- −10% Advisor cost
- +3 Tolerance of the true faith
- −15% Mercenary maintenance
- +10% National manpower modifier
- +5% Goods produced modifier
- +10% National tax modifier
- −10% Stability cost modifier
- +10% Global trade power
- +5% Discipline
- +3% Missionary Strength
- +1 Yearly prestige
In April 1204, guided by the vengeful spirit of the Venetians, the members of the Fourth Crusade defied the command of Pope Innocent III and turned their violence towards the Byzantine Empire which had promised them safe passage. The Crusaders ravaged the city of Constantinople two times over, reducing the once glorious city to little more than ash and rubble, and reducing the Empire to little more still. Although the House of Palaiolgos was able to restore much of what was lost, countless successor states such as the Theme of Epirus and Naxos have managed to evade reintegration with the Empire. The chaos created by the fall of the Byzantine Empire has given rise to the Ottoman Turks who now situate themselves on the Byzantine border with the ambition to claim Constantinople, the City of World’s Desire, for themselves.
In 1444, Byzantium finds itself surrounded by heretics and heathens on all sides; with many of their old subjects now bending the knee to the Venetian Doge who sparked the end of their empire, and many others now firmly under the control of the Ottomans. Powers in both the West and East believe that the age of Byzantium is long since over, but Basilius Ioannes VIII Palaiolgos remains confident that the Purple Phoenix shall rise once again and reclaim not just Byzantium, but the Roman Empire itself!
Byzantium is what remains of the Eastern Roman Empire, and along with Trebizond and Theodoro, the last remnants of the once mighty Roman Empire. Starting with only Constantinople and three provinces in Southern Greece, as well as Athens as a vassal, its rebirth begins under the shadow of the Ottomans. It starts with the fabled city of Constantinople, once one of the largest and richest metropolises in the world, and as they reconquer the long-lost cities of the Empire, the capital will swell to even greater richness and value too, capable of rivaling its old prosperity.
- 1 Missions
- 2 Events
- 3 Reformation
- 4 Decisions
- 5 Strategy
- 6 Achievements
- Main article: Byzantine missions
Byzantium's missions are focused around reconquering the former territories of the Empire (including Italy and thus Rome), as well as a special mission to restore the Orthodox Pentarchy by converting all five major Christian cities (Constantinople, Antioch, Rome, Jerusalem, and Alexandria) to the Orthodox faith, which, upon completion, disables the Curia mechanics.
- Main article: Purple Phoenix events
Byzantine events revolve around the reconquest of key cities and regions in the empire. Others focus on the influence the Byzantine court had over the emperor, which can significantly boost or reduce Byzantium's monarch points.
Byzantium can be restored by Orthodox countries with Greek or Pontic primary culture and by Montferrat if they have Palaiologos dynasty and have completed all of their national ideas.
Restore the Byzantine Empire
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The glorious Byzantine Empire is gone, but as long as there are Greeks in Constantinople, there is hope of resurrection. We can take its place in spirit, but we cannot take its name unless we prove worthy...
If the country is AI-controlled then:
If Constantinople (151) is part of the HRE, but its owner is not a member then:
- Main article: Purple Phoenix decisions
Byzantine decisions revolve around the reconquest of key cities and regions in the empire.
Claiming Epirus back
To the north of you there is a two province Crusader state of Epirus, and it has one of your cores, Arta. It's beneficial to attack it as soon as possible, especially if you can do this before they have an ally.
Interestingly, Epirus is only occasionally available as a rival in November 1444, but usually becomes available as a rival after the monthly tick in December 1444. So if you set only 2 rivals in November, you can add them as a rival in December before declaring war, and go over 50 Power Projection by Humiliating them in the peace deal in addition to taking back Arta.
Preparing for war with the Ottomans
In the beginning of the game, you need to acquire the right amount of allies that will make the Ottomans attack you, but will allow you to beat them in battle if you are careful enough. A useful strategy is to have an ally to the west of the Ottomans and to the east of the Ottomans. Serbia will often start as friendly, so ally them first while keeping an eye out for which rivals they have chosen. Getting Albania should be a priority because of their 3-star general, but they have a tendency to rival Serbia. Next, ally Wallachia, Herzegovina, Bosnia - practically any who is willing to ally you in the west. In the east, gauge whether the Karamans want to ally you - though since you are weak and of another faith this might be tricky. Instead ally Trebizond as they have a level 3 fort that will be time-consuming for the Ottomans to siege down. Circassia or Imereti are also options which can divert the Ottomans' troops from Greece to Anatolia. Creating a royal wedding with Imereti can be beneficial, as their leader has no successor in the beginning and you will have a chance to get a PU junior partner in the early game. Unfortunately, they are not that useful when battling the Ottomans. It is unlikely that any strong powers will want to ally you, improving relations with them can therefore be a waste of time - instead focus on getting many smaller allies. As such, going over your diplomatic relation limit should not be a concern in the early game. Your network of somewhat small powers should be able to slightly outnumber the Ottomans. Next to being diplomatically active, push your military strength, and give your king a generalship, if he doesn't have any useful skills. Your successor is better than your king, and will allow you to develop faster in later phases. Pull your forces to Athens and set up a spy network in the Ottoman capital and wait for the Ottomans to attack you, as soon as you have acquired 3 allies positioned in the east and west. An option for the first idea group is defensive ideas, as it will give you benefits early on in the many wars you will go through, and later will reduce fort maintenance, but you should pay attention to staying up to date, and preferably a bit a head to time in military tech. Taking Defensive ideas is therefor debatable.
War against the Ottomans
As soon as the Ottomans declare war, move your troops towards the closest of your western allies, which will allow them to attach to your army. Make sure that allies can attach themselves to your main force. The Ottomans will be focused on occupying Constantinople, and will be reluctant to abandon the siege. This might allow you to pick the battles against their second army. Be careful not to go into unnecessary battles with the Ottomans as they have strong morale, higher tactics and discipline. If allowed they can, and will stack wipe most smaller stacks - it is therefor crucial to combine your forces with your allies. If at all possible, keep them from taking over Constantinople, the level 3 fort should be manned at all times and should hold out for quite some time, which might allow you to take over other forts. The fort in Gallipoli and Optimatoi will prevent you from moving into Anatolia, but that is not of any concern as the Greek part is what you should focus on. If all works well, you'll have lots of territory occupied in the west, most importantly their capital and a war score of 20-40 %. This would be the moment to bargain for peace with the Ottomans and retake some of your cores. Taking their capital is often expensive, and not particularly important as having it in Edirne allows you to easily occupy it in future wars. The most important province is Gallipoli which controls the strait crossing. With it under your control you can blockade the straits to keep the Ottomans out of Europe. You can take the other provinces as you please. While it is tempting to draw out the war, this should be avoided, it is difficult to spur revolts in the Ottomans, and you run the risk of your allies creating white peace. When you are at this level, your navy should be stronger than the Ottoman navy, and you will easily beat them step by step. During the course of time the Ottomans will also be weakened by war with their neighboring Nations especially with the Mamluks who are poised to strike after the initial buffer states has been cleared.
Between the Ottoman wars
Keep an eye out for Serbia, Venice, Moldavia, and Hungary. After the first Ottoman war you should have retaken Epirus, allowing you to generate a claim on their mainland. If you are lucky, Venice will try to attack Serbia to take Zeta as well. If Serbia isn't your ally, attack them as well and vassalise them as soon as their war with Venice has stopped. If they are your ally, you should be able to beat the Venetians with Bosnia and Serbia as your ally in the war. This will allow you to gain some land of the Venetians or vassalise Serbia. If you are really lucky, Moldavia will be allied with Serbia in the war against Serbia. You can easily beat them with the Wallachian forces and take two of their provinces neighbouring Wallachia. This will be important in the future. As your goal should be a vassalisation of Wallachia. There will come a moment where they will break their alliance with you and attack you to get some of the formerly Moldavian land. Use this war to vassalise them. By that time, you should be strong enough to get Hungary as a new ally, make sure you annex Athens in the meantime, and that you still have an ally in the east of the Ottomans. When Karaman is gone, Georgia will usually do the trick. You shouldn't care about having one diplomatic relationship too much.
It will take several wars to cut down the Ottomans and the first two should be defensive as it allows you to call in all your allies. While doing so, keep an eye on Poland and Lithuania who might form the Commonwealth and also on Hungary who, if they stay independent, can be a deadly threat to you as you expand Northwards. If either prepares for war against any of your allies, immediately break that alliance as you will often be their only ally and you cannot afford a costly war that mostly can't be won. Keeping the Ottomans as a makeshift buffer in the upper parts of Bulgaria can for a time shield you from their aggressions. However, the Commonwealth can through missions get permanent claims on Bulgaria which can make it tricky to keep them at bay. Muscovy will soon emerge as a nation that is quite fond of you and willing to ally itself with you which can keep your northern enemies at bay.
Venice too can prove a threat. You should be able to beat them on the land, but be mindful of their navy which is much stronger than yours. After you've secured most, if not all of Greece and Bulgaria you can expand pretty much towards any direction and the hardest part of surviving the Ottomans is finished. Your next mission should be to finish off the Ottomans, preferably before the Mamluks takes too much of their lands. The Mamluks can sometimes be allied, and it can be beneficial to do so if either of the before-mentioned western powers are aggressive towards you. Otherwise, complete the missions which will grant you continuous permanent claims throughout Anatolia and the Levant. You should at this point be a strong power and maybe even a great power and you can look towards Southern Italy from here.
Albania calls for aid
This one requires some luck, as it relies on the Ottomans declaring war on Albania before Byzantium.
Albania starts out guaranteed by Venice, ensuring that the inevitable war with the Ottomans will turn into a war between the two powers. Improve relations with the Albanians, but do not ally with them yet, as this may deter the Ottomans from declaring war on Albania. Once the Ottomans try to conquer Albania, ally with them (they will be more willing to do this than before, but improving relations makes it easier) and begin sieging down Ottoman provinces on the Balkans. The Ottoman navy is close to the Venetian in size, but not large enough to beat a combined Venetian, Naxiote, Albanian, Athenian, and Byzantine fleet. Navy supremacy must be attained in order to ensure that the war goes well and to beat the Ottomans in the future. Station some of the Byzantine navy (mostly galleys) to control the Hellespont and Bosporus, while sending a token force to patrol the Adriatic.
From there, build up the Byzantine army and navy, ensuring that the Ottomans never can attain naval supremacy. Ally with other powers with large enough navies and armies capable of helping you against the Ottomans, such as the Mamluks. When possible, declare war on the Ottomans for the Balkan claims while their army is in Anatolia. With a larger Byzantine navy, the Ottomans cannot cross to Europe to fight or retake lost territory, meaning that Byzantium and its allies are free to take pieces of the Balkans at their leisure. When possible, do not engage the Ottoman army in a fight. Their army is massive and exceptional (particularly with Janissaries), and any engagement with them can only cost Byzantium manpower and warscore. Eventually, Byzantium will be big enough to ally with the Mamluks in order to crush the Ottomans from both sides, and this can be used to reclaim territory on either side of the Sea of Marmara. Keep relations high with allies for as long as possible, and eventually, the Ottomans will be whittled down to the point where you can easily take them one-on-one.
(Note: Allying with Karaman is risky, as they will sometimes get drawn into a war with a country guaranteed by the Mamluks and thus draw Byzantium into a war it cannot possibly win. The Mamluk fleet will try to blockade Constantinople and will ensure that naval supremacy cannot be attained in the war with the Ottomans. Check the Anatolian diplomatic situation carefully before picking allies, lest you be drawn into wars you don't want to fight and/or cannot win.)
Abusing the straits
This strategy involves declaring a Reconquest war against the Ottomans when their armies are in Anatolia, controlling the Sea of Marmara to prevent them from crossing, and occupying their Balkan provinces unopposed. In ideal conditions, Byzantium can reclaim all their cores at much smaller expense than a more straightforward war.
Preparing for the war, your task is to get enough allies that the Ottomans attack someone else first, while building up a fleet that (a) is strong enough to gain naval supremacy against the Ottomans and (b) has at least 200 guns. For allies, Hungary often rivals Venice and/or Ottomans, and will be an easy ally if they rival both and you rival Venice; Milan and/or Florence often rival Venice and/or Genoa which are possible rivals for you, making them also potential allies. Hungary and one of the Italian countries is usually enough. For the fleet, your main limit is your available sailors, so if you fight Epirus immediately, you may want to leave your ships in port to conserve sailors. Building 4 Galleys, 1 Heavy and 1 Light ship to add to your initial fleet should be both strong enough and within your sailor count, but other combinations are possible.
Once that's done, leave your units in Morea and watch carefully for when the Ottomans march their armies across the straits into Anatolia, which they'll do in preparation for war with one of the Turkish beyliks. In the ideal case, which happens often, if your armies are away from Constantinople the Ottomans will mothball the fort in Gelibolu/Gallipoli. The Ottomans start with two large armies, both on the Greek side of the strait; if Gallipoli is mothballed and you have the Golden Century DLC, then on the first of the month after both Ottoman armies cross into Anatolia, transport at least 6k units to Constantinople. Declare war for Reconquest of Gelibolu, move your army to Gallipoli, use your fleet of at least 200 guns to bombard the fort, then assault the 0-strength garrison to capture it. Without Golden Century, the Ottomans will often return and destroy your army before the siege tick that will make a 0-strength garrison surrender. However, if you go up to 20-24k using mercenaries, they will often be too afraid to engage; this also applies if they didn't mothball the fort in Gallipoli, in which case you'll have to win a normal siege. Waiting until they declare war on whoever they're targeting and are distracted sieging their target's force may also help. Either way, once you control Gallipoli and have naval supremacy, you can occupy the rest of the Ottoman Balkans at your leisure.
Occupying all the Ottoman Balkans in a reconquest war will usually be about 40-50% war score, but they'll probably have high War Enthusiasm from having a much larger army. If at this point you take only Gallipoli and whatever else you can get, you'll be in a good position for another reconquest war in the near future. Alternately, by moving your ships in and out of the strait you can trick half of the Ottoman army into getting trapped in Constantinople or Gallipoli, hire enough mercenaries and army bonuses to beat them one at a time, and keep doing that until you have enough war score and/or they have no army left. If everything works out well, this can get you a peace deal worth 100% war score, reclaiming all of Byzantium's cores and taking enough money to repay all the loans you took making it happen.
An apparently quicker start championed by "BudgetMonk" involves starting the game to ally Albania and The Knights as soon as possible, building ships (for blockade) and a spy network in the Ottomans (for siege speed) in the meantime. The Estates should be set to enable (Clergy) Religious State, Oversight by the Clergy, Monopoly on Wine, (Nobility) Right of Counsel, (Burghers) Indebted to the Burghers, Free Enterprise, Monopoly on Glass. The land should be seized once. After declaring a Reconquest War on Selanik with all your allies, hire ~10k cheap mercenary for sieging, and blockade the strait. The goal then is to capture the fort at Selanik first, kill the two Ottoman armies separately (blocking retreats with occupation and the strait blockade), and finally occupy all of the Ottoman Balkans. Wait for the ticking warscore to reach 80% and the war is won.
This strategy will rely on approximately one loan per month. Transferring the fort to Athens will help reduce the cost, but you will end up having to sell titles after the war. Neither ally will join without territorial promises, but they can be tricked by adding provinces of vital interest next to them after allying, so that they end up getting nothing.
Epirus occasionally allies Genoa, especially if both rival you. If they do, and if you manage to win the naval war, you can take Corsica in the peace deal and immediately vassalize it to avoid the Unlawful Imperial Territory demand, annexing it 10 years later; this is a particularly lucky chance for a Byzantium who wants to colonize, but it's not necessary.
Aside from that potential stroke of luck, if you intend to colonize you'll want to fabricate claims on the Aegean Archipelago area, owned by Venice, Genoa, Naxos, and The Knights while waiting for and fighting the first Ottoman war. If you manage to conquer them all, the Byzantine missions give you claims on multiple Western Mediterranean islands, mostly owned by Aragon with Corsica owned by Genoa. However, this can be difficult as the Venetian navy and army are both stronger than you can afford to match without significant debt. If you manage to get enough favors with Hungary or Austria you may be able to get them to help. Alternately, with Emperor you can leave Venice for later and once the Shadow Kingdom incident happens in ~1461, use your claims on Lesbos and Chios to attack Genoa and take Corsica as an unjustified demand.
With the Colonial Range from Diplomatic Technology level 7 and Exploration Idea 3, plus a Navigator Advisor, you can reach from Corsica to colonize some of the eastern Caribbean islands. If you have Ibiza, you don't need the advisor. If you manage to get Corsica before Portugal or Castile colonizes Tenerife, you can reach it from Corsica with only Exploration Idea 3, not needing Diplomatic Tech 7 or an advisor. From there, you're out of the Mediterranean and can eventually colonize whatever you want.
If you're colonizing as Byzantium, you have to consider the Trade nodes: most of the Eastern Americas can be steered eventually to Sevilla and/or Genoa, but not to Constantinople. The Byzantine missions do eventually give you claims on some of the trade nodes in Sevilla as well as all of Italy, so collecting in Sevilla and/or moving your main trade city to Genoa may be a good mid-game plan. Alternately, Mexico and California, as well as Rio Grande through Mexico, can be steered across the Pacific to Asia which can eventually be steered back to Constantinople. If you have El Dorado, this means Treasure Fleets from a colonial nation in Mexico can bring gold back to you, providing a lot of money starting around 1520 or so. Similarly, if you manage to control Alexandria through conquest or light ships, you can bring the Indian and Chinese trade through to Constantinople, making colonizing the Old World potentially very profitable.