Can Fragments of the Western Roman Empire Surivive?

Hi all been absent from the site for a while due to intense college work... and during my time in exams my mind often wondered to the title question. An old favourite of mine that I posed a long while back was can a Roman Kingdom flourish ( or just simply survive ) in Britannia, ofcourse it would eventually assimilate alot of local Celtic qualities due to the large un intergrated local population so that begs the question can the Romans in Britannia establish themselves as the local Elite in a somewhat feudal style? And can they hold it together long enough to fight off the Angles and the Saxons or would their interest in the Isles be blown away by butterflies?

Another area that intrigues me is the Iberian peninsula, it has the natural fortification of the Pyrinees... furthermore it has a decent population ( as far as im aware ) that is generally completely Romanised so can the Legions hold the Mountains?? So if Iberia can hold out what would its future be, a vasal of Byzantium or an entirely new ofshoot that will try to win back the western mediterranean trade and dominate Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily as defendable islands from the Barbarians... or will it maintain a hold on North Africa from Morocco to Tunisia?

Other potential survivors I believe are the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and the Balearic islands... perhaps developing into Kingdoms/Duchies unto themselves, or Republics most likely under vassalage to Byzantium ( who reconquered them OTL ) or to my hypothosized Iberian state - this leads to a question would Byzantium and Iberia quarel over the vassalage of these islands or might they even for into some sort of confederation of islands?

Another possibility is can Italia herself hold on, holding the barbarians at the alps?

I apologise if this sort of thread has come up before, I did try finding other existing threads to no avail ( apart from ones of the entire western roman empire as a whole or a large chunk, e.g lack Britannia and sometimes Gaul aswell... )
 
Hrm. We always see "Byzantium Survives" timelines on here, sometimes a "Rome Survives" timeline, but I don't think I've ever seen something quite like this.

The idea is definitely interesting. Romanized Iberia or Britannia holding on to it's Roman Culture, Government, Religion, etc. and becoming a Byzantium of the West, so to speak.

I can't imagine Italia would be able to hold out. Rome was where all the barbarians were headed. The big prize, so to speak, where all the wealth and loot was.

Personally, I'm more for seeing some way that Iberia survives and turns into a sort of Neo-Romano-Carthage sort of state, which eventually ends up in conflict with Byzantium.
 
When I read this thread, I thought of the last bit of the Western Empire to fall... The kingdom that was ruled by Syagrius before he was defeated by the Franks under Clovis. If Syagrius wins, he might be able to protect the lands under his control and create a Kingdom of the Romans in Gaul/France.
 
Personally, I'm more for seeing some way that Iberia survives and turns into a sort of Neo-Romano-Carthage sort of state, which eventually ends up in conflict with Byzantium.
Yes it would be intriguing, what would fascinate me is what sort of national identities would spring up over time... Latin Speaking Iberian Romans, Byzantine Greco Romans etc etc

So to the true Roman buffs out there, would it be correct to presume that Romanised Iberia would be bolstered by an influx of Roman Citizens fleeing southern Gaul? Or did Roman Citizens stick around in Gaul under new overlords?

Furthermore, once the Iberians stabalise their position after repulsing invasion could we see them open up coordination Syagrius ( thankyou Yorel I never knew of him + his kingdom and eagerly looked up as much as I could find on the net, fascinating :) )
 
While there might have been refugees going from Gallia to Iberia or Italy at that time those will probably be aristocrats. Since this social group would have lost their land and/or wealth during and after a Germanic or nomadic invasion and settlement.

But most of the people in Gaul stayed albeit under new overlordship. The Church stayed and gained power (Enough to convert Clovis in his own interest) The civilians didnt seemed to care. Until the disturbtion of the Mediteranean (read Roman Empire) its infrastructure and trade routes during the dark ages. (Including the rise of Feudalism) Thanks to the Islamic invasions (Though these where rebuilded afterwards)

Until that time there wouldnt have been a reason for the civilians to leave. Their taxes where often lower than during the period of Roman Ruler (due to less centralisation). This combined with the immobility of sedentary populations at the time (Well at least at the speed of movement the invaders used) makes me believe that there wont be many refugees besides the one's who can afford it and may see a benefit fleeing from Barbarian rule.
 
I actually tried to start a WI about a longer surviving Domain of Soissons or Dalmatia, but got no bites.
 
The Ostrogothic kings of Italy saw themselves as being in perfect continuity with western Rome, and it seems that "on the ground" most of the rank and file saw them in the same way. If you could keep them going longer and maybe keep Justinian out, you could reasonably keep late West Roman culture and polity alive in Italy. I'm no expert on this time and place, but maybe things could be fixed so that Theodoric has a clear, strong successor, and Just. has no opportunity to invade? Have the Ostrogothic king claim the imperial title (under Byzantine suzerainty, no doubt, certainly at first) and the rest writes itself.
 
It's a difficult one. The problem with having a "mini-Rome" is that the Germanic monarchies of OTL (apart from the Ostrogoths) all did intend to continue with proper Romanness, this is why you find Frankish and Visigothic kings writing Latin poetry and living in villas in the sixth century, for example. The reason that their states were unable to turn into miniature Roman Empires was because these monarchs were forced to parcel out their lands amongst various Germanic and Roman landholders, thus fatally weakening their own grip over it- this was something that Roman Emperors never had to do.

Once the land was parcelled out like this (the process is complete by roughly 650, helped along greatly by the plagues of the sixth century), the monarchies lose their power to raise taxes and pay for professional armies, and with the loss of a taxation based state, you lose the ability to continue to pay for Romanness. The land becomes increasingly warlike, as various aristocrats squabble over their inheritance, and countryside villas are abandoned in favour of millitary fortifications, and aristocrats who begin to focus entirely on sticking near to the court. If you add in things like the Frankish tendency to split the monarchy between sons, all of this means a microcosm of the Roman Empire is very difficult to pull off.
 
It's a difficult one. The problem with having a "mini-Rome" is that the Germanic monarchies of OTL (apart from the Ostrogoths) all did intend to continue with proper Romanness, this is why you find Frankish and Visigothic kings writing Latin poetry and living in villas in the sixth century, for example. The reason that their states were unable to turn into miniature Roman Empires was because these monarchs were forced to parcel out their lands amongst various Germanic and Roman landholders, thus fatally weakening their own grip over it- this was something that Roman Emperors never had to do.

Once the land was parcelled out like this (the process is complete by roughly 650, helped along greatly by the plagues of the sixth century), the monarchies lose their power to raise taxes and pay for professional armies, and with the loss of a taxation based state, you lose the ability to continue to pay for Romanness. The land becomes increasingly warlike, as various aristocrats squabble over their inheritance, and countryside villas are abandoned in favour of millitary fortifications, and aristocrats who begin to focus entirely on sticking near to the court. If you add in things like the Frankish tendency to split the monarchy between sons, all of this means a microcosm of the Roman Empire is very difficult to pull off.
Yes, but did that process happen in all fragments of Roman Empire equally?

As of year 600, who was most Roman and had most of the taxing power and professional armies left, among the pieces like Gwynedd of Iago ap Beli, Kent of Aethelberht, Austrasia of Theudebert II, Visigoth Kingdom of Reccared, Lombard Italy of Agilulf and East Roman Empire of Maurice?

Asking the same question again in year 710, who was most Roman - Gwynedd of Idwal Iwrch, Mercia of Ceolred, Austrasia of Pepin of Heristal and Childebert III, Visigoth Kingdom of Roderic, Lombard Kingdom of Aribert II, Roman Empire of Justinian II or Caliphate of al-Walid I?

Which were the historic reasons some pieces kept more Roman-ness, and some kept less?
 
The process did happened more or less equally throughout the Frankish and Visigothic realms from about 550 onwards. Obviously, it happened much more quickly in Britain, but 5th century Britain's about a "worse case scenario" for the collapse of Roman rule, it's matched only by the 7th century Balkans. Elsewhere, the new rulers, whether Germanic or Arab had a strong Roman base to build on, they just did things differently.

The historic reasons for "keeping Romanness" involve a variety of factors, including dynastic stability, the relative strength of the Church, the wealth of Roman lands, and the ability and will to systematically tax. The reason many Germanic monarchs dropped this taxation was to boost their popularity amongst the conquered Roman populations, who were quite happy with their new masters and the lightness of taxation (witness the protests against the restoration of Roman rule in the West, particuarly in Africa, after the 530s).

The whole process of "Roman collapse" is a long and difficult one, but it's important to consider governmental issues, as well as political ones. It seems that those states which continued with the late Roman bureaucracy (the Ostrogoths, at least prior to the Gothic Wars, the East Romans, and Arabs) managed to remain "civilised" and centralised, while those that did not bother transformed gradually into the post Roman states of the West. To consider this though, it's important to look at the full spread of the period 350-750.
 
I notice that only I discussed the Lombards.

By 530, Italy of Amalasuntha was more civilized and Roman than Frankish Gaul, Visigoth Spain or Vandal Africa, but less so than Roman Empire of Justinian. Then Italy was disrupted by Gothic wars, followed by Lombard conquest. And the Lombards were not so inclined to take over Italy as a going concern - after just six years, they dropped the position of king and split their conquests between dukes.

Let us suppose that we butterfly away the Gothic Wars. Athalaric does not die age 18, and there is no civil war giving Justinian pretext or opportunity to invade. Athalaric with help of his mother Amalasuntha do not want to rock the boat and kill the goose laying golden eggs.

No Gothic Wars. What would Ostrogoth Italy look like when Athalaric dies of natural causes age 70 in 586 or so?
 
No Gothic Wars. What would Ostrogoth Italy look like when Athalaric dies of natural causes age 70 in 586 or so?
Difficult to extrapolate what it would've been like. We don't know, for example, what effect the Justinianic Plague would've had on the social structures of Gothic Italy, or whether the Goths would've abandoned Arianism or not. But I think there's a decent chance Italy would've been stable and prosperous- and remember Gothic "Italy" also includes the Alps, Provence, Pannonia and Illyria. The ERE will also likely be in a much better shape, without having to fight costly wars in Italy and with much shorter borders to defend.
 
I admit I know almost nothing about this period, but it does strike me as interesting how similar Iberia and byzantium would look.

operating on the assumption that Iberia controls morocco: both are bi-continental states with narrow straits seperating their territory, they would be located at opposite ends of the mediterreanean sea, morocco and anatolia are geographically similar, for that matter so are greece and the costa del sol, both are in position to be dominant maritme powers, they represent the easternmost and westernmost holdings of the old empire, and some other things that don't come to mind at the moment.

it also occurs to me that another surviving roman fragment might lead to more unity within the other states of europe during this period.
 
I've come across a rather interesting article in a relatively recent Current Archaeology magazine that suggests that Wales and Cornwall remained more romanised long into the Saxon period, a fact that Edward I picked up on by building Caernarvon Castle in the style of the walls of Constantinople.
 
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