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

The Empire Strikes Back 76 – To the Rhine

Konstantios XII inherited an Empire with an imperative to conquer all the way to the Rhine. This was very nearly done, but the Kingdom of Schwyz held some of those lands and was heavily influenced by the Netherlands.
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Schwyz would accept nothing but full defeat. The Netherlands took much more fighting and besieging, but in the end, they gave up Breda and Limburg (the Imperial Corps of Engineers having better surveyed the regions of the Low Countries and redrawing the borders on the official Imperial maps[1]).
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The third Rhineland war was fought against Thuringia for Mainz. The war was straightforward, and Mainz was taken.
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The fourth Rhineland war was fought against Upper Lorraine to annex the rest of their territory. While they fell quickly, their allies took a little longer but soon all agreed to white peaces.
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There was a time of peace, but in late 1734, a Russian war against Novgorod escalated into a war between Russia, The Empire, and most of the Empire’s allies against Peru, England, and Novgorod.
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X. Legio was sent to take England’s African holdings. Several other Legions were sent to the Americas, to fend of Peru and to take as much as they could from England. But they had to move cautiously, as the English fleet was even more mighty than the Imperial fleets, which lost two battles to the English.

Novgorod was left to Russia. At least until a Novgorod army was spotted marching through Lombardia. XII. Legio and XXIII. Legio soon outmaneuvered this small force, besting them in battle.

The northwestern Americas fell to XXII. Legio.
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But while VI. Legio destroyed several Peruvian armies in La Plata, English armies were able pour over the border and take much Imperial territory.
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The English armies were harder to defeat, but VI. Legio eventually did the job.

XXII. Legio made a bold strike toward the Hawaiian islands, but an English fleet drove them away before they could land. Many transports were sunk, thousand of soldiers drowning at sea.

X. Legio was able to take all of England’s new colonies in the South Pacific. After doing so, it moved towards north-eastern Asia.
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Once any English colonies that could be seized had been taken, Konstantios finally agreed to a peace with Peru. A peace that gave the Empire the few English lands in the Indian Ocean that had not already been taken.
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While the Legions were shipped home and brought back to full strength, a more maneuverable mortar was developed and distributed.
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Konstantios was waiting for his reputation to improve when Adal attacked Mutapa. Russia came to Mutapa’s defense, and the next thing anything knew, the Empire was leader in a much broader war.
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Fortunately, Ethiopia could be bought off for 50 gold. A small price to keep the Empire’s ally in the Empire’s camp. Bavaria was forced to give up Pfalz, the very province that Konstantios had been planning to start a war over in the near future.
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With this, the West Rhine was recovered. Parliament was disappointed when Konstanios declared that no more war would be made in Europe to recover ancient territories:
“We have regained our ancient lands. We do not wish any more German lands or subjects. The Germans have from ancient times been entirely ungovernable, and more recent history demonstrates no end to their chaos. It were best we leave them to their own devices.”

(Upon hearing this, Pieter von Zwiebrücken declared that the Netherlands were a nation where all Germans could live, free from Roman oppression.)
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When the Imperial parliament asked Konstanios to capture Lothian from Scotland, he refused and refused to hear any new requests for years.

Baden gave up some land claims and much of their treasury. And eventually Adal was forced to release Swahili, give a little of the south African coast to the Empire, and give up their claims on other lands the Empire had taken previously.
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There was a time of peace, but eventually Konstantinos Doukas, heir to the Empire, died in a hunting accident. Konstantios was not entirely convinced of the accidental nature of this death, remembering both the way that several recent emperors had died of ‘natural causes’ and of the way parliament had recently been denied. The resulting purges of the nobility were mercifully minor, and the effects less than rebellious, as their families’ new cadet branches eagerly joined the glory of the Imperial Court. But several who were almost certainly innocent had been caught up in the purge, and many nobles were uneasy about coming to the Emperor’s notice.
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The young Theodoros was immediately declared heir, though he may have learned the wrong lessons from the events that led to his elevation.

When parliament was again allowed to suggest ideas, they asked for the annexation of Austria, and were again rejected and ignored. Konstantios spent nearly a decade focusing on building the Empire’s infrastructure and institutions. These years were peaceful and unsurprising. Until Konstantios XII wrote his most famous of letters.


[1] I’ve started doing test conversions to Vic2, and boy do some of those regions change in shape between the games. I’m adjusting EU3 a bit to match.