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Thread: [SS 6.4] CHRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Early Era, AAR (Ended because of lost savegames)

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    Default [SS 6.4] CHRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Early Era, AAR (Ended because of lost savegames)





    Salve, dear fellows!
    The Bizantine Empire has always been my favourite faction in both Medieval and Medieval II; so, as my very first continuous playthrough with Stainless Steel, it seemed natural, to me, to play it for the Great City's glory and safety.
    Home rules: H/VH ('cause the AI already gets enough economic bonuses! ), Savage AI, Real Recruitment enabled, Slow Assimilation enabled.
    Anyway, let's start!



    Prologue - Uncertain Times

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    These are uncertain times to live. Empires crumble and fade as time goes by, adventuriers and warlords forge their own kingdoms with steel and violence. Several once mighty empires now are no more.
    The Roman Empire has known defeat and humiliation, and its borders have been trespassed and occupied by enemies of every kind, its people have had to bend their kneel to foreign rulers.
    The Empire its surrounded by enemies. And several more wait the right occasion to strike.
    To the north, the Danubian provinces have been lost once again to the blood thirsty barbarians of the steppe. The war hungry Bulgarians have somehow rebuilt at least a part of their former strenght, and are now posing a costant threat on Costantinople's dominions in Macedonia and Thrace. Even further north, new nomad people have settled and streghtened their positions in the Carpathian region. The Magyars, one of the Empire's most proud and fearsome enemies, have settled in the wide hungarian plains and converted to Christ's word - although, the version proclaimed by the so-called Pope of Rome - establishing their own kingdom, the Kingdom of Hungary. To their east, lie the nomad pechenegs, alans and cumans, always ready to cross any border and eagerly sack, rape and loot at their leisure.




    To the west, Italy has been lost to the Normans. They came in Italy as mercenaries in the struggle between the Empire and the Lombards, and later unified under the guide of adventuriers such as Robert the Guisckard. Under his guide, these capable knights and swordsmen have spoiled the Empire of its italian holdings, capturing Bari, the last byzantine stronghold in Italy, in 1071 AD. Furthermore, they have strenghtened, and now control all southern Italy, including the ancient and rich island of Sicily, from where they have been - and still are - ready to expand their dominions.



    To the East, lies the greatest threat the Empire has ever faced in its History. Revitalised by the arrival of the Seljuq turks, islamic kingdoms have strenghtened their positions and inflicted bitter defeats to the Empire. However, the seljuqs warlords weren't satisfied with their roles as mercenaries and soldiers for these kingdoms; they have overthrown their arabian masters, taken control of the Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad, and started their own war of conquest against the Empire.
    Seljuq Sultan Alp Arslan has inflicted Costantinople the worst defeat of its history, humiliating in battle and capturing Basileus Romanus Diogenes on the field of Manzikert, in 1071 AD.



    The catastrophe of Manzikert, along with a long series of civil war, have brought the Empire on the edge of ruin. Anatolia has subsequently fallen to the seljuqs, and norman adventurier Robert the Guisckard and his son Bohemund have invaded the lands of Epeiros and Albania, taking a chance of the overwhelming chaos that had pervaded the Empire.
    After bitter years of civil war, a new Basileus ton Romaion has arisen, Alexios I of House Komnenos. Although defeated by the Guisckard at Durazzo, Alexios' diplomatic and strategical ability, along with the Guisckard's death, have preserved greek rule over western Hellas, and pushed the invaders back to Italy. However, Normans and Greeks are far from establishing peaceful relationships: after his father's death, Bohemund has often troubled the Empire's peace, and right now, after the First Crusade, rules over the rich syrian city of Antioch, and hasn't yet forgiven his father's old enemies.



    The Crusaders' advance into Anatolia has proved to be an outstanding occasion, to Alexios, to recover territories in Asia Minor and re-establish his rule over prominent cities such as Nicaea and Smyrna. The Crusade's success, and the Liberation of the Holy Sepulchre, have weakened the islamic powers and gave birth to the Crusader States of Antioch, Jerusalem and Edessa. Relationships between the Golden City and the frank Lords of Outremer are reasonably good, but in these uncertain times nothing is sure, and sharing faith in Christ's word isn't anymore a warrancy of peace.
    Perhaps the Empire's biggest threat, in fact, lies in its independence from Rome. Since the Great Schism, in 1054 AD, relationships between Costantinople and the Papal Seat haven't been easy, and many western lords and commanders don't hold in high regard what they perceive as the untrustworthy and unreliable schismatic Greeks. Some of them start perceiving Costantinople on par with other enemies of Christ, such as the Saracens or the pagans who still inhabit the lands of Prussia and Lithuania. The King of Germany still holds as his own the title of Roman Emperor, and the ambitious italian city states look with greed at the Empire's riches and resources. The Most Serene Republic of Venice, in particular, isn't to be trusted: a capable Basileus should keep an eye on those westerners, for they may give the Empire serious troubles if left unchecked.
    The Empire's worst enemy, however, lies in itself, in the ambitions of the noble and selfish Houses that rule it. Even the Komnenoi family, after all, has arisen to the throne after a civil war, and Alexios himself has often had to deal with usurpers and traitors of every kind. The defeat of Manzikert has been triggered by the traitorious behaviour of Romanus Diogenes' enemies, and too often swords and steel, instead of law, have proved the key factor over the rise of an Emperor instead of another.
    The Empire is surrounded by enemies, and it is in a critical moment of its history. Decay and downfall might be a footstep away. Yet, the Empire has managed to survive for centuries surrounded by its enemies, and maybe it still will: Goths, Alans, Huns, Vandals, Sassanids, Magyars, Bulgars, Arabs, Kievan Rus' and Pechenegs, all of them have laid siege to Costantinople, yet the Great City is still alive, while their legacy is lost or decayed. Maybe the Roman Empire isn't yet doomed to fall, by Christ's name - and Kyrie eleison.




    List of Valiant Emperors and Noble Houses


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    BASILEI TON ROMAIOI


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    Noble House Komnenos (1081-1260 AD)

    House Komnenos arose to a major role in byzantine politics during the reign Basil II Bulgaroctonos, one of the most skillful and capable rulers the Empire had ever seen, in the person of its founder, Manuel Erotikos Komnenos. Manuel had distinguished himself in the defense of Nicaea against the usurpation of another of Byzantium's greatest generals, Bardas Phocas, and had been therefore granted by Basil himself of the lands around Kastamonu, in Pontus, House Komnenos' ancistral stronghold. His older son, Isaakios, was the first Komnenos to reign as Basileus. His short, yet brilliant reign ended, however, when he retired to monastic life after having been struck by a thunderbolt. His legacy, however, continued through his brother John Komnenos, whose son Alexios quickly earned an impressive reputation as politician and commander. In 1081 AD, Alexios rebelled against Nikephoros Votaniates, overthrowing him and taking the throne as his own. A new era had begun.


    - Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1124 AD)


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    Arose to the throne in 1081, after a successful coup d'etat, Alexios I of House Komnenos played a key role in the recover of the Byzantine Empire after the bitter defeats suffered in the previous half of a century. During the First Norman -Byzantine War (1081-1085 AD) he somehow managed to keep at bay the growing threat posed by the Normans, who, after having seized Southern Italy, had invaded in forces Epeiros and Albania, led by adventurier Robert the Guisckard. Later on, thanks to a careful and skilled use of corruption, politics, steel and intrigue, Alexios I Komnenos not only managed to keep the throne despite the threats posed by several usurpers, pechenegs and the First Crusade, but also started what has been known as the Komnenian Restoration. Thanks to the help provided by the Crusaders, Alexios succeeded in the reconquering the Western Coast of Asia Minor from the Seljuqs which had invaded it after Manzikert; in 1103, the Basileus and his son Ioannis successfully invaded the Khanate of Bulgaria, restoring Roman rule over the danubian themas. He then forged alliances with Laszl I of Hungary, the Kievan Rus' and the Crusader States. In 1110-1114 AD he led an anatolic campaign which ended with the recovery of the Black Sea coast. He then succeeded in repelling several Venetian attempts to overthrow him during the Second Crusade, and, through his son Ioannis Komnenos, supported Laszl I of Hungary in his war with the pechenegs (1119-1121 AD), bringing Muntenia under Constantinople's control. In 1123, he defeated venetian crusading general Cataldo Mocenigo in the great battle of Adrianopolis, and founded the Pantokrator Monastery in Constantinople to celebrate the victories he had gained against the Normans, Bulgarians, Pechenegs, Crusaders, internal enemies and Seljuqs in almost 40 years of reign. He died the following year, unable to stop his sons to fight one against each other for control over the Empire.



    - Anna Komnena's usurpation and Interreign (1124-1128 AD)


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    After Alexios' death, his firstborn daughter Anna seized the power in Constantinople, taking advantage of the absence of her brother Ioannis, busy in campaigning against the Pechenegs. With her husband Nikephoros Vriennios the Younger as Symbasileus the "Queen of Thieves", as she would have been dubbed by later historians, ruled over the Empire in one of its most turbulents periods. During her short and ill-fated reign, in fact, the thema of Karadeniz, on the Black Sea, got invaded and conquered by seljuq warlord Ilyas Arslan; in the meanwhile, Crimaea fell to Cuman invaders and the western half of the Empire got ravaged and sacked by venetian adventurier Cataldo Mocenigo, whom she had hired to prevent her brother Ioannis to seize the throne he rightfully claimed. After Mocenigo's death in the Battle of Dyrrachium at the hands of Strategos Theodosios Opsaras, her brothers Ioannis and Isaakios Komnenos finally marched against the capital and overthrew her and her husband. She died in 1153 in the monastery of Kecharitomene, leaving the Alexiad, a chronicle of the events happened during her father's reign, as her sole heritage.




    - Ioannis II the Chivalrous (1128-1153 AD)

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    First born son of Alexios I Komnenos, Ioannis - dubbed as the Chivalrous for his magnanimity - grew an impressive reputation as a commander during his father's reign, leading the Empire's armies to victory against Bulgarians, pechenegs, crusading adventuriers and usurpers. In 1124 AD his sister Anna spoiled him of his birthrights by seizing their father's throne; four years later, Ioannis, with the help of his brother Isaakios, Strategos of Adrianopolis, marched against the capital and overthrew her and her husband. Shortly thereafter, after having promoted as Megas Logothethes his brother Isaakios, he led his armies west, defeating the Venetians at Ragusa in 1131 and the Normans, which had invaded once again the Balkans, in 1132 AD in a night battle at Durazzo. With the help of King Kalmn I of Hungary, he then expelled the Venetians from the Balkans in 1133-1138 AD. In these campaigns, however, his second born son Nikodemos found death in battle, something which greatly shocked the Basileus, who since then showed an incomparable magnanimity which gained him nicknames such as "the Chivalrous" and "the Humane".

    In 1140-1145 AD he led his armies in an anatolic campaign which would end in the acquisition of Pamphilia and the recovery of Karadeniz, while his general Iustinos Vriennios defeated a third Norman invasion of the Balkans. In 1150-1153 AD he successfully repelled a Bulgarian Uprise, personally defeating the Bulgarians in the battles of Adrianopolis and Sofia. He died shortly after the pacification of the region, leaving his son Philippikos as his successor.


    - Philippikos II Komnenos (1153-1173 AD)


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    Arose to the throne in 1153, shortly after his father, Ioannis the Chivalrous', death, Philippikos II gifted the Empire with an unusually long period of peace (1153-1170 AD) during which, with the help of his Megas Logothethes and uncle Isaakios Komnenos, he reorganized the army, economy, and strenghtened the Empire's alliances with Kiev, Jerusalem and Hungary through treaties and marriages. He then consolidated the Komnenoi's hold on the other Houses with similar means.

    In 1170-1173, on the stream with the Third Crusade, Philippikos invaded Anatolia, defeating the seljuq Amir Ozan Gazi and restoring the thema of Galatia before dying in 1173 AD, leaving his legitimate son Heraklios and one of his bastards, Efarestos, struggling for the Crown.


    - Efarestos I the Conqueror (1173-1202 AD)


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    Efarestos, born as a bastard son of Basileus Philippikos II, grew among the ranks of the Army. He campaigned under his grandfather Ioannis II during the Bulgarian Uprise (1150-1153 AD) and then ruled over Bulgaria as Strategos of Sofia (1153-1173 AD), defeating several minor rebellions. In 1170-1173 AD he served in his father's anatolic campaign, successfully commanding the army during the siege of Ankara. In 1173 Ad, after their father's death, he overthrew his brother Heraklios with the support of Heraklios of House Iagaris and Kekavmenos of House Vriennios, defeating his uncle Isaakios Komnenos at Abydos; later on, he appointed Iagaris as Megas Logothethes and Kekavmenos as his Symbasileus, before leading the Empire's armies in a victorious campaign against the Seljuqs (1176-1184 AD), which ended in the conquest of Cappadocia and Cilicia, and in the expulsion of the Seljuqs from Anatolia. He then supported Vladimir and Dobrogost of Kiev against the newly crowned Hungarian King Bulcs I, campaigning in Serbia (1191-1193 AD). Later on he forged an alliance with Heinrich VI of Germany took advantage of the Hungarian Civil War by invading Dalmatia (1195 AD). Both Serbia and Dalmatia got annexed to the Empire with the Peace of Belgrade (1201 AD), which terms provided the cession of Muntenia to Bkoni I of Hungary in exchange for his acknowledgement of the loss of Italy to the Italian League, Kievan control over Bessarabia and German rule over Salszburg. His death of pneumonia in 1204 AD marked the beginning of a civil war among his supposed heirs.


    Civil War and Interreign: the Three Emperors (1202-1207 AD)

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    After Efarestos' death, the outbreak of the civil war determined the establishment of three seats of power, each one located in a different area of the Empire.


    - Kekavmenos Vriennios, the Emperor in Constantinople: former Symbasileus and Megas Logothethes of the deceased Efarestos, Kekavmenos seized the throne in Constantinople, spoiling the legitimate heir, Zakarias Komnenos, of his birthrights. His authority extended, at its peak, from Serbia in the West to the easternmost fringes of the Empire in Anatolia, encompassing Constantinople and the Bosphorus. He later on lost some of his dominions to Heraklios of Adjara and Zakarias, the latter with the Partition of Adrianopolis.


    - Zakarias Komnenos, the Emperor in Thessalonica: backed up by his father's veterans, prince Zakarias got acclaimed as Basileus by his troops and chose Thessalonica as his seat of power, from where he led the struggle against the usurper Kekavmenos, even managing to inflict him two field defeats, at Chrysopolis and Xanthi. In base to the terms of the Partition of Adrianopolis in 1204 AD, his authority encompassed the whole of the Aegean isles, Makedonia, Achaia, Epeiros and Albania, the Catapanate of Ragusa and the thema of Smyrna on the Anatolic coast.


    - Heraklios Komnenos, Prince of Adjara and Emperor in Sinop: overthrown by his half-brother in 1173 AD, Heraklios chose to take advantage of the chaos that spreaded within the Empire after Efarestos' death by claiming the throne as his own. Backed up by the Khwarezmian Amirs of Armenia and Georgia, Heraklios, in progress of time, seized the whole of the Black Sea coast, making full use of his mighty fleet to overwhelm Kekavmenos' far weaker one. At its peak, in 1206 AD, his authority stretched from the byzantine Principality of Adjara in the East, to Nicaea and the Bosphorus in the West.

    In 1206 AD Zakarias broke the ceasefire with Kekavmenos while he was busy campaigning in Anatolia against Heraklios Komnenos. His victory at Adrianopolis, Kekavmenos' death in the said battle and the surrender of Constantinopolis allowed him to launch, the following year, an anatolic campaign, which ended in the pushing back in Adjara of his uncle Heraklios, and his arise as sole ruler of the Empire, after 5 years of Civil War.



    - Zakarias I Komnenos (1207-1246 AD)

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    Born as the only son of Efarestos I, Zakarias won his spurs serving under his father and his officers in the Balkanic War (1190-1201 AD). During the conflict, thanks to both natural gifts and training, he earned a certain reputation as a valiant commander, as shown against the Croatians at the Sava river. After the end of the conflict with Hungary and his father's death (1202 AD) civil war broke out between Zakarias, his uncle Heraklios Komnenos of Adjara and the former Symbasileus, Kekavmenos Vriennios. Through steel, treachery and diplomacy, in 1207 AD Zakarias finally managed to defeat his opponents and reunite the Empire under a sole ruler.
    Shortly thereafter, in 1210 AD, broke out the series of conflicts known as the Great Jihd, a series of muslim attacks to byzantine holdings in Anatolia. Between 1210 and 1217 AD Zakarias successfully defended Anatolia, winning relevant battles as Nigde, Lake Tun and Issus. In 1218 AD, he invaded Syria to act in support of Philip I, newly crowned King of Jerusalem, against the Fatimids' aggressions, defeating muslim prince Hamid on the Orontes. The struggle against the saracens would continue in the following years, culminating in the Basileus' victory over Shah as Salih III of Khwarezm at Trebizond, in 1223 AD., which proved fundamental to the end of so widespread hostilities.
    He later on vainly tried to settle peace in the Balkans by helping Hungary, Kiev and the Holy Roman Empire to sign the Treaty of the Golden Gate, and supported Kievan Knyazich Danislav by sending in his aid his son and legitimate heir Iosif, who won a crushing defeat over the khazaro-khwarezmians on the shores of the Black Sea.
    After the fall of Jerusalem and Cyprus in Fatimid hands, Zakarias campaigned in the Levant in an attempt to save the Crusader Kingdoms from downfall, relieving Acre from muslim siege and heroically defeating the saracens at Ramlah. Despite his failure in freeing Jerusalem of the saracens' yoke, his levantine campaign at least guaranteed the Franks at least a minimum of stability.After the return home, Zakarias crushed his former Megas Logothethes, Davatinos Iagaris', rebellion. He died peacefully in 1246 AD, after nearly fourty years of reign.





    - Leo VII Komnenos (1246-1260)
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    Second born son of Zakarias I, Leo, whose brother Iosif died in 1235 AD, arose to the throne ten years later in virtue of the peaceful death of his father, whose military skills he inherited. Leo skillfully spent his first years of reign by securing both his throne and the Basileia's stability, with an acume often said to resemble his ancestor's, Alexios I.
    In 1257 AD, after Acre and Damascus' fall in the Fatimids' hands, Leo set sail for Outremer, where he would fight to secure King Laurent's hold over the throne.
    After the levantine campaign, Leo dedicated himself to the re-establishment of the Crown's authority over the dynatoi. He died in 1260 AD, fighting against usurper Lidas Vriennios in the battle of Adrianopolis, which marked the downfall of the Komnenian dinasty. He left two children, Efgenia and Arkadios.




    House Vriennios (1260-still in rule)


    Wealthy landowners and skilled politicians, the members of House Vriennios have tied their destiny to that of House Komnenos since the days of Alexios I's uprise, which would ultimately lead to his arise to the throne. Under Nikephoros Vriennios the Older, in fact, House Vriennios first tried to oppose Alexios' coup; later on, after a clear field defeat, House Vriennios married Alexios' cause, not only metaphorically, but through facts, too. It has in fact been through a marriage - that of Nikephoros Vriennios the Younger and Alexios' daughter, Anna - that the two Houses have put aside their quarrels, and united for the Empire's best interests. Their natural attitude to intrigue and their nearness to the highest seats of power have however aroused House Vriennios' lust for power; often, members of House Vriennios have in fact played an important role in the Empire's politics and power shifts, not always for the Empire's effective welfare. Cases worth to be mentioned would be that of Nikephoros the Younger himself, who seized the throne along with his wife Anna in the short interreign between 1124 and 1128 - with disastrous short term effects - and that of Iustinos and Kekavmenos Vriennios, whose support proved vital in the arise to power of Efarestos I, Bastard of House Komnenos. Later on, Kekavmenos fought against Efarestos' son, Zakarias, for the Imperial title, dying at Adrianopolis after a civil war known as Period of the Three Emperors (1202-1207 AD). His nephew, Lidas, rebelled against Zakarias' son, Leo VII, in 1260 AD, defeating and killing him on his uncle's defeat's place and establishing the Vriennioi dinasty.



    - Lidas I the Honourable (1260-still in rule)

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    Fourth born and illegitimate son of Veniamin Vriennios, Lidas restlessly worked, along with his brother Theodosios, to restore the Vriennioi's former position as one of the leading Houses of the Empire. In 1248 AD he was lended by Basileus Leo VII the honorific title of Exharc, with which he wed, two years later, Kievan princess Akoulina Yaroslavich. In 1259 AD he was entrusted of the field command against Serbian usurper Christophoros Slavoupoulos, whom he defeated in battle and imprisoned. With his brother's and Slavoupoulos' help, Lidas massacred the regiments loyal to Leo VII at Belgrade and then led the army to victory over the legitimate Emperor in 1260, defeating and killing him at Adrianopolis. He subsequently took the throne, establishing the Vriennioi dinasty and fighting against Leo's partisans for control over a diminished Empire.



    OTHER NOBLE HOUSES


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    Noble House Vriennios


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    Wealthy landowners and skilled politicians, the members of House Vriennios have tied their destiny to that of House Komnenos since the days of Alexios I's uprise, which would ultimately lead to his arise to the throne. Under Nikephoros Vriennios the Older, in fact, House Vriennios first tried to oppose Alexios' coup; later on, after a clear field defeat, House Vriennios married Alexios' cause, not only metaphorically, but through facts, too. It has in fact been through a marriage - that of Nikephoros Vriennios the Younger and Alexios' daughter, Anna - that the two Houses have put aside their quarrels, and united for the Empire's best interests. Their natural attitude to intrigue and their nearness to the highest seats of power have however aroused House Vriennios' lust for power; often, members of House Vriennios have in fact played an important role in the Empire's politics and power shifts, not always for the Empire's effective welfare. Cases worth to be mentioned would be that of Nikephoros the Younger himself, who seized the throne along with his wife Anna in the short interreign between 1124 and 1128 - with disastrous short term effects - and that of Iustinos and Kekavmenos Vriennios, whose support proved vital in the arise to power of Efarestos I, Bastard of House Komnenos.


    Notable members:


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    - Nikephoros Vriennios the Younger: Strategos of Adrianopolis (1100-1128 AD), later on appointed as Megas Logothethes under Alexios I (1102-1124 AD). After Alexios' death, entitled with the rank of Symbasileus during the short reign of his wife Anna I Komnena (1124-1128 AD). Overthrown by Alexios' legitimate heir, Ioannis II, Nikephors died in exile in Sinop in 1140 AD.


    - Iustinos Vriennios the Silver-Tongued: son of the disgraced Nikephoros Vriennios the Younger, Iustinos brought House Vriennios to splendour once again thanks to both his brilliant military deeds, and his marriage with Basileus Ioannis II's daughter Chrysi Komnena. Under the rule of Ioannis II the Chivalrous, Iustinos brilliantly defeated a norman invasion of Epeiros (1142 AD) and was awarded with the Catapanate of Corinth. Later on, he played an important role in Ioannis' campaigns in Bulgaria (1150-1153 AD). During Philippikos II's reign he ruled over his Achaian holdings with firm hand; after Philippikos' death, he supported the Bastard of House Komnenos, Efarestos, in his victorious claim to the throne. Died in Corinth in 1196 AD.


    - Kekavmenos Vriennios: son of Iustinos Vriennios. Appointed as Strategos of Athens in 1167, under Philippikos II's rule. Later on, he commanded the achaian thematas in Philippikos' victorious anatolic campaign (1170-1173 AD). After Philippikos' death, he supported the claim to the throne of his friend Efarestos Komnenos, and was later appointed as Symbasileus; with this title, he campaigned along Efarestos in his anatolic campaigns (1176-1183 AD). He then coordinated the reorganization of Anatolic thematas, arranged a marriage between his daughter Loukia and the Crusader Prince Philip de Bourq, and supported with money and mercenaries King Baldwin IV's victorious attempt to reconquer Jerusalem. After Efarestos' death, he seized the throne as his own, giving birth to the period of the Three Emperors (1202-1207 AD). Despite the defeats suffered at Chrysopolis and Xanthi by Zakarias Komnenos, Kekavmenos saved his throne by signing the Partition of Adrianopolis, dividing Imperial authority with the Komnenian prince. Despite his brilliant deeds in his anatolic campaigns against Heraklios of Adjara in 1205-1207 AD, Kekavmenos ultimately lost the throne and his life to Zakarias in the battle of Adrianopolis (June 1206 AD). His sons were spared their lives, and later on forgiven, by Zakarias, thus allowing the Vriennios family to continue wielding its role in byzantine politics.

    - Aemilianos "the Bastard": second born natural son of Kekavmenos, Aemilianos inherited his father's military prowess, and showed it during the whole of his life through his long and rich military career.
    In 1194 AD, he took part in King Baldwin IV's reconquest of Jerusalem at the head of the byzantine reinforcements. Entitled as Strategos of Caesarea, during the period of the Three Emperors (1202-1207 AD) he led the defense of Anatolia against the invasion of Heraklios Komnenos, Prince of Adjara, defeating him in the battles of Heraklea Pontica (1203 AD), and reconquering Abydos (1205 AD). In 1206 AD, after his father's death in the battle of Sofia, he led an anatolic army in Thracia in an attempt to relieve Constantinople from Zakarias Komnenos' siege, but got betrayed by his lieutenants Davatinos and Iakovos Iagaris and then brought in chains in front of the newly crowned Basileus Zakarias I. He was later on spared his life, and allowed to join once again the army's ranks, among which he fought in the battle of Nigde (1210 AD). In 1213 AD, as an award for his outstanding performance in defending Eastern Cappadocia from armenian warlords, he got reintegrated in his role as Strategos of Caesarea.
    When, the following year, Tarkan Mohammed, atabeg of Mosul, rushed into Anatolia after his victory at Erzerum, Aemilianos defeated and killed him in the battle of Karaca with the help of his arch enemy Iakovos Iagaris.
    From there on, he continued ruling over Cappadocia, repelling muslim infiltrations of the border and skillfully administrating his thema until his death, came in 1238 AD; six years later, his arch enemies, the Iagaris, experienced a traumatic downfall.



    - Veniamin Vriennios: firstborn son and heir of Kekavmenos Vriennios. He earned a rispectable reputation as a fighter and commander during Efarestos' balkanic campaigns (1191-1201 AD), a period during which Veniamin highly highlighted himself for his skillful actions in the sieges of Pristina and Belgrade, and in several smaller campaigns for the submission of Serbia. In the aftermath of the war, he got entitled of the double Strategate of Raska and Serbia, with Belgrade as his seat.
    After Efarestos' death in 1201 AD and his father, Veniamin's father, Kekavmenos', seizing to the throne led to the outbreak of the period of the Three Emperors, during which Veniamin often took the lead of his father's armies against his enemies. Between 1202 and 1205 AD, he defended Serbia from the attacks of Zakarias Komnenos' lieutenant, Apionnas Murtzuphlous, before being eventually defeated by the two in the battle of Pristina. He then fled East, where he started mustering the army his father Kekavmenos would later on command in the battle of Sofia. After his father's death at Sofia in 1206 AD, Veniamin commanded the garrison of Constantinople during Zakarias' siege to the city; on 26th August 1206, after the failure of his half-brother Aemilianos' attempts to relieve the siege, he ackowledged the defeat and lended the city to Zakarias, whom spared his life and later on forgave him. He died twelve years after, shortly after having received news upon his second-born son, Makarios Vriennios', death in the battle of Valona.

    - Lidas Vriennios: fourth born, illegitimate, son of Veniamin, Lidas restlessly worked, along with his brother Theodosios, to restore the Vriennioi's former position as one of the leading Houses of the Empire. In 1248 AD he was lended by Basileus Leo VII the honorific title of Exharc, with which he wed, two years later, Kievan princess Akoulina Yaroslavich. In 1259 AD he was entrusted of the field command against Serbian usurper Christophoros Slavoupoulos, whom he defeated in battle and imprisoned. With his brother's and Slavoupoulos' help, Lidas massacred the regiments loyal to Leo VII at Belgrade and then led the army to victory over the legitimate Emperor in 1260, defeating and killing him at Adrianopolis. He subsequently took the throne, establishing the Vriennioi dinasty and fighting against Leo's partisans for control over a diminished Empire.








    Noble House Iagaris


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Similarly to House Vriennios, House Iagaris has played a key role in the Komnenoi's politics since the days of Anna Komnena's interreign. During the Queen of Thieves' short and ill-fated reign, in fact, its most famous member, Heraklios Iagaris, served as Protoseacres; after the crowning of Ioannis II, Heraklios was spared his life and sent to the border thema of Isparta; later on, he earned Ioannis II's trust, becoming one of his most trusted lieutenants and turning House Iagaris in one of the pillars of the Komnenoi's claim to power.


    Notable members:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    - Heraklios Iagaris: appointed as Protoseacres during Anna Komnena's interreign, he got later exiled to Isparta by Ioannis II the Chivalrous. There, he completely cleared his reputation of any stain left from his past alledgiances, and became one of the closest collaborators of Emperors such as Ioannis II, Philippikos II and Efarestos I. He got first entitled of the Strategate of Isparta in 1135-1140 AD; later on, for his brilliant military deeds, he got appointed of the Catapanate of Smyrna, which became the traditional seat of power for the head of House Iagaris. He served during Ioannis' anatolic (1140-1145 AD) and balkanic campaigns (1150-1153 AD). He then served under Philippikos' anatolic campaign (1170-1173 AD). After Philippikos' death, his support proved substantial to the arise to power of Efarestos I Komnenos, and got appointed as Megas Logothethes (1173-1196 AD). He died in 1196 AD in Costantinople, with his and his House's reputation completely cleared of any stain.

    - Davatinos Iagaris: firstborn son of Heraklios Iagaris, Davatinos, entitled as Catapan of Smyrna after his father's death in 1196 AD, arose to political prominence during the period of the Three Emperors (1202-1207 AD). During the early stages of the Civil War he and his brother Iakovos managed to achieve a certain neutrality by not picking any of the involved sides. In 1206 AD, he and his brother secretly swore alledgiance to Zakarias Komnenos, betraying Aemilianos Vriennios on the shores of Marmara and playing a key role in both the fall of the capital and Zakarias' later campaigns against his uncle Heraklios Komnenos. Entitled as Megas Logothethes shortly after the end of the war, he kept the charge until the Rape of Palaikastron (1242 AD), which he failed to put down. After having been replaced by Neophitos Tzimisces and fallen in disgrace, Davatinos joined the rebels and assumed their guide, leading them to the defeat of Pergamon. He died in 1245 AD, in Crete, murdered by local governors, embarassed by his presence on the isle.


    - Tarasios Iagaris: the second born of the Iagaris brothers, Tarasios, entitled as Strategos of Achaia in 1200 AD, supported Zakarias Komnenos since the beginning of the Civil War. He got later appointed as his Megas Doux (chief admiral), and played a key role in the siege of Constantinople (1206 AD) and in the naval battle of Amasya in 1207 AD, during which he defeated Heraklios Komnenos' fleet. He would die peacefully in 1242 AD, shortly before his brother Davatinos arose against the throne.


    - Iakovos Iagaris: third and last born son of Heraklios Iagaris, he supported his brother Davatinos' choices during the Civil War, playing a key role in their coup against Aemilianos Vriennios in 1206 AD. With his brother entitlement as Megas Logothethes, he inherited the governorship of the Catapanate of Smyrna. In 1214 AD, along with his arch enemy Aemilianos Vriennios, he defeated and killed Tarkan Mohammed, atabeg of Mosul, in the battle of Karaca. After the battle, he returned to his seat of power, Smyrna, where he reigned peacefully until the Dynatoi Crysis of 1242-1244 AD, when Davatinos arose against Zakarias I. After his brother's defeat at Pergamon and succeeding death in Crete, Iakovos was exiled to Norway, where he wed King Sigurd's daughter Ingrid and fathered a new line of Iagaris, Kings of Norway.







    Noble House Kantakouzenos


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Its prestige often shadowed by that of the other Houses throughout the XIIth Century, House Kantakouzenos slowly grew in importance during the period of the Three Emperors and the following conflicts with the Empire's islamic neighbous, before finally arosing to a position of prominence in 1221, with Theodoros Kantakouzenos' marriage to Ioulia Komnena, daughter of former Basileus Zakarias I Komnenos.


    Notable members:


    - Theodoros Kantakouzenos: firstborn son of Basil Kantakouzenos, Theodoros, entitled as Strategos of Adana in 1210, distinguished himself in occasion of Cahid Ersoy's invasion of Cilicia, in 1213 AD, which he brilliantly repelled in the battle of the Cilician Gates. Two years later, he fought at Issus among the ranks of Zakarias I Komnenos' army, as a senior member of the Basileus' military staff.
    In 1219, his stubborn resistance slowed down the invading muslim host of Yasin Sivasi and Kursad Erbili to the point of allowing Zakarias to halt their advance and defeat them in the battle of Adana. His brilliant behaviour, and the reputation he enjoyed among the anatolic strategoi, earned him the Basileus' favour, the hand of his daughter, Ioulia Komnena, which he wed in 1221 AD, and the title of Protoseacres.He continued wielding a considerable power in the following years, supporting Zakarias during Davatinos Iagaris' uprise, and keeping the Strategate of Cilicia until his death, came in 1258 AD.

    - Markianos Kantakouzenos: only child of Theodoros Kantakouzenos, Markianos grew up as a close friend of Basileus Leo VII, who lended him the thema of Cilicia after Theodoros' death in 1258 AD. After Leo VII's death at Adrianopolis, and Lidas' usurpation, Markianos fought beside Konstantinos Anargyros to restore the Komnenoi to the throne.


    Noble House Machonios - Tzimisces
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Proud and glorious, House Tzimisces boasts a lineage which traces back to some of the finest generals the Empire has ever produced. Among the most prominent exponents of the Tzimisces, is Ioannis I Tzimisces, one of the best byzantine generals of the XIth Century, arose to the throne with the betrayal of Nikephoros II and the following marriage to his widow, Empress Theophano. After Ioannis' death of tiphus during a campaign in the Levant, House Tzimisces' power slowly began to fade, even though recent events can be seen as a restoration of her former prestige. Through the marriage with the anatolic family of the Machonioi, the Tzimisces are now once again major players in byzantine politics.


    Notable members:


    - Neophitos Tzimisces: only child of Gavriel Tzimisces, Neophitos inherited from his father a substantial fortune, which he took advantage of to regain his House's former prestige and power. Thanks to his renowned administrative and military skills, Neophitos was entitled by Zakarias I as Megas Logothethes after the dismissing of Davatinos Iagaris, against whom he later on fought beside Zakarias' son, Leo. With Zakarias' death in 1246 AD and Leo's arise to the throne, Neophitos was formerly dismissed as Megas Logothethes, something he took revenge of fourteen years later, when, after Leo's death at Adrianopolis, he helped, along with his son-in-law Phokas Machonios, Lidas I Vriennios to seize the throne. This earned him his re-establishment as Megas Logothethes.

    - Phokas Machonios - Tzimisces: head of an important Cappadocian family, in 1250 AD he wed Neophitos Tzimisces' daughter, Vasilia, thus uniting House Machonios to the prestigious Tzimisces family. When Lidas killed Leo VII at Adrianopolis, Phokas, Merarches of the Tagmatas, turned to his side and helped him in seizing the city.



    Noble House Anargyros

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    House Anargyros originated as a collateral branch of the powerful Argyros family, and arose to a position of preminence among the pontic dynatoi during Zakarias I's reign. Under his son, Leo VII's, rule, the House entered the political scene in Constantinople through the entitlement, on Leo's behalf, of Konstantinos Anargyros as Megas Domestikos. From there on, House Anargyros would be one of the die hard supporters of the Komnenian dinasty.


    Notable members:

    - Konstantinos Anargyros: son of a minor pontic noble, Konstantinos, Strategos of Sinop, served among the army's ranks beside young Leo Komnenos and Markianos Kantakouzenos, both of whom he befriended. After Leo's arise to the throne, Konstantinos emerged on the byzantine political scene in virtue of his skills and loyalty, which earned him, in 1248 AD, the title of Megas Domestikos, commander of the army. When, after Leos death in the battle of Adrianopolis and Lidas Vriennios' accession to the throne, Konstantinos rallied his forces to fight for thei Komnenoi heirs' rights from his new see of Cyprus.




    Noble House Erotikos


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Despite their close ties to the Komnenians - being the Komnenoi's forefather, Manuel Erotikos Komnenos, an exponent of their House - the Erotikoi, throughout much of the Komnenian Era, never played an important role in byzantine politics, wielding, at the most, a tenuous authority over the Bulgarian families. The House finally emerged on the byzantine political scene with the entitlement of Marianos Erotikos, on behalf of Basileus Leo VII Komnenos, as Strategos of Bulgaria.


    Notable members:


    - Marianos Erotikos: entitled as Strategos of Bulgaria in 1247 AD, Marianos cunningly took advantage of later events to increase his House and his own power. During Lidas Vriennios' rebellion in 1260 AD, Erotikos' ambiguous and treacherous behaviour proved fundamental in the rebel's victory at Adrianopolis, and subsequent seizing of power.



    MINOR NOBLES

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Theodosios Opsaras:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Stubborn supporter of the Komnenoi, Theodosios got entitled of the Strategate of Achaia in 1103 AD, during Alexios I's reign, a role in which he supported and joined to Ioannis Komnenos' successful reannexation of Epeiros. Along with Ioannis, he defeated in 1112 AD Gavras' uprise against Alexios I's rule. With the death of Alexios I in 1124 AD and the usurpation of Anna Komnena and her husband Nikephoros Vriennios, Theodosios supported Ioannis in his claim to the throne, coordinating the defense of Western Greece and Epeiros against Cataldo Mocenigo's raids. Despite Cataldo's death during it, the battle of Durazzo ended up as a clear defeat for Theodosios, who got forced to whitdraw to the paeninsula of Dyrrachium. There he achieved an heroic victory against Mocenigo's lieutenant, Leonardo Alberighi, before dying as a conseguence for the wounds suffered in battle. His actions proved fundamental in Ioannis II's victory in the Civil War, and crowning in 1128 AD.


    Kalamodios Imerios:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Entitled as Strategos of Trebizond by Heraklios Komnenos, Prince of Adjara, Imerios supported his claim to the throne during the Period of the Three Emperors (1202-1207 AD). As Heraklios' lieutenant, Kalamodios earned several victories against the Vriennoi forces, before being defeated in the battle of Kastamonu. After the end of the Civil War he reigned as Strategos of Trebizond, until Tarkan Mohammed's invasion of Anatolia, during which he was defeated and killed in the battle of Erzerum (1214 AD).


    Apionnas Murtzuphlous:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Arose to the rank of Merarches of the Scholarii during Efarestos I's reign, Murtzuphlous fought beside him in his balkanic campaigns (1191-1201 AD), highlighting himself in the sieges of Pristina and Belgrade. After Efarestos I's death, Murtzuphlous, now entitled as Catapan of Ragusa, supported Efarestos' only son, Zakarias, during the Period of the Three Emperors (1202-1207 AD), arising to the rank of his Megas Domestikos.
    In this role he led the defense against the invading muslim forces of Ayshun al-Andalusi, defeated in the battle of Valona. He died peacefully in 1247 AD
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    .


    Ioasaph Kallergis

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Son of a lesser comes, the skilled Ioasaph soon earned the attention of Basileus Leo VII Komnenos, who entitled him as Megas Logothethes after Neophitos Tzimisces' dismission. In this role, he collaborated with Leo in his attempt to diminish the dynatoi's power, which provoked Lidas Vriennios' uprise.




    Last edited by Roman Heritage; September 22, 2015 at 04:38 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    Chapter I - Bulgaroctonos (1103 AD)

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    Bulgarians were a proud nomadic people, who has always had troubled relationships with the Empire. Since their arrival in the Danubian Balkans, in 679 AD, Bulgarians have often warried against the Empire, even managing to inflict it some humiliating defeats. Under their Khan Krum, in 811 AD, Bulgarians won the infamous battle of Pliska, when Basileus Nikephoros I died with almost all of his army in a Bulgarian night attack, and later they even managed to siege Costantinople in a couple of occasions; only Krum's death saved the Empire from catastrophe. The Golden City was safe, yet Krum enjoyed the dubious privilege of drinking wine from a cup made of Nikephoros' skull - a proof of the Bulgarians' trachery and savage behaviour.
    Exactly two centuries later, the greatest of the Empire's rulers, Basilius II, called Bulgaroctonos - slayer of Bulgars - avenged the Empire by defeating the Bulgarians at Kleidon, blinding 10.000 bulgarian prisoners of war, and annhilating the Bulgarian threat. It seemed that Pliska's victors had been annhilated once and for all.
    After the catastrophe of Manzikert, however, Bulgarians rose once again to power, and began raiding the greek provinces of Macedonia and Thracia.
    So, after having recovered some breathing space in Anatolia after the success of the first Crusade, it seemed natural, to Alexios I, to concentrate his forces onto the goal of defeating the old balcanic enemy.



    Alexios Komnenos was a capable and valiant man, who, thanks to his ambition and command abilities, in a space of 20 years of reign managed to put an end to a long series of civil wars, save the greek provinces from the norman invasion, used the crusades' successes at his own advantages, and started reforming the Imperial Army, by strenghtening the Tagmata, the permanent professional regiments of Costantinople. Alexios had a son, Ioannis, who, although really young, showed all of his father's war skills and government abilities. Since 1100, in fact, Alexios fully insigned his son the title of Symbasileus, co-emperor, and gave him command over the provinces of Macedonia, Achaia and Albania, which formed the western half of the Empire's holdings.






    By now, the Empire was so relatively strong, that Alexios thought to pass on the offensive, by starting an invasion of Bulgaria. In 1103 AD, after accurate preparations, he showed once again his trust over his son, giving him command over the western column of invasion. Alexios' plan, in fact, was to take an advantage of his enemy's relative impreparation by attacking his dominions on two fronts and thus dividing his relatively small army: Ioannis, as said, took command of Macedonian and Achaian thematas, or provincial levies, starting his march from Thessalonica, while his father Basileus Alexios, despite his relatively old age, led the capital's tagmata in a march toward the Bulgarians' most important stronghold, Sofia. The tagmata were the pride of the Empire's army, and consisted in the Emperor's own cavalry guard, his powerful Athanatoi, of two large regiments of cataphract cavalry, the Scholarii, and of the Emperor's foot guards, the Varangian Guard and the Spathari Thou Basileios.




    Alexios' plan was to attract on himself the greater part of the enemy's forces, thus giving Ioannis the chance to march unconfronted in the Vardar Valley and spoil the Bulgarian Khan Gyula of a large part of his manpower and money income. In the best prevision, Alexios would have defeated on the field Gyula, while Ioannis would have captured Skopje easily; then the two could siege Sofia together and put quickly an end to the war.
    Gyula, however, refused to fight in open ground; he instead separated his army in order to put garrisons in each major fort or centre on the march of the Bizantines, launching a guerrilla style warfare, and slowing their march in the hopes of inflicting them casualties before they could siege Sofia.




    Ioannis, however, reached Skopje so quickly that he could siege it and assault it without any opposition apart from the garrison's resistance, which was, however, discretely strong in terms of manpower. Ioannis' infantrymen easily captured the walls and killed their bulgarian counterparts, while roman rams breached the gates. After the breaching, Ioannis and his loyal Athanatoi guard charged and crushed the enemy slav levies' resistance, and with the help of bizantine infantry, managed to defeat the enemy's resistance in a fierce fight in the settlement's streets. At the end of the day, Ioannis had captured the castle, and the surrounding Vardar Valley, with relatively small casualties.




    Alexios, in the meanwhile, met a fierce resistence on his road; however, the romans' undisputed numerical, tactical and strategical superiority gave him the opportunity to siege Gyula in his stronghold of Sofia.
    The Emperor built several siege engines, the most important of them being a huge siege tower, which he assigned to his loyal Varangian Guard.



    When Alexios decided to assault Sofia, the sky was darkened by an approaching storm's clouds; Bulgarians would have faced their defeat under a raven-like black sky.
    It should be said, however, that Gyula and his men fought with courage and bravery. Bulgarian archers tried to burn the enemy's siege engines before they could approach the walls, but ultimately failed, and died by the hands of the varangians.




    In the meanwhile, a breach was opened by the battering ram, protected by a consistent bizantine covering arrow fire. Alexios and his cataphract cavalry rushed into the breach and crushed the fierce resistance of the Bulgars. Gyula died after uncountable attempts to charge and break the enemy cavalry, and his men chose to fight and die, rather than surrendering, and retreated to the castle' training ground. Here they all died under the Varangian Guard's axes and swords. Alexios conquered Sofia with low casualties, while it had been such a slaughter of barbarians that his men gave him what had once been Basil II's title, Bulgaroctonos.



    Alexios' invasion had been successful. Using the Empire's resources in a moment in which they weren't yet busy on other fronts, the Basileus crushed the Bulgarian khanate before it could rise again to its former power, thus saving the Empire from a probable future exhausting and resorce consuming war. The renewed power of Costantinople in the Danubian area won Alexios control over some territories which had not even been touched by the invasion, such as the plains between the river and the Carpathian mountains, where he decided to resettle all of the Bulgars which sworn him loyalty, even inviting independent magyar clans to do so; this way, he created a semi-indipendent buffer state between the Carpathians and the Danubius, from which to levy capable slavic and magyar cavalrymen.
    Alexios' showing of strenght impressed the neighbouring powers; the pechenegs immediately stopped raiding Thrace's northern border and advanced trade offers, while the hungarian King Laszl I began looking to the Empire as a profitable ally.



    Friendship and alliance treaties between the two powers were signed shortly after Sofia's fall, and delivered the Empire of any significative balcanic enemy, instead earning it a new, powerful ally.
    Last edited by Roman Heritage; February 17, 2015 at 01:07 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    Looks like youre off to a great start! + rep
    The White Horse: Hanover AAR (On going ETW AAR)
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    Tales of Acamar: Outbreak (Finished)
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    Quote Originally Posted by Scottish King View Post
    Looks like youre off to a great start! + rep
    Thank you really much, Scottish King!
    I hope that also the following chapters will be as good as these

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    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    Roman after Roman after Roman AAR in this forum... I wonder if I'm the only one who has never played the faction .

    I would vote for disabling the unit banners and advisor permanently but as most things it is a matter of taste and some of the banners have quite a bit of artwork in them. Still, SS has banner carriers with such flags too.

    It's nice how you have structured the text and pictures, it makes it easy to read and follow the story. Consider having an empty line between two pictures and picture and text section to make it easier to separate them.

    A tip when showing generals: take a pic showing the top of their traits, then one when their trait list is scrolled down and finally paste the lower half right under the top so you get the full list. It can usually be done very smoothly.

    Finally, spoilers around chapters can be helpful for people with slower net connections.

    Best of luck with your story!

    (Go and invade Scotland just for the originality)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    Quote Originally Posted by Maltacus View Post
    Roman after Roman after Roman AAR in this forum... I wonder if I'm the only one who has never played the faction .

    I would vote for disabling the unit banners and advisor permanently but as most things it is a matter of taste and some of the banners have quite a bit of artwork in them. Still, SS has banner carriers with such flags too.

    It's nice how you have structured the text and pictures, it makes it easy to read and follow the story. Consider having an empty line between two pictures and picture and text section to make it easier to separate them.

    A tip when showing generals: take a pic showing the top of their traits, then one when their trait list is scrolled down and finally paste the lower half right under the top so you get the full list. It can usually be done very smoothly.

    Finally, spoilers around chapters can be helpful for people with slower net connections.

    Best of luck with your story!

    (Go and invade Scotland just for the originality)
    Dude, it's because Byzantium *ing rules! I mean, they survived for a millennia to the greatest collection of enemies a single State has ever had...and showed an extraordinary capability of recovering after crushing defeats, such as Adrianopolis, the Yarmuk, Pliska, Manzikert, Miriokephalos and Costantinople itself...these purple guys have always been my favourite faction. And Alexios, Ioannis and Manouil Komnenos are just heroes, from my pov haha

    As for your tips, they're really welcome. About the advisor - well, it's there mainly because I took the Prologue screenshots from the custom battles, where it pops up to inform you of Germanicu5 AI. I totally forgot to toggle it off, I was too busy trying to catch "real life" looking screenshots

    As for the traits...you know, I didn't think really much about them as this AAr isn't really focused on my characters' personalities, rather on their actions and goals. That's why I chose to simply show the ancillaries worth of attention; btw, if this AAR goes well, I'll polish it later on and clear it.

    Thanks for your suggestions!

    Edit: added the suggested spacings
    Last edited by Roman Heritage; December 22, 2014 at 04:48 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    Very good start, will keep reading this

  8. #8
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    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    Great start with stunning images! Looking forward to more.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    Thanks for you support, guys! Btw, new chapter coming - not much stuff, I'm trying to find a way to handle the subsequent events.
    Anyway, hope you enjoy!

    Chapter II - A Time of Sword and Diplomacy (1103-1108)

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    After the conquest of Bulgaria, Alexios turned from a conqueror to a capable politician. He had always been so, something that had proved vital in his early years of reign, during which ambiguity and diplomatic ability had been fundamental in dealing with the Crusaders. It was time to put away the sword and replace it with paper and words, since the Empire now needed to take a breath and consolidate itself a bit. Alexios' skill was now headed toward this goal.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Alexios, in fact, chose wisely and carefully men whom to give prominent roles in the administration of the Empire. Several members of the Empire's ruling class, the dynatoi - rich landowners and prestigious families - hadn't abandoned their secret dreams of overthrowing Alexios and proclaim theirselves Emperors: usurpation had always been a plague in the Pars Orientis. To keep his most disloyal dynatoi at bay, Alexios put his most loyal and skillful men in key positions in the Empire's government. The Strategate of Anatolia was assigned to one of his most loyal supporters, the strategos of Nicaea Manouil Votoumitis; to award his loyalty, Theodosios Opsaras, once strategos of Rhodes and Crete, was given a new seat in Athens, from where to rule over the southern holdings of the Empire. Alexios also gave the title of Megas Logothethes, Grand Chambelain, tohis son-in-law Nikephoros Vriennios, known - although being the omonymous son of one of Alexios' oldest enemies - for his skills and trustfulness, in order to have a capable and loyal regent over the capital and its income while the Emperor was away for war or travel. Alexios then started reforming the Empire's military, starting a process meant to restore the Empire's army's high level of professionality and efficience, by the promulgation of an Empire-wide agricoltural reform. The Empire' thematas, in fact, were composed of farmer-soldiers, and therefore tying their interest to that of the Crown was vital in order to ensure the Amy's support to the Komnenoi dinasty.



    He then started looking for further foreign support.
    Fellow orthodox Christians of southern Russia, from their stronghold of Kiev, seemed a natural and worthy military and economic ally. However, in its long and rich History, the Empire had known both peace and war with its russian orthodox brothers, which in a couple of occasions even managed to lay siege to Costantinople itself.



    Times, however, had changed, and after several diplomatic meetings, Vladimir Yaroslavic of Kiev and Alexios Komnenos of Costantinople restored the old alliance between the two orthodox powers, giving the Empire a new and trustworthy trade partner in the Black Sea. The treaty was completed through the marriage of Alexios' heir Ioannis with Yaroslav's most intelligent and beautiful daughter, Eupraxia Yaroslavich.



    Diplomatic embassies were also sent to Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem, and his most prominent vassals, Bohemund of Antioch - son of the Guiskard and Alexios' old enemy - and Joscelin de Courtenay, Count of Edessa. A treaty of alliance was signed in the better interests for the Christian powers in the Middle East, in order to keep any muslim counteroffensive at bay.



    However, Alexios' rule, as strong it could be in foreign politics, wasn't eagerly accepted by all of the dynatoi. Several riots and usurpation attempts would have filled the following years, the first of them being the uprise of Domnos Lascaris in Thessalia, put off with an heroic victory at Pydna by the Symbasileus Ioannis.



    Going with the stream of his victory, Ioannis sought the alliance and support of the Strategos of Achaia, Theodosios Opsaras, in order to invade Epeiros, where two minor dynatoi, Petronas and Pavlos, had broken their submission to Alexios and raised their subjects in order to carve their own despotate. Their defeat at Arta not only broke their soldiers' morale and willingness of supporting them, but also allowed Ioannis and Theodosios to lay siege to their stronghold, Arta, and conquer it after a short siege.



    The fall of Epeiros coincided with the restoration of the Empire's control over Greece as it was before the defeat of Manzikert and the norman invasion; furthermore, Nikephoros Vriennios' ability as administrator and prime minister not only resanated the Empire's finances, but also brought, thanks to another commercial agreement with King Laszl I of Hungary, to Costantinople's merchant's egemony over the Serbian salt and gold mines.



    However, more internal threats would have afflicted Alexios' last years of reign.
    The Komnenian government's centralization, along with Manouil Votoumitis administrative efforts, had caused great unrest between Anatolic dynatoi families. These families ruled their themas more or less independently, since in the years between Manzikert and the recover of Anatolia they had benefited of the Empire's decentralization and vacuum of power to rule as independent and corrupted feudal lords. Alexios' recover of Anatolia, furthermore, had took place in such a turbulent period, that no real policy of centralization was introduced 'til Manouil Votoumitis rise as Anatolian Strategos. Their unsatisfaction was strumentalized by a minor strategos, Neon ek Athikon, in order to forge an army and march toward Costantinople from its base of Bursa. Neon proclaimed himself Basileus and started ravaging the countryside, convincing more and more dynatoi to join his cause, giving him more and more supporters in his quest to the throne. Several of the Empire's greates Emperors, after all, had gained the Imperial Purple this way: Eraclius, Nikephoros Phocas, Ioannis Tzimisces and Alexios himself had arisen to the throne this way.



    The usurper's advance, however, suddenly met an obstacle at Balikesir, a small town of the Dardanelles thema.
    Alexios himself had marched against him, bringing with him only a small host in order to march quickly against the usurper. He had with him only his Varangian Guard, his Athanatoi, Kanakkale's thematas and a small corp of siphonatores, wielders of the Empire's most secret and fearsome weapon:Greek Fire.



    This was a mixture of flamable materials, and its composition was guarded as a State secret in the Imperial court. Greek Fire had proved its fearsome valour in multiple occasions, both on field and sea, even representing the key in byzantine victories over the Arabs during their siege of Costantinople in 717-718 AD and subsequent battles.
    The Battle of Balikesir is the first known case in which Greek Fire was used in a field battle between Roman forces.



    Siphonatores - as the Greek Fire wielding unit was known - proved once again the valour of this old and fearsome weapon, breaking Neon's troops morale and burning to death several of his men. Under a deadly shower of fire and arrows, the dynatoi army melted like ice under the sun, and with it melted the usurper's hopes of power, after a vigorous charge of the Varangian Guard. Two thirds of the dynatoi army fell that day, and all of the survived nobles swore allegiance to Alexios after a swift process in Costantinople.
    Alexios had confirmed his leadership and legitimacy with fire and blood.

    Last edited by Roman Heritage; February 17, 2015 at 01:08 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    I like it! Now, to bring the seljuks to heel

  11. #11
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    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard of Gloucester View Post
    I like it! Now, to bring the seljuks to heel
    That's what I wanted to do - but some obstacles stopped me on that way. Well...after all, Rome wasn't built in a day! New update coming...I'll try to post another one in the next day.
    Keep following

    Edit: I made it and posted them both! Hope you enjoy...as I enjoyed playing those battles!
    I must say I'm having such a great fun
    Last edited by Roman Heritage; December 24, 2014 at 09:29 AM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    Chapter III - Of Heroes and Cons (1110-1114 AD)


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The victory at Balikesir gained Alexios' and his supporters some years of peace, although it didn't stop the growing tensions and uprise attempts that were taking place throughout the Empire. The most recently subdued themas, those of Epeiros, Vardaska and Bulgaria, weren't, in fact, yet completely pacified.
    It took, in fact, one more byzantine campaign in Vardaska to put an end to the Bulgarians' obstinate guerrilla and disloyalty. Ioannis took command over Skopje's thematas and crushed the slav rebels, led by a not better known Gavriel, in a battle occurred more or less a couple of miles from Skopje itself.



    The Bulgarians' obstination and archery skills really impressed Ioannis. The Symbasileus, in fact, hired a corp of bulgarian archers and treated them as a kind of private army, which he brought with him to Thessalonica and in every battle he fought later on against his father's enemies.
    Peace, in fact, was far to be reached in Epeiros. In 1112, in fact, the local dynatoi revolted once again under the command of an experienced and ambitious general, Methodios Gavras, in what became known as Gavras' Uprise.




    Gavras' continuos raids put Theodosios Opsaras, Strategos of Achaia and Epeiros, in serious trouble. After some minor skirmishes and defeats, Opsaras resolved in calling Ioannis and his bulgarians in his aid, while Gavras' army seized important cities such as Apollonia and Thermos. Ioannis answered the call and marched in Albania with part of Macedonia's thematas and his Bulgarian Guard, joining his forces with those of Opsaras not far from Durazzo, reaching a total of roughly 4400 men. Even after their joining, however, the loyalist's forces were still outnumbered by those of Gavras, who disposed in fact of almsot 5700 men, most of them veteran scoutatoi and experienced mountain brigands.
    Ioannis and Theodosios, however, didn't let the enemy's superior numbers scare them, but instead marched southwards, reaching Gavras more or less at the height of Apollonia, once the glorious capital of Pyrrhus of Epeiros and his heirs.



    The two armies clashed in the middle of an irregular plain, after a consistent and really effective Bulgarian arrow fire. Disrupted by the enemy fire, some regiments of Gavras' army simply routed after the first mel contact, while his most experienced troops inflicted Ioannis several casualties. After a hard fight, however, Ioannis and his Athanatoi managed to get through the enemy formation and kill in a fierce mel Gavras and a large part of his mounted guards. Gavras' death, along with a furious cavalry charge led by Theodosios in their back, broke the usurpers' army's morale and won the day, after heavy casualties, to the Komnenian loyalists.



    But peace is but a mere word, and war is, instead, an onnipresent reality: war had in fact broken out to the other corner of the Empire, Anatolia. Here, in fact, the seljuq sultan of Pontus, Hamid Mernvli, backed up by the far more poweful Sultan of Rm Berkyaryuk I, had strenghtened his position and started raiding the Karadenez themas of Trebisond. Trebisond was only loosely tied to Costantinople, but its fall in the hands of the Turks would have meant the absence of any significative threat at the back of the Rm Sultanate, and therefore would have indirectly weakened the Empire's position in Anatolia. After a severe ultimatum to Hamid Mernvli, and his supporter Berkyaryuk, war broke out in 1113 AD.





    Alexios immediately started planning an invasion of Paphlagonia and Pontus, which were Hamid Mernvli's powerbase. Along with his second born son Andronicus, who had reached the age of 16 that very year, he mustered Marmaran and Bithinian thematas, starting a quick and successful march on the Black Sea shores, backed up by his fleet. After having seized important cities such as Heraclea and Amasya, Alexios laid siege to Sinop, where Mernvli had trincered himself in the await for his eastern vassals' forces to reach him.
    After a couple of days, Alexios took contacts with exponents of the local Greek population, convincing the local orthodox community to open him the western gates of the city on the night of 16th June, 1114.



    Alexios' forces penetrated in the city through the gates and quickly seized the suburbia. When Hamid and his meagre garrison acknowledged the betrayal, street fights developed throughout the city, and led to a complete Roman victory.



    Sinop's fall, and Alexios' subsequent conquest of the Black Sea shores, quickly led to a stalemate in the conflict with the Seljuqs. Berkyaryuk, in fact, didn't yet dispose of the resources necessary for his planned invasion of Bithinia, but, at the same time, had not yet been defeated on the field. This, along with some troubles between his vassals, led Berkyaryuk to simply acknowledge Mernvli's downfall, and Sinop's switching to Alexios without any further bloodshed.



    Sinop's fall, however, proved to be a complete success to Alexios' cause. Trebisond's majorents had in fact no choice but to recognize Alexios and his heirs as their rightful rulers; and this unexpected twist of events in his eastern provinces lighted up Alexios' growing interests for the east. This interest, however, was now simply a matter of knowledge and exploration: one of Alexios' most trusted dignitaries, Velisarios Philanthropinos, even went as far as Ishafan, in Iran, where he took contacts with the Kwarezmian Shahdom. It was the first time since Rome's fall that a Roman citizen had travelled this far, and this gained Velisarios an umperishable glory and fame in the second Rome's halls and palaces.
    Such an interest for the East and his riches, however, wasn't felt in such a peaceful way in the halls and palaces of the real Rome: the Second Crusade was to be launched, and soon blood would have been spilled in the Holy Lands. And even closer home.

    Last edited by Roman Heritage; December 27, 2014 at 09:01 AM.

  13. #13
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    Chapter IV - Of Gods and Men (1115-1118 AD)


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The fall of the County of Edessa, in 1115, in the hands of the Syrian Seljuqs provoked a domino effect of incredible proportions.
    When Pope Pasquale II called Christianity once again at arms for a Holy Crusade, his call wasn't left unattented by Europe's people. Common farmers and noble knights from every corner of France, Germany, Italy and even the far lands of Iberia eagerly took up their weapons and cross to start this armed pilgrimage against the Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt, in the hopes for a better life in the Kingdom of Heaven - and, often, fleeing from their poor material lives.



    But not only the lower classes and the poor knights of Europe answered the Pope's calls. Even members from prominent families of France, Germany and Italy eagerly embraced this Holy Pilgrimage. Important nobles such as Bruno von Hohenstaufen, son of Conrad Duke of Saxony, Barbus of the rich venetian family of the De Selvo, the norman Guaimiaro Altavilla and several members of France's royal family, the Capete, eagerly embraced this Holy Pilgrimage. It seemed that the whole of Europe's military class was now marching to Costantinople, the gateway to the East and the Crusades.
    The first Crusading army that reached the Straits' City was the one led by Bruno von Hohenstaufen, who had command the leadership over a large host of swabian and saxonian crusaders; there he met the aged Basileus Alexios and cordially engaged in negotiations: Bruno accepted Alexios' terms and was allowed passage in Anatolia through the Dardanelles. Once in Anatolia, Bruno, in base to the terms of the agreement, invaded the Seljuq Sultanate and pillaged it on his way to the Holy Lands.




    In the meanwhile, news reached the Golden City about the twists of events that were happening in the steppe.



    In the russian steppe, in fact, news of the death of Vladimir, Knyaz of Kiev, had encouraged its pagan and powerful neighbour, the Kipchak Khanate, to invade its lands and alter the status quo of the region. Hungarian King Laszl I, in fact, intervened in favour of his orthodox neighbour, attacking the Kipchak's western vassals, the pechenegs.
    But Alexios, despite his alliances with both the Christian powers involved in the war, had troubles far closer to home.
    In Thrace, in fact, had arrived the second largest crusading host, mainly composed by lombards, venetians and dalmatians, and led by Barbus Selvo, a rich, ambitious and cunning venetian noble.



    Barbus openly ignored Alexios' command of using the Dardanelles to pass in Anatolia, and instead led his large and multinational host towards Costantinople. There, he started ravaging the countryside, showing little or no mercy towards the orthodox fellow Christians. After several ultimatums, Barbus openly started plotting to use his crusading host to siege, sack and rule over Costantinople in the name of Venice and Catholic Christianity. He therefore declared war to Alexios, openly backed up by the italian Seafarer Republic.
    Alexios, who was now busy in dealing with some unrest in the newly captured Pontus, lended control of the situation to his most trusted advisors, his son Ioannis and the Megas Logothethes Nikephoros Vriennios. The two had no other choice but to rally their forces and give battle before any more crusaders would sympathize with Barbus' cause and reinforce him. Trapped between Ioannis and Costantinople's walls, Barbus didn't abandon his proposal and instead accepted the battle Ioannis and Nikephoros were offering. There the Battle of Costantinople began.
    Ioannis took command of the left flank of the byzantine army, composed of mercenaries such as the Varangian Guard, his private bulgarian archer corp, magyar light cavalrymen, and regular scoutatoi troops, while Nikephoros took command over the right flank, composed of marmaran thematas and of the capital's tagmatas. Under a heavy rain, the Roman army started its march toward Barbus' men.



    After a consistent exchange of projectiles - in which only the bulgarians' skill filled the gap with the Franks' crossbows - Ioannis sent his magyar horse archers in a flanking manovre around the enemy's right wing. There they managed to disrupt and kill the greater part of the small contingent of heavy cavalry at Barbus' disposal. After a few more volleys, the two armies clashed in a storm of steel, blood and violence.



    The Varangian Guard, in particular, proved once again to be the best infantry in the Roman Army. Their double handed axes hacked and slashed through the enemy's spearmen, scattering death through their ranks.



    Thanks to the magyars' arrows, no significative cavalry force was left to stop the scholarii and Athanatoi devastating charge in the enemy's back. Barbus Selvo died under the charge of Ioannis' Athanatoi, and his death, along with the impetuos charges of the Empire's cataphracts, broke the morale of the greater part of his men.



    The day turned from a battle to a complete slaughter. Surrounded and decimated, several crusaders found death in their attempts of escaping the field. Several more, however, fell as captives in the hands of Ioannis and Nikephoros.
    At the end of the day, the ground was covered with the crusaders' dead bodies.




    Of the 10.000 crusaders that had followed Barbus Selvo in their pilgrimage, nearly 4500 found death that day, and almost half of Barbus'army was captured during or after the battle. Less than 500 escaped the field, and found safety on the venetian boats sailing near the Golden Horn.



    Ioannis, however, unexpectedly showed mercy. He released all of his 5300 captives without any ransom, under their promise of continuing their journey toward the Holy Lands by sea. They would have had to pay for any food or good supplied by the byzantine cities of Crete and Rhodos, and never more raise a weapon against the Komnenian Dinasty.


    Ioannis' victory echoed throughout Christendom, and had mixed effects on the Empire's Catholic brothers. All of them surely perceived the Empire's rinovated strenght and power, and therefore kept respecting its Roman heritage; other perceived Ioannis' actions as an act of treachery, and even some of the Empire's allies - such as the Crusader States and the Kingdom of Hungary - were shocked by this so - thought treachery.



    To recover his prestige and trustworthness in the eyes of Laszl, Ioannis, now completely acting as a Basileus de facto, sent him money and gifts, promising him help against the pecheneg threat.



    In the meanwhile, news of the Crusaders' progresses reached Alexios, who quickly returned to Costantinople. In Egypt, in fact, Guaimario of Altavilla and King Baldwin I of Jerusalem had penetrated in the fatimid dominions as far as the Nile Valley, where they had laid siege to the rich and powerful city of Al-Qahira, the Cairo.



    The adventure that could have brought the Fatimid Caliphate to bend its knees, however, miserably failed. The Fatimid Caliph was succurred by his vassals, and Baldwin I of Jerusalem found death in front of the mighty Cairo city, along with the greater part of the crusading and norman forces.
    But several more crusading armies were marching toward the Holy Lands. Bruno Von Hohenstaufen was still undefeated, as so were the french crusaders. Other italian contingents were being regrouped and rallied under venetian and genoese command. And Alexios' rule was to be contested once more.
    Last edited by Roman Heritage; December 27, 2014 at 09:04 AM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    Love it. Making me want to play some SS!
    "Suffer little children," said the controller.
    -Brave New World

  15. #15
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    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    Quote Originally Posted by vae victus View Post
    Love it. Making me want to play some SS!
    Play it! I swear, this is the most amusing and entertaining campaign I've ever been into...in the whole of my TW experience
    There's just so much action. I'm really into it...and you can't even imagine how satisfying has been to crush that venetian crusader army! It tastes like revenge.

    Btw...I'm really, really stunned my Basileus Alexios' attachment to life. I've played some more turns and he's still alive despite he's 74 (74!) years old.
    Hopefully, new chapter coming in the next days

  16. #16
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    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    Chapter V - Raiders and Usurpers (1119-1121 AD)


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    After Barbus Selvo's defeat, Ioannis had to make several promises to Laszl I in order to preserve his alliance with Costantinople. And, after all, with the crusaders' dreams of plunder and conquest redirected to the Holy Lands after the slaughter of Selvo's forces, the moment seemed propitious for a byzantine campaign against the pechenegs.



    Alexios, who was now in his seventies, was simply too old and tired to lead a campaign against a wild and ferocious enemy such as the pechenegs. He therefore completely lended military matters to his son and Symbasileus Ioannis, who didn't stay idle, and instead confirmed his father's alliances with the Kievan and the Hungarians by attacking their common enemy, Aepak of the Oghuz, leader of the pechenegs of Muntenia.



    Ioannis brought with him only Thracian thematas and his loyal Bulgarians, knowing that, with more and more crusaders approaching the Golden City, his father and his Megas Logothethes, Nikephoros, would need every resource disponible. He therefore left the tagmatas and the varangians in the capital, leaving his younger brother, Isaakios, to protect and assist their father, who was severely suffering from his old age connected diseases and illnesses. It seemed that even a giant such as Alexios could now see death and oblivion approaching.



    To the south, however, war with the Venetians didn't end after the battle of Costantinople. Near Athens, in 1120 AD, venetian admiral Alessandro Mocenigo inflicted a crushing defeat to the Greek fleet came to stop his raids and blockades against the achaian ports. This defeat, however not really decisive for the future of the war, improved the venetian people's morale, severely broken by Selvo's death and defeat.



    Alexios' attention, however, was fully dedicated to a more dangerous and deadly internal threat. Efmathios Plousiadinos, strategos of the minor thema of Edirne, had broke his alledgiange to the throne and rallied once again the ever rebellious anatolic dynatoi, leading half of his forces to Costantinople, in the hopes of seizing the city, taking advantage of Alexios' old age - the Basileus was now 73 years old - and phisical weakness to overthrow him and crown himself as Basileus ton Romaion. Alexios' rightful heirs were all too far to help their father. Andronicus was now Strategos of Sinop, and therefore wouldn't get news of the rebellion 'til it was too late; Isaakios, Strategos of Adrianopolis, would have employed too much time to rally any significative force and soccur the capital; and Ioannis, busy in the siege of the pecheneg stronghold of Targoviste, wouldn't have been able to bring his father aid in a reasonable span of time. Therefore Efmathios could wait for his anatolic subjects to complete the mustering of new forces and reach him, before crushing any possible attempts, on Ioannis, or Isaakios, or Andronicos Komnenos behalf, to recapture their father's throne.
    But Alexios wasn't the kind of man that would stay idle waiting for the headsman's axe to strike; and nevertheless was his younger son Isaakios, who, acknowledging the impossibility to muster troops in a reasonable span of time, and loyal to his brother Ioannis' command to aid and support their father at whatever price needed, left Adrianopolis with nothing else but his Athanatoi cavalry guard. The two then rallied in haste everything they could muster in time, leaving the greater part of the tagmatas to guard the capital - that would otherwise be undefended, since Ioannis had brought with him the thematas - and marched toward Efmathios, trapping him between the City, the surrounding hills and the sea.



    Efmathios willingly accepted the fight, and his troops eagerly advanced toward Alexios and Isaakios' men. Alexios, however, could still rely on the key for his victory of Balikesir, the siphonatores and their deadly Greek Fire. The usurper, suprised by the presence of these elite special corp, couldn't stop his troops before it was too late.



    Greek Fire burned several men to death and horribly sfigurated several more, weakening the usurper and his troops' morale. However, a vigorous charge of the Varangian Guard was needed to definitively break the enemy infantry's morale, thus giving Alexios and his Athanatoi the chance to engage in combat with Efmathios, who had cautiously kept away from the fight.
    Although old and weak, Alexios didn't give the command of the charge to his son, Isaakios, but instead decided to charge the usurper in first person, slaying him with the help of his best friend, a turkopole named Tatikios, who had well served him several years before, during the First Crusade, as acting commander of the byzantine contingent that accompanied the Crusaders 'til the siege of Antioch.



    Efmathios' death put an end to the fight in Europe. In the Dardanelles thema, however, there was still present a rebellious force, ignare of the usurper's death. The task of defeating them was assigned to another of Alexios' most trusted friends, Manouil Votoumitis Strategos and Doux of Nicaea. He, after a failed attempt to negotiate, easily crushed the ignare dynatoi near Abydos and put an end to their ambitions - and their lives.







    In the meanwhile, to the north, the tide of war was swinging in favour of Byzantium. After two years of challenging campaign in Muntenia, and several skirmishes against Aepak, Ioannis eventually managed to force Aepak to retreat, and sieged him iin his stronghold of Targoviste, which lied at the feet of the Eastern Carpathians.
    Targoviste was an imponent fortress, well known for its solid and impressive stone walls, built to the Hungarians in order to prevent pechenegs' raids and fallen in their hands after a disastrous defeat. Even an experienced commander, such as Ioannis, would have met serious troubles trying to capture it; on the other hand, however, Aepak and his soldiers weren't accustomed to siege warfare. The pecheneges had always been a nomad people, whose military skills could be used at best only in open ground. Furthermore, Aepak didn't dispose of a large contingent of foot soldiers; Targoviste was, for him, a mere base from where to raid with his cavalry host of light horse archers and armoured bekh archers. He therefore hoped that Targoviste's walls and towers would prove enough to weaken Ioannis' determination, and convince him to retreat.



    Ioannis' determination, however, wasn't that easy to break. He camped around the castle, hiring slav mercenaries and building siege engines. His engineers and mechanics provided him with two high siege towers, two battering rams, and a large set of ladders to approach the walls and capture the enemy's stronghold.
    The byzantines' approach to the walls was relatively easy; after short skirmishes, Ioannis' men forced the enemy infantry to abandon the walls after high casualties, leaving Ioannis' bulgarian mercenaries an elevated position from where to fire from.



    In the meanwhile, picked troops seized the gates and opened them to the rest of Ioannis' army. He led his Athanatoi through the gates, followed by a regiment of professional scoutatoi, some levy kontaratoi and a band of slav mercenaries.
    Aepak didn't remain idle, however: he led several charges in the attempt to break the enemy's formation, with the ranged support of his steppe light horsemen.
    His bekh noblemen, in particular, proved their valour in a deadly and heroic way. They charged and slaughtered the slav contingent, and would have given the enemy kontaratoi a similar end if it had not been for the scoutatoi's swift and decisive reaction. Supported by the bulgarians' fire, the scoutatoi pulled the enemy cavalrymen back, and forced them to retreat in the castle's training ground.
    There, Aepak suddenly acknowledged of what had happened during his attempts of breaking the enemy formation. In the meanwhile, in fact, Ioannis had avoided the enemy's horse archers' arrows, and instead charged them with his Athanatoi, breaking their morale and chasing them to the main square. There he had met what remained of Aepak's foot troops, and forced them to flee after a vigorous charge.
    Aepak didn't lose his courage, and instead rallied his surviving followers, and led one more heroic charge in the attempt of breaking through the enemy's rank, and perhaps in the hope of escaping the onslaught and lead what remained of his host to the Baian pechenegs.





    Under a deadly and accurate shower of bulgarians arrows, Aepak and his men desperately charged Roman scoutatoi. A large part of them, already wounded by the bulgarians' arrows, found death on the point of a scoutatoi's spear; the remaining died soon after, in a ferocious mel. It is said that Aepak was the last man that fell that day, surrounded by the dead bodies of his most loyal relatives and supporters, and not few enemies.
    Ioannis, impressed by his enemies' valour - and by the high casualties they had inflicted him - resolved on releasing his catives, and burn their deads in a pagan shrine not far away from the city, which was known to be a famous religious site for the pecheneg peoples.



    It seemed that no power could stand in the Empire's way. Yet, further menaces were rising once again.
    From both outside and inside the Empire.



    Last edited by Roman Heritage; December 28, 2014 at 08:07 AM.

  17. #17
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    Chapter VI - Quo non pectora cogis, sacra auri fames* (1122-1123 AD)

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    * "How many esecrable actions are caused by men's lust for gold", Virgil

    After seven years, still no relevant success had been gained by Christ's warriors in the Holy Lands. It seemed that the God above was in serious need for new martyrs, because of all of his willing and brave children that underwent the Holy Pilgrimage, only a few were still in life. The Crusade had met an incredible series of failures and defeats. Baldwin I of Jerusalem had gloriously lost his life under the walls of Al-Qahira, along with the greater majority of his army, and that of his ally, Guaimario of Altavilla; later on, the Norman Adventurier, graceful to have survived the onslaught, challenged God's fury and abandoned the Crusade with an handful of survivors.
    Bruno von Hohenstaufen met a similar fate: ambushed by the Fatimids near Dumyat, he lost his life and his army in a bloody and desperate attempt to crush the enemy encirclement. His fellow crusader Gaston d'Aquitaine met only a few more luck than his predecessors. He successfully defeated a large host of saracens in an heroic battle near the Red Sea, but fell under the Fatimid's arrows in an attempt to cross the Nile and siege the Cairo. Even more crusaders, however, never set foot in the Holy Lands. Thousands of them died in the hard and dangerous travel to Outremer, by the hands of the Anatolic Seljuqs and their syrian vassals. Several more met death by starvation and disease. God had not been kind to his children, by giving them such an harsh death. The difficulties and defeats met by the first Crusaders, however, didn't break Europe's commoners and lower classes' hopes of enjoying a better spiritual and material life by undertaking the Holy Pilgrimage. Neither Europe's ruling class did lose its fate and lust for the infidel's blood - and the power and prestige they could gain by warring in the Holy Lands.


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    After Worms' Concordate, Pope Pasquale and German King Henry II reached an agreement on the struggle they had long fought upon the matter of Church and State. Henry II was accorded the privilege to appoint bishops and priests with secular authority in his territories, although not with sacred authority. On the other hand, Henry had to guarantee his son and chosen heir's, Heinrich, participation to the Holy Crusade with a large number of professional and trained Imperial soldiers.
    But Prince Heinrich wasn't the only important figure that chose to take the cross. In northern Italy, new masses of pilgrims were organizing under the guide of Genoese Doge Ansaldo di Oria, and that of Venetian adventurier Cataldo Mocenigo, brother of that Alessandro Mocenigo that destroyed the byzantine fleet at Athens. The italian crusaders should have marched together, but Ansaldo and Cataldo had different ideas of the idea of Holy Pilgrimage, and the two separated. Ansaldo chose to reach Outremer by sea, taking advantage of Genoa's considerable naval power, while Cataldo led his host through Dalmatia and the Balkans, raiding and pillaging on his way to Costantinople.



    There, Alexios and his Council didn't look at him with trust. Mocenigo had been a trusted councillor and supporter of Selvo in his failed attempt to seize Costantinople, and his behaviour during the crossing of the Balkans didn't improve his reputation. He was said to have foraged his army through indiscriminated pillage of croatian, dalmatian and serbian villages, and to have lead a considerable number of raids against sacred places such as churces and monasteries to satisfy his men's lust for gold and blood. He was said to lead an horde of 14.000 adventuriers, made up of all people: lombards, tyrolese, croatians, dalmatians, serbians, and minor slav clans. His crusade soon began known as "the Unholy" one, because Pope Pasquale had severely criticized his behaviour and acts, going as far as to threaten him of excommunication. The Pope himself advised Alexios, through several letters and embassies, to not trust these "robbers with the sign of the cross on their chest, and Christian blood on their hands". Therefore, when Mocenigo reached Thrace and did not show any will to follow Alexios' orders to cross the Bosphorus through the Dardanelles strait, but instead continued in his robberies and raids, the measure was filled. Costantinople had to deal with these criminals and adventuriers, and strike with all the force necessary.



    Alexios left Costantinople with the capital's tagmatas, leaving Isaakios and Nikephoros to rule it during his absence. He camped near Adrianopolis, where he was reinforced by the region's thematas, reaching a total strenght of 10.600 men. Furthermore, when Ioannis received news of his father's intention to personally lead the army - in an extreme show of pride and moral strenght, since he had long been known to suffer from old age weakness and gout - he left Targoviste with his mounted bodyguards and reached his father after an exhausting and quick ride. There he solemnly met his father during his War Council, and was given command over the left flank of the army, for his father refused to give up the chief command. Several sources and historians report a later comment made by Ioannis about his father's undomitable will, although they might be influenced by Imperial propaganda:
    "If only a man's body wasn't doomed to decay and death, what wonderful goals could my father have accomplished, for his spirit was as strong as ever, and pride and strenght filled his eyes as he looked upon his army."Mocenigo didn't refuse the fight, and thrown away his mask by attacking the Empire's army, which he, anyway, outnumbered of a good 4000 warriors. Ioannis, remembering what proved successful against Selvo and his army, sent a battalion of byzantine horse archers to slow down the enemy advance and harass their vanguards.



    In the meanwhile, the Basileus and his son deployed their army. The right flank was composed of the Empire's professional forces: Alexios' own Athanatoi guard and a battalion of scholarii cataphracts, several regiments of scoutatoi and, following to the centre of the army, the Varangian Guard, the Siphonatores and the Spatharii thou Vasileios. Following, there were the provincial thematas, made up of levy kontaratoi and more professional and armoured akritai. Ioannis, on the extreme right, disposed of a large number of Athanatoi guards, and had hidden a regiment of scholarii to envelop the enemy army once close combat would have started. In front of them, Alexios and Ioannis deployed a large number of archers, to open gaps and disrupt the enemy formation before combat would start.



    As soon as the crusading host entered in the byzantine's range of fire, greek archers unleashed a consistent and deadly arrow fire against their catholic counterparts. Mocenigo's crossbowmen, in particular, suffered heavy losses, and didn't have the occasion to properly react until it was too late: the crusading infantry was now about to charge.



    The successes gained at Balikesir and Costantinople against the dynatoi convinced Alexios to deploy once again his veteran siphonatores. They unleashed fire and death without any mercy, burning and killing a large number of the enemy's centre's men before they could even reach the byzantine lines. A furious and vigorous charge from the elites of the byzantine centre had no troubles in breaking their already weakened morale, and forced them to rout.



    On the left flank, however, Mocenigo's men didn't meet significative opposition before the clash. Their high numbers and bravery put in serious trouble Ioannis' infantrymen, at least until the Symbasileus could unleash his secret weapon against them.



    The scholarii emerged from the trees in an overwhelming and hellish rumble of hoofs; their charge penetrated easily in the enemy's ranks, and broke their morale, turning the tide of battle in favour of the Empire. Mocenigo, as soon as was greeted of the disastrous news of the fate of his centre and right wing, decided to retreat after a timid attempt to rally his men. His retreat spoiled his men of any remaining will to fight, giving birth to a chain rout of incredible proportions.



    Ioannis and his cavalrymen immediately began chasing the enemy, leading to its complete defeat. At the end of the day, Mocenigo's army had suffered a total of 9000 deads; up to 4800 crusaders fell in the hands of Ioannis and Alexios. Only a thousand of latins safely left the battlefield.
    If the captives' fate would have been left to Alexios' will, they would all have surely met a quick and clean death; the Emperor clearly thought that the West needed to know what happens to whoever challenges the Empire. Ioannis, however, showed once again his gallantry and mercy by convincing his father to spare them and release them, earning a certain popularity among Catholic rulers, and the nickname of "the Chivalrous".



    To celebrate his 40 and more years of reign, and his uncountable victories against Bulgarians, Seljuqs, Normans, Crusaders and internal enemies, Alexios decided to found a new, impressing monastery within the walls of Costantinople. The Monastery of Christ Pantokrator, "Ruler above everything", hosted an efficient hospital, and a mausoleum dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel; furthermore, Alexios decided to give it one more purpose, as burial site for him and his descendents.
    It seemed that, with this act, the Emperor acknowledged his mortal fate, and started preparing to die. In April 1123, in fact, shortly after the inauguration of the Pantokrator, his conditions suddenly worsened, giving start to the most tumultuos, politically speaking, period of his long reign. Alexios, in fact, had a discrete number of potential heirs that could claim the throne after his eventual defeat. Ioannis had always been his favourite - and he had valiantly proved his right to inherit by serving the Empire on uncountable battlefields - and had been associated to the throne since 1100, yet his relatives still put a claim to the throne. Costantinople's throne was a jewel of such a preciousness that it was inevitable it would be envied and wished by whoever could lay a claim to it.



    The most authoritative claim was, obviously, that of Ioannis. He had battled and campaigned for two decades and a half to secure his father's control over the Empire and its former territories, had gained the Army's respect, and shown his skill in uncountable occasions. He was a too proud and capable man to let his birthright usurped by any other man, or woman.
    For a woman was the second most authoritable claimant to the throne. Anna, his older sister, had been Alexios' first born child, and saw his younger brother's claims as an attempt to spoil her of what she tought would be her birthright. She, together with her mother and former queen Irene Doukaina, hoped to convince Alexios to name as his successor his Megas Logothethes, Nikephoros Vriennios, Anna's husband.



    Other potential claimants were the other two brothers, Isaakios and Andronicus. The two couldn't hope to pose any real claim to the throne, but their roles in the Empire's politics had given them a considerable power, both militarily speaking, and politically.


    Andronicus had ruled Sinop almost independently since its capture in 1114, and enjoyed a great number of supporters between the pontic dynatoi, since he was the legitimate ruler of the Komnenoi's ancestral stronghold, Kastamonu in Paphlagonia. His family's ancestral bannermens and vassals would support his eventual claim, if needed.



    Isaakios, on the other hand, had been a key figure in the Great City's govern while his older brothers were abroad. He had at his disposal the resources of the great thema of Thracia, several supporters between his father's Council, and had already proved his skill on both military and civil matters under his father's rule.
    The first to act was Anna. She, through her mother Irene Doukaina, harassed her father about the matter of the succession, trying to persuade him to name Nikephoros as his successor. It is said that the plot troubled Alexios even in his last hoursof life, in his dying bed.


    On 13th July 1123, Basileus Alexios I of House Komnenos exhaled his last breath.
    The world - and the Empire - lost a part of his splendour that day. Soon after, bitter days were to come. The game of the throne had just begun.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    oooh, intrigue. I am looking forward to it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard of Gloucester View Post
    oooh, intrigue. I am looking forward to it!
    Yeah, I decided to spice it up a bit xD and after all, Byzantium is known for its court intrigues!
    Btw, pretty huge update coming in a matter of 15-20 minutes. It took to me a couple of hours to brainstorm and write it, so, please guys, share your opinions on it I'd like to know how does it look like. Update coming soon!

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    Default Re: KRONIKON TON BASILEION - Byzantine, Stainless Steel 6.4, AAR

    Chapter VII - A feast for Crows (1124-1128)


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The years immediately following Alexios' death are one of the balckest in the Empire's history. With the throne contested, and no central authority present, anarchy and chaos struck.
    Irene Doukaina and Anna acted swiftly, taking advantage of the absence of the other potential heirs. Soon after Alexios' death, in fact, the two women put in action their plot. Through corruption and treason, they gained the Spatharii thou Vasileios' officers' help, using them to capture and imprison all of their known politic adversaries; they, furthermore, commanded the Spatharii to capture both Ioannis and Isaakios, present in the city. The two, however, had guessed Irene and Anna's thoughts, and had left the city in a hurry on the night of 14th July, even before the Imperial funeral could be celebrated. The two fled to Adrianopolis, Isaakios' stronghold, and from there started planning the recapture of the capital.
    Anna's hold on the throne was strong, although not willingly supported by her husband Nikephoros, who was supposed to rule as new Basileus. Having been Alexios' right hand, and one of Ioannis' mentors, the old Megas Logothethes was struggling in his soul and heart to choose between his ambitious and cunning wife Anna, and his loyal, proud, and skilled pupil, Ioannis.
    To strenghten her claim to the throne, Anna didn't esitate to hire a foreign mercenary commander and his host. Happens this was Cataldo Mocenigo, who, after his bitter defeat ad Adrianopolis, had built a respectable and efficient mercenary force, with which he had fought the pechenegs under Laszl I of Hungary. As soon as Anna's emissaries reached him, Mocenigo didn't esitate to break the agreement with Laszl and take his revenge against Ioannis, ravaging his own thema of Macedonia as a personal insult and challenge. Later chronists, however, report that Anna's move was similar to that of the sheppard that lets a pack of wolves guard his sheep herd. Mocenigo's raids and pillages, in fact, spoiled Anna of the support of Macedonian and Achaian dynatoi, who refused to kneel before the "Queen of the Thiefs".

    Mocenigo, however, wasn't the only threat that enjoyed new found strenght in those days. To the north, the Cumans, when reached by news of the Empire's downfall to chaos, took arms and courage and attacked the crimaean paeninsula, Byzantium's gateway to Russia and one of the greatest trade hub of Black Sea.



    They raided and sacked with impunity the north of the paeninsula, before heading towards the byzantine colony of Caffa. They breached its gates, extermined its garrison, and enslaved its population, putting an end to the byzantine protectorate of Crimaea.



    But mounted raiders were awakening also East of Byzantium. After Sultan Berkyaryuk's death, in 1118, the Seljuq Sultanate of Rm had fallen in decay and civil war, thus stopping to be a serious threat to the Empire. In 1123, however, armenian and cappadocian amirs united under Ilyas Arslan's guide. Ilyas was a fierce and impetuos warlord, descendant of that Alp Arslan that humiliated the Empire at Manzikert. He rallied his vassals and iqta's and sieged Trebisond.
    Formerly, Trebisond was under the protection of Andronicus Komnenus, Strategos of Sinop. But with Anna on the throne, no news from his brothers, and Mocenigo raiding Macedonia and Epeiros, Andronicus saw an opportunity to seize the throne himself. He amassed his troops in Sinop, waiting for a good moment to strike in Europe, and left Trebisond to its fate.



    Local trapezuntine garrison tried its best to repel the seljuq attacks. But Ilyas' army enjoyed such an overwhelming numerical superiority that there was no chance to send it back to the Armenian mountainous lands.



    Trebisond' governor, Apollonas Doukas, died fighting in the castle's streets along with 4700 of his men. Ilyas' army, however, suffered heavy losses, between 2400 and 4000 men. Ilyas entered in the castle walking on a carpet of dead bodies.



    Andronicus then had no choice. He had to put aside his dreams of glory, and stop the mounting seljuq tide. He brought his army east, blockading the way to Sinop at the height of a bridge near river Kelkit's outlet. There, he clashed in battle with one of Ilyas' captains in an heroic attempt to stop the sejuqs' advance.



    He deployed his provincial levies in front of the bridge, along with a consistent host of archers. He had also hired regiments of armenian and turkoman mercenaries, to soften the enemy's cavalry advantage.



    Andronicus' armenians rushed to the opposite bridge extremity to establish a stronghold against the seljuqs' advance, but ultimately fell under thei arrows and swords. After the flight of the armenians, the seljuqs rushed toward the enemy kontaratoi, greeted by Andronicus' archers' fire.



    The battle lasted a couple of hours. Under overwhelming pressure, the byzantine infantry routed, giving birth to an humiliating chain rout. Andronicus and his turkomans attempted a last charge against the enemy' lines, inflicting them serious casualties, but ultimately had to retreat and flee towards Sinop in the hopes of saving the city itself.




    The battle was neither a turkish or byzantine clear victory. Andronicus had indiscutibly lost, but his heroical resistance had inflicted the enemy such an high number of casualties as to utterly crush their possibilities to successfully siege and conquer Sinop. Amir Hamza al - Mustali retreated his forces, and headed towards Trebisond to resupply and answer his Master of his failure.


    In the meanwhile, in the Empire's european holdings, Mocenigo had headed towards Epeiros and Albania. There, Ioannis' most loyal and stubborn vassal, Theodosios Opsaras, rallied local dynatoi to stop Mocenigo's indiscriminate raids. He, thanks to contribution of dynatoi of every political affiliation and siding, assembled an army that numbered up to 10.000 men. Mocenigo, whose army was of roughly the same measure, waited for reinforcements from the venetian holdings in Dalmatia, and clashed with Opsaras' forces a few miles east of Durazzo.



    Opsaras' light cavalry made an attempt to encircle the enemy formation during the first stages of the battle, but ultimately failed and suffered heavy casualties at the hands of Mocenigo himself, who dealed with them at the guide of a battalion of picked knights. In the meanwhile, the two infantry forces clashed in the centre of the plain, after a consistent exchange of projectiles in which the latin's crossbows inflicted Opsaras' men serious casualties. Mocenigo's army, made up of serbian macemen, ex-crusader spearmen, slavic mercenaries and religious fanatics, pushed back Opsaras' thematas, mostly made up of ill-equipped kontaratoi. Only Opsaras' achaian akritae showed a considerable proof of valour during the devastating melee that led to the ignominous retreat of the shattered roman infantry.



    Abandoned by the other dynatoi, severely harmed and weakened, the old and stubborn Theodosios didn't lose his cold blood and covered his army's retreat with a considerable skill in leading his remaining cavalry forces. He, in fact, along with his remaining Athanatoi and akritai, and a battalion of mercenary turkomans, inflicted the enemy serious casualties, forcing several enemy battalions to retreat, and softening a bit the losses incurred during the humiliating chasing led by Mocenigo against the fleeing byzantines. During the chasing itself, probably a couple of hour after the collapse of the Roman centre, Opsaras took the chance and caught Mocenigo and some of his knights isolated from the main army, busy in watering their horses and themselves in a nearby stream. Opsaras personally inflicted Mocenigo a brutal and violent death, beheading him with a slash of his spatha. Then, he chose to retreat, in the hopes of reforming his army and inflicting the mercenary host a serious defeat.



    The situation, however, was critical. 7000 byzantines had found death during the battle and the following chasing; among them, Opsaras' better and most trusted troops, the achaian akritai. Thanks to his actions, however, Mocenigo had lost both his life and the impressive number of 5000-6000 men. Mocenigo's second in command, Leonardo Alberighi, however, still had at its disposition up to 6000 men, which outnumbered Opsaras' surviving host by 2 to 1. Opsaras led his tired, weakened and demoralized army near the coast, in the hopes of reaching Durazzo before Leonardo could; the serbo-venetians, however, caught them by surprise near the promontory of Dyrrachium, cutting them any path to retreat.



    It is said that, often, that the man who has nothing to lose it's the most dangerous of all. This proved true at the Yarmuk, where the desperate arabians managed to inflict Basileus Eraclius' forces an incredible defeat, and more recently again at Jerusalem, where the ill-equipped, starved, and outnumbered Crusaders surprisingly breached and conquered the Holy City's walls. This was the case, for Opsaras' men, filled with desperation and a stubborn will to live, managed to defeat Leonardo Alberighi and his forces, vanquishing any threat to the western flank of the Komnenos brothers.
    Unluckily, we have no single source upon the battle's development; Opsaras died soon after for the battle, 'cause of the scars and injuries reported in the fight, and his surviving soldiers are said to have been freed up of their military service and left free to roam wherever they wanted. It is said that none of them ever took a weapon again in his hands, and that the only source historians needed to write about the two battles were carved in the thousand deads' souls and hearts. It was both a dark and splendid day for the Empire.



    In the meanwhile, in Thrace, it was time for revenge. While Isaakios was busy in mustering new troops in Adrianopolis, Ioannis had headed north, where, in Muntenia, his loyal veterans willingly posed themselves under his command. Among the muntenian thematas, Ioannis found his fearsome and loyal magyars and bulgarians, which proved in his successful battles against Anna's generals, at Odessos and under the walls of Adrianopolis itself. He furthermore gained Laszl I's support after the two met during Laszl's annexation of the Baian pechenegs. Strenghtened by magyar and bulgarian contingents, and by Adrianopolis' thracian thematas, Isaakios and Ioannis marched towards Costantinople, where Anna's last days of reign ended in chaos and anarchy. When Ioannis' vanguards approached the city, local population, knowing him for his chivalry, authority, bravery and skill, started a series of tumults and riots in the City's districts. To silence the rebellious people's claims, Anna sent the Spatharii and the Varangian Guard to capture and treason the riot's leaders. However, the Varangian Guard, which in the long years of campaign under Alexios had had the chance to appreciate the Symbasileus' strenght and charism, willingly sided with the people, opening the gates to the Komnenos brothers and letting them enter the Great City with their army in what seemed a glorious parade. Ioannis openly forgived the Varangians for their ambiguous behavior, taking them under his service without any single man was punished or exiled, apart from their officers. He, however, didn't forgive the Spatharii, who chosed to side with Anna even in the last hours of her reign. The wannabe empress entrenched herself in the Bukoleon palace, trusting in the Spatharii for the defense of herself and of her husband, Basileus Nikephoros IV Vrennios. He, however, avoided the Spatharii's control, and openly met Ioannis in front of the Hagia Sophia Cathedral, and of the capital's population, to surrender himself and his wife. Historians claim that when Anna acknowledged of his husband's surrender, she would have exclaimed:

    "...that nature had mistaken the two sexes and had endowed Bryennius with the soul of a woman." *


    *Real citation from Niceta Choniates' chronicles about the failure of Anna's real life attempt to usurp the throne

    Ioannis showed once again his mercy. He spared his sister and her husband's life, putting an end to their public life: Anna was sent to the convent of Kecharitomene, where she took the guide of the local hospital and school; his husband, Megas Logothethes and Eidikios Nikephoros, was spoiled of his titles and sent in exile in Paphlagonia, where Andronicus, soon after his defeat at the Kelkit, had made act of submission in exchange for reinforcements. Nikephoros and his son Iustinos were sent there with two companies of Ioannis' veteran scoutatoi, and guarded upon both day and night during the travel by sea. Vriennios' holdings in Thrace and his titles of Megas Logothethes and Eidikios were handled to Isaakios, who this way saw his political power greatly increased. Ioannis forgave even members of Anna's Council, such as her Protoseacres Eraclius Iagaris and her Megas Domestikos Efstathios Lampinos, sent to the anatolic border fortress of Isparta to regain their Emperor's trust by defending it against the seljuqs. Ioannis, however, didn't forgive the Spatharii thou Vasileios' officers, who had chosen to side with Anna even in the last hours of her agonizing reign. They were all stripped of their titles, holdings and incomes and sent in exile in Georgia and Crimaea. On Christmas' night, 1128 AD, after four years of civil war and interreign, Ioannis was crowned in Hagia Sophia as Ioannis II Kalos of House Komnenos, rightful Basileus ton Romaion.





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