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Literature / An Age of Miracles

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A modern rendition of The Dragon and his Knights by Gottfried Liss, painted in 1499.

"Blessed are we above all men, for we live in an age of miracles."
John XII Cosmas, Patriarch of Constantinople, August 29, 1300.
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An Age of Miracles: The Revival of Rhomaion is an Alternate History series being published at AlternateHistory.com. The main point of divergence is the birth of a healthy young Theodoros II Laskaris, who does not inherit epilepsy from his father; as a result, he is able to quickly reunite the successor states to the Byzantine Empire in the aftermath of the chaos caused by the Fourth Crusade. There is at least one other known point of divergence, in the form of difficulties encountered by Charles of Anjou in the conquest of Italy.

The thread where the series is written and discussed can be found here. Edited and finalized sections of the narrative are published here.


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This work provides examples of:

  • Arc Words: The "Age of Miracles" quote functions as this. A somewhat bastardized version that replaces the word "miracles" with "dragons" ends up rising to prominence after the Emperor's Battle as a reference to the achievements of Dragos cel Mare, Vlad Dracul, Dragos Musat, and Vlad Drakos.
  • Big Bad: The Timurid Empire is the distaff counterpart of the Byzantine Empire, and has on multiple occasions attempted an invasion. Venice can also lay claim to this position as a result of its actions during the Fourth Crusade, the War of the Five Emperors, and the Black Day.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Subverted by Kristina and her spy network/secret police. Suspects are suspended from the ceiling of a room and left alone while horrendous screams echo through the dungeons. They invariably confess. Obviously, the screams were from actors paid to do so, allowing confessions to be obtained through minimal bloodshed.
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  • Disproportionate Retribution: Andreas harbored a grudge against the city of Venice as a result of the Black Day. He draws up plans for the complete extermination of the Venetian population, with the exception of the Jews, Croats, and Mamelukes in the city. He and Zoe are rather disappointed when they realize that killing that many is impractical, and end up allowing some of the children to be spared.
  • End of an Age: The Fourth Crusade, which begins the narrative, also serves as a more violent example of this trope, shattering the concept of Byzantine invulnerability.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The War of the Five Emperors eventually boils down to this: Thomas Laskaris, Demetrios Komnenos, and Manuel Doukas. Manuel and Demetrios come to an agreement by which the two are appointed co-emperors, Demetrios as the senior emperor, in order to quickly take out Thomas and respond to the threat of a returning Timurid invasion.
  • Red Baron: Andreas Niketas, known variously as the "Little Megas," "the Vanquisher of all Rhomania’s Foes”, “the Scourge of the Latins”, “the Undefeated”, or “the Shatterer of Armies.”
  • Redemption Equals Death: Leo dies heroically in battle attempting to redeem himself and his many sins.
  • That Old-Time Prescription: The medicinal use of willow bark is pioneered by George Doukas, who discovers that it's effective at treating headaches.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Andreas after his ascension to the throne. Having your mother raped and murdered in front of you can really mess you up.

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