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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    I know a certain patrician who would happily deal with Orestes once and for all…

    However things don’t look great for the empire, with ongoing conflicts in Italia, Illyricum and Africa, an hostile Visigothic kingdom and a new threat coming from the East.
     
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  2. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    I was guessing the same, probably that feud will go to closure soon.

    Well the Empire overextended, is reasonable a time of troubles is coming. The Visigoths are reorganizing but aren't an immediate threat, the Ostrogoths are not at their full strenght but a single battle could swing the odds from one side or another, the main danger will be the Eastern incoming one.
     
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  3. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    The problem isn’t overextension, as the empire only conquered a small strip of land around Carthago, but how the emperor mishandled/ignored the situation in Hispania and Pannonia while depriving Italia and Illyricum of troops. Probably it was worth it but now the empire has to pay the price for it and prepare for a new wave of conflicts against the barbarians.
     
  4. Threadmarks: Chapter XLII: The Triumph of Emperor Marcianus II

    Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Chapter XLII

    Despite the crisis and perils the empire was facing, once again the central Roman administration proved to be a formidable machine. The problems of the early return of the emperor from his campaign against the Vandals and the sudden invasion of the Goths were no match for the men of the imperial palace, used to deal with much more serious issues: the need to constantly please the emperor, his family and the people of Rome. No wonder that these men proved to be able to arrange what was needed for the day of the emperor’s triumphal entry in the city with such short time. One man in particular would distinguish himself during the preparations for the imperial triumph, the eunuch and Praepositus Sacri Cubiculi Flavius Eleutherius, whose power would greatly increase during the last years of life of Marcianus and the reign of his successor.

    Honorius01.jpg

    When the day of the procession finally came, in April, the whole population of the imperial capital greeted their emperor as their saviour: the victor of the Goths and the Burgundians had now finally vanquished Rome’s greatest enemy, the Vandals. The army and the people soon started to refer to him with various titles including “Vandalicus” and “Gothicus”, but the emperor would soon grow fond to the title of “Restitutor Orbis”. Sure, the empire was far from the complete restoration of the old world of their fathers, but in the eyes of Marcianus this was just a question of perception while in the eyes of his people this was only a matter time. Yet the population of Rome would immediately start to enjoy the benefits of Marcianus’ victories in Africa. The western empire’s breadbasket was once again serving the needs of the people of Rome and this would surely have positive effects on the demographic of Rome. Emperor Marcianus and his father Nepos had tried in the past to replace their reliance on the African grain by trying to make the Italic farmers able to satisfy the need of the army and the capital. Their measures proved only partially successful as the gap between what was lost with the loss of Africa and what was recovered with the redistribution of lands in Italia was too great. Consequently the city of Rome had stabilised to a population of around 200000 souls after having previously reached its lowest point with a population of around 100000 citizens. Hopefully a more generous Annona would, in time, address this old wound.

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    However that day no one would really worry about the hardship of the past or the dangers of the present, as everyone’s mind was focused on the pleasures the emperor would lavishly grant during the following days. It was the first real moment of celebration for them since the time of the last great the triumph, during the reign of emperor Honorius. A triumph that ended up with the Goths marching through the same Arch celebrating their defeat. That day the sons and grandson of those who had suffered the violence of Vandals, almost 80 years ago, were there to witness the demise of their ancient foe. Vandal prisoners were marching behind the imperial procession, through the same city where the great crime had been perpetrated. With them was their king Gelimer, while his predecessor was marching along with the officers, behind the imperial chariot. The entire procession was relatively small, since most of the soldiers who had fought against the Vandals were still in Africa or quickly marching north with Valens. Yet their appearance was imposing as the emperor decided to bring with him 500 Clibanari and an equal amount of “Domestici”, thus displaying the elite of the Roman army.

    clibanarii.jpg

    The importance of Marcianus’ last victory was perfectly demonstrated by the incredible treasure that followed the procession along with the many captured weapons and images depicting the most significant events of the last war. Among the booty were many statue, masterpieces and other valuables stolen by Genseric from the capital and the imperial palace during his sack of the city and their return to Rome would certainly help healing one the wound of the last century. Certainly the emperor would have to share a small part of the treasure with his Eastern colleague, who had played an important role during the Vandalic war, and the victorious army, but the large amount of money that would still be available to him after these generous largesses, would allow the empire to finance great projects, reforms and campaigns. One of these first projects would be the “Arcus Marciani”, a triumphal arch closely resembling Constantinus’ arch and a colossal bronze statue of himself.

    colosso-barletta-1.jpg

    That day also represented the apogee of his long reign and Marcianus, who had now left his best days behind, perfectly knew he wouldn’t get another occasion to excel himself before his ultimate death. This was the moment where he would leave his lasting mark in history and the future generations would remember him for that precise moment. This consideration was what led him to be so generous and so merciful during his second Triumph: king Gelimer was allowed to retire to Faesulae while Huneric would spend the last years of his life between the imperial palace and Antium. Most of the prisoners would be freed after the procession and allowed to start a new life as soldiers for the newly created/restored units of the Italian army while generous gifts would be bestowed upon foreign ambassadors, senators from emperor Hypatius and the soldiers who most distinguished themselves during the war. Marcianus would take on the consulate for the year while proclaiming a month of celebrations which included banquets, chariot races and even Venationes in the Colosseum, still legal after the ban of gladiatorial games. And while the West was under siege, the emperor and his people were living the empire’s best days.



    Ok here are some notes:

    First of all I’m sorry about the lack of updates during the last month. I’ve been busy with my university but I hope to recover the previous pace as soon as possible. Anyway this timeline is not dead nor is not going to die.

    Secondly I want to thank everybody for their support during the last Turtledove. That’s a great result. But most importantly I want to thank everyone for reading and contributing their informations/opinions to this timeline. Back then when I started this timeline, I didn’t expect to go beyond the first 5-10 chapters. But I’m happy I was wrong and this is also thanks to your support.

    Thirdly I know the last updates lacked some action. Basically there has been no temporal progress since the end of the Vandalic war. I’ll try to amend this with the next update.

    And that’s it. I hope you’ll enjoy this update and the ones I have to write yet.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  5. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Oh is all right, welcome back and the latest update was really nice! I admit is a while I wish to see how the Ostrogoth attempted invasion of Italy will end but seeing how Rome is flourishing again it was still worthy the waiting!
     
  6. HerodotosofBerlin Active Member

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    Welcome back :)
     
  7. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Thank you!
    The next update is going to deal with either the Ostrogoths or the situation in Gaul. Furthermore there is going to be soon one (or more) chapter about unrelated events, curiosities and a recap about the general situation. I will also deal with the plague, religious conflicts and the two imperial families but if you have any request, I can try to add it to the list.
     
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  8. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Hmmm I am curious to know if the Benedictine order was just founded or not TTL.
     
  9. Execubitor168 Member

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    How is the Roman Identity situation coming along in the Romano Barbarian Kingdoms
     
  10. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Well, since ATL roman Italy is similar to OTL gothic Italy, Saint Benedict is going to live the same life, however the history of the order will probably differ in the future. Different will be the history of those men who historically lived after the deposition of Justinian and the OTL Gothic war, such as Vigilius and Gregorius (who are not going to be elected popes here).
    Thanks to a stronger West, most of them still identify as Romans but there is also a provincial identity. In Hispania the Roman identity, which is now clashing with the new regime and the Arian-Gothic identity, has both a political and religious connotation. In Gaul, thanks to the conversion of Sigismund and Clovis, there is no conflict between the two identities. Here the various kings are ruling with the consent of the emperor who is trying to preserve a nominal authority beyond the border of the small Gallic Diocese. Therefore coexistence between the two groups is possible thus probably making “Francia” and “Burgundy” the most stable barbarian entities. Interesting will be the situation of the Burgundians in the future…

    Different is the situation in Pannonia where almost one century of waning roman authority had its effects on the loyalty of the locals. Ties between the Pannonians and Rome are weak but the recent rise of Amalaric could change a couple of things…
     
  11. Archangel Battery-powered Bureaucrat

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    Can you tell us how is the Roman identity at this point in the Raetia, Noricum, Dalmatia, Britania, the Rhenish border region, and Mauretania?
     
  12. trajen777 Member

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    Excellent job ..... Finally caught up
     
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  13. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Raetia and Noricum: the region has been recovered by Nepos 50 years ago (chapter X-XIII). The region has never been the seat of any major romano-barbarian kingdom (unlike Gaul, Hispania and Africa), however for some years ties between the locals and Rome had been effectively severed. Following Nepos’ campaign in the North, restoration of communication between Italy and the North and the resettlement of the cities (key points for the Roman administration) with both rural Raetians/Noricans and colonist from Italy, Roman authority can be considered completely restored.

    Dalmatia: the region had experienced autonomy from Rome since Valentian’s death. An autonomy closely associated with Marcellinus first and Nepos later. Therefore the Dalmatians can be considered completely loyal to the current dynasty. The province also served as a springboard for the reconquest of Italy 50 years ago. This explain why Marcianus entrusted the command of the Illyrian army to Agricola (Ecdicius’ grandson), a man whose family faithfully served the Nepotians so far.

    Britannia: I’ve to be honest, I know little of this region after Constantine III. However the empire is not able to influence the course of events that far, so I would expect minimal differences compared to OTL.

    Along the Rhine: this territory as always been subjected to Germanic raids but more importantly has always been inhabited by people of Germanic origin. This only increased during the IV century (way before the beginning of this timeline) with the partial collapse of the frontier after Magnentius’ death and the subsequent Germanic invasion. Julian settled/allowed some of them to remain in Gaul where they acted as a buffer between Gaul and hostile tribes. Many of them had a remarkable career afterward. During the collapse of Roman Gaul, the Franks acted on behalf of the empire before finally taking over Gaul. Therefore the process of “Germanization” of the territory along the Rhine already has a long history.

    Mauretania: well this is the subject of a future update/updates so I don’t want to spoiler too much. Roman identity is stronger along the coast and in the main cities of Mauretania, which is divided among many different rulers. Some of them oppose or will oppose Rome in the near future, but they are doing so while adopting Roman-style title and perceiving themselves as Romans. Therefore you could compare them to the many provincial usurpers who popped up during the III century, eventhough on a smaller scale, with the ambitions to forge their own empire like Postumus in Gaul and Gregory in Africa did.

    I hope this is enough for now.

    Thank you for your appreciation!
     
  14. Jing0ist_Peasant Banned

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    Will an Italian Identity of any kind develop or will a more Latin based culture become the lasting preeminent identity in both Italy and the trans alpine territories; maybe even carthage? All assuming the empire holds on to these territories.
     
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  15. Basileus_Komnenos Imperator Romanorum Βασιλεύς των Ρωμαιων Αὔγουστος

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    I don’t think so. Roman culture is the big Italian culture. Rome was a tiny city state that conquered its neighbors in Latium. Then as if expanded it conquered the rest of Italy and made them allies who were loyal. Eventually during the Social War they were made citizens and became Roman. During the late Republic a Roman was basically anyone from Italy. And with conquered places like Carthage, Rome began settling those places with native Latin speakers with Carthage becoming the most Roman place second to Italy itself. The West became Latin speaking while the East spoke Greek thanks to Alexander the Great. As Rome expanded the people of the provinces assimilated with the new Roman settlers and there was lots of cultural syncretism. Gaul became Gallo-Roman with a specific regional dialect. Same for Illyria, Thrace, Hispania, Carthage, Noricum, Dacia(Romania), and Germania inferior. Only when the West collapsed did the Romance languages and culture develop. Without the centralized polity of Rome each region was cut off from another and the local Latin dialects developed into separate Languages of Spanish, French, Portuguese, etc. French was a mixture of the German of the Franks and the Latin of their Gallo-Roman populace. Indeed even by the time of Charlemagne many in Aquitaine thought of themselves as Gallo-Roman as the new Romance languages were just developing. Around 800 AD the Latin of the Popes and the Franks were still somewhat intelligible but the differences were noticeable.

    The modern Italian language and identity developed from Italy being split into multiple polities and then in the 1800’s the ideas of Nationalisms Risorgimento developed. Even during the Renaissance this identity emerged with people like Dante, Cesare Borgia, Machiavelli, Gian Maria Visconti, etc. But here Rome is United. And the East only diverged with the fall of the West. It’s lingua Franca will be Greek but it’s official language and the language of the army will be Roman. The East holds its Latin speaking regions like Illyria and Thrace which was where the army who spoke and understood Latin were recruited from. I don’t really see a cultural divide between East and West forming as the Empire is officially one empire split administratively. Plus the Romans have a concept of universal citizenship all throughout the realm. Basically whether you lived in Roman parts of Syria, Germania, Gaul, Greece or Italy you were still Roman and seen equally under the eyes of the law. Plus the Greeks are in a cultural union with the Romans hence the term Greco-Roman culture that historians use. It’s also why when the Greek city states waged wars of conquest against the Greeks it went much more smoothly than when the Persians tried it. The Greeks saw them as outsiders and barbarians but not the Romans.
     
  16. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    An Italic identity among the Italics sure, like we already have a Gallic, Illyrian, Eastern (and many more) provincial identity. This is the case in the West, since the collapse of central authority during the V century promoted the rise of local authorities and loyalties and therefore the partial resurface of pre-roman identities. But this provincial identity can and will continue to coexist along with the wider roman identity (even though occasional conflicts may erupt between rival emperors and the provinces behind them).
    But we have religious divisions especially in the East which, if not handled properly, could cause great troubles to the empire. Also let’s not forget that religious strifes usually are tied to cultural/ethnic conflicts.
     
  17. Iskandar Khayon Well-Known Member

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    Is there a current map for the WRE?
     
  18. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Blank_Roman_Empire (1).png
     
  19. crazyself00 Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't the WRE control Sardinia and Corsica?
     
  20. darthfanta Offline

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    Why do they only control a small slice of Africa? What happened to Libya?
     
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