The Mediterranean islands ISOT to 117 AD discussion a while back got me thinking about how that would work out and seemed to be a minor enough task that I could take on trying to map it. In the past, any attempt I made at mapping would inevitably end up with my lost in the weeds of relatively unimportant details and I tried to be a bit less of a perfectionist this time around. It didn't quite work out - I still spent way too much time going over small details - but I managed to finish, making this the second map I've completed. The only qualm I have is with the pixel font I downloaded for GIMP; I'm definitely choosing a different font for my next map.
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This map is meant to capture the world 100 years after the ISOT. The destruction, confusion, tragedy, and unprecedented technological development that follows ISOTs can be found in all the affected regions of this new Mediterranean order but, by and large, this world has weathered the storm quite well and the possibility of a better tomorrow looms large on the horizon. That having been said, tensions exist between uptimers, downtimers, and everybody in-between, and though cooler heads prevailed in the early years of the crisis, new ideologies are springing up: nationalism, metanationalism, protonationalism, regressivism, neoimperialism... under a charismatic new generation of leaders, living free of the fear of starvation and death that faced their grandparents, these ideas have the potential to be the death knell for Mediterranean unity and stir the waters of the world's most active sea once more. If nothing else, the democracies of the sea have an active (if at times turbulent) body politic, one that brings its citizens to reflect on their nations' pasts and look to the future in earnest...
The Mediterranean Community, commonly referred to as simply the CM, is the spiritual successor to either the EU or the Roman Empire, depending on who you ask. Despite the initial chaos following the ISOT, the affected nations were able to quickly establish lines of communication, naval coordination, disaster relief, and eventually common markets owing to the fact that the affected islands, with the exception of Djerba, a few Turkish islands, and an Albanian monastery, all belonged to the European Union. Continued faith in the value of the Euro managed to hold until the Palermo Conference, with representatives from each of the affected countries (bar Cyprus), was held in order to better understand what the priorities of the islands should be regarding mutual survival, development, and relations with the inhabitants of mainland Eurasia and Africa. The conference was not universally a success; news continued to trickle in regarding the developing Cypriot Civil War, the Siege of Veneto had the Italian delegates foaming at the mouth for repercussions, and the Turkish delegates raised hell every opportunity they received in their demands for continued Turkish independence and rights to Anatolia. The conference would fail to reach satisfactory conclusions for any of these issues but would succeed in creating the Islands Group; a supranational body designed to coordinate mutual resource allocation for each island's survival and transparency in foreign policy until a unified uptimer agenda regarding the outside world could be organized and implemented. The Islands Group would go through several iterations until it would finally become the Mediterranean Community, a union comprised of uptimer and downtimer nations alike with a unified currency (though a shaky one), democratically elected legislature (for citizens), and development agenda ("empire-building in the guise of aid", cry CM critics). Though eventually complete integration is hoped for by many, the diversity of its constituent nations, both in culture and national priorities, remains a very persistent obstacle.
The Baleares were essentially all that remained of Spain following the ISOT. Though the economies were heavily reliant on tourism (and inundated with tourists) at the time of the change, local agriculture and the arrival of confused fishing boats from the Spanish coast allowed the local governments on the islands to survive with minimal deaths from chaos and starvation until connection could be made with Sicily. The democratic council model of governance proved useful against the challenges faced by the sudden loss of the central government and would be exported to the growing settlements on the coast of the Iberian peninsula and North Africa. Despite its small size, Espanya's bilingual society, relaxed attitude toward politics, and success in downtimer relations and mainland development has given the small country a reputation of perseverance and success that rivals that of the Tunisian Project.
Food, electrical, and infrastructural aid from Sardinia helped Corsica to keep anarchy from breaking out on the island. Ironically, the resulting closeness to Italy caused a cultural shift whereby Corsicans would emphasize their history as a part of France as part of their independence. Though starting off with a much smaller population than Italy, Corsica has taken on the mantle of France's successor. This is not to say that the French identity and the Corsican identity no longer conflict; particularly in the development zones, the linguistic divide has proved self-perpetuating; Gallic and Germanic tribes have taken more readily to French as a language of communication while the Roman administrative class and integrated tribes have shown more fondness toward Corsican. This continuing divide is perhaps the most pressing internal issue facing Francian society today, particularly as the mainland citizen population grows ever closer to the island one.
Despite this, the outward pressures facing Francia are enough to keep the nation united. Though differences persist, Corsicans and French understand that they face the difficulties of the times together and as one nation, though the character of that nation is at times unclear. More ominous is the outward threat presented by the growing power of Britannia as the island nation's meddling in the affairs of Armorican tribes becomes evident...
With a population of over 7 million at the time of the event, Italy quickly found herself in the dominant role of post-ISOT organization and rebuilding. Of equal significance, the question of what was to be done with Rome found itself in Italian hands. Records show that initial visits were rather peaceful, with Italians managing to procure translators sufficiently able to mimic Classical Latin to communicate with representatives of the Senate and with Romans recognizing that the strange people inhabiting the islands, though certainly not Roman, were not ordinary barbarians either. This all changed with the Siege of Veneto. Before sense could be made of the situation, Roman garrisons in what would eventually be Veneto would find themselves in conflict with the local governments of some Italian islands in the Adriatic Sea, both sides believing that some hostile power had invaded and occupied Roman/Italian territory. Though considerably more advanced technologically, the isolated nature of the Italian islands resulted in their eventual surrender to Roman forces when food supplies began running low. The subsequent Roman occupation saw the enslavement of some Italian citizens, an action which prompted Italy, supported by Greece, to threaten military action against Rome and demand certain concessions. Thus began the First Roman-Mediterranean War. Though Rome would survive this war, it would not survive the conflicts to come, as the pressure from newly dominant Christianity, repeated humiliation at the hands of its new neighbors, and inability to adapt to the technological shock would eventually cause the empire to crumble and fall into chaos.
Italia today remains the premier power in the Mediterranean Community, though it is significantly more decentralized than its counterparts. Where Hellas managed to unite its constituent islands in governance and structure, Sicily and Sardinia, by virtue of their great population and different locations, are all but independent in their internal affairs. This is not to say that relations are bad between the two; foreign policy and development initiatives are pursued in tandem, there are no barriers to trade, and an Italian identity persists alongside the powerful regional identities of the islands. Stereotypes, sports rivalries, and cultural difference exist, but these are understood locally to be sources of Italia's strength. A popular political cartoon caricature of the relationship is often used to help foreigners understand how Italians understand their country. In it, a handsome man and a beautiful woman hold each other and gaze at each other lovingly. "Saccente" says the man (Sicily) lovingly. "Bruto" the woman (Sardinia) replies, with adoration in kind.
Malta, Croatia, Cyprus, and Ifriqiya
When the Turkish islands were brought under the control of the Greek government and the prospect of an independent Turkish nation looking increasingly unlikely, the question of what would happen to the smaller island nations inevitably came under scrutiny. Though the level of independence each enjoys is varied, each have persisted in their own way.
The continued existence of Malta seemed the most unlikely following the ISOT, being unable to sustain its population initially and faced with a massive exodus soon after Italian ships reached the island. Despite these conditions, Malta managed to secure independence as a state and the uniqueness of the Maltese language combined with the linguistic variety of Maltese society were revealed to give Maltese citizens an advantage in learning and recording downtimer languages. Though heavily reliant on Italia and Hellas for its survival, Maltese today can be found at the fore of many diplomatic missions establishing relations with downtimer tribes and coordinating development and integration plans
Whether Croatia is an independent country or an autonomous region of Italia is an awkward question that most care not to ask out of politeness. Though Italia took the role of protecting the Croatian islands and ensuring autonomy for the Croatian people, few on the islands took much personal interest in resettling the mainland, preferring to stay on their comparatively developed islands. A close referendum saw Croatia vote in favor of providing docking rights to Italian ships and material support to Italian development efforts at home and abroad, in lieu of pursuing their own development program - a tax by any other name.
Cyprus exploded into civil war shortly after the ISOT, with the Turks and Greeks on the island coming to blows against one another over increasingly limited resources. Ultimately, the Turks in North Cyprus were forced off the island, resulting in massive casualties. The rather fascistic emergency government would eventually cave to pressure from an angry Hellas to democratize and provide sanctuary to Turks that sought to relocate to the island. Though tensions remain, divisions between the two communities have largely been papered over as the economic conditions on the island began to improve.
By far one of the strangest states to come out of the ISOT, Ifriqiya is considered one of the greatest diplomatic successes of the Mediterranean Community. The only nation born out of a union between uptimer and downtimer nations, Ifriqiya is the product of a Tunisia fearing for its (and by extension, any Islamic state's) chances of survival and an Africa province that experienced a renaissance of Punic culture after an Italian embargo forced independence from Rome and new technology prompted dramatic changes in society. Africa province saw cooperation with the Mediterranean states as vital to its survival and prosperity and after a series of conferences and negotiations, the creation of a secular union state between Carthage and the Tunisian remnants, aided by development aid from Italia in exchange for development and extraction rights around certain oil wells, came to pass. At the moment, the Tunisian government is based in Djerba and the Punic one in Carthage, though a city is being constructed on what-would-become Tunis that will serve as the capital of the future state. Sweet, sweet Italian money is helping to construct schools where students are taught both Arabic and Punic and the construction of further wells over the oil-rich Sahara, access to a new and increasingly vital resource ensures that the future looks bright for the young Dual Republic of Ifriqiya.
The second-most populated state to come out of the ISOT, and with much more developed land, Hellas is the Byzantium to Italia's Rome. In the chaotic yet formative early years, Hellas and Italia seemed on a collision course toward bitter rivalry, as nationalistic Greek parties made the argument that the ISOT was a gift from God to take the mantle of the old Byzantine Empire and fulfill Greece's destiny as Mediterranean hegemon. While this argument seemed compelling to some at first, a string of embarrassments and debacles as Greek nationalists and fascists tried to make contact with proto-Greeks made this argument begin to seem silly and fantastical. The failure of the nationalists' narratives and the harsh reality of uptimer isolation in this new world helped carry SYRIZA back into power in the first elections after the ISOT, on a platform of Mediterranean cooperation and pragmatic caution toward interfering in downtimer areas.
Today, Hellas is the backbone of uptimer development and diplomacy in the east. Though tensions with Italia are sometimes heated (no one has forgotten the Dacian Debacle), cooperation and friendship are strong, with Hellas mostly content to leave Italia in the leadership role in interactions with Roma and post-Roman states in the west while Hellas continues assisting Aigyptos in integrating into the Mediterranean economy and enforces the Closed Gate policy of slow detente with Parthia.
This writeup started looking rather long and I was a bit worried that it would take forever if I tried to write out a description of every single state or every single policy initiative of the Mediterranean Community, so I'm cutting it short here. That said, I have thought out a lot more details about the map (again, I have a bit of a perfectionist streak when it comes to worldbuilding) so feel free to ask me any questions you might have! I'd love to answer them!