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Byzantine ruler, which one will you prefer?

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by halfhalfharp, Jan 23, 2018.

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Byzantine ruler, which one will you prefer?

  1. Justinian I

    26 vote(s)
    41.3%
  2. Theodora (Justinian's wife)

    21 vote(s)
    33.3%
  3. Constantine the great

    12 vote(s)
    19.0%
  4. Irene of Athens

    6 vote(s)
    9.5%
  5. Empress Zoe

    1 vote(s)
    1.6%
  6. others (please specify in your reply)

    4 vote(s)
    6.3%
  7. Alexios Komnenos

    19 vote(s)
    30.2%
  8. Basil II

    16 vote(s)
    25.4%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Basileus Rhomaion

    Basileus Rhomaion Chieftain

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    These "select people" are the people who by virtue of their educational curriculum learn more about the Byzantines than other parts of the world. If being more iconic among the Greeks isn't qualification enough for Constantine, what is?

    The title "the last Roman" is an extremely common title given to many figures from many different periods. Belisarius is also called "the last Roman", so is general Aetius of the western empire. It barely means anything really. The de facto last Roman was Constantine XI or David Megas Komnenos, the rest function like the modern term "leader of the free world"; it barely means anything, it just adds prestige while alluding to some specific viewpoint of the world.

    I have already posted several reasons that make Justinian seem a lot worse than what many people make him out to be, so I'm not sure what you mean. If you have read what I wrote initially about him, there are only 2 possible explanations: a) You don't think those bad things his rule caused are particularly bad or b) you don't think they are all that genuine, in which case I highly encourage you to look them up as well.

    Again, he's not bad, but him being hailed as this sort of exceptional ruler is completely uncalled for. This is by definition overrating him.

    I did not dispute the Roman law's importance or influence at all, I think you are misunderstanding what I'm saying. What I said is that Justinian didn't come up with the body of that legal code, he had people write it down officially since it wasn't organized properly before. There is a claim he had laws changed, but as I've said, there is no conclusive evidence that he did and even if there was and he did change it, we have no idea what he could have possibly changed, hence there's no reason to believe that he didn't change it negatively instead. Most of the work that is referenced is clearly alluding to previous legislation, so there's no actual point of comparison to claim it was somehow Justinian's doing.

    The Novellae much like all pieces of new legislation were primarily edicts first proposed and approved by designated government officials, mainly quaestors and consuls. Before Basil II's reforms, all Roman emperor had limited legislative authority because of the concept of the sanctity of the law as something above all men. While most emperors would use their influence to pass their laws anyway, there were more often than not alterations or complete scrapping of laws due to their possibly unfavourable impact on the Dynatoi (Anatolian aristocracy). There is strong evidence to suggest that the Novellae were mostly the work of Tribonian himself. One reason this is heavily speculated is because the Novellae are the only part of Justinian's overall legal code that is entirely in Greek which was a very abrupt and strange change. But that's a debatable topic, so I won't claim anything conclusively here.

    As for the other reforms such as the removal of the death sentence as a valid punishment for adultery by women, which, they were introduced by Theodora, not Justinian. As official co-regent of the Roman empire, Theodora had the power and influence to propose and even partially enforce her own reforms, assuming the Senate was also in on it. Justinian was very compliant to Theodora's ideas, hence he wasn't a barrier towards many of those reforms actually taking place. So if anything, the credit for those social reforms belongs to Theodora.

    The fact Moses is up there should make it rather obvious that it's not really a matter of historicity here, but rather sentimentalism and the general notions people have about these figures. After all, seeing all the figures that are mentioned in their website I can conclude that they are missing a large amount of other influential lawgivers, the most notable being Cyrus the great, but also many others from various parts of the world (though I understand why they wouldn't mention Chinese ones, for example).

    That was no the point of my argument. The point is that you (and others) attribute the entire body of work to Justinian whereas what he did was have existing law written down. Keeping old laws is indeed important and no one expects emperors to randomly innovate in legal matters, but trying to make Justinian look as some sort of legislative innovator or genius by giving credit for things he most likely didn't do (at least not in the manner or scale suggested by his hordes of fans) is not serving the discussion well. Justinian did a good thing to standardize Roman law, that doesn't make him on par with Napoleon or Cyrus in terms of revolutionizing existing law.

    Because "his" code is mostly standard Roman law which much of Europe followed for centuries due to its lingering influence.

    First of all, from the late Roman armies to the very last armies of the Palaiologoi, mercenaries (and especially Germanic foederati) were some of the most crucial and consistently used parts of the army. If you think that mercenaries are untypical for Romans to the point of tainting "Byzantineness", then you have a mistaken notion of what the Roman army was and what its basis was. Vardariotai, Scythian cavalry, Hunnic cavalry, German foederati, Varangians, Colchian (Georgian) footmen etc were all crucial units throughout Byzantine history.

    Second, the Varangians weren't just Vikings. In fact, they were mostly not Vikings. a) Because Viking simply means raider and not all mercenaries were raiders and b) because there were many other Germanic soldiers that made up the Varangians, namely Anglo-Saxons and Saxons proper.

    Third, they weren't just palace guards, they were the elite military unit of Byzantine armies in general. Varangians would be used as the last resort in big battles where the rest of the army had it rough. They were often the ones fighting to the last man when most of the Byzantine army was routed e.g. the first battle of Dyrrhachium. Demoting them to just palace guards is not only historically inaccurate, but also underplays their importance to the Roman army.

    And fourth, they were a unique Byzantine unit. No other state had a military regiment that was consisted of that type of infantry, with that exact equipment and tactics and with the exact same responsibilities. Of course you'll find parallels if you look vague similarities such as "mercenary units" or "imperial guard units" or even just "Vikings". If you take generic elements of the regiment and try to find similar ones, you'll definitely find them. The point is finding an exact equivalent. One simple example is winged hussars. Hussars are not Polish unique units, they were a light cavalry unit first introduced by the Magyars and other nomads who brought them to the Pannonian plane. But do you dispute the significant differences and uniqueness of the Polish winged hussar? Do you discard them as "not Polish enough" because Hungarians also had hussars?

    Byzantine cataphracts on the other hand are almost identical to their Iranian precursors in nearly every sense: Tactics, gear, formations, army proportions, purpose in combat, appearance etc. It's not just a vague parallel or similarity, it's literally the exact same unit in another state.

    Except that the Varangian Guard served the empire for nearly 500 years, whereas Hunnic mercenaries didn't even last 2 centuries. Not to mention the massive difference in importance on the battlefield. As I've mentioned, the Varangians were the absolute creme de la creme of the army, not some run-of-the-mill mercenaries. I cannot overstate how crucial they were.

    No, because the impi and the samurai are native units completely unique to the Zulu and Japan respectively. Cataphracts are not. Even if I agreed with you that cataphracts deserved to be included instead of Varangians, your comparison here would still be off because you are committing to a false equivalency fallacy. Whether cataphracts are more important to Varangians is disputed, but them being originally Iranian and therefore not native to the Roman empire is an undeniable fact, hence the comparison with the impi and the samurai is invalid.

    I highly doubt that. I'm not saying it's not a valid reason, but when has cruelty ever stopped a leader from entering Civ? Justinian as I've said before facilitated the genocide of the Samaritans, Genghis Khan is responsible for the slaughter of millions of innocents and destruction of entire cities, Ashurbanipal in typical Assyrian fashion committed atrocities to keep disloyal subjects docile and the list goes on. I agree that having a leader who is known for atrocities is not that great, but Basil is really tame compared to much of the roster of all Civ games thus far.

    I'm not sure what kind of letter you are referencing here. Heraclius fought on the war that was incited during Phokas' rule (precisely because the former overthrew the latter) and continued to do so until Khosrow was overthrown and the Byzantines were more or less victorious (to the point of stalemate that is). Calling Heraclius weak after usurping the throne from a tyrant to have the empire restored to its original borders, destroying the empire's enemies against unfavourable odds and likening him to a traitor is nothing short of hyperbole. No letter could ever incite such a picture of Heraclius, especially given what he did to protect the empire and his extraordinary courage.

    He didn't win after giving battle in desperation, he began a campaign inside Persian territory and reached the capital Ctesiphon. He was clearly on the offensive when the war was won and that is owed to his military genius, persistence and courage. The famous Christian (not just Orthodox) hymn "Troparion of the Holy Cross" is a testament to Heraclius massive achievement of taking back the Holy Cross and restoring it to Jerusalem from the Persians. His triumph there is commemorated as a major Christian feast day.

    Not sure about iconic and all that, but calling Heraclius less accomplished than Justinian is utterly unfair. He was a far better general (by virtue of also actually being one), a man of courage who had to take the throne to save the empire from the brink of destruction. I find people often underrate leaders who manage crises under tumultuous circumstances simply because their reign isn't necessarily filled with "glory" (or a notion of it which people tend to have) despite the immense pressure and inexorably high demands of keeping an empire together and surviving. Alexios Komnenos is pretty much just like that, albeit at least he gets a lot more respect for his fantastic aversion from danger than Heraclius.

    Excuse me, but what? Ethnic wiping? Basil didn't murder civilians nor did he slaughter Bulgarians indiscriminately, this is utter misinformation and ahistorical. In fact, following Bulgaria's annexation, Basil granted them local autonomy, gave Bulgarian nobles palace titles and honours to keep them docile and allowed them to collect the taxes from their own people. He installed the brand new theme of "Bulgaria" which ran identically to the previous Bulgarian state with the same capital.

    I'm not sure what you have been reading about Basil, but I can assure you it has nothing to do with reality whatsoever.

    I'm not sure how some habit being trite is a relevant factor to choosing a leader for a Civ game, but regardless, it was definitely not trite for the Byzantines, that I can tell you. The absolute majority of emperors used their imperial garments for ceremonies so if anything, Basil was the exception here.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
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  2. Zaarin

    Zaarin My Dearest Doctor

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    That's the thing for me. I'm not denying that Justinian (and Theodora) was a great leader or the significance of his legal reforms. For me, early Byzantium is just too close to Rome; I'd love to see Firaxis focus instead on the later period when Byzantium was the premier power in Europe with the possible exception of al-Andalus.
     
  3. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Warlord

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    I would argue in the end that the dromon and the use of Greek fire would be the equivalent of Byzantines missing out on what should be UU instead of either the Varangian Guard or the Cataphract.
    Varangian Guard would be nice for Basil II obviously and the Cataphract for all we know had Iranian origins and eventually spread through the Mediterranean world and even into East Asia as well, though the Byzantines did use them for a long period of time and theirs were powerful for their time. Not as unique as the Dromon though in my opinion. If anything the Cataphract would be good for a Heavy Cavalry Classical unit every Civ could build similar to a knight, because they were common for their time.
     
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  4. halfhalfharp

    halfhalfharp Chieftain

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    I guess... as always, we can hv alt leaders representing different periods of the civ? Byzantine really had a long history of metamorphosis from Roman to Byzantine.

    You missed the horsemen before knights, which have quite a wide window of usage before stirrups. That is the era where everyone should be busy at building swordmen uniques (legions, immortals, etc), except Scythia, which has a ranged replacement of the horsemen. Thus the Cataphracts have a reasonable niche if they replace the horsemen.

    The Dromon is nicely unique but I am afraid that it might not be as useful as land units in VI.

    Speaking in a matter of gameplay, early naval units are not really powerful if they do not possess an outstanding element or strength. It is a horrible match when there are scarcely a few shallow water tiles and the Dromons only have 1 range. And you may not get waters in most games, rendering the Dromon a waste. I guess land units can cover more map settings and can benefit the Byzantine in any game.

    Not opposing to the Dromons anyway.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2018
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  5. Basileus Rhomaion

    Basileus Rhomaion Chieftain

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    That's true, that's generally what I have been having in mind. The general outline of Civ VI unique unit choices is a main one for the civ and possibly a second one via a leader. The dromon is an iconic Byzantine unit that is shared among all of Byzantine history, so only the leader-specific unit remains. There's hardly any emperor that could add cataphracts in that mould, primarily because cataphracts are not unique. Varangians are such a perfect fit if Basil is added that it would be borderline criminal to overlook. If Basil is not the Byzantine leader, then it's reasonable not to have the Varangians (even though I would be thoroughly disappointed).
     
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  6. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    To respond to each of your points together: recognition is a key factor in why some civs are chosen and others not. Clearly there are numerous excellent Byzantine emperors, but there's also a reason Theodora keeps leading Byzantium, Shaka the Zulu, Genghis Khan the Mongols. They are more daring with Civ choices now, but but quite so with leaders on the whole.

    Justinian is deemed the last Roman among Byzantine emperors of course, which is what I was referring to.

    My issue is that you make mountains out of molehills in trying to cast shadows on Justinian's actual victories. As I pointed out earlier, his flaws are fairly well known even among casual audiences. Civ IV mentioned several of them in the Civilopedia for example.

    I did not attribute the entirety of Justinian's Code to him, even in my last post. As I said, while technically many of the laws were not his, it makes no sense simply to throw off a Roman law that works just to be original. No great lawgiver we know of, whether Hammurabi, Suleiman the Magnificent, or otherwise, was ever truly original in the laws they created. Suleiman's legal reforms, like Justinian's, involved adapting past laws from previous rulers to new circumstances and removing obsolescent ones. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suleiman_the_Magnificent Was he truly original? No, but innovation is as important as invention, and as I stated previously, especially so with dour things like laws, which in most ideal circumstances would not need to e changed frequently.

    Your issue seems to be that Justinian didn't himself originate all his laws. Many leaders are credited for things they didn't do all on their lonesome. Sejong's Hangul alphabet was created by committee. The same of Lincoln's Amendment to the US Constitution. You also don't give Justinian enough credit for pushing the Code along--he poured tons of money into the project to get it done quickly, with the intention that the laws would be used in administration. Legal scholars from Beirut and Constantinople were summoned, and the Code was not simply some copypasta job, but a matter of judiciously sifting through previous Roman laws and jurist comments to find what worked. The Novellae were actually often Justinian's more fully than you imply. He was often called upon to make specific decisions in specific cases, and the results were included therein. Further, those who credit Theodora overmuch (as you do) with the laws fail to recognize Justinian had a team of talented legal advisors who he consulted with on each of these. Furthermore, to the best of knowledge, Justinian's Code is the largest extant body of Latin writing anywhere. So even if his contribution was small (it wasn't), his overall role here was larger than you say. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b082j2q2 As far as Moses goes, the US is a Christian nation so his inclusion shouldn't be surprising. And the Ten Commandments, whether fictional or no, clearly have influenced religious and political life in the West sufficient to understand why Moses is in the US House. Still, I'm glad you at least acknowledge the Code's influence.

    The Varangian Guard wasn't composed of Anglo-Saxons until much later in the 11th century, and shared with the Viking predecessors a sense of housecarl-based loyalty. They were Viking in body (until much, much later), origin, and fighting style, even if the Byzantine rulers used them as shock troops on occasion, that does not change the fact they were Viking infantry. They were even allowed to raid the treasury upon the death of their emperor. Wikipedia also says their services were "similar if not identical" to the Kievan druzhina and Viking/Anglo-Saxon housecarl. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varangian_Guard And yes, "Viking" is the correct term, even if it really means "raider" we all know the common understanding of that term now is a reference to Northmen, including those of Kievan Rus. "Varangian" after all means those who were Viking. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varangians So in sum, the Varangian Guard is no more Byzantine than any Hunnic mercenaries Belisarius himself used (under Sunica) as shock troops at Dara. They are still cool, but don't scream Byzantine to me if one or two unique units are to be picked.

    As for the cataphract, the concept of heavily armored cavalry is certainly not new. The Korean Goguryeo had heavily armored cavalry which they used Tim great effect as well. But the Byzantine cataphract was certainly different from the Sassanid one. For one thing, it was more lightly armored, not embodied of Iranians (to my knowledge), and influenced the creation of the Western European knight in a way the Western Roman Empire's less effective heavy cavalry did. Western Romans didn't use heavy cavalry nearly as much or as effectively as the Eastern Roman Empire. You claim the Byzantine cataphracts were "identical" to their Sassanid counterparts, but said counterparts evolved greatly over centuries and under different Persian rulers like Shapur II, so you'll have to be more specific. Procopius notes Byzantine cataphracts hit harder and more slowly with their ranged shots than did the Persian cataphracts, who preferred rapid fire, so certainly there are also tactical changes therein. Some later cataphracts also used darts. I think the suggestion that the cataphract was not unique also fails to consider that ancient authors used local terms (like cataphract or clibanarii) to refer to foreign troops because they didn't know what those foreign troops were called.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cataphract

    In parallel, if we compared the Hunnic and Mongolian horse archers, we would see clear differences in tactics and use, despite them being both horse archers. In much the same way, Zenobia's clibanarii were not identical to the more lightly armored Byzantine cataphracts even if both were heavy cavalry and used as such. Regional differences in the use of what is arguably the same or similar unit can be significant enough to warrant making separate unique units. It isn't noteworthy that the true mainstay of the Mongolian army was a hose archer, but not a keshig. But we don't have a name as such for the Mongolian horse archer from Genghis' time, hence the use in Civ of a bodyguard that never saw combat as a Mongolian unique unit.

    Basil II was known for his cruelty in terms of the mutilations of (some say) 99 out of every 100 captured Bulgarian soldiers. I don't deny he was nicer to Bulgarian civilians after winning, but that doesn't stand against the point that several Bulgarians despise him (heck, Muslims have a better view of Heraclius than Bulgarians of Basil II). I raise it only because we've had nationalistic controversy on YouTube over leader selection. Genghis is a different matter despite his slaughters due to the fact that any potential Iranian protest against him is nonetheless subsumed by his accomplishment in creating the world's largest continuous land empire. And mutilation rankles worse than murder sometimes, even if I accept murder is less merciful under certain circumstances. (I'm also biased because my former college roommate, a Bulgarian, talked about Basil II and Bulgarian hatred for him.)

    As far as Heraclius, he offered to give up Byzantium as a client state to Persia, according to Sebeos. See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine–Sasanian_War_of_602–628 (Scroll down to "Anatolia"). Heraclius even allowed Khosrow II to pick the emperor under these conditions. His letter is excerpted in Richard Fidler's book "Ghost Empire", and Fidler remarked that never before had a Roman emperor of Byzantium so thoroughly submitted to the authority of Persia. Of course, it's true Heraclius didn't have much choice, but I think he conceded too much. The desperate attack I refer to is detailed under "Byzantine resurgence", subcategory "Reorganization". https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine–Sasanian_War_of_602–628 As I said, certainly Heraclius has a unique and colorful story, but his concessions to Persia were too much IMO.

    As far as Basil II holding court in armor being trite, I was referring to Civ VI leaders holding court in armor. Its true most Byzantine emperors held court in less military trappings. And as I mentioned previously, it's certainly true Basil II was more modest and austere in his outlook on life but that just makes me see him as even more dull.

    @Alexander's Hetairoi, I agree the dromon with Greek fire is iconically Byzantine, but I propose that so too is the cataphract, both for its effectiveness in Byzantine warfare and its influence on later Western European knights.

    @Zaarin, I think even early Byzantium under Justinian and Theodora is sufficiently distinct from Rome to warrant a return, either in Civ VI or Civ VII. Their Byzantium was a bridge between the old Rome and Middle Age Europe (and not just through Justinian's Code or the cataphracts, but also in the idea of a undies Christendom so militarily executed by Justinian and his numerous generals). They are sort of an exoticized Eastern Rome with their Orthodox brand of Christianity and their early knights also lend to romanticism in this regard for the popular imagination (but you can blame Hagia Sophia for a fair bit of that romanticism too). I wouldn't mind Alexios, but I don't think Basil II would be as great a choice if we are looking at later more "Greek" rulers.
     
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  7. Basileus Rhomaion

    Basileus Rhomaion Chieftain

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    I agree with that, but the point is that there is more to just these leaders to look into. It wouldn't be much fun if we had Sejong in every single game to lead Korea, would it? We need variety and especially when there are many iconic leaders to lead these civs instead. Justinian is not the only (and arguably not even the most) iconic leader of the Byzantines, so it makes no sense to be fixated on him. And I'm not saying have Constantine XI lead the civ, but it's indicative that if you want recognizable figures that have become legendary through folklore, this is an even more apt choice.

    Not really, every Byzantine emperor is a Roman by virtue of Byzantines being Romans by definition. If there is a notion like that, then it's based on the long misconception that Byzantium is not really the Roman empire.

    That's exactly the first possibility which I expected you to take and it's not absolute. Let's take one example from what I said: Justinian's campaigns ransacked the territories he reconquered, caused the deaths of thousands, enraged the locals and became a long-term liability of the empire until they were simply not eligible to be defended. How significant do you think this is? Do you consider widespread desolation and destruction in the name of sentimentalism and glory nostalgia a misdemeanour compared to (supposedly) crafting laws?

    You could very well support that position since it's not absolute, but let's not pretend that this is anything minor that we are overlooking here. We can't just bash Basil for his atrocities while turning the other way in the case of Justinian. It's either all of them or none of them.

    Furthermore, I have already addressed this argument twice thus far. The reason why Justinian's shortcomings and mistakes are overemphasized in my posts is because he is constantly praised to the point of making him a hero figure. When something is overhyped and deified as much as Justinian, even the most fair of negative assessments of his rule will make it seem that it's "hating" on him. If the view of Justinian was far more tame and down-to-earth, then the discussion of his shortcomings wouldn't exactly be necessary. And yes, it is necessary now since the majority of his fans do not know his shortcomings and especially his most impactful ones. How many people do you think know he committed a genocide against the Samaritans?

    I responded to that in my last post. There's a significant dispute whether he made any changes at all or if he did so, what changes. It's not a matter of being an innovator, I clearly said that there need not be innovation for someone to be influential in legal matters. What I said is that the persistent claim he made such legal reforms in the manner and scale suggested is at best speculative and at worst very unlikely. We can't just treat that assertion with certainty.

    It's not. My explanation is my previous (and this) post.

    Definitely, I'm not denying that at all. That being said, where is all the credit for Tribonian at? Even taking into account the nature of collaborative work, Justinian is still overhyped because his quaestors and judges are underappreciated. The US "lawgiver hall of fame" of sorts does have Tribonian, but how many people that root for Justinian even know who Tribonian is or what his responsibilities were?

    I'm not denying that either, no one argues that Justinian didn't fund or properly organize these efforts. But to be the financial pillar of an effort to being a crucial part of the actual compiling and analysis are very different things. If people attributed Justinian with the idea and the financial responsibilities then great, that's definitely fair.

    As for being "copypasta", obviously not since there were no official documents on those matters to copy from. But the basis was preexisting Roman law, especially in the two first (and main) books of the legal code. And they already knew what worked because what worked is what had stuck around from previous emperors' suggestions and edicts. This compilation only worked because there was a precedent of laws actually being functional, otherwise they would have no real point of reference.

    I'm not implying anything, I stated how lawmaking worked and hypotheses around that. It's not a conclusive matter, therefore I abstain from claiming anything with certainty. What I'm saying surmounts to "take things with a grain of salt" as in don't rush to give all the credit to Justinian and his initiative for the work done.

    I don't understand how these are mutually exclusive nor how I'm overrating Theodora's contributions. If anything, I'm giving credit to her where it's due which is quite uncommon given how much more prominent her husband is, even though he considered her his equal and greatest inspiration.

    And the largest extant body of Greek is the Homeric epics. Should we make Peisistratus the next Greek leader?

    Funnily enough, I actually own Warren Treadgold's A History of the Byzantine State and Society as listed here and the outlook on Justinian's code is not much different to what I'm providing you with here.

    It is. First of all because the US is not a Christian nation, it's a secular nation with no official religion by design. Secondly because there many other nations with predominantly Christian populations, they don't hold up the Ten Commandments or Moses as some major influences for their law or constitution. This is primarily because the US has considerably more devout/practising Christians than other western nations and in that it's actually quite exceptional.

    That I agree with, religion and its codes have historically been important. However a) they are not anymore because of secular governments and values, a value the US was fundamentally built upon and b) because Moses isn't a lawgiver anyway. Even with the mythology of Exodus intact, the lawgiver here is God, Moses literally the guy who carried them down a mountain. Unless lawgiver is used in the literal sense of just giving (as in distributing) law, then Moses doesn't qualify as a lawgiver.

    I didn't say otherwise. The Varangians as I said lasted almost 500 years. Should we focus on just their very first century as part of the empire to draw conclusions about their origins? If we're going to dissect them properly, we need a more inclusive picture from their entire historical span.

    How is "Viking fighting style" like? I'm not going to dispute this here because I genuinely have no clue as to whether Vikings (as in the actual raiders) had a distinct fighting style. For all I know, Varangians in the imperial army followed command as prope trained troops of professionals.

    They were not used as shock troops, that was the cataphracts' job. Varangians were kind of like the elite Triarii of the early Roman armies; the best troops of the army kept back until the times went grim and they were needed to "save the day".

    Yes, in the sense that they acted as imperial guards. As I've said, they weren't just guards though and were an actual military regiments used on the battlefield. The general dissonance owes to the very name: In Greek it's "Τάγμα των Βαράγγων" and "Τάγμα" simply means military regiment, not guard. The teerm guard arose because they rose in popularity as personal imperial guards, but in Byzantine parlour, they were an actual regiment serving as both guards and proper soldiers on the field.
    There is a very crucial difference. Some Varangians were legit Vikings (like Harald of Norway) which severely impacts the loyalty and duties of those units. Do you think that raiders and pirates would be the emperor's most entrusted men? He used that bulk of actual raiders as the larger body of the "regulars" of the regiment. The actual leaders and representatives were more esteemed men of Norse or general Germanic origin. The Rus for example had extant Norse nobility and generals which were actually a source of Varangians. In many ways, Rus soldiers had a lot more in common with the Saxon counterparts than with legit raiders and pirates that also possibly joined the guard.

    I used to play a "game" with people where I would google "cataphract", show them a picture and have them to try and guess if it was Byzantine or Sassanian (obviously without the ones blatantly telling you what it is). It was quite hilarious because no one would have any educated guesses, they would guess correctly or wrongly almost randomly due to the fact it was simply not distinguishable. That of course doesn't really work online, since one can reverse-search images over google, but I highly encourage you to try that game with people you know and examine it.

    Not true. Byzantine cataphract armour was just as heavy as Iranian ones and in fact considerably heavier than their western knight counterparts.

    I don't see how that's a relevant difference, both types consisted of multiethnic troops form a variety of cultural backgrounds.

    Yes, that's true. That's not mutually exclusive with what I'm saying though. The cataphracts were brought by Parthians to Sassanians and from there to the Romans/Byzantines and from there to western kingdoms as knights.

    It did, it just didn't have as much time to build a tradition over it.

    Not true, cataphract design in Sassanian times was rather conservative, as it was with the Byzantines for a much larger period of time. Small changes in armour shape and types of weapons weren't chronological per se, but varied within armies within themselves. Byzantines could have some cataphracts with maces and others with lances within the same exact army. It's just a characteristic of the unit since its trademark and main function was being a shock unit by virtue of being heavily armoured (hence its name).

    I explained that above. Also, cataphracts were some of the most well-trained Byzantine and Sassanian troops, they were designed to be able to wield multiple weapons. A typical cataphract would have at least one ranged and 2 melee weapons on him and sometimes even a buckler. Having darts as well or small changes in how you fire arrows is not substantial within context (or perhaps any context).

    I don't get what your point is here. Yes, cataphract and klibanarioi were Greek names for foreign units. They described what they saw as those words simply translate to "fully-enclosed" or "oven-like". It's not some sort of "local" term, it's just a name, kind of like how Persian immortals were called, well, immortals.

    They had many other significant differences other than tactics. For starters, most Mongol horse archers were heavily armoured and tailored for close-range combat as well. Also it's clear that Mongolian horse archers had vastly different (more advanced) equipment due to time disparity.

    Most of the time no, especially if those regional differences function within the same standard army or during the same period. If that was the case, why not give Persia cataphracts too? Let's just have a cataphract galore of units whose differences are how their attack animation will look like.

    Keshigs were also horse archers. Every single Mongol soldier needed to be able to ride a horse and shoot arrows.


    This is not exactly what happened, it lacks context and it's also a one time thing.

    First things first, it was one incident that happened following the battle of the Kleidion, his decisive victory against Samuil. He didn't do it another time nor was it a habit.

    Second, what he really did was to gouge out the eyes of all 15K Bulgarian prisoners, leaving every 100th man with just one eye so he can lead the rest back to Bulgaria.

    And thirdly, this is lacking in context: Basil didn't just have a soft spot for Bulgarians due to his own need for revenge, Samuil plunged the Balkans, raiding as far as the Peloponnese. He looted villages, churches etc. Not only that, but a previous Bulgarian leader (Khan Krum) famously killed emperor Nikephoros I in battle, decapitated him and used his skull as a cup for drinking wine. This sort of barbarism was indicative of the rivalry of the two states and Basil's own reasons for atrocities. Not that it excuses anything, but it's important to understand the relationship between the two states to draw proper conclusions.

    Yes, because Basil annexed them, that's natural in a post-modern nationalist era. Also, why would Muslims have a negative view of Heraclius? He wasn't exactly their arch-nemesis, he simply fought battles against them and lost.

    I can't claim anything for other people, but I would sure as hell prefer to be mutilated than murdered. I fancy living, it's my favourite thing to do, actually :^)

    I sincerely doubt that actually happened. Not by virtue of calling "hype" here, but because we know for a fact that the war went on. Why would the Persians keep fighting if the Romans had already submitted and offered to become a vassal? That simply doesn't compute. It's an unreasonable turn of events within the context of such a supposed submission. The only reasonable explanation would be that the Persians turned it down, but that makes even less sense since their success would be cemented and their war goals met with interest.

    The only thing mentioned as desperate here is the expectation Khosrow had for a Roman offensive and the social turmoil of the empire. The actual battles and Heraclius' campaigns were meticulously planned and had undertaken major measures to succeed.
    Even if the letter is true (which I doubt), he conceded nothing because a) he fought on and b) he lost nothing to the Persians in the end. If Heraclius had an alleged letter saying "I love Satan", but his rule showed he was a devout Christian, which would carry more weight?
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
  8. fredrikslicer

    fredrikslicer Chieftain

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    Well they were trained in a martial art called glima which has two sports variants and one combat variant and was practised by the scandinavian tribes it has been preserved on Iceland so thats something
     
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  9. AnonymousSpeed

    AnonymousSpeed Pink Plastic Army Man

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    @Morningcalm @Basileus_Rhomaion

    It's not that I don't appreciate the civil discourse, I do, but...



    You guys need to get Tinder or something.

    Not for me. This is for me fun to read. For your own sakes.
     
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  10. Basileus Rhomaion

    Basileus Rhomaion Chieftain

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    Likewise. I don't get it when people think that when I (or anyone else) debates I'm not enjoying it. If I didn't like to discuss history, I wouldn't be posting these in the first place.
     
  11. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Warlord

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    They would definitely be heavy cavalry though, as opposed to light cavalry horsemen. We already have several early heavy cavalry replacements anyway in the hetairoi and the Varu, even though the latter doesn't outright replace the horseman. We don't have an early ranged naval UU yet, and it would most likely go to either the Byzantines, Carthage or both.
    I like to try and build up naval units eventually anyway although I admit I usually don't that early and wait for frigates, unless you play Norway. I'm hoping the Byzantines would change my mind because of it.
    My idea is that the dromon could even affect other enemy adjacent units or have an even stronger ranged attack than the current quadrireme. I don't see being not as viable as land units as a detriment. If that were the case Germany wouldn't have the U-Boat or America the P51 Mustang.
     
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  12. Guandao

    Guandao Rajah of Minyue and Langkasuka

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    Ok, I finally voted for Alexios Komnenos. The Komnenos family deserves some representation in Civ.

    I wouldn't mind Basil the "Bulgar-slayer" becoming a Civ leader as well.
     
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  13. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    Again responding to all the above, Justinian I is almost certainly the most iconic Byzantine ruler other than Constantine. Both were named "the Great" (currently the poll only reflects that title for Constantine, which may Ben worth fixing) and Justinian is also an Orthodox Christian saint. Both are well known by the world at large, aka including those with only a passing familiarity with Byzantine history. Re: the last Roman, numerous later Byzantine emperors preferred Greek to Latin and lacked the obsessive ambition to reconquer the territories of the Roman Empire of antiquity. Hence quite a few modern historians call him the Last Roman.

    And I honestly wouldn't mind Sejong for Korea every time; certainly beats out Wang Kon, and Gwanggaeto the Great would be hard to properly visualize and represent.

    And no, it's not all or nothing. That's an overly simplistic approach to the problem of war, particularly given that it was ancient war, not modern war. Of course Justinian had to put down revolts--I don't see how that's somehow *gasp* horrifying. Nor have you cited any evidence for this Justinian genocide against Samaritans you mention.

    Re: the Corpus Juris Civilis, by your standards almost no famous lawgiving ruler was substantively involved in the laws bound to his or her name. I don't subscribe to that belief. Emperors have many duties more than even a high ranking lawyer, and Justinian certainly set the pace for the Code, with directives to ensure the various related legal texts were completed with all due speed.

    Your favorite Trib is properly in the US House of Representatives in plaque form, so I don't see what the fuss is about. No one seriously thinks Justinian wrote and or compiled the Code all by himself. Rulers delegate.

    As many Americans well know, the US in several ways is about the least secular of the modern West's secular governments. Christian thought and phrase is infused at the highest levels, with basically every president Christian in some form (or Deist, if you want to split hairs). Prayer is also involved in government, and certainly America was initially (via the Mayflower and related) founded on Christian refugees and values. Moses is literally a lawgiver because he carried the tablets down the mountain and as the then-leader of the tribe, was responsible for its administration. Splitting hairs by saying "God was the lawgiver" doesn't get us anywhere. No historian seriously says Justinian's Code came from God, but it's certainly true Justinian saw legal reforms as a religious as well as political undertaking, as discussed in the BBC In Our Time podcast on the Code, with scholars who notably don't appear to share your view that Justinian was somehow overpraised for the Code.

    Your point that Justinian was overpraised doesn't seem to be borne out by your statements. As I stated before, his flaws are well known among even casual historians so I hardly see him as some sort of god and frankly I think few people see him in the light you imply. But he was certainly one of the "great Byzantine emperors" and known as such by historians at large.

    My comment on the Code being the largest body of Latin text was meant to point out the extent to which the Code was a huge project, not to imply anyone with the largest text is worthy of being a Civ leader, lol.

    Re: the Varangians, they were Viking infantry. You initially said they weren't Viking. This is not borne out by available evidence. In gameplay terms, I fail to see how they could be made sufficiently distinct from the existing berserker unit. Especially since descriptions of their function discuss their blood rage, which mirrors other descriptions of berserkergang. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varangian_Guard Different abilities are easy enough to incorporate for a potential Varangians Guard unit, but different looks? Will any alterations really avoid the (understandable) confusion people may have?

    Re: the cataphracts, you are wrong regarding the armor. Later Byzantine cataphract armor was notably leather and quilted cloth rather than metal according to contemporary sources. (See "Later history and usage in the early Middle Ages") https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cataphract So Byzantine Kataphractoi were less heavily armored than Sassanian counterparts, and there were other differences in use. Their formation had a center composed of mounted archers and was deployed in a variety of specific ways. It also did not charge, but advanced at a "medium-steady trot" to roll over units weakened by archers. Certainly variations in use and tactics existed over the history of the Byzantine Empire, which is why I don't seem Byzantine cataphracts almost "identical" (your words) to their Persian counterparts. They were not exactly the same in tactics even within the Byzantine Empire itself, let alone vis-a-vis heavily armored Persian counterparts. Further, with Byzantine cataphracts there will be less likelihood of confusion vis-a-vis any Sassanid counterparts since the Sassanids aren't in Civ VI, nor the Palmyrans with their clibanarii.

    And of course, Byzantine cataphracts are not foreign mercenaries, let alone foreign mercenaries who may resemble a certain extant Civ VI Norwegian unique infantry (that would be the Varangian Guard). Which was my point regarding your original question on Byzantineness.

    Also, as stated previously, I mention that ancient writers used common terms like cataphract and clibanarii to describe foreign troops because it points out that they don't know the actual name of the foreign unit. Obviously this is inconvenient in Civ, hence "kheshig" as a name for Mongolian horse archer rather than "Mongol horse archer" which frankly would be more accurate given that kheshigs in real life never saw battle and were bodyguards only.

    Re: Hunnic and Mongolian horse archers, their armor was closer than you seem to acknowledge. Mongolians typically used lamellar armor but Huns also had iron barding armor, lamellar helmets, as well as quilted linen and wool. Both were much more lightly armored than their Western cavalry opponents (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huns under "Warfare" subsection "Military equipment") Of course, the Mongols came much later than the Huns, but relatively speaking they were very similar in tactics, deployment, and fighting style. Mongolian horse archers were notably light cavalry, and "extremely light troops" by contemporaneous standards, with their "heavy" cavalry more lancers than archers. It's also been mentioned before that with Scythia taking the horse Civ slot, it was deemed less likely for Mongolians and particularly Huns to be in-game. But Mongolian and Hun horse archers were as similar to each other as Byzantine and Persian cataphracts. So I don't see how that's an obstacle to Byzantine cataphracts being in game again.

    Gouging out the eyes of 15K people is cruel by most standards. That tactic of Basil II's was supposed to have so shocked Samuel that he died. Obviously, in some circumstances, it's better to lose an eye than die. But the deaths at the hands of Justinian's army were typically rebels or foreign combatants, so the big deal you make about it is neither here nor there. The eye gouging cruelty of Basil II and his dark reputation among Bulgarians certainly lend him controversy, even if you protest that deaths in war are worse (but again note that people are more willing to forgive a leader vicious in battle than a leader who say, impales people--the visual image and the wanton nature of such cruelty can raise questions since it's less abstract for readers than thousands dying).

    The Muslim like for Heraclius is surprising because Heraclius was an enemy and also not Muslim. For Muslims to deem him a wise king is interesting.

    Re: the letter where Heraclius made concessions to Khusrau, it does exist and is excerpted in Richard Fidler's book Ghost Empire. It's also alluded to on Wikipedia. Here's the link again: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine–Sasanian_War_of_602–628 (scroll to "Persian dominance" then "Anatolia" within that subsection). To quote: "When the Sassanians reached Chalcedon in 615, it was at this point, according to Sebeos, that Heraclius had agreed to stand down and was about ready to become a client of the Sassanian emperor Khosrow II, allowing the Roman Empire to become a Persian client state, as well as even allow Khosrow II to choose the emperor." As detailed in Wikipedia and Fidler's Ghost Empire, Heraclius didn't make such concessions because Khosrow II rejected the peace offering, even with such remarkably subservient terms. So given that there's evidence which counters your "doubt" rather directly, I'll go with Sebeos as a source, thanks. Again, while I think Heraclius was interesting, I think he conceded too much to Persia. I understand he was in a dire spot, of course, but it's hardly what we may expect in a "heroic" Byzantine emperor, even if he was later victorious (though internal intrigue in the Persian Empire certainly helped).

    @AnonymousSpeed I'm more into men than women (aka bisexual with preferences) so Tinder isn't really my thing, though I've only ever dated women. I'm also asexual and don't really care for dating/romance at this stage in my life. I prefer delving into ancient sources and discussing Civ. :D If you don't find the historical conversation here between Basileus and me as amusing as might be preferable, you should certainly feel free to discuss other aspects of a potential Byzantine civ/leader in Civ VI. It's never the case that a forum thread need have only one conversation at a time.

    (And frankly, I may need to post less frequently on here anyway, at least until I can use my laptop instead of my iPhone and respond with text under clipped quotes as I would prefer.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
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  14. steveg700

    steveg700 Chieftain

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    Sure it would. Why wouldn't it? Same goes for Genghis for every Mongolia and Napoleon for every France. Could have different abilities in every iteration, regardless of the leader.

    Civ VI's model lets us have our cake and eat it too. We can have multiple leaders, the mainstay and the newcomer.

    We just need to avoid these phoney-baloney leaders like Theodora.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
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  15. Phrozen

    Phrozen Chieftain

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    Well, the whole unit of Bersekers is pretty ahistorical. When referenced in the Norse sagas Berserker seem to be more akin to a Chieftan's champion whose bear shirt was a symbol of his status rather than a frothing mad warrior who fought naked. There are examples were warriors went into a blood rage but berserker isn't used to describe them. Sometimes they are described as having superhuman fighting skill and sometimes they are dispatched rather easily like having their shield kicked when they were biting it and having the shield break their jaw, they were then proceeded to be slain as they writhed on the ground from the pain.
     
  16. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    Fair enough, but certainly the popular imagination of Viking infantry is embodied in the Civ berserker due to the fame of berserkergang (while it's possible writings about it were exaggerated, it was certainly noted by enough people that I think it existed IRL in some form, even if drug-induced as some theorize). Harald Fairhair supposedly used berserkers of some type as shock troops and berserkers were outlawed in 1015 (Norway), then disappearing at large over the later centuries. So while much writing on berserkers comes from sagas, it appears they existed in some form.

    The Varangian Guard also exhibited signs of berserkergang and I'm inclined to believe it was deemed a most fearsome trait of Viking infantry at large. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berserker (interesting text about Varangian Guard under subsection "Theories" in relation to Constantine VII's reference to a Varangian Guard ritual of some sort)
     
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  17. Phrozen

    Phrozen Chieftain

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    If Berserkers were a Norse Chieftan's champions then it would make sense why they would be used as shock troops being probably very well equipped and skillful warriors due to their position and why they would also later be banned as power was stripped from local cheiftans and their retinues.

    The blood rage and battle rage certainly existed and is mentioned in the sagas but again not in reference to people the sagas describe as berserkers.
     
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  18. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    Thanks for the clarification--here's hoping future Viking-related civs use more specific names for their infantry unit. I fondly remember how in Age of Mythology you had Norse ulfsarks, hersirs, huskarls (housecarls), and so on. Atlantis in that game was arguably close to the Byzantine or Roman Empire in their (human-side) military structure as well, though with some nice fantastical touches.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
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  19. Basileus Rhomaion

    Basileus Rhomaion Chieftain

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    Because most of these nations have a long history that can't be summed up by just one leader. I'm strongly against spamming the same leaders over and over again, regardless of who they are.

    We can't though, the model is meant mostly for modders as it's clear by now. Only 2 civs have a second leader and we're already at the point of the first expansion. It's very very unlikely all civs can get their "signature leaders" plus some extra one.

    Phoney-baloney? You do realize that Theodora was officially a co-empress of the empire, right?

    That doesn't have any effect though, greatness isn't determined by epithets. There are numerous great figures that aren't actually hailed as "the great", that doesn't make them lesser or less iconic.

    Only nominally. His feast day isn't actually celebrated and virtually no Greek is ever named Justinian. I can personally attest to this as I used to be an Orthodox Christian myself. Not that it would matter anyway, being considered a saint doesn't change anything, but just mentioning it to clear that up.

    I don't see how any of these is relevant though. the eastern portion of the empire always had a preference for Greek and virtually all emperors (even western ones) had to learn it to some basic level. Several knew it better than Latin (such as Constantine the Great himself). Also, how is the ambition to reconquer older Roman territory a defining characteristic of being Roman? That's a non sequitur.

    Barely any historian uses this term seriously because as I've said it doesn't mean anything substantial, unless you take it literally. I already told you, Aetius and Belisarius are also called "the last Roman" and they weren't even emperors.

    That's personal tastes, but at least my view seems to be what Firaxis is going for with Civ VI. Clearly several other people would also prefer more variety in leaders.

    It's not a "all or nothing" argument, it's calling out double standards. You accused (wrongly) Basil of ethnic cleansing against Bulgarians and how profoundly this affects his inclusion, but you just shrug Justinian's actual genocide by not even acknowledging it. This is what I meant: You either condemn both or you let both be. You can't lambast one and turn your head away for the other.

    As for evidence, here's a (partial) book about the Samaritan revolts: https://books.google.com.cy/books?id=r-9qJRP20MIC&pg=PA26&lpg=PA26&dq=justa+samaritan&source=bl&ots=k_-mpVprjB&sig=mkjv-yO400-TEUFp4GTx6SuJRTE&hl=iw&ei=0vquToXvOI6j-gb99vnfDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=justa samaritan&f=false

    As I've mentioned in my very first post, Justinian's ethnic cleansing of Samaria was very much alike the Roman ethnic cleansing of Judaea after the major Jewish revolts of the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. It was not an uncommon Roman tactic, but that doesn't make it any less of a genocide.


    I already mentioned how Tribonian is included and what I make of it. Also, he's not my "favourite", from what would you deduce that? Giving him proper credit for his efforts? It goes to show that even the most fair and down-to-earth acknowledgements for the guy seem like fanboyism due to how much hyperbole there is around Justinian and his work.

    That sounds like a rather unsubstantiated claim, why would you call the US the least secular western nation? It's not like every other western country has an atheist ruler or lacks religious practices within its government.

    I mentioned that already as well, not sure why you had to repeat it. But it wouldn't be splitting hairs anyway due to the fact that the entire invocation of this "hall of fame" on your part is about the acknowledgement of Justinian as a great lawgiver. If you agree that Moses is included up there on the basis of just carrying and giving the laws away, then I believe it's clear that maybe the whole sentiment infused doesn't necessarily have to do with being a credible legal innovator/renovator. Hence even with the historicity out of the window, Justinian's inclusion there wouldn't verify anything in regards to his own personal initiatives as per your claims.

    Why would they claim he is overpraised for the Code if they between them keep a much more tame view on his role in this undertaking? It would make sense to mention it if someone made claims akin to much of the many people who do in fact overrate Justinian's part in this.

    And it is true, religion did in fact impact Roman law, but that was not the point of my argument. I wasn't bringing up Moses' role to make a lietral analogy for Justinian being told by God what to do. My explanation on it is right above.

    I'd wager they do, frankly.

    Well, you clearly doubted whether he truly ethnically cleansed Samaritans before, so there's clearly a dissonance between what people do in fact know of his shortcomings.

    That's very debatable. The views of Justinian vary wildly even within academia, precisely because people value his contributions and shortcomings with their own views as an arbiter. I mean, your own stance makes it obvious how ambiguous something can be due to personal interpretation of the facts rather than the facts themselves. I'm more on the moderate spectrum in that I view him as mediocre, but you'll find pundits who have a severely worse outlook on his impact than me as well as ones giving a more positive image.

    And why would the Code being a huge project matter as a point of reference then? Is it not to ultimately illustrate how difficult it was, how much effort Justinian put into it and therefore how crucial he was thus making him worthy of praise? And given our discussion around whether he should be added as a leader is revolving around that "worthiness" with his Code being a relevant factor, it seems like a very reasonable assertion to me.

    Or you know, it's just a factoid, so there's no point in discussing it altogether.

    That's not at all true and you can clearly read what I have said in my previous post. To summarize, I said that in their majority they were not Vikings as in, most of them were not raiders and pirates (which is what Vikings actually means). I didn't deny that many of them were in fact legit Vikings, nor that they were initially mostly comprised of Norsemen.

    There's actually a quite entertaining Lindybeige video on the berserkers and the general myth about them, so I can definitely spot differences between a highly-mythologized unit and one with a much more detailed body of literature.

    Video for reference:
    Spoiler :


    As opposed to the Mamluks and the Knight which look absolutely 100% different :^)

    Jokes aside, there are differences. For one, why not make the Varangian unit model based on Anglo-Saxon Varangians? Or you know, we could give them proper Byzantine lamellar armor and their trademark black and red shields.

    It's not based on contemporary sources, but artistic depictions. This is very common in Byzantine textbooks where they also often omitted proper equipment or the klivanion armour (Orthodox iconography sometimes includes the latter though which is surprising). These depictions shouldn't be taken at face value , even though obviously details on the units changed according to the relevant fashion. For example, whereas early Byzantine period forces (including cataphracts) would have heavy chainmail, it was later changed to less chainmail and mostly padding and proper armour above. Or as I;ve said, they went from regular lamellar armour to a klivanion-styled one just like all other Byzantine units. But of course these are minor.

    They weren' and they especially weren't if we take the contemporary ones for comparison as in Byzantine cataphracts when Sassanians were still around.

    That's true, albeit charges would often be used by lance-bearing caraphracts as well.

    Not really. Even within the very paragraph you referenced for me to take a look at, it clearly states that cataphracts were absent for a large period of time between the early and mid Byzantine period, then reappeared for a while before fading once again not even 200 years later.

    And again, even if it did persist all throughout Byzantine history, simply citing intuition isn't proper evidence. You can't claim they had temporal-based variations and changes by era with certainty if there's no such evidence for it.

    Yes they were. If you are referencing variations, those existed as variations within the same period of time as in different potential stances of the regiment. The general idea and purpose of the unit was the same however, hence the way they were deployed and equipped throughout. Same goes for the Sassanian cataphracts. In fact, the mixture of horse archers/foot archers with cataphracts was a sighting even since the Parthian period, it was nothing new or revolutionary.

    How is that relevant though? Why would foreign mercenaries be deemed as lesser choices or less representative of the civ deploying them? Matthias Hunyadi's Black Army were also mercenaries, that doesn't make them any less recognizable or important in Hungarian history. This fixation with not having foreigners who get paid doesn't make any sense to me. Varangians are a Byzantine military regiment that is unique, that's all you need. Is there seriously anyone who can mistaken the Varangians as some regiment belonging to another civ?


    They didn't, but we do definitely know how Iranian cataphracts were called: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grivpanvar

    Not really. The latter were contemporaries for centuries, the former have about 800 years difference between them. It's not just a matter of tactics or fighting style even (which still mirror the dissonance), it's about equipment. Iron working, craftsmanship, methods of padding, military fashion etc were all immensely changed within that vast 8 century span. Likening them is like likening Hunnic horse archers with the Scythian ones shown in the game, that's how much disparity there is.

    Nothing is an obstacle if Firaxis tries really hard about it, but the idea of a unique unit is that it's, you know, unique to that civ. Cataphracts aren't, much like knights aren't. Therefore I'm very reluctant to include them, especially for Byzantium when the dromon exists, plus a possible leader-specific choice (where the Varangians are a perfect fit).

    Yes, I didn't say otherwise.

    I would argue that it's every possible time, really. Dying is I believe quite objectively worse than any non-lethal punishment.

    Nope, it very much included civilians as well.

    I already talked about the significance of controversy or "dark reputation" for leader choice and how that relates to Basil, so I don't have anything to add here. The only thing I want to mention is that I'm not protesting anything by inciting the fact Basil didn't kill the prisoners, I just said it's tame compared to others in previous Civ games. I think that's a pretty fair assessment, it's not exactly an apology for Basil's actions or anything.

    I'd actually love to read that because it really makes me curious. Of course it probably quotes Sebeos, so that's not what I would prefer, but at least I could put it within some context where it makes sense.

    Yes, I read that, that doesn't make it any more credible as it is. I'm disputing Sebeos' account due to how the war unveiled, it's not like I'm unaware of what it says in the article.

    Yes, part of my post makes the case of "why would they ever turn it down" given what happened and what they would gain relative to what they set out to do.

    Not really. Sebeos is your evidence. You are not conducting other evidence that points toward him here, he is the one which that claim relies upon. Some evidence that actually contradicts it is the immediate aftermath which is what I'm basing my assertion on. However, I obviously do not know nearly enough about this Sebeos guy to doubt his reputability based on a precedent, therefore I still keep my doubts as doubts and not as defiance. If I'm wrong, so be it, as Heraclius' achievements remain which is what was my point. Just like my last analogy with it, it's the actions and outcome that ultimately matter.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  20. fredrikslicer

    fredrikslicer Chieftain

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    Actually the word much more likely means "Lake dweller" or "Sea farer"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikings#Etymology
     

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