Imperium Americae - Brainstorming for a Roman America

Prelude
May 13, 400 A.D.
Near modern-day Virginia Beach

It had been almost two months since he had felt the wonderful solid ground beneath his feet. The journey on the magnificent Roman galleys and dromons had been long and hard; almost 900 people had died of sickness or drowning along the way. A powerful Roman legate had gathered thousands of the brightest minds he could find across the empire to cross the great ocean with him, having promised lands, riches, and a return to the peak of the Roman Empire far away from the disaster that the western empire had become.

At 5,200 legionaries and at full strength, the man (who was known as Xavian Ornellius) had brought not only his entire legion with him, but countless scholars, writers, monks, priests, carpenters, engineers, inventors, scientists, botanists, biologists, historians, geographers, politicians, archaeologists, doctors, poets, musicians, blacksmiths, sailors, fishermen, and farmers. This massive group had amounted to around 12,000 people and they had pooled their funds to "rent" a huge fleet of dromons, galleys, and any other ship they could find, crowding these scholars and craftsmen inside with promises of abundant new opportunities.

As the Western Roman Empire continued to spiral downhill, many were persuaded by Xavian Ornellius, the commander of the legion, to take this bold journey with him, as he had believed that the Earth was round as it had a circumference calculated by Eratosthenes. Yes, the journey was hard. Yes, there was a massive risk that everyone on board the fleet had taken when they came with their families in search of a place to start fresh and right the wrongs of the past. However, as he looked upon his growing settlement of many, many small houses with dirt roads connecting them, he could not help thinking that he had made the right decision.

He gazed out across his city-state, which still officially claimed to be a domain of the Western Roman Empire. This could not be further from the truth; Ornellius had sent a few galleys and a dromon back across the ocean several times, but none of them made it back. As far as he knew, God had done terrible things to Europe and had spared his fleet as the last Romans left on the planet. This idea was promulgated by most of the settlers.

He gazed out across his town, watching as stone bricks recently carved out of a new nearby stone quarry were layed down to build the town well. He saw the bricks, logs, and clay being laid out across the town to build new schools, academies, houses, hospitals, barracks, fences, walls, a town hall, and a silo. Pigs, sheep, cattle, chickens, dogs, horses, and countless other animals from the Old World were now being unloaded from their ships and led into new pastures and pens on the outskirts of the town, while fruits, nuts, and vegetables were now being planted in small backyard gardens at every house.

A man known as "the beekeeper" had even brought a hive of European honeybees along for the voyage. He chuckled, thinking of how the other people on his ship had dreaded coming to the deck because his hive was there. The beekeeper had said that the bees were gentle and would be of use in pollunating their crops, but Xavian Ornellius did not think much of it.

He took the entire scene in, nodding in approval at his blossoming settlement. Indeed, he thought, this will be the beginning of a great empire.

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Note: So the basic premise is that a large group of talented people and soldiers, the best Roman society has to offer, travel across the Atlantic Ocean in 400 A.D. and establish a small colony that looks similar to Jamestown or Plymouth. This is not a full timeline (yet) and in this thread I just want to explore the history of this new society over the next few centuries. They will not have any European contact whatsoever until 1492 (this can also be delayed to 1513), but I may try to explore some interesting ideas later on concerning Viking activity in Canada and possibly Maine that will inevitably happen in the 10th and 11th centuries. The small town I'm having them start with is just temporary and I will probably have a better-planned, more advanced Roman-looking city be built near modern-day Norfolk later on. The Americo-Roman legion has changed their uniform back to the lorica segmentata, by the way. Anyone who wants to post small little excerpts about the history, folklore, music, clothing, food, tactics, technology, cities, or government of this new colony are free to do so since this is just a brainstorm. I would love to hear thoughts from others about this. Thanks!
 
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Interesting. I don't know how good the Roman triremes would be for crossing the Atlantic,but maybe if they adapted Phoenician sailing tech.
Also,as the later Vikings can testify to,it would be in the Romans' best interest to foster good relations with the local natives of the time. Right now about the only difference in weapon tech is that the Romans use steel while the natives are more or less Stone Age. There'll still be archery on both sides and it'd be a good idea to make it a full colony,not just an outpost. Also,Mesoamerica and the Andes are rapidly civilizing themselves,so the Romans might be more interested in that,then again the Mississippians have a lot going on right now and I believe the Ancestral Puebloans are starting their Cliff Dwelling. The Romans were fairly multicultural with their empire spanning North Africa,African Horn,Greece,Mesopotamia,most of Europe,Britain and all the way to Persia,so that should be reflected as well.
 
Emperors of the Ornellian Dynasty
"Emperors of the Ornellian Dynasty" by Ralph L. Palmer, ©2017 Perfection Learning

After the initial colony was established in America, the Romans (or the Americo-Romans as modern scholars often refer to them as in these early years) steadily expanded throughout the modern-day states of Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina. After sending ships over and over again over the next few years back to Europe to establish contact and with all of these voyages ending in disaster, the self-proclaimed Governor of the colony made himself Emperor Xavian I in 409 A.D. Some scholars debate whether or not it was the last of these voyages, which saw his youngest son die, that convinced him that the cause of re-establishing ties with the Old World was a lost one. Nevertheless, the myth that the Old World had been completely overrun by beasts and demons was held as common belief thereafter, discouraging any and all future attempts at making contact with Rome. And so, the American Empire (or the Imperium Americae) was established in 409 A.D. and Xavian I established the Ornellian Dynasty, which would last until 516 A.D. when the last dynast, Giannis II, was killed in a Native American slave revolt. These are the following Emperors that reigned during this period:

[409-418] Xavian I
Born in 356 A.D. to a poor family in Southern Gaul, Xavian Ornellius enlisted in the Roman Army at a young age and quickly rose throughout the ranks of the Empire's military. He served in a few minor political positions, but his main accomplishments started to begin when he became the leader of the Colonial Society in Rome. Throughout the 390s, he signed up hundreds of families to join a potential voyage with him, handpicking people for their intelligence or knowledge in certain fields in an attempt to create a new society of intellectuals. He led these people as well as his own legion to form the new colony in the year 400. In the 18 years that he reigned as de-facto and then de-jure leader of the colony, he built a complex sewage system, roads system, and built a system of reservoirs, aqueducts, and canals, developing the land in modern-day Virginia and settling it thoroughly. He was the founder of the great city of Olbasus (OTL Norfolk) and led the Americo-Romans to victory in several wars against the natives, the most notable of them being the Powhatan War of 401-402. Despite his generally good reputation, he also instigated several genocides on the indigenous population and started a system of chattel slavery for all Native Americans he conquered.

[418-445] Coriolanus I
Many historians claim that Coriolanus I, also known as Imperator Caesar Coriolanus Ornellius Augustus, was the first Roman child born in America in 400 as the son of Xavian I. He studied at several prestigious universities in Olbasus during his youth, excelling in the fields of architecture, geography, history, economics, and political science. He became Emperor when he was just 18, and many citizens had mixed feelings for him. On one hand, he tried to make people worship him as a god and he unsuccessfully tried to make a patrician upper class emerge. Both plots were foiled by the citizens, who launched several uprisings that were eventually quelled. On the other hand, Imperator Coriolanus expanded the empire as far as Georgia in the South and Connecticut in the North, founding great cities such as Nova Gades (OTL New York), Carolinapolis (OTL Charleston), Narssasus (OTL Richmond), Portis Lemanis (OTL Atlantic City), Philadelphia, Croton (OTL Wilmington), Baltimorum (OTL Baltimore), and Frutex (OTL Savannah).


[445-457] Coriolanus II
Born in 422 to Coriolanus I, Coriolanus II was always interested in the military as a child. He ascended to the throne at the age of 23, and before that he had spent five years in the Imperial American Army. In the twelve years that he reigned, he encouraged the people to have more children, settled people throughout the country by building farms, towns, and better infrastructure, and he conquered the coast of the OTL 13 colonies from Georgia to Maine. His reign was marked by several wars, including one unsuccessful one waged against the Iroquois Confederacy that halted American expansion inland. He is credited with founding the cities of Trimountaine (OTL Boston), Augusta (OTL Augusta, Maine), Juliomagnus (OTL Greensboro), Salodurum (OTL Charlotte), and for creating a quick an efficient postal system similar to the Pony Express of OTL.


[457-476] Coriolanus III
Coriolanus III was born as the younger son of Coriolanus I in 425. He succeeded his childless brother, and his reign was marked with the creation of an appointed Imperial Advisory Board to help him make decisions. He also reformed the way his Empire was governed, creating 14 provinces (OTL 13 colonies and Maine) and dividing them into small districts (with boundaries corresponding to OTL counties). Each District was required to have one town in it, causing an influx of people from the big cities into the countryside and diversifying the economy. He renovated many of the new small towns and the preexisting major cities, building new highways and infrastructure as well as ordering dozens of new dromons, galleys, and triremes to be constructed to replace the aging Imperial American Navy that was consistent of the remnants of the fleet that crossed the ocean in 400 A.D. He was succeeded by his son Giannis.


[476-499] Giannis I
Imperator Caesar Giannis Ornellius Augustus was born in 454 to Coriolanus III and his first cousin Caelia. During his reign, the non-slave population reached 250,000 people around the year 499, and he oversaw the creation of the public school system, where schools were built in every town for children ages 5-18 to attend mandatorily for free. Using what knowledge they had of medicine, the Imperial Advisory Board also got him to build hospitals everywhere while universities and colleges were also given funding. Police and fire departments among other public services were also created, and an efficient tax collection system was implemented. Giannis I was rumored to have invented the popular Americo-Roman sport "baseball," and he build giant colosseums in his cities for gladiator fights and chariot races.

[499-516]
Giannis II
Giannis II continued his father's work, leading to high quality of life in his Empire. He fought and lost wars with the Creek and the Cherokee, who had purchased Roman shields and made thick uniforms from pelts. He subsequently shut down travel and trade with the Natives, although he permitted items like blankets to be sold to them so that horrible diseases could be spread. He made his mistake when he fell madly in love with a Wampanoag women and married her, almost starting a rebellion in doing so. When he died, the half-native crossbreed Prince Algonius claimed the title of Emperor, causing a brief but destructive civil war that saw the Ornellian Dynasty come to an abrupt end. When the "Halfblood War" came to a close, scientist and polymath Nusitarius I was voted into the office of Emperor in a rare democratic referendum.

Today, the House of Ornellius is known as the dynasty that shaped future events and laid the groundwork for the later wars of Manifest Destiny, also helping to create a unique "American" cultural identity in the form of music, literature, cooking, dress, slang, and common ideas.


(Note: I will be going deeper into this period later, I just wanted to give an overview. Feel free to comment or ask questions, I will answer them when I can.)
 
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I kind of like the idea even if it's obviously ASB. However, there are a few anachronisms that pop up: the first is that the Romans are fighting the Powhatan, Iroquois and Wampanoag between 400-500 A.D. I don't think those cultures existed at this point and you might want to look at this Wikipedia page to give you a better idea of what cultures existed in North America at the time: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopewell_tradition

Secondly, I'm not sure that the idea of the Romans building public schools, colleges and universities, alongside hospitals, police and fire stations, or highways, would be possible/likely during this time period. The pace of new cities being built also seems too rapid.

Thirdly, I'm not sure that giving the natives infected blankets would work out. I don't think that the Romans would understand how disease worked, nor do I think, after maybe an initial wave of native deaths, that Old World diseases would pose that great a problem. That is to say, outbreaks of Old World diseases would eventually slow amongst the natives, especially if no new arrivals from Europe were forthcoming.

Lastly, the population growth between 400-500 A.D. seems astronomical. It rises from 12,000 to 600,000 in a hundred years. I'm not a mathematician, but if there were 6,000 women in the initial group then each one would need to give birth 100 times each to reach this population by 500 A.D. With the human gestation period being 9 months then that would take a minimum of 75 years of being constantly pregnant for each woman in the colony. This is ignoring things like menopause, child mortality and natural deaths. It may be best to model population growth of OTL colonies and the Roman period to get a better idea of to how your Roman colony might grow.

The positives are that your writing style is really good. You've done a great job of laying out your chapters, with paragraphs of a good length which are easy to read. I also like the attention to detail you've included in things like font and text colouring.

I am looking forward to checking in on this and seeing how things develop though. If you do your research it could be a really interesting TL.

Northstar
 
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It's seems ASB to be honest. It does have potential and I think you should change some aspects to better fit the story.
 
Lastly, the population growth between 400-500 A.D. seems astronomical. It rises from 12,000 to 600,000 in a hundred years. I'm not a mathematician, but if there were 6,000 women in the initial group then each one would need to give birth 100 times to each this population. With the human gestation period being 9 months then that would take a minimum of 75 years of being constantly pregnant for each woman in the colony. This is ignoring things like menopause, child mortality and natural deaths. It may be best to model population growth of OTL colonies and the Roman period to get a better idea of to how your Roman colony might grow.
The annual growth rate would need to be about 6.4% to reach c.600,000 after 100 years.


That's a lot, especially for this period.
 
The annual growth rate would need to be about 6.4% to reach c.600,000 after 100 years.


That's a lot, especially for this period.
Well, when I say "astronomical," that's the A in ASB.

"For the lands around the Mediterranean Sea and their hinterlands, the period from the second millennium BCE to the early first millennium CE was one of substantial population growth. What would become the territory of the Roman Empire saw an average annual population growth of about 0.1 per cent from the 12th century BCE to the 3rd century CE, resulting in a quadrupling of the region's total population. Growth was slower around the eastern Mediterranean, which was already more developed at the beginning of the period, on the order of about 0.07 per cent per year. This was stronger growth than that seen in the succeeding period; from about 200 CE to 1800 CE, the European half of the empire only saw about 0.06 to 0.07 per cent annual growth (Europe as a whole saw 0.1 per cent annual growth rates), and the north African and west Asian parts of the empire saw almost no growth at all." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_the_Roman_Empire)

Northstar
 
Well, when I say "astronomical," that's the A in ASB.

"For the lands around the Mediterranean Sea and their hinterlands, the period from the second millennium BCE to the early first millennium CE was one of substantial population growth. What would become the territory of the Roman Empire saw an average annual population growth of about 0.1 per cent from the 12th century BCE to the 3rd century CE, resulting in a quadrupling of the region's total population. Growth was slower around the eastern Mediterranean, which was already more developed at the beginning of the period, on the order of about 0.07 per cent per year. This was stronger growth than that seen in the succeeding period; from about 200 CE to 1800 CE, the European half of the empire only saw about 0.06 to 0.07 per cent annual growth (Europe as a whole saw 0.1 per cent annual growth rates), and the north African and west Asian parts of the empire saw almost no growth at all." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_the_Roman_Empire)

Northstar
Quite.

I would suggest the population of Romerica be closer to 20,000 by 500CE. However, that would still require about 0.5% annual growth over a hundred years.
 
Thank you all for your feedback. When I was researching data for this project a few days ago, I mainly used this wikipedia article for estimating the population:
.

I took careful note on the fact that the New England colonies had incredibly high birth rates and, when coupled with relatively low mortality rates, resulted in a high population growth there. I concluded that if a Roman "colony" managed to improve the quality of life for all people within their borders (except for native slaves), and if they encouraged pro-natalist policies to get their birth rates up, I could sort of imitate this effect so that I don't end up with a severely depopulated country with a native supermajority.

When I was researching, I also encountered the problem that there would not be a constant supply of new settlers to fill up the colony. According to the article, however:
"All the colonies grew mostly by natural growth, with foreign born populations rarely exceeding 10%. The last significant colonies to be settled mainly by immigrants were Pennsylvania in the early 18th century and Georgia and the Borderlands in the late 18th century, as internal migration (not immigration) continued to provide nearly all the settlers for each new colony or state."
So basically, I figured that I would be able to replicate the population growth of the English colonies from 1607 to 1776. I could not find any good sources of maps showing the expansion of colonies over time, though, so I made the inference that the English started at the coast and slowly made their way to the Appalachians. In this case, they start at Virginia Beach and slowly make their way North and South along the coast.

So, I first went to thinking how it would be possible for me to get birth rates high. I envisioned an entirely new society being created, so there were a lot of different things that I could try. First off, I made sure to include that basically every fruit, grain, nut, berry, domesticated animal, and vegetable known to the Romans was brought over in their admittedly oversized fleet. In this way, the people would have a more varied diet and, when combined with the three sister crops that the Americo-Romans will eventually get from the blossoming Mississippian civilization, they would probably be VERY well-fed. I even added the part about that one fellow bringing along the honeybees... my idea there was that that hive could be multiplied later on so that we can have bees pollinating orchards and crops to even further increase crop yields.


I also made sure to give the Americo-Romans a larger starting population - about 12,000 people - so that I wouldn't have to slowly work my way up into the thousands from just a few hundred people. I tried to create a society without a nobility, one with engrained core values of a free market, social mobility, and equality for all Roman men. I didn't want some sort of a plebeian class re-emerging, so I made sure to add the presence of a slavery system reminiscent to what we saw in the U.S. before the Civil War. And since literally everyone in the colony is there because of either intelligence or because they excel in a certain trade, I envisioned the colony prospering and making societal leaps so that we could see things like a Pony Express-type system and a public school system. I don't plan to have this timeline be one where the Imperium just expands endlessly until they have everything from Alaska to Venezuela, though. In the year 566 I plan to halt their expansion completely at OTL Proclamation of 1763 borders for reasons I will give later on.

Like the title states, this is just a brainstorm. If any of you have better statistics or ideas to make the timeline more interesting or more feasible, feel free to post edited versions of the excerpts I post or post excerpts of your own. I'm fairly new here, and I wanted to make a thread like this before making an actual timeline. This way, I can get constructive criticism so that I can improve the timeline. Once again, I really appreciate you guys' feedback.
 
I would also like to add the following chart of population growth in our timeline's 13 Colonies from 1607 to 1700. I'm trying to model the growth of this alternate timeline's Imperium Americae off of the drastic increases of population that occured from 1607 to 1700, largely due to natural increase and not immigration. This was taken from the Wikipedia article that I provided earlier.

Census
year
PopulationGrowth
rate
1610350N/A
16202,302557.71%
16304,646101.82%
164026,634473.27%
165050,36889.11%
166075,05849.02%
1670111,93549.13%
1680151,50735.35%
1690210,37238.85%
1700250,88819.26%

Substitute a few numbers and I'm thinking a more realistic population for my empire at 500 A.D. would be between 100,000 and 250,000 people.
 
I know you said that there won't be any contact with the old world until 1492, but I think you should have them make contact with the Vikings around 1000 AD, with the Vikings bringing back news of Roman successors in the New World, with contact starting after that.
 
I know you said that there won't be any contact with the old world until 1492, but I think you should have them make contact with the Vikings around 1000 AD, with the Vikings bringing back news of Roman successors in the New World, with contact starting after that.
I actually intend to do something like that. It won't be a continued contact between 1000 AD and onwards, but there will be a brief but memorable spurt of contacts between the Vikings and the Americans that will be cut off after a few years due to some sort of intervention on my behalf to keep the Americo-Romans from becoming to overpowered. I intend for contact to last in some capacity from 1000 A.D. to the 1020s A.D., but I don't really think anyone outside of Scandinavia will know about the Americo-Romans.

I was just thinking about how the eventual encounter, be it in 1492 or in 1000, would look concerning religion. The Roman settlers are probably going to be Christian and not worshipping the Roman pantheon, but I am not sure how differently Christianity in America will develop if you give it a thousand years of almost no contact with the Papacy. I don't want to jump to conclusions and say that they're going to be probably doing some crazy different religious practices, but that's probably going to be the case. Anyone have any input or ideas to what Christianity in a Roman America might look like?
 
This seems like a great and well thought out timeline, if ASB with how it starts, and with several other things, you seem to have put great detail into it, and I like your writing style, I'll definitely be watching this timeline.

I wonder how the natives will advance in this timeline, with the introduction of diseases and horses having a huge impact in our timeline, will the Aztecs and Incas still be the same as in our own timeline? If so, will Hernan Cortes still be able to conquer the Aztecs, he was a very smart man, and had played them like a fiddle in our own timeline, he embodied the Machiavellian qualities and traits of The Prince.

With the development of cities, will there be an American Pox, a disease wholly originally to the continent, if so, could we possibly see a reverse of our own timeline, with the introduction of disease coming from the New World, not Old?

How will the Latin of the Romans diverge with the thousand years of separation, if you are familiar with languages it might prove to be fairly interesting.
 
Anyone have any input or ideas to what Christianity in a Roman America might look like?
We could look at how Romans initially looked at religion, as a state run institution, we could see a state run church developing, that is used as the basis for both state run propaganda and, possibly, and after a long time, a state run welfare system. We could also possibly see religion becoming very important to them, as I believe that many colonies of Europe became very pious, we could see them becoming a very fanatical and pious people. Maybe this could lead to Divine Right becoming a very prominent ideology, and their soldiers possibly seeing themselves like in the Swedish military, with your joining, and your death, as God's Will. This could also lead to them becoming quite arrogant, as they could see their empire as the only one favored by God, that they're the "best" among all nations, with the most divine monarch and army on the whole of the Earth.

Though, that is all simple brainstorming, I'm not very smart, nor am I a very knowledgeable person, someone will most likely correct me in some regard, or in all regards.
 
About population, it grew that much in the US, New France and the 13 Colonies because of massive immigration from Europe, and even then with sailing technology, crossing the Atlantic was a perilous journey with the high possibility of being stuck in a storm and dying. If you have an initial 12,000 colonists, then simply looking growth rates of historical colonies, you would have double the population in somewhere between 20 to 30 years. So you would get around 70,000 colonists in 100 years, if everything goes according to plan. With wars, etc, you would realistically get somewhere between 40,000 to 55,000 in 100 years. That's still quite a lot, but plausible enough in 100 years
 

Lusitania

Donor
The other thing is that New England growth rate was much higher than growth rate of the souther colonies due to lack of or reduced tropical diseases and tropical storms.

you can not compare population growth in New England to southern states. For almost 100 years the southern states population only grew because of continued emigration with life expectancy low.

the colonies would of had higher success rate if they settled Long Island first and then expanded. The area you identified was at time full of swamps and mosquitoes which carried many diseases.

The arrival of Romans would of weakened the natives of the area which would of provided the Romans with some breathing room to expand but within a hundred years they would of been combating new tribes. As original tribes would of be weakened by old world disease, starvation, war with both Roman and other tribes. Continued trade with natives would of spread old world diseases as they would not of died off but slowly changed.

we would see new tribes eager to trade and to steal iron weapons and horses move into areas around the Romans and they would of become infected too. Eventually there would be a equilibrium between Romans and natives.
 
I would say take a step back first. Roman galleys are not suited for the heavy seas of the Atlantic, they would sink before they reach the Azores.

So first thing you want is s PoD where Romans build better ocean going vessels. A good start would be a successful conquest of Germania: the sooner the better. Having access to Norse traders in the North Sea might expose them of their shipbuiilding expertise and start using their designs for North Sea and Atlantic trade at first (they can employ Norse shipbuilders, or just bring them as slaves). This would invigorate the trade in the Gallic Atlantic seaboard as well as Western Hispania, which was as far as I know very limited OTL due to the lack of proper vessels. Once you have trading cities flourishing on the west coast, you now have a base on which you can build on your further explorations. Romans of course also have to avoid the Crisis of the Third Century and other catastrophies.

Good luck.
 
I would say take a step back first. Roman galleys are not suited for the heavy seas of the Atlantic, they would sink before they reach the Azores.

So first thing you want is s PoD where Romans build better ocean going vessels. A good start would be a successful conquest of Germania: the sooner the better. Having access to Norse traders in the North Sea might expose them of their shipbuiilding expertise and start using their designs for North Sea and Atlantic trade at first (they can employ Norse shipbuilders, or just bring them as slaves). This would invigorate the trade in the Gallic Atlantic seaboard as well as Western Hispania, which was as far as I know very limited OTL due to the lack of proper vessels. Once you have trading cities flourishing on the west coast, you now have a base on which you can build on your further explorations. Romans of course also have to avoid the Crisis of the Third Century and other catastrophies.

Good luck.
I don't know if 'Roman Trireme' always meant 'galley with three ranks of oars' or sometimes just 'She's Once, Twice, Three times a ship, lady', but a legate could afford to use Roman corn ships- real big, no surviving examples or blueprints so the author is free to speculate, what's not to love? Oceans currents encourage a trip from Gades to Hispaniola. But reaching Virginia from there? Lots of dangerous shallows if they hug the coast. So I think the author is saying they just aimed straight west, focused on keeping together more than any precise landing, and stopped at Norfolk because that's where the dart hit the board. Makes sense.
If conquering Germania was easy, the Romans would still be around.
 
I'm looking forward how this colony would develop as it's an interesting premise and I like the writing style, but regarding the Saling capabilities is pretty ASB.
First of all, roawing vessels like Galleys and Triremes were mainly used for military actions, and could only perform short voyages. They couldn't stock up enough food to feed such a large crew for weeks.

This leaves to commercial ships, which technically could carry enough food: according to this website Roman Commercial ships could carry from 70 to up to 600 tons, with an average speed of 4-5 knots.
For a comparison, a Caravel could carry 60 tons and had an average speed of 4 knots, altough it would be faster in crossing the Atlantic compared to roman ships.

However roman ships were used in the Mediterranean, which has a much more tame climate and winds compared to the Atlantic. For this reason ships were built with a low draft which would greatly increase the risk of things going badly when facing a storm in the open ocean, which was already a possibility for ships during the Age of Exploration.
Furthermore ships sailed along the coast for safety measures, and romans had no experience of sailing for weeks into the open ocean.
Add in lack of compass and understanding of global winds and , and this requires a huge amount of luck.

I like the premise of some Legate wanting to escape the decadence of the 4th century and rallying people to sail for the unknown, altough convincing so many talented people to embark on an apparently suicidal voyage is no small task.
Perhaps a resurgence of Hellenistic Faith, or a split sect of Christianity makes him have a dream of faraway fertile lands waiting to be discovered in the name of God?

I don't know the crew capacity and how many people a merchant ship could carry, but I assume for 12000 people you would need one or two hundred ships at least. So for this voyage you need favorable winds all the time, no storm that could potentially wreck most if not the entire fleet, no mutinies due to no land in sight and constantly diminishing food and water (like it almost happened to Columbus) and not too many ships lost to the ocean. So either ASB amounts of luck or pretty close to it.

The (slightly more?) realistic alternative I could think of is the Viking route of Island hopping: from Norway to Faore Islands, then to Iceland, Greenland and at last to North America. This would require some early exploration of Northern Europe by the romans for... some reason? Perhaps earlier migration of Inuits from Canada to Greenland and Iceland, which would increase interest in trade in the region once discovered by explorers, altough this would need to be discovered before the Roman Empire, possibly by the Phoenicians or Gauls which would pass the knowledge to romans.

Then Xavian could have heard legends by merchants trading up north, where the native people are said in their oral tradition to come from a much more fertile land in the west. Inspired by said tales, he would assemble a fleet and sail north into Greenland, resupplying by trading with natives, and keep hugging the coastline and finally take the plunge to reach Canada, and have them slowly move south in search of more warm climate.
Then a storm could blow away most of the fleet once the Romans have started their colony, or due to lacking enough supplies they would have troubles sending ships back to Europe. Coupled with the collapse of the Roman Empire, any returning ship has high possibilities of never coming back or at best sporadic contact which would eventually cease.
 
Thank you all for your feedback. When I was researching data for this project a few days ago, I mainly used this wikipedia article for estimating the population:
.

I took careful note on the fact that the New England colonies had incredibly high birth rates and, when coupled with relatively low mortality rates, resulted in a high population growth there. I concluded that if a Roman "colony" managed to improve the quality of life for all people within their borders (except for native slaves), and if they encouraged pro-natalist policies to get their birth rates up, I could sort of imitate this effect so that I don't end up with a severely depopulated country with a native supermajority.
OK, first off, I'm not sure that using the growth rate of New England colonies is a good idea. These colonies were established well over 1,000 years after your POD. It would make much more sense to have a look at the demographics and growth rates of other civilisations that were extant in 400 A.D. Applying growth rates from 1600 to 400 A.D. is anachronistic and doesn't make sense when you can look at the growth rates of the Roman Empire, which would obviously be the best example.

When I was researching, I also encountered the problem that there would not be a constant supply of new settlers to fill up the colony. According to the article, however:
"All the colonies grew mostly by natural growth, with foreign born populations rarely exceeding 10%. The last significant colonies to be settled mainly by immigrants were Pennsylvania in the early 18th century and Georgia and the Borderlands in the late 18th century, as internal migration (not immigration) continued to provide nearly all the settlers for each new colony or state."
So basically, I figured that I would be able to replicate the population growth of the English colonies from 1607 to 1776. I could not find any good sources of maps showing the expansion of colonies over time, though, so I made the inference that the English started at the coast and slowly made their way to the Appalachians. In this case, they start at Virginia Beach and slowly make their way North and South along the coast.
Here's another quote about the population growth:

"The regional economy grew rapidly in the 17th century, thanks to heavy immigration, high birth rates, low death rates, and an abundance of inexpensive farmland. The population grew from 3,000 in 1630 to 14,000 in 1640, 33,000 in 1660, 68,000 in 1680, and 91,000 in 1700. Between 1630 and 1643, about 20,000 Puritans arrived, settling mostly near Boston; after 1643, fewer than 50 immigrants arrived per year. The average size of a family 1660-1700 was 7.1 children; the birth rate was 49 babies per year per thousand people, and the death rate was about 22 deaths per year per thousand people. About 27 percent of the population was composed of men between 16 and 60 years old." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_New_England)

Bolding mine.

So in New England we have 20,000 Puritans arrive in 13 years. This is almost twice the number of your original population. You then have the population being topped up by immigration amounting to the total birth rate of 1,000 people per year. This is not including the death rate. We know how exponential growth works thanks to Covid, so that should give you an idea of how it works in terms of demographics; just that small number of immigrants - which your colony does not have - would have a dramatic effect over the course of 100 years.

Additionally - and I'm not a mathematician so if there's one in the house correct me if I'm wrong - but if you have a Roman growth rate of 0.1% then 12,000 people should grow to 12,012 people in one year. However, if you also have foreign born populations exceeding 10% then that 12,000 becomes 12,120 in a year. So 10% foreign born populations might not seem like lots, but it's huge.

Next, we should consider and compare life expectancy and family size between Romans and New Englanders.

"The average life expectancy in Ancient Rome at birth was 27 years old. Early deaths in women were common because of the dangers of childbirth and men often died on the battlefield." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_in_ancient_Rome)

"Average life expectancy at birth for English people in the late 16th and early 17th centuries was just under 40 – 39.7 years. However, this low figure was mostly due to the high rate of infant and child mortality; over 12% of all children born would die in their first year.A man or woman who reached the age of 30 could expect to live to 59. Life expectancy in New England was much higher, where the average man lived to his mid-sixties and women lived on average to 62." (https://www.plimoth.org/sites/default/files/media/pdf/edmaterials_demographics.pdf)

Romans, on average, lived 13 years less than New Englanders. This is significant because it means less time for woman to be giving birth. Additionally, as you see in the first quote, the more babies you make your Roman woman have, the more likely they are to die. Clearly this has implications for the growth rate of your settlement.

Next, we should consider the average number of children Romans and New Englanders had:

"Most Roman families had a lot of children, because so many of the kids died young. The average Roman family had five or six kids, but only two or three of them lived to grow up."(https://quatr.us/romans/roman-families-children-households-ancient-rome.htm)

"An English woman who married at the average age of 23 1⁄2 could expect a reproductive span of about 20 years. In New England, where women typically married at 20 or 21, the potential years for giving birth increased by those two or three years.The typical English woman would give birth six or seven times.The average number of children born to a New England couple was slightly over eight. While this difference is not striking, the difference lay in the number of children who survived to adulthood. In 17th-century England, the average household size was 4.75 persons. In New England, an average of 7-8 children reached 21." (https://www.plimoth.org/sites/default/files/media/pdf/edmaterials_demographics.pdf)

The difference here is striking. On average, more than twice as many New England children made it to adulthood than did Roman children. You cannot just apply New England growth rates to a Roman colony and the results be in any way realistic.

Unless of course you don't mind about realism and just want to achieve whatever your predetermined end point is.

So, I first went to thinking how it would be possible for me to get birth rates high. I envisioned an entirely new society being created, so there were a lot of different things that I could try. First off, I made sure to include that basically every fruit, grain, nut, berry, domesticated animal, and vegetable known to the Romans was brought over in their admittedly oversized fleet. In this way, the people would have a more varied diet and, when combined with the three sister crops that the Americo-Romans will eventually get from the blossoming Mississippian civilization, they would probably be VERY well-fed. I even added the part about that one fellow bringing along the honeybees... my idea there was that that hive could be multiplied later on so that we can have bees pollinating orchards and crops to even further increase crop yields.
Bolding mine.

I think it would be much more realistic and a more enjoyable TL to explore how things would happen 'IRL' rather than making everything go according to 'plan' a la a Civ 6 game.

Of course, it's your TL so if you want to handwavium a Roman utopia* stretching from sea to shining sea where everything goes absolutely perfect and every person is impervious to disease and has an additional few decades on their expected lifespan then that's fine. You shouldn't just apply a 1600 situation to a 400 A.D. situation though.

*utopia for the free men, obviously, as the women are spending approximately half their 'adult' lives pregnant (i.e. first period at 14 years old, eight children meaning six years pregnant, and then dying on average age 27 - welcome to America, ladies). It also doesn't sound so good for the Native American chattel slaves. The ones that are defeated, captured, and enslaved without the Romans losing too many men - if any - in battle, because that might ruin the growth rate.

I also made sure to give the Americo-Romans a larger starting population - about 12,000 people - so that I wouldn't have to slowly work my way up into the thousands from just a few hundred people. I tried to create a society without a nobility, one with engrained core values of a free market, social mobility, and equality for all Roman men. I didn't want some sort of a plebeian class re-emerging, so I made sure to add the presence of a slavery system reminiscent to what we saw in the U.S. before the Civil War. And since literally everyone in the colony is there because of either intelligence or because they excel in a certain trade, I envisioned the colony prospering and making societal leaps so that we could see things like a Pony Express-type system and a public school system. I don't plan to have this timeline be one where the Imperium just expands endlessly until they have everything from Alaska to Venezuela, though. In the year 566 I plan to halt their expansion completely at OTL Proclamation of 1763 borders for reasons I will give later on.
I think that for everything you do, you need to ask "why?" You need to put yourself in the shoes of your Romans. Why don't they want a nobility? Who has come up with that idea? How does that person convince everyone else of it? Are they brainwashed? Do they use some kind of democratic system? You said not? Why do they need a pony express? How does the idea of having all Romans as equal but having the Native Americans as slaves work? What's the Native American response to this? They're not all that technologically inferior so why don't they fight back? If they do fight back, how many Romans are lost? Why is there a public school system? Why do the settlers need to be educated when surely a lot of their effort is going into food production? What are they being educated in? Why, instead, aren't the children being trained in warfare a la Sparta given that there are constant wars with the much more populous natives? Etc, etc.

There are lots of questions that if answered would make the TL much more interesting and feasible.

Like the title states, this is just a brainstorm. If any of you have better statistics or ideas to make the timeline more interesting or more feasible, feel free to post edited versions of the excerpts I post or post excerpts of your own. I'm fairly new here, and I wanted to make a thread like this before making an actual timeline. This way, I can get constructive criticism so that I can improve the timeline. Once again, I really appreciate you guys' feedback.
I think that to start with you should think about your initial population.

How many men are there? How many are soldiers? How many are farmers? How many are quarrymen? How many fishermen and blacksmiths?

How many women are they? What is their role? Literally just having children? What were women actually doing in the Roman Empire at this time?

What about children? How many children are there?

What are the ages of the Roman settlers? Who is young enough to be at these public schools and who is old enough to be sent to work/war? Who is too old to procreate or contribute much? What do the farmers and soldiers think about the musicians, poets and writers who seem to be sat about all day whilst they spend all day in the fields either farming or fighting?

How many shields and swords do they take? Once they get damaged how do they find more? Do they get lucky and stumble across the metal deposits needed to make more? The same with stone quarries to build stone buildings - how long does it take to find a suitable place to quarry, set up the quarry, mine the stone, and build the buildings? Would wooden houses do for the time being? Do they have enough saws, etc?

There's a Hell of a lot to think about to make this TL realistic. However, that being said... it doesn't need to be realistic if you don't want it to be. You should state that though.

Northstar
 
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