From Exile to Triumph: a Western Roman Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Flavius Iulius Nepos, Jun 7, 2018.

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  1. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Concerning the religious aspect, without spoilering too much about future updates( with one of them that could have massive consequences also on the religious aspect), my intentions are to keep the West and the East in friendly terms, something necessary if you want to see a prospering WRE. In this case the eastern roman emperor has more political weight then the Patriarch of Rome, so Nepos and his successors will act consequently. At the same time we can' t expect the west to go pro-monophysist, even for political purposes, when the presence of this doctrine in the West is totally negligible so I will to arrange a deal between all these different positions. As you can see there is so much to explore with a surviving west, and with enough time we will explore all these aspects.
     
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  2. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Keeping in check the Burgundians by insinuating jealousies among the leadership could work - and interesting because it is showing how the West could be influenced by a strong Roman Imperial authority, in the sense they may develop different Roman-Barbarian kingdoms, naturally in Gaul and Iberia.

    And naturally, all the eyes would be soon pointed towards North Gaul...
     
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  3. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    And this is only the first of many similar acts of meddling by the romans.

    While I am here I would like to explain my approach about the future of this timeline: unless specified differently, events outside Italy and Nepos control, will follow the same path as OTL. I'll also follow the same approach for people born after the POD, at least for the incoming updates until the "butterflies" will force me to do otherwise.
     
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  4. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Sounds fair.
     
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  5. Threadmarks: Chapter VI: Military Reorganization

    Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Chapter VI

    Following the battle of Dertona, Nepos ordered the return of the Illyrian army back home, with the exception of few thousand men. These men were now the core of the new army of Italy under the command of Ecdicius Avitus who was confirmed as Magister Militum Praesentalis (a reference to the eastern title), tasked with the defense of Italy and the replenishment of his new army, something that surely would take time before being accomplished. Meanwhile the original army was now under the command of Gaudentius, Aetius’ son, who after the death of Genseric in 477 joined the emperor in his exile at Salona as one of his commanders. Instead of receiving the title of Comes Illyrici, he was rewarded with the restored title of Magister Militum per Illyricum, despite controlling only a small portion of the original Praefecture. The political reasons for this change were simple: to increase the autonomy and authority of the Illyrian commander while decreasing the power of the Magister Militum in Italy, who previously was superior to the Illyrian commander. This change were meant to reflect the military situation in the east, where his colleague successfully avoided the presence of a single strong man in the army. At the same time Nepos proceeded with further reorganization:

    · Restoration of the 7 Cohortes of Vigiles (recruited among the population of the capital), tasked with police duties under the command of a Praefectus Vigilum, an office that in the previous decades had slowly decayed thanks to the marginalization of the city as a political capital;

    · Restoration of the 3 Cohortes Urbanae (1000 men for each Cohors), a semi professional militia tasked with the defense of the city from small but sudden threat, under the command of the Praefectus Urbis;

    · Reorganization of the Scholae Palatinae, an elite cavalry unit formed by barbarian under the supervision of the Magister Officiorum (further explanations in the next Chapter), 5 regiments of 500 men, each under the command of a tribune. Most of the ostrogoths that followed Nepos in Italy formed the bulk of this elite unit;

    · Finally the reorganization of an elite unit formed only by romans, the Domestici, 2 regiment of infantry under the command of a Comes Domesticorum Peditum and 2 regiments of cavalry under the command of a Comes Domesticorum Equitum, tasked with the defense of the person of the emperor. Procopius Anthemius Iunior (Alypia’s brother) was promoted to the former position while Constantianus was promoted to the latter.

    These were only some of the changes implement by the Nepos during his first years as emperor and obviously, given the circumstances, would take some time before being totally implement, especially the replenishment of the main army in Italy. To help this process Nepos allowed some of the prisoners of the battle of Dertona to join again the army in units of mixed ethnicities and under the command of roman officers. The majority of the prisoners, however, were executed while their properties were confiscated by the roman state (land assigned to them by Odoacer after his rise as king, further explanations in the next Chapter). A lesson had to be taught to anyone willing to incur in the wrath of Rome.

    On the diplomatic side, some weeks after his arrival to Rome, Nepos received the official congratulations from the eastern court while a delegations of senators led by the patricius and former Praefectus Praetorio of Oriens ( his term expired at the beginning of May) Dioscorus delivered the imperial insignia to his rightful owner: Flavius Iulius Nepos Augustus, ruler of the west and now officially recognized as such by Zeno in front of the entire world. A second delegation also carried the official congratulations of another ruler: King Huneric of the Vandals. The delegation, led by the half roman prince Hilderic, however reached Rome in order to discuss more pressing matters: Sicily. Constantianus was able to secure the Island before the Vandals could prepare any response and now a solution had to be found if war was to be avoided. The obvious solution was the renovation of the treaty that was reached few years ago by Odoacer and Genseric: roman control over the island (barring Lilybaeum) in exchange of an annual tribute. The island, again under control roman rule after the death of his uncle, was assigned to the government of a new Consularis, Flavius Aemilianus. The two sides were also able to reach a deal about the piracy in the Meditteranean: Huneric, who was not a warlike king like his father, agreed to officially end piracy activity along the coast of Italy for the sake of the treaty reached over Sicily while allowing the emperor to ransom roman citizens held prisoner by the Vandals. An important success for Nepos who was now able to claim to have brought back peace in Italy. Surely this agreement could not stop the act of piracy led by independent vandal warlord eager for loot and for this reason he ordered to repair the infrastructures of the main harbours in the Tyrrhenian Sea, including the Harbour of Misenum where the Dalmatian fleet was expect to move in order to face potential threat from the south.

     
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  6. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Any opinion or comment about the last updates?
     
  7. Cuāuhtemōc Instagram Fiend Banned

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    Good update? Does Nepos have an heir by any chance? All I know is that he's married to the niece of the dead Eastern Emperor Leo. He may want to think about siring some.
     
  8. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    She died in Chapter IV while in the following part he married Alypia. Nepos still has time to produce an heir.
     
  9. alcibiades Well-Known Member

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    Adding Aetius' son into the mix is good idea. In OTL did he simply die in Africa with the Vandals?
     
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  10. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Historically he was just brought to Africa by Genseric along with many other members of the roman aristocracy. With Genseric now dead, I suppose he would be allowed to leave Africa to join Nepos' court. However OTL he probably died captive.
     
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  11. Threadmarks: Chapter VII: The Imperial court and administration

    Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Chapter VII

    Before proceeding with the story, I’m going to give some informations about the imperial court and some of the men who are part of it:

    · The Quaestor Sacri Palatii, usually a man of culture and law,spokesman for the emperor, responsible for the Imperial Archives and most importantly they were tasked with the drafting of imperial law thanks to their knowledge of the “Juridical language”. Sometimes they also had the role of judge, along with other officers, in special tribunals. Macrobius Plotinus Eustathius was appointed to this office;

    · The Magister Officiorum, a powerful man inside the administration, responsible for embassies and hearings in front of the emperor. He had authority over the “scrinia” (departments headed by a magister) that composed the imperial burocracy: the scrinium memoriae (responsible for the official imperial reply to various issues), the scrinium libellorum (responsible for the imperial tribunal, appeals and supplications) and the scrinium epistularum (responsible for the official correspondence between the emperor and the local administration). In addiction he also had power over the “scholae palatinae” and the “agentes in rebus”, the imperial couriers (and not only that). For this office Nepos chose Rufius Festus, former consul under Anthemius.

    · The Praefectus Praetorio of Italy (given the situation, there wasn’t the need for a Praefectus of Gaul) with his seat in Mediolanum, head of the administration inside his Praefecture. Currrently he presided over the three Vicarii of Illyricum, Italia Suburbicaria and Annonaria. He was responsible for the application of new laws, taxation, for the feeding of the army, for local tribunals and others minor issues. Caecina Mavortius, brother of the consul, was appointed to this office by Nepos, with the immediate task of enforcing the confiscation of the land that Odoacer distributed among his followers. Another immediate duty was the realization of a new census among the population of Italy, aimed at revealing the effective economic capabilities of the various cities inside the empire in order to create a more efficient and equal taxation instead of the previous unequal and arbitrary distribution of the taxes among the communities.

    · The Comes Sacrarum Largitionum, responsible for economy, the payments of the soldiers, donations, games, buildings, mints and imperial owned factories (especially weapons factories). Flavius Attalus, the new Comes, was also tasked with the recovery of abandoned lands, due to the death or capture of their original owners, by assigning it to the rightful heir or to a new owner who could also accede to a small imperial fund created by the emperor in order to provide the means necessary for the start of the new activities and the upkeep of old and damaged infrastructures like canals.

    · The Comes Rei Privata, responsible for the assets directly owned by the emperor and for confiscations. Eugyppus was the new responsible for this office.


    And this was a small overview of the imperial administration, obviously the general situation is more complex than what I tried to simplify here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  12. Threadmarks: Chapter VIII: New laws and a new class

    Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Chapter VIII

    The first part of Nepos’ reign lasted almost 3 years, from 480 AD to the end of 482 AD. This period was characterized by the return of peace and order in Italy, now temporarely safe from external and internal threats. During his first year in Rome, the emperor enacted several decrees, aimed at the reorganization of the empire. Most of these decrees were just a copy and a confirmation of previous laws approved by his predecessors:

    · The first decree concerned a remission of all previous debts the curiales (the responsible of the taxation in cities) owed to the state and an official pardon by the emperor for the curiales who escaped their duties if they returned to their cities before the end of the year;

    · The second decree concerned the sales of the offices and the practice of “Suffragium”. The Suffragium was an institute that allowed a private citizen to hire a famous orator, who would use his skills to gain a particul office or privilege for his client. Back then it was impossible for the emperor to analyze every single candidate before choosing for an office, so most of the time it was the influence of a famous orator (sometimes a member of the court himself) who would influence the choice. Considering the impossibility to eradicate the problem, Nepos followed a path similar to the one adopted by previous emperors, by imposing a standardized price that one had to pay after being selected for a particular office while at the same time imposing a tax of 1/20 to the person who patronized the Suffragium (regardless of the success of this one). In this way the emperor institutionalized the sale of the office, providing an extra source of money for the empire (something that Nepos really needed) while at the same time reducing the prize of the offices (compared to the unofficial situation of the eastern empire), thus allowing the access to skilled but less rich men, but most importantly reducing the desire of this men to recuperate what they spent at the expense of the people they ruled;

    · A third decree enacted during the last month of 480 concerned the preservation of buildings and monuments. Without an official permission by the emperor, the imperial court, the Senate or the governor of a province, the use of old buildings and monuments as quarries was punished with death for private citizen and with a fine in gold and the loss of the office for the local magistrate who authorized the damage. The emperor also favoured the conversion of previous pagan temples into christian churches instead of allowing their total demolition (probably inspired by the philosophic and pagan attitude of his uncle Marcellinus) while the Amphitheatrum Flavium was converted to a site of minor urban games and official proclamations in front of the people, similarly to the Circus Maximus (or occasionally the Hippodrome of Constantinople).


    [​IMG]

    These were only some of the most important decrees that Nepos enacted before the end of the year. In 481 AD, during Nepos’ consulate, the imperial family was blessed with the birth in the imperial palace on the Palatine of the first son called Flavius Iulius Marcianus in honour of his great grandfather, emperor Marcianus. The young child was now destined to inherit one day the Western Empire, as Nepos intended to keep the power in the hand of his family. The event was celebrated with 3 days of games. During these days the people of Rome showed signs of unhappiness with Nepos’ rule, chiefly due to the shortage of food in Rome. Despite the relative decline of the city in the V century, Rome was still home to two/three hundred of thousand of inhabitants, the greatest city in Italy and in the entire west along with Carthage. Although the romans didn’t resort to the use of violence (not yet) their whistles and vocal threats prompted Nepos to act quickly to solve the problem of grain supply. For this reason Nepos tasked the Praefectus Praetorio Mavortius to provide for the distribution of the lands confiscated from the rebels (those who were spared were allowed to keep part of their lands). A small part of these lands were returned to their previous holders (mostly Nepos’ supportes), however most of these lands were granted to new owners. These new landowners were also granted access to the small fund created by the Comes Sacrarum Largitationum, necessary to buy the needed tools for their work. However these landowners didn’t have full possession of their lands: they were not allowed to sell their plot or part of it unless authorized by the governor of the province. These new plot also beared some duties that couldn’t be alienate from the control of the land: the holder had to focus on the production of grain and other consumer goods (while avoiding the production of luxury goods), pay most of the taxes in nature (necessary for the supply of the army and the capital) and provide for the upkeep of local infrastructures and roads (a sort of corvee required every year by the state called munera or liturgy in the greek speaking world). However they also enjoyed some privileges like a slightly lower taxation compared to a normal landowner and exemption from certain duties and tolls (like when entering the city to sell their goods) thus stimulating this new social class. These measures, along with the recovery of abandoned lands without owner by the Comes Sacrarum Largitionum Flavius Attalus, allowed a slow economical and agricultural recovery, that would benefit the empire over time.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
  13. Cuāuhtemōc Instagram Fiend Banned

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    How are relations between Nepos and the Domain of Soissons? It seems unlikely that the latter will last given Frankish or Gothic encroachment. Will Syagrius and the other Gallo-Roman families be given sanctuary? If Nepos has his fair share of detractors in Rome, it'd be prudent to reinforce his base of supporters.
     
  14. Sceonn Peace at a Bargain Price

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    Land might be an issue for the sanctuary approach to succeed. Though it would be in Rome's best interest to keep Soissons around.
     
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  15. Cuāuhtemōc Instagram Fiend Banned

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    It would be almost impossible to support by sea. As for land, there are (I presume) easy targets to conquer. There's the Rugii and/or the Ostrogoths to subjugate. For the latter, Nepos can always propose an alliance with the Gepids or even the Eastern Empire.
     
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  16. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    The Imperial court should realize that unlike for Constantinople, Rome at the moment couldn't afford a panem et circensis policy in the capital, or at least not a constant one.

    As mentioned before, Rome was after all the largest city in Western Europe right now - albeit Constantinople likely surpassed it due to the miseries of her western counterpart. But there should be 200,000 people living inside the Aurelian Walls (OTL the numbers would further dwindle during the Gothic wars). While being only a fifth of the population in its golden age, still it would be difficult for the Imperial administration to keep a constant level of feeding for Rome. The grain from Africa could help, but Italy should return sufficient soon as possible. It would be interesting how Nepos will handle the issue, how to recover abandoned farms and how redistribute them, probably using the old but also good "serving in the army = receiving land" tactic.

    Which means mostly, reconsolidating the bureaucratic apparatus (and this would be very interesting to look at), restarting census activities, and produce written documents. In this sense that mention over the suffragium is indicative - the WRE is starting to rebuild a class of lawyers and notaries which surely went less in the past years.
     
  17. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    The relations are good: Nepos is officially recognized as the rightful emperor by Syagrius, who in turn is recognized as Magister Militum in Gaul. I have some plans for Syagrius as i don't want him to simply disappear from history.
    It would be hard for Nepos to effectively support Syagrius as he has his own problems to face. However you should see an update about Gaul soon.
    Expect a small but interesting update about the ostrogoths. Something that will have important butterflies in the future.
    Regarding the demography of Rome: we should be able to avoid the catastrophe of the Gothic war, so Rome will stay a fairly important city. However I would like to see the city reaching again a population of half a million inhabitants and a prestige equal to Costantinople. Without Africa and Egypt it will be Nepos task to make Italy again self sufficient and able to properly feed Rome and the army. Unfortunately now I don't remember the number of beneficiaries of the Annona, however with a reduced population I would expect a smaller number of them, thus facilitating the job of the Praefectus Annonae. Sicily and the new class that Nepos is trying to develop will play a leading role in this. About the Suffragium and the sale of Offices, well it seems to me a problem that can't be eradicated from the imperial administration (at least for the time being), so I think it would be wise to just control and exploit it at the advantage of the emperor and the imperial treasury while reducing the excesses. Maybe in the future I will be able to find a better solution to this problem, but I'm also open to any suggestion.

    Now I have a question: this new class of landowners bears precise duties and privileges. It will take time before seeing a proper evolution however I already know the kind of development I want for them . My question is: do you know a proper Latin term that could be applied to these landowners and their lands, in order to distinguish them as a separate class?
    I'm thinking about something similar to the eastern stratiotes. Keep in mind that this evolution will take time, as Nepos cannot imagine its future development
     
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  18. Foadar Swampman

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    Followed
     
  19. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    A possible solution could be the diffusion and incentivation over sheep pasture in the Roman countryside, increasing local meat production. Besides for several reasons it won't be praticable an extensive cultivation of the Roman surroundings, much more adapt to pasture.

    I think, unless to use terms coming from Germanic languages and latinized, like "Trustis" and "Allodium", Beneficiarii could still be the best choice.
     
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  20. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    I hope you enjoy this timeline.
    I like the third term, it seems appropriate for the situation, considering the particularity of these distributions. However, as the years pass and the possible "militarization" of these landowners increase, I would like to adopt a more militar term: maybe "Numerus" or something derived from terms like Miles/Milites, Stipendium or similars. Fortunately I've enough time to think about it, before arriving to this point of the story.
     
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