Out of the Ashes: The Byzantine Empire From Basil II To The Present

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Foreword
Out of the Ashes:
The Byzantine Empire
From
Basil II
To

The Present


Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit et artes intulit agresti Latio.
“Conquered Greece took captive her savage conqueror and brought her arts into rustic Latium.”
Horace

“Antiquity is over, but its last war is yet to end.” (1)
Andrea Laiou, Prime Minister of the Empire of Romans

Foreword:

It is difficult to find an elementary school student anywhere in the world who does not know that there was once a Roman Empire where people spoke Latin and which stretched from Britain to the Euphrates. Credit for this must be laid at the door of Alexander of Rome, whose pioneering careful study of primary sources set the tone of discussion for five hundred years. Yet, for all his scholarship, the crafty Patriarch of Rome never addressed one topic properly-the end of Empire, despite covertly acknowledging that it had happened before his time. Indeed, it is rather difficult to find people who claim that the Empire of antiquity had endured to the present, in spite of the continuing survival of a state calling itself “The Empire of Romans” and accurately claiming direct political continuation from Augustus himself.

A pan-Romanist by now might be contemplating if this book is worth its weight as fuel right now, assuming that such a person would acquire this provocatively titled manuscript in the first place. To them I am already committing a heresy most foul: ignoring Edouard Giselbert’s History of the Later Roman Empire, which supposedly showed how the New Rome was no different from the Old. Despite lacking the arrogance to believe that I could surpass the the famed Provencal Scribe in any way, I must nonetheless make the case regarding the flaws of his celebrated work. To put it bluntly, Giselbert was far more a politician than a historian, and his writing was heavily colored by a need to appease his benefactor-the Emperor Constantine Palaiologos. Though he cannot be accused of lying in order to make a point, he nonetheless chose to ignore and distort the truth in many ways to suit his thesis that viewed the medieval Roman Empire as a better reflection of the classical state of antiquity. Details in his tale have been torn apart by giants of Roman history like Anastasios, Laiou and others, but his overall coherent vision had mostly survived unchallenged, principally on account of the overall unwillingness of the aforementioned specialists to reach outside their relatively narrow interest.

I am also a specialist, but I focus on the modern history of Romania which Giselbert never lived to witness and thus have relatively little stake in preserving his account. In particular, I had always been somewhat wary of his interpretations in light of his failure in predicting the direction of Roman culture and society. Byzantinism for instance would have given him a heart attack, and yet that is the most popular ideology in Roman sphere of influence today. This particular failure in fact convinced me that there was a need to counter Giselbert’s artificial rigid attempts to map the classical past to the medieval era, and rather trace back the organic evolution of modern thoughts and ideas back to their source in the Macedonian renaissance.

Thus I wound up writing this manuscript that explicitly declares the use of Byzantinism to study the history of Romania from Basil II to the present day. I have ignored the Dark Ages almost completely on account of paucity of trustworthy primary sources (which Theophanes is not). Archaeologists had been fighting that war against Giselbert for long, and I have no desire to step onto their toes by reaching so far out of my brief. Literary material of high quality however is readily available from the time of Basil II onwards, accessible to anyone who has access to the Great Library of Constantinople. This is especially convenient seeing that he is typically hailed as the first pillar of the New Empire, a second Scipio whose singlehandedly pulled the Empire out of its nadir. I will not deny taking great pleasure in deconstructing these arguments, aided by not only writings from his victims but also his own letters. Similarly we will explore other facets of Alexander, John Callinicus and Constantine Palaiologos that the popular narrative obscures, and study the geopolitical situations and philosophies that resulted in these singular characters-who were by no means ‘Great men’ indispensable to their Empires.

Byzantinism’s origins is another aspect I hope to explore in this account, as well as it’s relationship with Islam. I can imagine a non trivial number of readers will stop right here and refuse to move on ahead---but I would urge them to continue. The history of the Roman state post antiquity is hard to understand without studying the influence of its greatest foe, one that it is still fighting in the present day. Rome might have been able to recover its lost territories on paper in “only” a few centuries, but it was left fundamentally changed by its brush with the faith of Mohammed. Me and many others to treat that interaction as the dividing line between the Rome and Byzantium-and there is no understanding of modern day Romania without analyzing the oldest surviving conflict in the world.

Take a deep breath and look at the map on the next page. It is not Trajan’s Empire but is rather the modern Roman territories that elect Senators to Constantinople. It is nonetheless an enormous patch of land, even despite the fact that the non-voting regions have been excluded. I will now take you on a journey that will show how a vestigial Anatolian Kingdom expanded out to conquer and assimilate all this, which would sound absurd to anyone not particularly familiar with the capabilities of the Hellenic race.


Your Sincerely
Ίωάννης Ιούλιος Κομνηνός
John Julius Comnenus
London, 29th May 2016.

Romania.png


Notes:
(1) Think El Yanqui said something like this somewhere, for something entirely different. The line stuck with me though.
 
This is a reboot of my earlier TL, which I did not initially think through as much as I ought to have.
 
Is Gaul really that hard to recapture?In all of the ERe comes back timelines,the ERe always miss out on Gaul,with only the Mediterranean coast recaptured.
 

Cryostorm

Monthly Donor
Is Gaul really that hard to recapture?In all of the ERe comes back timelines,the ERe always miss out on Gaul,with only the Mediterranean coast recaptured.
Probably because Gaul(France) is very populous even before the industrial and green revolutions, which is when the rest of the Europe caught up.
 
Is Gaul really that hard to recapture?In all of the ERe comes back timelines,the ERe always miss out on Gaul,with only the Mediterranean coast recaptured.
Uncertain analogy with OTL, where the Franks were a serious goddamn problem for any such efforts?
 
But no one rounded things out by securing complete control of the Black Sea shores; the northeast quadrant was always left alone.

That an eastern centered empire would eventually be able to regain control of all the Med shore country as indicated seems reasonable to me, and perhaps even secure such a degree of cultural hegemony--by fair means or foul, the previous TL iteration suggests both in ample measure--that the worst circumstances eating away at it would be countered successfully, with the shore region populations resisting being incorporated into other states and the Empire responding promptly and with great concentrated force to deny any rival access, having learned the lesson that "control of the Med" means control of all its shores so that it can become a Mare Nostrum indeed, with the only fighting ships operating on it Imperial fleet units and/or patrol craft analogous to the Coast Guard. Thus securing its fishing and most importantly its use as a transportation medium without fear of piracy nor raids on any shores.

I do think though that having that control over the majority of 2000 years, the Empire would extend itself away from it eventually in certain directions. To the south might seem unlikely at first, given the barrenness of the great desert, but I'd think that leaving that desert free to peoples more or less adapted to it would be policy they'd come to regret by some century or other. If the Empire cannot master "desert power" in some way or another, the south Med frontier will bleed; merely suppressing native populations with occasional terror sweeps might seem viable for a while, but eventually I'd think they'd master desert operations one way or another--cultivating marcher clients from among the inhabitants and favoring them until they dominate the desert and then are gradually sucked into the larger Imperial culture seamlessly, or learning to train soldiers from the moister parts to operate well enough there to prevail then setting up more or less artificially supported strategic bases to keep a lid on it, or something or other along those lines. Once they make that move, though it may take centuries, the limnes will move from the hitherto natural moisture boundary just over the mountains down to the other side of the desert, and then the southern border will lie on the Sahel that is much more attractive looking to annex, especially as meanwhile Egypt would naturally and gradually extend south and west on its east end to link up to the highlands/lake country which would be more attractive still, so encroachment will have been going on in an end run around the desert from east to west anyway. Closing in on the moister coastal lands of West Africa, the climate might again be a check due to endemic diseases (I am aware many of these were actually brought to West Africa by trade contact OTL, but some are truly endemic and all pose threats not familiar to temperate or desert climate peoples) but assuming this too eventually falls as borderland peoples get assimilated into Rome and Roman colonists get assimilated to the tropical south, I'd think by 2000 CE the southern border would be the Cape of Good Hope, unless one postulates a strong rival to block the way.

Similarly, having once incorporated Gaul and Britain in the classical Empire, the revived pan-Med one would not be content to cling just to the southern fringe. Maybe the natural climatic gradient between southern and northern France might slow things down, but if all of France and on into the Lowlands is not Imperial I have to suppose this is mainly because of very very strong resistance. Considering that the northern Europeans do not enjoy the sheer territorial sweep of the Empire, have OTL become truly civilized much more recently, lack the unifying great inland sea and its inexpensive transport options, this is really saying something impressive about whatever those people who inherit northern Gaul call themselves. Given *French resistance, it is sensible enough that Britain remains free since a long-range amphibious conquest from southern Iberia seems pretty far-fetched.

Let's not forget the stunt the author pulled the last time; giving us a map like this but then letting it be known that actually this was just a core region, and there are dependent areas either adjacent to it or hopscotched far overseas sandwiching in truly independent (and therefore rival) powers. Vasilas, I'm stating right now I think that's dirty pool; if such regions exist here too they should be colored in as being more or less under Imperial control.

Looking at the east, we see the biggest change from Classical limits; the entire Arabian peninsula colored in along with all of Iraq and the entire shore of Persia--but not the Persian plain. Remarkably also this zone extends north all the way to the Caucasus--but they don't bother to quite close the gap and secure the entire Black Sea shore!

To be sure, considering that once one has occupied the shores of Arabia per a general "hug the coast" policy, the interior is so barren that the number of people who can live there is so small it might not seem too daunting a task to finish the job and get control of---anyone left living there, leaving open how many they might be and who they might be. Mesopotamia of course had been incorporated a couple times OTL, though held only briefly; given a couple thousand years and determination to hold that territory, the eastern bounds don't look that odd.

Given the existence of strong states in northern Europe (including Pannonia), Russia, Persia and someone or some two--say a strong Axum derived state (shifted south to now be centered on the Great Lakes highlands) and a strong West African one that is patron over the Saharan peoples--these boundaries might be reasonable. If there is a strong enough Russian state (called by whatever name) to hold them from having incorporated Ukraine long ago, I think it is foolish not to close the gap on the Black Sea and deny it all foothold on the shore line. Similarly puzzling is the northwest corner of Iberia; if northern European influence crosses the Pyrenees I'd think either the Romans are pushed back to the southeast shores or else they shove the resisters back to the mountains.

Much might be explained by showing the client states, but again I say, those belong on the map, not left to be guessed at among truly outside powers. It is not fair to leave them off. It would be like having a TL about the Soviet Union but only ever showing the borders of the Russian Federated Republic; that would give quite a false picture. Or talking about a British empire but only showing Britain itself.
 
I do think though that having that control over the majority of 2000 years, the Empire would extend itself away from it eventually in certain directions. To the south might seem unlikely at first, given the barrenness of the great desert, but I'd think that leaving that desert free to peoples more or less adapted to it would be policy they'd come to regret by some century or other. If the Empire cannot master "desert power" in some way or another, the south Med frontier will bleed;
Ah, so all I've heard about prospserous North African Muslim states is all ISIL propaganda or something? :pCo-existing with steppe/desert raiders in some way or another had been the _norm_ for major settled states for milennia: saying a Byzantine north Africa couldn't stand it or something strikes me as doubtful in the extreme. Over-the-Sahara conquest is not going to be easy under the best of circumstances: the Sahara is simply too big a barrier to mass movements of people before modern times. The Niger river/Upper Volta Sahel region, BTW, isn't very healthy either: I imagine Mungo Park would have some pretty sharp words on talk about the Sahel being "attractive to settlement." North African Islamic Arab culture co-existed with the Sahel for a millennium and a half but failed to assimilate it, although it did spread its religion. Various efforts to extend rule from North Africa to the Sahel were never more than temporary. The north African border is perfectly believable - up until modern times. I imagine those "non-voting" regions include the Sahara and who knows how much of the Sahel and West Africa - but (assuming Byzantine tech and medical advances no greater than OTL) this will have been a construct of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Similarly, having once incorporated Gaul and Britain in the classical Empire, the revived pan-Med one would not be content to cling just to the southern fringe. Maybe the natural climatic gradient between southern and northern France might slow things down, but if all of France and on into the Lowlands is not Imperial I have to suppose this is mainly because of very very strong resistance. Considering that the northern Europeans do not enjoy the sheer territorial sweep of the Empire, have OTL become truly civilized much more recently, lack the unifying great inland sea and its inexpensive transport options,
Logistically, for one thing, it's going to get pretty hard once one moves well away from the seas. If the lack of a French inland sea makes internal unification harder, it also makes it harder for an outside invader to penetrate inland. And disunion can have its own problems for outsiders, such as the horrendously well reinforced fortresses that you run into every few miles and won't in more "civilized" countries.

Timing is important here: this Byzantine revival is _not_ a Justinian thing. The POD is in the 970s, and it's most likely that the Byzantines will have far too much on their plate in the East to think about pushing west of Italy for at least a couple centuries. The northwest Europe of the High Middle Ages [1] was more densely populated, more productive agriculturally than the Middle East or the Balkans, and in some ways moving ahead of it technically. Before the famines and plagues of the 14th century, the area of modern France had almost as many people as the areas of Yugoslavia+Greece+Bulgaria+Turkey+Syria-Lebanon+Jordan-Lebanon+Egypt. And of course, if things go like in the original thread, the Muslim areas are going to suffer heavy population losses through virtually genocidal oppression. The confrontation is not between the players of the 7th century.


this is really saying something impressive about whatever those people who inherit northern Gaul call themselves. Given *French resistance, it is sensible enough that Britain remains free since a long-range amphibious conquest from southern Iberia seems pretty far-fetched.

My biggest plausibility issue? not the survival of Not-Gaul (we're talking not merely post-Gaul, but post-Frankish Empire: I'm fine with "France" myself) but the Greek re-reconquista of most of interior Iberia. Strikes me as approximately as plausible as an Ottoman conquest of Spain.

Let's not forget the stunt the author pulled the last time; giving us a map like this but then letting it be known that actually this was just a core region, and there are dependent areas either adjacent to it or hopscotched far overseas sandwiching in truly independent (and therefore rival) powers. Vasilas, I'm stating right now I think that's dirty pool; if such regions exist here too they should be colored in as being more or less under Imperial control.
Yes, I especially question the mention of "non-voting" territories: as you said below, if we showed only the parts of the British Empire represented in Parliament, in 1900 it would look a wee bit smaller than it actually was. :biggrin:

Looking at the east, we see the biggest change from Classical limits; the entire Arabian peninsula colored in along with all of Iraq and the entire shore of Persia--but not the Persian plain. Remarkably also this zone extends north all the way to the Caucasus--but they don't bother to quite close the gap and secure the entire Black Sea shore!
Well, there is supposed to be a strong *Russia. Although that in turn begs the question of how the Greeks manage to hold onto so much land north of the Caucuses: that's flat and excellent invader country, whether Cossacks on horses or the local version of T-34's.

If there is a strong enough Russian state (called by whatever name) to hold them from having incorporated Ukraine long ago, I think it is foolish not to close the gap on the Black Sea and deny it all foothold on the shore line.
Sure, let's have a constant infuriating provocation which is also a narrow strip of flat land with no defensive depth. :openedeyewink:

As for Persia, IIRC there is supposed to a puppet Iranian regime to the east, although I'd find it a bit more plausible if that border followed the geography of the Iranian highland a bit more closely.

Given the existence of strong states in northern Europe (including Pannonia), Russia, Persia and someone or some two--say a strong Axum derived state (shifted south to now be centered on the Great Lakes highlands)
Hm? Most of Ethiopia is not in Romania in that map.

and a strong West African one that is patron over the Saharan peoples--these boundaries might be reasonable.
An Orthodox "Songhai?" Sounds fun, although I'd expect the border to be further south within the desert within modern times.


Similarly puzzling is the northwest corner of Iberia; if northern European influence crosses the Pyrenees I'd think either the Romans are pushed back to the southeast shores or else they shove the resisters back to the mountains.

I'll put $500 on the first option for the win, Bob. :)


Much might be explained by showing the client states, but again I say, those belong on the map, not left to be guessed at among truly outside powers. It is not fair to leave them off. It would be like having a TL about the Soviet Union but only ever showing the borders of the Russian Federated Republic; that would give quite a false picture.
Depends on how puppety your puppets are, I guess: the Warsaw Pact were never shown as parts of the USSR on regular maps.

best,
Bruce

(Apologies if I come across a bit harsh: have been in a bad mood).


[1] My understanding is that events in the east will butterfly the European Renaissance/Early Modern era rather for the worst, but I assume until told otherwise that the fairly good times western Europe had OTL from the late 900s on have too much momentum and too many factors working in their favor for butterflies from the east to seriously derail them for at least a couple centuries, and perhaps not until the body blows of OTL plague, famine, mega bad weather, etc. which characterized the 14th century.
 
Will reply to everyone, but will take a bit of time.
Is Gaul really that hard to recapture?In all of the ERe comes back timelines,the ERe always miss out on Gaul,with only the Mediterranean coast recaptured.
We civilized Romans don't want more smelly Franks, thank you very much.
Jokes aside, France is indeed the hardest nut to crack in the West. Magna Grecia gives Romania a foothold in Italy from which they can expand, aided by proximity to the Balkans. Iberia is under Islamic control, making expansion there very acceptable to all of Christendom and unlikely to piss anyone off who they have not completely pissed off already (read North African Islamic states). This is not really the case with France, and pacification would be extremely difficult post conquest, even if it was successfully pulled off.
May I ask what the demographics of the empire in that picture are?
100% Roman, thank you very much. Stuff your silliness about race and language in the dustbin, everyone here is a citizen (while trying to stuff illegal immigrant maid into the cupboard).
In all seriousness, what sort of demographic information do you want?
You had said that you have excluded the non-voting regions. Which are those could you please mention?

And yes subbed right away.
Sigh, there goes my laziness in not trying to work out exact borders. Here is a rough idea, with changes.
Non-voting regions come in three classes:
1. Colonies: Under direct rule of Constantinople, without any freedom. The Cape, a bunch of small islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans (not around China though), Australia and New Zealand, lots of coastal enclaves in Africa. Supplies natural resources to the Empire. Citizens there vote by postal/electronic ballot in their respective domicile constituencies. Typically characterized by low native populations that have been heavily neglected, with no major attempts to Romanize.
2. "Dominions": Former colonies that have been set free, but with the Basileus as head of state. The Empire effectively runs their foreign affairs but internal issues are left to the locals. Lots of lopsided trade-deals etc, exploitation of labor and resources, and military/naval bases to remind the government to remain friendly. These often have hostile neighbors who are only kept at bay by Constantinople's might, a large Romanized fifth column via assimilation and a corrupt political class that Constantinople can choose to buy instead of direct military action. Threats of naval blockade and economic sanctions also help. Mostly in Southern India, South-east Asia stretching to Philippines and Ceylon. Basically freed in order to deny them the right to vote in Roman elections and influence results there.
3. Client States: Nominally free birds, but the Empire again exerts enormous control on foreign affairs from the Embassy and have lots of military bases to influence them. These are traditionally geographically adjacent to the Roman state (often for millenia!) and thus are mostly concentrated in Europe, Sahara and Iranian plateau.
Color me curious to see how the Byzantines could recover strongly enough to recapture the Mare Nostrum.
I'd argue it was quite possible to initiate the process in the window from 950-1000, but for the Very Byzantine political instability that did them in. Just butterflying Seljuks alone could have probably given them a chance to reverse Heraclius' losses, assuming the Doukai are kept very far from the throne. Let's see how that goes here ;)
Justinian came pretty close. Had the plague not struck then some successor might have been able to finish the job.
The POD is long after though, and the job is pretty darn hard.
 
But no one rounded things out by securing complete control of the Black Sea shores; the northeast quadrant was always left alone.

That an eastern centered empire would eventually be able to regain control of all the Med shore country as indicated seems reasonable to me, and perhaps even secure such a degree of cultural hegemony--by fair means or foul, the previous TL iteration suggests both in ample measure--that the worst circumstances eating away at it would be countered successfully, with the shore region populations resisting being incorporated into other states and the Empire responding promptly and with great concentrated force to deny any rival access, having learned the lesson that "control of the Med" means control of all its shores so that it can become a Mare Nostrum indeed, with the only fighting ships operating on it Imperial fleet units and/or patrol craft analogous to the Coast Guard. Thus securing its fishing and most importantly its use as a transportation medium without fear of piracy nor raids on any shores.

I do think though that having that control over the majority of 2000 years, the Empire would extend itself away from it eventually in certain directions. To the south might seem unlikely at first, given the barrenness of the great desert, but I'd think that leaving that desert free to peoples more or less adapted to it would be policy they'd come to regret by some century or other. If the Empire cannot master "desert power" in some way or another, the south Med frontier will bleed; merely suppressing native populations with occasional terror sweeps might seem viable for a while, but eventually I'd think they'd master desert operations one way or another--cultivating marcher clients from among the inhabitants and favoring them until they dominate the desert and then are gradually sucked into the larger Imperial culture seamlessly, or learning to train soldiers from the moister parts to operate well enough there to prevail then setting up more or less artificially supported strategic bases to keep a lid on it, or something or other along those lines. Once they make that move, though it may take centuries, the limnes will move from the hitherto natural moisture boundary just over the mountains down to the other side of the desert, and then the southern border will lie on the Sahel that is much more attractive looking to annex, especially as meanwhile Egypt would naturally and gradually extend south and west on its east end to link up to the highlands/lake country which would be more attractive still, so encroachment will have been going on in an end run around the desert from east to west anyway. Closing in on the moister coastal lands of West Africa, the climate might again be a check due to endemic diseases (I am aware many of these were actually brought to West Africa by trade contact OTL, but some are truly endemic and all pose threats not familiar to temperate or desert climate peoples) but assuming this too eventually falls as borderland peoples get assimilated into Rome and Roman colonists get assimilated to the tropical south, I'd think by 2000 CE the southern border would be the Cape of Good Hope, unless one postulates a strong rival to block the way.

Similarly, having once incorporated Gaul and Britain in the classical Empire, the revived pan-Med one would not be content to cling just to the southern fringe. Maybe the natural climatic gradient between southern and northern France might slow things down, but if all of France and on into the Lowlands is not Imperial I have to suppose this is mainly because of very very strong resistance. Considering that the northern Europeans do not enjoy the sheer territorial sweep of the Empire, have OTL become truly civilized much more recently, lack the unifying great inland sea and its inexpensive transport options, this is really saying something impressive about whatever those people who inherit northern Gaul call themselves. Given *French resistance, it is sensible enough that Britain remains free since a long-range amphibious conquest from southern Iberia seems pretty far-fetched.

Let's not forget the stunt the author pulled the last time; giving us a map like this but then letting it be known that actually this was just a core region, and there are dependent areas either adjacent to it or hopscotched far overseas sandwiching in truly independent (and therefore rival) powers. Vasilas, I'm stating right now I think that's dirty pool; if such regions exist here too they should be colored in as being more or less under Imperial control.

Looking at the east, we see the biggest change from Classical limits; the entire Arabian peninsula colored in along with all of Iraq and the entire shore of Persia--but not the Persian plain. Remarkably also this zone extends north all the way to the Caucasus--but they don't bother to quite close the gap and secure the entire Black Sea shore!

To be sure, considering that once one has occupied the shores of Arabia per a general "hug the coast" policy, the interior is so barren that the number of people who can live there is so small it might not seem too daunting a task to finish the job and get control of---anyone left living there, leaving open how many they might be and who they might be. Mesopotamia of course had been incorporated a couple times OTL, though held only briefly; given a couple thousand years and determination to hold that territory, the eastern bounds don't look that odd.

Given the existence of strong states in northern Europe (including Pannonia), Russia, Persia and someone or some two--say a strong Axum derived state (shifted south to now be centered on the Great Lakes highlands) and a strong West African one that is patron over the Saharan peoples--these boundaries might be reasonable. If there is a strong enough Russian state (called by whatever name) to hold them from having incorporated Ukraine long ago, I think it is foolish not to close the gap on the Black Sea and deny it all foothold on the shore line. Similarly puzzling is the northwest corner of Iberia; if northern European influence crosses the Pyrenees I'd think either the Romans are pushed back to the southeast shores or else they shove the resisters back to the mountains.

Much might be explained by showing the client states, but again I say, those belong on the map, not left to be guessed at among truly outside powers. It is not fair to leave them off. It would be like having a TL about the Soviet Union but only ever showing the borders of the Russian Federated Republic; that would give quite a false picture. Or talking about a British empire but only showing Britain itself.
Kyrie Eleison.

Yep, I am being a lazy asshole. Here is a quick tentative map of West Eurasiafrica.
Romania-2.png

You raise (and have raised in previous iteration) good points about Africa, and I plan to incorporate some of those soon. However direct annexation is not going to go as far as the Cape. I will say this though, Africa is the one continent that Rome practically owns without any opposition whatsoever. These Romans are a tad more racist than their classical analogues and will be happy to use a combination of colony+client state status to keep everyone in line. Control over communication with the rest of the outside world helps as well.

France is not Imperial because the cost of conquest is too high. If Rome could colonize it, it would do that at a heartbeat-thank you very much. Resistance is indeed one issue, aided by huge population density. However it is not outside Rome's power to steamroller it, if it truly wanted to (France going Islamic would definitely cause that to happen for one). That is not the case, and the Roman "land" lobby (the Army) is much more willing to screw around in the East, or be forced to play second fiddle to the "sea" lobby (the Navy). Consequently, Europe away from Med is not high priority.

Regarding the Black Sea: Rome and Russia were allies, and Russia having no naval projection power made it a rather secondary interest for long. Rome did try to close the gap once Russia became a foe, but Russia knelt before the whole coastline could be secured, and Rome did not press overmuch, having other fish to fry at the same time with a higher level of urgency that to try to seize Azov.

In Iberia, the brown entity (tentatively called Galicia) was a Roman-allied Christian state that aided a lot in the Reconquista. The blue one ("Navarre") was formerly Roman territory, but ultimately Rome did a population exchange to kick out most of the Latins into that bit and chuck them out as an independent country instead of letting such undesirables alter the balance of power in the Prefecture of the West. Relatively recent changes, and a map even a century earlier would show a different picture (then again, Romans never considered those Latins to be quite one of them).
 
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My biggest plausibility issue? not the survival of Not-Gaul (we're talking not merely post-Gaul, but post-Frankish Empire: I'm fine with "France" myself) but the Greek re-reconquista of most of interior Iberia. Strikes me as approximately as plausible as an Ottoman conquest of Spain.
Well, this one will be kinda hard, so I would request temporary suspension of disbelief until we get there. Very very crudely, French-Med state, remaining Iberian Kingdoms and Rome carve up Spain, and then Rome winds up gobbling the French Med state due to issues. Byzantium also has an extra 500 years to make it happen than the Osmanli, with the assumption that expansionist energy can be sustained that long.
Yes, I especially question the mention of "non-voting" territories: as you said below, if we showed only the parts of the British Empire represented in Parliament, in 1900 it would look a wee bit smaller than it actually was. :biggrin:
I'll argue it is not exactly the same: most of the Imperial population lies inside these borders. Still, you have a pretty fair point, but I won't remedy that immediately, I am afraid.

Well, there is supposed to be a strong *Russia. Although that in turn begs the question of how the Greeks manage to hold onto so much land north of the Caucuses: that's flat and excellent invader country, whether Cossacks on horses or the local version of T-34's.

Sure, let's have a constant infuriating provocation which is also a narrow strip of flat land with no defensive depth. :openedeyewink:
Well, funny story is something like that happened, with the Greeks rushing North the last time Russia tried to attack them via the Caucasus. The (new) Tsar just had enough sense to kneel before things went to shit completely, and Romania had enough on it's plate to actually push really hard and demand territories beyond what they had seized. Afterwards, Russia never really felt it would be too successful in attacking Rome, and MAD took over decision-making soonish enough. Same goes for the Sea of Azov.

As for Persia, IIRC there is supposed to a puppet Iranian regime to the east, although I'd find it a bit more plausible if that border followed the geography of the Iranian highland a bit more closely.
I fail at Geography again I guess? I'll probably request you for help once I actually get there.


[1] My understanding is that events in the east will butterfly the European Renaissance/Early Modern era rather for the worst, but I assume until told otherwise that the fairly good times western Europe had OTL from the late 900s on have too much momentum and too many factors working in their favor for butterflies from the east to seriously derail them for at least a couple centuries, and perhaps not until the body blows of OTL plague, famine, mega bad weather, etc. which characterized the 14th century.
Pretty right, Eastern butterflies will screw up the HRE restoration a bit, but W. European recovery at 900 or so will mostly go ahead as per schedule. Collision course with the East would happen later (rather close to 14th Cen as a matter of fact :p)
 
Also, a general request to all: Can we minimize discussion about TTL present (not stop, but reduce) a bit? That essentially killed off my interest last time as I spent far more time on it than actually letting events flow.
 
Also, a general request to all: Can we minimize discussion about TTL present (not stop, but reduce) a bit? That essentially killed off my interest last time as I spent far more time on it than actually letting events flow.
No problem: mum's the word. Any issues I have with modern bits I'll save until the TL actually gets near the present day. :)
 

Cryostorm

Monthly Donor
Will reply to everyone, but will take a bit of time.

100% Roman, thank you very much. Stuff your silliness about race and language in the dustbin, everyone here is a citizen (while trying to stuff illegal immigrant maid into the cupboard).
In all seriousness, what sort of demographic information do you want?
Mostly religion and ethnicity, especially if one can show geographic concentrations. Interested to see how the Kurds, Copts, Armenians, Georgians, and various European groups are doing (will not be dissapointed if the Bulgarians are gone). Also interested in seeing how the Rhomaion handled the Arabs and the Turkic/Asiatic migrations.

Very interested in this topic because i believe the Makedon dynasty was the empire's best shot for long term recovery and expansion, and would have if not for the Seljuks.
 
Mostly religion and ethnicity, especially if one can show geographic concentrations. Interested to see how the Kurds, Copts, Armenians, Georgians, and various European groups are doing (will not be dissapointed if the Bulgarians are gone). Also interested in seeing how the Rhomaion handled the Arabs and the Turkic/Asiatic migrations.

Very interested in this topic because i believe the Makedon dynasty was the empire's best shot for long term recovery and expansion, and would have if not for the Seljuks.
Hmm religion is an enormous mess since a lot of Romans identifying as "Christian"/"Jew" for cultural reasons do not necessarily believe in the supernatural aspect of things etc. And the joys of a modern education system means everyone has to learn Greek (citizenship requirement irrespective of birth, heritage etc).
Rough sketch of citizens:
1. Greeks (read people who do not speak any other language or claim any other specific ethnicity, while simultaneously not being Jews): 78% of the Population. Formally State-sponsored Marcionism is the majority faith, but in practice Nicene-Chalcedonian Orthodoxy has more committed followers.
2. Jews (includes secular/cultural Judaism): Hellenized (5%), Non-Hellenized (2%)-mostly in the East: Mesopotamia and Persia, with some scattered in the Southern Levant.
Anatolia, Aegean, Magna Grecia and Egypt are essentially completely filled with Greeks and Hellenized Jews.
3. Latins (Romance language speaking Christians): 8% courtesy careful drawing of borders in the West, and relatively higher levels of assimilation. Concentrated in South France,non-coastal Spain and parts of North Africa. Northern Italian local dialect is heavily Latin contaminated Greek, making this population sort of in limbo between both worlds-though they seem to want to vanish into the majority a lot more than desiring to stick out. Almost universally Nicene-Chalcedonian Orthodox.
4. Armenians: Mostly in North Eastern Persian holding of the Empire, adherents of their National Church. 3%
5. Assyrians: In Mesopotamia and Central Persian holdings. Nestorian. 2%
6. Turks: Southern Persian holdings. 2%. Adherents of their own Church which is recognized to be a minor Nicene-Chalcedonian heresy.

As you can see, certain groups have vanished for practical purposes. Some, like the Slavs assimilated in for money and resources. Others, like Copts were considered a "problem".
 
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