Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stu Plays Civ: Britain, 2 AD - 700 AD

(This is a continuation of the game I started in this thread. Also, holy traffic stats, Batman! I posted a link to that post on Reddit and my blog's blown up ever since. Like, my traffic has grown tenfold. So hi, new readers! If you like the stuff I write, you might be interested in my webcomic or my book. Anyway, let's get on with the Civvy business.)

The Chronicles of the Kings of Britain, Volume II

From the reign of Boudicca II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Britain, Ireland and Iceland (27 AD - 58 AD)

Our Jewish inhabitants of Abona have been noting with interest the latest of the would-be messiahs in their homeland, the Eastern Roman province of Judaea. This Jesus of Nazareth has split from the earlier messiahs, in that he appears uninterested in revolt against the Roman or Hasmonean rulers in Jerusalem. At the behest of interested Jews in my court, I dispatched an envoy from the Second Fleet out of Tingis. The envoy, a Briticized Greek called Andrew of Syracuse, arrived in Jerusalem only in time to witness an unprecedented inhumanity - the crucifixion of this peaceful man. He was in the city during the death and purported resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, and his purported ascension to Heaven.

Upon returning to the Second Fleet and reporting what he witnessed to the admiral, the whole fleet marvelled and accepted this new variant of the Jewish faith as their own. Continuing on to Londinium, Andrew of Syracuse preached before my throne, and we admit we were and are skeptical. However, we accepted his resignation from the Royal Navy, which he tendered of his own free will, that he might spread this new faith in our islands. We granted him official protection for this new "Christian" faith.

The druids are upset, to put it mildly. The people had been souring on them for a while; the philosophers at our court and among the people had been denouncing human sacrifice as immoral. The Jews hadn't upset them previously; as a separate people who largely kept to themselves in one city of the United Kingdom, they presented little challenge to the druidic order. But now, this Christianity is spreading among my Gentile subjects, taking worshippers away from the druids. And not just here in Britain, but across the continent of Europe. Rome, both East and West, have ceased their official delegations to Stonehenge on Beltane. The Suebi, the Vascones and the Franks are sending reduced delegations as Christianity spreads among them.

We are officially proud pagans. We will continue to uphold it, but tolerate this Christianity, as we tolerate Judaism. But I, myself, am unsure of the truth of this new faith. Honestly, I am unsure of the truth of any faith; if there were gods, one would think they would make themselves a bit more obvious to mortals, and if they were good they would make our lot a better one. So insofar as we consider the question of religion, we must consider it in the light of the benefit it accrues to our realm.

Britain has been the beating heart of Europe's worship since the days of our ancestor Stuart IV. From far and wide, our neighbors have made pilgrimage to the standing stones of Dun Sarum to do homage to the gods. Britain, the green and pleasant land upon which the gods themselves smile, has been greatly empowered thereby. The Gauls granted us full fishing rights in the Channel as a gift to the gods. The nations of Europe opened their borders to our emissaries.

And with the arrival of this Christianity, that is all jeopardized.

We cannot turn back the religious inclinations of other countries any more than we can turn back the tide. However, if we are savvy and cunning, we can channel the tide to our own ends.

To this end, we have ordered the construction of a great Christian chapel in Dun Eidyn, far away from the standing stones and the druidic hierarchy. We have, under the guise of a jobs program, ordered 90% Crown subsidies for any project that employs over 1000 British stonecutters year-round. Such projects must meet with royal approval before funding is released, of course. And if the only movement that can get enough money to employ 100 stonecutters year-round is this new Christian one, well, that's not our fault.

These Christians are meeting toleration in some parts of Europe, persecution in others. But the widespread vigor of this religion leads me to conclude that one day or another, it will be the faith of all Europe, and probably the established faith too. That means, if we wish to retain our religious leadership of the Continent, we must act now. The druidic hierarchy can't and shouldn't be unceremoniously dumped. We plan on accepting Christian baptism upon our deathbed, and already we have ordered a Christian education for our heirs. The conversion of the populace will probably continue, and their abandonment of the druids will also continue. The druidic faith will die out slowly, and as it dies out there will be more space for us to move aggressively to establish the Christian faith before any other European power does. If we can turn Din Eidyn into the center of the Christian world, and establish its bishop above even the bishop of Rome, then we will guarantee British primacy for as long as the Christian faith is observed in Europe.

From the reigns of Malcolm VI, Robert II, Ian IV and Malcolm VII, Kings of the United Kingdom of Britain, Ireland and Iceland (131 AD - 287 AD)

In 135 AD, the Rus Khaganate declared war on us. This had been a burgeoning threat, as the envoys from Novgorod have demanded tribute in recent times. They have always been rebuffed (the Khaganate is far away, they have no ships, we have no colonies near them) and with the ascension of Igor the Mad as Khagan, our last refusal to pay tribute, ten years ago, was taken as a personal affront. Personal pride overcame geopolitical reality, and the Khaganate is now at war with our realms.

This is unfolding in an atmosphere of great upheaval. The emperors of the two Romes have joined with the Huns of the Asian steppe to destroy the Suebi. The Eastern Romans conquered the Suebi capital, built in the birls of the river Sprewa. Roman navies are appearing off of Scania, loaded with soldiers to conquer the Suebi subject kings there. The Suebi king, Ballomar, has taken refuge with his court in the city of Agnafit in Scania, from where he continues to direct resistance.

We are allied to the Eastern Romans, ever since the days of Malcolm IV, when we were able to trigger a civil war in the Empire. However, when they asked us to join the attack in the Suebi, we declined. They are (or rather were) a strong counterbalance to the Romans, as they continually warred against their Gaullic tributaries, and they have traded with us since time immemorial. We were able to parley this goodwill into permission for our soldiers to move across the Suebic realms to attack the Khaganate.

Though the Rus are far away, we feel that this unwarranted declaration of war must be met with force. The British Isles are not a large kingdom, while the other powers control vast lands. Therefore, we must fight bitterly and win at all costs.

In 149 AD, a peace party in Parliament attempted to overthrow us, and briefly took control of much of the countryside of southeastern Britain. The civil war was quick, and was swiftly crushed after we invited some Angle and Saxon mercenaries to join my cause in exchange for the rebels' lands. The mercenaries' captains have been granted estates and titles of nobility in return for their service, and the populace have started referring to their holdings as "Angle-land," and their language is beginning to catch on in the areas they hold. But to prevent such a recurrence of rebellion, we have been anxious to centralise the bureaucracy in Londinium.

Africa is the newest front in Khagan Igor's War, fought in 210 AD, long after his death. A column of Russian soldiers was permitted to cross through Eastern Roman and Egyptian lands, probably because we did not join in the war against the Suebi. They were not expected in Tingis, but we fought hard and the Battle of Tingis ended with a British victory.

However, it could have easily turned otherwise, and our African colonies remain vulnerable to overland attack. Had they marched south to Cape Town, we would not have been able to defeat them. So we have appealed to the Emperor of Western Rome to join us in our war against the Khaganate. As inducements, we taught them how to make compasses and we sent our finest musicians to the Roman court, and we promised them the great city of Novgorod.

In 225 AD, Novgorod fell. The 6th Regiment of Foot paraded through the defeated town as the Prince of the Rus fled to Moscow.

We pressed the attack to Moscow afterwards. However, as the people were getting restless, and the costs of the war were mounting (and the booty pillaged from the Khaganate's countryside only partially made up for it), we decided to grant the Khaganate peace in 285 AD, for the price of 280 gold after we had reduced the defenses of Moscow almost to oblivion. The threat of conquering their new capital was enough to end the threat from them. In the meanwhile, they will be fighting the Western Romans and the Tartary Huns, who have smelled blood and declared war.

From the reign of Malcolm X, king of the United Kingdom of Britain, Ireland and Iceland (322 AD - 366 AD)

Our greatest hope for peace lies in the imbalance of forces on the European continent. Our victorious Russian Expeditionary Forces have been trapped on the continent, due to the refusal of the Frankish king Clovis to permit our transit through his territory. The Franks have succeeded where the Suebi failed; conquering what used to be Roman Gaul, as well as the Danemarch and Brandenburg. The city of Berlin overlooks the region where once the Suebi ruled; we believe it would be to our advantage to restore the Swabian kings to their throne here.

Also, the cutting off of our African colonies to trade with the home isles by Aquitanian pirates is an intolerable situation that must be remedied forthwith. They sail out of the Frankish port of Bordeaux, and the Frankish kings grant them permission to raid our shipping. Not least, but certainly important, their king has accepted Judaism, standing against his Christian subjects. For all of these reasons, war with the Franks is necessary, and was declared in 325 AD. Outright conquest is not our goal, but they must be brought to heel.

And indeed they were. The Franks surrendered and paid tribute in 355 AD, after only 30 years of war. Berlin fell almost immediately, and Copenhagen soon after. Having reunited the king of the Suebi with his ancestral throne, we then analyzed our chances of holding onto Copenhagen in the long term. With an isolated position on the continent, between two major powers (the Franks and the Scandinavians), it would be difficult indeed to hold. So we handed it over to the Suebi, who by all accounts appear to be crafting a greater federation for the Germanic-speaking peoples.

From the reign of Boudicca VIII, Queen of the United Kingdom of Britain, Ireland and Iceland (402 AD - 434 AD)

The completion of the Sistine Chapel by our predecessors has established our isles as a center of European Christianity. The Apostolic See of St. Andrew in Edinburgh gives us a say in the affairs of the Church equal to that of the bishops of Rome and Constantinople. We have always been a spiritual island, and in the Christian age this has not been diminished one whit.

We have also commissioned HMS Enterprise in Tangiers, the first of a new class of ship dubbed "caravels." With her ingenious design, she can venture out into the Ocean Sea safely. The calculations of mathematicians since the days of Pericles have deduced the Earth must be a ball, and we intend for the Enterprise to prove it true. As she sails, our shipwrights are planning designs for ever bigger, swifter, and more seaworthy ships. With the pulling back of British forces from the European continent, we intend for naval supremacy to be the guarantor of our islands' defense.

We are pleased to report the discovery of the long-suspected island of Brazil in the Ocean Sea, as of 425 AD. The natives appear to be hostile, but as industrious as their arms are weak. Reports have been sent back by one of the caravels accompanying the flotilla led by HMS Enterprise, and we are modifying our ship designs to land a large force in Brazil and claim it for Britain.

The Russian War has taught us the necessity of a large empire behind us, and the Frankish War has taught us the futility of seeking it in Europe. The discovery of Brazil has given us a new option - an overseas British Empire.

From the reign of Cynric, King of the British Empire (527 AD - 563 AD)

Well-trained British macemen stormed the citadels of the savages at the mouth of the Amazon River. The victory being won on Christmas Day in the year of our Lord 530, the Portuguese-born admiral of the Sixth Fleet named it after the town of Bethlehem, or "Belem" in the Portuguese tongue.

An intricate society is in existence all up and down the Brazilian coast. We will take those cities useful to us, and possibly trade away others if we feel it in our interest. We will raise an army in the home isles to deploy here; fighting the natives shouldn't require our best soldiers.

We have also made contact with the Triple Alliance and the Mississippian Confederacy, two large nations that live on a continent to the north of Brazil. They are perennial enemies, but we have signed treaties with them both.

From the reign of Ceawlin, King of the British Empire (563 AD - 601 AD)

The empire continues its growth and development.

Upon the ascension of my father, the lands of the southeast were opened to greater immigration from the Continent, that our empire might be safer from harm. I invited the blood kin of my grandmother, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, to settle in Angleland here. I granted them estates in marginal land, that they might make it productive, and serfs to help them. We are rapidly adopting a caste system, like our feudal neighbors around us.

I have also adopted an expressly mercantilistic policy in our trade. We have closed our ports to all but the most crucial trading, in order to build up domestic and colonial industry, and to have sufficient gold on hand to finance any new wars.

We have cultivated learning and knowledge in our land. A side effect of this is that our people have come to embrace pacifism. This is unfortunate, as it makes war more expensive, but ultimately the benefits of an educated populace with many brilliant thinkers outweighs whatever minor effects this may have on our military. I trust the British Army to prevail in any war, despite this.

Lastly, we have discovered a nation similar to our own, on the far side of Asia. Like Britain, Cipangu is an island nation lying off the far coast of a great continent, in splendid isolation from the warrings of her neighbors. Like us, they seem interested in a mercantilistic policy, and largely seek to be left alone. For the moment, we wish them only goodwill.

The fight for the mouth of the Amazon largely won, I have dispatched the bulk of the British Army to the Cape of Good Hope. The Ptolemaic Dynasty has gone on a settlement spree that has taken them to the southernmost reaches of Africa. This mighty empire on the edge of our domains is a troublesome one, and prevents British South Africa from becoming a strong and mighty colony in its own right. Therefore, I have resolved to wage war on the Ptolemies, possibly all the way up to the mouth of the Nile, should it prove necessary. It will likely be one of the last acts of my reign, but I declared war on them in 600 AD, and we are marching towards Ptolemaic South Africa.

From the reign of Centwine, King of the British Empire (676 AD - 702 AD)

The Ptolemy War has concluded. The Umayyad Caliphate invaded Ptolemaic Egypt from the northeast as we attacked from the south and the northwest, and their kingdom was overthrown. The Umayyads follow a new faith, called Islam, and we agreed through entreaties with their main general, Abdullah ibn Zubayr, to divide up the lands of the Ptolemies between us. We sent the Army of Tangiers east, and it captured the Greek town of Cyrene, which we handed over to the Western Romans, as we had no desire to rule it ourselves. In South Africa, we conquered Ptolemaic lands south of the Orange and Limpopo Rivers. We might have marched on, but the exhaustion of our troops and our treasury insisted otherwise.

As it happened, this decision was a fortuity that spared us involvement in a very bloody business - the Muslim Civil War. After ibn Zubayr made this agreement with us, it evidently triggered a civil war in the Umayyad Caliphate, for it is an article of faith among these "Muslims" not to seek allies among Christians. (It may have also been a pretext by Yazid, the leader of the Marwanid Umayyads.) In the course of this civil war, ibn Zubayr's troops, which were mostly in the jungles of Africa fighting the remnants of the Ptolemies, was unable to defend his rear, so he made a pact with another Christian power - the Eastern Roman Empire - to defend his rear in Egypt against the Marwanid branch of the Umayyads, based out of Syria and Arabia.

The Eastern Romans not only defended his rear, but marched on the Hijaz, taking Mecca and Medina outright. Not to be outdone, Sassanid Persia, which had been the subject of war by the Umayyads previously, conquered Baghdad. In the face of the collapse of his power, Yazid made peace with the Romans, the Persians and ibn Zubayr, and he established his caliphate, such as it was, at Aden. ibn Zubayr set up a rival caliphate, building a new capital outside of Memphis called Cairo, which in the Arabic tongue means "victory," to commemorate his great victories.

Before the war was over for us, though, the Ptolemies did one last thing. Cleopatra XVI, departing Alexandria in haste as ibn Zubayr's forces marched on it, landed in Constantinople and, wedding Justinian II there, promised her lands to him if he would but help her regain them. The Byzantines, allied with ibn Zubayr, chose instead to attack us. He seeks to add Tangiers and South Africa to his domains. A Byzantine colony has been established in the island of Madagascar, with the seat of the local administration in the native city of Antananarivo. If he were to gain South Africa as well, this would be an impressive colonial empire in its own right, capable of its own defense, and also undoubtedly capable of pressing on the Zubayyid southern flank while Byzantine cataphracts sweep into Egypt from Jerusalem.

It is clear that this is merely the first stage in a plot to capture the whole of the old Ptolemaic domains. It is also clear that we must stand fast against the designs of Justinian II, and inflict pain upon him. If at all possible, we must also take Jerusalem and Mecca, and probably also Madagascar, in order to permanently frustrate these Byzantine designs.

But first, we must get allies. In 685 AD, the same year that our forces reached the Limpopo River, we made a tripartite pact with the Kievan Rus and the Western Roman Empire against Justinian II. This renders nearly the whole of his empire as a battle front - the Russians will strike the Black Sea provinces, while the Western Romans will strike at Dacia, Bulgaria and Greece.

In 700 AD, we conquered Madagascar. The First and Third Regiments of Foot quickly dispatched the tiny colonial garrison there. We've mobilized the Second Fleet to ship them, and the other Regiments of Foot that distinguished themselves in the South African theatre, to Arabia. We have cut a deal with the Umayyad Caliphate, which has learned out of necessity the fine art of allying with Christians, that will allow our forces to march overland through their domains in order to capture Mecca and Jerusalem. In exchange for this assistance, we will be permitted to establish a colony and an army at Jiddah, Mecca's port, and will also be permitted to annex everything north of Medina. Mecca and Medina proper, and the towns between them, will be given as a gift to a relative of Yazid I, which he will rule as a nominally-independent British protectorate. In this manner, our Christian empire can present itself as the liberator of Islam, as well as establishing control over our own holy city of Jerusalem.

In the almost 700 years since St. Andrew of Syracuse sailed and brought Christianity to Britain, we have established ourselves as a major power upon three continents, we have discovered every major power of the world, built the largest, strongest navy in history, and faced down three of the largest empires in history - winning against two of them, and we hope to prevail against the third as well.


  1. But wasn't feudalism taken on because the common people needed protection during a time of barbarism? Would this England need that, or keep to its own ways?

    Since the Romans never took over Egypt, did Cleopatra live much longer, and who did she marry?

    Are the Byzantines Christian? Did Constantine have the power to influence the religion of the people? How will their not being the powerful Eastern Roman Empire, affect the patriarchates, will Rome consider itself the head of the church, and if not, will there ever be a split?

  2. I'm trying to fit what happened in the game into a historical context. That means I have to sometimes stretch details to make them resemble reality.

    Feudalism wasn't simply a matter of physical protection, but also economic protection. In exchange for being semi-owned by a rich guy, the rich guy made sure you had enough to live. It developed essentially from capitalism in times where the richest were already very powerful and the poor weren't very powerful. The poor would have to sell their land to the rich, and then they'd eventually have to take out debts, and then feudalism was essentially the entrenching of these debts beyond just mere economic ones into a part of the legal structure, and the peasantry was an extension of the landed estates of the rich.

    My excuse for feudalism was also my excuse for how a Celtic culture would end up adopting a Germanic tongue and a Germanic name for part of its country, and an excuse for a revolution I needed to happen when I changed civics to Bureaucracy. The King needed to bring in Angles, Saxons and Jutes to put down the rebellion, and then to pay them he gave them the estates of the nobles who opposed him, and the common people who had fought in their armies.

    All of the European powers but France have adopted the Christian religion. "Eastern Rome" and the "Byzantines" are basically what I've called the Greek Empire, as I change the name of the empire to reflect who was living in the area at the time. Sometime around the 1450s, if Islam has spread significantly in the Greek Empire, I'll probably RP a Turkish invasion that obviously didn't happen ingame, and the Greek Empire will be called the Ottoman Empire ingame.

    Because in this game, Roman power was a whole lot more indirect, the Roman Empire will have never overextended itself, and will probably never be considered to have fallen, and will endure into the modern era in some form.

    As for the governance of the church, all I've really said is that since the Sistine Chapel was built in Edinburgh, there's three major centers of the church. For the purposes of the game, I'm imagining the British church to be akin to the Celtic Church that was semi-independent of Rome. It was established by St. Andrew (a different St. Andrew I made up, but as a St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, this way that could continue to be the case.) But in this universe, the Celtic Church was never truly subordinated to Rome, but because of British political power was allowed to remain its own thing, albeit a part of the wider Christian Church, and a part that sent emissaries to the seven Ecumenical Councils.

    The Great Schism will be roleplayed, and depending on whether Rome or Greece (or technically, whoever controls the cities of Rome and Constantinople in 1054 AD) are closer to Britain diplomatically at the time, the British Church will side with that power. I've been at war with both, but currently I'm at war with Greece. Unless Greece ends up being an ally in a later war, or the Romans attack me, the British church will probably become the Celtic Catholic Church after 1054.

    After the Reformation, depending on whether I'm closer diplomatically to Greece or Germany, the British church will either take on the name of the Anglican Church or the Celtic Orthodox Church.