Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Velasco, Jan 5, 2012.
This update was a good Christmas present. Glad to see that this is back.
So glad to see this continued! It seems that Isidorus hasn't inherited the brilliance of his father and grandparents, so I wonder what's going to end up happening with the succession. Though either way I assume Isidorus is high in line to the Egyptian throne. Can't wait for the next chapter!
They might cancel each other out - I mean, it's hard to commit incest with someone you've murdered.
Great to see that this is back!
Is Bactria still hellenistic?
Chapter XCIX: Anno Domini, Pt. I
The celebration of the Ludi Saeculares (Secular Games) was made possible by the completion of a widespread architectural program of construction, renovation and expansion commenced by Caesarion over a decade prior and comprising all of Rome. A new, highly efficient water system provided for the needs of the growing populace; marble bathed the city in the form of temples (old and new), porticoes, theaters, basilicas, baths, granaries, aqueducts, bridges, monuments and civic buildings. Caesarion was credited not only with the physical reconstruction of the city, but with the restoration of the Republic and the protection of the “universal” dominion of the Roman people. Under his auspices Roman rule had been pushed farther than before - Germania and Parthia quelled - the kings of the Earth made supplicants of the Roman Senate and people, represented as they were in Caesarion’s sovereignty and international patronage. The Games, delayed due to civil war and the vicissitudes which followed in the wake of the Ides of March, could finally be held in comfort and peace.
The Emperor had taken up residence in Mediolanum, an agreeable site in the north of Italy from where he could keep a watchful eye on his step-son’s successes in Germania while keeping himself abreast of eastern developments. He was soon subsumed into a life of drunken sloth, every bit as ostentatious and extravagant as the tryphé (magnificent voluptuousness) of the Ptolemaic court. Surrounded by philosophers, musicians and foreign dignitaries, he allowed his consort Livia Drusilla a taste of Imperial power for the first time. She intervened in the succession to Cyrene and manoeuvred favourites into the government of the eastern half of the Empire, to the detriment of his son Isidorus. She then set about engineering a new round of honours for her husband, to coincide with Secular Games and the public presentation of her grandson Tiberillus in adult garb: a dynastic statement intended to pave the way for the boy’s future succession.
Around this time a series of portents and signs were observed in Rome. In the Forum Romanum a wolf killed a number of people and bit a Vestal; the temple of Iuventas ('youth') burned down and ants swarmed in the very forum. At night torches were observed wandering south to north, illuminating the sky. To spectators it was clear that Rome's security and fecundity were endangered: the wolf and ants represented alien invaders, the torches were signs of war. The citizens hurriedly sought expiation, praying for the safety of the Emperor, and beseeching the Senate to bring him back at once.
Accordingly the Senate summoned the Emperor to return to Rome with his court and preside over the Ludi. The Ludi would not only usher in a new cycle of Secular Games (the original cycle having lapsed) and celebrate the future prosperity of Rome, but also inaugurate a new "saeculum", one in which Caesarion was to appear prominently as the savior and restorer of the Republic and second founder of the city (or founder of the 'new' city). It was also hoped that, while providing a tangible link to the mythical past of Rome (whose memory and morals he had defended and restored), the Games would act much like the previous Games at Antioch, displaying the vitality of the Imperial lineage as a harbinger of the continued vitality of the State. Finally some revisionist history on all sides led the Senate to consider the year the twentieth of Caesarion's rule: though it had taken Caesarion some three years to reign in Rome undisputed, it had been twenty years since Vipsanian had been captured at Nisibis. Part of the Senate (now considered the right or just) had sided with Caesarion and recognized him as sole consul when his colleague Corvinus (then in Rome) resigned in favour of Publicola, who ruled as dictator until his death at Livia's hands had made Caesarion's triumphant return possible (even then Caesarion was forced to pursue Corvinus to Sicily).
As fortune - or a casual tweaking of facts - would have it, the Ludi would coincide with the vincennalia, celebrations voted by the Senate to celebrate Caesarion's twentieth year of rule.
No consuls were elected for the year: instead the Senate and People decided to honor Caesarion as Dominus Mundi, "master of the world", naming the year for him alone. Though the official line was to credit the suggestion to Livia's dead son Drusus, it was no doubt the fruit of her own behind-the-scenes machinations. Drusus' treasured memory nevertheless proved crucial in carrying the suggestion in the Senate. Even in his placid state Caesarion was somewhat startled by the brazen nature of the title and initially rejected it, going so far as to consider issuing an edict against it. Care was taken to elaborate on the exact meaning of this honorific - Caesarion was not dominus in the sense of owner or sovereign, but as the one appointed by the populus Romanos uictor dominusque omnium gentium ("the Roman people, conqueror and master of all peoples") to administer justice on its behalf. As the commander of the Roman people, to whom they had entrusted the well-being of the city, and as the august commander of the army, to whom they had entrusted the legions and well-being of the provinces, he could not deny that he had received jurisdiction over all - the world, in hyperbolic terms. This selfsame universal jurisdiction was the fruit of his continuous efforts on behalf of the Roman people and the means by which the Pax Augusta had been assured to that and future generations.
The sudden death of his son Iulion on the journey from Mediolanum to Rome dampened the Emperor's mood somewhat and made him more susceptible to the influence of his wife. The honour paid to the boy by Livia and her circle endeared them to Caesarion, perhaps oblivious to the worthlessness of lip service to a dead bastard who had never posed too great a dynastic threat to her and her's. Caesarion was now aged 47; his wife was 58 and her son Tiberius 42. The adoptive father and son were too close in age to be certain who would outlive the other; and while Livia could be more certain of departing first, she did not wish to do so without assuring her progeny the succession. If Tiberius died first, there was every chance of power passing to one of Caesarion's biological sons, all of whom were fast approaching manhood. Her eldest grandsons - Tiberillus and Germanicus - were barely entering adolescence and decidedly secondary, in everyone's calculations, to the Emperor's own sons. Livia was therefore eager to shore up her own position, in the hope of accruing greater legitimacy to her blood heirs in their future bids for supreme power.
Upon their arrival in Rome obliging Senators sought to have Livia named Genetrix Orbis, a suitably grandiose honour on level with Caesarion's latest, pointing to her as progenitor of the "world" - the Roman Empire - or more literally, the progenitor of its future rulers. Tiberius himself blocked the Senatorial resolution to offer her that title, urging restraint in the granting of such honours to women. Most likely he spoke on Caesarion's behalf (or at least with his consent), though the Emperor probably preferred to avoid denying his wife honours publicly. It was instead decided to name her Mater Patriae - "mother of the fatherland" - both for her own manifold good works (not least the assassination of the tyrannical dictator Publicola, her own ex-husband) and the array of virtues she was popularly considered to possess in abundance, as for the two illustrious sons she had given the Republic: Tiberius and Drusus, the two of them consuls multiple times and conquerors of Germania.
She was first acclaimed as such at the re-dedication of the Temple of Concordia, one of her and Tiberius' own personal building projects. She got her wish when at the year's Liberalia her grandson Tiberillus changed into the toga virilis, the garb of manhood. He received the same honours as had previously been granted the Emperor's sons Ptolemy, Isidorus, Caius and Aurelius Maecenas (this last one in 4BC): a pontificate and introduction to the Senate, who gave him the right to attend its meetings, to attend games and banquets in the company of senators, and to hold the consulship at the age of 20. The knights acclaimed him as a princeps iuventutis and sevir turmae. With Isidorus' consulate delayed for the second year running and her other grandson Germanicus (son of Drusus) almost assured similar treatment the coming year, the Mater Patriae's year got off to a rather brilliant start.
 A lifetime of 100 or 110 years traditionally separated one game from th other. Saeculum can also mean "generation", "century", “epoch”, "age", "time".
 Years were generally named after the two consuls serving that year.
 The Aelian Law ('Lex Aelia' or Third Settlement) named Caesarion Imperator Populi Romani and Imperator Augustus, regularizing his blend of powers and prerogatives in the form of two extraordinary magistracies - one urban and one provincial.
Isidorus had better watch his back. I fear Livia, once she sees that Tiberius' succession is secured, might want to off Isidorus. Splendid update.
Indeed! Thankfully the Herodians are a fairly numerous bunch - plenty of brains to be bashed out before they die out just yet.
Awesome, glad you enjoy
Glad you think so - hope you enjoy the new one just as much
It is, but the recent Hellenistic revival will be tempered by Iranian and Indian influence as the center of power shifts from the Oxus southward. Sapadbizes won't live for ever and the succession is likely to be messy, given his lack of an adult son to succeed.
Glad you like And yes, it's time for him to grow up and be a bit savvier lest he get pushed out entirely.
Amazing updates! Perhaps the event of Caesarion's appointments can be considered the start of TTL's Pax Romana? Just a thought.
BTW, can we get a world map soon?
Awesome update! I too think a world map would be very helpful.
I third the suggestion of a world map. It would be cool to see Caesarion's Roman Empire, Alexander Helios' Persian Empire and Sapadbizes' semi-Hellenized Yuzehi Empire.
Lovely update! I fourth the request for a map and concur that Isidorus is gonna need to protect himself from Livia. Maybe he should appeal to dearest grandmother Cleopatra? After all I can't think of a better woman to go toe to toe with Livia. Can't wait for the next update!
You know it would be interesting if Tiberius, goaded on by Livia, would seek to strip Isidorus of his citizenship and declare him an enemy of the Republic. Out of desperation, Isidorus goes on a purge of Roman officials in the east, putting his own men in the Council of Asia and declares himself Pharaoh and King of Kings. East vs West!
As for Caesarion, well perhaps there would be an attempt on his life.
I agree with the general sentiment here that Isidorus is in hot water...
I kinda find Cesarions sinking into decadence and blatant disregard for everything hes done kinda....odd and rapid....a guy like this whose spent his entire life making sure he gained power and made sure to keep control over it, whilst placating people without diminishing himself, to suddenly become this....just doesn't feel right
Ask and ye shall receive: a world map, 1AD.
Note how the Arabia is post the departure of the Romans and Bactrians:
- the interior (Nafud desert and trade routes to Mesopotamia) and Red Sea seaboard (Arabia Lathrippa) are under Nabataean sway, as far south as Saba
- Hadramut and Qataban (Arabia Felix) and Gerrha are still claimed by Rome but de facto independent under native rule
- Mezene and Arabia Bactriana were abandoned by Sapadbizes' Indo-Bactrians in favour of the Parthians, who have so far not made good their claim
The Satavahana Empire tentatively recognized Sapadbizes' overlordship but this was nothing more than lip service (to allow the two to tear apart the Kanva), hence its not represented as a vassal here.
It was tempting to stretch Sapadbizes' dominion to the encounter of the Chinese but I don't like space filling empires (is that the term?). I've added in the trade stops in the region so you can pretty much make out the Silk Road routes from Samarcanda-Toshknt and Taxila-Peshawar northward and across into Chine's protectorates and then along the Hexi Corridor to China itself. You can imagine these places as independent but very much subject to the influence (cultural, economic, politic) of the two great Empires they're sandwiched between.
Thanks guys Map's up. It's noteworthy to point out that the Senate is counting Caesarion's rule from when he defied the majority of the Senate and was acclaimed as ruler by his legions (and allied Senators who fled to his side), and not from when he received tribunician authority or imperium proconsulare or the name 'Augustus'. Presumably the Pax Augusta would date from either this moment or from the defeat of Publicola and Corvinus three years later.
It's true things aren't looking great for Isidorus but he's not without supporters of his own, even in the West - his mother is a Caecilia, his wife an Aemilia. His grandfather Atticus governs Spain with control of a single legion (still enough to make some noise..), and one of his brothers-in-law was consul last year (and thus has government of one of the Senatorial provinces in the geographical heart of the Empire).
I think of it as a mix of factors. A mid-life crisis, the psychological burden of being an idol (see also: Britney Spears), living god and ruler of all, seeing enemies and daggers in every corner, at the same time having accomplished it all...having won and conquered...having marched everywhere from the desert sands of Arabia and Nubia to the forests beyond the Alps and the mountains of Mauretania. Dude's tired. He has no one to tell him 'no'; actually, he is surrounded by people (enablers) who have everything to gain from him not being on his A-game.
To me though, those factors would make him see the danger of what Livias being up too...or at least get another faction to attempt to make him see...i just hope we dont see the complete self destruction that we saw in many other otl emperors....especially where shes concerned
I don't know, I see it as his Ptolemaic blood showing....
Wow, the sheer size of Sapadbizes' empire is....surprising. I never actually realized it was that large until now. Superb map btw.
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