The Weighted Scales: The World of an Aborted Rome

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Errnge, May 13, 2011.

  1. Errnge You don't throw ranch

    Joined:
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    The Weighted Scales: The World of an Aborted Rome
    By Errnge

    Prologue: A Blip In History
    Part One: The Rise of the Rasna


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    Precious little is known about the Rasna [1] in their early times. Most modern archaeologists agree that they were the descendants of Anatolian colonizers, possibly escaping Greek expansion. They were closely related to the Rhaetians to the northeast, who are believed to have branched off as they moved further inland towards the Alps. Both seem to be related to, if not directly descended from, the Villanovan Culture of central Italia.

    But surely, by the 7th Century B.E. [2] the Rasna had not only become unique from the Villanovans, but dominant over their entire domain. Contact with Greek merchants led to the Rasna adopting and eventually creating their own alphabet. The early Rasna, judging by the sophisticated and elaborate burials of their aristocracy, developed a city-state structure similar to the Greeks, but unlike the Greeks in their worship and deification of each city’s respective ruler.

    During the 6th Century B.E. the Rasna expanded both north and south. With the adoption of Greek-style hoplite soldiers, they were able to gain considerable clout, and brought under their direct control everything between the Padus [3] and the Tiber. The breadth of their influence grew beyond the Apennine Mountains to the North, and Campania to the South. In Campania, the Rasna subjugated the Oscans present there. The Oscans, an Italic group caught between the Rasna north of them and the Greeks in the South, could do little but pay homage to the might of the Rasna.

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    The Rasna attributed much of their wealth to mining. Within their lands were vast veins of iron and copper, extremely valuable minerals, which they mined, refined, crafted into anything from pottery to weaponry, and sold. They built rich cities, solidifying the king-worship already present, and allowing said kings to maintain order within their domains. Cities such as Cisra [4], Veii, Perusia, Fufluna, Velch [5], Parma, Mantua, Adria, and Roma, among others, grew and prospered with either Rasna foundation, or Rasna rule. The cities ruled by Rasna formed a loose organization or confederacy very similar to those of the Greeks and other archaic groups in the East.

    But the growing Rasna monopoly over trade in the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas led to direct conflict with the Greeks settled in the South of Italia, as well as Liguria and southern Gaul, and the Eastern coast of Iberia. The Phoceans, Ionian Greek colonizers (founders of cities like Massalia, Neapolis, Cumae, Alalia, Rhegion, Siris, and Leontani, amongst others) became a stalwart enemy of the Rasna. Skirmishes and small naval conflicts followed.

    At this time, another group, whose ancestry also resided in the East, the Punics of Carthage, were growing in influence. The Carthaginians had for a long time been rivals with the Greeks, desiring control of maritime commerce for themselves. And as the old saying goes: My enemy’s enemy is my friend.

    So the Carthaginians formed an alliance with the Rasna, and together they fought the Greeks. These were commercial wars, fought solely for the sake of wealth and control over trade routes.

    At the Battle of Allalia in 533 B.E. (540 B.C.) off the coast of Corsica, the joint Carthaginian-Rasna alliance confronted the Phoceans. The Greek fleet consisted of sixty pentekonters (ships with forty-eight oars and two rudders). The allied armada was twice as large, also comprised of pentekonters. The Greek fleet was able to drive off the aggressors, but lost over two thirds of their force, and all surviving ships were severely damaged. The Greeks, realizing that should their aggressors attack again that they would be powerless to stop them, evacuated Corsica and sought refuge in Rhegion.

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    Corsica came under the influence of the Rasna, while Sardinia fell into Carthaginian hands. This would be the height of the Rasna’s influence and control over Italia. They continued to assault Greek ships, and pushed for more control further south. But they could not hold that which they had gained.

    It was the beginning of the end for the Rasna.

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    [1] Rasna- What the Ancient Etruscans referred to themselves as.
    [2] The Dor Immanu’el calendar correlates to seven years earlier than our own. Example: OTL 7 B.C. (B.C.E.) is equal to ATL 1 A.E.
    [3] The Po River
    [4] The Etruscan name for Caere
    [5] The Etruscan name for Vulci
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2011
  2. Errnge You don't throw ranch

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    Location:
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    Why, hello! Errnge here!

    So after looking over the humble beginnings of my previous TL, i realized how utterly crappy it was. Virtually no detail, poor execution, and I got to admit, I hardly did research at the beginning. So I decided to create a more fulfilling version of my previous TL.

    This is my revamp of Barbaria: A World Without Rome.

    Now, there will be only minor changes to the storyline itself, but I want more detail, and more life to my TL. Make it less dry and a lot more colorful.

    So here she is, hope you enjoy!
     
  3. Emperor Qianlong Sinneslöschung AG

    Awesome. Please, keep it going! :D
     
  4. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

    Joined:
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    And so, here we go again... The 2.0 version is surely more promising. :cool:

    Reading with more attention, it seemed that the Rasna are going to bring in their probable and future fall ( and as a modern Rasna, i'm bit sad... :( i hope one day someone will made an Etruscan TL, but this is another story...;)) will took also a certain city in the Tiber...:p

    Because if the POD is basically the same from the past version, the causes will be different...
     
  5. RGB Corn Squared

    Joined:
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    Awesome. Tyrrhenian-Carthaginian Western Med (before the Barcas) - always a cool subject.

    A bit alarmed at the "beginning of the end" - please keep in mind that the Etruscans were still fairly distinct until the Social Wars, and a relict linguistic miority probably somewhat longer.

    I'm assuming rise of the Latins + Celtic invasions?
     
  6. Errnge You don't throw ranch

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    yup. there is still more of a prologue to come, and the POD has yet to be states (it is the same as my previous TL)

    however, I felt it was essential to discuss the Etruscans and the circumstances leading up to the POD before diving into it all
     
  7. Cuāuhtemōc Twitter fiend

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    Very intriguing. I'll skimmed through it so forgive me but I'll post a more detailed post a bit later. It's very impressive.
     
  8. Monopolist Member

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    Looks great Errnge; keep it up!
     
  9. Errnge You don't throw ranch

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Prologue: A Blip In History
    Part Two: Down From the Mountains


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    During this age, there was but one group that defeated the Rasna. While the exact dates remain unclear, it is believed that around 600 B.E. a massive wave of Celts crossed the Alps and settled in Northern Italia under the leadership of a Gallic prince named Bellovesus. Much of what is described about how or why this horde of men came to Italia is veiled in legend, myth, and lore. But as it goes:

    A great king named Ambicatus once ruled Gaul, centered around the Bituriges, but in confederacy with the Arverni, Senones, Aedui, Ambarri, Carnutes, and Aulerci. Under his reign, the people of Gaul grew strong and prosperous. But the rich lands of Gaul were so fertile, that the great masses of men proved increasingly difficult to reign over. So, the king took his sister’s sons, Sigovesus and Bellovesus, and had them take as many men as they wanted from any tribe so that no people could resist their advance. The brothers drew lots to determine which will go where, believing these omens of the gods. The omens declared that Sigovesus was to take his men to the Hercynian Forest across the Rhine, and Bellovesus was to take his men across the mountains to Italia.

    Bellovesus nearly lead his men to their deaths, but received help from the Greeks who settled in Massalia [1] around the same time. After receiving an omen from the gods, Bellovesus then led his men through the pass in the Alps inhabited by the Taurini, a Celtic-Ligurian group who occupied the upper valley of the Padus River. Once he and his Gauls arrived in Italia, they defeated the Rasna at the Ticino River and settled in Northern Italia. Bellovesus then founded the city of Medhlan [2].

    However, the presence of the Celtic Insubres suggests that Celts had occupied Northern Italia for at least a century before Bellovesus cross the Alps.

    Regardless, the Celts were an extremely powerful and influential group in the north of the peninsula. The most powerful Celtic tribes included the Salassi, Leponzi, Taurini, Insubri, Cenomani, Boii, and Lingoni settled in the Padus River valley, and the Carni settled to the north of the Adriatic Sea, bordering the Venetians.

    The Celts were fierce to behold. One of the main reasons for their success against the many Italic groups was their method of warfare. The Celts had no professional army, nor did they adopt any specific standard formation like the Greek phalanx.

    The typical Celtic warrior was male, though on occasion women would join in battle. Basic equipment consisted of one to four spears depending on the wealth of the man. One spear would be nearly as tall as a man with a huge leaf-shaped head called a “lancea”. The others would be shorter and used for throwing called “gaesum”. They would also carry a large wooden shield covered in leather with a metal boss, decorated with paintings and, if the owner was especially wealthy, with metal ornamentation. With this, the average Celtic warrior would wear his everyday working cloths (trousers, shirt, belt, and cloak). Some warriors preferred to rush into battle completely naked, foregoing any possible protection for mobility. However, there is scientific evidence that suggests that this may have been beneficial to the Celtic warrior, as a wound will heal faster and be less likely to get infected if cloth does not enter the wound, especially dirty, and bloody sweaty cloth. This is also one of many examples of Celtic shock-warfare, where the Celts would intimidate and scare their opponents before engaging them in battle.

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    Celtic nobles on the other hand were adorned quite differently. All Celtic nobles wore a metal torc around his neck, which he believed was magical and would protect him from harm. While this is obviously untrue, one cannot discredit the success of the Celtic war-machine, and not understand how a correlation in tribal society might be made. Celtic nobles armed themselves with long-swords, varying in size from three feet long to the length of a man. Earlier swords had defined points at the end, allowing for piercing as well as slashing, but later models had blunted tips, which meant the focus was placed more on slashing attacks. Occasionally, such swords had artistic handles, such as a pommel crafted to resemble a human head or in the shape of a horse. Celtic nobles wore armor, usually made from leather, while the richer nobles would wear ornate helmets made from either bronze or iron with crests and horns and inlays of gold or coral. Chainmail, a Celtic invention, was worn by the wealthiest of nobles. A chainmail suite would cover a man from his knees to his neck, and would allow greater mobility of the arms.

    Also typical of Celtic warfare is the battle chariot. A Celtic chariot typically was a lightweight, two wheeled cart led by two yoked war-horses. Most of the chariot would be made from wood, except for the iron tires and iron fittings to strengthen the hubs of said chariot. Sometimes, metal rings were used to strengthen the joints of a chariot. Though the Celtic chariot may sound and look primitive at face value, especially when compared to the chariots used further east by the great empires of old, they were quite innovative. Unlike most chariots in other parts of the world which had the platform directly attached to the axel, Celtic chariots were unique in that they suspended the platform that a man stood on by ropes, in no way attached to the axel. This suspension not only made the ride more comfortable but also was easier to fight from because the as the chariot wheels would bump, the platform a man stood upon would not. Celtic chariots would be manned in pairs: the charioteer, who stood in the front directing the horses, and the warrior, who would throw his spears from the chariot, and eventually jump off the chariot to fight on foot. The charioteer would then drive away and return to pick up the warrior, whether the warrior is victorious, wounded, or dead.

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    Celtic warriors rarely fought in formation. While anywhere from one hundred to one hundred thousand warriors might participate in any given Celtic battle, they almost never used formation. Instead, they trusted their brute strength and individual capability on the battlefield to overrun their enemy, surging over them like a tidal wave of shouting, painted, and often-naked men. Any form of military organization used by Celts in battle was more influenced by where the warrior(s) were from and what kind of weapons they carried. Charioteers and cavalry were usually grouped together, but those using horses were different than those with swords, axes, or spears, and those were different than archers or slingers.

    More important than formation and tactics to the Celts was psychological warfare. Being able to instill fear into their enemy was of great importance. Before charging into battle, the Celts would shout and trash-talk their enemy, all while banging their weapons against their shields. Horns called carnyx were blown before battle, and huge low drums were beat to create a hellish sound as the army approached. This combined with many of such men being naked and tattooed was a fierce sight to behold. Adding to this, many put lemon juice in their hair, which would make it spike up and turn gold in color. Gauls in particular are noted for dying their hair platinum blonde and for growing long mustaches as a sign of manhood, similar to a lion’s mane.

    And the Celts were not easy to defeat. Honor was based on a man’s feats performed in battle, and if you retreated or surrendered in battle, you had no honor. Celtic warriors would likely have fought to the last man. Many warriors would commit suicide, and even kill their close relatives and loved ones, rather than be captured and sold into slavery.

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    [1] Modern day OTL Marseille; Mασσαλια
    [2] Milan
     
  10. Cuāuhtemōc Twitter fiend

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    Will the Rasna be conquered by the Celts? Or will they suffer major defeats yet manage to hold on to their core territories in central Italy?

    Anyways it's good so far.
     
  11. RGB Corn Squared

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    The Celts are not immune to logistics, I hope :p

    Though if the ones heading east actually head into Italy as well, that could swing the balance.
     
  12. Errnge You don't throw ranch

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    that'll be discussed in a few updates. right now i'm covering background information.

    but ultimately... yes and no. the Rasna, yes, but those who take on their name... that's where things get interesting ;)
     
  13. Cuāuhtemōc Twitter fiend

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    I shall await with anticipation.
     
  14. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    And the Rasna are ready to be steamrolled... But probably, they could still survived in Corsica, if after Alalia won and colonized that island... We will see a "people in exile"?
     
  15. Xgentis Member

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    I hope the Belgae will not be forgotten.:D
     
  16. Errnge You don't throw ranch

    Joined:
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    Well, I have yet to reach the main POD

    (Hint, it has to do with the Title of the Thread)

    And of course the Belgae shall not be forgotten! They were one of the coolest parts of my old TL!
     
  17. Errnge You don't throw ranch

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    Bump, cuz I want this newborn TL to get some more attention. SPOIL HER DAMNIT! :p
     
  18. Monopolist Member

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    Dec 31, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    WOOOOO BARBARIA'S BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ;)


    I liked your little blurb on the Gauls, really good stuff there. You can tell that you've researched this stuff a lot better then what you had at the beginning of Barbaria and that you've worked hard on the redux.
     
  19. NKVD ☭⚑ Gone Fishin'

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    Interesting TL, thus far.
     
  20. Errnge You don't throw ranch

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    hahahahaha, well thank you!