in Texas, so I've been at home all week, @Eparkhos, and I empathize with you...

BTW, what about your other TL?
Thank you all. Also, @Unknown, Children of the Burned Land just got a hefty update.
 
Part XXXIV: A New Osman (1488 - 1510)
Part XXXIV: A New Osman (1488 - 1510)

The Ottoman Empire had been birthed from the chaos that had reigned over Anatolia after the collapse of the Sultanate of Rûm. The old balance of power between settled Greeks and settled Salchouqs[1] had been upset by the sudden introduction of thousands of Turkmen warriors straight from the steppe. This period had seen the center of power in Anatolia shift from the Salchouq cities of the east to the western frontier, where the decaying Byzantine Empire’s[2] Anatolian territories were overrun by the fierce men from the steppe. Dozens of small ghazi statelets had cropped up, all with the express intention of plundering the Byzantines--all in the name of God, of course. The Germiyanids and the Aydinids had been the early forerunners, but a combination of skill and luck[3] had catapulted Osman and his followers to emerge from this period as the chief hegemon of western Anatolia. The government system which Osman and Orhan had established--a mixture of Turkmen warriors and slave soldiers as the military arm and a Byzantine-derived tax system to finance the state and its expansion--had supported the rise of the Ottoman Empire to control vast swathes of Rumelia and Anatolia. However, the Empire’s defeat and following decline in the 1460s had led many to question whether this system needed to be changed.

The failure of Mehmed II to prevent defeat in the War of the First Holy League and the subsequent collapse of Ottoman control of Anatolia led directly to the sultan's fatal ‘accident’ in 1466. He was succeeded by his young son, Mustafa II, but true power lay in the hands of Mahmud Angelović Paşa, his regent and later grand vizier, as well the man who was commonly suspected to have played a part in Mehmed’s death.

The realm that Angelović Paşa presided over was vastly different from the one which Mehmed had inherited. The frontier provinces of Serbia, Albania, and much of mainland Greece had been lost to the Latins. The Danubian vassals had both broken free from the Sublime Porte and now paid homage to the Hungarians, meaning that recovering them would be nigh-on impossible. Anatolia, formerly the heartland of the Ottoman domain, had been almost completely overrun by the Karamanids, depriving the Sublime Porte of its formerly numerous Turkmen horsemen. He was also facing down a brewing economic crisis, as most of their tributaries were no longer paying their dues and much of their European tax-collecting infrastructure had been lost during the war. The regent/vizier found before him a difficult task, but he would rise to the occasion. Angelović aspired to reform the upper echelons of the Ottoman state into a vessel for his own personal control, and he would use every opportunity presented to him to do so.

Angelović Paşa’s first step was to reform the tax system. At the time, the Ottomans were dependent upon the iltizām tax system, under which tax contracts would be auctioned off to various independent contractors, who would then collect their assigned taxes as well as extorting a great deal more for their own gain. This kind of tax system had been common throughout history, but it was both dreadfully inefficient and utterly hated by just about everyone. As such, in 1469 the grand vizier declared an official end to the iltizām system, instead promulgating the kentrosadiq[4] system. Under the new system, taxes would be collected by civil servants in a strictly organized system of surveyed plots, tax exemptions and surcharges depending on which villayet they were operating in. Those caught skimming off profits would sold into slavery to work in the mines of the Balkan Mountains, for which ‘hellish’ is an understatement. This reform saw the amount of tax collected by the state increase slightly but the number of extorted peasants fall dramatically. This made both Angelović Paşa and the Ottomans at large much more popular amongst their sedentary subjects, and after this the number of tax revolts, which had been a recurring problem for the last few years, fall dramatically.

Next, he turned his attention to the court and the bureaucracy. The vast majority of the bureaucracy were supporters of the House of Osman, and thus could be used against him by Mustafa if the two had a falling out. He also wished to do away with his domestic rivals, chief among them Rûm Mehmed Paşa, the chief supply officer of the fleet. Paşa fabricated a mass conspiracy against Mustafa in 1471, listing dozens of civil servants and potential rivals in both the bureaucracy and the court, and was able to convince the sultan that all of these venerable figures were plotting to kill him. When the young sultan flew into a panic because of this, he quickly gave the Paşa permission to root out this and any other plot against him. Over the following weeks, more than three hundred people were strangled and hundreds of others sent into exile, effectively stripping the court of any potential rival, as well as any family member of a potential rival who may have been driven to oppose him due to the purge, as well as any relatives of those. He also revived the papiai, the secret police of the Kantakouzenoi, promising to give the sultan knowledge of anything that they uncovered. Instead, he used it to further cement his control over the Sublime Porte, having any potential enemies murdered before they could become a threat. He also overhauled the bureaucracy, turning it into a straight-out meritocracy with little opportunity for the traditional aristocracy (in this case, timariots and sipahis) to interject traditional candidates. He removed the requirement to be a Muslim from all but the highest level of power, and from 1486 on he encouraged the use of both Greek and Persian[5] as the languages of administration.

He also attempted to modify the army’s structure to both improve its fighting abilities and its loyalty to him. He allowed the existing officer corps to persist but altered its recruiting program, opening up opportunities for soldiers to rise through the ranks. This, along with the various other meritocratic programs enacted during Angelović Paşa’s tenure as regent/grand vizer, had the double effect of increasing the ability of those holding positions of power as well as allowing Angelović to get his claws into them early, singling out good prospects to improve his relations with and either warp them into devout loyalists or have them exiled to the Danubian frontier[6] and/or killed off. The recruitment of the army remained roughly the same, although the use of the devşirme[7] was dialed back and re-phrased as the ‘Potential Officer Recruitment Program’, or ‘Çalviafsarone’, a far more diplomatic term. Locals in the Asiatic provinces were allowed to form militias to defend from Karaman aggression, but their European counterparts were not allowed to do so for fear of siding with any potential invaders. This pool of recruits could be used to expedite the mustering of armies, which further helped Ottoman prospects. Finally, a range of forts were constructed across all of their frontiers, to cut down on losses to foreign raiders and slow any enemy invasion, be it from their co-religionists or the Latin knights from the west.

Angelović also pursued a fairly aggressive foreign policy, seeking to return his, I mean, his charge’s empire to its former heights. Most prominent amongst these efforts was Notaras’ War, which began after a botched attempt to seize formerly Genoese possessions in the Aegean. Following the victory of the Sublime Porte in this conflict, a number of islands in the aforementioned sea were annexed into the Ottoman realm, the islanders being given a number of privileges--most notably exemption from the jizya tax and the çalviafsaroni and permission to raise militias to defend against pirates--to keep them loyal and try to wean the subjects of other islanders away from their Italian overlords. As previously mentioned, Thessalia was reduced to a vassal, as were the Çandarids before they were fallen upon and driven east over the mountains to exile in Syria in the 1480s. He also campaigned heavily against the Albanians, who were divided between various warring clans and tribes. Before his death, the highlanders were driven out of much of the eastern country or reduced to subjects, with the independent Albanians being driven to the far western mountains, where they would be perpetually vulnerable and a workable buffer state with the Venetians. He also attempted to reduce the Trapezuntines to vassals and actually succeeded in doing so, but their tribute was limited to the annual payment of a single ducat to Constantinople. Nonetheless, he was able to use this as an opportunity to increase his and Mehmed III’s prestige, by forcing, the Trapezuntine embassy to persuade through the streets of the city to a booing crowd in a scene similar to a Roman triumph, pay homage to the sultan in person and kiss his feet[8], then place the single ducat on a pillow, which would then be given to the grand vizier, who would then hand it to the sultan.

Most notably, he also encouraged the advancement of Greeks, be they Orthodox or Muslim, through all ranks of society. The majority of territories controlled by the Sublime Porte after the disastrous 1460s were Greek-speaking, across mainland Greece, the islands, Thrake[9] and Anatolia. There were sizable Turkish (a mixture of Turkmen and Salchouqs) and Bulgarian populations, but these were both smaller. The Bulgarians in particular had next to no political power, as their nobility had been utterly slaughtered and their land parceled out between timariots. Angelović Paşa framed this to Mustafa and Mehmed as a way to shore up Ottoman rule, and while this was true it also helped him build up power for himself. However, as power is and was a zero-sum game, this made many of the Turkish nobility unhappy, a phenomenon which would rear its head some time later. In the short term, however, this program led to increased support for the Ottomans in its Greek provinces and an increased percentage of Greeks in the sultan’s bureaucracy and court. He also made constant efforts to improve relations between the Sublime Porte and the Orthodox church. The millet system, an idea which Mehmed had begun to develop but had been unable to institute before his untimely and completely accidental death, was instituted in 1472. The Ecumenical Patriarch was given control over all churches in the Ottoman Empire excepting a few Latin churches which were allowed to exist as bargaining chips for the Italians. In matters of personal and family law, the Orthodox were allowed to self-govern. Many of the monasteries maintained their old Byzantine tax exemptions, but many others had them revoked. He also encouraged the Ecumenical Patriarch to try and subvert the Pontic Patriarchy with the pretext of Trapezous’ vassaldom, but this ultimately went nowhere because of factional infighting and a general opposition amongst the churchmen to taking orders from the infidels. As a whole, however, this period saw the Ottomans and the Orthodox Church become further interwoven, the latter being given a number of incentives to remain loyal to the further. Among these steps was an outlawing of the enslavement of Greek Orthodox in 1480, although this had little impact due to the increasing number of slaves taken from Circassia and bought from the Barbaries.

In spite of these great reforms, Mahmud Angelović Paşa was a man just like any other. In 1490, the great statesman died at the ripe old age of seventy, after nearly a quarter of a century at the top. He left Mehmed III, merely eight years old, as sultant. To take his place as regent and vizier, he appointed one of his most promising apprentices, a Greek Muslim named Ebülhayr Paşa. Ebülhayr Paşa continued the policies of his master throughout the entirety of his tenure as grand vizier, leading campaigns against Albania and Epirus throughout the 1490s in the name of the sultan and continuing the advancement of Greeks in the government. The tensions which had begun to foment during the latter half of Angelović Paşa’s reign continued to simmer just beneath the surface, as the newly-advanced Greeks clashed with the traditional Turkish aristocracy. Ebülhayr Paşa was able to keep a lid on things by siccing the papiai on anyone who looked at him funny, up to and including his own nephew in 1503.

However, this would come back to bite him, as Mehmed began to view his own regent with increasing distrust and fear. After all, it was an open secret that Angelović Paşa had his father strangled for disappointing him at the Siege of Trapezous, and who could say that Ebülhayr Paşa wouldn’t do the same to him? As he grew older and the chances of producing a male heir became higher, the possibility that Ebülhayr Paşa would have him killed to extend his own reign became more and more prominent in his mind. However, he knew that nothing would get him bumped off more quickly than a botched coup, and so throughout the 1510s he plotted, quietly but purposefully. Ebülhayr Paşa had him under constant surveillance due to his paranoid nature, and he was able to meet with his loyalists only by going on long hunting trips to the wilds around Adrianople. He knew that the bureaucrats would be loyal to their master, and so they couldn’t be trusted. Neither could the Greeks, as they would be most likely to turn on him, as the historical record showed that Greeks weren’t exactly the most trustworthy people[10]. As such, he made contact with the traditional Turkish aristocracy. The two of them had a shared interest, after all; he wanted to regain the power that his grandfather would have had, and they wanted to recover their traditional rights and privileges. As he spent more time with his confederates, the sultan gradually became convinced that the only way to save the Ottoman Empire was to undo all of the reforms enacted by Angelović Paşa. The timarotes, hotbeds of Turkish settlement, were scattered across eastern and southern Anatolia, especially in territories recently recovered from the Karamans and in Bulgaria, whereas the Bulgarians had been broken nearly completely and were thus open for settlement.

Unfortunately for Mehmed, Ebülhayr Paşa’s paranoid regime meant that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to stage a palace coup without being assassinated. However, the army was still mostly Turkish, so he had far better chances of unseating the grand vizier by force of arms. He couldn’t just march an army into the capital, though, as there would still be enough time for the vizier to have him bumped off. By 1508, he had concluded that the best way for him to reclaim his birthright would be to flee to the provinces and raise a revolt against the capital regime. As such, over the next two years, he convinced Ebülhayr Paşa to undertake a buildup along the Danubian border. A succession crisis was brewing in Hungary, and he framed this as an opportunity to recover the Danubian principalities. Instead, he was marshalling forces under generals loyal to him. Finally, on 12 February 1510, he and a few loyalists slipped out of the capital and rode north, braving the winter weather to reach the frontier. A week later, upon arriving in Tarnovo, he and his generals declared the government in Constantinople illegitimate. The Second Ottoman Civil War had begun….

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] Recall, these are the partially hellenified Turks who migrated into the region in the 11th century and partially adopted the customs of the region in which they had settled, while retaining their Islamic faith and many other Turkish cultural aspects.
[2] I’m using this term here for simplicity’s sake, as well as the term ‘Greek’. I’m sure some of my readers are REE-ing at me right now, but I’m doing this for greater accessibility.
[3] Most notable amongst these windfalls was becoming the leader of a Sufi sect and inheriting the remnants of Alexios Philanthropenos’ auxiliary corp after his imprisonment in the 1290s.
[4] This is notable as being one of the first times that the Ottomans would use Greek in an official promulgation and, furthermore, as the name of an institution.
[5] The Ottomans used Old Anatolian Turkish as one of their languages of governance, which derived upwards of 90% of its vocabulary and syntax from contemporary, i.e. Middle Persian.
[6] The Wallachians and Moldovans were fiercely opposed to the Ottomans as well as having a vested interest in being able to tax the greatly expanded Danube river trade to their greatest ability. As such, they made frequent raids against forts on the river bank, often massacring or enslaving any garrison members. The Wallachians in particular had preserved the practice of impalement, finding that Turkish punitive expeditions usually lost heart after having to push through a forest of their own dead along the river bank, which in some places was nearly a mile wide.
[7] This translates as either ‘blood tax’ or ‘child levy’, neither of which are exactly inviting names.
[8] Having to kiss the Pope was one of the Catholic doctrines which most infuriated the Orthodox, making it into several compilations of ‘The Errors of the Latins’. As such, being forced to do it to the Sultan, who wasn’t even a Christian, was extremely insulting to the Trapezuntines as well as the other Orthodox states who were forced to give submission in such a way.
[9] Thrake extended all the way up to the Balkan Mountains, encompassing the southern half of OTL Bulgaria. Before the 1800s, the region was a fair mixture of Bulgarians and Greeks, but the Greek War of Independence led many of the Thrakian Greeks to adopt Bulgarian customs or leave for greener pastures.
[10] ‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts’. The Turks at large had a very low opinion of the Greeks, viewing them as cowards who were unable to defend themselves from the ghazis or insolent for refusing to convert and frequently revolting.
 
Last edited:
It seems a little unlikely that Angelović Paşa would have been able to push through all these reforms without triggering a major reactionary uprising. I guess a combination of the old guard being gutted in the War of the First Holy League and Angelović gaining a bunch of prestige by winning the Nostaras War gave him basically an unprecedented level of control.

I wonder how Ebülhayr Paşa is going to justify fighting against the Sultan. He’ll probably go with the old reliable removing him from the influence of harmful advisers shtick.
The Second Ottoman Civil War had begun….
Well that can only mean good things for Trebizond.
 
Part XXII: A New Osman (1488 - 1510)

The Ottoman Empire had been birthed from the chaos that had reigned over Anatolia after the collapse of the Sultanate of Rûm. The old balance of power between settled Greeks and settled Salchouqs[1] had been upset by the sudden introduction of thousands of Turkmen warriors straight from the steppe. This period had seen the center of power in Anatolia shift from the Salchouq cities of the east to the western frontier, where the decaying Byzantine Empire’s[2] Anatolian territories were overrun by the fierce men from the steppe. Dozens of small ghazi statelets had cropped up, all with the express intention of plundering the Byzantines--all in the name of God, of course. The Germiyanids and the Aydinids had been the early forerunners, but a combination of skill and luck[3] had catapulted Osman and his followers to emerge from this period as the chief hegemon of western Anatolia. The government system which Osman and Orhan had established--a mixture of Turkmen warriors and slave soldiers as the military arm and a Byzantine-derived tax system to finance the state and its expansion--had supported the rise of the Ottoman Empire to control vast swathes of Rumelia and Anatolia. However, the Empire’s defeat and following decline in the 1460s had led many to question whether this system needed to be changed.

The failure of Mehmed II to prevent defeat in the War of the First Holy League and the subsequent collapse of Ottoman control of Anatolia led directly to the sultan's fatal ‘accident’ in 1466. He was succeeded by his young son, Mustafa II, but true power lay in the hands of Mahmud Angelović Paşa, his regent and later grand vizier, as well the man who was commonly suspected to have played a part in Mehmed’s death.

The realm that Angelović Paşa presided over was vastly different from the one which Mehmed had inherited. The frontier provinces of Serbia, Albania, and much of mainland Greece had been lost to the Latins. The Danubian vassals had both broken free from the Sublime Porte and now paid homage to the Hungarians, meaning that recovering them would be nigh-on impossible. Anatolia, formerly the heartland of the Ottoman domain, had been almost completely overrun by the Karamanids, depriving the Sublime Porte of its formerly numerous Turkmen horsemen. He was also facing down a brewing economic crisis, as most of their tributaries were no longer paying their dues and much of their European tax-collecting infrastructure had been lost during the war. The regent/vizier found before him a difficult task, but he would rise to the occasion. Angelović aspired to reform the upper echelons of the Ottoman state into a vessel for his own personal control, and he would use every opportunity presented to him to do so.

Angelović Paşa’s first step was to reform the tax system. At the time, the Ottomans were dependent upon the iltizām tax system, under which tax contracts would be auctioned off to various independent contractors, who would then collect their assigned taxes as well as extorting a great deal more for their own gain. This kind of tax system had been common throughout history, but it was both dreadfully inefficient and utterly hated by just about everyone. As such, in 1469 the grand vizier declared an official end to the iltizām system, instead promulgating the kentrosadiq[4] system. Under the new system, taxes would be collected by civil servants in a strictly organized system of surveyed plots, tax exemptions and surcharges depending on which villayet they were operating in. Those caught skimming off profits would sold into slavery to work in the mines of the Balkan Mountains, for which ‘hellish’ is an understatement. This reform saw the amount of tax collected by the state increase slightly but the number of extorted peasants fall dramatically. This made both Angelović Paşa and the Ottomans at large much more popular amongst their sedentary subjects, and after this the number of tax revolts, which had been a recurring problem for the last few years, fall dramatically.

Next, he turned his attention to the court and the bureaucracy. The vast majority of the bureaucracy were supporters of the House of Osman, and thus could be used against him by Mustafa if the two had a falling out. He also wished to do away with his domestic rivals, chief among them Rûm Mehmed Paşa, the chief supply officer of the fleet. Paşa fabricated a mass conspiracy against Mustafa in 1471, listing dozens of civil servants and potential rivals in both the bureaucracy and the court, and was able to convince the sultan that all of these venerable figures were plotting to kill him. When the young sultan flew into a panic because of this, he quickly gave the Paşa permission to root out this and any other plot against him. Over the following weeks, more than three hundred people were strangled and hundreds of others sent into exile, effectively stripping the court of any potential rival, as well as any family member of a potential rival who may have been driven to oppose him due to the purge, as well as any relatives of those. He also revived the papiai, the secret police of the Kantakouzenoi, promising to give the sultan knowledge of anything that they uncovered. Instead, he used it to further cement his control over the Sublime Porte, having any potential enemies murdered before they could become a threat. He also overhauled the bureaucracy, turning it into a straight-out meritocracy with little opportunity for the traditional aristocracy (in this case, timariots and sipahis) to interject traditional candidates. He removed the requirement to be a Muslim from all but the highest level of power, and from 1486 on he encouraged the use of both Greek and Persian[5] as the languages of administration.

He also attempted to modify the army’s structure to both improve its fighting abilities and its loyalty to him. He allowed the existing officer corps to persist but altered its recruiting program, opening up opportunities for soldiers to rise through the ranks. This, along with the various other meritocratic programs enacted during Angelović Paşa’s tenure as regent/grand vizer, had the double effect of increasing the ability of those holding positions of power as well as allowing Angelović to get his claws into them early, singling out good prospects to improve his relations with and either warp them into devout loyalists or have them exiled to the Danubian frontier[6] and/or killed off. The recruitment of the army remained roughly the same, although the use of the devşirme[7] was dialed back and re-phrased as the ‘Potential Officer Recruitment Program’, or ‘Çalviafsarone’, a far more diplomatic term. Locals in the Asiatic provinces were allowed to form militias to defend from Karaman aggression, but their European counterparts were not allowed to do so for fear of siding with any potential invaders. This pool of recruits could be used to expedite the mustering of armies, which further helped Ottoman prospects. Finally, a range of forts were constructed across all of their frontiers, to cut down on losses to foreign raiders and slow any enemy invasion, be it from their co-religionists or the Latin knights from the west.

Angelović also pursued a fairly aggressive foreign policy, seeking to return his, I mean, his charge’s empire to its former heights. Most prominent amongst these efforts was Notaras’ War, which began after a botched attempt to seize formerly Genoese possessions in the Aegean. Following the victory of the Sublime Porte in this conflict, a number of islands in the aforementioned sea were annexed into the Ottoman realm, the islanders being given a number of privileges--most notably exemption from the jizya tax and the çalviafsaroni and permission to raise militias to defend against pirates--to keep them loyal and try to wean the subjects of other islanders away from their Italian overlords. As previously mentioned, Thessalia was reduced to a vassal, as were the Çandarids before they were fallen upon and driven east over the mountains to exile in Syria in the 1480s. He also campaigned heavily against the Albanians, who were divided between various warring clans and tribes. Before his death, the highlanders were driven out of much of the eastern country or reduced to subjects, with the independent Albanians being driven to the far western mountains, where they would be perpetually vulnerable and a workable buffer state with the Venetians. He also attempted to reduce the Trapezuntines to vassals and actually succeeded in doing so, but their tribute was limited to the annual payment of a single ducat to Constantinople. Nonetheless, he was able to use this as an opportunity to increase his and Mehmed III’s prestige, by forcing, the Trapezuntine embassy to persuade through the streets of the city to a booing crowd in a scene similar to a Roman triumph, pay homage to the sultan in person and kiss his feet[8], then place the single ducat on a pillow, which would then be given to the grand vizier, who would then hand it to the sultan.

Most notably, he also encouraged the advancement of Greeks, be they Orthodox or Muslim, through all ranks of society. The majority of territories controlled by the Sublime Porte after the disastrous 1460s were Greek-speaking, across mainland Greece, the islands, Thrake[9] and Anatolia. There were sizable Turkish (a mixture of Turkmen and Salchouqs) and Bulgarian populations, but these were both smaller. The Bulgarians in particular had next to no political power, as their nobility had been utterly slaughtered and their land parceled out between timariots. Angelović Paşa framed this to Mustafa and Mehmed as a way to shore up Ottoman rule, and while this was true it also helped him build up power for himself. However, as power is and was a zero-sum game, this made many of the Turkish nobility unhappy, a phenomenon which would rear its head some time later. In the short term, however, this program led to increased support for the Ottomans in its Greek provinces and an increased percentage of Greeks in the sultan’s bureaucracy and court. He also made constant efforts to improve relations between the Sublime Porte and the Orthodox church. The millet system, an idea which Mehmed had begun to develop but had been unable to institute before his untimely and completely accidental death, was instituted in 1472. The Ecumenical Patriarch was given control over all churches in the Ottoman Empire excepting a few Latin churches which were allowed to exist as bargaining chips for the Italians. In matters of personal and family law, the Orthodox were allowed to self-govern. Many of the monasteries maintained their old Byzantine tax exemptions, but many others had them revoked. He also encouraged the Ecumenical Patriarch to try and subvert the Pontic Patriarchy with the pretext of Trapezous’ vassaldom, but this ultimately went nowhere because of factional infighting and a general opposition amongst the churchmen to taking orders from the infidels. As a whole, however, this period saw the Ottomans and the Orthodox Church become further interwoven, the latter being given a number of incentives to remain loyal to the further. Among these steps was an outlawing of the enslavement of Greek Orthodox in 1480, although this had little impact due to the increasing number of slaves taken from Circassia and bought from the Barbaries.

In spite of these great reforms, Mahmud Angelović Paşa was a man just like any other. In 1490, the great statesman died at the ripe old age of seventy, after nearly a quarter of a century at the top. He left Mehmed III, merely eight years old, as sultant. To take his place as regent and vizier, he appointed one of his most promising apprentices, a Greek Muslim named Ebülhayr Paşa. Ebülhayr Paşa continued the policies of his master throughout the entirety of his tenure as grand vizier, leading campaigns against Albania and Epirus throughout the 1490s in the name of the sultan and continuing the advancement of Greeks in the government. The tensions which had begun to foment during the latter half of Angelović Paşa’s reign continued to simmer just beneath the surface, as the newly-advanced Greeks clashed with the traditional Turkish aristocracy. Ebülhayr Paşa was able to keep a lid on things by siccing the papiai on anyone who looked at him funny, up to and including his own nephew in 1503.

However, this would come back to bite him, as Mehmed began to view his own regent with increasing distrust and fear. After all, it was an open secret that Angelović Paşa had his father strangled for disappointing him at the Siege of Trapezous, and who could say that Ebülhayr Paşa wouldn’t do the same to him? As he grew older and the chances of producing a male heir became higher, the possibility that Ebülhayr Paşa would have him killed to extend his own reign became more and more prominent in his mind. However, he knew that nothing would get him bumped off more quickly than a botched coup, and so throughout the 1510s he plotted, quietly but purposefully. Ebülhayr Paşa had him under constant surveillance due to his paranoid nature, and he was able to meet with his loyalists only by going on long hunting trips to the wilds around Adrianople. He knew that the bureaucrats would be loyal to their master, and so they couldn’t be trusted. Neither could the Greeks, as they would be most likely to turn on him, as the historical record showed that Greeks weren’t exactly the most trustworthy people[10]. As such, he made contact with the traditional Turkish aristocracy. The two of them had a shared interest, after all; he wanted to regain the power that his grandfather would have had, and they wanted to recover their traditional rights and privileges. As he spent more time with his confederates, the sultan gradually became convinced that the only way to save the Ottoman Empire was to undo all of the reforms enacted by Angelović Paşa. The timarotes, hotbeds of Turkish settlement, were scattered across eastern and southern Anatolia, especially in territories recently recovered from the Karamans and in Bulgaria, whereas the Bulgarians had been broken nearly completely and were thus open for settlement.

Unfortunately for Mehmed, Ebülhayr Paşa’s paranoid regime meant that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to stage a palace coup without being assassinated. However, the army was still mostly Turkish, so he had far better chances of unseating the grand vizier by force of arms. He couldn’t just march an army into the capital, though, as there would still be enough time for the vizier to have him bumped off. By 1508, he had concluded that the best way for him to reclaim his birthright would be to flee to the provinces and raise a revolt against the capital regime. As such, over the next two years, he convinced Ebülhayr Paşa to undertake a buildup along the Danubian border. A succession crisis was brewing in Hungary, and he framed this as an opportunity to recover the Danubian principalities. Instead, he was marshalling forces under generals loyal to him. Finally, on 12 February 1510, he and a few loyalists slipped out of the capital and rode north, braving the winter weather to reach the frontier. A week later, upon arriving in Tarnovo, he and his generals declared the government in Constantinople illegitimate. The Second Ottoman Civil War had begun….

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] Recall, these are the partially hellenified Turks who migrated into the region in the 11th century and partially adopted the customs of the region in which they had settled, while retaining their Islamic faith and many other Turkish cultural aspects.
[2] I’m using this term here for simplicity’s sake, as well as the term ‘Greek’. I’m sure some of my readers are REE-ing at me right now, but I’m doing this for greater accessibility.
[3] Most notable amongst these windfalls was becoming the leader of a Sufi sect and inheriting the remnants of Alexios Philanthropenos’ auxiliary corp after his imprisonment in the 1290s.
[4] This is notable as being one of the first times that the Ottomans would use Greek in an official promulgation and, furthermore, as the name of an institution.
[5] The Ottomans used Old Anatolian Turkish as one of their languages of governance, which derived upwards of 90% of its vocabulary and syntax from contemporary, i.e. Middle Persian.
[6] The Wallachians and Moldovans were fiercely opposed to the Ottomans as well as having a vested interest in being able to tax the greatly expanded Danube river trade to their greatest ability. As such, they made frequent raids against forts on the river bank, often massacring or enslaving any garrison members. The Wallachians in particular had preserved the practice of impalement, finding that Turkish punitive expeditions usually lost heart after having to push through a forest of their own dead along the river bank, which in some places was nearly a mile wide.
[7] This translates as either ‘blood tax’ or ‘child levy’, neither of which are exactly inviting names.
[8] Having to kiss the Pope was one of the Catholic doctrines which most infuriated the Orthodox, making it into several compilations of ‘The Errors of the Latins’. As such, being forced to do it to the Sultan, who wasn’t even a Christian, was extremely insulting to the Trapezuntines as well as the other Orthodox states who were forced to give submission in such a way.
[9] Thrake extended all the way up to the Balkan Mountains, encompassing the southern half of OTL Bulgaria. Before the 1800s, the region was a fair mixture of Bulgarians and Greeks, but the Greek War of Independence led many of the Thrakian Greeks to adopt Bulgarian customs or leave for greener pastures.
[10] ‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts’. The Turks at large had a very low opinion of the Greeks, viewing them as cowards who were unable to defend themselves from the ghazis or insolent for refusing to convert and frequently revolting.
Greek Ottoman Empire? That's of course unlikely, but still.
 
Holy Mother of Pearl. I didn't realize I hadn't posted for a week, I'm so sorry for being gone for so long. I wanted to make sure I got the War of the Three Leagues done properly, and then there were the snowstorms, and I just got wrapped up in it all. I should post the next update tonight, once again, sorry for not posting. I've written 13 and a half thousand words in the last week, though, so I should be able to keep posting on a consistent schedule.
don't worry take your time !
 
oh god i hope the sultan looses unless the ottomans will probably be lost

I think the idea is to have the Sultan have a very messy win so that the Greeks experience extreme whiplash in losing their privileges and experiencing extreme repression, regardless of if they're Orthodox or Muslim. Angelovic Pasa being a Greek Muslim and favoring Greeks is something the Sultan's well aware of and his response was to embrace Turkish reactionary elements. This can only lead to revolts. Without Greeks to prop it up and with most of Anatolia's Turks lost to them the Ottomans are screwed as a functioning state unless the Sultan's victory is crushing.

So what I think this'll lead to is other nearby states all jumping in to fill the political void left by the Ottomans as they crash and burn unable to do much to stop it, already spent. Bulgaria will revolt, the Karaminids will get opportunistic, the remaining Greeks will revolt, the Hungarians try to finish the deed, and Trebizond is likely to jump on the chance to get revenge for the last war. This'll leave Trebizond as the premiere Greek state by the end and could end in a lot of ways. Worst-case scenario for the Ottomans, everything goes wrong and Trebizond rides the Great Greek Revolt all the way into Constantinople and most of Asia Minor's Aegan coast while Bulgaria north of Thrace and northern Macedonia get annexed by the Hungarians, and the Karamanids take most of the Anatolian interior.

Best-case scenario for the Ottomans, the opportunists largely fail and only cede marginal lands bar Trebizond which has been portrayed as being by far the readiest to wage war out of all of their neighbors. So marginal losses everywhere but on the Black Sea coast, where Trebizond ends up taking most to all of historical Paphlagonia or something. Either way, I don't see them escaping Trebizond coming out as the champion of the Greeks and as a big refugee magnet as the Ottomans dial up their worst behavior to 11 under the victorious Sultan.

In my head, this Trebizond period is largely serving as one giant case study into how to revitalize and Hellenify what's to be annexed in the future, and this is going to be the case study on Hellenification and demographic management.
 
Last edited:
My guess here is that the traditionalist could make off with a breakaway state in Northern Bulgaria with the more conservative elements of the army or the remnants if they can't win the civil war. The rest of the Ottoman domains will continue to pivot towards the Vizier's policies or transition to a vizierate once the successful policies really start to take effect.

What's interesting here is that the concept of deemphasizing or decoupling religious affiliation with service to the state, a lighter touch on the domestic population, and encouraging Greek as an administrative language. Instead of Turkification, we're seeing a reverse in the trend. Actual policy is more pro-Greek, which is huge after going on since at least the 1470s.

I think the traditionalists will get a surprise about how much leverage they really have here and how much has been lost.

I foresee Osmanli identity for the elites being weakened in favor of Rum.
 
Bad news, the file I wrote today's update on has corrupted. I'm rewriting it right now, and God willing I should have it done by midnight, but obviously the short notice means it won't be the best. I'll edit it tomorrow. I'll be online for the next three hours, though, so if you have any questions now is the time to ask them.
 
Top