Konstantinos was enjoying an extended time of peace. He needed to enjoy it, for this peace would be there if he liked it or not. He was not foolish enough to continue waging war while his reputation suffered so. He used this time to tighten relationships in the court, keeping the nobles ever more engaged. If this meant excluding the rich, they could be trusted to find their own rewards.
During this time, Russia made war on the Golden Horde for the last of their territory. It did Konstantinos’ reputation no harm to send officers into the field, so he did so, eager to hear reports of the action.
As the reports came, he excitedly worked with the Scholai Palatinae to find ways improving the Legions’ abilities to wage war. They devised the idea of creating a specific corp of engineers, who would be specifically trained in how to create defenses…and how to destroy them. The Imperial Corps of Engineers was born.
Shortly after the Golden Horde successfully sued Konstantinos for peace, the Cherokee used the promise of a federal-style government to convince their territories to organize as a modern nation-state. The United States of America had come into existence.
In 1700, Emperor Konstantinos XIX gave greater restrictions on joint-stock companies and their operations. This increased the efficiency and competitiveness of Imperial companies, but at the cost of shutting out many new and small companies.
As the Imperial infantry proved the worth of their line tactics, the kataphractoi responded by adjusting their tactics and weaponry to incorporate pistols into their charges, although they mainly used sabers once the range was closed.
Bored of peace, Konstantinos declared war on all the states between Poland and Livonia, with the intention of giving their lands to Livonia. This led to more war than he expected as many allies joined in their defense.
The minor states were soon enough absorbed, and peace made with the other nations. Meanwhile the Huron reorganized themselves as Canada. And during the peace, Konstantinos fell ill again. Again, unlanded nobles were expelled from the court during his weakness. When he recovered, he did his best to show his strength by declaring war on Scotland. The Netherlands joined them, and paid for it by losing all lands and all claims west of the Rhine.
During the following peace, Konstantinos sent a herald to Muscowy, suggesting that Andrei V Abbaghai anoint himself King of the Russians. Andrei took this suggestion heartily, and was crowned within days.
To little surprise, Parliament asked for all of the territory west of the Rhine to be conquered. Konstantinos agreed to even this, though he recognized he needed to take some time to allow his reputation to recover if he did not wish for great instability within the Empire.
India, South-east Asia, and east Asia had changed even less. But Imperial explorers had discovered more of the eastern world in the south (in fact, they had mapped all the world’s oceans), and colonists were swarming to the new land of Australia.
The Empire had a stronger, more politically protected cabinet of advisers to the Emperor than in 1650. As well, power was more centralized, plutocrats more powerful (and more protected by the government of the Empire), peasants more free, and the legions were more defensive.
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.