Different Movements of the Huns and the Alternate Fall of Rome

Different Movements of the Huns and the Alternate Fall of Rome

A while back, while browsing some of the older threads, looking for alternate ideas for the fall of Rome, I came upon this thread, started by Hermanubis. I was inspired by the map, and after seeking his permission, decided to create a timeline (in paragraph form) for it, although with several slight changes. Of these, the most important is the slight shifting of borders in the east, and the preservation of the entire Western Roman Empire in the west. As I am not yet finished, this portion of the timeline only depicts the events ranging from just before the Point of Divergence to the creation of the new Vandal state in Egypt. Enjoy:

Original Map Created by Hermanubis:

Alternate Fall of Rome.PNG

Point of Divergence: Different Movements of the Huns: Anno Domini CCCLXXXI (A.D. 381)

The mounting power of the Huns beginning in A.D. 370, brought many tribes, most notably the Ostrogoths, under their suzerainty, and forced others, such as the Visigoths and Vandals, to flee southwards into the Roman Empire for protection. The Visigoths, under their leader, Fritigern, petitioned the Eastern Roman Emperor Valens to be allowed to settle to the south of the Danube, a border impassable (as of yet) to the Huns of A.D. 376. The Visigoths were mistreated; however, and facing death by starvation as their only alternative, they embarked upon a campaign of plunder and looting, during which they defeated a large Eastern Roman army at Andrianople (killing the Emperor Valens) in A.D. 378. Following this battle, they were able to roam throughout the east at will and devastated Greece and the Balkans.

By A.D. 381, the destruction wrought by the Visigoths had become intolerable to the Emperors of Rome and so a large army was dispatched by the Western Empire, headed by the Emperor Gratian, to forever end the barbarian’s transgression. Upon nearing Greece, however, word of a new attack, a major Hunnic breakthrough across the Danube, reached the Emperor’s ears and so it was that the Western Army was rerouted to counter this new, deadly threat. The Huns and their vassals had crossed the river and were marching upon the fertile fields and rich trading cities of Italy, plundering all that lay in their path. In the feverish battle that followed, the Western Army, formerly destined for the Balkans, was successful in defeating the Hunnic invasion, however, both sides suffered heavy losses and in the case of the Empire, the loss of a leader as well. The Emperor Gratian had died in a cavalry charge led by the Huns. Consequently, the Visigoths were neither defeated nor appeased and so the Eastern Emperor could do little but watch as they surged throughout the Eastern European provinces, spreading chaos and destruction. The West was too badly shaken by the death of Gratian to be of any assistance; Valentinian II, a boy of ten, had inherited sovereignty of the entire Western Empire, and a power struggle for control of the throne quickly ensued. Darkness was everywhere spreading.

In the years following Gratian’s defeat of the Huns, both halves of the Empire were rendered unstable. In the east, the Visigoths slowly began to settle amongst the people they had formerly terrorized, establishing their new kingdom in the southern half of the Praetorian Prefecture of Illyricum, with its capital at Athens. Unable to destroy the new barbarian kingdom, the Eastern Emperor Theodosius I granted the Visigoths the status of foederati and invited the Vandals, a tribe formerly inhabiting the region of Pannonia, to settle northern Thracia and Macedonia, hoping they would serve as a counterweight to the troublesome Visigoths. The Vandals, under pressure from Hunnic attacks, quickly acquiesced, and moved southwards along with their allies, the Sarmatian Alans and the Germanic Suebians, where they too were granted foederati status. In the west, revolt had flared up almost immediately following the death of the Emperor Gratian and the ascension of Valentinian II as sole Emperor of the west. Magnus Maximus, a Spaniard serving in Britain was proclaimed Emperor by his troops and attempted, unsuccessfully, to oust Valentinian II from power. The revolt was of little threat to the Empire, however, upon reaching Gaul, the usurper was defeated and pursued by Flavius Bauto, magister militum of the west, and upon capture, was promptly executed. In the following years, the Empire once again became fairly stable and a false sense of peace descended upon the realm. Justina, mother and regent of Valentinian II, died in A.D. 388, but was little missed by either the court or the people, in the former case due to her unscrupulous manipulations of the young Emperor, and in the latter, due to her fanatical Arianism. Her death was of major consequence to the Western Empire, however, for Valentinian’s lifelong idleness had ill prepared him for the task of governing an empire, and as he lacked the ability of his more talented predecessors, his ministers soon took over the administration of the west. Both halves of the empire were revealing the ominous signs of decay.

Valentinian II died in obscurity in A.D. 402, having achieved little during his unremarkable nineteen year reign and leaving behind only a single illegitimate daughter. His death, however, left Theodosius in control of both halves of a reunited Empire, which the latter proceeded to govern will skill and competence for the remaining years of his life. The Roman Emperor Theodosius I the Great died on September 4th A.D. 405, after an enlightened reign lasting a total of 26 years, and by September 5th, the final decline of the east had begun. During his long reign, Theodosius had restored to the Eastern Empire much of the stability and strength it had enjoyed before the disastrous battle of Andrianople and with the exception of the two barbarian states occupying the European provinces, the map had changed little as well. In the last year of his sovereignty, the Emperor had designated that both of his sons, Arcadius and Honorius, would succeed him, the former becoming Emperor of the East and the latter Emperor of the West, with the intelligent, high-ranking general, Flavius Stilicho, appointed as their protector and magister militum. From the very beginning, however, the noteworthy abilities of Stilicho were hindered in the east by the actions of Constantinople’s manifold ambitious and corrupt ministers. It was well known that Arcadius was a weakling and it was not the designs of the court members to let Stilicho gain control of the entire Empire. This fracturing of control meant that Stilicho was confined mostly to the west and that, in the approaching hour of its greatest need, the Eastern Empire was deprived of its best general. Therefore, during the especially cold winter of A.D. 407, when the Danube had frozen solid and the Huns marched across it to ravage the lands to the south, the Eastern Empire was nearly defenseless. War had returned to the Balkans.

The Hunnic invasion came as a complete surprise to both the Eastern Empire and the barbarian Visigoths and Vandals, although, in retrospect, the awesome wealth of the east made it an excellent target for the gold hungry Huns. Several of the cunning Constantinopolitan courtiers had previously been plotting to destabilize and subvert the Visigoths and had secured the assent of the weak-willed Emperor Arcadius, however, the army being prepared for the task was instead, out of necessity, diverted towards protecting the Empire’s vital European cities; Constantinople, Thessalonica, Andrianople, Philippopolis, Sardica, Beroea, Ratiaria, Novae, Marcianopolis and Tomi, all of which soon came under attack. The huge Hunnic force, led by King Mundzuk, consisting of the Huns as well as their vassals and numbering well over 200,000 men, began to plunder its way through Thracia and Illyricum, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. Consequently, the smaller, but better trained and equipped army of the Eastern Empire sallied forth to Marcianopolis to halt the Huns before their drive towards Constantinople at the end of October, A.D. 408, but due largely to the lack of coordination and experience of the commanders, it suffered a calamitous defeat. The remnants were driven southwards as the Huns continued their march towards Constantinople, however, a complete catastrophe was avoided with the arrival of aid from the West, which cut into the Hunnish flank and forced a retreat from the capital city. The two great armies clashed at Andrianople, but this second great battle, perhaps due to the generalship of Flavius Stilicho, was not a defeat for the Romans, although both sides suffered heavy losses. In the aftermath of this significant battle, the Huns continued to proceed southwestwards (although at a much slower and uncertain rate), ravaging everything in their path, with Stilicho cautiously following, and for the second time in a century, much to the horror of the region’s inhabitants, the Balkans were desolated by a barbarian force. All the while, the Eastern court remained safe in Constantinople, and the majority of the populace unharmed in Asia. This, however, was about to change.

Unexpectedly interrupting their southwesterly trek, the Huns abruptly turned northwards, heading back towards the Danube. Bypassing Thessalonica, they instead marched upon the Vandal kingdom in the spring of A.D. 409 and ravaged the cities of Naissus, Viminacium and Belgrade before besieging the Vandal capital at Sirmium. After a siege of two months, Sirmium fell to the Huns, marking the final erosion of the Empire’s traditional borders in the east. As they swarmed into the city, the Huns massacred the inhabitants and drove the Vandals southwards towards Constantinople. The brilliant capital city, however, was nearly defenseless in the aftermath of the overwhelming defeat by the Huns at Marcianopolis and though Stilicho attempted to rally his men into a fast paced march towards the city, by the beginning of A.D. 410 a force of almost 100,000 Vandals had arrived at the walls of the Eastern Empire’s capital. A sack ensued, and nearly all forms of movable wealth and thousands of prisoners were carted off eastwards across the Bosphorus and into Anatolia. The Emperor Arcadius, who had attempted to flee by donning a peasant’s outfit, was discovered and executed by a member of the Imperial Guard, who was himself killed in the resulting palace power struggle. Upon Stilicho’s arrival, the general discovered the Eastern capital in chaos, authority delegated to incompetent and inexperienced military leaders, and after writing to Honorius for instructions (Arcadius had left no heir), proceeded to restore order within the city. No sooner had the populace quieted; however, than news arrived that Thessalonica had fallen to the Huns who were even now marching upon Philippopolis. Stilicho rushed to attempt to save the city, but arrived too late and was able to win only a minor victory upon troops emerging engorged by the sacking. His army dwindling and the Huns showing no sign of slackening, Stilicho began the long retreat towards Constantinople, bravely harassing the large Hunnic army all the way.


Anno Domini CDX (A.D. 410)

By the autumn of A.D. 412, after having pillaged the majority of the countryside, the huge Hunnic force had arrived at the Eastern capital. Stilicho retreated behind the Theodosian Walls, built by Theodosius I in response to the Visigothic penetration of Greece, and proceeded to rally the populace into a peasant militia. Nevertheless, Constantinople’s crowded harbor was filled with fleeing peoples seeking to escape across the Bosphorus where, presumably, they would be safe. The siege lasted for over two years, during which Constantinople was supplied by sea, however, in A.D. 414; one of the gates was opened by a traitor and the Huns quickly moved into the breach, battered down the gates in the now secondary Walls of Constantine, and swept through the city, looting and burning. Stilicho, who had been recalled to the West to destroy a Germanic invasion, was not present and so the Eastern capital was lost to the Huns. Following this last victory, it appeared the Huns might at last be satisfied, as they consolidated their large empire and attempted further unsuccessful expansions into the domains of the Franks, Burgundians and Western Romans (which were countered by Stilicho in the Battle of Metz in A.D. 418). The real reason for the halting of the attack, however, may have been more out of necessity than a true desire to quell their vigorous spirit, disease had broken out and the supply of food to the army, always patchy, had finally given out. Then too several Hunnic vassals, including the Ostrogoths, had proven rebellious to Hunnic control. Meanwhile, whilst the dual between the Romans and Huns was reaching its climax, the Vandals in Anatolia had proceeded to ravage the landscape, sacking many important towns and villages and holding important figures for ransom. Gradually, however, these transgressions were eased as the Vandals slowly settled down along the southern coast and developed a thriving, if short-lived civilization. The chaos was not ended, however, as the Isaurians of the Anatolian highlands, the unconquered and barely subdued natives, sensing weakness, began launching a series of large scale raids upon Roman settlements. The east lay in ruins.


Anno Domini CDXV (A.D. 415)

While power in the east was beginning to crumble, the west was enjoying a new period of relative stability under the Emperor Honorius. Though uninterested and weak-willed himself, Honorius was dominated throughout his reign by Stilicho, who was the real power behind the throne. Largely through manipulation, Stilicho was able to effectively set the Empire’s policy in the west, reorganization the decadent economy. Then too, it was likely Stilicho who organized the shifting of the capital from Milan back to the ancient city of Rome. In A.D. 408, shortly before his departure to the east, Stilicho arranged a marriage between Honorius and the daughter of Valentinian II, who was by now a girl of startling beauty. Following the Hunnic invasion, which occurred later that year, Honorius dispatched Stilicho to the east in response to a plea by his brother (most likely written by a minister). There, the general would remain for six years, campaigning, in the end unsuccessfully, against the fearsome Huns, although the blame for his perhaps inevitable failure must not be attributed solely to Stilicho. Harassed by insufficient men and funds, he was subjected to the mercy of jealous ministers seeking to usurp his power over the Western Emperor during his absence. Then too, Honorius seems to have taken little interest in the matter, preferring instead to enjoy the luxury of feasting, dancing and bathing in his fine palace on the Palatine. Only when Stilicho was needed most, when the Huns had begun to mass upon the Rhine in the spring of A.D. 418, did Honorius restore Stilicho to his former position and just in time, for the general was able to win a crushing victory over the Huns, forever confining them to the east. Perhaps had Stilicho been given free reign over both halves of the Empire and unlimited troops and funds, he could have managed to save the east as well as the west. Alas, such was not to be.

Following the capture of Constantinople by the Huns, the remnants of the Eastern Empire’s administration, including the new Emperor, Anthemius (the former Praetorian Prefect), fled to Nicomedia where the new capital was built. This shift led to the ousting of the Vandals from southern Anatolia and a fifteen year migration, generally known as “The Long March,” which would end only with their arrival in Egypt. Immediately upon their arrival in Nicomedia, Anthemius and his ministers began plotting to recover Constantinople, launching several failed attacks and one successful one during the period of A.D. 416 – A.D. 422. Considered a minor nuisance by the Huns (who were by now preoccupied with the Western Romans led, once again, by Stilicho, this last attack prompted a significant counterattack and would later lead to the final dismemberment of the Eastern Empire. To protect their flanks, the Huns besieged Constantinople, by now nothing more than an empty shell, captured the city and then crossed the Bosphorus. The Romans were defeated in several key battles and the Huns occupied and plundered much of Anatolia, securing their new conquests. Nicomedia was quickly overwhelmed by the Huns, who took the city by force. Anthemius heroically rallied what was left of the Eastern Army and even secured the loyalty of the Isaurians, creating a stunning resistance, but this overwhelmed by the barbarian Huns, and the Emperor fell while leading a charge. With his death and the destruction of much of its administration, the throne of the Eastern Empire was left vacant, and it is this date of A.D. 426 that traditionally marks the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire and the beginning of the Dark Ages.


Anno Domini CDXXVI (A.D. 426)

In the aftermath of the abrupt collapse of the Eastern Empire, a series of Roman successor states emerged; in Ephesus, in Trebizond, in Antioch, in Jerusalem and in Alexandria, but gradually, one by one, these fell; to the Huns, to local warlords and to the Persians. The Roman Empire had enjoyed a period of tolerance and peace with the Sassanid Empire under the rule of the enlightened king, Yazdegerd I, however, during the reign of his son and successor, Bahram V, the twin evils of intolerance and war returned. Encouraged and disturbed by the abrupt collapse of the Eastern Empire in A.D. 426, the Sassanid Persians invaded the Holy Land, which had devolved into an assortment of minor princedoms controlled by generals and pretenders, and drove the Vandals, who had by now arrived near Jerusalem, further southwards and into Egypt. The Sassanid king then bathed in the glory of restoring to Persia the Mediterranean frontiers of antiquity. Later he embarked upon an unsuccessful campaign to Antioch, where he was unable to breach the walls of the great city and so returned to Ctesiphon, leaving the conduct of war to his generals and ruling over an empire vastly greater than the one he had inherited. In A.D. 427, Stilicho was dispatched to Egypt, to secure the province from the control of its unreliable governor and return it to the Empire. The campaign was successful and Stilicho returned to Rome in triumph, however, he died two years later and so the province, under the rule of a less talented general, fell to the Vandals in A.D. 430. The Vandals found an Egypt, like much of the rest of the shattered Eastern Empire, torn by religious schism and political upheaval and so were easily able to conquer the province and establish a new kingdom at Alexandria. Under the enlightened rule of their king, Gunderic, Latin was made the official language and with the restoration of the theaters and arenas, the great dramas and shows of old were reborn.

The fall of the Eastern Empire in A.D. 426, like the rape of Constantinople by the Vandals in A.D. 410, came as a huge and very unwelcome surprise to the Western Empire. Though itself moderately strong and secure, both through its own military power as well as through alliances with such tribes as the Franks and Burgundians, the fall of the east sent waves of panic rippling through the west. First and foremost, the east contained the richest and most developed provinces and the west by comparison was little more than a backwards hinterland. Then too, the fall of half of the empire was not a matter to be taken lightly. Time continued to pass by, however, and it soon became apparent that the day to day life of each citizen would not be greatly affected. When Honorius died in the winter of A.D. 429, having already been predeceased by Flavius Stilicho, it may have been assumed that a melancholy air would have descended upon the Empire. This, however, was not the case, for though the new Emperor, named Theodosius after his grandfather, might have been expected to be of a similar mold as Honorius and Valentinian II, he was not. Bright and inquisitive from an early age, he had grown into an excellent young man, and a fine Caesar. Therefore, upon his father’s death, he ascended the throne and immediately set about reforming an Empire troubled by years of invasion, civil strife and corruption. Just as the eternal flame still burned in the Temple of Vesta, so too the light of Rome was not entirely put out.


Anno Domini CDXXX (A.D. 430)

To Be Continued...

Alternate Fall of Rome.PNG
Nice start…

I approve! If anyone else wants to dig up any of my other maps and start something, that would certainly be acceptable…;)


Thank you, my next update should be out in about a week (I like to make my writings as close to perfect as possible, with good spelling, grammar and structure, as well as with visual aids of some sort). Just wondering though, does anyone have any thoughts, comments or suggestions, either for this section, or for the coming one (approximately A.D. 430-480)? I will take all thoughts into account and help would be greatly appreciated! Please!



I like it so far.

Nice start…

I approve! If anyone else wants to dig up any of my other maps and start something, that would certainly be acceptable…;)

Oh no, I can't think of a way to make it look like Super55 would have done this better! :rolleyes: :D
I like it so far.

Oh no, I can't think of a way to make it look like Super55 would have done this better! :rolleyes: :D

Super55 would have come up with such amazing constructive criticism as to make everyone drop their jaws in sheer awe! :D
Different Movements of the Huns and the Alternate Fall of Rome: Part II

Different Movements of the Huns and the Alternate Fall of Rome: Part II of Many

Below is the second of many parts of this timeline, stretching from the coronation of Theodosius II in A.D. 429 to his death in A.D. 476. It is by no means finished, however, and all suggestions are welcome. I do apologize for the size of the maps; I had to shrink them to prevent the board from stretching the text across the entire width of the picture, thereby forcing the reader to constantly side scroll. Please note that when I eventually post this is the Timeline’s Forum, it will likely be extended. This is a shorter, summarized version of events during the period, meant for those who desire a brief overview of the timeline. Also, sorry for the long delay for this update. Once again, enjoy:

Part II of Many

Even though half of its provinces had fallen away with the collapse of the Eastern Roman Empire in A.D. 426, what was left, the core, remained strong, sturdy and impervious to attack despite the chaos and bloodshed that had engulfed the rest of the world. In the west, the young Theodosius II was, in many ways, the savior of the Empire; from religious anarchy and political chaos, from internal decay and external invasion. An interesting personality, he seems to have been untroubled, almost apathetic, by the loss of the Eastern Empire, accepting it as simply a matter a fate (perhaps a trait inherited from his father?). Though it may seem odd that a reconquest was never attempted during his reign, especially considering the recent loss of Egypt, it was perhaps for the better, as it prevented the waging of a long, draining and perhaps impossible war. Instead, the attentions of the Emperor were directed towards the improvement of the remaining provinces. During his 47 year reign (A.D. 429-76), Theodosius II reformed the administration of the Empire, drafted a new law code, embarked upon a large building campaign, both in Rome, the capital, as well as around the Empire and waged several defensive wars against the Picts, Berbers and the Germanic successors of the Huns. By the time of his death in A.D. 476, the Empire had been restored to the secure position it had held centuries before, when it had been master of the world. In the east, the sprawling Hunnic Empire under the rule of King Mundzuk stretched from Anatolia to Germania, encompassing the former capital of the Eastern Empire and many of its most populous cities. The Holy Lands of Christendom had fallen into the hands of the Zoroastrian Persians, while the Vandals had conquered wealthy Egypt and the Visigoths had maintained their Hellenic kingdom in Greece. In the highlands of Anatolia, the Isaurians had been defeated, but controlled a series of nearly independent princedoms whose influence was slowly being subjected to that of the Huns. Other territories, among them Antioch, Crete and Rhodes remained under “Roman” control, that is of powerful local generals and noble lords. The winds of change were about to blow, however, King Mundzuk was old and weak and had many sons, none of which were as capable as he.

Theodosius II’s reforming spirit was to manifest itself almost immediately after his ascension to the thrown in A.D. 429, upon which he began a series of major changes, radically transforming the lacking administration of the Western Empire. An eager learner from a young age, the young Emperor was an apt student of law, philosophy and theology and had thus thrived in the rich literary atmosphere of the capital. Noting the widespread incompetence and inefficiency of the bloated and degenerate Imperial bureaucracy, Theodosius II dismissed the corrupt politicians of his father’s and grandfather’s days, raising to power instead a newer livelier generation of leaders. Powerful local lords and barbarian chieftains were stripped of most of their authority, which was instead transferred back to the control of the Emperor and his appointed comites (viceroys or governor generals), whose loyalty from now on would depend solely upon the Emperor and not the hidden kingmakers of prior days. Then too, the Emperor set about breaking up the large estates of the landed aristocracy and redistributing the land to free peasants, thereby increasing the amount of soil under cultivation and gaining revenue for the treasury, which was at all times upon the brink of bankruptcy. In the Imperial edicts of A.D. 431 and A.D. 432, the landed nobility’s exemption from taxation was repealed, greatly increasing revenues, but also angering the Empire’s traditional powerbase. A crisis was averted, however, when Theodosius II, much like the historical Julius Caesar and Augustus he seems to have based his reign on, appealed to the peasants and common city dwellers for support. The ultimate result was the slow enrichment of these lower classes at the expense of the upper classes and the continued growth of the state. Following this streamlining of the Imperial bureaucracy and social classes, the young Emperor turned his attention to the Empire’s legal codes, by the mid-fifth century a confusing mix of Imperial edicts and decrees stretching back to the days of Augustus. With the help of his new ministers, the Emperor gradually sifted through the vast body of Imperial law, eliminating contradictions, redundancies and obscurities and producing the Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law) in A.D. 434, which was made the new, sole system of law of the Roman Empire.

Even after over five years of rule, the industrious spirit of Theodosius II was not dampened by his radical reforms and so, beginning in A.D. 436 he would embark upon one of the greatest building campaigns since the reign of Augustus, both within the capital and without. Construction was soon begun upon such wonders as cathedrals, public baths, palaces, markets, libraries, arenas, hippodromes and academes/universities, while damaged roads, aqueducts and fortifications were rebuilt and enhanced. Rome, depleted and devastated by years of imperial neglect, was rebuilt and beautified. The countryside was scoured for the most talented artists and craftsman and the highest quality of materials and, within a few years, the city was glorified with new statues, columns, monuments and shrines. Buildings stripped of their marble by an aristocracy desirous of erecting large palaces and dining halls and a clergy eager to build more and more churches were recoated and new copper and tile roofs were added to many, restoring to the Empire’s cities a feeling of freshness. On New Year's Day of A.D. 438, the Emperor authorized the construction of two new projects; the first being a new system of double walls and fortifications, later named the Theodosian Walls, which would greatly improve the Imperial city’s defenses and the second being the reconstruction of Saint Peter’s Basilica into an even finer and more impressive structure. The two teams of laborers were set competing against each other in order to finish the constructions as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the Emperor was busy hunting down religious relics from the lost east in which to save and sanctify his capital. Among these were the True Cross, the Crown of Thorns and the Rod of Moses, all of which were safely installed in Rome, far from the grasp of heathen and barbarian hands. By A.D. 442, both the construction of the walls and the new basilica had been completed, however, the furnishing of the basilica continued to lag somewhat due to the delays in obtaining the precious materials and works of art used to decorate it. Marble, gold, silver and gems of the highest quality would adorn the inside along with mosaics, paintings and statues of scenes from the Old and New Testaments and of important saints. By the middle of the fifth century, the Western Empire was well on the road to recovery.

While Theodosius II was expertly guiding the west along its path to redemption, the east was foundering in the waters of confusion. The great sovereign of the Huns, King Mundzuk, had died in his sleep in A.D. 432, and his death marked the beginning of the Hunnic decline, as neither of his two favored sons was capable of administering the huge empire he had built. Though control of the empire was assumed to have been left to Bulumar, Mundzuk’s eldest son, Muyun, the former king’s youngest son, challenged the succession and a power struggle for control of the empire quickly ensued. The Huns were soon polarized into the two factions, and a civil war resulted. Though crueler and less intelligent than his brother, Muyun possessed superior recruitment skill, and so was able to win the majority of the Huns to his banner, driving Bulumar southwards towards Constantinople and across the Bosphorus into Anatolia. Muyun was, however, unable to pursue his brother across the strait and so resorted to treachery, inviting him to a banquet in Constantinople to discuss a possible peace. There, Muyun, feigning loyalty and good intentions, pretended to drink with Bulumar at the raucous after party. Later, when the latter had passed out due to alcohol consumption with one of his innumerable concubines, Muyun quickly slew him. With his brother dead, Muyun became king of the Huns, however, those loyal to Bulumar suspected the new king’s implication in his brother's death and resisted, resuming the civil war. From A.D. 437 onwards, the bulk of Bulumar’s force, consisting of both Huns and the subject Ostrogoths, formed the backbone of a new, breakaway Hunnic Empire, which continued to resist that controlled by Muyun. Rallying around Bulumar’s first and only wife, who found herself pregnant with a baby boy, this new empire continually harassed Muyun, seizing Constantinople and parts of Thrace in A.D. 440 and encouraging revolt amongst those subject peoples suppressed by the Greater Hunnic Empire.

Meanwhile, Muyun found himself in control of an empire on the verge of collapse. Plagued by limited manpower, rebellious populations and vast tracks of land, the majority of his reign was directed towards the suppression of the manifold subject tribes and peoples attempting to reassert their authority. Revolt flared up first amongst the Germanic tribes, the Alemanni, Thuringians and Saxons in A.D. 441 and then amongst those dwelling further east, the Alans, Gepids, Scirii, Rugians, Sarmatians and Slavs the following year. With dwindling numbers of increasingly unhappy warriors, the Hunnic usurper was finally defeated in battle with the Gepids near the Carpathians in A.D. 442. There, in an unnamed battlefield, Muyun was overwhelmed and killed, his army decisively defeated. This final blow effectively ended the Greater Hunnic Empire, the survivors of which are generally portrayed as riding off into the blood red sunrise from which they came and it is in fact true that the large majority of Huns and tribes remaining loyal to them did in fact flee eastwards towards the Dneiper or southwards into Anatolia. There, the two remnants of the great Hunnic Empire, which, in its zenith had stretched from Germania to Anatolia and from the Mediterranean to the Baltic, would continue to persist. In Anatolia, the Huns gradually developed a new, very different lifestyle to the one they had had in elder days. With the great conquests over, many began to settle down, either in the cities or the countryside, and many took to the raising of sheep, pigs and cattle, in addition to the more traditional raising of horses. For a while, many were occupied with the pacification of the Isaurians, who, leading a very similar lifestyle to the Huns, were gradually assimilated into their population. The Huns near the Dneiper retained more of their customary lifestyle, existing much as they had before the great conquests. Both populations, however, remained distinctly Hunnic, and slowly, but steadily, both were growing together.


Upon its arrival in Egypt in A.D. 430, the Vandal horde, consisting of both Vandals and Alans, and numbering approximately 100,000 men, women and children, slowly began to spread out along the Nile River valley, dividing the country into many huge estates. These huge estates, each measuring several square miles, formed the foundation of the Vandal economy and social structure and were worked and maintained by the “native” population. To the Vandals, Egypt was a paradise; of fertile fields, pleasant foods and a warm, comfortable climate. Like most paradises, however, Egypt had its one major flaw, in this case, religious upheaval. Traditionally one of the most fertile hotbeds for religious oddities, Egypt had long sheltered obscure and heretical cults, and this had not changed, as recently, many Egyptians had taken to the belief that Christ had but one nature, the divine, in direct opposition to the belief endorsed by the Nicene Creed. This Monophysite belief contrasted not only with the Nicene Creed, however, but with the beliefs of the Arian Vandals as well, who, following the teachings of the heretic Arius, held that Christ was solely of a human nature. These two beliefs, Monophysitism and Arianism, quickly began to clash, rapidly resulting in great religious strife between the natives and their conquerors and it was not long before religious violence began to play an important part of everyday life in Vandal Egypt. It was during this period of increasing instability that the Vandal king, Gunderic, was met by open resistance from several Vandal nobles, who felt that the horde must move once again, this time further southwards into the rich lands of Nubia where, it was said, the streets were paved with gold and the women clad only with peacock feathers. Gunderic, however, sensibly (and perhaps out of stubbornness as well) refused this request, realizing that the vast majority of his population lacked the stamina for another migration. The rebellious nobles then plotted to end their king’s life, but the plot was discovered, the conspirators executed or exiled. Those exiled did in fact leave for Nubia, with a host of several hundred followers, and were gradually assimilated into Nubian society within a few generations; however, Nubian society was greatly altered by the contact and infused with several lasting Germanic influences. Upon his death in A.D. 438, the Vandal king had created a stable and powerful kingdom. Under the rule of his eldest son and successor, Eramund, this policy would be continued. Unlike his father, however, Eramund was an expansionist, and would lead Vandal Egypt to become a regional power, expanding the realm outside of the Nile valley. Under Eramund, the Vandals ravaged the Eastern Mediterranean, seizing the islands of Crete, Cyprus and Rhodes, and were transformed into a true naval superpower.


In the years following his conquest of the Holy Land, Bahram V, Shāhanshāh (King of Kings) of the Sassanid Persians, retired to his capital at Ctesiphon, embracing a life of leisure in which the Sassanid court was pleasured with frequent hunting events, feasts and court parties, and the defense of the realm was left to the generals. These, however, were generally incompetent and unwilling to engage in the construction of a proper organized defense of the country, preferring instead to bicker and quarrel. Unsurprisingly therefore, the Sassanids were unable to counter the invasion of a large group of barbarian nomads, known collectively as the Hephthalites, or White Huns, which took place in A.D. 427, and so suffered a major defeat as well as the loss of much of the eastern half of their empire. The Hephthalite invasion motivated Bahram V to once again pick up the sword in defense of the realm, and so the Persian king set out to rebuild the devastated army. Through reform, he attempted to halt the rampant corruption and inefficiency that comprised the Sassanid administration and military system. In A.D. 428, at the head of his small, but disciplined army, Bahram V sallied forth to attack the Hephthalites and, with the aid of surprise, won a small victory over the disorganized nomads. True victory, however, the complete expulsion of the Hephthalites from Sassanid territory, would continue to elude the Persians for another decade, during which they fought a long and draining war against the invaders that devastated half the empire. It wasn’t until the spring of A.D. 438 that the Hephthalites were finally driven from Sassanid territory, from which they fled into India, quickly becoming embroiled with the Gupta Empire. The Guptas, though having skirmished with the Hephthalites on several occasions, were caught unprepared for the abrupt invasion, in which nearly 100,000 nomads descended upon the rich temple cities and fertile valleys of the western half of their empire. Not until they had overrun nearly half the empire, was the Gupta Emperor, Kumaragupta I, able to rally enough troops to make a stand near the city of Kanyakubja in A.D. 439, and so reverse the fortunes of his nation. By this time, however, the Hephthalites had already begun settling down amongst the villages they had formerly raided, and aside from several small rebellions led by tribal chieftains; the transition from nomad to villager was relatively peaceful. For the next four years the Gupta Emperor continued to wage war upon the invaders, finally defeating and vassalizing them in A.D. 443. From then on, the Hephthalites were settled throughout the western portion of the Gupta Empire, which became increasingly militaristic, and were granted land in return for military service and inclusion in the tax base. Meanwhile, Bahram V had continued his reforms, encouraging both commerce and philosophy. Then, in A.D. 456, the great king declared war upon the minor states of the Caucasus region; Lazica, Iberia, Albania and Persarmenia, easily overrunning and annexing them, and restoring to Persia an outlet on the Black Sea. With the Eastern Roman Empire now defunct and the absence of any other nearby powerful state, Bahram V was met with no opposition. The Zoroastrian Eagle was unopposed and utterly victorious.

As other peoples engulfed themselves in the turbulence of war and migration, the Visigoths had quietly remained in the Prefecture of Illyricum, slowly consolidating their power and building up a stable kingdom. Though they followed Arianism like most of the other Germanic barbarians, the Visigoths promoted a policy of religious toleration, and so did not meet the same resistance from the native population that the other Germanic states did. Additionally, the Visigoths on average collected fewer taxes than the Roman administration, interfered less in the lives of their subjects and better maintained the infrastructure of the kingdom. The clergy was satisfied with the construction of many hundreds of churches and Athens, no longer subjected to distant Constantinople, became a magnificent city, filled with wondrous buildings and homes. Only during the reign of Pericles, nearly a millennium before, had such prosperity been known. Throughout the countryside, life continued as it had for centuries, herders and shepherds drove their animals to market, farmers cultivated crops on mountain terraces and fisherman reaped the sea’s bounty. At first maintaining a cautious policy of unobtrusiveness due to the nearness of the powerful Eastern Roman Empire and later the Hunnic Empire, with the eventually collapse of both, the Visigoths were free to pursue their own destiny. During these early years, Visigothic kings were mainly concerned with the unification of the various quarreling factions present within the tribe and the contentment of the Greco-Roman subject population. Then too, rebellious nobles needed to be controlled and order maintained between the religious denominations. As time passed, however, the manifold problems present during the beginning of their rule began to fall away, and so it was by A.D. 442, with the final collapse of the Greater Hunnic Empire, that the Visigothic kingdom became, by far, the strongest power in the Balkans. Under Leovigild, who inherited the throne at the age of ten in A.D. 445 and ruled until A.D. 482, the Visigoths greatly expanded their holdings, conquering much of Thrace and Moesia and vassalizing many of the Hunnic successor states that had emerged in the aftermath of the death of Muyun. Constantinople, however, was never conquered as it had been captured by the Lesser Hunnic Empire of Anatolia, and had subsequently become the capital city of the new kingdom of the Ostrogoths. Still, the Kingdom of the Visigoths was feared and respected throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and even by the Western Roman Empire itself, the Emperor of whom was in frequent contact with the Visigothic king.


The mid-fifth century was a time of great activity throughout both halves of the known world and saw, to a significant extent, the blossoming of earlier labors. In the west, the Roman Empire continued to be possessed by the same favorable spirit, which had so marked the earlier half of Theodosius II’s reign. Following the conclusion of his building campaign, he began to reform the military, which, by now, was a jumble of the disorganized remnants of the old Roman legions and the new barbarian hordes. Through legislature, the Emperor standardized the army, reforming the legions of old, but adding in significant cavalry auxiliaries, including the particularly fearsome Catacphracti. Also, it was native Romans who were encouraged to fight rather than the barbarian foederati who had dominated the military in prior days. With these reforms, the Empire was well prepared to deal with the barbarian invasions that resulted from the power vacuum left by the collapse of the Greater Hunnic Empire. Particularly effective was the regional campaign against a Pictish invasion in the province of Britannia in A.D. 453, which was so decisive that the Picts would cease to play a role in the politics of the province until well into the next century. The Picts were not the only invaders during this period, as the Franks, Burgundians and Berbers too would all try their luck at waging war upon the Empire. Like the Picts, they were also repulsed, respectively in A.D. 454, A.D. 456 and A.D 461-462. It was not only military activities, which occupied the mind of Theodosius, however, as the Emperor, continuing his good works, greatly encouraged education throughout the realm. Over the course of the A.D. 450’s and A.D. 460’s, he founded a number of new schools and universities, many of which would later come to be the cornerstones of Western knowledge and thought. The Emperor also constructed many other beneficiary buildings, among them; orphanages, hospitals, homes for the poor and elderly and free hostels for travelers and merchants. To combat religious heresy, which had engulfed the east following the fall of the Easter Roman Empire as well as to streamline the role of the church, the Emperor held the First Council of Rome in A.D. 451, which condemned the Monophysites and other heretics, and reaffirmed the Nicene Creed. It was also during this council that the various patriarchates were officially sanctioned as equals, with the Pope being no more important than the others. This, combined with the Roman Emperor’s tight control over the Church, would ensure that the West at least would be free from religious leaders seeking temporal power over their peers. By A.D. 473, the Emperor’s health, so strong for so long, began to weaken as he succumbed to old age and so it was at last that Theodosius II’s thoughts turned to his eventual death. He began the construction of a huge and elaborate mausoleum, near the New Saint Peter’s Basilica, where he would eventually be laid to rest following his death in A.D. 476. By that time, he could look back upon 47 years of excellent ruling and it can justly be said that it was Theodosius II, more than any other Emperor, who defined the Later Roman Empire, enabling it to survive the chaos of the Middle Ages.

In the east, friction between the Huns, the Ostrogoths and the subject Romans gradually lead to the dismemberment of the Lesser Hunnic Empire, or more accurately, its split into two distinct halves, which would continue to polarize over the coming decades. Under the rule of Dengizich I (A.D. 450-486), the son of King Bulumar, the Ostrogothic faction would gradually increase its power and strength, eventually establishing an independent kingdom along the western and southern portions of the Hunnic domain, apparently at the expense of the Huns. A deeper analysis of the situation, however, yields very different results. Upon their entrance into Anatolia, the Huns numbered only about 50,000 and so were significantly outnumbered by the native Romans and vassalized Ostrogoths. Additionally, the majority of the Hunnic population was concentrated towards the northern coast and the center of Anatolia (a result of the conquest of the Isaurians). Then again, as their lifestyle was generally unsuited towards the intensive agricultural civilization practiced by the Romans, the Huns, apart from the magistrate and contingent of honor guards stationed throughout the cities, largely avoided the southern urbanized areas of their kingdom and so controlled all of Anatolia only in theory. Though devastated by war and conquest, this region of Anatolia was also still particularly troublesome and rebellious, consuming many Hunnic men in futile revolts. Dengizich I, upon realizing these factors and their implications, set out to correct the situation and reached an agreement with the Ostrogoths whereby they would be allowed to independently settle western and southern Anatolia. By A.D. 472, when this agreement had become official, the Ostrogoths evacuated the other portions of Anatolia en masse to settle within their new kingdom. Through ceding these territories to their former subjects, Dengizich I removed a potentially dangerous and powerful adversary from his kingdom allowing his people to seek their own destiny, free from the influence of another horde. Over time, this plan proved to be highly beneficial, for while the Huns no longer enjoyed the fruits of the land they had ceded, the Ostrogothic kingdom was maintained as a client state for another generation and the tribe which had wandered so long, had finally found a homeland. The old world was falling away, and the new coalescing around it.


To Be Continued...
I like this. A different approach to both the 'fall' of the Roman Empire and the survival of a Roman Empire. Bad things still happen, but stuff becomes much more settled, it seems.

I guess the logic is that in OTL, the Roman Empire (east) faced large organized opposition (Persians, Arabs), but in the west, it was all smaller tribes. When the two most powerful tribes move east in your TL, the West has a chance to survive. Compound it with a decent ruler, and you can get a surviving Roman Empire.

Interesting ideas. Think it would be reasonably likely if the west got a few lucky breaks and the Huns stayed in the east. Also, while you haven't covered the area in that much detail I think you have avoided the disastrous battle of the Fridius [sp] which largely destroyed the western legions. It also crushed the last non-Christian military element in the empire so without it you could well have had a resurgence, especially with the collapse of the east.

Not sure if you have your Theodosius II too closely paralleling Justinian. Although he doesn't seem to have had to suffer the plague problems that the eastern empire faced in the 6thC nor the Persians I'm not sure the western empire would have been able to manage too much of a building programme that was devoted to massive construction projects. [At least those that aren't economically beneficial]. However with a good overhaul I think it would have a good chance of surviving for quite a while.

Looking forward to seeing more.


Thanks guys for your comments and suggestions. I really appreciate them.

To pieman3141: You’ve guessed my thoughts exactly, the relocation of the Visigoths and Vandals to the Eastern Roman Empire and the subsequent defeat and distraction of the Huns spared the West. The decent ruler, Theodosius II, could then repair the internal rot, restoring stability. Thus, both external invasion and internal destruction have been removed, ensuring the Empire’s security.

To G.Bone: Well lol, great minds certainly think alike it seems.

To Cockroach: Thanks a lot.

To Stevep: Thank you for your comments. I wasn’t aware of said battle, and thus likely avoided it (could you provide me with information on it?). The legions in this timeline have still been weakened, however, (albeit, not destroyed) as cavalry has begun to take on a more important role (hence the widespread use of Catacphracti). Christianity is about as powerful in this timeline as it was in ours, although, like our version of the fifth century, there are still a sizeable number of pagans, especially in the rural countryside. Also, like in our timeline, pagan superstitions have become an important part of this timeline’s Medieval Western Christianity.

You guessed it, Theodosius II is somewhat based on Justinian, although, unlike Justinian, this Roman Emperor has inherited some of the inferior traits of his father, Honorius. As the Point of Divergence for this timeline is human rather than environmentally related, the eruption of Krakatoa and the so called “Plague of Justinian” will still occur around the same time as they did in our timeline, however, those events are still rather far off (perhaps the update after next) and so had no effect upon the events in this update. The other of Justinian’s major problems, the Persians, has, as you have noticed, been aborted (at least for the Romans). The West, both in this timeline and our's, was far poorer than the East, which is why Theodosius II “allied” himself with the poor, repealing the richest Roman’s tax breaks. This, coupled with the increased prosperity brought about by reform, resulted in a large influx of wealth into the treasury. As you can probably imagine, however, with such extensive projects, this wealth was drained as soon as it appeared.

Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions for the next update, which I am working on now? Just let me know. Thanks.
To Stevep: Thank you for your comments. I wasn’t aware of said battle, and thus likely avoided it (could you provide me with information on it?). The legions in this timeline have still been weakened, however, (albeit, not destroyed) as cavalry has begun to take on a more important role (hence the widespread use of Catacphracti). Christianity is about as powerful in this timeline as it was in ours, although, like our version of the fifth century, there are still a sizeable number of pagans, especially in the rural countryside. Also, like in our timeline, pagan superstitions have become an important part of this timeline’s Medieval Western Christianity.

You guessed it, Theodosius II is somewhat based on Justinian, although, unlike Justinian, this Roman Emperor has inherited some of the inferior traits of his father, Honorius. As the Point of Divergence for this timeline is human rather than environmentally related, the eruption of Krakatoa and the so called “Plague of Justinian” will still occur around the same time as they did in our timeline, however, those events are still rather far off (perhaps the update after next) and so had no effect upon the events in this update. The other of Justinian’s major problems, the Persians, has, as you have noticed, been aborted (at least for the Romans). The West, both in this timeline and our's, was far poorer than the East, which is why Theodosius II “allied” himself with the poor, repealing the richest Roman’s tax breaks. This, coupled with the increased prosperity brought about by reform, resulted in a large influx of wealth into the treasury. As you can probably imagine, however, with such extensive projects, this wealth was drained as soon as it appeared.


Bit vague as a while since I read up on the period. Theodosius [the original one], although he was Spanish in origin spent most of his time in the east. A couple of times there were revolts in the west. The 2nd and most dangerous of those was formally by a civil servant Eugenius, although the power behind the throne was the general Arbogast, who I think was a Frank. He has actually been set up as the strong man by Theodosius after the previous rebellion to protect Valentinian II who had been set up as western co-emperor and was assassinated by Arbogast.

The rebellion had a strong pagan streak as they were probably still the majority in the west at the time and suffering increasing persecution. Arbogast had a number of clashes with Ambrose, the influential Bishop of Milan and was threatening to stable his cavalry in the cathedral at Milan on his return. Arbogast's army meets the eastern army under Theodosius, the latter backed up by Gothic mercenaries recruited for the campaign. [Think they were ~20,000 men under the young Alaric. Another source I've just picked up says the army was mainly Gothic]. The battleground was on the Frigidus, near Aquileia in NE Italy.

It was a two day battle and pretty close. One the 1st day the eastern forces were repulsed with heavy losses. On the 2nd they reformed and won. [One report I remember reading was that a flanking cavalry force sent by Arbogast defected to the easterners. Another was that a bitter storm blew into the face of the western army, making it very difficult for it to fight, although this could be later propaganda to show god's support in defeating the pagans].

Either way the battle was a bitter one and the western legions suffered heavy losses. It may well have crucial in the fall of the west as with lesser manpower the region couldn't replace the losses. Also, given a hostile and distant government, it might have made the local population more prone to decide their best interests were in not opposing the various barbarians on the frontier. [I have long suspected the single biggest reason for the fall of the western empire - and many others - was that they became so unpleasant to the general population that the latter no longer had any reason to fight to defend the state].

Not really relevant to your scenario as by butterflying the battle you, according to what I've read, make greater pagan resistance in the west more likely. Which would weaken the region more if you presume a Christian western empire eventually. However hope its of interest.

Basing Theodosius II on Justinian is an obvious step. Justinian is the most famous emperor of the eastern empire and person who is generally considered as central to its revival. As such a great figure who revives the western empire will inevitably be compared with him. Especially if he constructs great buildings and rewrites the legal system!:D

I have read the book that suggests the plagues of the 6thC and other disasters were caused by a great eruption in the east and suggested Krakatoa was the origin of this. Interesting ideas although not sure if any supporting evidence to what the author proposed.

Hmm, owing to alternate human development, does your heart occupy a position in your left leg by any chance? :D

No! Gosh! Just because I have alternate migrations as a key part of my TL(s), doesn't mean I take kindly to that sort of humor! :rolleyes:

(My heart is clearly in my left buttock! Duh! ;))