An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Basileus444, Apr 30, 2015.

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  1. Βοανηργές Well-Known Member

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    Essentially, tack on to that the fact that scientists ITTL are more curious and lucky and thus discoveries are made a few years earlier than IOTL. Collaboration between English and French scientists in King's Harbour inspire a few people. Check out the bookmark of The Era of Mad Geniuses for a more comprehensive read.
     
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  2. Christian Well-Known Member

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    You know, if classical liberalism were to ever emerge ITTL, in whatever form it takes, I wonder how they're gonna explain Rhomania, I mean it seems to be a refutation of all the arguments they have, its a functioning and prosperous absolute monarchy who loathes free trade and the government has significant influence on the economy yet it has stood as one of the premier powers of the world for more than a millenia.

    Oh, and I wonder if there's gonna be any western predictions of Rhomania falling, citing that its protectionist and absolutist attitude is gonna kill it, there would be a lot yet it still hasn't happened
     
  3. Albert Blake Gott Mit Uns

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    You mean like how OTL China was described as on the brink of collapse (still is now) throughout the Cold War.
     
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  4. Christian Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, would the Roman Gordon Chang be named Basil Smith or something?
     
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  5. Cryostorm Monthly Donor

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    I don't know if they can truly break the Ottomans long term, I mean if Germany could bounce back from the Thirty Years War then the it takes a lot more than mass death and destruction to permanently break an empire. That is why Rhomania appears intent on grabbing the defensible land in upper Mesopotamia and the Syrian Desert, so they can be in a position of strength to where the Ottomans write off the Mediterranean.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  6. Evilprodigy Evil Overlord of NWCG Donor

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    The theoretical maximum reasonable extent of the Roman state's expansion eastwards is to the edge of the Zagros Mountains. That was the maximum eastern limit of the Roman Empire under Trajan, the Ottoman Empire after 1555, and every other state that attempted to expand eastwards out of Mesopotamia. Even Saddam Hussein wasn't able to punch through the Zagros with modern technology. The only cases where this massive barrier was breached by a polity west of Persia was under Alexander the Great and the Arabs. The former due to persistence uncharacteristic of most kings (and lots of crushing victories in a short period) and the later due to the preceding destructive Byzantine-Sassanid wars over a century long and the perfect situation in the Arab world to both begin a rapid conquest and maintain it, as Yemeni Arabs had already migrated into much of the Levant a century earlier since the Marib Dam was breached and collapsed local agriculture.

    The Romans thus won't be able to completely annihilate the Ottomans to the extent the Ottomans did the Byzantines but they could certainly, with colossal effort, neuter them. Persian polities have difficult exerting influence outside the Iranian Plateau. the same mountains that provide defence from the outside hamper and constrain economic development, trade, and communication from within and without the plateau. Should the Ottomans somehow end up in a situation of exhaustion while the Romans are not a capture of Mesopotamia is possible but holding it against an unwilling subject population of Arabs, Kurds, and Turks will be far too much for the Romans to handle long term. Still, it is possible to set up a puppet state or otherwise separate Mesopotamia from the Iranian Plateau. Conquest of the Hedjaz however is much more reasonable, as Egyptian and Syrian polities did so repeatedly during the Middle Ages. However the last time the Romans did that it evoked tremendous response from the Islamic World and strengthened the position of the Ottomans as defenders of Islam. For the same reason a puppet state or otherwise propped up friendly local polity to serve as a Papal States for Islam is more beneficial to the Romans than to directly seize Islamic legitimacy for themselves. I also do not believe they ever could, as the title of Caliph can't be held by a Roman Emperor unless they became Muslim which would never happen without the rest of the empire rebelling.
     
  7. Curtain Jerker Well-Known Member

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    I don't think the Romans want to completely shatter the Ottomans even if they could, which as @Cryostorm pointed out they may not be able to. This is from the post explaining D3's logic in the truce with the Ottomans in 1634. (Bolded is my emphasis)

    So it stands to reason that while Rome will likely achieve gains in this upcoming war (adding Mosul and restoring Jerusalem and Damascus to Roman rule) they won't utterly shatter the Ottomans. Plus Odysseus is close friends with Iskander the Younger. We've seen in a past update where Iskander the Younger has taken to learning with an emphasis on Roman economic practices. He's set up nicely to be the Shah after Ibrahim gets killed.

    I can see a scenario where Iskander the Younger takes over the Ottomans and implements some of the same economic/administrative reforms that the Romans use. Problem is he has to walk a fine line - if he's viewed as too much of a Roman puppet he won't last as Shah but if he's too independent the Romans may feel the need to smack him around. Perhaps a campaign or two in the East will help focus the Ottomans away from Rome?

    So yeah, I don't see the Romans completely shattering the Ottomans - not when they can just install a friendly ruler on the throne and call it a day.
     
  8. RogueTraderEnthusiast Winner: WillamOfOckham "Most AH.com Title" 2018

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    I'd like to add to this

    1) Zagros - you're entirely right regarding Constantinople, but there is Georgia to consider. They could enter from the north, and whilst I doubt they could conquer Persia (go them for trying though), they could set up a strong frontier, or Roman-allied buffer state in the north west that Georgia and Consantinople can support to prevent a Persia secure enough to march west. Short of a strong ally helping Persia break that client.

    2) Caliph. I'm curious as to whether you think the Caliph could become a Civil office inside the Empire (note: not explicitly an Imperial Office). Perhaps as a method to assist in keeping the peace if the Romans did take a lot of Muslim territory. A Caliph in Constantinople responsible for keeping the peace could be a savvy move.

    3) Marib. This needs to be rebuilt. I wonder how effective a swathe of monsoon dams would be for Roman rule in Arabia. On one hand it'd help the locals and create new population centres, but would it cause immigration from elsewhere in the Empire that could lead to conflict?
     
  9. boringasian Member

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    I can imagine some political cartoon in the future comparing the better integrated and represented people of overseas despotates to the over abused/exploited peoples in latin colonies with no representation of their interests. Like comparing an actual member of the family who is raised properly and getting more involved in the family business as they get older, to some poor sod that is constantly abused, disowned, is only allowed to labour unpaid in the family business and frequently having their stuff seized by their abusive family.

    At the danger of sounding soppy (since excessively paternalistic policies are pretty patronising), I could imagine the "children" of the roman empire (mainly off shore asian and maybe even some african despotates) becoming exasperated as the policy of defending colonies seems to be enduring a serious confrontation in Europe, the result being they have to watch the head of the household get the life kicked out of them now and again to ensure their safety. I could imagine the narrative for a more federated empire, akin to the more mature and concerned children taking up more responsibilities in the family business so that the head of the household can take some days off, not work themselves to death and bask in the fruit of well raised and responsible children looking out for the family business as trusted seconds in command.
     
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  10. Evilprodigy Evil Overlord of NWCG Donor

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    Honestly it is 100% plausible for Georgia to conquor Iran and become the new Persian polity. At least until the Muslims throw them out.

    The Safavids conquered Iran from a power base right where the Georgians are which was both smaller and not held for nearly as long. They too were foreign invaders (Turks) with a different religion (Shia) but were able to manage the creation of a new Persian polity. The differences are more extreme, however, as Turkic peoples had ruled in Iran since the Seljuks and the difference between Shia and Sunni is less than Orthodox Christian and Sunni, but there is some historical precedent that as state geographically situated where Georgia is could conquor Iran.

    It is unlikely to occur, however, for the reasons listed above but it would not be difficult for the Georgians to break away the Azeris as far south as Tabriz from the Persians and act as a suitable threat to the Iranian Plateau to keep Persia either A) Cowed or B) Similar to French Revanchism for the return of Alsace-Lorraine.

    I think a Caliph would not be considered legitimate if it was not an independent entity. However, the Mamluk Sultans were able to do that for the Abbasid Caliphs who they kept as puppets in Cairo. But Sunnis keeping Sunni puppet Caliphs would be different from a Caliph under control of an Orthodox Christian Roman Emperor.

    Your proposal would work better not so much for a Caliph but more along the lines of an analogue to the OTL Ottoman offices for the religious minorities in the Empire as part of the millet system. The Hakham Bashi of Constantinople was considered the overall religious head of the Jews within the empire, the Ecumenical Patriach the head of Orthodox Christians, and the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople the head of Oriental Christians. Each one had broad reaching ability to legislate for justice while Muslims were overseen by the Grand Mufti of Constantinople who served at the pleasure of the Ottoman Emperor as Caliph.

    The Romans could have a Grand Mufti fill the role you describe and probably already do somewhere but the office would need to be formalized to become part of the Roman administrative apparatus. The only way to ensure peaceable relations with minority religious communities, per historic precedent, is to not interfere with their religious law (Christian Canon, Islamic Sharia, Jewish Halakha, etc.) and let them legislate for themselves. People just don't like having values imposed on them. Personally given the antagonism the Romans have towards their Islamic populations I don't think they would be willing to formally allow that sort of legal concession and would prefer to keep everything state controlled no matter how much the Muslims may complain about their religious law being violated. Orthodox communities will likely complain just as much as Catholics did IOTL when canon law was violated but that won't stop the Romans from trying to keep state control of the courts. If they won't grant legal autonomy to the Greek Orthodox Church, they won't grant it to the Muslims.

    Funnily enough the dam wasn't rebuilt until the 1980s I think, and by one of the tribes forced to Emigrate due to the collapse of the Yemeni water system. Again I think.

    It'd be possible to rebuild it and increase local agricultural potential and this economic value of the territory but the social outcome of it would be more up to B444's narrative desire. Large migrations of Heartlanders to the region is possible but right now would be unlikely, as the depopulated Levant is much closer to home.

    Something that could be more interesting to the Romans is to leverage their high capital and soft power resources to rebuild the dam, and other pieces of local infrastructure, as a sort of foreign aid package/bribe. There is potential to retain ownership of said infrastructure for a joint-stock company of some sort in Constantinople similar to the Suez Canal Company of OTL which could pull incomes from Arabia to Constantinople. Foreign ownership of a vital piece of local infrastructure could force locals to tow the Roman line politically, assuming they even bother letting the Romans keep ownership and don't just nationalize the thing. Threat of Roman reprisal would prevent it, as was the case for most foreign-owned assets that were nationalized IOTL, but only so long as that threat is high and the need to nationalize low. It could also breed unnecessary antagonism so the pros and cons would have to be weighted by whoever decides to take up the challenge of rebuilding the extensive and sophisticated network of dams and irrigation that characterized pre-Islamic Yemen.
     
  11. Evilprodigy Evil Overlord of NWCG Donor

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    It's likely that the Despotates will be providing a framework in the far future for independent and closely allied states to the Romans similar to the current positions of Wallachia and Georgia. Maybe even a little more closer than them due to shared history, similar to the present relationship between the UK and its now independent Dominions and colonies who have some titular additional friendships such as referring to diplomatic missions between them as 'High Commissions' rather than as Embassies.
     
  12. Cryostorm Monthly Donor

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    Especially since the modus operandi seems to be pacifying their borders by setting up semi-friendly states around them, after getting the borders defensible of course. While the Ottoman/Persians will never be made a vassal/satellite state they do have the possibility of being a more friendly or neutral rival if both states, and probably Georgia, come to mutual understanding of the borders in the Mesopotamia region and Arabia. If done right Rhomania can ensure peace on most of her land borders for the next century at least which will help a lot with allowing to put more money and focus on Rhomania in the East.
     
  13. Cryostorm Monthly Donor

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    Well Georgia is definitely going for most of the lands they lost the last go around, the Trans-Aras lands. That along with what Rhomania is taking in Mesopotamia will put the almost entirety, and maybe all, of the Kurdish people in the two states. If done right they can become very loyal border regions and make it difficult for the Ottomans to consider a western offensive.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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  14. Curtain Jerker Well-Known Member

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    I'm not 100% sold on this part actually. The Georgians didn't join the campaign against the Ottomans in 1622 because they had spent a ton of time/money fortifying the new border and decided the Trans-Arras lands weren't worth the time and blood to reconquer. They still may have that mentality.

    Now, a lot of that might have been because Iskander the Great was on the Ottoman throne and the Georgians didn't really want to tangle with him after he'd so thoroughly beaten then at Astara to win those lands in the first place. With a less competent Shah on the throne the Georgians may decide now is the time to get those lands back.
     
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  15. Frame Member

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    I made a (very rough) world map to help me keep track of what’s going on in the world as the story continues. Is there anything major that I’m missing or passed over?
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Frame Member

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    Also please feel free to make the borders look less awful because I really have no idea what I’m doing here
     
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  17. Cryostorm Monthly Donor

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    Well earlier I mentioned that Rhomania may want to go for it to have all of Classical Armenia and hit the Caspian but B444 mentioned that Georgia would be going back for this land.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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  18. Curtain Jerker Well-Known Member

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    Ah, duly noted. Would likely be far easier for the Romans to take the Trans-Aras and just give it back to Georgia than annex it outright for themselves.
     
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  19. Trevayne Well-Known Member

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    My apologies if you are already doing this, but perhaps combine the two. Use multi quote to assemble all the items you want to respond to and then copy the whole set of quotes into a word document. Then you can comment on each one at your leisure over a couple of days and then copy the entire document, both quotes and comments back into a post.
     
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  20. Raiyleigh Active Member

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    Rhomani could divide Mesoptima into puppet states where it would be easier to influence the region and keeping the Ottomans out, if not possible to hold onto all of Mesoptima. The possible states are the Kurdish, Assyrian, Arab Sunni/Shia. (Any Turks would probably be removed from the area or converted)
    They could have the rest of the Assyrians under control and could use them to prompt up an Assyrian Neostrian/Orthodox state based in Mosul/Niverah (A repeat of what Coptics did in Egypt could happen), the same be for the Kurdish majority areas. ((These areas are the most likely the ones where Rhomani could keep possibly))
     
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