The Emperor has asked that Austenasians today commemmorate the 560th anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, which marked the end of the Roman Empire and, in the opinion of many historians, of the medieval period.
The Austenasian Star is flying vertically from the Imperial Residence today as a sign of respect – this is the customary equivalent to flying it half mast, as it lacks a flagpole.
The Emperor has also uploaded a video to YouTube which can be seen here, a recording of a chant lamenting the fall of the city, with a more detailed account of the event in the video’s description.
Constantinople was founded as the eastern capital of the Roman Empire in 330 by Constantine I, with the eastern half of the empire (known as the “Byzantine Empire” by later western European historians but still referred to as the “Empire of the Romans” by its citizens and neighbours) surviving the fall of the west in the 470s for almost a thousand years.
The Eastern Roman Empire flourished during the Early Middle Ages but entered terminal decline after 1204 when Constantinople was temporarily taken by western crusaders.
By 1400, the mighty Eastern Roman Empire had declined to the extent that it consisted of little more than Constantinople itself and a few Greek islands. In 1453, the Ottoman (Turkish) Sultan Mehmed II led an attack on Constantinople.
Although heavily outnumbered (7,000:80,000) and facing vastly superior technology, the Romans held out for over a month before the city fell on 29 May. The last Roman Emperor, Constantine XI, threw off his purple regalia and died leading the last remnants of the Roman army in a final charge against the Ottomans after they breached the walls.
Emperor Jonathan I laid flowers on the graves in Wrythe Pet Cemetery this afternoon during an annual ceremony of remembrance for the departed pets of the Imperial Family.
Pets Day has been held on 17 May each year since 2010. Minor repairs are made to Wrythe Pet Cemetery, the final resting place of four fish, a crab, and a stillborn bullmastiff puppy, before flowers are placed on the graves.
Said repairs usually entail reinscribing the names on the headstones and cleaning the decorative shells which mark out the graves, but maintenance work went beyond that this year.
The need for spaces for pet bullmastiffs Rose and Edd – either to bury their ashes or to build a memorial – was made apparent by Rose’s recent health scare. Space has been made by translating two of the coffins, those of fishes Daah and Flower, into the grave of goldfish Lovehearty II, reburying all three coffins inside a larger box.
The coffin of still-born puppy Alpha Primus and the already shared coffin of crab Rodney and goldfish Woo-Woo were also reburied, translated closer together so as to make room for future burials.
The Emperor stated that while it was “unfortunate that we had to actually move the coffins, this was done with the utmost respect. All the pets are now reburied, with their graves decorated by shiny shells and freshly picked flowers. Let us hope that the vacant space freed up shall not have to be used for a long time”.
The recent exponential territorial expansion of Austenasia under Emperor Jonathan I has continued with part of the house of Countess Eritoshi of Memphis being annexed as the Town of Thanasia.
The new Town was annexed by an Imperial Decree earlier this afternoon after discussions about Countess Eritoshi’s home joining Austenasia began on Friday 10th.
The Countess, who is a close friend of the Emperor, has been appointed Acting Representative of Thanasia until a Local Election is held, and her sister has been made Baroness of the new Town.
Only part of the Countess’ house has been annexed – specifically, the territory directly underneath her room, which means that her sister’s room and part of the kitchen are also now part of the Empire, while the rest of the house has remained part of the United Kingdom. Due to the relatively lax border controls between Austenasia and the UK, this should not result in too many problems.
This annexation, while not of a large territory, has continued the explosion of new territories seen so far under the reign of Jonathan I, being the fourth new acquisition of Austenasia – after New South Scotland, Axvalley, and Corinium Terentium – since he ascended the Throne less than four months ago.
Thanasia is the third Austenasian Town alongside Wrythe and Zephyria (Glencrannog having been transitioned to a Territory earlier this month), and adds two new subjects to the Empire.
The Imperial Geographical Society has completed an expedition around Headley Heath in the British county of Surrey.
The expedition, which set out and returned yesterday, consisted of eleven people including the Emperor and the Emperor Mother. Since 2009, it has been traditional for the IGS to accompany a countryside ramble organised by Carshalton Methodist Church on the first Monday of May, which is a bank holiday in the United Kingdom.
The expedition traversed heathland, fields, farms and woods, climbing some very steep hills along the way. Several photographs were taken, and a short film of the expedition can be seen here.
HIM Emperor Jonathan I has become the first western emperor in over 900 years to attend an Orthodox Christian Easter service.
The Emperor, who converted to the Orthodox Church in May 2011 while still Crown Prince, last night attended the midnight service at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saints Constantine and Helen at Crystal Palace, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Unlike Western Christianity, Eastern Christianity (which includes the Orthodox Church) uses the Julian instead of the Gregorian calendar to calculate the date of Easter (known as Pascha in Orthodoxy), meaning that it falls later than in the West most years.
After prayers and chants, all light in the church was extinguished shortly before midnight. The congregation, all holding candles, then lit them from candles held by the priest by the altar, with the light spreading throughout the church as those with lit candles lit the candles of those standing behind them.
Illuminated only by candlelight early on Easter morning, the Paschal troparian – a short Easter hymn – was sung (in Greek) by the congregation: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and bestowing life upon those in the tombs!” The troparian at last year’s service can be heard at this link.
After celebrating the Resurrection, the 1600-year old Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom was held, with the Emperor recieving Holy Communion before the service finished at around 02:15.
It is thought that this is the first time for over 940 years that an emperor ruling in the west has attended an Orthodox Easter service. The last time that this would have happened would have been when (“Byzantine”) Roman co-Emperors Michael VII and Romanos IV celebrated Easter on 4 April 1070, the year before the last territory of the medieval Roman Empire in Italy fell to the Normans.
A field in the British country of Gloucestershire has been annexed to the Empire as the Territory of Corinium Terentium.
The Empire of Austenasia Act 2013, passed at 17:00 this afternoon, annexed the new land to Austenasia as well as making a three-fold division between different types of administrative divisions in the Empire. From now on, all land in Austenasia shall be either a Town, a Territory, or a Crown Dependency.
Wrythe and Zephyria remain Towns, but Glencrannog has become a Territory along with Corinium Terentium. Towns and Territories are both fully incorporated into the Empire under the hierarchy of provinces, duchies and regions, but the former are inhabited and represented in Parliament whereas the latter are not. Crown Dependencies are autonomous territories under the direct rule of a representative of the Emperor.
The annexation of Corinium Terentium – the first non-contiguous British territory to be added to the Empire since April 2009 – adds a further 428,000 square feet to the Empire.
The Territory is governed by Lord Centurion William Wade, a British citizen who lives nearby and who has agreed to enforce Austenasian law in Corinium Terentium as its Governor. A new military unit, Centuria I Gloucestria, has been founded to defend the Territory, and at present has two enlisted soldiers who live within a mile of it.
The annexation of Corinium Terentium has necessitated an expansion of the administrative hierarchy – the Province of Greater Corinium and the Duchy of Davidopia have been founded to contain it, within the already existing Region of Inner Austenasia. The title Duke of Davidopia has been granted by Parliament to HIH Emperor Father Terry.
The border defences of the capital have been improved with the installation of a new gate at the north-eastern border of Wrythe.
HIH Emperor Father Terry installed the new oak door earlier this week. It replaces an old door which was quite literally falling apart and offered minimal obstruction to invaders, which had been in place since the Imperial Family moved to what is now the Imperial Residence in 2004. Old rusting locks have also been replaced.
The gate does not actually lie on the border between Austenasia and the United Kingdom, but is between Commius Flats and a path which runs down the side of 2 Imperial Road. Nevertheless, the small and featureless Commius Flats has no boundary marks or border controls whatsoever, and so this gate is the first obstacle which would be faced by an attacker invading Austenasia from the north-east.
The need for the old gate to be replaced was noted as long ago as July 2009 during Operation Fulcio, an initiative by the Ministry of Defence to strengthen the defences of the Empire.