The Empire Strikes Back 86 – The State of the Empire 1839

All Senators,

Your presence is requested at a special session of the Senate on November 27, 1839, where Empress Veronica will address the Senate on the State of the Empire. As preparation for this session, whe following newspapers have been deemed significant by the archivists:
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It would seem that the Russians are aware of our desire to see them weakened.  We must be extra careful if we are to take action against them in the future.

– Michelangelo Favero

No, we must strike as soon as our treaty is over! Losing to the Rus was a humiliation upon our great empire, have you seen the news! They are calling it a shameful defeat and a loss in every sense! We have been hiding from the World Stage for to long and this defeat has not helped us regain our supreme standing on the World Stage.

– Potitus Caristanius Gallio

Well our time sure is interesting. I think we should name one of these “dinosaurs” after one of our rulers.
Other than that I reserve my thoughts for the Empress.

-Basileios Rellis


In the wake of the Russo-Ukraine war, it seemed nobody could agree on what to do. But it was clear to Us that nothing could be done until the Legions were restored to strength.

While medicines were being researched, We resumed the industrial programs from before the wars. We began construction of clipper shipyards in Upper Egypt; canned food factories in Croatia, Van, Leon-Castilla (in addition to the ones in Southwest England and Picardie); machine parts factories in Granada, Bourgogne, West Switzerland, Wallonie, Nordrhein, and Karntern-Steiermark; a steamer shipyard in the (British) Midlands. This was more than sufficient to begin meeting the Empire’s needs, but it also proved that factories could provide gainful employment for otherwise unemployed citizens. So in any state with one hundred or more potential factory workers, We created new factories that fit the region.
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And We laid plans for naval bases all throughout the Empire. Those plans laid, We began fortifying the Caucasus and the regions nearby. This soon expanded into fortifying all of our borders.

As the Polish peace with the Livonian Order only took away a border state, We continued the process of bringing Livonia into our sphere of influence, a process completed in November 24, 1837.
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We then began pulling Poland into our sphere. But Poland soon became too great in their own right for such effort.
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Instead, We focused on our southern border and sought to draw Ethiopia (long a friend of the Empire) into our sphere again. But Castille caused our efforts there to go astray.
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So We looked across the sea to the United Tribes of America.
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During this time of preparation, there was increased liberal agitation throughout the Empire. Secret societies sprung up everywhere, and local regulations against them only served to liberalize the population. Jacobins held marches in several provinces. The natives in Africa were angered by the number of big game hunts happening in their lands. People were strangely upset about the use of forced labor as a punishment. Business men complained about Imperial procurement contracts. Questions about how education for non-Greeks should be handled grew heated. And as the agitation grew worse, there were Luddite mobs that had to be put down with force.
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It is of no surprise that many of you first became more liberal, and later became more radicalized.
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When the arts of medicine had advanced enough that most lands could support full-sized Legions, we tasked the Imperial Corps of Engineers with finding improvements to the weapons used by the Legions.
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Sadly, this effort had only begun when Germany asked for our help in their war against Denmark and Pommerania. Fortunately, they did not need help in this war, so while we became the war leader, we needed spend no effort.
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Meanwhile, mass recruitment for the legions began. Eighty-nine cohorts were recruited in the first round. Seventeen in the second. When the recruitment was over, each legion had two cohorts of hussars, eight cohorts of infantry, and four cohorts of artillery. The exception was II. Legio, who could not support that many cohorts near the Russian border, and was short two cohorts of infantry. And the Scholai Palatinae now consisted of three cohorts of cuirassiers.

And with the advances in medicine, We were able to send colonists throughout Oceania, further expanding our hold on the region.
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And this proved that it is now time for us to take our place in the sun.
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To demonstrate this, X. Legio assisted in the war against Denmark. They proved most effective in battle (the siegework was left the Germany).
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But of course, domestic matters were more important. For among the refugees from Ukraine was my cousin Yevhen. We fell greatly in love, and so were married May 5, 1839.
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About six months later, Denmark finally surrendered, Germany gaining much land.
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Also, during this time, Bavaria expanded, including into Hungary.
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And Russia completely annexed Bjarmia as well as taking some border territories from Scandinavia.
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In addition to your usual recommendations, We also wish to propose that the royal family refurbish and begin using the palace at Blachernae again. The Scholai Palatinae would, of course, come with us.

In turn, the Senate’s use of the Great Palace would be properly formalized and written into law.

My most royal Majesty, would it be impudent of me to request an update of those that that dare to call themselves our peers?

I am sure I speak for all senators when I say that we would like to be able to advise on those near us that should be brought closer to the imperial fold and which of these worthless “Great Powers” we should crush beneath the legions heels.

Senator Γκρέυ

Certainly not, Senator Γκρέυ!

A clerk quickly leaves the hall and returns a surprisingly short time later with a stack of broadsheets which are distributed to the Senators.
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Congratulations to you, my Empress, on your marriage. Perhaps one day your husband’s home may be freed from the control of the perfidious Russians.

It is unfortunate that Poland was unwilling to accept our protection as the Livonian Order did. Are they still amiable to an alliance though?

Castille is most unwise to interfere in Ethiopia, a nation of great importance to the Empire.

– Michelangelo Favero

Empress, would the Hungarians be amiable to our protection? Would be useful in any war in the East and stop the Bavarians from stealing their lands piecemeal.

Senator Γκρέυ

May I be amongst the first to offer my warmest congratulations, most esteemed basilissa, on the occasion of your marriage? I am sure that kaisar Yevhen will make a spl,endid match for you,sebaste.”

~ Kyriakos Angelos

(Sebaste = feminine version of “esteemed/venerable one”. Kaisar = a royal title, originally meaning “Caesar”.)

Congratulations on your Marriage Veronica, may it be long and produce many heirs. Now down to business and first I would like to support Michelangelo Favero in his support for both an alliance with Poland and increased influence in Ethiopia. I want to condone the colonization of Australia and hope for further colonial expansion across the world. The maps should be painted purple! I also want to address Veronica’s interest in the UTA and all I can say is they are not fit for our influence. They are a bunch of tribal barbarians who can’t survive in a civil society. We must sail our Legions across the Atlantic Ocean and destroy them before they grow to powerful for us to handle.

I know I have said that about the Germans and the Rus but we cannot run anymore on the assumption that we will be the unchallenged masters of the world for much longer. I see powerful rivals in the UTA, Rus and the Germans, enemies that must be destroyed before they can kill us. I want also want to congratulate both the Empress and the Royal Engineers in finally bringing our Legions up to scratch. I further hope that we can become pioneers in the military field.

– Potitus Caristanius Gallio

We have Livonian Order in our sphere, which is good. I must say that news from Poland are unfortunate, but from broadsheets provided by clerk we can tell that situation with Poland is not stable. Germany and Livonian Order, our allies and friends, have cores on them. Poland is ignoring Russia, our common threat. Also, they seem eager to expand internally*. I can suggest nothing less radical than partition of Poland, which I consider the best option to stop russian threat in Europe. Having in mind that Poland has no allies, it is higly possible that, if we don’t do it, Russia will.

Alexios Damaskinos

I wish you and your new husband a lifetime of happiness, your Majesty. I also believe the recommendation to restore Blachernae and provide for us the use of a palace for affairs would be must conductive to the nature of the state — However, I hear there are problems arising between non-Greeks and Greeks in the Western regions. I take great interest in this, as my home lies in the lands settled by the Burgundians — for my mother herself was one of them. I am of Greek cloth, but I accept my barbarian ancestry as it helps me better and civilize those in the West — my suggestion is that we seek to co-opt their support, rather than grind down their cultural heritage into dust. We are Romans, let us make them Romans through education and noble rule, not through beating them down.

– Konstantinos Galatias


Thank you for your insight. We shall research what approaches can be taken to Poland. We fear they will not be amenable to an alliance, and the Westphalian system may make a partition impossible. Yet there should be some means of containing Russian expansion into Europe. Hungary as well will be approached.

But for the immediate future, We suspect that there can be no extended military campaigns. The Imperial stockpiles can only supply the Legions for a short time. It seems we have entered an age where a nation’s industry is the greatest factor in its strength.

We thank you for you amenability towards the restoration of Blachernae as a royal palace. The restoration will commence immediately.

Finally, We will strongly consider approaches to non-Greeks within the Empire that are less harsh.

Until, the next address, Senators.

The Empire Strikes Back 85 – The State of The Empire 1837

The State of the Empire

March 8, 1837


Doubtless you want an accounting of the Russian War.

In 1836, We decided that supplying the Legions was Our most important task. To that end, We tasked the Imperial Society with putting chemistry to the use of doctors, so that the Legions would not suffer such bad attrition.
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In order that the Royal Society might better accomplish such tasks, We sent agents to recruit more clergy as teachers in the most populated regions of the Empire.
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We adjusted the budget, setting the nominal tax rates to 100% (effective tax rates were 37%). We used this money to fund various civil servants, the soldiers in the Legions, and to stockpile good that the military would need.
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It was clear that our artisans could not supply all the needed goods, so We opened new factories to increase production: Artillery factories in Mainz and Franche-Comte (in addition to the existing one in Wales); Clipper shipyards in Bulgaria, Normandie, Attica, Suez, Alexandria, and Middle Egypt (in addition to the existing ones in Emelia and Loire).
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While stockpiling the goods to build these factories, We also began mass upgrades to our naval facilities throughout the Empire (( level 2 bases in green, level 1 bases in yellow )).
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Meanwhile, many nations in central Europe began warring against each other.
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It was clear for the sake of stability that there should be a strong nation containing them all, so We formed an alliance with Germany in the hopes of their ascendance.
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We allowed all nations that requested military access said access on the condition that they supplied their troops from their own stockpiles and not from the lands they marched through. Thus, the idea of troops being centrally supplied became normal.

Sadly, before We had had a chance to bring the Legions to strength, Russia declared war on Ukraine. We had been sending agents to influence Ukraine in our favor, and had nearly pulled them into our sphere of influence. So this invasion had to be resisted. We declared war on Russia in defense of Ukraine. Persia had sided with Russia in this war, but Germany was eager to flex their muscles and join us.

Immediately several legions marched: XXIV. Legio (near the Ukrainian border) to break Russian sieges in northern Ukraine, IV. Legio (in East Macedonia) to attack Russian forces in southern Ukraine, II. Legio (near the Russian border north of the Caucasus, but divided into two units) to also attack the Russian forces in southern Ukraine, and I. Legio (in Antioch) to attack Persia.
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While the battles with Persia went to the Legions, the battles with Russia did not. IV. Legio, having marched from East Macedonia nearly to the Caucasus, saw victories, but it was not enough to turn the Russian tide. Even the Persian victories were not enough, as they simply sent more forces to occupy border provinces while I. Legio sought to stop other occupations. And when I. Legio sought a decisive battle against the main Persian force, they lost.
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German troops in Persia began to undo some of Persia’s gains, but it was too little, too late. It was clear that the war was unwinnable and that further fighting would only lessen our chances to undo the damage at a later date. And so We surrendered to Russia, allowing them to annex Ukraine.
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We are displeased that this was necessary. We are certain that given more time, the Legions could have been better supplied and brought to their full numbers. This will still be done, though it may take two or three years. As well, the Legions have a shortage of skilled generals. This is slowly being remedied, but will also take time. This kind of disaster will not be allowed to happen again.

Other information I should share include that during the war with Russia, both Bavaria and Hungary had succeeded in their wars, becoming ever stronger regional powers.

Bavaria immediately followed this with a war on Nurnburg, and Hungary declared war on Bavaria.
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And on the colonial front, We found nearly all of Africa to be too disorganized and dangerous to gain control. The one exception was the Transvaal, which we colonized.
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Further African colonies will be encouraged in the future, as the existing ones are proving to have vast natural resources.
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The Senators Reply

The outcome of the Russo-Ukraine War is most unfortunate. Not only have we lost an important buffer, but the Russians now have access to the Black Sea. We should take efforts to minimize further Russian expansion, perhaps by ensuring the survival of Poland or the Livonian Order. I am certain that under Your careful guidance, Empress, the Empire will be ready for any threat presented by Russia.

– Michelangelo Favero

We must find friendship with the Germans, Livonians and Polish — it is the only way to stop the Russians!

– Konstantinos Galatías

Our loss of ukrainian buffer zone forces us to act immediately. I’m suggesting that we should start investing our resources to bring Poland in our Sphere of Influence, maybe even help them with expansion into Livonian Order, as they are already at war. I suggest abandoning Livonian Order as potential ally, as Poland and Livonian Order are hostile towards each other. Not mentioning that with Poland we can cover entire border between Europe and Russia, wchich we can’t do with Livonian Order. Also, in possible future conflicts with Russia we should press our claims to govern all Black Sea ports directly, rather than forcing Russia to grant independence to Ukraine with all its ports.

– Alexios Damaskinos

The loss of the Ukrainian borderlands is a devastation to both our overall political influence in Europe and to our control of trade in the Black Sea. As has been stated by other senators we should look to prop up another, more powerful nation as a new borderland. If we are to expect the Russians to perform further invasions soon, then an immediate resolution would be Poland. But if we’re in for a long con, then I’d say we should prop up the Germans and aid them in any ways possible. Besides, we already have an alliance with them.

– Julian Leon

“Glorious Empress, our defeat against the Russian barbarians only came from our long years of waiting. Soon we will crush those who oppose us!
The best way to show this renewed state of affairs to the Barbarians is to seize all ports along the Pont-Euxin coast. Thus you would do more than the great emperors of old did! The Mediterranean may have been a Roman lake but the Pont-Euxin was never fully pacified. You would protect your people and carve your name into history!
But we should contact other Barbarians to use them as a shield against the Asiatic legions. Surely one Roman life is worth a Polish legion? ”

– Basileios Rellis

Already the lenient ways of the Senate allow sedition and corruption to seep through our society.

Whilst the Emperor is busy appeasing the fat cat reactionaries of the Senate, we continue to waste the Legions in the wastelands of Russia. Meanwhile our true enemy in Scotland remains free and must be brought to heel.

Alliances with Germany and Poland will secure our Northen and Eastern borders, whilst we make the Scots bow.

– Στήβεν Γκρέυ

I disagree Στήβεν Γκρέυ. Those Slavic Barbarians have just seized an important buffer, a buffer we invested heavily in I might add. While the Scots are our traditional enemies these are not traditional times, we have a new enemy now in Russia. It is a monster the Emperor has birthed and we must put down! That is why I think we should instead turn our attention East and subjugate the Russian’s however costly that might be. I also will take this time to promote an invasion of Germanium. While the First Empire was unable to tame the barbarians just across the Rhine I have a belief that we can, we have defeated them in the 15 years war, and the many wars before, so lets do it again. Restore Roman Rule to Germanium!

-Potitus Caristanius Gallio

“I also disagree, Senator Nkréy. The Sko̱tsézoi1 are of no threat to Mégas Ró̱mi2. Instead, I counsel that, with the loss of Ukraine to the people of Ro̱ssía3, the Basilissa’s armies should move against the people of Oungaría4 and incorporate that state fully within our own borders, rather than perpetually outside.”

~ Kyriakos Angelos

1: Scotsmen. 2: Great Rome. 3: Russia. 4: Hungary.

Senator Nkréy, you must agree that, compared to the Russians, the Gaels do not pose a threat. The Ukraine was a important buffer to the Empire and the Russians have to be stopped, though I hope we can settle this affair diplomatically.

Senator Gallio, I do not believe that the invasion of Germania would be beneficial. It is in my belief that we should attempt to assist the Germans in uniting Germania, as such, gaining an ally who could assist us if the Russians decide to invade. If possible, I could make a map displaying my ideas of what the borders of Europa should be.

~ Damianos Septiadis

A united Germania would only endanger the Empire more than the Russians. Assuming we can unite them, and assuming they do not immediately implode, it has the potential to turn into another Russia. When the Germans do sour of us, as they will the damned barbarians, we will be fighting a behemoth that outmatches even us in both industry and military. So in conclusion while respect your views Septiadis, i feel they will do more harm than good.

– Potitus Caristanius Gallio

Germans are a threat. No one should forget what happened centuries ago when they attacked the Western Empire and brought it to its end. Thus we can not risk Roman on the chance they might still ally us after we helped them. Continuous watching on the Rhine and Danube is the only way.
Polish on the other hand could be used well against the Russian Hordes.

– Basileios Rellis

“They are all barbarians, senator, but perhaps the Nemitzoi are the most perfidious of all. How long has it been since their sham western empire collapsed once again? I am not sure which I would sooner wish upon my enemies – the Rus or the Nemitzoi. Each would be a most uncomfortable bedfellow.”

~ Kyriakos Angelos

Nemitzoi: The Germans.

I agree with Angelos if I am understanding right. I-I mean we must destroy the Germans and Rus before they do the same to us. Empress Veronica, establish Regula Romanus in Europa!

– Potitus Caristanius Gallio

Yes the Germans in the past were barbarians who greatly weakened the empire, but at the same time they provided much work as mercenaries, Foederati. And though there is a chance that the relationship can sour, but at the same time this would just be a mere case of history repeating itself, and in that case we know what to do. But I assure you all that not only are the Germans a civilized people, but also that they have been long civilized and even had an admiration for us shown with their pretender Holy Roman Empire. So it is an almost absolute fact that the Germans will be a staunch supporter of us.
– Julian Leon

How does the Empire expect to dismantle the Russians and maintain the neutrality of the other nations that have thrown of the guiding hand of Mégas Ró̱mi and those upstart colonies across the water with the infamy that we must accure to halt the Russian hordes? Even with the best efforts of our diplomats we will only be able to force them to release one or two potentially hostile nations, unless the Senate expects our Legions to fight the entire continent.

I in 2 quick ways we can deal blows to the heart of the Hun and the Gaels and force them to kneel before our might. However we must proceed with caution, let the Legions rest and recover theire strength and it is clear we need a more professional army to best our enemies and the Empire should put forward funds to research new ways of bringing this to our forces.

– Στήβεν Γκρέυ



Closing Remarks

Senators, it is clear there is much disagreement on how to proceed. Nevertheless, it will take time before the legions are ready for any kind of fighting, let alone fighting other Great Powers. I will report to you when matters have changed. Thank you for your advice.

As well, these are some newspapers that the archivists thought significant:
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The Empire Strikes Back 84 – The State of the Empire – 1836

Senators, We thank you for how you honored Us during Our coronation ceremony.

As Empress, it is Our duty to protect the Empire, to make it strong, and to bring it glory. As Senators, it is your duty to advise Us in Our duty. And for you to do your duty, you must know the state of the Empire.

And so We give a state of the Empire address.

The Empire remains the preeminent nation in the world. None comes close to us in prestige, industry, or military might.
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But our withdrawal from world affairs these last years has lessened our diplomatic influence. Our vassals are independent. Our allies gone their own way. But also, our enemies have lost there fear of us. Diplomatically, we are a blank slate.
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Militarily, we are quite strong. We have fifteen Legions, two fleets of Man’O’Wars, one fleet of Frigates, and numerous transports. But the reality is not as good as it sounds. I have reports that my predecessors developed an advanced system of foraging that allowed the Legions to march in grand numbers without fearing attrition. And yet the reality of this is nowhere to be seen. Most of the Legions have been forced to split into smaller groups to avoid attrition. With supplies from Imperial Storehouses, this might be somewhat averted, but spoilage and disease might still take their toll. The Legions are also depleted from years of neglect.
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Unfortunately, it will be difficult to replenish the Legions, as we are unequipped to supply them even at their current state.
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For that matter, while we have large cash reserves, our budget is strongly negative. Although the clerks tell me these are predictions based on old records, and it may prove different in very little time.
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We have several centers of industry, though not much of our population works in these centers.
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Our technology is unmatched throughout the world.
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Our population is mostly Greek-speaking, though quite diverse. Most of the non-Greeks are in the west. Castillians, Basque, and Andalusians in Iberia; Bretons, Cosmpolitane French, Aquitaine French, and Burgundians in Gaul; Italians in the Po valley; Flemish and Walloons in the Low Country; Welsh, Scottish, and a few English in Britannia; Berbers scattered throughout North Africa; Azerbaijani in Azerbaijan; and Jews everywhere, with a strong presence in Palestine.
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Speaking of Africa: it seems that between the slave trade, our conquest, the conversions, and the political reorganizations, nearly all political organization has completely collapsed in west Africa. A few nations have started small trading posts, but we have certainly lost our grip on the region.
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The world’s borders have not changed much. There are current maps that will be made available to all Senators.
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And these broadsheets Our clerks have been distributing give the estimated political concerns of the Senators we have appointed.
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Now, I shall hear your concerns and recommendations.

Your Imperial Majesty, you come to the throne at a time when the Empire has stagnated for over a decade. If we wish to ensure our dominance of the world, we must spread our influence far and wide. I suggest that we attempt to bring the other nations of Europe back under our fold through trade and diplomacy ((get as many of the minor powers in our sphere as possible)). We should also attempt to re-establish our former positions in Africa if possible ((not sure if portions of Africa can be colonized at this point, but it looks so bare)). Our military most likely requires reorganization, but I am not as experienced in the gritty details of our forces. Industrialization has also become a powerful force and perhaps we should consider opening factories to produce wondrous goods for our Empire. Our focus should be closer to home until the Empire has adjusted to the rule of Your Illustrious Person. Of course, Your word is law, so I will support whatever efforts You prefer.

– Michelangelo Favero

“Noble Basilissa, I understand that the rebellious people of Skotia1 and Irlandia2 have united against your enlightened rule, yet they still control a sliver of southeastern Anglia3. I ask that the mighty armies of Rhomaion drive back the Skotsezoi4 past the great wall of Basileus Adrianou5 and retake southern Anglia and Oualia6, once and for all!”

~ Kyriakos Angelos
1: Scotland. 2: Ireland. 3: England. 4: Scots. 5: Emperor Hadrian. 6: Wales.

Senator Favero, We thank you for your inputs. We will look to build our industry, rebuild the Legions, and regain the Empire’s influence in Europe. We fear that Africa is still too chaotic for us to regain control, but We shall seek any opportunities to do so.

Senator Angelos, it seems Our address was unclear. Indeed, the Empire holds all the lands south of Basileus Adrianou’s wall. The former drawing stead was showing the regions where our subjects primarily speak Welsh, English, or other non-Greek tongues. A large map of the Empire is to be installed in the Senate Hall later today, and smaller maps have been printed for all Senators and will be delivered shortly. (( If you click on the map in the previous post, you can have Photobucket give you the full-scale version, where it’s more clear ))

If no other Senators have concerns at this time, we shall end this address to the Senate.

The Empire Strikes Back 83 – Empress Veronica

In December of 1835, Senator Nicolai Stathopoulos was summoned to the Imperial Palace. This was quite odd, because no-one had been to the Imperial Palace in years.

Years before, it was common for the aristocracy to visit the palance. There would be parties nearly every night, and constant events fawning over the Emperor throughout the day. Not only was it cultured, but it was a way to be seen by the Emperor and so to gain a valuable posting in the Empire.

All that changed when Andronikos was appointed heir. He had always been a strange sort, but not being in the line of succession, he was not often seen. Once he was heir, his presence at the State events made everyone uncomfortable. No-one could quite figure out what about him was so offputting, but the effect was real. So when State events began happening less frequently, and finally ceased altogether, everyone was relieved.

Many of the aristocracy who lacked positions returned home, where the more apt of them found that the Imperial bureaucracy had replaced them as the governance in the provinces. Though few truly noticed this, as the more savvy of the aristocrats had already recognized this fact and stayed in Constantinople.

The Imperial Bureaucracy kept the Empire governed, even as orders from the palace slowed to a trickle and then stopped. Those who sought orders, an audience, or simply to investigate at the palace where turned away by the Varangian Guard. And so the most ambitious of the aristocrats reformed the Senate, in order to ‘ensure the safekeeping and functioning of the Empire’. The presence of the fanatically loyal Scholai Palatinae in the city ensured that the ambitions for the Senate went no further. Between the bureaucracy and the Senate, the Empire was kept stable. But the lack of word from the Emperor meant that international relations faded.

Years passed. Food and supplies were delivered to the palace (the servants silent and frightened-looking when they took the deliveries), but no word came out. Until December of 1835. The Varangian Guard had been summoned inside. And then new servants were hired. Supplies were delivered, and it was clear that the palace was being cleaned and refurbished. And then days later, the summons came for Nicolai.

When he arrived at the palace, he was escorted in by a silent guard. He was led to a room where bodies lay in state: the royal family. Many of the bodies were in poor shape, little more than skeletons. Some where more recent. Least honored was the obviously recent body of Andronikos.

After Nicolai recovered from the shock of this revelation, he was escorted to a waiting room. He tried to recall the lineage of the royal family and which bodies he had seen. Where there any survivors?

When a servant came to wait on him, he tried to ask questions, but the servant merely shook his head. When Nicolai shouted “Why will no-one speak to me?!” the servant looked up with sorrowful eyes, then opened his mouth. He had no tongue. Nicolai fell back in his chair as the servant left. What horros had happened here?

Eventually, he was led to an audience chamber, where there was a young woman, in her late teens. She greeted him. “Senator Stathopoulos, thank you for coming. I am Veronica, the last of the Doukas family.” Nicolai remembered that she had been an infant when the palace had become closed off. She would be nearly seventeen now. “I am afraid that the reign of my Uncle Andronikos has not been a good one. But it is now over. He died at his meal the other day. As I am the last of my family, I am the heir to the throne. The coronation will be in a few days. But I wanted to greet you beforehand to thank you for your service to the Empire. You will, of course, be reappointed to the Senate as my reign begins.”

After a short time, Nicolai was led out of the audience chamber and out of the palace. He was stunned, and it took him some time to meet with the other Senators, who had also had similar experiences this morning. By now, rumors were spreading throughout the city regarding the day’s events, and speculation as to the fate of the royal family was rampant: the family had been stuck down by plague and Veronica the lone survivor, raised by servants; the family had turned on each other for power, killing each other through the years; Andronikos had led a reign of terror before he was struck down by God; Andronikos had led a reign of terror, but had been killed by Veronica when he sought to assault her. It would never be known what had happened, the only witnesses other than Veronica were unable to speak and so could never tell.

The next day, the announcement went from the palace: Veronica would be crowned Empress on New Year’s Day, and immediately after would address the Senate.

Note: if you are capable, you should follow this AAR on the paradox forums. Those who respond in-character there will get in-character replies in the following updates. More here.

The Empire Strikes Back 82 – 1821 Update

The Empire’s borders had not changed appreciably in the last 70 years.
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In Africa, much has changed. West Africa had been organized as a series of vassals to the Empire, except for most of the coast, which remained under direct Imperial administration. South Africa had completely fallen to Imperial control, though the Somali beeralayda (farmers) were chafing under the Imperial rules. There was even talk of a mass migration into the interior of Southern Africa. In eastern Africa, Gondar and Sennar had completely collapsed, most of their lands now ruled by Ethiopia. Adal had recovered some of the Swahili lands they had ruled off-and-on for centuries, with Ethiopia having inherited the rest. Adal’s long attempts to gain control over the Tanganyika Territory had finally failed, though they still maintained control over Madagascan affairs. Mutapa, despite a lack of modern organization, had held on to their territory.
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In South America, La Plata and Colombia had gained self-governance from the Empire. Peru had negotiated with Russia to regain their coastal provinces as well. England remained primarily Brazilian, with Anglo-Saxons in the northeast and in most positions of power through out the nation.
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North America was largely split between Canada in the north (including territories on the western coast), Mexico in the south and west, and the USA in the east. New England was a small Iroquois-dominated nation freed from English control and nestled between Canada and the USA. Alaska was split between the control of Russia and Peru, neither of which had much more than loose claims to it.
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Europe had begun to solidify its borders. In the east, Russia bordered Livonia and Ukraine, and controlled Finland, a convenient border-state between them and the united Scandinavia. In the west, the German lands were being slowly united, though Denmark still stood strong, and both Scandinavia and Hungary were poised to expand into the more disorganized parts. Hungary had bought the Transylvanian region from the Empire, who recognized that the people there would be more happily ruled by a culturally similar nation. Poland stood proud and stable between Livonia, Ukraine, Hungary, and the German territories.
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Central Asia was dominated by Russia in the north, with Khiva ruling the various Altaic peoples to the south. Under the Roman aegis, Persia ruled in the land of ancient empires, with Iraq ruling Mesopotamia. Likewise, under Roman guidance, Hedjaz ruled most of Arabia (Saana controlling the north-eastern area). East of Persia and south of Khiva were Baluchistan and Khorisan, the first of the Muslim states.
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In India, Deccan’s attempted defense of Mali against the Empire had proved disastrous. They had been split into several states, which were given to Hindu rulers whenever possible. The subcontinent had been nearly united under Deccan’s rule and was mostly Muslim. Now it was embroiled in civil wars, wars of conquest, rebellions, and religious turmoil.
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Southeastern Asia was also in chaos with the collapse of Wu authority in that region. Resurgent Buddhist states struggled against both new-found Confucian states and Polish colonialism.
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Eastern Asia was dominated by the Ming, who had nearly reunited their old Chinese lands that had for centuries fallen away. To their north, the Manchu remained quiescent, though coveted the bit of Korea not under their control. Even further north, Russia and Iraq competed to settle the steppes. Japan was ruled by the Tachibana Shogunate, who had nearly quashed all resistance to their rule.
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Oceania was mostly covered in Imperial colonies. But Iraq, Hedjaz, and Persia had all planted colonies. And Makassar did it’s best to unite local peoples against Imperialism from the west.
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Internally, the Empire had learned better provisioning both for the Legions and the navy. As well, the Legions were now formed as local regiments, better improving the ties between the soldiers. More government power was focused on protecting trade, and the Legions had further insisted on having quality soldiers instead of more soldiers (not that the Empire had any shortage of soldiers).
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The world had changed much in the past 400 years.

There were now 92 well defined states (if some were fighting for their very existence against aggressive neighbors), where before there had been 161 proto-states, territories, and Empires waiting to fall apart.

Orthodox Christianity had become the dominant religion of the world, with almost everyone in Europe, central Asia, north Asia, Oceania, Africa, and the Americas practicing some form of the faith. Islam had been pushed into India (where it almost entirely replaced Hinduism) and Indonesia. Confucianism and Buddhism competed for the souls of east Asia, while Japan continued to practice Shinto.

The ‘Persian plan’ as applied in Persia, Mesopotamia, Arabia, and the Russian steppes had led to a burgeoning of nationalistic thought. In many regions, a united culture had formed around the states that had pacified large territories. In others, such as Germany, or in the former colonial territories in the Americas, a nationalism around the existing culture led to the formation of new states. The next 100 years were bound to be dominated by the forces of nationalism.

As best as historians could guess, this had been the world in 1408.
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And this was the world in 1821.
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The Empire Strikes Back 81 – Megas Alexandros

While the Alexandrian Renaissance slowed in it’s inattentiveness, it was still rapid. The legions took advantage of advancements in explosives to begin retaining units of grenadiers. And the imperial cavalry mastered the art of mounted skirmishing with firearms.
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Alexander quickly tired of peace, and made war on England while his other existing truces were valid.
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The Legions used their experiences in fighting this war to again adjust their tactics, not even waiting for the war to be over (drilling in the new square formations no doubt alleviated the tedium of sieges).
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After quite some time besieging various English fortresses and hunting down English armies, peace was made, England giving up lands in the Pacific Northwest and Africa, as well as freeing New England.
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But it was a short-lived peace, Alexander focusing again on Africa. But this time, the rulers of most of India joined in Mali’s defense.
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The difficulty of keeping the Legions supplied in Africa and India led to purposeful efforts in improving the ability to forage locally. Simultaneously, a grand prize was announced for methods of truly preserving food for long times.
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Mali had built truly impressive defenses, so it took five years to bring them to heel. Most of their outlying territories were taken.
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Once that was done, Deccan was quick to agree to a harsh peace: they freed almost half their lands to local control. The locals given control were favorably those who were not Muslims (there still being a great fear of Muslims in the Empire, even three centuries after the Timurids had ceased to be a threat).
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Even as the legions marched home, Alexander declared war on Novgorod-Seversk, annoyed at the existence of minor states between Russia and Ukraine. However, Russia did not seem to see that this would be a war in their favor, and joined the defense of the little nation.
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Finland escaped from the war only giving up claims to territories they did not hold. Novgorod-Severesk was absorbed (and then sold to Russia). Russia gave Kola and Karelia to Scandinavia in a separate peace.
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Before the war was done, Adal moved to conquer the last province held by Swahili. Ethiopia came to Swahili’s defense, and the Empire immediately supported Ethiopia.
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During this war, the navies of the Empire insisted on a little of the support that the Legions received. A naval provision system was therefore developed.
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Eventually, Novgorod was annexed (also later to be sold to Russia). Once this was done, Russia agreed to give up their claims in Eastern Europe.
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Before the war with Adal had ended, Alexander declared war on England, hoping to remove them from any lands but their Brazilian ones.
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Shortly after this one of Adal’s provinces that had been occupied by the legions defected to the Empire. Adal soon after agreed to peace, giving up any claims to lands ruled by the Empire.

The war with England dragged on for years as the legions did their best to force the strong English forces to surrender. Meanwhile, Alexander behaved true to form and declared war on Mali as soon as the former truce ended. The war with Mali was won before the war with England was (their fortress-cities in eastern Siberia holding on for years).
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While waiting for Gizhiga to fall to XI. Legio, the Empire was dragged into yet more wars: a Scandinavian adventure in India, and to defend Gotland against Denmark.

In 1808, the last English fortresses fell (and their navy made a last-ditch strike near Gibraltar, again smashing the fleet protecting the Mediterranean). England was forced to give up all lands outside of South America, and gave up claims on all lands they had previously lost. They were now just a regional power.
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When Denmark surrendered in 1810, they were forced to free Werle and Holstein, while Deccan merely gave up some claims.
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After only a year, Alexander again demonstrated his restlessness when he declared war on Bavaria. Peru, Baden, and Sanaa came to their defense. While IV. Legio lost the opening battle of the war, it was quite successful in harming the Bavarian ability to make war.

Baden was completely annexed (and then swiftly placed under German control). Sanaa gave up all of their lands away from their home territory and gave up claims to provinces within Arabia.
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Peru gave up some claims in La Plata. Bavaria was forced to release several states.
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In June of 1815, Alexander declared war on Mali, bringing to its end the last of the slave selling states (it was annexed in September of 1818). But to Alexander’s dismay, there were still slaves being sold. While the Empire had been focused on what they thought was the source of slaves in West Africa, they were really being sold by Kongo. Alexander demanded the annexation of Kongo, and the trade was fully ended by October of 1818.

In December of 1820, Alexander finally died, seemingly of old age (though later events throw the official diagnosis into doubt). Konstantios XIII rose to the throne.
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He appointed as heir his brother Andronikos—later known as Andronkios the mad—thus setting into effect the events of the 19th century.


And that’s it for EU3! I’ll do some summary posts while I work on the conversion. Is there anything you’d like to see mentioned or addressed?

The Empire Strikes Back 80 – Alexander Goes to War

While the Regency Council ruling for Alexander did not have the authority to start wars, they had the authority to respond to their allies. Norway had been a warmonger in Southeast Asia for several years, and finally they provoked a larger war.
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While XI. Legio moved against Khmer and Wu, the war against Sennar was won. Hopefully there would soon be peace so the Empire could be divested of those lands.
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The bold charges by the Imperial cavalry had proven decisive on the battlefield for some time. So they were given better armor and the horses that could carry that weight, making them that much more a shock on the battlefield.
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As well, a greatly skilled engineer was found in Italy. When given charge of the Imperial Corps of Engineers, he significantly improved their capabilities.
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The Royal Mortars had proved the value of mobile artillery, so the Legions developed and deployed new ‘flying artillery’ cohorts that were even more mobile and destructive on the battlefield.
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Scarce had peace been made in east Asia when Russia drew the Empire into a war against Adal, Ethiopia, Bavaria, and Switzerland (although Ethiopia immediately agreed to a white peace).
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IV. Legio, XIX. Legio, XXII. Legio, and XXIII. Legio moved to attack in Europe.
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Bavaria was distracted by a war with Hungary, but once they had won it, they attacked XXII. Legio with forty thousand of their own men. When XXII. Legio repelled that attack, they had little time to recover before a second assault of forty thousand men wiped them from the map.
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The other nearby legions broke their sieges as soon as they received word, moving to avenge their fallen brethren. Within a few months, they had destroyed the entire Bavarian army.

The war dragged on as the legions sought to convince the besieged lands of their enemies to surrender. As they neared complete victory, Alexander came of age (naming a young cousin heir).
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Alexander took a swath of Bavaria in retribution for the defeat of XXII. Legio.
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From Adal he took more of south Africa and forced them to give up their claims to many of the lands they had once held.
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During this last war, Norway had again attacked a minor south-east Asian power and drawn the Empire into the war. Alexander took most of Java from Mataram for the Empire’s part in the war.
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This left Alexander with a terrible reputation as a warmonger (in this, he took after his namesake). So he freed the La Plata region of South America, which had also been clamoring for more independence (and being distant, was nigh ungovernable).
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For the next two years, he focused on land swaps between various states, for the purpose of drawing world borders as the Empire had long desired them. While he did this, he began a propaganda campaign to change people’s interest from exploring the world (it had already been mostly explored) to pride in the locally drawn cohorts of the legions. Many cynically-inclined people saw through the propaganda, but enough money poured into supporting local causes soon restored stability in the Empire.[1]

The land swaps badly hurt Alexander’s prestige (as the court could only ever see it as selling lands), so once he had adjusted borders to his liking, he declared war on Kanem Bornu, who was defended by Mali. March of 1777 saw Kanem Bornu completely annexed. August of 1778 saw Mali give up more land.
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Under Alexander’s administration, the Empire had entered a new renaissance of development. It seemed that new innovations in all areas of life arrived yearly[2]. And so it was that the Legions became even more drilled and disciplined.
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The legions were sent to war against Gondar, with Adal coming to their defense. It took little time for Gondar to agree to give up Geizra (they later suffered a complete economic and political breakdown, ceasing to exist as a nation).
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Adal then gave up the last of southern Africa under their control.
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Alexander was living up to his namesake.

[1] I switched Quest for the New World to Espirit de Corps.

[2] I guess the Empire can into space. I was starting to think it would be impossible, but the techs got cheaper. Who knew?

The Empire Strikes Back 79 – War in Africa

Mali was an old and rich land. Wisely led by their Imams, they had grown powerful in western Africa. The legions were able to beat Mali’s armies in any battle, but had a hard time maintaining any sieges as the Malinese army would travel to where the Legions were not and put Imperial controlled regions to siege. It took two years for the Legions to find some semblance of order to the war. By 1752, the western parts of Mali were besieged by XVII. Legio, XVI Legio was bringing the Timbuktu region under control (with constant marching by the largest part of the Legion to defeat newly raised and organized Malinese forces), IX. Legio was clearing the Guinean region of forces and beginning the critical sieges, and XII. Legio (shipped over when it was apparent Mali was not an knockover) fended off Malinese raids and dreamed of marching on the Lake Tchad region.

The war was a draining one for the Legions. In order to better recruit replacement soldiers, Konstantios tied each cohort to a particular province from which recruiters could find replacement soldiers.
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Finally in November of 1753, Mali agreed to release Kanem Bornu and to give up a swath of territory to the Empire. Missionaries were sent to the conquered territories, and Kanem Bornu was disavowed of any ideas of alliance that they held.
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During this war, the North Andean people had expressed dissatisfaction with the neglect their region had faced. No doubt, the fact that the North Andeans a primarily local culture that integrated themselves into the Imperial system once given the chance played a role in their independent mindset. A corrupt governor did not help their dissatisfaction, even though they were repaid for their losses.
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Konstantios, recognizing that it would be a long time (if ever a time) before the Empire could directly administer them to a degree that made their lands worthwhile, granted them a great measure of independence.
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During the peace while the Legions recovered, Theodoros (who was heir to the Empire and had recently had a coming out party) died of a strange fever. While Konstantios made no overt moves, he was suspicious of this death.
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To no-one’s surprise, Konstantios declared war on Kanem Bornu.

Not too long after, the Empress gave birth. The astrologer’s advice was ambiguous, and Konstantios chose to remember the Greek heritage in his heir’s name.
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This proved to be a good choice, as Kanem Bornu soon after agreed to give up most of their lands.
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As did Songhai after them. With truces yet to expire in western Africa, Konstantios looked to eastern Africa. The old cursed land of Sennar was attacked so its land could be given to Ethiopia.
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It was during this war that Konstantios died a little too soon, leaving a regency council to rule for Alexander until his majority.
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The Empire Strikes Back 78 – 1750 Update

By 1750, the Empire had finally reclaimed all of its historical holdings.
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Eastern Europe had mostly stabilized, though Bjarmia, Novgorod, and Novgorod-Sversk had not yet succumbed to Russian consolidation.
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In central Europe, Germany had begun the first of its wars of consolidation.
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The only change of note in South America was a concession of land from Peru to Russia in Russia’s war against Novgorod.
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Eastern North America had changed significantly. The Huron had formed Canada and consolidated the north. The Cherokee had formed the United States of America and begun working to consolidate the plains. A few potential territorial disputes had been resolved by the Empire, with the lands under the temporary control of the Empire.
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Western North America was a land of shifting claims, though few actual members of the claiming nations were actually present and control of the lands was nominal.
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Eastern Africa saw Adal weakened, with Ethiopia, Swahili, and the Empire growing stronger.
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In western Africa, Konstantios had made war on Mali to stop the slave trade at its source.
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The settlement of Oceania had gone nearly as far as anyone considered worthwhile.
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The Empire had advanced greatly in learning, with art and science flourishing throughout the Empire. Lonely Castile, holding only the Azores, had managed to import and apply nearly everything the Empire knew, though this was their only claim to any fame.
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The Empire had the world’s largest army (by far). Russia had the next largest, and the rulers of almost all India followed after that.
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After the Empire, it was England and Peru that had the largest navies.
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In the time span between 1700 and 1750, the Empire had extended yet more protection to the lower classes, though nearly everyone but the hereditary aristocrats had been shut out of the highest levels of influence and power. The merchants had given up direct influence in the government without too much fuss, as the Empire gave them more protection against outside traders. And the Imperial Corps of Engineers was proving ever useful to the Legions.
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England, despite having been forced to abandon their homeland, had grown to be a power. The Kingdom was focused on their naval power, and on claiming as many colonies as they could. They controlled much of eastern South America, the New England region of North America, the North American south-west, and a strip of the Siberian coast. Their armies, while no match for the Legions, had proved well trained and equipped in the recent war, and their navy was the best in the world, giving even Konstantios pause.
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Muscowy had long been spreading across the steppes, aided by the Empire, which had not wanted to manage those lands itself. After proclaiming itself the union of all Russians, it had reclaimed most of the traditional Russian heartland. Militaristic and aristocratic, who knew where it would turn next?
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This was the world in 1750.
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The Empire Strikes Back 77 – The Epistle to the Empire

Konstantios, XII of his name, Basilious

Landholders, businessmen, plantation owners of the Empire, I remind you of St. Paul’s letter to Philemon:

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker—also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.

Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus—that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.

I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever—no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.

So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.

And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.

Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.[1]

As Philemon owed St Paul his very self, you owe the Empire (and thus Us) your prestige and wealth. As St. Paul did, I insist I that as Emperor, I could order you to do what you ought to do, but I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. I appeal to you for my long-suffering subjects, the slaves. Are they not sons of God, as you are? Were they not put into your power than they might learn their place in Christ? Therefore I implore you that you now treat them as dear brothers[2], rather than as slaves. I write this confidently to you, knowing you also would do more if I asked.

Konstantios, XII of his name, Basilious

Sealed orders to the Commanders, Centurions, and Legionaries of the Empire

My command went to the Empire to free the slaves, an iron-fisted command in a glove of velvet. It has been a year since the command was given.

Any slaveholder you can reach who has shown mercy, you shall show mercy. Remove them and their families from reprisal, and place them as officers or governors. For did not Christ insist that those who humbled themselves might be glorified?[3]

As for those who have refused to give up their terrible ways: did not Christ warn that the last would be first and the first would be last?[4] Therefore in such cases, make the slaves the owners and the owners the slaves. Make those who sell slaves to be sold as slaves, and those slaves being sold to gain the profit.

Once it is done, there shall be no new slaves. Those who seek to make new slaves will incur these punishments and more.

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[1]The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers: 2001.
[2]The Greek word used here can refer to both male and female siblings.
[3]A reference to Luke 14:7-11, and perhaps also Luke 14:12-14.
[4]Matthew 19:30-20:16

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