Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Ultima Ratio, Nov 5, 2019.
Hmm: Larry Bird doesn't foul someone as flagrantly?
(BTW: I've never figured out why the basketball team is pronounced "Seltics" whereas the reference to the tribe is pronounced "Keltic")
I wanted to avoid controversy regarding this word, but there's hardly a better alternative. Let's say a level of cultural, industrial, mercantile, religious and scientific development akin to Rome, Hellas or Carthage. You know what I mean.
This is a good one IMO. In a Rome screw or Carthage wank scenario where the western Med is not militarily united, Marseilles becomes a major city among the mercantile ports, but it won't militarily dominate the interior. This gives the Gauls some breathing space to make their own innovations in governing and information management, but at the same time gives them access to the Hellenized world and therefore models to follow so they're not building everything from scratch.
The Celts were actually quite civilized along with the Illyrians. They had agriculture,complicated metalwork and hill-forts,the pre-cursor to the castle. In Northern Europe,there was a complex,thriving trade route. Basically,they were civilized.
What does level of development mean?
Come on now.
Level of development meaning the intensity of urban civilization and material culture, and political centralization associated with Italy, Greece, and the Near East in this timeframe. Large states and empires, etc and not just tribal confederations. This simply requires a Rome screw. With them out of the picture, we can see Gaul (and by extension Britain and Germania) develop on more gradual and organic terms, instead of the overwhelming Roman influence we saw OTL. The Oppida and hill forts were already flourishing. Druids and knights, anyone?
Honestly, the big thing have against the Gauls is that they didn't use writing, which was forbidden on a religious basis by the druids. But the Arverne polity was large, influent and well-populated, for instance, and formed a significant obstacle to Rome until the end.
Actually the Gauls did use writing. The Druids forbade their own teachings being written down.
However, Cesar (for instance) remarks that Gauls had been using the Greek alphabet to write*. They also used the Old Italy script in cisalpine Gaul (i.e. north Italy). Later, they would move to the Latin alphabet.
*Most likely learning it through the Greek colonists in Massalia.
Gauls had cities, check.
Their tech was as good, in some cases superior, even if crucially, their military tactics were inferior.
Gauls had a more organized and potentially uniting faith in the form of Druidism.
They weren't united but neither were the Greeks. Had the Persians conquered them, we might think of them as unimportant, unicivilized barbarians.
Which is kinda underlying this argument. Our cultural heritage is in a large part descended from the classical world. Gaul like Carthage in otl are relatively cultural 'dead ends'. So to a certain extent we don't give them quite the credit they could deserve.
Somewhere, in an ATL, people are debating whether the Greeks could have developed and someone is saying "If only they were influenced by the obviously superior culture of the Persians, well, maybe."
I think the case is true of the Gauls /Cispaine Gauls.
DBWI : Caesar conquers Gaul instead of the other way around
Mr GreyOwl did a great tl were Vercingetrix takes Caesar's head home as victory trophy and the Roman Republic doesn't quite get its civil war problem under control enough to become the otl Empire. They still matter, just not as much.
I think it comes pretty close to what I'm thinking of.
The common prejudice is assuming Antiquity was defined by Greco-Roman civilization with a little attention to Mesopotamia,Persia and Egypt. The Illyrians,Celts,Scythians and Goths are saddled with the term 'barbarians' and are treated as a footnote in comparison. Hell,there's not even that much studies on the Etruscans and Mycenaeans/Minoans which came before Rome and Classical Greece. Plus,what we mostly know of the ancient Celts is from Roman documents which are obviously biased.
Greek culture had already proved its attractiveness to others by the time of Xerxes' invasion, with parts of Asia Minor and much of Italy being Hellenised to various degrees. As for Carthage, they had little influence on subsequent culture, but ancient writers all considered them civilised, unlike the Gauls. So I don't think it's just because of hindsight that we think of Gallic culture as less advanced.
They absolutely used writing, though. They didn't have a native script that I'm aware of, but Caesar records the Helvetii using musters written in Greek characters, having inspected them after his battle against them.
So if we abort Rome (perhaps by keeping Alexander alive) the whole of Europe would probably be using the Gereek alphabet or a derivative of it?
Germanic people used some writing too, the fact the Runic alphabet is so different from Greek and Latin script and mirrors older Italic writing shows that there must have been an early adoption of writing by Celts and Germans north of the Alps before the Latin and Greek script eclipsed all others. Even if it was just used sparringly and for small texts and words that didn't survive the script came from somewhere and maintained itself.
Not necessarily; if we get rid of Rome, Carthage is probably going to fill its shoes fairly well, so Punic would become a lingua franca in the west.
Separate names with a comma.