Hadrian's Consolidation - reboot

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Hecatee, May 16, 2016.

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  1. Hecatee Traveller of the pasts

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    From what I gather there were domains in which the Romans saw great achievements up to the second century, including engineering and architecture, with a number of books written on the topic. In philosophy too there were a number of new publications, and in literature some evolutions in the domain of novels for instance. But there was also enormous regard for past achievement and a feeling that maybe it could not be bettered, and an education that was in large part based on memorization of classics and not free thinking. A lot of the great minds would thus concentrate on cataloguing and preserving the past.
    The people who learned about free thinking were thus more and more the highest elite who were not interested in applying it to practical matters, especially since there was a bias, inheritted from the Greeks, against "techne" which was opposed to "sophia".
    From the third century onward a part of the elite changed, being more military oriented : the place of high culture started to be a lesser one, and despite a revival in the 4th century it would be in decline until the carolingian renaissance in the 8th/9th century
     
  2. Threadmarks: Domus Severiana, Rome, June 168

    Hecatee Traveller of the pasts

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    Domus Severiana, Rome, June 168


    Apicius was not his original name but that did not matter as that was how his masters had named him, and so it had become his real name. He’d been raised since he was a young child to become a culinary specialist and he was now, aged 37, head cook of the main roman residence of the severan family, a new senatorial clan close to the Emperor. Septimius Severus had just been granted entry to the senate, the emperor recognizing his juridic talents and his ease with languages, Septimius speaking Punic and Greek as well as Latin.

    Apicius too was gifted in his job. He’d had a good education that included how to read and how to write, apprenticeship under great cooks of other families and a great freedom of experimentation. He even had his own small library of culinary books including the mandatori De Re Coquinaria of his famous namesake.

    Recently he’d bought a consignment of new pans and pots from Norica made from a strange metal said to be normal iron worked in a new way. They weighed an immense weight but did not require as much wood to cook and changed the way food was heated, be it soup in a pot or meat in a pan.

    In fact Apicius had a lot of troubles with the new equipment : none of his previous cooking times matched with the one required by the so called cast-iron implements, and he’d already failed a number of his most famous recipes. Fortunately none of his mistake had been of consequences for his master, at least until now, but it was still both an affront to his professionalism and a risk to his hoped for freedom that he could not cook well on the new cookery.

    He’d heard the story on the market of the head cook of another great family who’d been beaten and sold on the slave market because he’d been unable to master the new way of cooking and Apicius really wanted to escape such fate.

    He’d spoken to his mistress about the issue and had been most surprised by how she’d reacted : first she’d told him she understood that novelties needed to be learned and skill acquired, then she’d brought him to her husband’s private office were they had all sat to discuss the issue. It was amazing in Apicius’ eye because he had never spoken about his craft with his master and yet the man seemed to care enough to spend two hours discussing the issues.

    Apicius had been told that what he was experiencing was similar to what other in other professions were living right now : new ways of working metal, new machines used in mills and mines or even in the army, it seemed it was a time for change and experimentation. That it did cost time and failures to reach a result was normal and expected and thus he would not be punished but would rather get an extra budget to experiment but only use the old methods unless otherwise ordered and this at least until he mastered the new techniques of his craft. Septimius Severus had high ambitions and knew he could probably achieve a number of them through the satisfaction of the palates of a number of his fellow senators, so having a cook able to do new tricks was a weapon in his upcoming fight up the cursus honorum...

    (yes a friend of mine offered me a translation of the De Re Coquinaria for my recent birthday...)
     
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  3. theg*ddam*hoi2fan Beware of the Leopard

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    That was a good one - I like the look at ‘ground level’ :)
     
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  4. TheImperialTheorist To theorize & imagine worlds of possibilities.

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    With new advancements, the people must go with the flow or be stranded behind. An excellent look at something not quite as seen as usual.
     
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  5. Alessandro Well-Known Member

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    ok I have a strange question, taking account of the "technology" that the Roman are actually using in this TL, it's possible that they will eventually create/recreate the locomotive or similar device that use steam power, taking into account that they have, as show in precedent chapter, primitive steam machine? IF we all agree that they will in time create more complex steam machine, my question is: will they explore use of steam technology in the military area. if so will they ever be able to create something like this:

    http://www.ifelix.co.uk/victoriansciencefiction/workbench02d.html
    http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/rc-...iver-based-tamiya-kingtiger.html#&gid=1&pid=1

    and before someone say it's impossible please see the link below:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_tank

    now something like this will need CENTURY of technological improvement but it's possible. And this TL Romans are thriving thanks in parts to a more scientific mindset, and the emperor himself ask the philosopher and engineering of Alexandria to create machine to better use steam power. IF and WHEN Steam Technology will be introduce and use, in their everyday lives, I think The Roman Empire will be able to made a steam tank or use steam in their military. Through?
     
  6. Hecatee Traveller of the pasts

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    I won't say its out of the realm of possibility, but I don't think they'd go for tanks, they'll rather go for logistical transport which will then move toward self propelled artillery, probably for siege purpose. Tank were very much the result of trench warfare, and there is few if any ennemy power able to muster enough forces to make it necessary, and even less in logistical range of the empire...
    Also don't forget that right now there is no gunpowder or explosives of any kind availlable
     
  7. TheCataphract Well-Known Member

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    They could be a way to more practically deploy Greek fire on a battlefield.
     
  8. Hecatee Traveller of the pasts

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    Greek fire has not yet been invented either ;) In fact if you look back on the scientific topics mentionned in this story I've left chemistry out of scope, physics (theoretical and applied) and medicine do on the other hand progress much further than OTL. Even the early attempt at a Mendeleiev table of elements by the glass maker will be considered to be physics and not chemistry, at least for a long time...
     
  9. TheCataphract Well-Known Member

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    Well there's nothing saying it all has to happen at once. I just pictured it in my head and decided it would be terrifying!
     
  10. Threadmarks: Governor’s palace Carnuntum, Pannonia, July 168

    Hecatee Traveller of the pasts

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    Governor’s palace Carnuntum, Pannonia, July 168


    The map covered a large wall in the main hall of the governor's’ palace. Soldiers of the praetorian guard kept vigil over each door leading into the room while further troops guarded the building. The Emperor was inside with his principal generals and defining a new grand strategy. While the fighting was rather less intense this season, Marcus Aurelius was decided to settle things in a more permanent way on the Danubian border like he’d done it on the Mesopotamian front. Some Eastern troops had been sent for during the winter, logistics had been prepared to support the legions on defensive or offensive operations, but the expected barbarian onslaught had not materialized.

    The Roman high command had thus to decide what to do, the main choice being between a few retaliative strikes and a return to status quo ante bellum or a larger operation. Arguments were presented by all while the emperor remained silent on his high seat, listening but not giving any sign of agreeing with one party or the other.

    “The defenses on the Tisia river and the limes are holding well after the initial enemy operations, and while we were taken somewhat by surprise last year the province of Iazygeia is secure. So why should we take risks and go north ?”

    “Yes but if we don’t really crush them they’ll come back, if not now then in ten years, and it will be war again…”

    “Indeed, those are barren forested lands, we can operate at will in them to punish the local tribes but don’t need to extend the borders. The divine August’s will is clear on the topic…”

    “The divine August lived two centuries ago and had lost Varus’ legions, beside we’re not talking about the Albis river here…”

    “And what would these lands bring us ? more costs, more barbarians, more…”

    “But they have good iron weapons, so they must have mines, and they sit on the amber road from the great north…”

    Marcus Aurelius rose from his seat, freezing the latest speaker mid-sentence. Silence fell on the room as all waited for him to speak.

    “The barbarians raid our borders on a regular basis. Their forests seem not enough to feed them and they think they need to defy us to test their own virility. Remember the words the divine Caesar wrote about them in his De Bello Gallico, and what Tacitus wrote a century ago. We won’t have peace by simply sitting in our border forts. Beside that those lands must have ressources, and you’ve all seen the reports on the increased trade in the gallic, german and danubian provinces born from the increase in agriculture, so it seems that something that held us back before is now changed. Is it Minerva’s gifts that brought this or Ceres benediction, I do not know, but it is so.

    When I read the historians I also see that the region inhabited by the Marcomani was the land of the Boii that now live a bit further north. The Boii were the Gauls that sacked Rome, burned Delphi and settled in Galatia. This means that the land of the Marcomani could become the birthplace of an immense threat as it was in the past when Rome was still but a small republic. But it could also become the birthplace of new wealth for our empire...

    Finally when I read the geographers I see that a river, the Moenus, goes directly from Mongotiacum on the Rhine toward the mountains that protect the Marcomani lands and the western sorgentes Albiis, the sources of the Albis river that was for a time the border of the empire. Then the mountains make a shape like a huge O that protects the Marcomani hearthland from attacks from all quadrants but provide passage for another branch of the Albis in the north and for a river that starts close to the eastern source of the Albis but goes down to Carnuntum. So all in all we have a plan of attack for those regions : we crush the remains of the Hermunduri, who have still not recovered fully from the wars of the divine Hadrian, making the Moenus the new border thanks to a series of forts strung alongside its course up to the mountains. This push will be the responsibility of the Rhine legions. Secondary action will take place against the Naristi and the Osi, led by Danubian auxiliaries, but the main push will be against the Quadi west of the river Mari that flows into the Danuvius a bit further downstream from Carnuntum.

    This will be a large push, but it will be for next year. I expect the war to last three more years, but by the end I expect we’ll control all the mountains between us and the Albis river and all the lands they protect, and that my successor will have peace in Germania… Not doing so would be making a great disservice to the empire, and one should always strive for the greater good.“


    [​IMG]
    (note that the area south of the river next to "Nemeti" tribe is already roman)
     
  11. dunHozzie Well-Known Member

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  12. Alessandro Well-Known Member

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    Nice update as always ;)
     
  13. Hecatee Traveller of the pasts

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    While I've not seen any official mention yet, the fact that votes are closed seem to indicate that you, my readers, have deemed my work worthy of praise and election to a Turtledoves award.
    I'm awed by the support my timeline received from you all, I really did not expect it given the, to my eye, far better narrative style of @Lindseyman or the much more in depth Μηδίζω! of @Daeres (and the fact I do single out those two does not in any way mean I think the others are less deserving, but those are the two timelines I know the best).
    So thank you all !
    As a thank you present I also give you one more chapter today :)
     
  14. Threadmarks: Alexandria, Egypt, August 168

    Hecatee Traveller of the pasts

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    Alexandria, Egypt, August 168


    The man sat in a comfortable chair on the terrasse overlooking the garden of his luxurious central-Alexandria home. Slaves had set cool wine on a tray alongside some vegetables because the master was known to like nibbling on something while he read. A slave sat behind him, ready to take note of everything his master might say.

    Thus settled he took the first papyrus on the pile in front of him. The seal indicated its provenance, his domain near the kome of Tebtunys, in the Arsinoite nome : the wheat and crocodile of the seal were the symbol of his local intendant, Haryotes. The man made a face. Haryotes always wrote in egyptian and had an atrocious script. Why could he not use greek like anyone civilized ?

    Breaking the seal, he opened the roll of papyrus. The demotic appeared :

    Greeting to my lord Alexander from his loyal servant Haryotes. May this letter find you and yours in good health and protected by the Gods.

    The domain is in good shape and the wheat promises to be plentiful. I have already taken the precaution to book the ship of Cronion to carry it to Alexandria, alongside the previously organized lease of the ship of Posneus.

    The weavers have made progress in making linen out of the last stocks of last year’s flax, just in time for this year’s harvest which also promises to be good. In fact it may be too good and we may have to recruit new womens to work the flax.

    Do you authorize me to recruit up to five new women should the harvest be good enough ? I fear that if I do not do it soon enough all the womens of Tebtunys will be recruited by your neighbors for their own needs.

    As usual I’ve had one fourth of the linen sold locally. The linen sold locally was not bringing as much money as usual so I’ve taken the liberty to have slaves collect nettles to add to the cloth, with the effect that while it cost a bit more time to make it did bring the expected money in. The rest of the stock, also interwoven with nettle, will be delivered with the next trip of Posneus to Alexandria.

    I await eagerly your next instructions

    Written on the tenth day of the month of Djehouti, your servant Haryotes son of Osorapis


    Alexander let out a long sigh. More women, more problems… Could not someone invent something that would make the process of making linen more efficient ? Had someone maybe ? He should go ask one of the savants of the library...
     
  15. Hecatee Traveller of the pasts

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    I certainly don't mind as I'm awful at maps, but I can't access it from my workplace so if I have any comments it shall have to wait until tonight :(
     
  16. EternalDawn Dictator

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    Missing threadmark :)
     
  17. Hecatee Traveller of the pasts

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    fixed, thanks
     
  18. Hegemon Member

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    Go Rome!




    Also great tl.
     
  19. Alessandro Well-Known Member

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    Sep 28, 2017
    another chapter :love: and so soon !!! Love it!!!
     
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  20. NthBelisarius Well-Known Member

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    I wonder what the population of the empire is by this point? With new inventions increasing productivity and relative peace, I imagine it's probably a bit higher than OTL. Not that we're really certain what the OTL population was though.
     
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