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.
 photo 84-1_zpsyuelcnxi.png

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.
 photo 84-2_zpsimcdsoty.png

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.
 photo 84-3_zps51ogpiib.png

Unfortunately, it will be difficult to replenish the Legions, as we are unequipped to supply them even at their current state.
 photo 84-4_zpsr0v1yjtx.png

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.
 photo 84-5_zpsmxgtsayy.png

We have several centers of industry, though not much of our population works in these centers.
 photo 84-6_zpsubthppni.png

Our technology is unmatched throughout the world.
 photo 84-7_zpsmzsb7dvv.png

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.
 photo 84-8_zpsn3ewvcnl.png

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.
 photo 84-9_zpsbtjhwtaq.png

The world’s borders have not changed much. There are current maps that will be made available to all Senators.
 photo 84-10_zpscigjfkq8.png

And these broadsheets Our clerks have been distributing give the estimated political concerns of the Senators we have appointed.
 photo 84-11_zps36ptktp9.png

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.