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Empress Theonora
Feb 19, 2001

She was a sword glinting in the depths of night, a lance of light piercing the darkness. There would be no mistakes this time.





A Roman Byzantine Empire Paradox Mega-Campaign!


Time in its irresistible and ceaseless flow carries along on its flood all created things, and drowns them in the depths of obscurity, no matter if they be quite unworthy of mention, or most noteworthy and important, and thus, as the tragedian says, "he brings from the darkness all things to the birth, and all things born envelops in the night." [Sophocles Ajax, 646]

But the tale of history forms a very strong bulwark against the stream of time, and to some extent checks its irresistible flow, and, of all things done in it, as many as history has taken over, it secures and binds together, and does not allow them to slip away into the abyss of oblivion.

Anna Komnene, the Alexiad

Yet another Paradox Let's Play?
Well, yes. That's the thing about Paradox games— they're churning history machines, and every game is a new story in a new world.

Anyway, everyone's always obsessed with Byzantium in all of these things so somebody might as well just play as 'em.

What's a Paradox game? Can I... eat it?
Is your idea of fun staring at a map of Europe for days at a time? Well, then, have I got some games for you!

So anyway
This LP is going to begin in Crusader Kings 2. It'll continue on into Europa Universalis 4, and then maybe into Victoria 2, depending on how whether the narrative seems to call for it.

Mods Used:
CK2:
The Crusader Kings 2 segment of this LP uses a number of mods which like right after I started the game have been bundled into the Historical Immersion Project— VIET Traits and Events, the ARKOpack, and Project Balance. This includes the Gender Equality module of Project Balance because, well, I think it's fun, and I have to play this game for God knows how many hours.

EU4:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/8lesl74ul...0Final.zip?dl=0

This mod uses (with permission) elements of Unit Packs Extended and Dark Continent, as well as flags from you, the person reading this post. Hello!

Background
Crusader Kings 2 spans centuries of history, from 867 AD to 1453. The default starting dates are 867, for fans of Vikings stealing all your stuff, and 1066, for fans of being shot in the eye with an arrow, but we'll be starting from a slightly later historical bookmark— the one at April 1st 1081, appropriately called the Alexiad.

Alexios I Komnenos had just ascended to the throne after a successful coup against Nikephoros III Botaneiates. The Byzantine Empire was... not doing so well.


The Byzantine Empire pretty much looks like this, right? I mean, that map's right at the top of the Wikipedia article!


Oh. Oh dear.

In actual history, Alexios was a successful leader who brought an empire reeling from the victories of the Sultanate of Rum back from the brink of ruin, beginning the Komnenian restoration. His accomplishments are chronicled in the history know as the Alexiad, by his daughter Anna Komnene.

This is a story of a different Byzantium, beginning with a different Alexios Komnenos.

He had a different daughter, for starters.

And she wrote a different Alexiad.


PART ONE: The Norman Invasion (1081)
PART TWO: The Doux and the Doukas (1081-1085)
PART THREE: Exeunt (1085-1087)
PART FOUR: Yo Ho Ho and a Battle of Rum (1087-1090)
PART FIVE: Citation for Bravery (1090-1094)
SENATE SESSION 1: Flagchat and Turkchat
PART SIX: Cloak and Dagger (1094-1098)
PART SEVEN: With Apologies to Mike Duncan (1098-1101)
PART EIGHT: The, Um, "Meletiad" (1101-1118)
PART NINE: Wolfe of the Steppes (1118-1136)
PART TEN: The Sun Rises in the East (1126-1130)
SENATE SESSION 2: Political Realignment and the Saimid War
PART ELEVEN: The Long Regency (1130-1131)
PART TWELVE: The New Byzantine (1131-1170)
PART THIRTEEN: The Komnenian Crisis (1170-1212)
SENATE SESSION 3: State of the World of 1212, Political Realignment
PART FOURTEEN: Janus (1212-1231)
PART FIFTEEN: The Fallen King (1231-1247)
SENATE SESSION 4: State of the World of 1247, Political Realignment
PART SIXTEEN: Trash Boot (1247-1251)
PART SEVENTEEN: Assassination Vacation (1251-1267)
PART EIGHTEEN: Rome is Where the Heart is (1267-1281)
PART NINETEEN: Trajan Horse (1281-1285)
State of the World, 1285
SENATE SESSION 5: Political Realignment of 1285
PART TWENTY: The Second War for Sicily (1285-1296)
PART TWENTY-ONE: The Bad Years (1296-1299)
PART TWENTY-TWO: The Clock Strikes Midnight (1299-1313)
PART TWENTY-THREE: The Old Byzantine in a Time of Strife (1313-1341)
PARTY TWENTY-FOUR: The Long and Glorious Reign of Valeria III (1341-1342)
PART TWENTY-FIVE: The Fall of the House of Komnenos (1342-1357)
SENATE SESSION 6: Welcome to the Punishment Zone™
PART TWENTY-SIX: The Senatorial Kiev Experience (1357-1358)
PART TWENTY-SEVEN: The Secret Diary of Dobrava Yaroslavovna, Aged 9 (1358-1362)
SENATE? SESSION 7: Rome is restored!
PART TWENTY-EIGHT: The Growing Pains of Dobrava Yaroslavovna (1362-1368)
PART TWENTY-NINE: Da Qin (1368-1370)
PART THIRTY: The Sun Sets in the West (1370-1390)
PART THIRTY-ONE: The True Confessions of Dobrava Yaroslavovna (1390-1406)
PART THIRTY-TWO: Let Europe Tremble (1406-1429)
PART THIRTY-THREE: The Yaroslaviad (1429-1436)
PART THIRTY-FOUR: An Englishman in Constantinople (1436-1444)
SENATE SESSION 8 (Part 1): The Nature of the Empire
SENATE SESSION 8 (Part 2): The Composition of the Senate
SENATE SESSION 8 (Part 3): Special Session on the Status of the Exarchate of Kartli, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Diplomatic Relations Limit


PRELUDE: State of the World, 1444
PART 35: The Savoy Truffle (1444-1453)
PART 36: Doukes? Nuke 'Em (1453-1458)
PART 37: gently caress ROME, gently caress DE MOWBRAY, gently caress YOU (1458-1491)
PART 38: Radziwiłł they or Radziwon't they? (1491-1508)
SENATE SESSION 9: Political Realignment of 1508
PART 39: Little Trouble in Big China (1508-1519)
PART 40: An Unorthodox Solution (1519-1541)
Interlude: Ecumenical Council of Smyrna The Edict of Athens Rumors of the Far West
PART 41: The Golden Age of the Radziwiłłs (1541-1610)
SENATE SESSION 10: We ran out of Seantors, please send more.
The Fall of the Senate
1: Was that a Cannon?
2: Constitution Class
3: Constitutionalism with Greek Characteristics
PART 42: Vita, Universus, et Omnia (1610-1666)
State of the World, 1666
PART 43: (Interlude) Reviving the Roman Name (1666-1672)
PART 44: A New Alexiad (1666-1687)
PART 45: Julia of the Julii (1687-1712)
PART 46: A Dear Old Friend (1712-1724)
SENATE SESSION 11: The Grand Ball
The Tsarina's Favorites
PART 47: Artemis (1724-1761)
PART 48: The Black Chamber (1761-1802)
PART 49: Komm, Süsser Tod (1802-1807)
The Course of Empire
PART 50: Noor Sallajer (1807-1815)
PART 51: Greek Fire, Iberian Water (1815-1827)
State of the World, 1827
Prelude to Victoria
1827
1828


PRELUDE: State of the World, 1836
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SESSION 1: Let's throw the people we're about to send to horrible deaths fighting France a bone!
PART 52: The Sun and the Moon (1836-1837)
PART 53: Here Comes the Sun King (1837-1840)
PART 54: The Most Dangerous Game (1840-1842)
PART 55: Le roi est mort, vive la reine! (1842-1850)
PART 56: The Queen's Gambit Accepted (1850)
PART 57: Discovered Check (1850-1855)
PART 58: Checkmate (1855-1857)
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SESSION 2
--Day 1: The Future of the Victorian League
--Day 2: Military Priorities
--Day 3: Reforms
State of the World, 1857
PART 59: Splendid Little Wars (1857-1862)
PART 60: Deal With It (1862-1865)
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SESSION 3: All Rhodes Lead To...
PART 61: Day of the Colossus (1865-1868)
PART 62: In the Salon of Noor Sallajer (1868-1870)
PART 63: With a Smile of Christian Charity (1870-1875)
PART 64: Heart of Darkness (1875-1883)
PART 65: Liberation Theology (1883-1884)
THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL
--Day 1: Roll Call; Whither Constantinople?
--City of the World's Desire
--Day 2: Pope Lando VIII; A Suitable Title
--City of the World's Desire
--Day 3: Quit Africa!
--City of the World's Desire
--Day 4: The Fate of a Dictator
--City of the Worlds' Desire
--Day 5: Closing Statement
PART 66: Exteberria's War (1884-1889)
PART 67: Operation Fortinbras (1889-1896)
PART 68: Titanomachy (1896-1899)
PART 69: New Victorians (1899-1905)
State of the World, 1905
PART 70: A War With China, to Mixed Results (1905-1906)
PART 71: Pax Europaea (1906-1907)
PART 72: Over There, Over There! (1907-1911)
PART 73: Ardent for Some Desperate Glory (1911-1923)
PART 74: You are the Water (1923-1927)
PART 75: The Owl, the Dragon, and the Wolf (1927-1934)
State of the World, 1934
PAPAL CONCLAVE
HISTORIA


Part 1: State of the World, 1081
Part 2: A Wolf at the Door (1081-1083)
Part 3: Backdrifts (1083-1103)
Part 4: The Boney King Of Nowhere (1936)

OTHER BONUS UPDATES
PART 75: Greco-Romans (April 1, 1934)

Empress Theonora fucked around with this message at Apr 2, 2016 around 07:18

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Empress Theonora
Feb 19, 2001

She was a sword glinting in the depths of night, a lance of light piercing the darkness. There would be no mistakes this time.



Fan art!

Thanqol posted:

LP fanart is a thing I do apparently.




Thanqol posted:

This is the worst thing I have ever done and I'm sorry.



D3m3 posted:

No, that's pretty much perfect. It's just a quick sketch, but I'm way too entertained by the notion to not draw doggies.
Presenting Acting Senator Scruffles!


Samuel posted:

Is this what you want senators?!




Mr.Morgenstern posted:

Couldn't find a good size picture of the Rhodes flag so I used this Komnenos flag I found instead. Regardless, I think we'll see something like this on the back of rural Italian pickup trucks a century from now.


Empress Theonora fucked around with this message at Jan 29, 2015 around 07:48

Empress Theonora
Feb 19, 2001

She was a sword glinting in the depths of night, a lance of light piercing the darkness. There would be no mistakes this time.



PART ONE: THE NORMAN INVASION (1081)

Excerpts from the Alexiad
By Iouliana Komnene

Introduction

It is primarily through the good offices of the great historians of antiquity— Herodotus and Thucydides, Livy and Plutarch, Cassius Dio and Tacitus, Ammianus Marcellinus and Procopius, and all their immortal peers— that we can claim to know anything of our ancestors and, therefore, ourselves. How can one understand the great Emperor Justinian without knowing of Constantine? How can one understand the reign of Constantine without learning of Diocletian's doomed tetrarchy? How could the reforms of Diocletian be truly comprehended without knowledge of the fleeting emperors of the crisis years who brought the Empire low? And so on, an unbroken chain to Caesar Augustus, Alexander the Great, Pericles, et alii.

I shall therefore state that it, in writing this history of the reign of my father, it is not my intention to glorify myself, the House of Komnenos, or even the Emperor Alexios himself. It is because the reign of Alexios was a pivotal moment in the history of the empire; one I believe, emphatically, that our descendants should know of. Whatever the ultimate fate of the empire, the world of tomorrow is inevitably the sum of a succession of yesterdays.

[...]

Book 2:
Having detailed my father's early life and rise to power in the preceding book, let us now turn our attention to the state of the empire he found himself presiding over.



It was a Roman Empire in crisis; perhaps one of the greatest crises of its history. The Seljuk general Suleyman has seized virtually the whole of Asia Minor, establishing the rather satirically dubbed "Sultanate of Rum". Beyond Rum lay the trackless expanse of the Seljuk Empire proper. The Tengri Pechengs lurked in the north. In the west, the rebellious principality of Duklja had defied imperial authority for decades.

From the south: Robert Guiscard and the Normans, intent on laying claim to new territories.



Alexios Komnenos was a man who considered himself equal to the Herculean task of knitting this broken empire together again. Some might consider this hubris; however, history is full of such men and women. I particularly suggest study of the reign of Aurelian, known to history as Restitutor Orbis— Restorer of the World.

He was a great general and leader of men— qualities which necessarily feature heavily in this history. However, I believe that his greatest skill was the art of stewardship and imperial administration. It is one thing to win an empire at the point of a sword; it is another to rule it.



The Seljuk Suleyman, though he presided over great victories in his war for Anatlolia and though he was seen by his contemporaries as just, charitable, and humble (yet where was his justice for the people of Rome? Where was his charity for the conquered? Where was his humilty?), lacked these qualities.



The empire, in its diminished state, could scarcely muster 6103 men— a far cry from the tens of thousands who once filled Rome's legions. Yet Suleyman's levies were less than half that number. He ruled a formidable domain, but— for the time being— was unable to even approach properly administering it.



Alexios recognized that if he were going to reclaim Asia Minor and overthrow Rum, he would have to act sooner rather than later. Before he could turn his eyes east, however, he still had to content with Robert Guiscard's attempt to add the Balkans to his Apulian domains.



The Normans knew they would have to strike before Alexios could consolidate forces raised all over the empire. Being able seamen, they landed a force of 3,400 in Epiros and easily overwhelmed a small detachment of five hundred Romans passing through the area.


Victorious, they laid siege to the holdings of Epirus while an unwieldy imperial military apparatus still struggled to bring itself to bear.


Pope Gregory VII, concerned that the stricken Roman Empire no longer constituted adequate protection for Christendom from the Seljuk hordes, and notwithstanding the fact that its coasts were currently being ravaged by his fellow Catholics, called for a Crusade to retake Jerusalem to the fractious kings and queens of the West. The mood in Constantinople could charitably be described as, "skeptical."


Meanwhile, Alexios arranged for his sister Theodora to marry the king of Alania, cementing an alliance between their respective states. Alexios recognized that the days when Rome could stand alone were long past, and cultivated alliances wherever he could. While Epiros burned and soldiers died on forced marches across Greece, wedding bells rang at the Hagia Sophia.


The Normans, realizing that their advantage would be lost if Alexios were allowed to consolidate his soldiers into a single army, abandoned their siegeworks at Epiros and attacked the emperor's camp at Thessaloniki. While reinforcements scrambled to reach the battle in time, my father personally led the defense. It was too late for the Normans, however; Roman soldiers poured into the province, overwhelming the enemy.


Rather than pressing his advantage against the de Hautevilles for greater concessions, my father elected to conclude a hasty peace with Robert Guiscard, who was only too happy to wash his hands of the Balkans affair with over half his army lying dead on the fields of Thessaloniki.


With the immediate crisis over, the Emperor began preparations for a campaign in the east. With much of his army never having even engaged the Normans, he was still confident he could outnumber the armies of Rum. He nonetheless began recruitment of an elite retinue of cataphracts to serve as a standing defense force for Constantinople.


He also continued to seek marriage alliances, betrothing my uncle Nikephoros to the daughter of Emperor Henrich IV. If any at court looked askance at the pretensions of the Holy Roman Empire in claiming the imperial mantle of Rome or styling their ruler the Römisch-deutscher Kaiser, their tongues were still.

This business concluded, Alexios planned to finally begin his renewed war to overthrow Rum.


However, the douxes and potentates of the empire saw the weakness of the Imperial regime as occasion to set aside their differences in the name of making common cause against the Seljuk, but as an opportunity for their own advancement. Doux Nikephoros of Epiros burned with particular resentment against this Komnenos usurper who— in his eyes— sat idle at Thessaloniki waiting for the enemy to come to him while Normans ran rampant over his demesne.


When, on the very eve of my father's reconquest of the East, Nikephoros and a coalition of Douxes presented a petition to Alexios demanding he hand the Empire to the Despotes Andronikos, he had no choice but to refuse.


Thus it was that on October 1st, 1081— five months after his coronation— Alexios found himself facing civil war.

Empress Theonora fucked around with this message at Jan 19, 2014 around 05:58

TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2020
---------
Despair. Malice.
Values America can believe in.


I find the line "everyone's always obsessed with Byzantium in all of these things so somebody might as well just play as 'em" to be a pretty interesting overhead. A pretty good start to the LP, too. Definitely looking forward to seeing where this goes.

I'm also looking forward to Byzantophile shenanigans as much as I'm looking forward to anti-Byzantophile shenanigans in this thread. Which is to say, a lot.

Patter Song
Mar 26, 2010

Hereby it is manifest that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man.

Fun Shoe

The nice thing about the Alexiad start is that we already have an entrenched Turkish presence in Anatolia so there will be less of the "The Turks never reach the Aegean" problem that Paradox LPs in CK2 tend to have.

GenderSelectScreen
Mar 7, 2010

Boops boops


College Slice

I agree; this is a good start for a Byzantium megacampaign. At least better than a "Start at 867, become Roman Empire, rule world" megacampaign.

Empress Theonora
Feb 19, 2001

She was a sword glinting in the depths of night, a lance of light piercing the darkness. There would be no mistakes this time.



JGBeagle posted:

I agree; this is a good start for a Byzantium megacampaign. At least better than a "Start at 867, become Roman Empire, rule world" megacampaign.

Yeah, I'm not going to shoot for restoring Rome unless things happen that make it make narrative sense. Since if I go and do that, well, it'll be a struggle to make EU4 not be a total snooze.

The 1081 start jumped out at me since Byzantium is at enough of a disadvantage that it's interesting, but not so far gone that a.) it's untenable and b.) there's like a century of CK2 left anyway.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Doctor Rope

Ah, already on to the Byzantine national pastime of civil war. This'll be fun.

Scintilla
Aug 24, 2010

I BEAT HIGHFORT
and all I got was this
jackass monkey


You should act in the true spirit of Byzantine politics and just have the claimant in question murdered.

Clayren
Jun 4, 2008

grandma plz don't folow me on twiter its embarassing, if u want to know what animes im watching jsut read the family newsletter like normal

Scintilla posted:

You should act in the true spirit of Byzantine politics and just have the claimant in question murdered.

Castrated and Blinded, you mean.

Enchanted Hat
Aug 18, 2013



58 soldiers against a few thousand rebels? I like those odds!

AtomikKrab
Jul 17, 2010

Keep on GOP rolling rolling rolling rolling.


I approve of this LP.


And shank that fool, SHANK HIM.

sharkbeard
Jun 24, 2013

Completely Unamused

Rincewind posted:

The Normans knew they would have to strike before Alexios could consolidate forces raised all over the empire. Being able seamen, they landed a force of 3,4000 in Epiros and easily overwhelmed a small detachment of five hundred Romans passing through the area.

Are you certain this is the right number of soldiers?

Other than that, really looking forward to this LP.

Duckbox
Sep 7, 2007



Promising start so far. Here's hoping the Komnenans continue to live in interesting times.

Viscardus
Jun 1, 2011

Thus equipped by fortune, physique, and character, he was naturally indomitable, and subordinate to no one in the world.


Rincewind posted:

It was too late for the Normans, however; Roman soldiers poured into the province, overwhelming the enemy.

I do not approve.

Alexios had good reason to be friedly with the Heinrich IV, though. In real life, it is quite probable that it was only Heinrich's attack on Rome (which Alexios paid for in the form of 360,000 gold pieces) that saved Alexios from being deposed by Robert Guiscard. Robert reluctantly halted his campaign in the Balkans (where Alexios had consistently been forced to retreat from the Norman armies after his defeat at Dyrrachium) in order to save Pope Gregory VII from Heinrich's siege of Rome. Heinrich retreated as soon as Robert returned, giving Robert the unique honour of having two different Roman Emperors run away from him in the span of a year.

It didn't do much good, though, since Alexios was eventually able to defeat the Normans that had been left behind after the command of a young Bohemond (after losing to Bohemond twice). He eventually won at Larissa... with the help of a large number of Turkish soldiers sent by the Seljuks to help him. He and Bohemond would meet again, of course, several times, as both allies and enemies.

Incidentally, the way Bohemond and to a lesser extent Robert are portrayed in the Alexiad is kind of fascinating. Anna frequently goes out of her way to portray them as barbarous and terrible, and yet at the same time constantly speaks at length about how impressive they are in various ways. Her physical description of Bohemond (whom she met as a teenager while he was in Constantinople during the First Crusade) in particular is both extensive and quite complementary.

1stGear
Jan 16, 2010

whoa nice


College Slice

Viscardus posted:

Incidentally, the way Bohemond and to a lesser extent Robert are portrayed in the Alexiad is kind of fascinating. Anna frequently goes out of her way to portray them as barbarous and terrible, and yet at the same time constantly speaks at length about how impressive they are in various ways. Her physical description of Bohemond (whom she met as a teenager while he was in Constantinople during the First Crusade) in particular is both extensive and quite complementary.

Anna Komnenos posted:

But he who undertakes the "role" of an historian must sink his personal likes and dislikes, and often award the highest praise to his enemies when their actions demand it, and often, too, blame his nearest relations if their errors require it.

I wish I had read the Alexiad earlier because it is full of rad quotes like this.

Viscardus
Jun 1, 2011

Thus equipped by fortune, physique, and character, he was naturally indomitable, and subordinate to no one in the world.


1stGear posted:

I wish I had read the Alexiad earlier because it is full of rad quotes like this.

Eh, she says that, but the whole thing is practically a hagiography of her father (and is probably in large part responsible for his inflated reputation).

Empress Theonora
Feb 19, 2001

She was a sword glinting in the depths of night, a lance of light piercing the darkness. There would be no mistakes this time.



Part 2: The Doux and the Doukas

Excerpts from the Alexiad
By Iouliana Komnene

[...]
Book Three:


Having launched his war on behalf of Despotes Andronikos Doukas, Doux Nikephoros of Epirus faced a strategic situation very similar to that faced by the emperor in the Norman War— an army which vastly outnumbered his opponent, but scattered across the territories held by his supporters. Alexios had gathered 1400 loyal soldiers in Thrace— a small force, but one which outnumbered any single rebel army. The rebel lords of Greece would all hang together, or else hang apart.


Meanwhile, Alexios once again called on his allies in Alania, who answered his call to arms a second time in a single year.


Imperial forces won an early victory at Mesembria, capturing the traitorious Komes Ioannes. Keeping his army together, however, obliged Alexios to leave Constantinople defended only by the garrison forces manning the Theodosian Walls. A thousand rebels— one of the largest single detachments of the Doukas forces— began the slow, methodical process of besieging the capital.


The emperor, having linked up with a smaller force to replenish his army after the losses suffered at Mesembria, was determined to relieve Constantinople at the first opportunity, however. His generals, however, urged him to continue to pursue his initial strategy— to run down and eliminate the small forces controlled by the various rebel nobles before they could be assembled into a great Doukas host too large to be defeated.

My father prayed to God for guidance, asking for a sign. That night, a messenger arrived at the imperial camp with urgent news— a band of soldiers from Adrianopolis, the personal domain of Andronikos, had run into a small Moesian levy. While the Moesian force was uninvolved in the civil war, having been raised to attend to internal strife among the Doux of Moesia's own vassals, the Doukas army attacked them and was consequently pinned down.


Alexios, with tears in his eyes, turned his back on Constantinople and rode south.


The result was a decisive victory. Of course, this should not be attributed to any particular tactical genius or individual feat of heroic bravery on my father's part. The entire point of the Battle of Moesia was that it was a battle that couldn't be lost. Yet that, I think, was my father's true genius in war— not in winning battles, but in recognizing opportunities where victory was inevitable.

Nonetheless, heralds throughout the empire spread word of the great victory of Moesia, and bards sung songs of how splendid a figure he cut at the head of a vanguard of cataphracts. Perhaps it was even true.

It almost seems beyond the point. An empire in crisis needed a strong, unifying figure; it needed tales of heroism to buoy its flagging spirits.


He could only be in one place at once, however. While he was fighting in the west, other rebel forces slipped across the Aegean from Abydos and bolstered the strength of the armies besieging Constantinople. The Theodosian Walls still held firm, but the rebel army was now too large for the emperor to be able to dislodge them with the troops personally loyal to him.

The empire's finances, having never had time to recover from the exertions of the war against Robert Guiscard, were in a precarious state. Nonetheless, Alexios realized he had to risk further compounding a running deficit and dwindling imperial coffers by calling upon the Varangian Guard to defend Rome.


Reinforced— for now— by the Norse, Alexios ordered his forces back to Constantinople. The Varagnian Captain, a man named Arni, was given the prestigious position of leading the emperor's center flank. My father's personal reputation for heroism was secondary to the pragmatic realities of the heart of the empire besieged; he commanded the right flank.


The advance on Constantinople seemed painfully slow to Alexios, and he took out his frustration on his Logothete, Komes Manuel. His ire was entirely justified; had Komes Manuel executed the duties of his office with any degree of adequacy, the civil war might have been avoided entirely.


Manuel seemed to take the emperor's public denunciation of him to heart, however, and he pursued his agenda with a renewed vigor.

Later on, however, he— in his capacity as a komes— threw in his lot with the rebels.


Battle was joined with the rebels outside of Constantinople. The Doux of Moesia, sensing that the war had entered a decisive moment, took the opportunity to declare himself for the rebels. His motives remain obscure. He was a Doukas, after all— perhaps he decided that fidelity to his house trumped his obligations as the emperor's brother in law. Yet it should have been transparently apparent even to the callow young Doux that Despotes Andronikos was but a vessel for the ambitious of the Doux of Epirus, who was for more interested in his own advancement than in reversing the declining fortunes of the deposed imperial family. Perhaps Michael simply saw that, with the balance starting to shift towards the imperial loyalists, his sudden entry into the war could be the rebels' salvation, and the new emperor— and his Epirotian puppet-master— would come to power in his debt.


In spite of this strategic setback, the battle of Constantinople and— with the advice and guidance of Arni— Alexios continued to develop his military skills.


After entering Constantinople in triumph and being reunited with the Empress Irene, Alexios was pleased to meet his newborn son for the very first time. He could not tarry in the city for long, however; his army was needed elsewhere.


He decided that he'd bypass Moesia for now and move south, hoping to attack a concentration of Doukas forces besieging those portions of Greece still loyal to Constantinople and relieve a smaller imperial force trapped on the island of Euboea.


The constant campaigning— it was now 1082, and he had been at war for nearly a full year, save for the brief interval between the end of the Norman War and Nikephoros' ultimatum— took a toll on my father, with one mad dash across Greece after another causing him to spend many of his days in a state of constant exhaustion. While he never wavered in his exertions on behalf of Rome, his attention to detail suffered.


Alexios arrived in the heartland of Epirus, hoping to force the traitor Doux to abandon the loyalist holdings he'd seized and defend his demesne. Meanwhile, the troops stranded at Euboea took heavy losses as they fended off a failed rebel advance.


The Doux failed to take the bait, however, and Alexios was forced to confront the Doukas forces head on. While he still outnumbered them enough to ensure victory, a head-on assault meant more Imperial casualties. Realizing that he would be unable to do without the Varangians, the emperor was forced to take out a sizable loan in order to

From the north, however, came welcome news: a sizable Alanian army led by personally by Alexios' sister, Queen Theodora, had just arrived in the empire and had begun a long march into Greece.


Also welcome was the news that the Doukessa of Krete herself was among the prisoners rounded up by Imperial forces after the battle. Cretans were known to be amongst the most manipulative and savvy politicians in the Roman Empire; with their leader under lock and key, the Doukas rebels had lost a key asset.


Somewhat bafflingly, Doux Nikephoros of Dyrrachion chose this moment to raise his banner in rebellion. Perhaps the young man was unaware of the defeats on the field suffered by the Epirotians. Perhaps he simply considered a future where an emperor defeated nearly ever Doux and Doukessa in the empire and saw it for a future where his own feudal privileges would be severely curtailed.


The combined Roman-Alanian army commanded by Alexios and Theodora was more than a match for anything the rebels could field at this point. However, the majority of the empire's territory was still in the hands of rebels, and the empire remained in turmoil. The Bulgarians sought to turn the empire's weakness into greater autonomy for themselves; the emperor rejected their plea.


Alexios was losing ground all over the empire. The traitor Komes Manuel laid siege to Thrace. The Moesians retained their foothold in the north. A force from Dyrrachion occupied Thessaloniki and prevented the reclamation of Thessalia. Reluctantly, Alexios divided his forces, with a larger force setting out to fight Dyrrachion while a smaller detachment maintained the siege at Epirus.


The Dyrrachion army was swiftly defeated, but the Moesians took the opportunity to attack the smaller imperial detachment, forcing the main Roman-Alanian army to turn back and relieve it.


Realizing that he was spread too thin, the emperor again turns to marriage to secure alliances. A match is arranged between yet another brother of the emperor's and an Italian countess. This secures an alliance with not only the countess herself, but her liege, the Duchess Mathilde of Sicily. In a strange twist of fate, Mathilde was a Norman de Hauteville. She apparently bore no ill will on behalf of Robert Guiscard, however, and entered the war on Alexios' side. Alexios also decides on a new strategy: He will risk allowing the scattered rebel forces to regroup by concentrating on occupying the personal demesne of Doux Nikephoros himself.


At the Battle of Pleven, the emperor encountered a familiar face.


Komes Manuel is easily defeated in the resulting duel, and Alexios takes him captive.


Finally, after suffering numerous setbacks and defeats, and with the Doux's own territories occupied by imperial forces, the Doux decided that although he still had armies in the field and the territories of his fellow traitor Douxes were still in open revolt, the war was unwinnable. He surrendered himself to the custody of Emperor, with his sole condition being that his life be spared.


It was April 1085. The civil war had lasted nearly four years. Alexios was only too happy to oblige the Doux's request, and he and his fellow traitors were escorted to the dungeons of Constantinople.

The war was over. Yet all this struggle— all this bloodshed— all these deaths— did not reclaim an inch of the vast tracts of territory Rome had lost. It was a war of survival; a war fought simply to cling to the scraps of empire still left to Rome.

EDIT: In the later part of this post, Iouliana inexplicably started writing in present tense. This ain't Snow Crash, princess!

Empress Theonora fucked around with this message at Jan 19, 2014 around 09:37

Empress Theonora
Feb 19, 2001

She was a sword glinting in the depths of night, a lance of light piercing the darkness. There would be no mistakes this time.



sharkbeard posted:

Are you certain this is the right number of soldiers?

Other than that, really looking forward to this LP.

Whoops, the comma was in the right place but I got overexcited adding zeroes at the end.

1stGear posted:

I wish I had read the Alexiad earlier because it is full of rad quotes like this.

Yeah, what I've read of it's been really great, although Viscardius is right to point out that she's not exactly the most unbiased source. Of course, pretty much all history is biased in some way or another (i.e., the way our entire perception of classical Roman history is shaped by a bunch of historians from the senatorial class with political axes to grind). Still, I feel like Anna is a master of the great and ancient art of the humblebrag.

Viscardus posted:

Eh, she says that, but the whole thing is practically a hagiography of her father (and is probably in large part responsible for his inflated reputation).

Similarly, you should all probably be taking whatever Iouliana's writing in her version of the Alexiad with a grain of salt.

Also, I hope to poo poo Iouliana actually outlives Alexios, I sort of gambled on using the name of Alexios' in-game daughter for these since the Alexiad gimmick was too tempting to pass up. I'll just have to risk a time paradox, I guess. Or just not screenshot it and keep it a secret if she dies in some gross way.

(I guess she hasn't even been born yet in the updates I've posted so the fact she exists at all is a spoiler, but it's not exactly earthshattering that Alexios has at least two kids, is it?)

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Doctor Rope

I take it you will have the traitors' leader blinded, then consign one of our leading generals in this whole affair to a frontier post in order to try to curtail his power, which will instead make him rise up against you and start a new civil war after a few years.

I don't remember a ton of the details of Byzantine history, but I do remember that sort of thing being a near constant. Bad luck, constant rebellion, crazy corruption, and an increasingly unwieldy system of military organization lead to hilarious fun times for Rome.

Empress Theonora
Feb 19, 2001

She was a sword glinting in the depths of night, a lance of light piercing the darkness. There would be no mistakes this time.



I realize that, as a Byzantine LP everyone's pretty much just waiting for the ol' eye pokers and castration knives to come out, but take a look at Alexios' traits in the first post. A kind ruler probably isn't going to go around blinding people willy-nilly.

We have like four centuries of history, though, so that's a lot of time to get around to blinding and castrating everyone.

Thanqol
Feb 15, 2012

because our character has the 'poet' trait, this update shall be told in the format of a rap battle.


LP fanart is a thing I do apparently.

Empress Theonora
Feb 19, 2001

She was a sword glinting in the depths of night, a lance of light piercing the darkness. There would be no mistakes this time.



Thanqol posted:

LP fanart is a thing I do apparently.



Awesome.

YF-23
Feb 17, 2011

My god, it's full of cat!

I'm actually reading the Alexiad these days (not very far in, I'm just before the war with the Normans), and it's a very interesting book. Some points of interest:
-Anna calls Heinrich IV "King Alamannia". As Viscardus said, Alexios sent him a very large gift in exchange for help against the Normans, so one way or the other the Holy Roman Empire claiming to be the successor state to Rome gets ignored or swept under the rug in favour of tending to more pragmatic needs.
-By this point it seems that every battle the Empire fights includes Turkish mercenaries at some point; the Byzantines seem to be consistently short on manpower. Alexios' forces had to employ hit and run nighttime attacks in their initial push against the Sultanate of Rum/Iconium.
-Anna refers to the Varangians as "warriors wielding their weapons on their shoulders".
-Anna is one, big, huge loving fangirl. Viscardus already mentioned the treatment the Normans get (Robert Guiscard is a barbarian but also incredibly strong and tall and handsome and a great warrior). What he didn't mention is that almost every character gets to have their appearance described in some detail and let me tell you, medieval nobility had an abundance of very handsome men.

Patter Song
Mar 26, 2010

Hereby it is manifest that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man.

Fun Shoe

YF-23 posted:

-Anna calls Heinrich IV "King Alamannia". As Viscardus said, Alexios sent him a very large gift in exchange for help against the Normans, so one way or the other the Holy Roman Empire claiming to be the successor state to Rome gets ignored or swept under the rug in favour of tending to more pragmatic needs.

Is that supposed to be King of Germany (as in, not recognizing the Imperial title, just the royal one underneath it) or does she literally just call him "King Germany" like that's his name? Because the latter is amazing.

YF-23
Feb 17, 2011

My god, it's full of cat!

Patter Song posted:

Is that supposed to be King of Germany (as in, not recognizing the Imperial title, just the royal one underneath it) or does she literally just call him "King Germany" like that's his name? Because the latter is amazing.

No, sorry, it's the former, I missed the "of" in my post there.

e; Don't let that stop the mental image though that's awesome.

Empress Theonora
Feb 19, 2001

She was a sword glinting in the depths of night, a lance of light piercing the darkness. There would be no mistakes this time.



PART THREE: Exeunt (1085-1087)

Selections from Alexius of Thrace (1601). While this play— whose authorship remains unattested— is generally seen by scholars as having little literary merit, it nonetheless is valuable for the insight it provides into how Western Europe saw Alexios I Komnenos in later generations. The anonymous author obviously used the Alexiad as a source, but often interpreted the events depicted in it quite differently than Iouliana Komnene did. I believe, however, that we should exercise caution in ascribing political motives to the playwright's deviation from his or her sources. Alexius of Thrace would have been seen by its creators as entertainment first, with the dramaturgical trumping the historical whenever the two came in conflict.



Enter ARNI, a NORSEMAN
ARNI
My emperor, your armies have won you the day and the Duke of Epirus is o'erthrown.
Many men have their lives laid down for you; let their sacrifices be not in vain.
Yet your labour's not yet done: The hated Turk grows in strength with each passing day.
For the moment, though, the advantage still rests with Byzantium.
So I implore thee, then, to strike now, lest Anatolia slip forever away.

ALEXIUS
You may hail from the icy north, Varangian, but your heart burns hot for revenge.
We must be patient, we must wait, we too must pause to gather strength.

ARNI
We have fought long and hard to make this empire whole,
Yet the job remains half-done. Strike now!
You speak of gathering strength; I say we have strength enough.
It was the Duke of Epirus and his false Prince who were brought low by Fortune.
Did your armies possess not the strength to defeat them?

ALEXIUS
They did, yet in every victory we won there lay the shadow of defeat.
In your war Greek fought Greek, and those slain on both sides sapped the empire's strength.



Flourish. Enter HERALD

HERALD
Most noble and pious emperor, beloved and deserving king of the Greeks,
I bear a message from your loyal and honorable vassals.
They implore you for your royal mercy.

IRENE
Who does?

HERALD
His Grace the Duke of Dyrrachion, His Grace the Duke of Moesia, His Grace the Duke of Cherson...

IRENE
Ah! The very flower of the nobility.

HERALD
Their Graces are repentant for their infidelity, my lords and ladies,
Yet they dread the gloomy dungeons of Constantinople.
They ask not for clemency, merely humane consideration in the terms of their confinement.

ARNI
This impudence demands punishment! Let skewers through their eyes be their "humane consideration".

ALEXIUS
No, I shall grant them this small mercy.
Peace may be won through strength of arms in the field,
Yet fear alone is unequal to the task of governance.
The empire has been reunited; yet now it must be ruled,
Lest our victories be a castle built on sand


ALEXIUS
O cursed bees! Their stringers rend my flesh!

ARNI
But perhaps they too are owed your humane consideration. He exits.


Enter MATHILDE, a Norman DUCHESS, with her retainers, guards, &c.

MATHILDE
I bring news most dire; the spectre of war has descended upon Sicily.
False Messina claims dominion o'er my rightful lands.
Sicily answered your call for help when Epirus coveted your crown.
Let that debt be now repaid.

ARNI
In our war but half a crown was won,
The false sultan of Rum yet remains.
To ALEXIUS. We cannot help her.

ALEXIUS
Do you propose, then, that I break my oath?
That the alliance between Sicily and Byzantium be shattered?

ARNI
Sicily's contributions to our war were slight,
A few hundred men and nothing more.
It matters not what they think of us.

ALEXIUS
Should we forsake our oath, Norseman, we would dishonor ourselves not merely to Sicily,
but through infidelity ruin our good name in all Christendom.
Remember the Princess Theodora, now queen of Alania.
Or my brother Nikephoros, betrothed to the daughter of King Germany.
No, our obligations must be fulfilled.


ARNI
I warned you, emperor, that the Turkish sun rises higher by the hour.
Now while your host prepares to sail for Sicily comes news from the west:
The crusade for Jerusalem has failed, and the cradle of our faith remains in heathen hands.


ALEXIUS
See how easily our victories are won?
Messina has been defeated by but a fraction of our host.
Our Christian oaths are upheld without harming our chances against the Turk.

ARNI
We fight not against Messina alone, but Croatia too.

ALEXIUS
The Croatians fight on behalf of tiny Messina.
With it in our hands, the enemy's will is broken.


Enter APOTHECARY.

APOTHECARY
My Queen, there is nothing to be done.
The Prince's sickness quickened; all my tender ministrations were for nought.

IRENE
I must write to my husband and prepare to address the people of the city.
We must tell them the bleak truth that the Price Theodorus lies dead.


ALEXIUS
We have won another war, Arni, but the sweet taste of victory is but ashes in my mouth.
Sicily is saved and our reputation in all the courts of Europe preserved.
Yet still: My son is dead.

ARNI
I grieve alongside you, Emperor.
But remember well that you are also the father of all Greeks.
Think now of your children suffering under the Turkish yolk.
They clamor for a liberation that is only yours to give.



ARNI
From all corners of Greece men and women gather with treasure and arms.
The time for reluctance is long past— you must go to war now.

ALEXIUS
I see I have no choice. You shall get your war, Norseman.
Yet remember too the price of glory:
The tragedy of a child's death repeated a thousandfold.

Empress Theonora fucked around with this message at Jan 19, 2014 around 21:50

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Doctor Rope

In a sober and careful consideration of Byzantine history, sometimes we find that OH GOD BEES! BEEEEEEEEES.

This is the best.

Empress Theonora
Feb 19, 2001

She was a sword glinting in the depths of night, a lance of light piercing the darkness. There would be no mistakes this time.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1GadTfGFvU

THE LESBIATHAN
Jan 22, 2011

The name Daria was already taken.

Xerophyte
Mar 17, 2008

This space intentionally left blank


Rincewind posted:

Think now of your children suffering under the Turkish yolk.
That sounds a lot more disgusting than I think you may have intended...

Luhood
Nov 13, 2012


Rincewind posted:

I see I have no choice. You shall get your war, Norseman.
Yet remember too the price of glory:
The tragedy of a child's death repeated a thousandfold.

Arni and Alexios have the best interactions. Also, the quoted section above was... beautiful. I'm eager to see Arni show these Greeks how the true Men of the North wage war.

Veloxyll
May 3, 2011

Fuck you say?!

Luhood posted:

Arni and Alexios have the best interactions. Also, the quoted section above was... beautiful. I'm eager to see Arni show these Greeks how the true Men of the North wage war.

Very handsomely, apparently.

The history written by Anna will read much like Yaoi. With the defeated being the uke, obviously.

AtomikKrab
Jul 17, 2010

Keep on GOP rolling rolling rolling rolling.



Perfection

also BEES.

Empress Theonora
Feb 19, 2001

She was a sword glinting in the depths of night, a lance of light piercing the darkness. There would be no mistakes this time.



Part 4: Yo Ho Ho and a Battle of Rum (1087-1090)

Excerpts from the Alexiad
By Iouliana Komnene

My father did not plan to go war with the Seljuks in 1087. The wounds inflicted on the empire by the traitor Doukas had still not healed. Diligent administration remained a priority of his reign— how could he hope to best Rum where there were still fortifications to be rebuilt, soldiers to be trained, fallow land to be reclaimed? The Sicilian Affair had not overly exerted the resources of Rome, but it did necessitate leaving Constantinople for the shores of Italy, delaying the execution of these tasks. He wanted to ensure that the fortunes of war would favor him before he gambled the empire on an attack on Suleyman. At the very least, he had hoped to gather more allies for his cause. Alania was not insignificant, but Sicily, still ravaged from the war with Messina, would be little help. His intervention on Mathilde's behalf was less save a valuable ally than to prove that Rome was still in a position to help those who stood by it. The betrothal between Nikephoros Komnenos and the German Princess Agnes was a promising development, but as the girl had not yet come of age an alliance between the two emperors could not yet be finalized.

Perhaps most pressingly, a final settlement of the civil war had not yet been undertaken; vast swaths of Greece and the Balkans were still under the nominal rule of imprisoned nobles of the Doukas faction. The presence of these men and women in the luxurious accommodations provided to them perhaps guaranteed that they wouldn't take up arms against the emperor anytime soon, but it was hardly a sustainable mode of governance.

"I am no Emperor," he told my grandmother Anna Dalassene, Augusta of Rome and one of his most valued advisors, "I am the warden of a gaol, with a court of Douxes and Doukessas as inmates."

Nonetheless, war came. A cabal of high ranking generals appeared at the palace. They presented him with a chest of five hundred gold ducats and a force of 2000 Turkic mercenaries recruited from the Pecheneg steps.

They then told my father to use these to wage war on Rum.

With two thousand Turks at his doorstep, Alexios decided it would be unwise to refuse. Yet let it not be said he was intimidated into submission! As I have said, he was intent on finding the perfect moment to declare war on Rum; and the sudden influx of gold and a fresh force of soldiers untouched by the ravages of the civil wars seemed as singular an opportunity as any.


War was declared, and the faithful Duchess Mathilde answered the call to arms.


Years of constant war made the Varangian Guard an increasingly prominent institution of the empire. Some of them, preferring the glories of war in the service of a great empire to a miserable existed eked out in a cold and forbidding wasteland, pledged themselves personally to the empire. They adopted the civilized ways of Rome, but lost none of their martial vigor.


My father, meanwhile, intently studied the tactics best suited to fighting in the mountains of Anatolia. Confident that he could keep Suleyman on his side of the Bosphorus, he knew any decisive battle would be fought on land claimed by Rum.


The expedition across the Bosphorus saw early success, with a Rum host personally led by Suleyman guarding the straits easily defeated and the territories around the crossing occupied. He was careful to treat these lands with a light hand— he hoped to rule these people one day— and restrained his Varangians and Turks from sacking seized holdings.




Sensing that Rum was faltering, the Seljuk Empire itself intervened on behalf of its fellow Seljuk sultan. Rome may have proven itself more than a match for Suleyman— but Suleyman did not fight alone. The advisors surrounding Ahmad Malikoglu Seljuk recognized that the fall of Rum would eliminate a very useful buffer state between Rome and their empire.


The Seljuk generals were cannier operators than Suleyman's, and refused to be baited into attacking Alexios on favorable ground. He was forced to consolidate his armies into a single force under the command of the Varangian guard captain Arni and confront a Seljuk army attempting to retake Bursa head-on.

Arni was an uncouth, barbarous man. For all that many Varangians acquired some of the rudiments of civilization, Arni stubbornly resisted these refinements. He strode the halls of power in furs and armor. His Greek was rude and uncultured. He had a single talent: war. But such was the spirit of the times that that was enough to rise to prominence.


Arni successfully defeated the Seljuks, but lost a sizable portion of his army in the assault. Seljuk losses were far more appalling, with nearly 6,000 soldiers slain— but the force at Bursa was just one of many Seljuk forces slowing making their way from Persia to Anatolia.

Arni could not win such victories forever.


As Alexios and his generals considered their next move, troubling news reached their camp from the mainland— the heresy had taken root, precipitating an armed revolt of Bogomilists. With the Seljuks advancing into Anatolia, however, Alexios was unable— for the time being— to peel off any troops to send back across the Bosphorus.


And armies were not the only means for the Seljuks to wage war— somewhere in Persia, an elite order of assassins arose.


One of these killers managed to slip past the imperial lines and infiltrate Constantinople itself, murdering the Empress Irene.


A new marriage was hastily arranged between Alexios and an obscure Norse noblewoman named Cecilia Erlendsdatter.

An elaborate royal wedding was deemed inappropriate in a time of war and mourning. The gold set aside for such was instead put towards continuing to pay the wages of the Varangian Guard.


Then, after this sequence of setbacks, Fortune decided to once again smile upon Alexios. News came from the West that the Princess Agnes had come of age, and the marriage between her and the Roman Prince Nikephoros could take place immediately.


On June 14th, 1089, Princess Agnes arrived in court with an oath from Heinrich IV promising the assistance of the Holy Roman Empire not only in our empire's war against Rum and the Seljuks but in the Bogomilist revolt back in Greece as well.


A symbolic force of 300 Germans and Italians arrived by sea in October, but the larger body of Heinrich's forces were undertaking a much slower overland journey from the West.


This larger army wouldn't arrive until the next June. When it did, though, its presence proved decisive.

When the Gothic king Ataulf married the Roman princess Gala Placidia in A.D. 414, he made this declaration:

"...I have more prudently chosen the different glory of reviving the Roman name with Gothic vigour, and I hope to be acknowledged by posterity as the initiator of a Roman restoration, since it is impossible for me to alter the character of this Empire"

His promise to lend German strength to the rapidly disintegrating western provinces of the Roman Empire was left unfulfilled by his murder in 417. Now, 672 years later, this promise was finally fulfilled by a different German king.

For all that Roman writers have derisively referred to the Holy Roman Emperor as the "King of Alamannia"; for all that wags have observed that the Holy Roman Empire is neither holy, Roman, nor an empire; for all that one could draw unflattering comparisons between their claim to translatio imperii with Suleyman calling his domain "Rum"— I choose instead to reflect on the image of Kaiser Heinrich IV riding across the plains of Anatolia at the head of an army, armor gleaming in the sun, besieging province after promise, protecting the rear of Alexios' advance into the Anatolian interior to fight Seljuk forces.

In those days, I contend, Heinrich was holy, was Roman, and had virtues and conduct befitting of an emperor.


The war was effectively over. While the Seljuk Empire still had troops in the field, Rum itself was beaten and battered; Roman, German, Alan, and Italian forces had free reign in Anatolia. Suleyman himself had died in the fighting, and the new sultan of Rum, Kilij Arslan Seljuk, chose to seek peace for Rum while there still was a Rum, rather than wait for some form of unspecified salvation to arrive from Persia.


Rum retained control of the Anatolian interior, but the all-important coast was once again in Roman hands.


The loan the crown had taken out during the civil war was finally repaid in full. The emperor personally praised the Jewish merchants of Constantinople for their patriotism in extending a line of credit to the government, and their patience in awaiting its repayment.


The armies of the two brother emperors made short work of the Bogomilist, swiftly ending their armed revolt, although their heresy would remain a potent force in the region for many years.

The first nine years of my father's reign were marked by a state of constant crisis. Between the Norman War, the Doukas revolt, the expedition to Sicily, and the premature commencement of war with Rum and the Seljuks, the empire had more or less constantly been at war since 1081. Now, finally, in the October of 1090, these wars had been won.

Now came the harder task of attempting to win the peace.

It is one thing to take land in battle.



It is quite another to rule it.


(History notes: Henry IV and Duchess Matilda being on the same side of a war is kind of hilarious, isn't it?)

(Also, obviously, Ataulf didn't actually say that.)

Empress Theonora fucked around with this message at Jan 30, 2014 around 02:39

AtomikKrab
Jul 17, 2010

Keep on GOP rolling rolling rolling rolling.


Good, Good, get more vikings, everything is better with the norse.

Erwin the German
May 30, 2011

:3


Loving the bookish bent to all of this; a very refreshing take on the narrative style.

As an aside, how does that assassination event work? Did they actually gun for you, or is that part of the event chain following their formation?

CatsPajamas
Jul 4, 2013

I hated the new Stupid Newbie avatar so much that I bought a new one for this user. Congrats, Lowtax.


Rincewind, nice work on this LP! Although there have been a lot of Paradox LPs, I have not seen a Byzantium one so I'm glad to see this being well done. I think you're doing a good job with the historical literature presentation. It was neat to see the play chapter as well, and I hope you'll done more exerts from other works in different styles to keep things fresh, especially if you do plan on taking this through EU4 and maybe even beyond! It also gives you the opportunity to resent things from a different perspective, which as people in the thread have mentioned makes all the difference when looking at a historical work.

Speaking of thread talk, from what I'm hearing about the actual Alexiad, it features quite the depiction of certain historical figures. I liked that you seemed to get into this more in Part 4. Although you're doing a good job recounting events in the literary style, CKII more than most Paradox games details the people involved and I think it would be interesting to see you take what you're given and expound upon that.

Glad to see you've been able to keep up with regular updates on this, because I'm looking forward to seeing more!

Lustful Man Hugs
Jul 18, 2010


Varangian Guards and Hashashin. This is the best history ever!

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Empress Theonora
Feb 19, 2001

She was a sword glinting in the depths of night, a lance of light piercing the darkness. There would be no mistakes this time.



I've just finished reading the Crete LP, and can't help but notice how our current borders suspiciously resemble the final borders of Greece.

Erwin the German posted:

Loving the bookish bent to all of this; a very refreshing take on the narrative style.

As an aside, how does that assassination event work? Did they actually gun for you, or is that part of the event chain following their formation?

I can't really find any information about the specifics of how the Hashshashin events work-- I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've had somebody from my court drop dead immediately after it fired, though. Maybe it was because I was at war with the Seljuks?

I also have no idea how Irene got blinded; she looked like that as soon as she came of age (she was 15 at the bookmark). Sure made the assassination event spookier, though.

Edit: I looked Irene up on Wikipedia to see if she was already blinded at the bookmark for some historical reason, and even though she wasn't, I found this amazing description of her from the real Alexiad.

Anna Komnene posted:

"She stood upright like some young sapling, erect and evergreen, all her limbs and the other parts of her body absolutely symmetrical and in harmony one with another. With her lovely appearance and charming voice she never ceased to fascinate all who saw and heard her. Her face shone with the soft light of the moon; it was not the completely round face of an Assyrian woman, nor long, like the face of a Scyth, but just slightly oval in shape. There were rose blossoms on her cheeks, visible a long way off. Her light-blue eyes were both gay and stern: their charm and beauty attracted, but the fear they caused so dazzled the bystander that he could neither look nor turn away...Generally she accompanied her words with graceful gestures, her hands bare to the wrists, and you would say it was ivory turned by some craftsman into the form of fingers and hand. The pupils of her eyes, with the brilliant blue of deep waves, recalled a calm, still sea, while the white surrounding them shone by contrast, so that the whole eye acquired a peculiar lustre and a charm which was inexpressible."

"Wikipedia posted:

It "would not have been so very inappropriate," Anna writes, to say that Irene was "Athena made manifest to the human race, or that she had descended suddenly from the sky in some heavenly glory and unapproachable splendour."

Empress Theonora fucked around with this message at Jan 21, 2014 around 08:54

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