The Penal Colony of Abavalla, Part I
A/N: Alright guys, as promised, the revived Jewish Ethiopia thread! Hope you guys like it! And as always, do please inform me if there’s any discrepancies in history I made, and I’ll edit them when I can.

“To simply point out the sins of the people is to invite anger and condemnation, and ultimately a premature end to your efforts at proselyting. To truly redeem the people, one must conquer them under an iron heel, win the hearts of the commoners and the downtrodden, then point out their sins from a position of ironclad power. Then, and only then, will the people listen.” – Rabbi Abeselome Nebiyou Yitayew, author of the Talmud Chabbash [1]

The Penal Colony of Aballava, Part I

(30 – 50 AD)

It is the year 30 A.D. It is months after the crucifixion of the messiah Jesus of Nazareth [2], or Yeshu as he is known among the Hebrews, weeks after the prophesized ascension of the messiah into heaven and the beginning of the spreading of the Gospel among all willing to listen.

It is a time when the Romans still rule the Holy Land of Eretz Yisrael, much to the anger and resentment of the Jews who yet reside there, and for years it remains a problematic province the Romans wish to pacify permanently, so they may focus on their conquests elsewhere – conquests that shall further the glory of Rome and its Emperor, Tiberius Caesar Augustus.

It is a time when the Jews lament the lack of a saviour that should have killed the Romans and driven them out, when instead he pointed out their sins and drove them to condemn him to death, a time when they begin to fear for the future of their people.

And it was bare weeks after all this that happened that Tiberius had given the order to remedy the unrestful Jews.


To Tribune Aulus Caelius Fimbria,

Pardon the haste in my writing, but there are matters I must bring to your attention. I believe you have already heard of the crucifixion of this ‘Yeshu’ on the hills of Golgotha and the subsequent squabbles and politicking of the corrupt High Priesthood of Jerusalem [3], so I will be frank; the Jews cannot continue their revolts.

Already, I have to watch the state of politics at home and maintain stability throughout the Empire, for although the Roman Empire still stands strong and ready to unleash its armies upon all who dare oppose the Light of Rome, the continued state of unrest in Israel means we have to devote troops to suppressing revolts here – less troops to protect our people and maintain our Empire elsewhere, against all enemies who would see us undone.

Worse still, internal enemies plot against me – both in and outside of Rome. I have few people I can trust, and fewer still who will protect my legacy and that of our reigning dynasty. Though I do what I can to stymy the growing influence of my enemies, I yet grow afraid our Empire may undergo another period of unrest.

I… truth be told, I am tired.

I am so tired of politics and all the backstabbing and intrigue of the Roman Courts. I am tired of my tenure as Emperor – I wish for an heir to succeed me and soon, and one who will further the glory of the Roman Empire.

Yet even so, I cannot leave the matter of Israel be. As such, I command you – as Emperor – to find a new land to colonise, one bought with the blood of slaves and rebellious subjects who shall never revolt again, so the carrions may feed on their corpses.

Yes, friend. I need you to charter and found a penal colony with which to ferry Hebrew captives and slaves to; far too many of the Patricians and other politicians argue that they should be denied their homeland, broken in bondage in a foreign land, so they say.

Do this post-haste – I have made a promise and I cannot renenge on it as Emperor, or it will reflect badly on me. To this end, I grant you power over an expeditionary army and navy to conquer new lands.

Do not disappoint me, friend.

Imperator Tiberius Caesar divi Augusti filius Augustus



Aulus Caelius Fimbria, a Tribune of the Roman Armies garrisoned in Iudaea [4] and veteran of many campaigns against Jewish rebels and other tribes in the Middle East, was handpicked by Tiberius to chart new lands and found a penal colony whence Jewish criminals and slaves were to be deported or exiled.

But why did Tiberius choose to establish a penal colony, rather than carry out a campaign of extermination as Caesar did with the barbarians of Europe? Was it on a pure whim – borne of his mental fatigue? Was it because he truly believed it a long-term solution (in his mind) to the unrest plaguing Israel?

None would know for sure, not even Tiberius’s closest associates. What is known, however, is that this is what would set forth a series of events in history that would drastically alter the fate of Judaism itself, and that of the entire continent of Africa.

Whatever the case, Aulus was quick to assemble his men and a sizeable navy – bearing enough capacity for over 2,000 Jewish slaves and 4,000 Roman soldiers escorting them as they made their way down the Red Sea, for Tiberius’s orders were to ‘find a land easily accessible yet detached from Israel’.

The obvious path to charter was through the Red Sea; it was close enough that the penal colony could easily be resupplied, and yet far enough that any chance of Jewish revolt was effectively negligible.

“It is never enough that the ungrateful Hebrews constantly complain and bemoan our rulership of their lands, thinking us devils in disguise. Whilst I admit we did unsavoury things, it was all in service of the Roman Empire. These people care naught but for themselves, and even had their own messiah killed on charges of treason against Caesar. These Priests of the Sanhedrin are no better than the corrupt politicians of Rome, thinking him a threat.” – Tribune Aulus Fimbria

When Aulus first organized the expedition, he had to utilize his connections to assemble more than a few ships as part of the expeditionary navy – he needed ample space to house the slaves and his men, along with food supplies to last them all for over ten months and the necessary materials to build a port city.

It was not an easy endeavor – such was the state of Roman politics, but nonetheless his contacts delivered on their promises, and weeks later he finally had what he needed to make the expedition a success.

Or, if anything, his contacts were simply happy to have another way to deal with the rebellious Jews without having to expend precious Roman lives.

Aulus was twenty-four when he first embarked on the expedition.

The Founding of Aginnum (31 AD)

Aulus’s expeditionary fleet would land in the region that would become Eritrea, near the Sahel Mountains, and as they came into contact with the natives, some immediately reacted with hostility to the Romans, believing them invaders come to reinforce their enemies.

At the time, many of the local tribes were embroiled in a bitter war that would claim thousands of lives, waging primarily raids and cavalry warfare upon each other.

Aulus would note that the natives fought using only spears, shields and bows, having little variation in the use of weapons and tactics – all no match for Roman might.

Yet neither did he want his newfound colony to be constantly attacked by only enemies. And so, hatching a strategy with his advisors, he would set the stage for Roman conquest of Eritrea [5], a province of present-day Ethiopia.

His first strategy was to establish a fortified camp and initiate plans for construction of a new Roman port to ferry additional supplies, manpower and other things needed to further the conquest of the land; being a former architect before enlisting in the army, he knew firsthand the importance of stable logistics.

At the same time, he sent envoys to tribes willing to talk and make peace with Rome, and to a select few, he promised that in exchange for supporting them in their wars, they would leave his position be.

His native allies were blithely few, in the end, but it earned Aulus the time he needed.

And so he and his troops and slaves went to work building the port city of Aginnum, present-day Massawa, Ethiopia [6].

Campaigning in Abavella (31 – 40 AD)


As building the Port city took priority, and without a viable means of obtaining more manpower without antagonizing the local tribes by enslaving them, Aulus was explicit in his orders to never mistreat or abuse the slaves – preferring them to be well-fed and rested to ensure they were more productive in their work.

Those who protested such ‘humane’ treatment of the slaves were hanged, drawn and quartered, their heads displayed for all to see.

The Hebrew slaves seemed surprised initially at Aulus’s efforts to protect them, but the wiser of their number knew or could guess what Aulus was thinking, or so some of their recovered journals said.

“I wonder if when this Tribune Aulus manages to ship in more slaves and workers to build their structures, he will cease his good treatment of us and proceed to break us, just as his fellow Romans broke the slaves of many other tribes.” – Excrept from the journal of an unknown person, written in Hebrew

Within months, the beginnings of large ports took shape, just as some of Aulus’s men began agricultural efforts to establish self-sufficient food production. There were initial mishaps due to the climate, and in the meantime, the Romans had to rely on hunting and foraging, relying on help from friendly tribes to identify which species of wildlife were suitable for consumption.

By the year’s end, the first harvests were reaped, and the first ports completed, allowing Aulus to resupply his men with convoys from Egypt and Israel.

It is known that Aulus requested that the slaves always be outnumbered by Roman soldiers and migrants, learning from Spartacus’s rebellion that to have too many slaves in one place was to sow the seeds of one’s own destruction.

Of course, as Aginnum was to be the penal colony for Jews, the slaves shipped there were primarily all Hebrew.

As Aginnum grew and developed further with the influx of migrants, slaves and other things from regular Roman shipments and its farms produced greater harvests, Aulus deemed it feasible to begin campaigning in earnest, to conquer more land with which to house the Jews.

And so, in 32 AD, Aulus Fimbria wages war upon the hostile tribe in good measure, intent on exacting retribution for the numerous raids they orchestrated upon the Roman outpost. Knowing he cannot hope to simply chase the nomadic raiders, he instead focuses on luring them into battle, where his men hold the advantage.

He was known to be unscrupulous in this task, going so far as to use family members as bait to force the raiders’ hands. The results are predictable; simple spears and shields prove little effect against Roman Testudo formations, disciplined soldiers and refined steel, and the raiders suffer disastrous defeats one after the other, eventually being forced to sue for peace.

Aulus, however, would not sue for peace; he wanted to ensure no more wars with the tribes, and throughout the decade, Aulus would distinguish himself in battle, leading with such few casualties to his own men that eventually, Emperor Tiberius saw fit to name him Legatus Legionis in 34 AD, granting him command of over five thousand men with which to conquer the land.


The Death of Emperor Tiberius (37 AD)

Prefect Aulus’s campaign would grind to a temporary halt, when news of Emperor Tiberius’s passing reached Aginnum through the lips of passing merchants come to trade with the garrison.

“I carried out the campaign with confidence that Emperor Tiberius would continue to support it. Now, with him gone, I must work harder than before to ascend to greater heights of power and ensure my work is not for naught.” – Prefect Aulus, regarding Emperor Tiberius’s death

Knowing that his own position was tenuous without Imperial support – and needing to justify appropriate reasons to continue his campaign, Aulus was forced to accelerate his plans of conquering the native lands for his new penal colony, even going so far as to requisition additional troops and supplies at great cost to his own personal treasury.

In fact, rumours were that he was forced to sell his own personal collection of antiques and finely crafted pottery in auctions to raise the necessary funds.

In fact, he even went as far as to bribe the Sanhedrin and Roman governors to send him convicts and criminals and the cheapest weaponry they could amass on short notice – troops he used in penal battalions to absorb the brunt of casualties sustained in his campaign.

But by the end of 40 AD, Aulus had done his job, and rumours had it that Emperor Caligula was so impressed with the speed and efficiency Prefect Aulus employed in his campaign, that he awarded him with an Imperial Charter, naming him governor of the province he controlled and the right to name it.

And he named it Abavalla.

Death of Caligula (Early 41 AD)


The reign of Emperor Caligula was a short and distressingly troubling one for Rome; in the initial six months of his reign, Caligula was known to be a noble, just and understanding Emperor. Then later, it is known that he became increasingly insane and cruel, known to expand his control as Emperor at the cost of his political opponents, often by corrupt and underhanded means.

Worse still, he had no qualms in frivolously spending Rome’s wealth on parties, orgies, and in expensive construction projects focusing on luxurious dwellings for himself, though two of his construction projects would come to be renowned as some of Rome’s greatest works – the Aqua Claudia and Anio Novus [7].

How fortunate for Rome it was that he was mercifully assassinated in the Palace by the Praetorian Guard, colluding with senators and courtiers who feared having Caligula on the throne longer than he should have.

Whilst sources would conflict on Caligula’s personality as studied by later historians, it is commonly agreed that too many of Rome’s elite felt threatened by his reign, hence the conspiracy that resulted in the premature end of Caligula’s tenure as Emperor.

Coronation of Emperor Claudius (Early 41 AD)

It was then that the Praetorian Guard named Caligula’s uncle, Claudius, the next Emperor of Rome. Many agreed that he was inaugurated as a mere puppet – a figurehead to control, or merely one who posed no threat to the other elites. This, in fact, was primarily due to the fact he was infirm from sickness at a young age, and only entered court affairs when appointed Consul in 37 AD.

Despite his inexperience, however, Claudius would prove a surprisingly adept administrator, working hard to restore Rome’s finances after the years of his nephew’s excess, embarking on construction projects that bolstered infrastructure throughout the Empire. It was he who ensured the completion of the Aqua Claudia and Anio Novus, and it was during his reign that the Empire embarked on its first conquest of Britain – then called Britannia.

Expanding Abavalla (41 – 50 AD)


With Emperor Claudius proving the saving grace Rome needed, and his administrative capabilities ensuring the stability of Rome’s coffers, Prefect Aulus saw fit to expand his holdings in Africa, marching southwards to the mountainous regions where more tribes dwelt.

As expected, there were tribes opposed to Roman expansion down south, and those swayed by Roman wealth – eager to become rich at the expense of their enemies. The prime players among them were the Amharas, Tigran and Afari tribes, mountain-dwelling tribes who would come to form the Habesha [8] peoples of Ethiopia.

Yet even with the triumvirate of tribes forming closer alliances with the Roman Empire, Prefect Aulus was quick to note that even with all three tribes genuine in their overtures with Rome, each tribe had their own interests at heart, and were either of these tribes to harbour hostile sentiments or hatching schemes towards the other, the alliance could easily fall apart, just as the triumvirate of Caesar, Pompey and Crassus [9] fell apart.

Keeping this lesson of history in mind, Aulus endeavored to begin the slow integration of the tribes into one singular tribe – the tribe that would form the primary inhabitants of the lands of Abavella. To achieve this, he encouraged the immigration of Roman citizens into Abavella and their subsequent intermarriage with the tribes under his rule. From bakers to physicians, soldiers to farmers, and even stonemasons, Romans from all walks of life would be invited to live in this new frontier.

Between the allied Roman-ruled tribes, he encouraged them to intermarry with each other, going so far as to promise additional favours, gifts and other boons (at huge expense to himself) to those who did as he asked.

Then, Aulus received reports that many more Hebrew women and children were being enslaved alongside men, being sold to slave markets across the Roman Empire. Taking advantage of this, he purchased many shipments of Hebrew slaves to be shipped to Abavella, to be taken as wives, husbands and consorts of their new masters – Amharan, Tigran, Afari and Roman alike.

And to ensure the conquest and control of Abavella remained feasible, Aulus would expend even more Roman gold in the construction of vital infrastructure to support the growth of the new Roman colony.

“Vast networks of roads as far as the eye could see were being built across Abavella, like an intertwining maze that has no end. Houses and forts of stone dotted the landscape like miniature dots upon a vast ocean. Natives and Roman soldiers patrolled the lands side-by-side, keeping the peace and protecting against any would-be invaders and bandits.” - Amulius Montaus, Classical Historian

This was just the prelude to further conquests of the land that would come to be called Ethiopia, and Aulus and his family would stand at the center of it all.

Historical References:

[1]: The Talmud Cabbash, or the Talmud of Abyssinia, is the second of three great Judaist religious literary works compiled over the course of Ethiopia’s history, written by Ethiopian Rabbis influenced by Roman thought and realistic perceptions of politics, power plays and the Human heart.

It is a book on history, philosophy, Human mentality and practicality all in one, though it more heavily emphasizes why the Jews should not ‘turn the other cheek to thine enemies’ in their lives.

Many other mainstream religious organizations – especially the Roman Catholic Church and other Judaist brotherhoods – have vehemently denounced such a work as demonic, a ‘tool of the devil’, so they say, primarily because of how it promotes the supreme dominance of the sovereign ruler over all others, and the crushing of all enemies of the state underfoot – relatives and former friends included.

[2]: Jesus of Nazareth is a 1st century AD philosopher and preacher who is regarded as the central figure of Christianity as reflected in Christian Bibles. All modern scholars agree that he existed at the time, though the different Abrahamic religions differ in how they portray him.

The Christian Bible states that he is the incarnation of the Son of God and the prophesized messiah as foretold in the Old Testament, whilst the Quran (who calls him Isa) states that he was neither a God nor a begotten God. The Talmud rejects him as the messiah, arguing that he was not the messiah and that he did not fulfill messianic prophesies and was neither divine nor resurrected.

[3]: The High Priesthood of Jerusalem, otherwise known as the Sanhedrin, refers to the assemblies of either 23 or 71 Elders (known as Rabbis after the destruction of the Second Temple), appointed to sit as a tribunal in every city in the ancient Land of Israel.

[4]: Iudaea, or Judea as pronounced in Latin, refers to the client state of the Roman Empire in the Levant, lasting from 6 – 135 CE, incorporating the regions of Judea, Samaria and Idumea.

[5]: OTL Eritrea is a land that has exchanged rulership of different Kingdoms many times throughout its reign; from the Kingdom of Aksum to the Christian Kingdom of Medri Bahri, the Kingdom of Italy and the British Empire, and finally the Empire of Ethiopia in the form of a federation, it shares many cultural similarities with OTL Ethiopia today.

Today, it exists as an independent country, having bought its independence through a brief but bloody war with Ethiopia.

[6]: Massawa is a port city in the North-central region of Eritrea, located along the Red Sea at the northern end of the Gulf of Zela. Having been ruled by a succession of polities throughout history, OTL Massawa developed from a small fishing village into its modern form under the Ottomans and the Italians.

[7]: The Aqua Claudia and Aqua Anio Novus are two of the Four Great Aqueducts of Rome, capable of supplying water to over a dozen Roman provinces.

[8]: The Habesha peoples refer to the Semitic-speaking peoples of Highland Ethiopia and Eritrea, and in recent times, refers to people of Ethiopian and Eritrean descent.

[9]: The triumvirate between Julius Caesar, Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus is known commonly as the First Triumvirate, an informal secret alliance between the three players which allowed them to rise to great heights of power without having to face obstacles in the form of the Roman Republic’s Constitution, which prevents any one politician from rising above the others and creating a monarchy.

A/N: Hope you all enjoyed this chapter. Watch as I burn myself out for you all.
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Nice TL, I'm interested to see where this goes!

The first picture doesn't appear. I see a small black square with a white x inside it.


OTL's Ethiopia does have an old and significant Jewish community dating back to the 4th century in 325 AD. The Ethiopian Jewish community is known as Beta Israel and most live in the State of Israel albeit facing discrimination given how they are vastly different from the Ashkenazi/Sephardic European majority population.
Nice TL, I'm interested to see where this goes!

The first picture doesn't appear. I see a small black square with a white x inside it.
Thanks, man. As for the picture, I decided to change it. Hope it helps.
OTL's Ethiopia does have an old and significant Jewish community dating back to the 4th century in 325 AD. The Ethiopian Jewish community is known as Beta Israel and most live in the State of Israel albeit facing discrimination given how they are vastly different from the Ashkenazi/Sephardic European majority population.
An almost sad thing to know, despite their shared faith. Ironically, Israel's also the place where they're able to catapult themselves to greater heights compared to their original motherland of Ethiopia.


Thanks, man. As for the picture, I decided to change it. Hope it helps.

An almost sad thing to know, despite their shared faith. Ironically, Israel's also the place where they're able to catapult themselves to greater heights compared to their original motherland of Ethiopia.
Jews tend to be divided into various ethnic groups much like Whites and Blacks. To give an exhaustive list of Jewish ethnic groups here they are:
Ashkenazic Jewry (Central and Eastern European Jews who speak Yiddish as their main language. Make up the majority of Jews in the world and are commonly seen in the State of Israel and the United States of America):
Distinct sub-groups:
* Yekkes (German Jews)
* Oberlanders (Hungarian Jews from the Oberland region)
* Unterlanders (Hungarian Jews from the Unterland region)
* Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews)
* Galitzianers (Ukrainian Jews from Galicia)

Sephardic Jewry (Spanish and Portuguese Jews who have historically spoken Ladino/Judeo-Spanish as their main language. The second most common Jewish ethnic group in the world):
Distinct sub-groups:
* Western Sephardim (Spanish Jews and Portuguese Jews)
* Eastern Sephardim (Spanish Jews and Portuguese Jews living in Turkey and India)
* North African Sephardim (Spanish Jews and Portuguese Jews speaking Haketia a dialect of Ladino)
* Belmonte (Spanish Jews from Belmonte)
* Xuetes (Spanish Jews from the Balearic Islands)

Non-Askhenazic/Sephardi European Jews:
* Italkim (Italian Jews who have historically spoken Italkian/Judeo-Italian a dialect of Hebrew and Italian,other languages)
* Romaniotes (Greek Jews who have historically spoken Yevanic/Judeo-Greek)
* Krymchaks and Karaites (Crimean Jews who practice a distinct and unique form of Judaism as well as speak their own languages separate from Yiddish, Hebrew and Sephardic)
* Subbotniks (Russian Eastern Orthodox Christian converts to Judaism)

The non-European Caucasus Jews (Jews that are not European Askhenazic/Sephardi):
* Juhurim (Mountain Jews from Iran who live in Azerbaijan and speak Juhuri)
* Gruzim (Georgian Jews who speak Gruzinic/Kivruli

Mizrahim (Oriental Jews that have lived in the Muslim world and speak various languages. They're the red-headed stepchild of Jewry being lesser known than Ashkenazim and Sephardim):
Distinct sub-groups:
* Maghrebi Jews (Jews from North Africa)
* Middle Eastern Jews (Jews that from the Middle East and speak Judeo-Arabic dialects)
* Bukharan Jews (Jews from Central Asia that speak Bukhori a dialect of Tajik)
* Indian Jews (Jews from India that are divided into Bene Israel, Bnei Menashe, Bene Ephraim and Cochin Jews based on regional and language lines)
* Pakistani Jews (Jews from Pakistan)
* Chinese Jews (Jews from China comprised of Kaifeng Jews and European Jews of Ashkenazic or Sephardic descent)
* Tamil Jews (Jews from Sri Lanka that speak Tamil)

Black Jewry (Jews that are Sub-Saharan African)
Distinct sub-groups:
* Beta Israel (Jews from Ethiopia that speak Kayla, Qwara, Ge'ez, Hebrew, Amharic and Tigrinya)
* House of Israel (Jews from Ghana)
* Lemba (Jews from Malawi)
* African-Americans Jews (Jews of African-American descent)
The Penal Colony of Abavalla, Part II
A/N: Really glad to see the positive response to this timeline. As promised, here’s the next part for you guys! 😊

“To fail to change and adapt under a conqueror’s rule is to invite yourself into death’s embrace. Yet, to simply impose rules and regulations uncaring of the conquered subject’s hearts is to invite rebellion and dissension into your realm.” – Anonymous Roman Scholar

The Penal Colony of Abavalla, Part II

(50 – 70 AD)

At the age of fourty-four, Prefect Aulus was well past his prime as a fighting soldier, but is noted to still remain as spry as a young man and energetic with little energy fading from his limbs. With his own position secure and his wealth and power growing by the day, Aulus grew confident that he could conquer yet more lands for the colony of Abavalla.

With increasing reports of continued Jewish unrest, Aulus prepared to accommodate thousands more Hebrew slaves, tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands, should it come to that.

Furthermore, Aulus’s tactics of divide and conquer proved exceptionally effective; already, the remaining enemy tribes in his realm had submitted to Roman rule, absorbed by the growing Habesha triumvirate [1] that now comprise the primary population of Abavalla.

Yet Aulus was by no means a rash man; his colony’s infrastructure had yet to be fully developed to handle the sheer logistical needs of such a campaign, and the tribes yet to be fully integrated under Roman rule.

Fortunately, with strong trade with Rome and its subsidiaries, Abavella was more than secure and its logistical needs fully handled.

And so, with Emperor Claudius’s blessing, Aulus began a second wave of campaigning in what would come to be called the Horn of Africa, marching down south to conquer the other nomadic tribes, christening his army as a new Legion: the Legio V Caelius.

The Second Expansion of Abavalla (51 – 70 AD)


In the initial push southwards, the Legio V would encounter much difficulty in marching through the undeveloped, dense jungles; there were few sources of clean water, necessitating the use of porters to bring barrels of clean water with which to refill the soldiers’ waterskins.

Worse, the Habesha tribes had little to no knowledge of the local southern terrain, necessitating the sourcing of local guides swayed by Roman wealth. This time, there was less success, their lack of knowledge of the civilised world – much less the Roman Empire – causing more than a few barriers in communication.

As such, it would take nearly twice as long to expand Abavalla’s lands in Aulus’s campaign. Fortunately, Aulus’s Legion was staffed with more than a few architects, urban planners and merchants, and with such a versatile staff, Aulus’s campaign would prove ultimately successful.

Though this was not to say it was by any means easy.

The first three years were spent finding friendly local tribes to sway and ally with, and to help ensure the success of their conquest. To this end, Aulus would offer them lavish gifts and treats – all within what was considered respectable limits in their respective cultures, promising them more with an offer of friendship.

As always, there were those who did and those who did not take his offer, and this gave him the easier enemies to dispose of as his legions made short work of the tribesmen.

In the process of colonising the new lands and inhabiting them, he made sure to bring in both new Roman citizens, slave-consorts from all parts of the Empire, and the new Habesha peoples as the new inhabitants – imposing the same rules for citizenship [2].

“The Abavallans are a people of mixed blood of a dozen races and a hundred tribes, in whom Jewish and Roman blood flows strongly in their veins. Citizens of a penal colony they were, yet they built great works and wonders of the Classical World the envy of many civilisations and barbaric tribes. Little wonder they now hold the title of ‘Kings of Africa’.” – Cassius Dio, Classical Biographer [3]

Most prominent among the southern tribes were the Oromo [4]. A collection of tribes who identify themselves according to their respective clans, the Oromo were a native people to the southern regions and skilled jungle-fighters in the region. Though each clan had their own interests, they followed a High Chieftain of sorts – whom in Aulus’s time was named Malcha San Chelso.

Not wishing to pointlessly expend his men’s lives, Aulus went into negotiations with the Oromo first, and High Chieftain Malcha then called all the clan heads to the meeting.

“The High Chieftain Malcha is a shrewd and wizened individual, having dealt with years of politicking and intrigues in the clans’ political games for dominance. According to him, the High Chieftain is elected according to which candidate gains the most votes from the constituent clans. A highly inefficient system, but one that has kept the Oromo (tentatively) together for centuries. A pity that that method will soon turn against them.” – Prefect Aulus Fimbria, regarding the Oromo.

Different records and testimonies conflict over the real events that transpired in the meeting between Prefect Aulus and the Oromo clans, but most historians – ancient and modern – agree that when Aulus made the same overtures of peace and friendship to them, many of the clan heads stubbornly opposed this move, urging the High Chieftain Malcha to oppose the Roman Empire instead.

Of course, as one could guess, they were the more venerated and respected clans of the Oromo, the staunch conservatives who refuse to yield to their more open-minded idealistic counterparts. Their arrogance in rejecting Roman friendship also stems primarily from that they comprise the primary fighting force of the Oromo, their soldiers having years of experience in jungle fighting.

But it was also this arrogance that Aulus exploited; entering into a secret agreement with Malcha, the High Chieftain publicly declared war against the Roman Empire, and using the conservatives’ arrogance, Malcha positioned his armies for open-field battle against the Roman Legio V Fimbria.

Armed with only spears and shields and garbed in tribal garments, the Oromo were little match for the full might of the Roman army arrayed before them, and the Legionnaires’ disciplined formations and shining metal arms and armour gave them pause, such that many had second thoughts about the battle.

What kept the Oromo army in the fight was the pressing and urging of their respective Chiefs – to whom they held their loyalties – and the fact they outnumbered the Roman legion three to one. With such confidence, the Chiefs ordered their cavalry forward first, hoping to crush the Legionnaires underfoot.

Sadly, they underestimated the formidability and sheer rigidity of the Testudo formation, and Chiefs watched in horror as scores of cavalry riders fell to the spears, swords and arrows of the Legio V, slaughtered one-sidedly as Roman steel cut flesh and bone like a knife on melted butter.

Now panicking, the Chiefs then ordered an all-out charge, spurring their troops forward as ranks of Oromo spearmen and archers marched onward like a tsunami of human bodies.

Perhaps if they had been fighting the Romans in heavily forested jungles rather than in the open field – where the Testudo proved useless, such a tactic could have won them the battle. Sadly, hubris often comes before the fall; the Oromo soldiers were slaughtered after a long, hard-fought battle, and nine out of ten Chiefs who participated fell in what would be called the Battle of Stobi [5].

By the battle’s conclusion, the High Chieftain and the remaining Oromo chiefs – in a grand show of submission and formality – surrendered to Aulus on October 21st, 53 AD. With this, Aulus was free to annex the land that would comprise much of present-day Oromia [6], focusing his attention to the South-eastern tribes that still remained independent from Roman rule.

Passing of Emperor Claudius (54 AD)


News came of Emperor Claudius’s passing throughout the Roman Empire, and the people entered a temporary period of mourning. Claudius may not have been a truly extraordinary politician nor a visionary and genius, but he was nonetheless a saving grace from the excesses of Caligula’s time – a time that could have easily seen Rome’s coffers empty in a matter of years.

It was under his rule that Rome’s spent finances were slowly built back up, vital infrastructure completed to further supplement the citizens’ lives, and Roman control reasserted over its expansive empire. It was under his rule that the Empire once again expanded its territories conquering the lands that would comprise modern-day England.

Claudius was also seen as venerable and just, and his personal interest in law meant he was presiding over public trials and issuing as many as twenty edicts a day. His reputation among the nobles, however, was damaged when he was forced to constantly shore up his position, assassinating many senators in the process.

Rumours circulated that Claudius was poisoned by his own wife, Agrippina, though they would not be substantiated until years later, as an investigation and testimonies would reveal.

His legally adopted stepson, Nero, then took the throne in 54 AD, and one of his first actions was to annex the city of Aden [7], in present-day Yemen. This is done to protect the trade route between Alexandria and Asia – a highly profitable route that supplied much wealth to Egypt and its citizens. By proximity, it also provides rich trade to Abavalla, many ships bringing rare goods and produce and, more importantly, technology.

In the initial Roman conquest of Africa, the Romans regarded the other parts of Africa – inland and in the southern and southwestern parts – too poor for any meaningful conquest. Abavalla, on the other hand, was a penal colony, meaning that whether it was rich or poor, land was needed to house the slaves and exiles from Judea.

The Caesarian Riots (54 AD)

Jewish Riots.jpg

A local ordinance in the city of Caesaria [8] restricting the civil rights of Jews leads to an outburst of Jewish anger, and Jewish rioters take to the streets with clubs and swords, fighting the Roman garrison made up of Syrians as they take the side of pagans.

As the violence shows no signs of stopping, the Emperor Nero is asked to arbitrate, and he responds by relegating the Jews to second-class citizens. This move serves to only incense the Jews further, though some begin to pack and flee towards the colony of Abavalla, if only to avoid getting caught in any ensuing fights.

The First Roman-Parthian War (58 – 63 AD)

Four years into Nero’s reign, the Kingdom of Parthia would come to be at odds with Rome since the installation of the Parthian-supported candidate, Tiridates [9], onto the Armenian throne.

Because of its geographical location in the Caucuses – sandwiched in-between the Roman Empire to the West and the Kingdom of Parthia [10] to the east, it served as a vital buffer state between the two realms. With the installation of a pro-Parthian King, it was perceived as a direct challenge to Rome’s interests in the Middle East.

Reacting vigorously to this, Nero would appoint the able general Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo to the task of subduing Tiridates and restoring Roman control to Armenia.

Around the same time, Nero’s Mother, Agrippina the younger, was found dead in her own home, and it was confirmed that poison was the cause of death. Behind closed doors, Emperor Nero merely nodded at this news – a nod of satisfaction at a job well done.

It is known that Agrippina had often kept an over-bearing, over-critical gaze upon her own son, scrutinising his every move and action and violently reprimanding him over every little thing she deemed wrong.

With the relationship between mother and son becoming strained beyond belief, it is commonly agreed that this was what drove Nero to eventually begin a series of assassination attempts to kill his own mother.

Fearing the possibility of being caught in the fighting between the two realms, many Jews continued to flee to Abavalla – suddenly the safest yet nearest place to Judea, despite the ongoing wars with the tribes of the south.

In the war against Parthia, Corbulo would prove his merit in battle when taking control of the eastern garrisons of Rome; all old and in ill-health were discharged, fresh recruits brought into the fold, and strict discipline enforced in his ranks with all deserters sentenced to death.

Sharing the hardships of training with his men, Corbulo would win the hearts of his troops and their loyalty – a deciding factor in his winning the Parthian war for Rome.

And so, after the torching of the Armenian capital of Artaxata and an inconclusive stalemate being reached, the Romans and Parthians entered into an agreement. They compromised on that a Parthian Prince of the Arsacid line would henceforth sit on the Armenian throne, but his nomination must be approved by the ruling Roman Emperor.

Not long after, Prefect Aulus Fimbria died peacefully in his sleep, fatigued from years of military campaigning. He was fifty-seven years old. His grieving family buried him in their family cemetery not far from the city of Aginnum.

Succeeding him was his son, Gallio Lampronius Fimbria. At age twenty, he is an accomplished Tribune of many battles against the native tribes of Abavalla, and an equally shrewd politician. Having been mentored by his father in political intrigues since the age of fifteen, Gallio was primed to inherit his father’s position and power and continue his campaigns of conquest.

What marked Gallio as distinctly different from his other Roman counterparts (in the elite circles), was the fact that he was married to a Jewish wife.

“It is known in Gallio’s inner circles that his wife, Hadassa bat Sitar, was born to Jewish slaves brought to Abavalla and first shipped to Aginnum. His wife was known to be so beautiful and demure, even the cruellest of slavers abstained from abusing her. Eventually, she earned a job at the Fimbria family estate as a maid, doing menial tasks like cleaning and cooking. It is said that upon first sight, Gallio became so infatuated with Hadassa that he desired to grow closer to her. More and more they talked, and the two became closer. Soon enough, after two years of courting, Gallio mustered the courage to propose to Hadassa, and she accepted. Much to the surprise (and part-concertation) of his friends, he converted to his wife’s religion.” – Cassius Dio, Classical Biographer

The fact that he was now – under religious law – a Jew, was something many pagan Romans grew concerned about, but Gallio’s shrewd demeanour and cunning ensured he remained secure in power. Under his rule, he would make Abavalla a sanctuary, a haven for Jews fleeing persecution.

First Jewish-Roman War (66 – 73 AD)


Not long after Gallio’s formal inauguration as Prefect of Abavalla, a violent revolt broke out in Judea as the disenfranchised Jews, angry with heavy taxation policies and their treatment as second-class citizens, targeted prominent Roman officials, and pro-Roman politicians in their violence.

In response, the Roman legate of Syria, Cestius Gallus, brought in the Syrian army and was reinforced by auxiliary troops to quell the revolts, but despite initial success, was defeated at the Battle of Beth Horon in 66 AD, resulting in the massacre of 6,000 Romans and the loss of the Legion XII Fulminata’s Aquila [11].

Following this, a Judean provisional government was formed in the absence of Roman power, but not all was stable in Judea; the Sicarii, led by Menahem ben Yehuda, were exiled from Jerusalem after a failed attempt to take control of the city.

Not long after, Emperor Nero assigned the unassuming veteran general Vespasian to crush the Jewish rebellion. Foreseeing a massive influx of Jewish refugees, Gallio knew he had to accelerate his schedule.

With the Oromo subdued, Gallio had an admittedly easier time conquering the smaller, less numerous tribes, conquering and establishing the provinces of Danuvius, Liger and Salonae, present-day Gambela, Abocha and Werobe [12] in 68 AD.

Yet Gallio would not be satisfied with such ‘meagre’ gains, as he put it; he desired to expand into the desert to the east of Abavalla, to gain access to the sea beyond. And so, he marshalled his armies to take the fight to the desert-dwelling peoples of the East, where tribes met their arrival in pitched battle.

The scorching heat of the desert slowed the Romans’ movements somewhat, but Gallio’s ambitions were not so easily burned out; within two years of campaigning, the entirety of the eastern desert was conquered and placed under Roman rule, extending their access to the sea. Gallio would name the desert lands Egnatia, present-day Somalia.

And his campaign had finished just in time too, for an event took place that would cement the destruction of the Judean government.

The destruction of the Second Temple.

Historical References:

[1]: The name Habesha was the name the three tribes – the Amharans, Tigrans and Afari – gave to themselves as they increasingly united and intermarried with each other under Roman rule. They would come to form the primary population of the Ethiopian Empire.

They are comprised of native-Abavallan, Roman and Jewish descent, and in later years, bearing traces of European and Asian lineages.

[2]: The Abavallan Citizenship Laws, as they came to be known, are a set of rules dictating the requirements to be met to be a citizen of Abavalla. They include living in Abavalla for at least 1-2 years and marrying a citizen of Roman or Habesha descent. There were minor tweaks and adjustments over the years, but they remained largely unchanged over the centuries of the Roman Empire’s existence.

Eventually, as Roman immigrants increasingly intermarried with the Habesha peoples, it was changed to state that marrying a Habesha was the way to be a citizen. Many consider it controversial, even today, but it is what ensured the racial unity of Abavalla.

[3]: Cassius Dio was a Roman statesman and historian of both Roman and Greek descent. He published 80 volumes on Roman history, covering centuries of Roman history from the founding of Rome in 753 BC, all the way to 229 AD.

It is thanks to his works remaining intact, that modern historians have a clear insight into Roman history.

[4]: In OTL, the Oromo are Ethiopia’s largest Ethnic group and represent 34.5% of its population, inhabiting the state of Oromia. From the 18-19th centuries, the Oromos were the dominant influence in Northern Ethiopia, during the Zemene Mesafint Period.

In this TL, the Oromo would be severely diminished in their battles against the Abavallans, and they would slowly be assimilated into the Abavallan population as part of the Abavallan Citizenship Laws.

[5]: Stobi is where OTL Bale Robe is now located, in Oromia, Ethiopia. Bale Robe is located about 430 km from Addis Ababa, notable tourist attractions including the Sof Omar Caves, said to be the longest system of caves in Africa.

Stobi, in this TL, would be a prominent fortress town famed for its mountainous agriculture industry and its formidable fortresses of stone, which allowed the Abavallans to dominate its portion of Oromia.

[6]: Oromia is the largest state in Ethiopia, and would come to house the bulk of Ethiopia’s population and industry over the years.

[7]: Aden is a strategically located port city along the Red Sea, near Ethiopia. Various powers have desired to control the port city over the years, as it lies on a centuries-old trade route between the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean.

In OTL, it currently serves as temporary capital of the Republic of Yemen.

[8]: Caesarea is a town in North-central Israel, inheriting its name and much of its territory from the ancient city of Caesarea Maritima. It was built by King Herod the Great around 25-13 BC, and served as an administrative centre of Judea in the Roman Empire.

[9]: Tiridates was the Parthian candidate installed as King of Armenia and the founder of the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia. It is speculated that he was instrumental to developing the religion of Mithraism in Armenia, which became the main religion of the Roman Army and spread across the entire region.

[10]: Parthia was a major political and cultural power in ancient Iran, and due to its strategic position along the Silk Road built by China, made it a centre of trade and commerce. It is known to have largely adopted Hellenistic, Persian and other regional cultures.

[11]: The Legion XII Fulminata was a legion originally levied by Julius Caesar in 58 BC, accompanying him during the Gallic Wars until 49 BC. It derives its name from its emblem: a thunderbolt on a shield fulmen. In English, it is called the Thundering Legion.

[12]: Comprises the geographical locations of Gambela, Benishangul-Gamuz and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples in Ethiopia respectively.
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Great update and writing style! Keep it up!

Also, do you have plans for a map? I think a map would be helpful as a visual.
I will be doing one once I finish the next update.

What's the population at this time?
I haven't decided on a real number yet, for now just think of it is 30% mixed marriages, 10% pure-blooded Romans and Jews, and 60% native African.

this timeline is great when can we get more
When I can get the next update ready. It'll depend on my schedule.
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Us Jews did not kill JC. Rome did for sedition my goodness. JC wasn't even on Rome's radar more then the other 100k Jews that were crucified. Not enough for this POD. Horrible timeline repeating anti semetic lies.
Us Jews did not kill JC. Rome did for sedition my goodness. JC wasn't even on Rome's radar more then the other 100k Jews that were crucified. Not enough for this POD. Horrible timeline repeating anti semetic lies.
This is not me repeating anti-semetic lies, this is just me stating a point of view from the Romans' perspective.
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This is not me repeating anti-semetic lies, this is just me stating a point of view from the Romans' perspective.
You have NO


Source beyond the gospels that mentions the crucifixion of JC. Certainly no roman source. The earliest Roman source is pliny who doesnt mention JC just the christians.
You have NO


Source beyond the gospels that mentions the crucifixion of JC. Certainly no roman source. The earliest Roman source is pliny who doesnt mention JC just the christians.
Okay, I get it. I will take point of it when I write the next update.
The Penal Colony of Abavalla, Part III
A/N: Here’s another part. Damn, this is long.

“It was the Romans who killed Jesus Christ, not his fellow Jews as many biblical accounts would have others believe. Yet, the Roman Catholic Church would feed this lie to their flock for centuries to keep them under their thumb, and the Muslims were only taught to hate the Jews for generations. This is why Jews outside the Polish and Ethiopian Empires never thrived or grew to significant majorities for centuries since the rise of Christianity and Islam. After all, superstition, poverty and general jealousy towards more successful people can make people believe anything charismatic preachers say.” - Zewditu Gabra Caleb [1]

The Penal Colony of Abavalla, Part III

(70 – 100 AD)

Two years prior, Emperor Nero had died having fled Rome to flee accusations of being named public enemy of the people, the Senate having tried him in absentia during his campaign in Gaul against the rebel governor Gaius Julius Vindex.

Unable to continue living with such a black name to him, Nero had committed suicide, not wanting to be beaten to death – as sentenced by the Senate.

It is said that the Senate, however, remained divided on whether to meet out the death penalty or not; many senators had served the Julio-Claudian Dynasty [2] all their lives, and as such felt a sense of loyalty to the bloodline, if not to Nero himself.

What the senators felt, on the other hand, did not coincide with what the people of Rome felt regarding Nero; after his mother Agrippina’s death, his behaviour was recorded as becoming more egregious. His actions range from using unbridled restraint in executing his rivals to divorcing his wife Octavia on grounds of infertility, and even married a freedman in a ceremony where he was the bride.

Furthermore, the unfair taxes levied in Britain and Gaul had inflamed resentment and anger in the locals, one of the primary reasons why a revolt was launched by Gaius in the first place.

Such conduct made all Romans – commoner and noble alike – fear for the future of the Roman Empire, should Nero be allowed to remain in power. Hence, it was eventually agreed among them that Nero had to go.

And so, Nero was found dead in the villa of the Imperial Freedman, Phaon, having been struck by a sword. It is unclear whether Nero committed suicide or not.

A temporary period of instability began in Rome, known as the Year of the Four Emperors.

Year of the Four Emperors (68 – 69 AD)


After Nero’s death, there followed a Roman civil war not seen since the death of Mark Anthony [3] in 30 BC, where four Emperors rose in succession and controlled their respective portions of the Roman Empire, dividing it into four separate Kingdoms.

This all began when Galba – governor of Hispania Tarraconensis – was exalted to Emperorship through his adoption by his stepmother, Livia Ocellina. The Batavian Legions, having refused to swear loyalty to Galba prior, faced accusations of obstructing Galba’s path to the throne, and as a result their commander Rufus was replaced by their new commander and Imperial Batavian Bodyguards were dismissed from their positions.

Compunding to Galba’s troubles were his levying of enormous fines on towns that did not accept his rule or destroyed them, his cancellation of all of Nero’s reforms that benefitted many important people in Rome, and his execution of many senators and equites [4] without trial.

Galba’s reign only lasted three months, ended when he was slain by an unhappy Praetorian Guard too willing to betray an unpopular Emperor.

The next two Emperors – Otho and Vitellius – who succeeded him, would face similarly short reigns in their tenures, and the fourth Emperor crowned in 69 AD, Vespasian, would be the one to put an end to the civil instability that wracked the Roman Empire, establishing the stable Flavian Dynasty and ruling for about ten years.

The Sacking of Jerusalem (70 AD)

It is commonly agreed that while the Zealots of Jerusalem were united in a common cause against the Romans, they suffered inherent disunity in their ranks as they fought among themselves, and their lack of proper leadership resulted in poor discipline, training and preparation for the battles to follow.

In comparison, the Romans were a united force, thanks to the efforts of Emperor Vespasian who put down unrest in the Empire and quelled all dissent in his own ranks. This, combined with the clear difference in military strength between the Judeans and the Romans, meant the Siege of Jerusalem could only end one way.

Vespasian’s son, Titus, was general of the besieging Roman force and in charge of the siege of Jerusalem. His father’s orders were clear: Reclaim Jerusalem, and break the spirit of the Jews once and for all.

In another time, were things to pass, the city of Jerusalem – the Second Temple, especially, would be the scene of a terrible bloodbath, the stench of blood so thick it clogged the noses of all present, and fires would spread and burn the city to the ground.

And though the Second Temple would not be spared destruction, the Jews would.

Knowing full well that the Zealots themselves were horrendously divided between themselves – a weakness he fully exploited in his campaign, he secretly sent spies into Jerusalem to determine which factions were most amenable to surrender and identify the others who weren’t.

Among them was Yerachemel ben Adore [5], leader of what could be considered pacifists of the era, not wishing for further war with Rome. He and his closest allies were of the growing realization that the Jews could not hope to outlast the Romans, despite what their more zealous and war-thirsty counterparts espoused, and that were they to continue their current course, too many innocent Jews would die in the ensuing bloodshed.

Knowing he would be branded as a traitor for the rest of his life and for centuries beyond, Yerachemel resolved himself for what came next; it is known that he and only his closest and most trusted allies managed to meet with Roman spies and messengers in secret, away from prying eyes as they discussed the terms of their surrender to Rome.

Fortunate it was, for them, that there existed a place for them to live; Titus would agree to their surrender, on condition that they were allowed to stream into the Temple unopposed.

And on the cusp of midnight, on the day known to Jews as Tisha B’Av [6], Titus and his men soon streamed into the city of Jerusalem and began slaying the unprepared Zealots caught by surprise. Their ranks were now comprised only of those most opposed to Rome, the others having been led away to safety on grounds of investigating ‘unknown threats and ambushes’ and legitimately fearing for the citizens’ safety, should the city be set ablaze.

Initially, things were going as planned for the Roman army and the pacifist Jews, yet soon things turned sour; whether out of unbridled rage or passion, or due to simple mistakes, fires were started in the city that soon spread wildly, burning Jews and Romans alike who were caught in the blaze. Screams rang out in the darkness, and the evacuation was quickly hastened as Jewish civilians feared for their safety.

In a vain attempt to rally, the Zealots reorganized and regrouped at the Temple, where they made their final stand.

“When the fires started and the screams of slaughter rang in the air, I could only be more thankful we made the Devil’s bargain and surrendered to Rome’s grace. Yet alas, despite our best efforts, what must have been thousands of innocent Jews were caught in the middle and slaughtered like cattle. Like my fellow Zealots, I hated the Romans even now – especially with their disregard for innocent Jews, all because they are the superiors of the world and we the inferiors at their mercy.” – Yerachemel ben Adore

Forevermore would Yerachemel’s name be remembered as that of a traitor that sold out his brethren for a chance at saving civilians. That sentiment, however, was not entirely shared among many Jews; records and diaries recovered later on gave morbid, horrifying details of the events that transpired within the city during the siege.

Prior to the breaking in of Titus’s armies, the Jews were barely surviving, their food stores having been depleted and the citizens becoming increasingly desperate. It is said that some parents even boiled and ate their own infant children, their own hunger robbing them of their love for their children.

With all rebellious elements put down and the rest of the Jewish citizenry evacuated from the city, the Roman Legions put aside all their discipline and went to looting the city, plundering all gold and silver and thousands of valuables from every single house still standing.

The fires in the city, however, spread so quickly they engulfed the Second Temple, and despite the Roman Legions’ best efforts to put out the fires, the gold inlay in the Temple’s interior eventually melted and seeped into cracks in the stone, and to recover the gold all stones were laboriously taken apart.

At the Siege’s conclusion, as many as three hundred thousand Jews were enslaved – the entirety of Jewish citizens evacuated from the city alive, and over a hundred thousand slain. Josephus [7], a Jewish historian who had defected to Romans, records that two-thirds of the reported casualties were not warriors, but women, children and other non-combatants slain in the fighting.

The Jewish Exodus (70 AD)

Far too many of the Jews had become dispirited at the end of the siege, seeing their beloved Jerusalem sacked and engulfed in flames and the Roman legions celebrating their victory against the Judeans.

Many Jewish captives would send glares towards Yerachemel, cursing him and spitting at him for the rest of his days, though the man himself would soon be sent to Rome as a slave, to serve the needs of whichever master purchases him.

Of the three hundred thousand Jews enslaved, nearly a hundred thousand were sent to other parts of the Roman Empire, be it in Rome, Greece, or its African territories. The remaining two-hundred thousand were sent to Abavalla, where Gallio Fimbria and his wife would willingly receive the new slaves and take them under their care.

“The new arrivals were dispirited and broken, like broken and starving spoils of war who lost everything they knew. They had nothing to their name, not even their pride, save their bodies and minds. All they had to look forward to was a life under Roman bondage and servitude – a life we plan to make better for them.” – Hadassa Fimbria [8]

The Siege of Masada (73 AD)


Masada was a mountain fortress, the site of the last stand of the Jewish revolt in the First Jewish-Roman war, occupied by the Sicarri [9] and their resident families after ousting the Roman garrison with a daring and brutal attack.

It is recorded by historian Josephus that fewer than a thousand Sicarri and their families lived in Masada, and had resolved themselves for a final stand against the Romans. When the fortress was finally breached, they and the absolute majority of the fortress’s inhabitants committed mass suicide rather than suffer a life of indignity as a slave, the only recorded survivors being two women and five children who hid in a cistern.

Records conflict over whether the Sicarri zealots truly committed suicide en masse, or if the Romans were the ones who killed them instead, but it is commonly agreed that the end of the Siege of Masada constituted the official end of the First Jewish-Roman War.

The Last Years of Vespasian (71 – 79 AD)

In the years since the Siege of Masada, the exiled Jewish slaves contented themselves with building their new lives, intermarrying with the Roman and native inhabitants of Abavalla and putting their newfound skills to good use.

It is recorded that being so far from Rome, the Roman practice of taking surnames was not so readily adopted among the natives; only those who married into Roman families ever took surnames - that of their adoptive families, whilst the Jewish names of ben (for men) and bat (for women) still persisted. It would not be until centuries later that gradually, the old Jewish naming system was phased out in favour of the more modern Ethiopian naming system we know today - middle names after their fathers, and surnames after their grandfathers.

At the same time, many Jewish customs would be adopted by the natives as they took Jewish spouses, mixing and blending it with their own and with Roman culture, taking the best from all groups as they formed a distinct cultural identity that quickly saw Abavalla become inherently different from the rest of the Roman Empire.

The conservative elites and other well-educated Romans frowned upon this, seeing it as a perversion – a tainting of ‘Superior Roman culture and values’, as they put it. Bias aside, there was reason to believe in such words; despite the position of Emperor – an authoritarian dictator by all definitions, Roman Emperors still maintained the tradition of Senate in public, and it was still primary the wealthy elites who held office.

In contrast, because no landed and wealthy elites from Rome made their way to Abavalla in its founding years, it was relatively easy for the Fimbrian family to centralize near-absolute power under its dominion, and naming officials and generals based on merit – the Fimbrians themselves having earned their position by such, it created a strong growing tradition of meritocracy and reward for hard work.

Furthermore, rather than force-feed unadulterated Roman culture to their subjects – often at their expense and much to their anger, the Fimbrians would adopt a policy of peaceful cultural integration; Roman culture intermixed with local cultures and, before and after the First Jewish-Roman War, increasingly with Jewish culture.

Where the Romans kept to themselves and only focused on keeping their blood pure – abstaining from marrying with the so-called barbarian tribes and non-Roman subjects, the Abavallans had no such taboos; they were far more amenable to entreating peacefully with friendly non-Romans and foreigners, and even with the efforts of phasing out certain elements of foreign cultures, they do not do so at an untenable pace.

Local languages could be practiced, but Latin or Greek was required to hold office in Abavalla – as is the law throughout the Roman Empire. Of course, in the end, many local dialects among the native tribes were eventually phased out entirely in favor of Latin, Greek or Hebrew, though one dialect would become increasingly commonly practiced: Amharic [10].

Of course, every society has corruption and backdoor dealings – Abavalla included, but it was much reduced in comparison to more ‘developed’ societies.

Nevertheless, in relative peace and largely unbothered by barbarian invasions as compared to other Roman provinces, Abavalla would grow to be a wealthy province, funded and administrated by officials and merchants of Jewish descent. Not wishing to attract the envy of Rome, Abavalla would send yearly tributes of gold and silver coins to the senate and the Emperor, granting them more favors with the Roman court.

Better still, through expensive but important investments in essential infrastructural construction and maintenance and constant efforts in building an expansive but sustainable agrarian economy, it ensured the sustainability of the growing urbanization of Abavalla and the subsequent population growth. Technological investments into maintaining and creating sources of clean drinking water were also vital, for man could survive without water for only three days.

Then, in mid-79 AD, Emperor Vespasian passed away after a violent bout of diarrhea followed by fever, and his son Titus succeeded him as the next Emperor.

The Eruption of Mount Vesuvius (79 AD)


It was without warning, and without precedent; Mount Vesuvius had erupted. It was nothing new; Mount Vesuvius had erupted many times before in Roman history, and each time a great plume of volcanic ash would rise in the skies that alarmed all who bore witness.

This one, however, was by far the most destructive and violent of all eruptions, and in the process, the nearby Roman settlements of Pompeii and Hercunalem were buried in a thick, suffocating blanket of volcanic ash. Too many Roman lives are lost, though some estimate as many as tens of thousands of casualties.

This sends a shockwave throughout Rome, and Emperor Titus was quick to arrange the evacuation of Roman citizens still living near Mount Vesuvius to other parts of Rome.

Completion of the Colosseum (80 AD)


The shock and despair of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius was quickly forgotten as the people celebrate the completion of a new amphitheater of grand proportions; originally called the Flavian Amphitheater – named after the ruling dynasty, it was inaugurated with a hundred days of games hosted by the Emperor himself, ranging from animal hunts to gladiatorial fights and reenactments of famous battles.

The Flavian Amphitheater would be the site of many more Roman games and plays for centuries to come, and it came to be known by its more modern name: the Colosseum [11].

It would be a national icon and landmark of Rome and its succeeding State of Italy, and eventually, a famous tourist attraction and world heritage site protected by national law.

The Death of Titus and the Coronation of Domitian (81 AD)

Only two years into his rule, Emperor Titus passed away from a fever. His brother Domitian became the next Emperor to the throne, to commemorate Titus’s triumph over the Jewish rebellion in Judea. For the Jews, it is the representation of a bitter and terrible memory – the moment of their utter failure to secure their independence against their oppressors.

The Abavallans are not ignorant of it – being a province of Rome, but most simply pay it no heed.

However, what would characterize Domitian’s rule is his focus towards the reinforcement of the monarchy – the prioritizing of the Emperor’s interest over the senatorial aristocracy’s. This serves to scandalize them and earn Domitian their growing resentment.

The Third Expansion of Abavalla (82 – 100 AD)

The rest of the events in Rome for the next two decades – up until 100 AD, are of little concern to Abavalla, who continues its civilization and unity of the tribal peoples under a new cultural and social identity, and the continued urbanization of the new provinces of Abavalla.

In the province of Salonae, a new provincial capital is established in the very center of it that they named Tripontium, present-day Haradafa [12]. It becomes the administrative and military center of Salonae, and a focal point of unity for the divided southern tribes as they began intermarrying with each other and their new lords.

However, even as Abavalla peacefully develops and grows wealthier, it suddenly grows avaricious for more land, more conquests, not unlike their fellow Roman citizens. This also comes at a time when many politicians from Abavalla wish to curry favor with Emperor Domitian, sensing that his centralization of power under the monarchy will grant them much increased benefits to facilitate their conquests.

And Gallio Fimbria would be at the forefront of it all, aided by his son Atar; they marched south, into a small province they would name Duacum, present-day province Kenya of Ethiopia. Home to the Maasai tribes, they are a fiercely independent people who do not accept Roman rule.

Of course, there were some tribes who preferred peaceful trade with the Abavallans, and those who did prospered and benefitted from the growing wealth they enjoyed, even adopting some elements of Abavallan culture – adding Roman and Jewish flavors to their own.

The rest are quick to unite against the Abavallans, and leading them is Kwanzaa, elected High Cheiftain of the Maasai. A known patriot – opposing the encroaching Abavallans, he decides to wage a quick campaign against the encroaching Abavallan Legions.

Yet, like other primitive African tribes, the Maasai only wielded spears and shields and cavalry, bolstered by archers, and wore no armour. Yet unlike the Oromo in the past, they did not fight open pitched battles with the Abavallans, instead choosing to wage a guerilla campaign in the thick, dense forests of Duacum, where his tribesmen held the advantage.

Having expected a quick battle, Gallio and Atar are forced to reconsider their tactics, having sustained sizeable losses after suffering an ambush along a thick forested path – one they won at a cost.

“The Maasai tribes suffered greater losses than the Abavallans – some say they suffered eight thousand losses to the Abavallans’ three thousand, yet it is the greatest losses suffered in one single battle, and Gallio and Atar were forced to adapt their tactics to suit the terrain. Other Roman commanders would prefer the strength of their iron armies, the Fimbrians would prefer flexibility, even adopting the same guerilla tactics as his enemies.” – Zewditu Gabra Caleb

Employing the sympathetic tribes to their aid, the Fimbrians trained their troops in the lay of the land, familiarizing themselves with the geography of the land and in the art of guerilla tactics. This takes upwards of two years to practice and refine.

In the meantime, they establish as many as three fortresses and the necessary infrastructure to support their conquest of Duacum – the monetary costs are of no concern to the Abavallans. The fortresses are named Hadria, Darioritium and Avenio, present-day Sabarei, Moyale and Banissa [13].

By the end of it, they were poised to strike against the Maasai once again, and this time, they were determined to secure a permanent victory.

In the meantime, the Maasai were losing themselves in feasting and making merry, easily growing arrogant and complacent from scoring a victory against a superior enemy. As such, they do not expect the Abavallans to quickly turn the situation around, slaughtering their men and killing all who resisted.

It is said that Atar and Gallio fought with the valiance and vigour and heroes past, leading their men with such charisma that their men fought like men possessed, demoralizing their enemies such that many were trying vainly to run from the battlefield. Some were cut down where they stood, some were shot by spears or arrows, some were taken into slavery.

The women and children would be taken away to Abavallan cities to be Abavallanised, raised under foreign culture and religion and civilized as Roman rule dictated. Some men, if they were lucky, were granted the same advantage. Others were executed, their heads paraded throughout the ranks of the defeated peoples.

Yet because of the sheer determination of the Maasai, the conquest of Duacum would not be an easy one, and it take an entire year to conquer all of Duacum. High Chieftain Kwanzaa died in the fighting, leaving behind his wife and three young children to be enslaved.

To commemorate their victory, the Legions of Abavalla engaged in a triumphant parade through the streets of Rome, happily parading the head of Kwanzaa to the jubilant cheers of the people. Though some frown at the sight of supposed Romans looking less Roman, they nevertheless receive accolades and official commendations from Emperor Domitian – who recognizes Duacum as an official province of Abavalla.

With Domitian’s blessing, they build a new provincial capital in the southwestern parts of Duacum, naming it Anchialus, present-day Nairobi [14].

It was 85 AD that the Triumph of Duacum was held, and Gallio was fourty-two years old at the time.

It would mark the final expansion of Abavalla as a province of the Empire, and all the territories it conquered would constitute the state of Abyssinia, modern-day Ethiopia.

Assassination of Domitian (96 AD)

Yet despite the earlier triumph, it does nothing to distract the senators from their resentment towards Domitian, especially with his assassination of political rivals. In fact, it is said that not even his own family felt safe around Domitian, plotting to kill him when he least expected it.

In fact, it is recorded by Classical biographer Suetonius that it was the steward of Domitian’s own niece Flavia Domitillia, Stephanus, who carried out the assassination, after working out a plot with Domitian’s family.

It is said that for a few days, Stephanus would wear woolen bandages around his arm, feigning an injury. Within the cast, he concealed a dagger, one that he used to stab Domitian to death when presenting him fake information about a suspected plot.

Stephanus would fail to escape in time as the Praetorian Guards came in – too late to save Domitian.

The final years of the 1st century AD were characterized by a time of recovery and peace, presided over by Emperor Nerva – an aged senator with decades of political experience and a respected elder in Roman society. It is often agreed by many historians that his role was only temporary – a stopgap to a potential power vacuum until a more suitable heir could be found to succeed the Imperial throne.

And it was Trajan who would take the throne.

Historical References:

[1]: Zewditu Gabra Caleb was a 13th century historian and biographer in the Ethiopian Empire, a woman of humble beginnings and of Ethiopian, Jewish and German descent. She compiled as many as a hundred volumes of historical annals, collectively titled the ‘Ye’ītiyoianya Tarīki’, or Ethiopian History. It covers centuries of history from the year 0 AD to 1258 AD.

Through the invention and proliferation of advanced printing techniques, many copies of all her 100 books were published and still survive today, providing a detailed insight into early Ethiopian history.

[2]: The Julio-Claudian Dynasty is the first ever Imperial Dynasty to rule the Roman Empire, started with Emperor Augustus in 27 BC and ended with Nero in 68 AD, when Nero died.

[3]: Mark Anthony, or Marcus Antonius as commonly known in English, was a Roman politician and general who played a crucial part in the transformation of the Roman Republic from an Oligarchy to the autocratic Roman Empire.

He was a supporter of Julius Caesar and one of his generals and governor of Rome’s eastern provinces whilst Octavian – who would come to be Emperor Augustus and was Caesar’s great-nephew and adopted son – ruled the heartlands. After a defeat suffered in fighting Octavian’s forces in Egypt, both he and Queen Cleopatra of Egypt committed suicide.

[4]: Equites are the second of property-based classes of ancient Rome ranking below the Senatorial class, with their members known as eques. They are sometimes referred to as Knights in modern times.

[5]: Yerachemel ben Adore was a Jewish pharisee and prominent nobleman in Jewish society, more notoriously known in Jewish memory as the man who ended the Siege of Jerusalem and any hopes of Jewish independence with his betrayal, despite the fact it saved many lives from certain death.

His name would go down in infamy for centuries onwards, though modern historians have recently revised opinions about Yerachemel. It is unclear whether he truly did his betrayal to save lives, or more to save his own skin and reap some sort of reward in the process.

[6]: Tisha B’Av, translating as the ‘Ninth of Av’, is an annual fast day in Judaist tradition, and when a number of disasters in Jewish history occurred, particularly the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans. As such, many Jews believe it a day of ominous disaster and sorrow.

[7]: Titus Flavius Josephus, born Yosef ben Matityahu, was a 1st century Romano-Jewish historian born in Jerusalem to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal descent. His records provide detailed descriptions of the events that transpired during the First Jewish-Roman War, though more recent historical exploits doubt the accuracy of some details.

[8]: Hadassa Fimbria, wife of Prefect Gallio Fimbria of Abavalla, was a matronly woman who would prove a strong influence on her husband and their family, raising them under Jewish tradition but adapting elements of Roman thought as she educated her children.

She was also reputed to be a skilled diplomat, handling relations, treaties and dispute with different leaders and politicians in Abavalla when her husband was absent.

[9]: The Sicarii were a splinter group of Jewish Zealots most strongly opposed to Roman occupation of Judea, attempting to expel them by force. They derive their name from the sicae, or daggers they carried, concealed in their cloaks.

[10]: Amharic is the primary lingua franca of Ethiopia, both in this TL and in OTL, and a state language required to hold office in the Imperial court.

[11]: The Colosseum is a world-famous landmark in Italy still frequently visited by tourists, though the covid-19 pandemic has severely mitigated the flow of tourists there. Furthermore, it was very badly rundown in the early 21st century, making it majestic to look at from outside, but ugly to look at within.

Recently, however, an Italian business called Tod’s Group have made generous donations to support the restoration of the Colosseum, and through the generous financial donation and the tireless efforts of the government and several Italian architects at work, the Colosseum is now a thing of beauty to behold.

[12]: Haradafa is the central administrative centre of the state of Werobe, known for its splendid architecture and the ancient history it holds in its bones, and the major roles it has played in history – as a military fortress against enemy invasions in the 2nd century AD, and the site of many battles.

Due to the rich trade it enjoys from its strategic location, it was known for a time as the second capital of Abavalla.

[13]: All are modern-day towns in Kenya, on the northern border with Ethiopia.

[14]: Nairobi is the capital city of the state of Kenya, and Africa’s fourth-largest exchange in terms of trading volume, capable of making 10 million trades a day. In OTL, it was founded by colonial Authorities in British East Africa as a rail depot on the Ugandan Railway, and currently serves as capital of the Republic of Kenya.
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