TLIAW- Kayser-i Rum

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Deleted member 67076

TLIAW- Kayser-i Rum


...The Rise of the Ottomans had been an remarkable affair, unprecedented in its speed and ferocity. 200 years ago, a man by the name of Osman led several Turkish clans to settle in the corner of northeastern Anatolia. In a mere 3 generations, the Ottomans were built up from tiny beylik to a world power. His son Orhan increased the size of his domains several fold, and his son, Murad, built an empire spanning from the Danube to Aydin, from Kosovo to Kastamonu. They had managed to subdue and vassalize the once great remnant of Rome, the Byzantine Empire. The Empire, now reduced to a tiny bit of Thrace, the Morea and its capital city, Constantinople was ripe for conquest. In the thousand years since it has been built, the city has withstood siege after siege, battle after battle, protected by the mighty Theodosian walls. The heirs of Osman sought to change that, to finish what the Umayyads started. Beginning in 1390, the Ottoman Empire began to prepare for the inevitable. Constantinople was blockaded, while the Ottoman army prepared for war.

In a false glimmer of hope, the forces of Christendom launched a last ditch attempt to rescue the dying empire. Genoa, Venice, Hungary, Wallachia, France, the ‘Holy’ Roman Empire and the tattered remains of the Second Bulgarian Empire banded together to send an expeditionary force against the ‘Turkish Menace”. In 1396, the Final Crusade was repulsed with heavy losses on part of the Crusading forces. (Among them was Sigismund, king of Hungary), and with his death Hungary was plunged into chaos until a new king was chosen. With this the last significant threat to Ottoman domination was ended. All other annoyances were put down; Bulgaria, the thorn in the Ottoman side since the days of Murad had lost their capital and was too weak to stop them, Hungary was in chaos after the death of their childless king, and the Italians and the Franks simply left when they foresaw they could not win. With this, the Ottomans could finally turn all their attention on Constantinople.

No more crusades. No more bailouts. No distractions this time.

As no power able to stop them and the miniscule ‘empire’ unable to stop them, the Byzantines’ impressive streak of luck had finally ran out. In 1403, the last flame of the Roman Empire was snuffed out after a 3 months siege. Although they fought valiantly, the Romans were simply too outmanned, outgunned and outmatched. The Empire of Rome now belonged to the Dar Al-Islam...
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Deleted member 67076

Yeah, I realize that there's no way in hell I'll finish this in a day, so I figured a week is a more reasonable goal.

Decided to go with an Ottomanwank for this one.
It's actually not that new. So I assume his is based on the idea of The Ottoman Empire as the Islamic heirs to Rome.

Deleted member 67076

Yeah, it is. :)


Now, one might wonder what allowed the Ottomans to finally take the ancient city as opposed to OTL, with the invasion of the great warlord Timur and the subsequent Battle of Ankara, which plunged the heirs of Osman into a ten year period of chaos as the claimants of the Sultanate battled it out in a perverse game for the throne. This unfortunate run of luck, better known as the Ottoman Interregnum, delayed the conquest of the Eternal City for 50 years. But here however this does not occur.

Timur instead of focusing on Anatolia, turns his attention to Egypt. In the years preceding the Conquest of Constantinople, the Iron Lord was Mesopotamia, subduing the lands into his already massive empire. As word passed of the devastation to all those who received the attention of Timur, the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt became increasingly worried. Parallels to the Mongol invasion decades ago were made, and it was decided to launch a preemptive strike against the Timurids before they set their sights on the vast wealth of Egypt.

When Timurid forces were spotted along the Euphrates, the Mamluks decided it was time to strike. Taking several contingent of their elite slave soldiers; the titular Mamluks, along with various levied soldiers and recruits, the Egyptians launched a surprise attack on part of Timur’s massive host. Initially thinking the battle would be in their favor, the overconfidence of the attackers would prove to be their undoing. Several hours into the frenzy, the tide had unexpectedly turned and Mamluk forces were eventually routed. Regrouping in Damascus, the Mamluks proceed to lick their wounds and rebuild their forces, while messengers were dispatched to the government in Cairo.

This folly would prove to be their undoing, as when word reached the Lord of Iron, his wrath had been summoned. Timur immediately recalled his men and ordered his host swung south immediately with a new target in mind: Egypt. The audacity, the insolence! It must be punished.

The irony of this self fulfilling prophecy was not lost to the Mamluks in Cairo. And so, for as much as they could before the campaign would next year the The Egyptians fought valiantly, but were no match for Timur’s wrath. The Lord of Iron, true his name, was implacable in his advance, crushing all who dared to defy him. By summer of 1402, the Timurids had passed the Sinai and had reached the Nile Delta. Terror gripped all the hearts of Egyptians everywhere.

However fate is a fickle thing, and would grant an unexpected blessing. When Alexandria fell and Cairo was in the crosshair of the advancing horde, an outbreak of malaria occurred alongside the Nile Delta, taking with it a great many of the Timurid’s finest- including the titular leader. Weakened by disease, the Mamluks were able to finally get their victory and repulse the Timurids from the Delta. The new khan, Timur’s son Miran pulled Timurid troops from Egypt in exchange for a large tribute from the Egyptians. While seemingly sensible, this act was perceived as cowardness from many in the horde, and would lead to eventual infighting and revolt amongst the Timurid domains, with many vassals and governors (to say nothing of Miran’s brothers)

Egypt had been spared the wrath of great Khan by a stroke of luck. But the taste of victory was bittersweet; Egypt had been thrashed, the Levant was devastated, Alexandria was sacked and the Sultanate’s manpower drained. The Mamluks would never again reach the level of power and prestige they had in the years before Timur.

Meanwhile in his former capital Edirne, Bayezid the Conquer (as he is now called) plans his next move. The year had been busy, with the Sultan reorganizing his government in his new jewel, along with attempts to resettle and repair the city. Constantinople had been a shadow of its former self, and would need great care to be restored to her former glory. Of course, to do this, the sultan would need money and power, and the easiest way to get those would be conquest. Hearing reports that the Hungarians are calling for Crusade and the Karamanids have conducted raids on the fringes of his empire, the Sultan muses that much work still needs to be done...

Deleted member 67076

No responses?


Bayezid readies his armies once more with a goal of subduing the rest the Beyliks in Anatolia, and the increasingly annoying Qara Qoyunlu Turkmen, who had recently taken over Armenia and were encroaching on Ottoman territory. On the beginning of the campaign season, the Sultan’s armies were deployed. One by one the Anatolian principalities would fall. First Candar, and then Mentese, then Karaman, and Lesser Armenia. These campaigns rapidly expanded the borders of the Ottomans, pushing them past the Tarsus mountains and into Northern Syria. By 1406, the Ottomans were at the outskirts of the final defiant Beyliks: The Ramadanids and Dulkadirids. Situated at the border with Syria, these two powers (if one would be so generous as to call them that) were preserved only due to the weakness of other beyliks, Ottoman commitments in other places, and the backing of the Mamluks; whose interest in preserving the balance of power played a long way in starving off Ottoman advancement. And like so many times before, Ottoman commitments in Europe would see that the beys would remain free men for another day. For in 1406, the Christians would strike back.

In the aftermath of Constantinople's conquest, Christendom was in shock. The Holy city had fallen to the infadels. Shock turned to anger, and anger turned to belligerence. Calls for crusade were rampant, and on 1405, yet another crusade was called upon and discussed. However, while there was great talk of launching a holy crusade, support for actually implementing it was… varied. While the Emperor in Germany, the new king in Hungary and the remnant Serbians, Albanians and Greeks were the most ardent supporters, the Italians and French were rather lukewarm to the idea of crusade, the merchant republics of Venice and Genoa notwithstanding. (France especially was ambivalent to sending men so far off as its war with England required full commitment). The Portuguese and English outright ignored requests for soldiers.

But still, thanks to some good diplomacy and deals of land in the Post Ottoman war, the plans for Crusade were in motion. Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, Wallacia, Bulgaria and the Empire in Germany answered the call, providing the bulk of the manpower, along with Venice, Genoa and a host of various Serbian, Albanian and Greek principalities.

Finally, in 1406, an invasion was launched from the starting point of Dalmatia, along with massive raids into Ottoman held Greece by the Venetians and Genoese, who were both wary about losing their access to the Black Sea trade and their colonies. This was followed by another advance via a joint Albanian-Greek army. While the Crusaders may have initially gained momentum, they eventually repeated the same mistakes of their predecessors in previous crusades. The Europeans were prone to infighting, often squabbling amongst themselves; their conduct was horrible (often looting the very towns they planned to liberate) and their discipline questionable. With these factors at hand, the Crusader advance stumbled, and the tide quickly turned. The more disciplined (and in many cases numerous and better armed, thanks to the superior Ottoman logistics) managed to puncture the Crusader’s forces, and inflict heavy casualties. Beginning in 1408, the Ottomans were launching counter invasions into Serbia and Athens.

The naval front of the war was different, however. The vast Venetian and Genoese fleets, staffed with well trained and experienced men, were able to do significant damage to Ottoman shipping and conduct landings in Thrace and even Bithynia. In addition, they were able to cut down on resupply and hurt the logistics. The initial idea was not only to harm the logistics, but to effectively deny the ability to move troops by splitting the Ottomans in half, isolating its European holdings from Anatolia. However, as the war passed the bridge between the powers were closing. This strategy of isolation culminated in a brazen attack on Constantinople by a Venetian-Genoese fleet. While initially successful, the Venetians finally learned the difficulties in attacking the Queen of Cities, and the luck that aided them in the Fourth Crusade was no more. The battle ended in disaster, with much of the Crusading fleet destroyed. The Italians quickly salvaged what they could to Dalmatia for repair, but the damage was done. Never again would Venice be able to reach Constantinople.

Still, by 1410 the war was dying down. Ottoman troops had overrun what remained of Bulgaria, Athens and the Peloponnese. They had inflicted heavy losses on the main contingent of Crusader troops, pushing them back into Bosnia and Northern Serbia. The Ottoman vassals at The war had become a meat grinder for the crusaders, and bit by bit demoralization had kicked in. After it became apparent that the invasion would no longer have any chance of victory, Poland and Bohemia withdrew. Further losses prompted the Emperor in Germany to also withdraw. Seeing which way the wind was blowing the merchant republics of Italy made peace with the Ottomans and left. This left the fighting now to mostly Hungary, already weakened by its recent bout of civil war, Wallachia and the remaining Balkan states. None were able to resist the advance of the Osman’s heirs. It was only a matter of time until all fell to the Dar Al Islam.

First was Greece, and then remnants of Serbia. Albania would last somewhat longer, with sporadic resistance continuing until late into the 1420s, but would bit by bit be pacified. Wallachia stubbornly refused to go down without fighting, and payed the price. It would be subdued, broken and visualized in the campaigns that would follow. Finally, Hungary was alone and outmatched. In 1412, they finally submitted, ceding their Bosniak and Dalmatian holdings in exchange for peace.

At the same time of the Crusader war, the Qara Qoyunlu began a series of raids into the Ottoman East. While it did little to damage the Anatolian possessions, it became a serious annoyance. Ottoman troops were able to hold them off rather easily, but the flat lands of Eastern Anatolian Plateau are not as easy to defend as mountains. It was then decided a new border was needed, one far more defensible. After conducting the counsel of his advisors and Vizier, the mountains of Armenia was decided as the perfect place for the frontier. It had the advantage of being mountainous and defensible, had a largely Christian populace that could be subject to Jizya, and finally was a great way to punish the Qara Qoyunlu for their raids with a show a force.

But first, Trebizond would need to be eliminated. As a terminus of Silk Road trade, this wealthy city could not be ignored. While being able to survive this long was impressive due to the empire’s masterful diplomacy, like the Romans before them, they had ran out of allies. With the acquisition of Trebizond the Ottomans had both an excellent port at their disposal but a waypoint into the Caucasus and Armenia. An army of 20,000 men was dispatched and the empire fell by 1410. And with war dying down in Europe, more troops could be shifted east to focus on the nomadic threat. What soon followed was various counter raids and expansion into Armenia proper. Nomadic horsemen had always been the bane of settled states, but the advent of firearms turned the tide. Being able to fortify themselves in the mountains, the Ottomans cemented their position and expelled the Black Sheep Turkmen into Azerbaijan. This show of weakness embolden the Timurid remnants to the south, who proceeded to expand north into Qoyunlu lands.

This new, more defensible border would serve the Ottomans well. Its cemented their position in the east and freed up more men for future advances in the south and west. And it would be the last thing Bayezid would accomplish. For in late 1414, the sultan had passed on Bayezid I “the Thunderbolt”, as he was best known had managed to defeat the last great threat and solidify the Ottomans position in the Eastern Mediterranean, but it would be the last thing he did. With his death the Ottoman Empire sprawled from the Caucasus to Dalmatia, and like the Roman Empire at the death of the Great Basil II, was the most powerful state in the East.

The throne was now in the hands in the son of Bayezid, Suleyman. Suleyman, a well educated man raised in Rumelia, gladly adopted the title of Kayser-i Rum and made it his own. And it is with this knowledge of the ancients that inspired Suleyman to cement his legacy amongst the Ottoman Empire. In 1415, upon musing the state of his empire, he is reported to have quoted the statement that would alter the fate of Europe forever.

“If we have the Second Rome, why not the first?”...
This is some good stuff, Soverihn. Glad to see someone use the idea of the Ottomans really getting into the idea of them as Islamic Roman emperors. :D

Deleted member 67076

Thanks for all the support guys! :) And yes, the Ottomans will grow larger. Much Larger.

Anyways, here's a quick map of the Ottoman Empire at 1415. Not bad for having a 50 year headstart huh?


Deleted member 67076

Thank you very much for the support!


After the ascension of Suleyman, the constant campaigns that had characterized Bayezid’s rule had stopped. Aside from crushing any remaining opposition in the Balkans, all was quiet in the east. Instead Suleyman had devoted his time to planning and preparing, on improving the affairs of the state and integrating his new territories into the Ottoman system. Diplomatically, ties were forged with the Golden horde north and the vassalage of Wallachia was confirmed. It was this silence from the Ottomans that worried the west. Unlike his predecessor, Suleyman was a nobody. For good or for ill, no one knew how he would react, shall he turn his attention east to the Timurid remnants or the Mamluks? What about North? Hungary would most certainly be a target after their constant invasions over the last 30 years… It made perfect sense… Or… what about the west? No, the Ottomans would not be brazen enough to launch an attack the Holy land of Italia. Such an action would be suicidal!… right?

While you, the reader, know the obvious answer to this, the nations of Christendom did not, and thus the tension was palpable. The only confirmed news the that the Sublime Porte had been purchasing massive amounts of lumber for some unknown purpose. Venetian traders had noticed the shipyards of Constantinople had been rather busy, and thus worked to anticipate what they believed to be inevitable: An invasion of Crete. The navy was drastically increased, and at double pace. Thanks to the nearly industrial level of activity of the Venetian arsenal, this was rapidly accomplished, albeit at the cost of straining the budget. Nonetheless, it was widely believed that this was worth it as if it would protect the Venetian holdings in Crete and Dalmatia.

Venice was indeed correct; the Sublime Porte had been investing in a massive naval buildup, along with a general building up the already impressive armed forces of the Ottoman state. For Suleyman had his eyes on the ancestral homeland of his Empire: the Italian peninsula. However, the sultan was as practical as he was ambitious, and knew that any invasion without eliminating Venice would be foolhardy at best. In addition, he worked hard to secure the frontiers, especially in the east, taking lessons from history. The Ottoman state had often had problems of concentration, often being stuck on focusing on events east and west, leading to consolidation of gains being much harder as a result. Thus in the mind of Suleyman, the east is to be fully ignored until the west is dealt with. Therefore expansion in Asia was compromised. The mountainous borders of the Tarsus and Armenia were fortified, as was the plains of Mesopotamia. The latter especially was turned into a virtual fortress, with castles and patrols becoming as common as the shepherds and nomads.
The interior as well as exterior were fortified. All dissent was crushed, and Suleyman worked hard to ensure his absolute power would not be threatened. The troops had their pay increased as a means to ensure loyalty, corruption was steadily eliminated and the feudal elements were replaced with a more centralized bureaucracy. [1] These reforms would serve the Sultan and his successors well.

As Suleyman ensured the stability of his realm, the engorged navy was sent out to gain experience via protecting traders against piracy (especially Catalan pirates, who were a problem in western Mediterranean) and conducting privateer operations against Christian shipping when they could. In 1418, three years after the beginning of Suleyman’s reforms, the period of conquest finally began. But not on Crete.

No, the navy, despite all its practice, was ready for that. Instead, easier targets would be targeted initially, before moving up the difficulty. And with that in mind, the Duchy of Naxos was now in the crosshairs. The invasion went spectacularly, with the hilariously unprepared Venetian vassal capitulating within weeks of the invasion at little cost to the invaders. This was followed up by an offense against the Knights of Rhodes, a thorn in the Ottoman side for too long, what with their frequent piracy against the empire’s shipping shipping. The Knights were a tougher nut to crack, but the doctrine of superior firepower ensured they surrendered as well. This was rather pyrrhic victory for the Ottomans, and so for the remainder of the year they simply were content to lick their wounds and rebuild their strength, but experience is the best teacher. The navy learned well from their mistakes, and reformed themselves into a more potent force from this war.

Up next on the agenda was Cyprus. The Crusader kingdom was small, weak and divided in a class struggle between the French Aristocracy and the Greek commoners, making it a tempting target to invade. Over a series of months beginning in the spring of 1419, the navy managed to overwhelm and pacify the island. And on the beginning of 1420 AD, the navy eventually had its sights on Crete.

The attack was of a rapid, forceful push, where a fleet of dozens of ships manned by the well trained crews launched a beachhead on the island. Despite the Most Serene Republic’s preparations and patrols it was simply too much. Compounded with the Greek population taking the distraction of the navy to revolt yet again, the Venetians were ultimately driven from the island.

Unwilling to deal with another rowdy province that would require years of pacification, (an expense that would ruin the momentum of the campaign) the Sultanate offered to create a Kingdom in Crete with a Greek monarch at the helm in exchange for vassalage and a small yearly tribute. This apparently mollified the Cretans, who promptly accepted the deal and even offered to send troops against the Venetians.

With the fall of Crete, the war widened into a general invasion of Venetian possessions. Corfu and the Ionian isles, alongside the Dalmatian holdings were invaded and conquered as time went on. And while the Venetians made the Ottomans bleed for every inch of land, the longer the war lasted, the more assets (and money) the Venetians lost, dragging them into a decisive disadvantage. Trade ground to a halt, prompting many unpaid sailors to leave or worse, defect to the Ottomans. The Venetians knew they needed a decisive victory to end the war, as this was quickly turning into a repeat of Chioggia 40 years earlier.

Simultaneously, the Sultanate moved a vast army to Bosnia with a message to the kingdom of Hungary: Withdraw from Croatia and allow passage of Ottoman troops. Unwilling to let his lands be plundered, the Hungarian king attempted to intercept the Ottoman forces. A quick battle resulted off this, and when the news reached the Sultan, he was furious. His calculated gamble had failed, and Suleyman was forced to respond with a blow of force in order to restore face. The Sultan’s army was deployed and war broke out between Hungary and the Ottomans; the third in the century. And like the former two, it was short and decisive. 30,000 Ottoman troops, supplemented by elite Janissary forces swept through the land, carving up the Hungarian knights.

Suleyman, in his wisdom, managed to effectively manage the two campaigns together and often in tandem, using the conquered Croatian lands to serve as waypoints for his navy, and the in turn the navy was used to reinforce his position in Croatia. By 1423, all land south of the Sava was under his control. This natural border worked perfectly for the Turks, allowing them to cement their position and launch strikes into the Venetian holdings in Dalmatia.

This allowed for the final assault against Venice. 4 years of war had driven the city desperate and nearly bankrupt. Mass desertion was rampant, and parts of the city were under threat of starvation. The strikes against Venetian territory had turned into blockade, and blockade turned into siege. At the same time, the war in Croatia had effectively led to Ottoman conquest of the a wealthy region from the crown of Hungary.

The siege of Venice was a brutal affair, with the Republic’s natural defenses turning it into a cage of its own making. The difficulties in invasion simply changed Ottoman strategy; if the city could not be taken by force, it would be starved until it bent the knee. The republic’s holdings on the Italian mainlands were cut off, and an ambitious Milan had began to expand at Venice’s expense, denying it of further assets and critical foodstuffs.

Eventually the Republic reached a breaking point. Food riots against the government broke out, becoming increasingly violent. Each one would be met with savage repression, only for a bigger riot to break out as soon as that one was put down. Riots spiraled out into all out war, as the “Most Serene” republic savagely ripped itself apart from the inside. Ultimately, the urban mob would force a coup against the doge and a temporary council was installed. Messages were sent out to the Ottomans, signifying that Venice would submit to the Ottomans.

[1] Ok, I need to state this: Due to Mehmed I never ascending to power, the Timar system never gets developed. Instead, we get something more (initially) similar to the Poronia system of the Komnenoi Emperors. Now, I’d go into a lot more detail about this, and the differences between the OTL Timar system but I’m trying to get this timeline done in a week, not a month.
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Deleted member 67076

March 5, 1423: On this this day the Most Serene Republic of Venice sold her soul. In exchange for lifting the siege, the Republic would submit to the authority of the Sultan in Constantinople. In the ensuing peace negotiations, it is decided that Venice would become a vassal of the Ottoman Empire. In the terms of the treaty, the following changes in policy are decided:

-A moderate yearly tribute in both men and money (11,000 Ducats to be exact) would be given to the Ottoman state.
-In addition, the Republic must provide her ships and men at the ready in the event the Ottoman Empire needed them in a war. No questions asked, no objections raised.
-Aall Ottoman ships were to be be able to dock in Venetian territory and be repaired for free while a naval base would be established in Venice proper.
-Next, she would be required to send her finest engineers and bankers over to the Empire, where they would work on recreating the famous Venetian arsenal in Ottoman cities and help bear the vast burden of managing the finances of the empire. In that time that would follow, Constantinople, Salonika, Alexandria, Palermo and a host of other cities would have their own arsenals for their use.
-Finally, the Four Horses of Saint Mark, in addition to the many artifacts looted during the Fourth Crusade were to be turned over to the Sublime Porte.

This last one stung, but gave great support domestically to the Ottomans, especially to the subdued Greek population who still remembered the dreaded Fourth Crusade.

Such terms were daunting, but the Serene Republic was in no position to bargain. Either she would accept the terms of the treaty or the Ottomans would resume the blockade. Eventually, with a heavy heart, the new government in Venice accepted. While humiliating at first, this would arguable prove to be the best thing for the Venetian cause. The prospect of being a vassal gave them protection from their neighbors, allowed them to focus almost entirely as middlemen and traders, and eliminated their trading dues (well most of them) with the Ottomans and for all intents and purposes gave the Republic an absolutely massive free trade zone that would drastically increase in size as the decades pass.

On the other side, this was a seen as a massive victory for the Ottomans. Practically this didn’t do much except for eliminate the greatest naval threat to their ambitions and initially provide a small sum of income and ships to the empire, but it would cement their position as the dominant power in the Adriatic. As noted before, this was a huge domestic victory at home, giving massive support to the regime, while helping to integrated the Greek populace of the city, especially when in an effort to gain the support of the Greek population, the Ottomans proudly announced that the Roman Empire had finally. The fact that the phrase “Roman Empire” was used signals the first part of a shift to a more conscious effort to model themselves as a continuation of the Roman Empire. Initially this was taken with understandable skepticism from the populace, but as the years passed that perception would slowly change. Suleyman, the well educated man that he was, argued that the new, Islamic Roman Empire was a continuation of the old one in the same sense that Persia never stopped being Persia after the Dar Al Islam had conquered them. Why should Rome be any different?

In any case, it worked, as there was not much criticism against the statements. (Not that any criticism would be tolerated, anyway...) Continuing with domestic policy, Suleyman took great care in modeling himself as a Roman Emperor, adopting many of the traditions of his predecessors in Byzantium, while also giving attention to his Turkish and Islamic culture and blending it together into something… unique.. A blend of east and west, of Christian and Islamic, of Greek, Latin and Turkish. While it might seem like this would have taken an insane amount of cognitive dissonance, and perhaps it did, the people eventually began to accept it, little by little. Each victory inspired confidence and gave legitimacy, after all.

Following the elimination of Venice as a major player, was the invasion of Naples. In 1425, the Ottomans embarked on a landing in Oranto. Queen Joanna II feared this moment would come, and using all her connections and authority she raised up an army as large as possible to intercept the Turk. Marching south, the Neapolitan host attempted to intercept the advancing invaders. Their army, a good 14000 men (including cavalry) does well, pushing the Ottomans to the southern breach of Apulia. Rumelia’s occupation of Naples is nearly cut short but is saved thanks to fresh reinforcements from the north, forcing the Italians to withdraw to protect their northern holdings. This allows the Ottomans to strengthen their southern position and resupply over the winter. The naval dominance of the Ottomans ensures that the logistics are taken care of, and once their position is entrenched in the south, the Ottomans are able to take and hold all of Salento.The extensive Ottoman navy has also ensured that Sicily, and Aragon do not get involved. The latter is wary of any involvement against Rumeli after the fall of Venice, and (incorrectly) calculates that its simply not worth intervening against the Turk at this time.

In spring, the campaign begins anew, with the march to secure Calabria the number one thing on the commander’s minds. By 1427, much of the south has fallen, with the effective border between the combatants at Salerno. The Neapolitans are tiring out, but fortunately receive money and arms from the Papal states, who have no interest in sharing a border with infadels. This does boster the defenses of the kingdom, especially around the capital regions. A third invasion is launched by a supplemental army, allowing for the conquest Abruzzo and Molise later that year. Following the fall of Molise, the Italians pull all their military assets in defending their capital region. The remaining troops, 8,000 strong (not counting mercenaries and Papal reinforcements) manage to put up a good fight, forcing the Ottomans to withdraw on 3 occassions. But for every man that the Ottomans lose, 2 more take their place. The slow, steady advance of the Ottomans cannot be stopped. Salento falls in August of 1428, and by fall, the gates of Naples are besieged. After a 3 week siege, the city falls. Naples is reorganized into an eyalet, and the new Ottoman government takes great care into integrating the country into their system. The feudal system is ended, the aristocracy is broken, and even settlers from Rumelia and Anatolia are brought in. Meanwhile, the far more organized Ottoman bureaucracy goes to work on trying to fix the mismanagement that occurred after the installment of the Anjou. These acts would do wonders for the new conquerors, as the populace eventually grew to prefer their rule over their previous masters.

In the North, Pope Martin prepares. He knows his time is limited. What was once denounced as madness and paranoia a mere 30 years ago was happening. The infadels are at the gates of Rome herself. The Holy city is in danger of falling. And so he works fervently, intent on making sure that if Rome shall fall, they will take the Turk with them.