The continuation of building a glorious court continued during the regency. The daily positions by which a noble could gain glory by being near the Emperor and assisting him with daily tasks were quite frankly ridiculous. Never before nor after have otherwise pompous adults been positively eager to change diapers.
During the regency, there were advances in all areas of technology. Improvements in light ships required the classification of Heavy Frigates as opposed to Frigates (the regency worked to replace the existing pirate patrols with these most advanced ships). The Legions began to use mortars during engagements.
When the Inca reorganized their government and announced themselves as the Republic of Peru, the regency eagerly approved relations, and even established a betrothal between Konstantinos and a daughter of one of the noble families ruling the new republic.
His first act was to declare war on both Brabant and the Netherlands in order to recover the last of the Roman Netherlands. Many nations came to Brabant’s defense (a lost cause if ever there was one), but strangely no-one wanted to assist the Netherlands.
This proved to be the most difficult war in a generation, even to the point of XIV Legio being destroyed by Scottish forces in Britannia. Still, the tide of the war was with the Empire. Konstantinos’ betrothed was even safely brought to Constantinople during the war.
England only lost their claims on Florida.
And finally, Dauphine was fully annexed. Of course, parliament was not satisfied, and insisted that the last bit of Roman Britannia be brought under Imperial sway. But there was still a truce with Scotland. So during the peace, the Emperor’s cabinet administrated the Empire, and Konstantinos sired a son.
Polotsk was soon conquered and their lands split between Ukraine and Livonia.
The day the truce with Scotland was ended (in May on 1693), Konstantinos declared war. Bavaria joined Scotland, but this was offset by all of the Empire’s allies joining as well. Bavaria soon agreed to a white peace. Then in July of 1696, Scotland agreed to not only give up the last of Wales, but to give up many of their North American holdings. Much of this was later turned over to the Huron.
However, Konstantinos first reformed the legions, adding yet more infantry and artillery to each legion. In late 1699, the reforms were complete and Konstantinos declared war on Lorraine for Savoie. Of course, many German states rose to their defense, despite the inevitability of the war’s outcome
Infamy -1.00 per year.
12 Int/6 Cav/12 Art
Theodoros became Emperor at age eight. A regency council ruled for him, but was of marginal competence. Being a more distant cousin, Theodoros was also not considered completely legitimate as ruler. The regency council hired Nestor Boumbalis to counter this perception.
Meanwhile, Theodoros was sent to be raised at an estate just outside of Constantinople. The estate was little more than a hunting lodge, so it was refurbished to be a suitable palace for the young Emperor.
He began his reign by standardizing the weights and measures used throughout the Empire. No longer would traders have to learn multitudinous local measures, instead they could simply use the Imperial System. Failure to use the Imperial System with any trader would lead to a stiff fine and the potential loss of trade rights in the given town or city.
Baden was forced to sever a few alliances. Luxembourg was annexed. Livonia was forced to swear vassalage. Poland was forced to give up what few lands they had outside the region later known as the Polish Corridor, and to give up any claims to lands outside that region that they already had given up (these lands were shortly thereafter given to more appropriate powers to rule).
Also during the war, Theodoros began an interesting habit. He invited nobles in different provinces to join him at his new court at the Royal Palace where he had been raised. There he began holding elaborate court ceremonies, focused on his glory. Those nobles who most flattered him found themselves assigned to important positions or even assigned to Parliament. Those who did not found themselves marginalized. This may be thought the actions of a narcissist or megalomaniac, but in fact it was a scheme long planned by successive Emperors and passed down in secret until it could be achieved. To achieve more than a local power, a noble would have to attend court. But if a noble did so, they could not focus on their own lands. The Imperial Bureaucracy would then be able to ensure that legally and practically, the only allegiance in said lands was to the Empire. The nobles may yet have held their legal rights, but in practice, they were held tightly to Theodoros’ sway. Best of all, they were so focused on drawing near to his glory that they did not even notice the loss of their power.
Although they did not greatly like that a sufficient donation from a rich merchant would see his family invited to court, Theodoros was just deft enough to play these events in a way that left everyone feeling pleased: the nobles at their court experience, and the former merchants (now ‘unlanded nobles’) pleased to be at court. The unlanded nobles found further advancement easy, marrying children to the children of landed nobles in need of money to maintain the fashions Theodoros kept establishing and changing. It was an expensive endeavor being at court.
Shortly after this this time, Theodoros received word that Kexholm had given refuge and homage to the Pope. He was surprised that there was still a Pope, but he still took the ways of his ancestors and made war on the heretics.
In the end, all of the wooing of the nobles did little to preserve Theodoros’ life. If anything, the growing formal court only brought more of the typical danger his way. He died in 1669, only nineteen years old. Though short-lived, he was remembered for his glory and later for how he brought the political life of the Empire into orbit around himself. Thus his epitaph: the Sun King.
 I added a province-level decision. For the cost of a diplomat and 10 prestige, all accepted-culture cores (of non-existent nations) in the province are removed and I get 10 cultural tradition. To fire it, I have to be at peace, have at least two diplomats, and at least 50 prestige.
Murom had descended into complete chaos, so the Legions imposed peace and settlers arrived to establish order. And then word came that England had declared war on the Huron people. The Empire was not in contact with the Huron, but this non-peaceful interaction with a native American power was not acceptable. There was war with England, and with their allies.
But the Huron were able to seize the advantage of England’s distraction and seize the colony in Lenape. The Empire immediately made a formal declaration that the Huron were within their sphere of influence. Given the war, it was a gesture without much practical meaning, but it was a strong diplomatic opening.
In 1658, during this time of relative peace, Demetrios died, leaving his eight year old cousin Theodoros as heir. The resulting regency forced a change of relationship between Ukraine and the Empire. Ukraine’s parliament agreed the nation would be subservient to the Empire, but they brought forth a local as their ruling Duke. The regency council for the Empire agreed, not least because much Imperial effort had been spent expanding Ukraine’s borders instead of defending Imperial interests.
From 1600 to 1650, the Empire had again not expanded much. Instead it had put it’s efforts towards enforcing religious unity.
Christianity was no less diverse for these efforts. Many times a nation’s conversion allowed the ruler to appoint to new archbishop residing over his territory. This archbishop would be technically equal with all others (though in practice the Archbishops of Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Rome were first among equals). Just as frequently, the ruler was able to exert control over the local Archbishop and thus tighten his power over his nation.
As well, local practices could not possibly have been stamped out, even if this was desired. Many of the particulars of the liturgy varied locally. There were even differences in theology between different regions.
Still, the Church was united. The most important theological disagreements could be resolved through synods and councils, and heresy could be countered via internal pressures. Likewise, the decentralized organization of the Church served as an effective brake on corruption, unlike the hierarchical nature of the Papist church had been.
In the Americas, firm diplomatic contact had been made with three different organized powers. All took the opportunity to learn all they could from the Empire. In turn, the Empire hoped to use them to block the expansionism of other European states.
Within the Empire, the Imperial Bureaucracy had left power firmly in the Emperor’s hands. The Legion’s practice of drill had led to great defensive strength, though the navy was neglected. The long-ago declaration on Unam Sanctum had led to the Legions making war all throughout Christendom. There was a strong desire to explore and to settle new lands, though frequently the settlement was just enough to bring those lands under the Empire’s political sway. The locals would remain the dominant local powers. The patronage of arts among the aristocracy had led to a renaissance of arts and natural philosophy. As well, there was a growing class of merchant nobles. They had little protection from the state in their trade, but they rarely needed it. Among the lower classes, many were still tenant farmers, though they had a great many rights and protections from church and from Constantinople.
I’ve checked. They’ve got missionaries, they’ve got money, but they seem to have no interest in placing them.
Playing further, they seem to have gotten over their indecisiveness. Finally.
In the wake of the Mailnese war, there was little war to be had, so Ioannes focused on administrating the Empire while his various truces expired. He also focused on administrating Kiev, often overlooked by the Emperors. With its great expansion, the feudal organization was insufficient to govern it well. So Ioannes reformed the government, centralizing the power and renaming it the Kingdom of Ukraine.
And of course when Muscowy requested help in their conquest of Ryazan, Ioannes was glad to send the Legions to help.
Around this time, the artistic renaissance clearly demonstrated its effects on other area of life as a group of natural philosophers began to make great discoveries about the natural world. Ioannes provided them support, organizing them as the Imperial Society of Constantinople for Improving Natural Knowledge (generally known as the Imperial Society). His most significant requirement was that their results must be published in a regular journal.
Later that year, Scotland incorporated Ethiopia into their realm when their mutual King died. It had been bad enough that a nation in the Empire’s sway was ruled by a Scot, but this was intolerable. War was given for the sake of the Ethiopian people.
In 1646, Scotland agreed to the loss of nearly all their colonies and protectorates not in North America. They had lost a North American colony to the Aztecs, but on the whole their colonies there were safe for now.
Just before the end of 1646, the truce with Hungary expired. I Legio, IX Legio, and XIX Legio moved to the attack. And when Lorraine announced their defense of Hungary, XVI Legio and XXIII Legio moved on them.
The rest of the independent nations there would soon follow. But Ioannes had received notice that Smolensk now supported the Reformed faith. This, like the former religious disputes, would be solved with violence.
Though this did not preclude a war with Smolensk at the same time. Sadly, Ioannes died of natural causes before he could see his wars through. Demetrios was at war as soon as he ascended to the throne.
A surprising number of things count as natural causes when one is the Emperor.
Demetrios I was the son of and successor to Konstantinos the Zealous. He was excellent at war, skilled at diplomacy, and good at administration. His son Ioannes, who promised to be even more skilled, was appointed heir.
Demetrios garnered good will among the nobles when he reestablished parliament. He insisted on appointing the members, but the nobles took this as a sign that they would again have some form of power. They did not see it for the trap it was. However, Demetrios had inherited three wars along with the Empire. His plans to neuter the nobles would have to wait. And wait they did. For he died on March 7th of 1639, Emperor for less than two years.
Ioannes took his place. He was skilled at military matters, a genius at administration and diplomacy, but young and inexperienced. He announced his younger brother Demetrios as heir, and focused on the wars.
The war in the north had slowly wound in favor of Muscowy. With the Legions’ help, they were able to capture the main cities of the different nations opposing them and force them to surrender, typically with harsh terms. By the time Ioannes came to rule, the war was half over or more.
The war against Mali worked more slowly. There were rumors of an army yet unkilled by the Legions, so they did not dare to spread out to besiege the land, and so little territory was just captured. But the Empire was sure to win eventually.
In February of 1640, a routine correspondence with England mentioned that Maranea had been captured by Mali. It was clear that the missing Malinese army was in that region, so XII Legio moved to hunt them down.
While the Mali war still raged, Ioannes implemented reforms of the Imperial mint. The silver stavraton coin was to be replaced by the gold líras. A sample of the minted líras would be stored every year. If the currency was questioned, it could be compared to a standard measure stored by the Emperor. And if the líras at question disagreed with the measure the master of the mint would be punished most severely: castrated, half-hung, and quartered. Thus, the currency could be trusted to not be debased.
And finally in early 1642, Mali was fully defeated. They were forced to give up their coast, their overseas trade now handled by Imperial merchants. Sufficient garrisons were created to keep trade flowing. As well, their central land was returned to a descendant of the Songhai ruling class.
The war, while lasting only five years, was later called the war of three Emperors. While this could have and should have been a satirical reference to the quick succession at this point in time, it became propaganda of the danger and strength of Muslims.
In the aftermath of the civil war, the Empire was feeling the pain of the war. Konstantinos had instructed his agents throughout the land to try to bring peace and order, and had authorized them to spend money to make it happen. Some gifts, some feasts, and a whole lot of quelling the hotheads would be needed to restore stability. As well, the legions needed some time to recover, and to be placed where they might be helpful. But during the war, Holstein had declared support for the Reformed heresy. So in January of 1631, Konstantinos declared yet another war.
So when the legions were in position, Konstantinos declared wars on all the nations holding Austrian land. The many nations that jumped to their defense made the war stretch (and caused the loss of III. Legio), but soon enough all of Austria but Graz belonged to the Empire again.
The truce with Hungary would not end until 1641, so Konstantinos looked in a direction not ever undertaken by previous Emperors: south. Mali had learned much from the long-ago Imperial expedition across the Sahara. But they had not learned to follow the true faith. Instead, they followed the teaching of Mohammed and were directly ruled by the Imams who lead the Zikri variant of their faith. And Muslims had been a bane to the Empire ever since they had exploded out of Arabia. A strong Muslim nation bordering the Empire (much less one that had formerly gone toe-to-toe with other Christian nations and won) was unbearable. Konstantinos would put this to rights. The Dutch, who had clashed with Mali several times in Africa, were only too happy at the idea of Mali being weakened and allowed II Legio and XVI Legio to use their African holdings as a staging area. And so in March of 1637, the Empire struck at Mali.
Various groups of old nobles near Calais thought that with the Empire engaged on two fronts, they could threaten to revolt to force lowered taxes. An earlier Konstantinos might have negotiated a settlement. But after the civil war (and with men who had lost everything in that war flooding to join the Legions), he was more interested in stamping out the idea of revolt entirely. He called their bluff, then sent in XXIII Legio.
But sadly, in the midst of these wars, Emperor Konstantinos was found dead in his rooms. He was remembered as ‘Konstantinos the Zealous’ for his efforts to bring all into the fold of the true faith.
 A vassal back in the CK2 era went on an independent conquest spree down into western Africa. But by now it’s remembered as an official expedition. The nature of the expedition is the stuff of legend and story. It was a bitter blow years later when no Prester John was to be found on the other side of the Sahara.
The Imperial colonies had grown greatly in just a few years. This was largely due to the locals. Where the peoples of the Empire expected to “bring civilization to the natives”, the natives proved to be more canny and clever than the incoming settlers. They took advantage of the Imperial technology, adopted Greek as a trade language, and reorganized their localities on their terms. The connection to trans-Atlantic trade was a major boon for them. As was the political organization from the Empire. Those settlers who had dreams of rulership were mostly disappointed. A few rose to prominence, but there was little aristocracy in the colonies. Or at least, the aristocracy was not so formally defined.
The English colonies were different. The Anglo-Saxons had spent centuries caught between the anvil of Scotland and the hammer of the Empire. When they had the opportunity to leave and form new homes, they remembered their ancestors of a millennia before and took to the sea. The natives in the lands that they occupied swiftly became a lower class. And the English were ravenous for new land.
The political boundaries between the Roman colonies and the English colonies was ill-defined, and the English took advantage of this to keep spreading. Konstantinos sympathized with their desire for a homeland, and so he gave them an offer. Accept the locals as equals, and the entire Brazilian region would go to England.
For the aristocracy of the Empire, this was too much to bear. They had suffered under the Emperors’ slow centralization of power, they had been taxed, they had seen merchants be given more and more rights, their requests to the Emperor had been ignored for decades, and now territory was just given away? This was intolerable! It would not stand!
The revolt was sudden and severe. The revolutionaries raised the Empire’s flag over their one million troops as a sign of opposition, the Emperor’s flag being much more well known for centuries. The most significant cities were immediately under their control, the only exceptions being ones hosting various legions.
Konstantinos’ reply was just as strong. He declared himself the absolute ruler of the whole Empire. Justice would be by his agents, taxation by his agents, all administrative work by his agents. Nobles would not be allowed to field their own armies. Nobles would no longer be much more than significant landholders. Of course, this would be a legal fiction of sorts, just as the nobles’ former rights of justice, taxation, and administration in their lands had been a fiction. Imperial agents had long been assigned to the different provinces and directed the power of Constantinople into local affairs. Once the revolt was ended, local powers would soon be at work directing the local powers to their own ends. But the legal framework had now been set.
Iberia, Egypt, Syria, and the Imperial heartland were undefended as the revolt began.
The Lombardian campaign slowly pushed their opponents south, towards the morass of revolutionaries along the peninsula.
The Britannian campaign subsided to a siege of Oxford by XVII Legio, while IV Legio shipped off for Iberia.
The opening move of the Syrian campaign was a resounding defeat.
Meanwhile, three legions made a bold stroke into central Italy while two sought to bring Liguria and Mantua back under control.
The war continued everywhere, but slowly tightening for the rebels. In Iberia, XXI Legio got too eager for battle, racing ahead of their IV Legio and XXII Legio. Their eagerness saw them all captured at Lisboa. The complete capture of the celebrating rebels in Lisboa two days later was scarce comfort, as too few soldiers could be found to reform the lost legion.
The rebels in Dacia were more clever than most. When four legions moved to attack them, the rebels quickly moved to attack one first, before the others could change their course. Thanks to Pavlos Diasorenos’ clever tactics, III Legio was able to withstand a force twice their number. The legions all moved to intercept the rebels in Transylvania.
VIII Legio was lost as the Sicilian campaign moved to the island of Sicily. And then III Legio was lost in the Greek campaign.
But the legions continued to press the rebel armies, and finally in June of 1630 no rebel armies remained. Only the city of Palermo resisted the Konstantinos’ will, and VII Legio had brought them to desperation by siege. They held out until September.
The revolt had lasted four and a half years. A short time from a historical perspective. But a long time to live through. And for the estimated one million Imperial soldiers lost in battle or the uncounted numbers of the rebel forces, it was far too short a time to live and to die. But now the peoples of the Empire could begin to rebuild what had been lost.
 I count 1103 units total, as opposed to the Empire’s 489.
 I have 463K manpower out of a max of 848K. On average I gained 6K per month during the war, so it adds up to a really bug number of losses. Also, while not literally true, for all practical situations, the Empire has bottomless reserves.
Konstantinos began the 17th century by continuing the wars of religion. On the 20th of February, 1600, he declared war on Styria. Their allies joined them, of course, though converting them to Orthodoxy before the war would have been a better defense.
In the midst of this war, a colony was founded in Banten, on the island of Java. Konstantinos commissioned the Imperial East India company to transport and sell the spices that would surely be flowing from this colony.
Styria agreed to a peace after IV. Legio stormed and captured Kärnten. Their other allies took a little longer to agree to a white peace.
Despite the near-constant wars, so many artists, philosophers, and poets were in Thrace that it was becoming hard to find new patrons. Konstantinos gave the more adventurous ones the funds to start a new university in Algarve. In the coming years, many more groups would request funds to start new universities. Konstantinos funded the ones that picked more practical locations.
Displaying a lack of sensibility to the Emperor’s desires, the members of Vouli took the time during the war to request that Konstantinos provide an opposition to the English colonies in North America with a new Imperial colony. He remained focused on the war. Despite being outnumbered, XI. Legio attacked the Norwegian army.
When the Delaware colony failed, accusations flew. Many claimed that Konstantinos let it fail on purpose. As evidence, they pointed out his lack of effort to colonize North America at all. Before matters got too out of hand, Konstantinos was able to produce the ministers whose ineptitude had allowed the colony to fail. That he had bribed them to confess remained a secret for now.
The following war against an inconsequential Baltic power drew in Adal. It took time for three legions to march to eastern Africa, but in March of 1605 XII, XIV, and XX Legio forced Adal to give territory to Ethiopia.
At the beginning of 1606, the Empire again went to war, this time against Meckelemburg, a Catholic nation. Most of the northern German nations rose to its defense and Lesser Poland eagerly joined the war.
Before 1607, all but Lesser Poland had been forced to the negotiating table. For Lesser Poland’s efforts, they were stripped of their outer territories in September of 1608. As recompense, Konstantinos would later declare them the Kingdom of Poland, no longer the Lesser.
While the nations freed were initially exuberant, they grew worried when the Empire broke all treaties with them. They may have been relieved when there was no immediate attack. Unbeknownst to them, this was because Konstantinos had received word of the powerful effect of artillery in war, and was taking the time to ensure the legions were equipped with plenty.
Meanwhile, the Empire had developed closer ties with the Cherokee. They were suffering from a terrible plague. When they requested aid, Konstantinos sent healers, led by the most compassionate priests he could find. It was little wonder when the Cherokee leaders turned to the true faith, again demonstrating that a pagan was merely waiting to hear of Christ (a belief dating to the Il-Khanate’s and Golden Horde’s wholesale conversions centuries before).
After just a year of peace had passed, the Empire began wars against the newly freed nations, also forcing them to Orthodox practice. They would have fallen easily, but for their allies. Those allies were punished: broken up, humiliated, or even absorbed. The absorbed ones were given in pieces to friendly states, unlikely to arise again.
It was 1615 before the Imperial diplomats had specified all the border changes from the last war. Once that was done, Konstantinos declared a war on the last nation supporting the Reformed church. Many allies defended them, as always, and many allies fell, as always.
Shortly thereafter, Reformed zealots — believing they had nothing to lose — attacked Michael Doukas while he was hunting. They killed him, mutilating his body, and leaving it prominently displayed. The shock of their actions reverberated throughout the Empire. Konstantinos was even more convinced he must remove all heresy.
Just before 1620, the last political support for Protestantism was removed, though Protestant communities remained in Köblenz and Slesvig.
Early the next year he began one of the last wars against the Papists.
The Inca had been most impressed by the Imperial customs mentioned by the priests that had traveled to help. An exchange of diplomats a nobles began between them and the Empire.
The next Papist war brought a resurgent Golden Horde to the fight against the Empire. The Golden Horde was broken apart again and forced to concede again that they were no longer a significant power in the world.
During the war, the Cherokee recovered enough from their religious confusion to take a hint from the Inca and request closer Imperial ties.
Finally, in December of 1625, Emperor Konstantinos began the final war against the Papacy. No-one came to the Pope’s defense, and he himself was trapped be rebels who controlled his small territory. XXI. Legio found an army from the Netherlands at the gate and helped them gain entry. The Pope was forced to surrender his lands to the Dutch, and would after that point wander between the few Catholic enclaves not yet stamped out by their rulers.
Konstantinos commissioned a monument to mark this final victory. And then he made a decision whose ramifications were unprecedented since the time of Diocletian.
The continuing wars of religion had brought nearly all nations back into the Orthodox fold. The forms of Orthodoxy became quite diverse, of course, but the church was in communion with itself. Sadly, Norway’s rulers had strangely turned to Protestantism. Fortunately, the only significant population of Protestants were in the capital.
Northern Ireland had been captured by Mali, after an ill-fated war started by Scotland. The fabled Imperial expedition had apparently not formed a great Christian kingdom in Timbuktu. Or perhaps it had, and the Zikri nations around it had destroyed it and taken its secrets for their own. How else would a region that had so long been isolated be so strong as to stand against a Christian kingdom?
The wave of colonization owed much to the memory of when the Greek city-states had colonized the Mediterranean. The colonists would find a suitable location and build a small city. They would manufacture or import modern goods, and trade those to the locals for food. As the cities grew, goods would be traded for land, used to create farms and plantations. Later colonists or sometimes natives would work those farms. Sometimes the natives would race to establish their own farms and plantations, seeing the riches they could gain by emulating the Imperial settlers. Soon they would be attending Mass, speaking Greek (at least while trading and working, if not at home), and living in cities of their own.
Or at least that’s what the colonists envisioned. Where they expected savages scrabbling in the dirt, they instead found rich cultures. There were, of course, a large variety of such cultures. Some centered around fishing, others farming. A few even roamed constantly, surviving on hunting, gathering, and short-term farming. If they lacked anything, it was a political organization. And perhaps a few technologies. Not that those technologies were needed for their lifestyles. Perhaps that was why the locals had yet to invent them.
In general, the colonists were able to establish villages. And they did trade with the locals. But the locals had a far greater influence than the colonists would have expected. For instance, Greek style clothing did not fit well in tropical climates. Most colonists adopted local clothing styles. Those that did tended to suffer for their stubbornness. And while the truism that pagans were just waiting to be introduced to Christianity* was demonstrated (at least among the locals that had the most contact with the colonists), their beliefs also influenced the practices of the local churches. Several more branches of Orthodox Christianity were forming.
Over time, the cultures of the colonists and the locals syncretized into something new. Some of the locals moved into the growing cities, becoming skilled craftsmen and traders. Some colonists moved out of the cities, adopting local lifestyles. But the trend over time was for the cities to grow, and for cash crops to be grown more and more.
However, a few locations did not experience this peaceful syncreticism. On Triada in particular violence would break out frequently. It was never clear how it started, as frequently the city of Elladikos was completely destroyed. But always more colonists would come to rebuild and to trade. Other locations had more limited outbreaks of violence, the locals and the colonists eventually finding a new way of life and culture together.
In North America, contact had been made with some organized groups, the Cherokee confederation and the Aztecs. There were some basic diplomatic agreements in place, but still they were too far from Constantinople for much to be known of them. The Incas in South America had been contacted, but even less was known of them. Scotland had begun colonizing North America, and England had worked to acquire a few new territories as well.
* A belief owing to the Il-Khanate and Golden Horde both converting to Christianity so rapidly after their first direct contact with the Empire.