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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    Nope. The situation of Sardinia is probably going to be the subject of an incoming update along with the conflict in Northern Italy. Nothing special, just a minor event related to the collapse of the Vandals.
    This is the map of the empire in 534. The Vandal kingdom officially collapsed during that same year (February), therefore the Romans need time to properly establish their rule at the expense of the Berbers.
     
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  2. Threadmarks: Family tree

    Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Family tree of the Roman emperors:
    Senza titolo.png
     
  3. mane Well-Known Member

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    question what is the current state of the Eastern Roman Empire/ Byzantium has things improved for them ie stabilized for them to look into internal development
     
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  4. Basileus_Komnenos Well-Known Member

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    Probably not. The Vandals basically took control of that after they stole the Western fleet that was based in Carthage. The Romans also barely managed to annex Carthage. There are probably pockets of vandal holdouts. And they haven’t taken back the rest of the territory yet. Now with the Ostrogoths invading the Romans are spread thin. One thing that would really help the Romans is a more robust financial system with perhaps a proto-central Bank. Maybe with the martial culture of the Romanzing Germanic population the emperors can create a series martial nobles in provinces to set up themes to maintain an army with the West facing near bankruptcy and heavy inflation. Themes are a cost effective way of paying for troops.
     
  5. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Interesting to see how much the major characters of the Empire and the Goths are all TTL tied between each other. Pratically aside for Gaul the West is ruled by an extended Roman-Gothic family fighting between each other.

    In a sense is reassuring - because the Goths both of the East and the West were definitely integrated into the Imperial matters - well they lived in the Roman Empires by pratically two centuries - and certainly at their worse they may hope among them to see the rise of a new Ricimer and not certainly of a new Odoacer. Maybe in the future a Gothic descent Emperor could rise, accepted by everyone at this point.

    Naturally, with the Franks would be totally a different history...
     
  6. darthfanta Offline

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    So did Antonina die or did Belisarius get an annulment?
     
  7. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    The current emperor (Hypatius) enjoy the support of the senators, the Monophysites and the West, however he has to deal with several issues: religious strife, Athalaric’s Ostrogoths, officers loyal to Justinian (keep in mind that Magister Militum Sittas is Theodora’s brother in law), the reconstruction of Constantinople and Antioch. Overall the empire should be ok without the financial irresponsibility of Justinian but the plague is looming over it.
    This is one of the aims of this timeline albeit this system will be implement gradually. Here and there you can already find some elements of this development.
    If people find this interesting, I can make family trees for the next generations/dynasties of emperors too.
    This might happen: I already have some ideas for an emperor with Gothic ancestry and one with Persian ancestry…
    She died during the Nika riot. IMO Belisarius deserve someone better than her.
     
  8. mane Well-Known Member

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    will the medieval ages be different since the empire is at least partly restored
     
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  9. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Definitely. A couple of examples: No islam (but the Arabs are still there), a different hegemonic power between the Danube and the Carpathians, united Italy, a more Mediterranean-centric christian world...
    Basically this roman empire is going to look like a mix between the III/IV century empire and its OTL medieval version (at least that is my goal).
     
  10. Threadmarks: Chapter XLIII: Gallia and Sardinia

    Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Chapter XLIII

    In 516 the last of the four Burgundian brothers, king Gundobad, passed away. The old Patricius, who once had deposed Marcianus’ grandfather to install his own candidate before finally losing his influence over the empire, had worked so hard to earn the support of Rome during the last years of his reign. Even more ruthless was his attempt to once more bring back unity to the Burgundians. His son and successor Sigismundus would reap the fruit of his policy. In 516 Sigismundus was one of the five kings contending control over the entire Gaul. His conversion to Nicene Christianity meant the end of Arianism in Gaul while the death of Clovis in 511 meant the end of Burgundian subjection to the Franks. His first marriage with a Burgundian woman was childless and in 523, after a brief war against his Frankish relatives, he decided to put her aside for Clotilde, Clovis’ daughter and Chilpericus’ granddaughter, in an attempt to stabilize relations with her brothers.

    Burgundian-Warlord-Late-5th-Century-by-Angus-McBride (1) (1).jpg

    Clovis’death in 511 allowed his sons to partition his once great kingdom into four smaller realms [1]: the territories along the Rhine were assigned to Theodoricus, the territories along the Loire (around the city of Aurelianum) were assigned to Clodomer, Childebert received the northern part of the kingdom while Clotaire ruled over Aquitane. Even divided the Franks craved the Burgundian lands ruled by Sigismundus but their attempt to destroy him would be twarted by emperor Marcianus and king Agila in 523. Later on the four brothers would focus their attention on other opponents such as the Thuringii beyond the Rhine before resorting to the use of force against each other: Theodoricus’ death in 533 brought his son Theodebert at war againt his two uncles Clodomer and Childebert. The ensuing conflict saw Theodobert lose much of his western territories to his two uncles.

    The-Rise-of-the-Frankish-Kingdom-and-the-Merovingian-Dynasty.jpg

    Meanwhile Agila’s death in 534 brought importante changes to the relations between Rome and the various Western Germanic kingdoms. With the Gothic kingdom in Hispania now hostile to him and embroiled in a civil war [2], emperor Marcianus turned to the only rulers who had an interest in keeping the new Gothic regime in check. After almost a century since their coming into Hispania, the Suebi were now finally recognized by Marcianus as Foederati of the empire and their king Ricimer as Comes (a title that once belonged to Agila). This allowed the Romans to halt any possible attempt by the Goths to start a new war against Rome itself as the former were now embroiled in a conflict against the Suebi and Athalaric’s remaining supporters in the north of the country. With the exception of the siege of Septem and other minor episodes, this strategy proved successful. However the Romans turned also to king Clotaire of Aquitanie in an attempt to secure the Pyrenees and the Gallic Diocese against possible Gothic incursion. Therefore Iulius Marcianus once again resorted to gifts and honorary titles to win the support of Clotaire: in addition to a tribute paid by Rome to him in exchange for his military service, Clotaire would also receive his father’s rank of Patricius of the empire, sharing this honour with Sigismundus and Marcianus Valens. Only time will tell who would benefit more from this agreement.

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    Prior to the Roman invasion of Africa, emperor Marcianus had forged relations with the leader of the mercenaries in Sardinia, Godas, who had previously rebelled against the Vandals. However his defeat against Tzazo and his death proved to be a serious blow for his rebellion. Serious but not mortal as the vandals were soon forced to leave the island to support Gelimer’s resistance against the emperor. There they left a mere garrison of 800 men, enough to ensure the control of Caralis but not enough to clear the remaining rebels from the island. Not until the return of Tzazo and his men. But the collapse of the kingdom meant that those men would never return back to Sardinia. And thus the small garrison found itself trapped in an island surrounded by the sea and by an enemy ready to take his revenge. Supported by the natives, tired of oppression and robberies and what was left of the original rebellion, the new leader of the rebels, Thraustila, was determined to eject to the last remnant of the Vandal rule from the island. As time passed the rebel force once more grew into a considerable force ranging from 3000 to 4000 men, ill-equipped but numerically superior to the Vandals.

    e4b451ce50eae20b844c0dbda5650fa1--justinian-roman-consul.jpg

    The situation further complicated in March 534, when a small Roman fleet approached the city of Caralis. With the fleet were 500 Domestici led by tribune Photius (Belisarius’ stepson), responsible for the pacification of the two islands and their return into the empire. The situation was unexpected for both the Vandals and the Romans: the former didn’t expect such a quick intervention from Rome, the latter had no idea, until the moment one of their ambassador got beheaded, that the rebels were now equally hostile to both Rome and the Vandals. This prompted Photius to strike a deal with the Vandal officer Gunderic and the last surviving unit of the Vandal army, in order to repel and survive the incoming rebels. When Thraustila and his army finally reached the city, he found out that its wall were manned by both Romans and Vandals alike. With Roman control over the sea, there was no chance to take the city by starvation and every attempt to force the Romans out of the island through diplomacy was disdainfully refused by Photius. After a couple of weeks spent waiting for the Romans to leave the island (and possibly leaving the Vandals at their mercy), Thraustila resolved to launch an assault against the city’s wall: surely that day the enemy had the advantage of the defensive position and a qualitatively superior army (the Domestici, thanks to emperor Iulius Nepos, were once again one of the dealiest and most skilled unit of the western army and thus had avoided the decline of their eastern counterpart) but the wall of Caralis were not impressive at all and the rebels enjoyed a clear numerical superiority: even the best soldier of the empire could fell prey to fatigue, making him an ineffective fighter. The attack proved to be a fight to the last man as neither side wavered in front of the enemy. The first waves of rebels were literally slaughtered by their more trained opponents, yet the Romans and the Vandals soon found themselves losing ground to them as new and fresher waves of enemies kept coming. This until the moment Thraustila found himself surrounded by Romans and Vandals. The rebel leader repelled many of them, but his feat and his imposing physique only meant that more would keep coming, until Photius himself decided to join his men. Exhausted and far from his men, Thraustila could not avert the blow on his back coming from Photius. Falling on his knees, his hair would be grabbed by Photius who would quickly and without hesitation cut off the head from the body, before showing it to his men. Both the head of Thraustila and the rebellion were now gone and as soon as the rebels found out his death, the spirit of the rebellion broke and his men started to flee from the emboldened Romans. Disappearing in the countryside, the rebels would never come back for a third round. As a reminder of the fate any rebel against imperial authority would meet in the future, Thraustilla’s head was put on display on the city walls. After having distinguished himself against the rebels, Photius would be recalled by his stepfather Belisarius in Africa for his upcoming campaign against the Berbers, while Gunderic and his men would later receive news directly from the imperial palace: as a reward for their contribution in the pacification of Sardinia and for the valour that Photius himself commended his report sent to Rome, they were allowed to join the Scholae Palatinae as its sixth new unit.

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    Notes

    [1] For the sake of simplicity, the ATL division of the Frankish kingdom is simplified compared to the OTL one.

    [2] More info and details about the Visigoths in an upcoming update as we now return to focus once again on the Ostrogoths.


    And this should fill some of the gaps in the narration that I didn't have the time or the occasion to amend in the past. Hope you enjoy and let me know if I forgot something.

    Next time: The price of war: Martyrdom!
     
  11. TheHandsomeBrute Well-Known Member

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    You tease. We want to read about the gothic invasion.

    Otherwise a good update. Is Belisarius his new wife's son or the emperor's grand nephew?
     
  12. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Good news for West Rome, probably the best one was Suebic Gallaecia finally acknowledging and being acknowledged by the Empire. The Frank wars in Germania are good news too - would cut pressure from the Danubian front, albeit may push soon or later the Germans to invade Raetia and Noricum to escape the Franks.
     
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  13. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    No more excuses now, we are going back to the war against the Ostrogoths. I just thought that, since this war is going to take several updates (three or four maybe), it would have been better to first give a quick overview of the events of the last 20 years that I forgot to mention.

    Currently Belisarius is married to an imperial princess (Iulia Galla, Marcianus’ daughter). They don’t have any kids yet ( but their marriage won’t be fruitless as their offsprings are going to have a precise role at the end of the century before fading into obscurity), however from his previous marriage with Antonina he already had Ioannina (who is probably going to be the link between the current “extended” imperial family and their successors). Meanwhile Photius was an illegitimate son of Antonina with no relation to the famous general, nonetheless in OTL he was pretty loyal to Belisarius even when this meant going against his mother and empress Theodora.
    This could one day backfire against Rome, but that’s another surprise you have to wait for…
    Not much has changed from OTL here, but maybe in the future we could have an equal push from the East: the Danubian region is really crowded an the upcoming war is going to upset the balance of the region. Later on new conflicts against old enemies and new people could prompt a new migration…
     
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  14. crazyself00 Well-Known Member

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    @Flavius Iulius Nepos
    Maybe it is because English isn't my mother tongue but, when I read some of your answers, it seems to me that sometimes you are specifically looking for situation which either will be or will become problematic/problems for the Western Roman Empire.
     
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  15. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Well my intention is to bring the empire so close to complete restoration before finally unleashing a new age of Crisis, therefore undoing some of the successes of the previous emperors. Personally I find a timeline where the Romans struggle to remain alive more interesting than one where they just go conquer everything on their path. However this Roman empire is still going to fare better compared to its OTL version.
     
  16. historyfelon Historically inclined layabout

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    "Fare better that the original"?? That rhino poacher in Zambia that was stomped to death by elephants and then eaten by lions..if he had been shot by police and buried in a shallow grave it could be said he "fared better than the original time line". Still, sucks to be him.
     
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  17. Archangel Battery-powered Bureaucrat

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    IMHO, it is also important to see if Roman culture, Latin, education and trade routes survive better than OTL.
     
  18. Tarabas Well-Known Member

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    I personally do like this path very much, and IMHO all we have seen so far ITTL is very realistic. As a side note, I appreciate very much the non-mainstream POD (I think we are all so in love with Majorian that we forget that there could have been other restores, such as Nepos ITTL).
     
  19. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Well so far TTL survived almost 60 years so it fared better already.

    I agree with you about not making this a Roman wank for the scope to be a mere wank. I don't think and I think I said already since the start the Empire unlikely will unite all the West... But if would still survive through the ages and still live as a respectable nation, I would be still glad on a personal level.
     
  20. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Well the original empire died more than 500 years ago, yet it was (in my opinion) one of the most successful empire in history. It endured great challenges, met mighty foes (from Carthage to the various Persian/Turkish empires to the east), constantly evolved and finally left a lasting (positive) mark on the territories it ruled to a degree few other empires equaled. Its end was a tragedy but a glorious one and if I can write a timeline were the empire survives till the end of the story (as I don’t think I’ll reach the point in history where the OTL empire fell), manages to hold at least a third of its original territories and most of all avoid the rise of pretenders from every corner of the world trying to claim/usurp its legacy, then I’ll call this a successful. An empire that fared even better than the OTL one.
    Well in OTL, even the fall of the West wasn’t enough to eradicate Roman culture and identity and here we have the very core of the empire and its surrounding lands survive and thrive under the Nepotians while the link between the East and the Latin world is going to be stronger. I don’t have much to say about the education yet (except that the Academy is going to make a small comeback) but with the destruction of the Vandal kingdom the Mediterranen sea is once again a Roman lake, with its consequences on the economy and communication. Land route are a little bit more dangerous, especially communication between West and East since the start of the Gothic war, but as we already saw in the past, Nepos already tried to improve the situation (especially in Raetia and Noricum).
    Thank you! I always have this feeling that what I write is a little bit unrealistic, but to hear this from you is really reassuring.
    Well a restoration under Majorian is way more plausibe and also easier to achieve than one under Nepos. The first time I “imagined” this timeline (3 years ago), the POD was at the time of Majorian (immediately after his failed campaign against the Vandals). Unfortunately the timeline didn’t account for the butterfly effect. Then came a timeline about Belisarius (another popular POD) emperor in the West but the premise wasn’t totally correct. Finally last year I came with the idea of a timeline about the last hours (literally) of the Western Roman empire and started developing it reusing some of the ideas from the previous two stories. And that’s the story of how a timeline about Majorian became a timeline about Nepos and Procopius Anthemius’ offspring.
    I was referring to the empire as a whole since the distinction between East and West is not going to be a permanent thing. However to prove the real greatness of an empire and its people you have to provide them true challenges and great enemies and see how they react. This way things are more interesting.
     
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