By Tagmatium Rules
In light of the recent occupation of Corinium by both @Seylos and @Haruspex, the northern entrance of the Adlantic is now in the hands of foreign powers. Certainly, one of those foreign powers is an ally and the other one is friendly towards Tagmatium, but they are still other nations whose interests cannot always be expected to align with those of the Greater Holy Empire.
Especially those damned savages.
Making a permanent military presence on the islands and enlarging the civilian population will make the Tagmatine hold on the islands secure. The plan will be to eventually make a port that is capable of acting as the Europan end of @Iverica's polar trade route, as well as the inevitable naval base to try to counteract Corinium. It will also help put the potential polar resources under Tagmatine control, although these are likely to remain unexploited, due to the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion's environmental policies.
The Nisa Herimiton
Also known as the Herimitireia, the Herimitika Nisa (the Hermitage Islands) are at the edge of the wurld. The eight islands are at the edge of Europa and within the Argic Circle. The only modern settlement of any size is the port and administrative centre of Basilikolimanion, or Imperial Port.
The islands are:
1. Nisos tou Iadridou (Eadred's Island)
2. Kyrios Khristos (Lord Christ)
3. Agioi Apostoloi (Holy Apostles)
4. Nisos tou Anastasiou (Anastasios' Island)
5. Nisos Arkoudon (Bear Island)
6. Megali Adelfi (Big Sister)
7. Mikri Adelfi (Little Sister)
8. Kyro Nisos (Cold Island)
The dot marks the location of Basilikolimanion.
Within the Argic Circle, the islands are bare rock and glacier, in the main. There is little vegetation and they are a haven for Argic wildlife, from seabirds to walruses and polar bears.
There are small monastic cells dotted about the islands, but these are isolated. There are also several watch posts for the border guard and financial guard, but these are not independent settlements. In several places, especially on the main island of Nisos tou Iadridou, there are abandoned whaling stations and mining settlements, in various states of decay. Basilikolimanion is also mainly derelict, with only the cathedral, attached monastery, headquarters for the guards and one of the wharfs in decent condition. The C19th fortifications are degrading but still in good condition and the Palace, previously a jewel of the island, is decaying and the lair of polar bears.
The islands were first discovered in 1593 by an Akwisian, Eadred Sunnason, also known Eadred the Mapmaker. The first landings weren't until several years later and were concerned with using the islands as bases for whale hunting. This became the main reason for landings on the islands, as they slowly became one of the centres for the whaling industry in northern Europa. Most of the nations around the Sea of Storms had small settlements at one time or another, but the islands came under the control of Arome by the end of the 1700s. This was primarily because of the seclusion the islands offered from the point of view particularly ascetic monks, although the hard environment meant that they often did not last long.
A permanent base was established at the site of what is now Basilikolimanion, which became the main processing and shipping point. The islands were placed under the control of Arome and an Exarch appointed to govern them. It was also used as a dumping ground for exiles, away from where they might be able to affect Aroman politics and society. As whale oil and products became ever more lucrative as the industrial revolution bore on across the wurld. This, in turn, meant that Basilikolimanion acquired state-of-the-art defences and a cathedral, signifying its prosperity.
Ultimately, by the mid 1800s, overhunting meant that the local whale populations had been played out and the whaling fleets were forced to go further and further, rendering the facilities at Basilikolimanion redundant. Despite attempts diversifying the economy with mining, the population dwindled until it was little more than an isolated prison away from mainland Tagmatium. Mining was a wasted effort, as coal and ore could be more readily sourced in Tagmatium itself. Or, failing that, another Europan nation.
By the early 1900s, the Hermitage Islands were little more than that – a hermitage for religious introspection, nothing else, along with a small group from the border guards and the financial guards. In order to make the outpost attractive postings, there had to be a level of rank inflation for those posted there. Even then, it was never a popular one. Before the Long War, another attempt was made to make the islands financially viable, but it was derailed by that conflict, which saw the islands almost completely isolated.
Now, Tagmatium hopes that it can properly re-establish control of the islands.
Government and Politics
There is no government to speak of – other than the main monastery at Basilikolimanion and associated monastic cells across the island, there is no administration for the island. The monastery is more or less self-contained, bar the fact that it needs a resupply vessel every few months.
The main authorities on the islands are Archishop Dorothios Maliasenos, Tribounos Pankratoukaina Tzamplakonissa of the Foussatores and Komes Theognostos Maroules of the Vestiaritai. The archbishop tends to keep himself busy with the affairs of the Church whilst the other two are more concerned with the roles of their organisations as well as the petty bickering typical of two Tagmatine organisations that have overlapping jurisdictions.
The only people on the islands are members of the Aroman Church.
There are roughly two hundred monks and a similar number of the Foussatores and Vestiaritai, although split between them. The monks are permanent but the members of the other two are rotated every so often. The Ministry of the Environment has several groups of semi-permanent researchers who monitor the animal and bird populations on the islands. Most of the population is focused around the “capital” of Basilikolimanion.
The Foussatores and the Vestiaritai are the only armed presence on the island and they are not military. The former is a border agency with only small arms and a few fixed emplacements around the capital/main port, which are drilled with but hopelessly obsolete. The latter is more of a coastguard and customs agency than a military, keeping an eye on ships that come near the islands and to make sure that no one else lands there without permission of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion.
They would fold under any pressure and a landing in any force would brush them aside.
There is no economy to speak of, other than a low level black market in the two border agencies which is concerned with making or exchanging alcohol.
The islands themselves have significant mineral deposits, mainly coal and iron ore. It is currently not considered to be economically viable to bother with and all mines and mining installations are in a state of degradation. Surveys for oil and gas were carried out several decades ago and were not considered to be viable at the time.
By Tagmatium Rules
It's been an hell of a long time since I RPed an expansion of Tagmatium's borders. Over a decade, in fact. I am going to claim two areas, although I cannot promise that these will be completed any time soon. The first part, the six islands between my nation and Deltannia, will run roughly concurrently with my Spots thread, and will be directly affected by the developments within it. Some of it was initially planned over a year ago, but I never got around to actually doing it.
It will also help me sketch out my personal retcon of the old Long War. As it was, it was became unworkable for me. That conflict defined the middle of the 1900s for Tagmatium and made the country what it is today. As it stood, it was a war against Communism in Ide Jima and involved a half dozen other nations, including Adaptus. But over the years, every other participant has become inactive besides me and it's left me in a bit of a spot – I cannot really flesh out things that involve other nations, due to our recent... unpleasantness with people taking issue with intellectual property. It's much more convenient for me to re-work it as a conflict between Tagmatium and Volsci (and a delightful irony that I'm using that nation as a work around for IP issues). Plus it helps ground the idea that the nations have been rivals for over two thousand years.
The Hexanisa – The Six Islands
These six islands mark the separation of the Ranke and Kosscow Seas from the Sea of Storms, the Occident and Burania, the glorious Aroman Empire and the benighted, uncivilised wastes to the east. Although they were not part of the Aroman Empire in its heyday, the loss of the southern lands of the Occident to the Aroman Empire in the 4th and 5th Centuries, and the fact that it was often a route taken by Buranian raiders and invasions from the Volsci, meant that the Eastern Aroman Empire (the nascent Tagmatium) ended up turning its attention to the islands.
5. Agios Methodianos
The black dots with yellow centres are the administrative capitals and the black dots are major towns. The largest, the capital of the Hexanisa itself, is Gournaion and it is also the capital of Efmoseia.
The islands have a sub-artic climate, although the southern-most island of Skhronos is the warmest. Life on them is marginal at best, as the harsh climate and short growing season means that only the hardiest of crops tend to flourish. They are low and swept by winds blowing from the Argic Circle. The main resources are the pine forests and the herds of caribou that live in them, as well as fish and animals hunted for their fur. There is very little agriculture in this part of the wurld. Hunter-gatherer groups flourished on the islands, before they were caught up in the internecine Aroman-Volsci wars of the last two thousand years. They still do cling on, but their plight has only really been recognised in the latter half of the 20th Century. The settlements that do exist are on the coasts, around natural harbours or clustered around the walls of the numerous fortifications that have sprung up over the years.
The islands are quite geologically active, which does mean that geothermal heating has begun to be exploited, but the fact that they are poor and relatively marginal means that they have not had the level of investment needed to truly profit from it.
Until the 4th Century, the Hexanisa were very rarely touched upon by either of the two largest civilisations that dominate northern Europa – that is Arome and the Volsci. They were at periphery of the conflict and, at best, were merely way stations for raiders going one way or the other. The Buranic Invasions of the 4th Century came that way, and the Volsci encouraged it. At some point, prior to the 5th Century, the people who would become the Akwisians would detach from Deltannia and leap frog down the islands, conquering as they went, until they settled in what is now Akwisia. There, they raided Aroman lands and occasionally meddled in the politics of the Empire.
In order to finally remove the threat of continued invasions from the Six Islands, Aroman forces during the reigns of Demetrios III and Arkadios I (between 630 and 669) conquered the islands, bringing with them the light of Christ and civilisation. They put down the patchwork of chiefdoms and kinglets who ruled the islands and crushed the local polytheistic religions, deriding them as animal-worshippers. The local Christian enclaves were regarded with suspicion, as they had lived in harmony with the pagans. These were uprooted and sent south, to live on the borders at the other end of the empire.
The success of the conquest led to the general Konstantinos Bonakes toppled Arkadios and set himself upon the Leopard Throne in 669.
There the six islands remained as Aroman garrisons on the edge of the empire, holding the barbarians at bay. At times, the Volsci were able to wrest the islands from the control of Arome and at others, they were taken back. Sometimes, they were even ruled as a condominium – the islands were jointly administered with what little tax income from them being split evenly between the otherwise opposed empires.
It wasn't until the dynasty of the Kekaoumenoi (1793-1956) that the islands were finally, permanently in Aroman hands.
In the reign of Khristoforos X (1924-1939) things started to unravel. The Six Islands had been something of a cultural melting pot, despite their marginal nature. They were at the edge of two great nations and the rules of the centre did not hold as much sway. At times, one nation did attempt provoke the other, but usually it was ignored.
But in 1931, Khristoforos allowed himself to be caught out. He was not only provoked by the usual Volsci actions, but escalated and drove the Volsci locals out. This wasn't using the garrison but by whipping up nationalistic and religious hatred of the local population and it ended in a bloody pogrom. This was met by outrage from the Volsci and the situation deteriorated further, until the summer of 1932 when an Aroman minesweeper was sunk by a Volsci destroyer.
The Long War started and did not finish for a generation.
A long story short, the general Leon Theonikos overthrew Konstantinos VIII, Khristoforos' brother and murderer, during a military parade. Tanks opened up with their coaxial and hull machine guns on the imperial grandstand. Although on paper Tagmatium had won, the garrison was withdrawn from the Six Islands. Elements who had made their home there and shed their blood there during the Long War revolted and the withdrawal became a rout.
Since then, they had remained a sore point between the Tagmatines and the Volsci, as an independent realm between them but not under the control of either. The Navarkhokrateia was much more friendly to them than the regimes before and after, and they even cooperated to crush a Communist uprising in Akwisia. The main sticking point, however, was the fate of the garrison who had remained. Even Theodosios VI refused any talks of reunification unless the erstwhile garrison was tried for desertion and murder.
Now, between the Great Europan Collapse, a resurgent Tagmatium, a predatory Machina @Haruspex and a brooding Volsci, the Six Islands are unsure where their future lies.
Government and Politics
The islands are one nation and as a republic, governed by a Great Judge (Megas Krites) elected every six years to act as the head of state for the islands, and as chairperson for the council that rules them. Each of the island forms a Judgedom (Kritakrateia) headed by a Judge (Krites), who sit on the council headed by the Megas Krites. These combine both the executive and judiciary for each island, and are a form of emergency rule that has solidified into the permanent government.
These are the remains of island's civil government before the Aroman armed forces pulled out in the aftermath of the the Long War against the Volsci Republic. They were ruled as military governorships with a civilian administration, and it is the latter that survived the pull out and brief conflict in 1956. They are still organised along the old Aroman lines, although they have seen some localised changes since then.
Most of these changes came from the islanders having to pick up the pieces of a broken government with little support from a parent nation that was indifferent or even hostile to them. The judiciary was forced to take up the role of both the executive and legislative to enable the islands to function as an independent nation when that status was forced on them.
The main sticking point in relations between Tagmatium and the Hexanisa the past has been the fate of the soldiers who stayed behind after the Long War. Due to the chaotic manner in which the Aroman forces pulled out and the fact that roughly a quarter of them wanted to remain, they have often been charged as deserters and even murderers, as there were some brief gun battles as the Vigla, the military police, attempted to arrest those who stayed. These charges remain on the books of Tagmatium and are against people considered by the Hexanisanoi as heroes and founders of their nation.
They are majority Aroman Christian, and some holding polytheistic beliefs from before the southerners started to meddle. Due to the pogroms under Khristoforos mean that there are very few adherents to the Volsci ways left in the Hexanisa left and they are mainly recent immigrants or foreigners resident in the islands.
To further muddy the waters, the hierarchy of the church should be appointed by Aroman emperor but due to the rift, this has not happened. They have been making their own appointments, and the Aroman Church has been making parallel appointments to those positions. They are grouped as a diocese of the Patriarchate of Trapizon and, oddly, still consider themselves as such. There have been moves to break away but this is currently considered a step too far. These will be major issues that need to be resolved, both for Tagmatium and the Hexanisa before relations are healed.
At the last census taken by the government of the Hexanisa in 2018, there were 216,510 people living on this islands. They are mainly on the islands of Efmoseia and Polyagios, the two largest. These have 80,000 and 65,000 respectively. Skhronos has a population of 30,000 and Kouttasios 22,000. The islands of Arhos has about 13,000 and the smallest island, Agios Methodianos, has just 5000 on it.
The military of the Hexanisa is small and rather underfunded. It consists of two parts, a combined green-water navy and coast guard called the Stolos (literally "Fleet") and a small ground defence force that runs a treble duty of a gendarmerie, border force and civil police, the Taxiotai. Much of their equipment is locally-produced copies of what their grandparents used during the Long War. The air force is non-existent as a separate arm but both branches maintain aircraft as support elements - mainly in recce and observation roles.
This represents an almost complete pull out of the Aroman military and the police merging with the deserters and being forced to fulfil the roles of a border guard, defence force and civil police.
However, it's unlikely there will be any conflict. If nothing else, the islanders understand that there would be little to stop the Tagmatine armed forces rolling over them, as modern equipment and huge numbers would brush any resistance aside.
But, on the other hand, Tagmatium doesn't want to have a military conflict, as that would look bad internationally and ruin any chances for a peaceful re-integration of the Hexanisa into the Greater Holy Empire.
The islands are not rich.
In the past, they had been used as whaling stations, although that was destroyed by over-exploitation long before the industry itself was made redundant by technological developments.
Now, they mainly rely on a combination of fishing, logging and sheep rearing, with some exploitation of the mineral wealth of the island but this is purely for local needs. There is a tourism industry, with visitors coming to see the scenic landscape of the islands but it is hampered by the generally poor state of northern Europa.
The reason Tagmatium wants these islands is twofold. The first is simple revanchism - the islands are a breakaway province and the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion wants to return them to the fold. They still regard the inhabitants as Arhomaiki citizens and it it is felt that the Hexanisa would do better under Tagmatine rule.
The second is their strategic location. The islands command the entrance into the Ranke and Kosscow Seas. With them once again part of Arome, Tagmatika would virtually control all the sea access into central Europa.
There are other schemes, too. Setting up geothermal and wave power stations to take advantage of the conditions of the islands would also help to continue to wean Tagmatium off of fossil fuels. These would also help investment into the islands and hopefully increase the standard of living, showing the benefits of staying as part of the Aroman Empire.
Comments and queries welcome!
Obviously, this will be RPed.