[RFC DoC] A story of Byzantium

Lone Wolf

Dec 4, 2006
I actually wanted to continue my FFH adventures, but decided to take a break from FFH and play a game of Rhye's. So, I'm playing the RFC: DoC modmod by Leoreth. Marathon speed. I've made some minor changes to the mod, but nothing too drastic. The most important one is that Courthouses now grant +2 stability, instead of +1.

In year 610, the emperor Herakleios came to power in the Eastern Roman Empire. He managed to defeat the usurper Phokas and restore the control of Constantinople over Syria, Palestine and Egypt.

Herakleios and his son, Constantine (Konstantinos).

There still were significant problems with the Empire, however. During Herakleios' war with Phokas, all Italian territories with the exception of Southern Italy, where Herakleios managed to restore Neapolis to the Empire, were conquered by the Langobards, and a new resurrection in Northern Africa left the Exarchate of Carthage de-facto independent.

The territory of the Eastern Roman Empire.

(Note: In RFC: DoC Byzantium already starts without Western North Africa, and the scale doesn't allow to represent Ravenna).

In the year 612, Herakleios successfully campaigned against the peoples of Caucasus and razed their outposts.

By 628, new raiders from the South appeared at the Roman borders.

At first, the armies of Egypt had some success fighting them.

But soon, the new threat - the Arabs, the sons of Hagar, conquered Persia, that since Herakleios' victory was weak and torn by constant civil wars for the throne. Also, the Avars in Caucasus raided the Roman territory. They were defeated (as you can see), but Herakleios was unable to prevent Syria and Egypt failing to the Arabs.

In 644 AD, Herakleios died a broken man. The Arabic conquests undid almost all his reconquests - only Antiocheia was saved. The classical culture of the Empire underwent a severe disruption, and the economy contracted. In 640, the Empire was only a shadow of itself compared to what it was in the reign of Maurikios. All the efforts of Byzantine state and society were redelegated to military defense.

He was succeeded by his son, Constantine III.

Constantine III
Subscribed :D

What's your goal for that game? UHV? Restoration of the Roman Empire?
Since you're already at war against the Arabs, refusing the flip won't make a difference.
It would be pointless to refuse the flip - I don't have enough units to held these cities, considering that a half of them will flip over to the Arabs.

I'd like to win a Cultural Victory. It's too early to speak of a goal now, however, considering the obstacles that lie ahead.
Even on Marathon, the next two centuries won't take much turns.

With the ascension of a new Emperor, the Arabs decided to test him, and conducted a heavy raid into still-Byzantine territory.

The Arabs, however, found the resistance to be slightly higher then they accounted for, and signed a peace treaty. However, as a part of the treaty, Constantine III was forced to send Byzantine mosaicists to Baghdad, to decorate the new mosques there. Imperial propaganda portrayed it as a "generous grant from the Emperor to barbarians".

The rest of Constantine III's reign was relatively peaceful, with no major military expedition taking place. He was focused on rebuilding the damaged empire, paying attention to southern Italy, fighting the Langobard encroachment there.

In 682, Constantine III died. He was succeeded by his older surviving son, also Constantine.

Constantine IV

The new emperor was immediately forced to deal with Slavic and Bulgar inclusions into the Balkans.

He managed to defeat them with cohorts of Constantinopolitan spear infantry. However, the Emperor himself died in the skirmish. He was succeeded by Tiberios, his younger brother. There were rumours that Tiberios, a man of a very aggressive persuasion, arranged his brother to be killed. Also, the Empire, beset on all fronts, experienced many financial difficulties. Tiberios' new taxation was quite unpopular among both civil bureaucracy and common peasants; yet he proved to be quite popular with the army.

Tiberios III

Tiberios continued military expeditions to the Balkans, reclaiming Dyrrachion from the Slavs, and resettling many Greek-speakers who fled from the Arabic lands there.

But the financial strain of his expeditions and his harsh rule lessened the stability of the empire.

He died in 725 AD, succeeded by his son Anastasios.

Anastasios II

Unlike his father, Anastasios was not a military man. Instead, he paid attention to the improvement of justice system and provincial administration, reducing many of his father's mismanagements.

During his rule, the culture of Byzantium, disrupted by raids and conquests, again began slowly rising. Eulaios, a prominent poet, wrote a classicising poem about the surviving ancient monuments of Constantinople, as well as a collection of erotic epigrams. The Patriarch was not pleased with the latter, and Anastasios, though he defended Eulaios against accusations of impiety, exiled him to Dyrrachion.

During this time, many educated people were again interested in the knowledge of Antiquity.

Anastasios died in 780 AD. His successor, Leon III (died 844), continued his policies, despite being not as personally talented as Anastasios.

Leon III
No, I downloaded the "default" version with no Korea present.
I love this story.
Leon III reigned fairly unevently, however, in 843, a bunch of generals decided that the old Emperor favours the civil bureaucracy too much and favours the army too little, and should be replaced by someone more energetic in any case. Leon was blinded, banished into a monastery and soon died. The generals' chosen successor was Theodosios, a prominent general from Southern Italy. Theodosios' peripheral background was, perhaps, reflected in the fact that he preferred minting coins with his image in profile.

Theodosios III

In 856, the new Emperor launched a military campaign in Western North Africa, a region over which Constantinople still claimed formal jurisdiction.

He was successful in conquering and restoring the ancient Roman city of Caesarea, that had declined under the previous barbarian rule. In honor of that event, the city was renamed to Theodosiopolis.

The reclamation of western North African lands allowed the grain trade to flourish in Constantinople once more. The most prominent of Constantinopolitan merchants was Georgios Kyprios.

Also, in 868 AD, Theodosios launched another expedition, this time to the Black Sea Coast.

The expedition was successful, and Theodosios managed to found the city of Asperon on the reclaimed lands.

He died in the year 887 - and that was a pity, for a good general like him definitely deserved to taste the new spices located next to Constantinople a year after his death.

After his death, he was succeeded by his young nephew, named Justinian.

Justinian II

Perhaps such a bombastic name only harmed the new Emperor's character, for he possessed all the militarism of his uncle, with none of his tact. His greed and his insistence on large military actions versus the Arabs caused him to confiscate the Church possessions and persecute the civil bureaucrats, taking their money. Justinian II was sure that taking Baghdad would be easy, and after that, the local Christian population will help the Byzantine armies.

His rashness lead to his quick overthrow in a coup, organized by another Theodosios - but this Theodosios (reigned 897-925) was a court bureaucrat, and not brilliant, though a reasonably competent man. His son and successor, Leon IV (925-949), was, too more of a civil servant then a warrior, though he expanded Byzantine possessions in Africa and Sicily.

His son, Artavasdos (949-980), who as a youth took part in these expeditions, was much more strict and military-minded then his father. He never conducted major wars, yet he personally oversaw the strict discipline and training of the army. He was a harsh and militant Christian (his land grants to the Church ensured that it would support him and his policies), who dreamt of reconquering the land occupied by Muslim infidels, yet he realized the necessity of preparing properly for such an endeavour.


He also introduced the new way to use the Cataphracts - as a self-sufficient and powerful force. That was a break with the traditional, infantry-dominated Byzantine warfare. By the time of his death, the discipline and the numbers of Byzantine army were much increased. The empire was ready for glorious reconquests.

Very good update!!
A small update.

Artavasdos banished and disinherited his sons, claiming that they are too feminine and unwarlike (and one of them even shaved his beard). Instead, he designated Leon, a general of Armenian descent, as his successor

Leon V

After finishing the preparations, Leon finally invaded the lands of Arabic caliphate.

The battle for Jerusalem was bloody:

But in the end, the Byzantines won. Massive celebrations were held in the Empire, for the Holy Land was Christian once again.

Leon died in 1004 AD. He didn't have any children and left the Empire to another talented general, Constans (r. 1004-1036).

Constans II, who was famous for his beard

The circumstances of the succession were reflected in the court rhetoric, which proclaimed Leon and Constans to be equal to the Antonine dynasty of elder Rome. Constans, however, was not as cultured as Marcus Aurelius was. He preferred rough military games.

It was during his reign that central Mesopotamia was captured by the Byzantine forces.

Great update. One question. Can you change to communism at 1900's? I alway wanted to see a communist byzantium.
Your stability's lookin a bit rough...
Oooh. I love RFC. I haven't tried DoC yet. I should...

As I just said over in the Aveo Roma thread, I love history-type stories, so I'll be watching this.
Good start! Can't wait for the next update!
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