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: Chapter X: Beginning of a new campaign

    Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Chapter X

    By the end of 482 Nepos and his court were residing in Verona the most important city in the venetian province. But he was not the only one who moved there in the recent months: military contingents from the Italian army and the Dalmatian one were now gathering in the city following the emperor’s order. Among them there were 3000 men from the Dalmatian army, 4000 men from the Italian army in addition to the elite units such as the Scholae and the Domestici. Almost 11000 men were now ready for the new spring and the incoming campaign: the Danubian campaign. For decades the local inhabitants of Raetia and Noricum had been left alone to face the barbarian attacks, while the empire was struggling for the survival. For too long the emperor had ignored his duty to protect the citizens of his empire. Now that Italy was finally liberated and returned to imperial rule, it was time to restore effective control over these provinces, only nominally under the control of Rome. Despite the lack in these provinces of any authority and the dissolution of the local garrisons, the roman inhabitants were able to organize a resistance around their most important cities, sometimes under the coordination of local bishops or former soldiers. But their determination to preserve the roman civilization in this remote region of the empire was not enough against their numerous foes: among them the Alemanni, the Herulii and the Rugii. Differently from other populations (such as the burgundians and the visigoths) there people didn’t establish a proper romano-barbarian kingdom, instead they were more similar to the germanic tribes of earlier times, interested in loot, hostage and anything that could provide them a quick and easy profit. Slowly, however, there tribes were destroying what was left of the roman rule in these provinces, sacking cities, deporting inhabitants and damaging vital infrastructures.

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    After almost 3 years from his previous expedition, Nepos finally feel ready enough to face another military campaign. There were many reasons that prompted him to arrange a new expedition: the need to further increase his prestige, thus strengthening his rule, the need to protect Italy from external threats and to increase the resources available to him thanks in particular to the rich presence of gold mines and steel of a fine quality. Resources which could be used by the emperor to further increase the army and to improve the equipment of his soldiers. The preparations for the Danubian campaign were not the only reasons for Nepos presence in northern Italy, an other reason was the reorganization of the border defense in Italy itself, in particular against eastern invasions. Since the death of Theodosius, Italy had been left without a proper defense against armies marching from the Illyrian region, while the destruction of Aquileia removed the last obstacle to foreign invasions. Therefore Julius Nepos proceeded with the reinforcement of the eastern sector of the Alpine region: where once stood the city of Aquileia, he ordered the foundation of a new walled city, while sending there 7000 citizens coming from other cities of "Venetia and Histria", called “Aquileia Nepotiana” but commonly know again as Aquileia. To stimulate the growth of the city, he provided the inhabitants with a small Circus and Baths while moving there the seat of the Consulares of the Venetian province (his presence and that of his staff would stimulate the economic and political activities inside the city).

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    Aquileia, before its destruction, near Natisone river.
    Meanwhile he also proceeded with the fortification of the road that linked Italy with the eastern provinces: the Castra Alpium Iuliarum. Destroyed during the civil wars of the previous century, Nepos saw these fortifications as vital for the protection of his empire. He himself once considered to invade Italy using this road. While he would be busy with the northern campaign he appointed a new officer, the Dux Venetia et Histria, to supervise the fortifications while training a contingent among the locals, responsible for the defense of these forts. The only officer with the rank of “dux” inside the Italian peninsula, he was subjected to the Magister Militum Praesentalis and would lead the defense of eastern Italy from the city of Aquileia.

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    The Castra Alpium Iuliarum
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
  2. Cuāuhtemōc Instagram Fiend Banned

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    May God grant victory to Rome!
     
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  3. alcibiades Well-Known Member

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    I wish Nepos luck. Good selection of images thus far.
     
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  4. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    I found the decree of Nepos over inheritance to clergymen interesting. I can see why Simplicius is against this law - could drag more cadets taking a religious position to Imperial loyalties rather than Patriarchal ones. On the other side he couldn't be disappointed for further tax exemptions - the Italic clergy is going soon or later to become very rich. And this wealthy can eventually bite back both Church and Empire - the first becoming more corrupt, the second in case of relative future weakness and a more active Papacy could use this money for own advantages.

    But anyway the various bishoprics can see an early eventual flourishment of cathedrals in the peninsula with more incomes at disposal!
     
  5. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Thanks. Unfortunately I had a better image of the Castra Alpium Iuliarum in my computer, but I'm not able to upload it here.
    I don't know if I am following an ahistorical/ unrealistic path with these decrees (considering the period), however my intention is to keep the empire fully able to control the religious events at his own favour while reducing the number resources that escapes the Imperial Treasury (but there are more reasons behind this policy). Obviously I'm now writing this with hindsight but if you think that I should change Nepos attitude feel free to write me.
     
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  6. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Maybe is not implausible as you think, from the moment those were times where taking an ecclesiastic career was a shelter - from the duress of time and from barbarian attacks. Plus those are decrees of administrative nature, not religious, because they delve into civil rights so Nepos had all the power and the right to enact them. They are plausible - for the times - because Nepos had to address somehow two important issues related - need of manpower, and control of the money flow inside Italy. For how much was seductive the religious life, Nepos could have felt the need to keep limited this running into monasteries or churches.
     
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  7. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    You're right here, however the unhappiness of the church with Nepos policies could be a problem for him. In addition, we're approaching the VI century, which mean incoming imperial meddling on religious issue. We'll see how his successor will handle religious conflict in the empire (especially the relations with the eastern half).
     
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  8. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire

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    Question: Will islam come to existence just as OTL? Like no butterflies with Iulius Nepos success?
     
  9. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    We will still have Islam as I don't think that the survival of Nepos will butterfly event in the Arabian Peninsula ( but also for narrative convenience). However its expansion outside Arabia and its interaction with the roman world (and probably the persian world, but I've not decided yet) will probably be different. How different? We will see as we still have 150 years of story before reaching that point.
     
  10. darthfanta Offline

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    Survival of the WRE will be adequate to butterfly Islam away.With the WRE still in existence,events like Justinian’s reconquests will be butterflied away and the ERE will be more engaged with the east.
     
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  11. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire

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    Fair enough. I will follow you TL. So far so good!
     
  12. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    The Survival of the west certainly mean no Justinian's wars in Africa and Italy and a different Roman-Persian war. But is this enough to prevent what is happening in the Arabian peninsula? I'm not questioning the fact that a different emperor will handle the Arab invasion in a different way (probably more successfully than OTL), given the probably different situation and different resources available, but to prevent the birth of Islam you probably need more roman/persian involvement in Arabia.
    Thanks. Hope you enjoy next updates too.
     
  13. darthfanta Offline

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    Fights between Persia and the ERE will most likely cause great disruptions in the Arabian Peninsular as well.For example, both sides deployed Arab auxiliaries.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  14. Ultima Ratio The Last Baron

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    I may be wrong but if the ERE does not get into endless wars in the West, it may not be so exhausted by Persia by the time Islam rolls around.
     
  15. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    In an alternate universe where the WRE survived, there is a possibility that we avoid the birth of Islam but that's not a certainty as there is no way to predict the exact effects of every single alteration of history.
    There are lots of things that all of a sudden could go wrong for the Roman empire. I don't want to spoiler much about future updates, but do not expect a constant serie of roman victories. However if you wish I can open a poll about the future of this timeline and let the readers decide what should happen when we reach that point of history.
     
  16. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Not everyone can be happy in the Empire, of course. Not even the Roman Church. XD

    Plus I really hope and prepare my popcorn for endemic clashes between Empire and Church, also because a surviving WRE would be the anthesis of the HRE.
     
  17. Ultima Ratio The Last Baron

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    Oh no, it's your narrative, take it wherever you like. I'll be here rooting for a Rome-wank, but I'll be happy with wherever you take it. Your premise is extremely interesting and uncommon.
     
  18. TheCataphract Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure if the West surviving would butterfly Islam as a religion, but I do think that with the East not being bogged down in the West it could reduce the chance of them exhausting themselves against the Persians and combined with the West's support Islam might not even get the chance to be as aggressive as they were OTL.

    Some very specific circumstances allowed for their meteoric rise and I don't think they would have so much success here outside the Arabian peninsula.
     
  19. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Dont' worry, compared to OTL it will still be a nice Roman-wank. It's not a problem if you have a particular preference about future of the roman empire, if I a see the readers prefering a particular development I would be happy to change it accordingly.
    I understand your doubts about the Arab expansion against the empire, however I'll do my best to explain the reasons and to justify what is happening. I won't just write the course of history but I will prepare the premises and explain the context of the events. Considering we still have more than a century of history before reaching the VII century, we've plenty of time to think about it.
     
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  20. Threadmarks: Chapter XI: From Verona to the North.

    Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Chapter XI

    Given the nature of the campaign Nepos and his army were about to undertake, he divided his forces into two contigents. The first one led by the emperor himself, would comprise the Illyrian regiments and the Scholae while Ecdicius would take the command of the Italic soldiers along with the members of the Imperial guard. The first army would move west before crossing the alpine passes that linked Italy to the two provinces of Raetia while Ecdicius would act independently in Noricum. At the end of March 483 AD, Nepos departed with his soldier from Verona. 5 days later the army reached the city of Mediolanum. Here the emperor halted the march: the local Vicarius, responsible for the administration of Italia Annonaria, and the Praefectus Praetorio required his personal presence as they were facing some issues concerning the land redistribution. Most of the lands Odoacer gave to his men, belonged to the inhabitants of the provinces of Liguria and Venetia, yet only few of them gained back their properties. The reason for this behaviour from the emperor was simple: Nepos intended to develop a small class of landowner exploiting Odoacer confiscation, in this way he would gain the merit of this reform while Odoacer would gain the blame for the confiscations. Nepos had no intention to returned most of these lands to already wealthy and powerful landowners (unless they composed the base of his supporters). But local landowners didn’t failed to notice such arbitrary attitude. They were claiming the same privileges that were granted to few. During his permanence in Mediolanum, Nepos tried to address the problem that was risking to undermine his popularity among “Ligurian” and “Venetian” landowners.

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    Roman Mediolanum, notice the 600 m long colonnaded road on the right of the image.

    Therefore he summoned the Consistorium, an evolution of the previous and private Consilium Princeps, with the aim of solving the problem. The composition of the Consistorium included both permanent and occasional members, responsibles of the imperial administration, men of the church and friends of the emperor in addition to the “Notarii”, the secretaries responsible for the transcription, headed by a Primicerius Notarius. During the session among the participants there were the Vicarius Idatius, the Praefectus Mavortius, the Archbishop of Mediolanum Theodorus and the two Comes Attalus and Eugyppus. After recognizing the need to give satisfaction to these men, the Imperial Consistorium finally reached a deal with the representatives of landowners: the “Beneficiarii”, as they were termed in imperial decrees, would be allowed to receive and keep the land that the emperor was gradually granting them. Meanwhile the previous owners would be slowly refunded by the imperial treasure, which would officially “buy” these lands. Part of the refunds included also a partial and temporary tax exemption as a compensation. With the issue resolved Nepos spent some more days in the Imperial city, celebrating the Easter. To reward the city that refused to help Odoacer after the end of the war, Nepos promised the local inhabitants 2 days of games for the future and the personal restoration of damaged buildings: the imperial palace, the mausoleum of the Valentinian dynasty, the “Porticata” road at the gate of the city, and the Imperial Circus. Nepos himself was a fan of chariot race and a supporter of the Whites.

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    Supposed aspect of the "Via Porticata".

    After a long, but rather pleasant, permanence in the city, Nepos again departed from Mediolanum at the end of the second week of April. After two days of march he reached the city of Comum, birthplace of the two Plinii. Without wasting time, the emperor proceeded with his army north, toward the border between Italy and Raetia. From now on the situation was completely unknown to him and his soldiers as they were entering a potentially hostile region. Only after reaching the first roman community the emperor would be able to organize a proper strategy for his Raetian campaign, however he already knew what he would need to secure the northern provinces from external threat: this was not a campaign of great battles and sieges, this was a campaign were logistic and organization would play a leading role, something where the romans still excelled. Upon entering the Raetian territory, Nepos temporarely detached a small of contingent of 500 men, tasked with the reparation of the vital road and the construction of small forts at a distance of half-day of march between them. Nepos recognized that the severing of all links between Italy and Raetia allowed the anarchy in the northern provinces and the collapse of local administration and the desertion of the already small army. The restoration of this link would represent the first step toward the pacification of the Danubian provinces. That said, Nepos proceeded North, where he hoped to find trace of roman survival in the city of Curia.

    NDtertiani.png
    Shields belonging to the Tertiani Italica (formerly Legio III Italica), once part of the garrison of Raetia

    I hope you enjoy this update. For some days I will be more busy with the university so expect a slower rhythm in this timeline for awhile. I will still be available for any questions or suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
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