Alexandrian China

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by WilyBadger, Jun 9, 2006.

  1. WilyBadger Proud Phoenician!

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    Would there have been a way for Alexander to wind up as Emperor of China? Presumably he would have had to take care of India along the way, but I'm not as up on Alex as I ought to be. Anyone have any ideas?
     
  2. Keenir Banned

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    His father doesn't defect from the service of the Persian Emperor, and Alexander gets sent to China to cement good relations between the two empires...Alexander seizes control of one of the warring states (was Alexander's time during or after the Warring States period?), and becomes Emperor of China.

    how's that?
     
  3. NFR Kanadskiy Namestnik

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    It was the warring states period.

    But, what relations with China? THere was some trade links but relations? No, that has to wait until the Han's missions to Central Asia, in two centuries' time.

    That said, that was actually one of the only plausible way for Alexander to wind up as Emperor of China, and he'd be first emperor, of course. China otherwise is just too far away and too well-organised. Gibbon's scenario was just laughable. The Warring States Chinese ain't no Persians...
     
  4. Wendell Wendell

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    What impact might Alexander, and his presumably Heleno-Persian court have on China and Chinese culture?
     
  5. WilyBadger Proud Phoenician!

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    Hellenic China... there's an interesting image. I'm imagining they'd have quite a HUGE impact, though I can't begin to guess what.
     
  6. NFR Kanadskiy Namestnik

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    Assuming he didn't just get swallowed up. And it would be 'Hellenistic' China, not 'Hellenic' China, which would be impossible.
     
  7. WhatIsAUserName Professional Catatonic

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    Has the idea of the "Mandate of Heaven" come up yet? If it has, it might pacify the other conquered states for a while (it helped the Manchus for a while).
     
  8. NFR Kanadskiy Namestnik

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    That wasn't one concept, that was the evolution of a long series of related concepts. And if by 'help' you mean it reduced the time to pacify China to a mere fifty years, than you would be correct.

    It was present in a form at that time yes. And the Qin Dynasty still lasted less than two decades.. the problem with the 'mandate of heaven' is that there is no universally approved 'mandate dispensation office'... when things go wrong, people begin to assume you've lost it, assuming the admit you had it in the first place.

    Finally, don't assume Alexander could have seized power and conquered the rest of the states automatically.. he was great general, but he also had had luck and circumstance on his side. It was for instance not altogether clear he could have done as well if he turned towards Carthage and Rome. And the same can be said of China. It was not called 'warring states' for no reason, and it saw many great generals and strategists. The Art of War and many works considered to be of similar utility by the Chinese and some since lost was written prior or during that period. Chinese political system was also cut-throat and intricate. It is no vice inevitable that even a genius such as Alexander could have learnt quickly enough to gain power and destroy the other states.
     
  9. WhatIsAUserName Professional Catatonic

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    Maybe it may be more successful if you look way back. Maybe Greece continues its scientific discoveries uninterrupted, and an extremely advanced Macedonian army and fleet succeed in conquering China, which is at the time, less advanced.

    Remember the old adage : "United We Stand." And the Warring States period was a snakeden of shifting alliances. It would be a lot easier for Alexander if he picks them off one at a time, till the rest learn to either ally with him or against him.
     
  10. Keenir Banned

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    First off, I agree that China, even in its fractured state(s!) at the time, would not be a pushover for a soldier sent over from Persia.

    what comes to mind is that Socrates' and Confucius' teachings may either compete or become allied schools of philosophy.


    Of course, that assumes that the Greeks are united when they do anything -- even with the Persians knocking on their collective door, many Greek city-states still went to war against other Greek city-states.
     
  11. Smaug Devil's Advocate

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    What about the Asiatic rebound? Wouldn't knowledge of China's Religion, Philosophy, Science, and Organiztion(OK I was looking for 4 things), also be disseminated in Europe?

    That would be interesting, an early cultural exchange. Hell, throw Japan in there too.
     
  12. NFR Kanadskiy Namestnik

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    Hardly less advanced. Chinese bronze was the best in the world, superior in some ways to the iron weapons in use both there and in Europe. They also had an efficient army logistics system (For the ancient world), crossbows, and through contact with northern nomads, good cavalry. There is comparable ship-building, engineer, practical (though not theoretical) mathematics; superior architecture and farming.

    The Warring States Chinese were not stupid barbarians. You cannot pick them off one at a time that easily, especially if you are an outsider. As happened in that period, if one power rose too high, the others band against it. It was only until later that that mould was broken, and it took decades.

    As for united and standing... it is interesting you should say that. The Greek city states were not united. The Persian Empire was. I recommend you recall which side won... and why.
     
  13. NFR Kanadskiy Namestnik

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    Japan was literally stone age at that point.
     
  14. Smaug Devil's Advocate

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    But the Ainu would be quickly evicted to the northern Islands.
     
  15. NFR Kanadskiy Namestnik

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    Maybe, but what's that got to do with cultural exchange? There's nothing worth learning in Japan then.
     
  16. WhatIsAUserName Professional Catatonic

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    Would it have been easier had Alexander won against an internally weakened Zhou state (which was de jure in control of the country), and worked its way down from there?

    A POD needs to go way back. If you can possibly unify all of Greece and Macedonia, give it advanced technology, and succeed in immersing a complete foreigner in Chinese politics, I guess it could work. But then, it's in the realm of the ASB.
     
  17. NFR Kanadskiy Namestnik

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    Firstly, he'd have to pass through many other states, first. Secondly, Zhou was a rump having to survive on selling ancestral bronze by the warring states period (one of the main feature to divide it from the previous spring and autumn period.. nobody even pretended to venerate the Son of Heaven anymore).

    Frankly, I am not convinced that Greece would have been better of technologically unified, and even then, there just wasn't enough time between a likely timeframe and Alexander for it to be usefully more advanced than China... to say nothing of the clear and obvious problem of there not being an Alexander if you go back too far.
     
  18. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member Banned

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    Well, China was several times in its history reigned by non-Chinese.
     
  19. Martel Rewriter of History

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    First off I doubt that Alexander alone could have managed it. His victory over Persia was accomplished by the army his father built (to say nothing of the generals seasoned during his father's wars). None of these resources would be available to him in China.

    That said, assuming he could manage it, he would need some support from the local establishment, either the Moists or the the Confucians (Daoism was more of trend in Chinese thought at this point) to justify his rule. Some Hellenistic tendencies would develop in China, but they would probably be less than OTL Persia because, once again, fewer Greek and Macedonian soldiers so fewer colonists.

    I suspect he would support the Moists (universalism would be closer to his own ideals of the cosmopolis). Then the Confucians would become a rallying point of Chinese patriotism, possibly centered around the ever-dangerous state of Qin. Maybe then combined with Master Sun or one of his supporters, they could combine to destroy the Hellenist dynasty.
     
  20. Flocculencio Fabian Socialist Donor

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    The main problem is him getting there first.

    Getting from India to China isn't that easy- if you go North you've got the Himalayas and some of the worst terrain in Central Asia in your way. If You go East you have to get through Indo China which is mountainous, swampy and jungly.