Britannia - Could it survive the bane of the western roman empire?

Hey, being new to the forum but for a long time wanting to write a alternate timeline I thought I should test the waters by proposing a few key ideas in my timeline which i'd love to write for you all.

The POD is to take place during or just after the reign of Emperor Trajan, the tribes of Germania pour out into Gaul a few centuries early and head straight for Tarraconensis. However northern France although pilaged and raped of its dignity has a choice whilst it still stands, sit tight and wait for word from the south to spread words of victory against the invaders ( which won't happen ) or to evacuate... to Britannia which has been completely ignored.

What i'd like to know is could Britannia sustain Roman culture by itself with the rest of western europe overwhelmed by barbarians, I know the Romans were usually pretty good at assimalating peoples ( generally ) into their own culture, this ofcourse would be helped by numbers of Romans fleeing from northern France/

Also, would this nation realistically assimilate the population or rule over it ( since natives of Britain frequently rebelled )? Both could create a interesting storyline.

Thanks all

Wiggles

P.S I won't be back til sunday so please get the creative juices going in my absence. Also I apologise if this idea has already existed and I will cease to pursue this idea.
 

Philip

Donor
the tribes of Germania pour out into Gaul a few centuries early and head straight for Tarraconensis.
Not sure I buy this. There were many tribes looking out for themselves. Why ignore all the other nice land?

or to evacuate... to Britannia which has been completely ignored.
Who is evacuating? The ruling elite? The military? The whole population?

I think the third option is rather impossible, there are just too many people. The first is possible, but may not help the Romano-British. Much of the wealth of the elite is tied up in their lands -- not very portable. The second option is possible, but probably damaging to the Romano-British. I don't know if Britain can financially support the arriving forces -- they might go rogue.

What i'd like to know is could Britannia sustain Roman culture by itself with the rest of western europe overwhelmed by barbarians,
No. Romano-British culture could easily survive and continue to evolve. You will not, however, get a Roman Empire in exile.

I know the Romans were usually pretty good at assimalating peoples ( generally ) into their own culture, this ofcourse would be helped by numbers of Romans fleeing from northern France/
How many people are you expecting to make the crossing? Mass migrations take a long time.

Also, would this nation realistically assimilate the population or rule over it ( since natives of Britain frequently rebelled )? Both could create a interesting storyline.
Keep in mind that the Romans might bring over some barbarian confederates with them at some point to help keep any rebellions under control. This could cause long term damage to the Romano-British culture.
 
1) Problem: The Germanic tribes in Trajan's reign were nowhere near organised enough to pose a serious threat to the frontier. The defenses, even stripped of much of the heavy striking power in the shape of legionary vexillations, would be more than adequate to repel the few warbands that would come across. Unless you have an early POD in mind that affects Germanic ethnogenesis (Arminius Rex, anyone? - it worked for the Marcomanni) or Roman military deployments, this would be a spesctacularly improbable turn of events.

2) Sustainability: pretty much not in a recognisable form, unfortunately. Romano-British culture depends on outside prestige (there is no point emulating Rome if there is no Rome to reward you for it), outside capital (troops and veterans - the province was heavily overmilitarised), outside expertise (importing luxury and high-tech goods) and outside contacts (exporting much of its agricultural surplus and metals). Woithout a Rome to refer to, the military presence is unsustainable, which will have political implications. Perhaps the legions and auxiliary forces turn their commanders into local rulers or they decide to walk away from a job that no longer pays, or maybe they get withdrawn to the continent except for skeleton garrisons that local power structures coopt. At the time there are probably no military structures outside the Roman army, but you will see sort-of-paramilitary bodies in the civitates that could take over guard duties and law enforcement for a while. The problem, is that there is no unified command. I can#t see the provionce holding together once the first serious disagreements happen. There still is a real tribal identity and a functioning aristocracy, so the fuel is right there. Not to mention the 'outsiders' looking in. I would argue that in terms of threat level and military resources, Britain is under far greater threat than Gaul at this point.
 

Philip

Donor
1) Problem: The Germanic tribes in Trajan's reign were nowhere near organised enough to pose a serious threat to the frontier.
Hmm. I mis-read that part of the OP. I was thinking the POD was in Trajan's time, but that the Germanic tribes arrived per OTL schedule.
 
Thankyou both of you, you have given me much to consider. First of all i'll deal with my vision of evacuation, my understanding would be as was mentioned that the Elite and Military come first and would evacuate to Britannia, they would not stay back in norther modern day France, where they lack leadership and coordination because of being cut off from Rome, the tribes are pushing attrition northwards so its logical to hop the channel for a more clearer defence. As for the general population, they either stay or make for Britannia by their own meens of transportation.

As for the reason for the tribes making an attack 200 years or so early, well my idea for a point of divergence is perhaps the heir after trajan decides to instead of giving up mesopotamia because the empires over stretched he insists on bringing in more legions to hold it believing in the value of the economic region. Along with this perhaps a few insults are thrown at the Germanic tribes, an excursion or two up the danube and the rhine? Along with that they see the new weakness in Roman lines?

Also I did not at any point believe Roman culture would survive as a Roman Empire in exile, what I personally like for more timeline is for the most important cities is to become military run towns, Londinium ofcourse being the capital, eventually there should be a balance of power with the legions effectively controlling modern day England and southern Wales but clashing with a senate.


Basically for the first installments I wish to deal with the scourge, the wrestling for power amongst the factions, the indiginous population and a few other things...

Wiggles
 
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