Challenge: A Roman state in the Western Hemisphere with at least one legion by 400 AD

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by M79, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. M79 Well-Known Member

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    Jan 8, 2007
    It does not have to be huge, maybe it only covers an island at first, but can Rome plant a self-sufficient colony in the Western Hemisphere by 400 AD? Does it survive into later times? Bonus points if it later raises a fleet and sails back to Europe before 1000 AD...
     
  2. Philip One L only

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    Apr 19, 2007
    Since the Iberian Peninsula is west of Greenwich, it is technically in the western hemisphere. So, OTL seems to meet your requirements.


    Oh, did you mean to restrict the western hemisphere to the Americas?
     
  3. M79 Well-Known Member

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    Jan 8, 2007
    I meant the Americas...
     
  4. carlton_bach Member

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    Jan 18, 2004
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    Altona, Occupied Denmark
    I think the one legion is by far the bigger problem. If you have an early discovery of the Americas and a rweason to go, ancient technology is up to the challenge (albeit not on the scale of the 1600s, which limits your reasons). Play the usual 'germs' part and you have fairly empty lands that invite Romanised settlers with a taste for extensive agriculture and transhumance.

    The problem is, the Roman state didn't really go in for long-range colonisation. The historical models this would like run off of are the Roman expatriate communities in India and the client kingdoms of the Arabian Peninsula. I can't see any reason why the army would possibly want to go there. Since a legio requires the authority of dilectus (invested in the senate and its magistrates), whatever military forces the locals will develop are not going to qualify.
     
  5. kellineil Scottish Green

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    Oct 23, 2007
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    Scotland
    Best chance I see to have a legion in America by 400AD is to have one embarked on a fleet of ships that leaves the med and heads up the coast towards Britain. It would be reasonably easy for it to get blown off course and caught in the main Atlantic current and get taken across to the Caribbean by it. the survivors could then interbreed with the locals (well, whatever ones survived the epidemics that would follow first contact) and create a Roman/Carib state

    Have them develop a culture which includes legends about the City of their Ancestors which they have been separated from by fate/god/bad seamanship and you could create an impetus for them to try and get back in touch with the empire by 1000AD (of course they don't realise that the western empire at least has collapsed)
     
  6. carlton_bach Member

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    Jan 18, 2004
    Location:
    Altona, Occupied Denmark
    Legions don't embark on long-range naval transport until the fourth century unless it's completely unavoidable (such as channel crossings or rapid deployments across the Mediterranean). The entire infrastructure of the Principate legion is set up to move overland efficiently, securely and quickly. All large-scale troop movements recorded at the time are by road (Vespasian's forces moved on Italy through the Balkans even though he had the Alexandrian fleet at his disposal, and Maximus marched through Gaul rather than dsailing to Spain). What you could get navy troops, members of vexillations or auxiliaries, but a whole legion at sea is vanishingly unlikely.