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. Threadmarks: Chpater XLIV: The price of war: Martyrdom!

    Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Chapter XLIV

    The situation was critical. It has always been critical, at least for the last 2 centuries. And as the empire continued to grow, its problems did likewise. The African campaign proved to be more costly than everyone had ever expected: it was a dispute between the Romans and the Goths, over the spoils of the Vandal kingdom, that caused the fall of one of Rome’s closest ally. It was the lack of support for Anastasius that doomed Rome’s attempt to continue the domination over the Pannonian Goths. And finally it was the campaign itself that weakened Rome’s defence in Italia and Illyricum, prompting an invasion from Amalaric. It was up to Marcianus Valens to ensure that the emperor would be remembered for his successes and not for his faults. But it wasn’t just his duty, it was also personal. The man responsible for his father’s death had finally decided to come out of hiding and Valens would make sure he met his father Romulus into the Tiber. Sure the situation was not favourable to him. While marching north against the rebel, he tried to gather as many soldiers as possible but he had to face the harsh reality, there wasn’t enough time to gather all of them. A messenger had already been sent to Ravenna, where 500 Domestici, along with their Comes Domesticorum Equitum Flavius Iovinus Classicianus, were order to immediately reach his army and to alert the commander of the local garrison against possible attack against this important city. Unfortunately for Valens, his attempt to communicate the same message to his colleague, Magister Militum Decentius, was unsuccessful. True was that Decentius had been rather hostile to him in the past, but Valens certainly didn’t suspect him of treason as the soldiers under his command were of proven loyalty. Some of those units had personally and successfully served the emperor in Gaul more than 20 years ago and been rewarded for this reason. According to the last news from the palace, Decentius was seriously ill at the time of the African campaign and the emperor had already considered his removal before turning his attention against the Vandals. This and the Gothic raids which seriously hindered communication in Northern Italy, were probably the reason why Decentius had failed to recall his units and prepare his army for the march. He was therefore forced to face Orestes without the support of the Western Italian army.

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    News from Venetia quickly depicted a dire situation: lacking the men to defend the eastern fortifications, Dux Venetia et Histria Proculus was forced to flee to Aquileia Nepotiana whereas the population was resolute to resist the invaders, as the memory of the last invasion was still alive. Orestes simply ignored them, as he decided that leaving behind enough men to prevent any surprise from the small garrison and ensure the link with Amalaric, would be better than a lengthy siege, which would only give the Romans the time they needed to assemble a larger army. With the collapse of the first line of defense, Orestes’ army was now free to move against his next target which, according to the direction of the Gothic raids, was now Mediolanum. His plan was clear, he intended to eliminate any possible threat to his back, isolate Rome from Gaul before marching against the imperial capital. He would finally meet the imperial army south of Verona in April. Here the barbarians outnumbered the Imperial as Orestes was leading an army of 8000 men while the Caesar was barely able to gather 5000. The ensuing battle would soon see the barbarians gaining the upper hand over the Romans. In a desperate attempt to turn the tide of the battle, Marcianus Valens led a charge against Orestes despite his retinue’s attempt to stop him. He would came close enough to battle Orestes’ own guard but not enough to face and kill him, as he would fell victim to an Herulian soldier. The subsequent barbarian’s attempt to bring the dead Caesar to his lord was thwarted by the Domestici led by Iovinus, who would conceal the news of Valens’ death to the rest of the army including his son Flavius Anthemius Valens.

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    Until the end of the battle the Caesar would officially be injured and unable to continue the fighting. However his “example” would bolster his men’s desire for revenge, this time led by Anthemius and Iovinus. The second charge would accomplish more than the first one, as Orestes was publicly injured while Theodemir and Bilimer, the real commanders behind the invasion, were killed. The barbarians would proved less unwavering than their Roman opponents, as most of them started to flee from the battle eastward. The crossing of the Adige would prove to be a disaster for the Goths, as the river claimed more lives the Romans themselves. The disaster of Verona spelled the end of the Gothic invasion of Italy. Orestes would retreat from Italy with what was left of his army, to join Amalaric in Dalmatia. Celebration for the Romans didn’t last long as the amount of the loss quickly spread among the soldiers: half of the army was left on the field or unable to continue the campaign. Many officers and veterans from the african campaign lay dead including the hero of Hippo Dyarrhytus and the likely heir of the empire. The report of the battle wasn’t welcomed with joy by the emperor in Rome. As a consequences of this battle and events taking place in Illyricum, the emperors resorted to move with his family and the imperial court to Ravenna, where he would set up his new residence in order to better direct military operations in Illyricum. Once again Ravenna was usurping Rome’s position in the West, while the news of the fall of Sirmium quickly spread throughout the empire. The young prince Anastasius had barely escaped the fall of the city while his mother Amalasuntha, a threat to Amalaric’ claim the kingship, was executed by her nephew.

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    Next time: Threatened Home!
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  2. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

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    sounds like we may be looking at a later collapse of the roman empire
     
    Basileus_Komnenos likes this.
  3. Sceonn Peace at a Bargain Price

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    Jun 23, 2014
    That would be lame...
     
  4. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

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    Aug 4, 2018
    all good things have to come to an end
     
  5. piratedude Pirate Lord of the Great Lakes

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    Sep 8, 2017
    Well honestly rome should have fallen apart in the crises of the third century. That our western rome lasted another 200ish years is amazing. That this rome has managed to come back from Oderocer is near miraculous. Even if it did end here (which i doubt), its been a damn good run.
     
  6. Basileus_Komnenos Well-Known Member

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    Dec 20, 2018
    @Flavius Iulius Nepos
    Where did you get the images you use from? I love how you have the Dragon as the late Roman Standard. That’s such great attention to detail. Most late Roman tl’s use the eagle when that was historically inaccurate.

    It’s time for the Romans to do what they do best and crush their foes and descend upon the Goths like they did against the Celts, Iberians, Phonecians, and Gauls centuries ago. Roma Invicta! Victoria Augusti!
     
  7. Vuu Resident Serb expert Banned

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    May 11, 2018
    Any ethnos has a limited lifespan
     
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  8. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire

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    Oct 24, 2017
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    Sarajevo
    Does this TL butterlfy away Islam?
     
  9. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Italy
    Damn. Damn. Damn...

    Why? Nothing in the chapter is really implying this...
     
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  10. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Maybe, once I get tired of this timeline, I’ll make the empire collapse with a loud bang…
    … but not yet. There is still lot more to see.
    Either Google images or Pinterest. Glad you like them.
    But the Pannonian Goths are not alone…
    I beg to disagree: this may be un unpopular opinion but I don’t think every empire is meant to die. It might be subject to changes though…
    Well according to this poll https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/first-poll.449625/
    the empire is going to face a Germanic-style invasion from the East. Most of the Romano-Arab kingdoms which are going to emerge in the East are going to convert to some version of Christianity with one possible exception. I’m still working on this idea. So basically Islam is going to be butterflied away ( I know, when I started this timeline my idea was different but as you can see, I'm constantly changing the direction of the story).
    Marcianus Valens would have made a good emperor. Soon we will see how Theodosius will turn out.
     
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  11. Tarabas Well-Known Member

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    Aug 30, 2018
    Well, all of this was definitely unexpected... it has a George RR Martinish bittersweetenes. On the one hand, the threat to the heart of the Empire has been averted-for now. On the other hand... what a price! And the war will drag on, I guess, as Dalmatia and Illyricum are of vital importance to the Empire (is Salona still a major weapon production center, btw?). Hope to see the Pannonian Goths destroyed, although that is maybe a feat for better days...
     
  12. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    You’re right, Dalmatia ensures communication between East and West but more importantly it’s where the restoration of the empire started, 54 years ago. Salona is still the seat of a “Fabrica” (a place where weapons are produces) and the only one in the entire Illyricum since all the others ceased working during the previous century. In my opinion the reason why Marcellinus and Nepos’ army was considered qualitatively superior to the other armies of the West can probably be attributed to the survival of this “Fabrica”.

    Amalaric is going to be a tougher enemy than expected. The conflict is likely to escalate and even a victory won’t spare the Pannonians the tragedies of war. Let’s not forget that we still have an ongoing conflict in Africa and the imperial army, due to his relatively limited resources, can’t just walk in and crush the barbarians without any effort. The success of the Vandalic war is an exception due to luck and perfect timing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
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  13. Some Bloke Well-Known Member

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    Setting up a new fabrica would be too expensive and fiddly, right?
     
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  14. Ultima Ratio The Last Baron

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    May 1, 2010
    I guess there is also the matter of know-how.
     
  15. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    More a matter of money. Many Fabricae stopped working as a consequences of the loss of Africa and its revenue and the massive use of Foederati also meant that the empire was no longer required to provide for the equipment of its armies. With the recovery of Africa and the empire slowly recovering, it should be possible for the Magister Officiorum to reactivate some of these Fabricae in northern Italy (maybe with the help of the staff from Salona) and tie them to the regional armies. I’m probably going to explore this at the beginning of the next century, once we hit the need to reform the army (which by the way is already facing some changes but if you have any suggestion you would like to see implemented, feel free to write here).
     
  16. TheCataphract Well-Known Member

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    Feb 3, 2017
    Personally, I wouldn't put any critical military arms manufacturing in Northern Italy, at least not until say, Gaul, Illyria and Austria are fully recovered and stabilized, otherwise it is too vulnerable to being destroyed in an invasion or even a large raid, and a large centralized arms and armor workshop is not something that can be replaced on a whim or within a short period of time. The infrastructure for that would likely take several years on its own to get set up so losing one would be a major setback, and reduce Rome's ability to raise and equip new armies in times of crisis.

    Far better in the near term I think would be to keep it somewhere like central/southern Italia, places near that capital that can benefit from the infrastructure there that will likely be the best developed anyways, and behind enough lines of defense that the Romans wouldn't have the men to raise a new army in the first place if the workshops were being threatened.
     
  17. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Well in Gaul the Romans have already recovered Arelate and the neighbouring Burgundians are close allies of Rome, Austria (Noricum) has been recovered at the beginning of this timeline, therefore only the East can currently threaten Italy.

    True, something like this can’t be easily replaced, that’s why I’m going to establish these Fabricae inside a walled city like Mediolanum or Verona. Should one of these cities falls to barbarians, than the empire is probably going to deal with bigger problems than the loss of one Fabrica. The reason why these Fabricae were established close to the border was because the army needed quick replacements (lots of equipment can be lost after a single battle) while the bureaucracy needed a way to cut the cost to transport these equipment around the empire (similar reason for the billeting of military units inside the cities or the creation of provincial mint close to the frontiers).

    Yet it could be possible to establish one Fabrica in Rome for those elite units, like the Scholae or the Domestici and few other regiments, residing in Rome and central Italy.
     
  18. StevenIronside Member

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    Mar 5, 2019
    Do you have a family tree for this timeline
     
  19. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Senza titolo.png
     
  20. crazyself00 Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps, you could threadmark it.
     
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