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[RFC:E] . The Roman Emperors

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Stories & Tales' started by Danger Bird, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. Tambien

    Tambien Theseus, Duke of Athens

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    I must say, this is quite good.
     
  2. Danger Bird

    Danger Bird gravity's angel

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    The chronicles of Traianos Patrikios are the most reliable source for many of the histories of the Heraclian dynasty. They are at times disjointed, with sections of questionable relevance, but are viewed altogether as accurate, and (as they were written in the early 8th century) showing some historical perspective and distance.

    The African Exarchate
    In the later years of Maurice's reign, two exarchates had been established - of Neapolis, and of Cyrene. These were the expansive border areas of the empire that were difficult to govern in the traditional manner of separation of civilian and military commands, and so the Exarch was given authority over both realms. The territories that the exarchs actually controlled were often small, but when one wandered their halls and studies, one would see maps or tapestries depicting these regions as much larger. For instance, Heraclius the Younger, a son of the Exarch of Cyrene, had been brought up to believe that he was the legitimate heir of all of Africa west of Alexandria, from his home region, around the Gulf of Sirte, across the Mauritanian lands, and all the way out to Tingis and the Pillars of Hercules.

    Heraclius' coup


    The Troad rebellion against Phocas' tyranny had failed, and the deposed Maurice had been captured and beheaded in Smyrna, but there were many who escaped, and along with other opponents of Phocas (and he had many), they flocked to Cyrene, where plots against the vile traitor were spoken in open in the forums and chapels.

    However, all of the elaborate plans were thrown out, and Heraclius the Younger decided upon a direct approach that would exercise his renowned oratory skills, in the best traditions of Cicero and the rhetoricians of Thucydides, rather than test his military mettle. With the navy occupied in the Ionian Sea and further west in Sicily, Heraclius the Younger took his small retinue of bodyguards and sailed directly to the capital to challenge the usurper Phocas. Acting on intelligence that the Excubitors would be outside the walls on exercises on a certain day, he landed directly beside them, hailed the comes excubitorum, and proceeded to lay out his case. He argued that the non-expansionist stance and blunt diplomacy of Phocas was putting border provinces in peril; Sicilian and African Hellenes were suffering under barbarian rulers; and the breaking off of relations with Khosrau II - with whom Maurice had been so bold as to seal with a royal marriage - had directly resulted the in latest Sassanid incursion in Paphlagonia. He implored the comes excubitorum to join him in reversing the aimless and selfish chaos that Phocas had created, and restore the glory of the empire, and his counterpart had no argument with which to refuse. And so, Heraclius the Younger, hence simply Heraclius, was able to undo the coup of 602 in exactly the same manner as Phocas had instigated it, by walking into the palace.

    Immediately the plans for the defence, and even the expansion, of the empire were the priority of the day. Heraclius met his military tribunals first thing every day, and directives were sent throughout the empire, and to governors who were slow in following the directives, replacements were sent out with supporting tourmai of spearmen or swordsmen.

    The sixth Sassanid incursion

    The first meros of horse archers was sent east to deal with the situation in Paphlagonia. The Sassanid incursion had already been allowed to progress too far. In the past 4 years they had lain waste to the empire's outposts in Trebizond and the Caucasus, and now they within weeks of Sinope. Especially worrying, they heard that the Persians were much better led now, under the feared General Shahbaraz, than they had been in their chaotic invasion of Charsiadon 30 years previous.


    The 1st Meros rides east.

    Heraclius and his new wive Martina personally led the 1st Meros on its first mission, and, with the bravery of the Sinope Garrison, they succeeded in holding off Sassanid Lancers. Many credited the defence to the rides of Martina, inside the walls around the city each night, holding aloft the standard of the Virgin, and this attention did not totally please Heraclius. The marriage to Martina, his niece, was controversial, and the fame she gained in Sinope did not help shift the peoples' focus onto other things.


    The defence of Sinope.

    Military preparations

    In Constantinopolis, and in the farthest reaches of the empire, all efforts were directed at building a strong and disciplined army, in stark contrast to the life of ease that Phocas promised his soldiers. A new hippodrome in the capital symbolised the initiative of the emperor in raising quickly the number of mounted warriors able to quickly cross the vast expanses of Asia to defend the borders, and a new tourma of spearmen was being trained there as well, allowing the 3rd Thraki Tourma (which still had a stained reputation for its support of the mutinous Phocas) to be sent to Anatolia to beef up defences. Thessalonica has also supplied a meros of horse archers, and the governor of Aleppo had completed a barracks and a local recruiting system, and promised to be the first border governor who could contribute to his own defence.

    Developments in Syria and Palestine

    By 612, a merchant sector had developed in Jersusalem's Jewish Quarter, bringing wealth and tax income to the empire, just as Anastasius had envisioned a century ago when he directed that the Jews be allowed to live settle securely among their own and prosper. But under the new directives from Heraclius, these pecuniary pursuits were to be suspended in light of the pressing need for more weapons and more strong men to wield them. Thus, another tourma of spearmen was quickly recruited, with orders for a meros of horsemen following, and the people of Jerusalem - labourer and merchant alike - were required to work fortnight shifts mining ores and harvesting timbers from the hills the the north and west. In Tyre, similarly, the townspeople were put to work and tasked with equipping a tourma of spearmen of their own.


    The work assignments in Jerusalem.

    The campaign in Africa
    Spurred by Heraclius' vision of an undivided Africa, the Classis Italia and two tourma still in Sicily were told not to return to their homes in Hellas until they had increased the glory of the empire in the west. This pleased most of them, especially the Athenians who had resisted Phocas' orders, and they sailed around Sicily, at one point sending a few galleys into port in Palermo, on the pretense of pleading for repairs to their sails, to scout the defences of the city. The same was done at Tunis. Both cities seemed to be, not unlike our own were, surely but not invincibly defended by a garrison of well-prepared archers. The commanders settled on Tunis as the first target, as the hilltop fortifiucations at Palermo were more daunting. The 1st Athinai Tourma, skilled scalers of ramparts, and the 1st Thesssalonica Tourma, solidly built, and with a detachment of healers and bone-setters, landed on the African shore.
    Meanwhile, the strongest war galleys of the Classis Italia surprised a Sicilian galley on a far-sailing patrol, but ended up surprising mostly themselves, and delivering a shocking blow to the presumptions of naval superiority which the Romans had felt for centuries on Mare Nostrum. (Naval strategists busied themselves with some calcuations on the basis of which they suggested that the disastrous outcome had had only a 1 in 77 chance, but it had plainly happened for all to see.) The next year, when word of the naval defeat reached the capital, the war galleys from the Classis Aegea were immediately reassigned to the Classis Italia, which was tasked with ferrying a newly trained tourma of spearmen from Athinai to Carthago.
    The ground troops were similarly cursed. The Athenians were led into a trap: seeing what appeared to be a vulnerability in the Tunisians' defences, they charged up a wide street towards an abandoned amphitheatre upon which all the visible defending archers seemed to be perched; as they were scaling the rows of seats, another company of archers appearred from the wings and let the arrows fly at their backs from the stage. The soldiers, shocked at their shameful folly, could do nothing to defend themselves, as the flurry of arrows was too thick; they could only madly scream and clamber to the top, hoping against hope that they would be spared. And some were: those that arrived at the top were able to neutralise the defence of the city, allowing the Thessalonican tourma to take control of the most strategic buildings, winning the Romans a horrifyingly costly reconquest of the city they called Carthago, after it had been in Vandal hands for almost two centuries.


    The scouting of Palermo and Tunis.


    The defeat of the Classis Italia.


    The reconquest of Carthago.

    The empire was once again expanding, but voices of dissent were being heard that it had no more inner strength than a soap bubble, and many in the military tribunal were fearful of the days ahead. But most still put their faith in an optimistic prophet who rose in 624, Matthew Diodorus, who claimed that the Roman Empire had weathered many a storm, and that a collapse was unimaginable.


    Matthew Diodorus prophecies the endurance of the Roman Empire.

    The Empire at 624:
    Collapsing. State religion: Christianity.
    Treasury: 378 million solidi. Total commerce: 217.
    Tax income: 65, Research: 134, Espionage: 18.
    Expenses: 86 (Military maintenance: 12, Military supply: 0, City maintenance: 10, Civic maintenance: 64).

    Spoiler Overview - western conquests :


     
  3. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    I really like your style and the pace :goodjob:! Are you a history major, by any chance :)? Education is entertainment for me and it feels cool to learn new stuff even on Stories and Tales forum. How much of the general narrative is fictional? Trajan the Patrician did exist, but he has covered the period from the late 7th century (likely 668) to ca. 713 or 720. And I could not find anything about Diodorus -- I assume the name came from RFCE modders?
     
  4. Princeof Persia

    Princeof Persia The Empire wasn't bad

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    Yeah, it is good.
     
  5. Danger Bird

    Danger Bird gravity's angel

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    Just a casual history buff. I didn't know much about this period, was reading Edward Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and thought I'd try out a story with RFC:E. Mostly I am warping the history I read in Gibbon, a few other books, and lots of wikipedia.

    Ah, you caught me! Yes, I moved Trajan the Patrician so that he covered a slightly earlier period. I'm using some real historian's names, but only the least known ones, so that I run less risk of contradicting what they say.

    And this narrative is almost completely fictional, and will become more and more so, as it is my progress through the game that determines things. About the only facts I am not making up are the dates of the emperors' reigns, and some of the events that happen in the story really happened (such as Phocas' army rebellion), but why, where, and how they happened is very much changed. So I sympathise with anyone reading this and hoping to learn Roman/Byzantine history. I have got confused myself, so that I can't remember what I read and what I made up.

    Organising it around the historical emperors was the plan I had from the beginning. That means that in the 6th and 7th centuries, the major emperors in RL can be the major ones in the story, but soon (I hope) we will have great-achieving emperors who were part of the decline in RL.
     
  6. Danger Bird

    Danger Bird gravity's angel

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    Haven't actually thought about how this will end. I hope I will survive to 1453, and then I'll see how I feel. If I continue in Constantinople, I'll need to invent emperors.
    Playing on as the 'Third Rome' Muscovy makes sense too. We'll see.
     
  7. Danger Bird

    Danger Bird gravity's angel

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    @Tambien and Princeof Persia: Thanks, and I hope you enjoy reading about the upcoming fall, as well. ;)

    Well, I won't have to worry about Sicily for a while I guess. Can't even see that far with all the Persians, Arabs, and sick Romans cluttering the view.
     
  8. christos200

    christos200 Never tell me the odds

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    Great update.
     
  9. Danger Bird

    Danger Bird gravity's angel

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    From the chronicles of Traianos Patrikios:

    The middle years of Heraclius' reign

    In 621, news came from Caesarea in Charsiadon that the empires defences were again in jeopardy, not from the lack of courage against external threats, but from a debilitating sickness which had first struck the garrison of the city, the famed Charsiadon Archers. Some influential theologians claimed that this was a clear sign of God's disapproval, although the reasons advanced as the cause of the disapproval were various. But Heraclius had just wrapped up his successful campaign in Paphlagonia and had returned to hear of the conquests in Africa, and so was not willing to hear such talk. He proclaimed that the sickness from the east was a test of the Romans' steadfastness, and used the news to exhort his governors to redouble their efforts to fortify the empire.

    Yet the plague spread, not steadily but opportunistically, at the speed of foot and sail. In 624, road workers completed the military road Tarsus to Caesarea, but at the cost of spreading the plague to the port of Tarsus, which then leaped across the sea to Cyrene the next year. In the next few years it jumped back across the sea to Athinai and Thessalonica, and continued from town to town and port to port.


    The spread of the plague from Anatolia to the Mediterranean.

    The eastern borders needed protecting, but there were very few willing to go. Only the 1st Meros, replenished with new recruits from Paphalgonia, was sent to guard the borderlands of Charsiadon, east of Caesarea, without drawing too near to the infected city.

    In 624, a second Troad rebellion ignited, this time really the poor, who had learned from their noble puppetmasters in the uprising of 604 that taking up arms was a most effective way of gaining attention, began marching south on Smyrna.

    In 632, a Sassanid army appeared suddenly north of the city of Antioch, having snuck through the most unpopulated high passes in the forested hills to the northeast. Once again the Roman armies were caught off-guard, but, under the command of Heraclius, using reinforcements coming from Aleppo in the east and from Syria to the south, they expertly caused the Persians to chase them into the plains outside the city, where bowmen from the walls could inflict fatal damage. The Sassanid king Khosrau II, after this defeat, with his manpower at its limit due to his second front with a new enemy to the south, submitted to the the Romans' superiority at a humiliating ceremony in an Antioch church.


    The short-lived seventh, and final, Sassanid incursion into Roman lands.


    The Sassanid king Khosrau II kneels before Heraclius.

    The fall of Smyrna, and the peril of the plague

    The Troad rebellion had been growing in strength, marching to Smyrna as they had done before, but in even greater numbers, under a leader who styled himself Paul Phocas, taking the name of the usurper against whom their first rebellion had been directed but with whom they now honoured as an advocate for the oppressed. The governor and the people of Smyrna waited, having called in the Nicaea Garrison for support, and with the 2nd Meros having crossed from Thessalonica to aid in chasing down the rebels, confident in their ability to end the rebels' march at the tips of a thousand arrows. But as the winter of 632-33 set in, the sounds of coughs and sputters in neighbouring insulae told them that ships had brought the dreaded Anatolian plague from the unclean ports of Cyrene and Hellas. Soon two-thirds of the city's inhabitants were bedridden, including a large number of the garrison soldiers, and it was known that these were not beds from which people rose; they were beds that were burned with the victims on the fields outside the town. The rebels closed in, and, in the secure belief that this was an illness that struck only the decadent city-dweller, they charged in to plunder the city. It is not clear how many of the Smyrna and Nicaea garrisions were at their stations that day (it is known that the visiting Nicaeans, in makeshift shelters, had suffered disproportionately), but the archers were no match for the enraged axe-wielders. The 1st Meros, seeking refuge for themselves and their horses in the forests east of the city, were too weak and demoralised to counter-attack, and fled south along the coast. They would not, at any rate, have been welcomed by the rebels, nor indeed among the captured survivors living under the tyranny of the rebel leader. Many in Smyrna wondered if it could have been the very ship that brought these mounted reinforcements that had sealed their doom.

    It was weeks before word reached the nearest military outpost, then carried to the emperor in his camp in Antioch, that Smyrna was lost.


    Smyrna falls to the plague and the Troad mob.

    Nor was this the only sobering news to reach Heraclius. Messengers also arrived from Athinai, Thessalonica, Hadrianopolis, and the capital itself, trembling with the news that the plague had reduced populations by a fourth or a third in those cities, and that, as in Smyrna, it had often been the soldiers, in their close living quarters, who were the first to fall. The regions of Achaea, Macedonia, and Thraki were wide open to the possibility of devastating attack from the Avars and other tribes to the north, who were rumoured to be gathering strength.


    The plague in Hellas leaves the northwest of the empire vitually undefended.

    The southern menace

    But Heraclius was unable to return from the east to mount a campaign to rescue Smyrna, or to do anything about the perilous state of defences in the northwest. In late 634 and into 635, massed Arab armies were sighted in the deserts of inland Syria, around the town of Damascus. At first it was assumed that the Arabs' target must be the idolatrous Persians, as one of the early Arab emissaries, from the Hashimite tribe, had previously expressed their leader Muhammad's solidarity with the Romans, under the one God that they both worshipped. But in the past two years a change had taken place in the attitudes of the Arabs that they met, and there was talk that their new leader Abu Bakr was only willing to speak civilly to those who professed complete submission to God as revealed to Muhammad.


    The forces of Heraclius and Abu Bakr in the region of Antioch.

    The fear in in the Levant region was palpable, as stories filtered northwards of Arab conquests in northern Arabia and Mesopotamia. Many were tempted to seek refuge in the shadow of the new southern power, especially as Jews and Monophysite Christians felt no great communion with the church in Constantinopolis. Persians also were susceptible to their fear of the new faith. One regiment of lancers, still in the region of Antioch, abandoned by Khosrau II on his retreat, converted to Islam and joined the Arabs while still in the vicinity of Antioch, and it was the captain of this regiment that was used by Abu Bakr to leave a message for Heraclius in a pillaged farmhouse, staked to a overturned cross, stating plainly that the Arabs had declared their hostile intentions towards Rome.

    Heraclius was despondent, no longer the optimistic and energetic leader that his men had revered. At one low point in 636, it is reported, he desparately sent an envoy to the Arab camp with a letter to Muhammad himself (unaware of the latter's death 4 years previous) testifying that Muhammad was the prophet that was announced by Jesus and Mary, although he later denied such an gesture. His wife Martina, still vigorous and scheming. sought to restrict access to Heraclius to all but his servants and physicians, in the hope that she might put forward a positive face, instruct the military commanders in Heraclius' name, and by her wisdom and zeal avert catastrophe. It was upon her orders that the 2nd Thraki Tourma, the most experienced soldiers in the empire, were sent out to meet the turncoat Persian horsemen still pillaging north of the city, and achieved a great victory that greatly increased the small Roman army's dwindling morale.


    The 2nd Thraki Tourma defeats the Persian lancers, now followers of Muhammad, north of Antioch.

    But they had yet to meet the main force of Arab riders coming north from Damascus. The reports from messengers that survived were unnerving: the army was advancing quickly, largerly unhindered, even supported, by the local population. Soon the Arabs occupied the land between Antioch and Aleppo, cutting off the inland city from its supplies, camping there for three full winters, growing in strength as they scored minor victories and mopped up opposition in the fertile crescent. Then, in the last months of 640, they launched a two-pronged campaign on Aleppo and Antioch.


    The Arab army of Abu Bakr advances to the Aleppo Road.

    The famed Eastern Defenders of Aleppo fought gloriously, stopping hundreds of horses and men that lay in mounds on the fields west of the city, but the sheer numbers of Arabs were too much for them, and they were heard from no more after the new year dawned in 641.


    The fall of Aleppo.

    In Antioch, Martina was now firmly in control, as Heraclius was ill with the plague and mostly senile, and the sons of the emperor were divided more against each other than against the enemy outside the walls. And she had stiffened the defences of the city, called up the tourma and limitanei from Tyre and Jerusalem to fight in the brunt of the battle, and was once again whipping up the fervour of the soldiers by carrying each night the icon of the Virgin Mary around the city on the top of the walls. And Antioch repulsed the invaders, month after month in the winter of 641.


    The defence of Antioch.

    By the end of February, however, the emperor was dead. The plague to which he had succumbed had not yet spread to the citizens of Antioch, but at news of Heraclius' death, hope of victory was in many hearts replaced by hope of a much more meagre sort - hope that they might live on another week. For, as valiant as the defence of the city had been, the empire around them was almost silent in its suffering. Trade had almost vanished, cut off by sieging enemy armies, fallen cities, and the overall fear of travel. Weeks passed between ships at port, and even more seldom were the roads of the empire traversed. The bubble had broken, and around them lay the detritus of its dispersed thin walls.


    The progress of the plague through the eastern Mediterranean.

    The Empire at 641:
    Collapsing. State religion: Christianity.
    Treasury: 339 million solidi. Total commerce: 221.
    Tax income: 65, Research: 137, Espionage: 18.
    Expenses: 68 (Military maintenance: 5, Military supply: 2, City maintenance: 9, Civic maintenance: 52).

     
  10. hoplitejoe

    hoplitejoe Top fun-poster

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    Not looking pretty.
     
  11. christos200

    christos200 Never tell me the odds

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    Great update.
     
  12. NinjaCow64

    NinjaCow64 The Continuation of the Dream Supporter

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    Just an interesting note, you know that Orthodoxy Faith Points provide Stability Points, right? And that building Jewish Quarters reduce Faith Points, thereby reducing Stability? Why did you build it?
     
  13. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    I hate it how plague almost coincides with Arabs. Justinian plague was AD 541–542, why do we have to deal with it in 600s? :dunno: Also, what about the flips? Are they in AD 644 updates?
     
  14. NinjaCow64

    NinjaCow64 The Continuation of the Dream Supporter

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    It seems like he refused the flips and then the Arabs declared war on him and took over his lands.
     
  15. Danger Bird

    Danger Bird gravity's angel

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    We'll see.
     
  16. Danger Bird

    Danger Bird gravity's angel

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    The chronicles of Traianos Patrikios skip straight from Heraclius to Constans II, though Heraclius died in February 641 and the Constans was not recognised as sole emperor until September (Constans was only 11 years of age at the time, which may be why he was playfully nicknamed 'Pogonatos', the bearded one). It seems that Traianos was trying to create the impression that there had been an orderly succession, but, although there are no other reliable sources for the period, there are letters that tell a different story, and appear genuine.

    From a letter from Constantine III to a man named Draco, possibly the guardian of his son during the years when the royal court was in Antioch:


     
  17. Danger Bird

    Danger Bird gravity's angel

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    Yes, I read that faith points give stability, and I used my Great Prophet to increase faith points, but I haven't seen much effect of that on stability yet. Maybe because all the other things that are happening overwhelm it. Or perhaps the effect of the faith points is not immediate?

    The Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem was of course partly role-playing, but I also saw that they were better than marketplaces, giving culture as well as commerce multiplier. I can't imagine its effect on my stability would be that great. The stability dropped a lot, though, when I took over Neapolis and then Cathago (the expansion category). And then, of course, during this war, where I have lost Aleppo so far.

    I have a feeling that stability is going to be bad the whole game since I will probably not give up on the western empire. Tigranes mentioned a bug where Byzantium does not lose even its outer cities during bad stability. If that is the case, I may be taking advantage of that bug by my play style, but its not something I'm deliberately taking advantage of.

    Some other things I've noticed:
    • I've had no mercenaries available yet. I think I've checked every turn.
    • The technology bar always displays a percentage after the number of turns (e.g. Vassalage - 8 turns - +81% ). What does this mean?
     
  18. nightcreature

    nightcreature Ready to Pounce!

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    I think it means how much of a discount you get on the tech. In this case you are not getting an advantage. When there is a negative percent, you receive that percentage off the tech. As more people research a tech, the lower the percent drops and the discount increases.
     
  19. Optical

    Optical The Fall of the Eleventh

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    Sounds right to me, although I haven't played much RFCE so I can't really confirm that.
     
  20. Danger Bird

    Danger Bird gravity's angel

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    Thanks, nightcreature. I thought it was something like that, but was too lazy to search and check.
     

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