PC: Romans in the New World

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Queen Edward II³-(IV+II²), Jun 7, 2019.

  1. Queen Edward II³-(IV+II²) Trigger-Happy Beerbarian

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    Quoting myself from the TL ideas thread:
    Now, let's check the plausibility of such a scenario:
    • How could a Roman flotilla be brought to the New World, and how long would such a journey take?
    • What is the likelihood of survival for those aboard the ships?
    • Which would be the most likely place of arrival?
    • What Old World diseases would/could these Romans bring with them, and what consequences could this have on the Native Americans?
     
  2. FranzAncheNo Citizen of the Republic of Pistoia

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    The classic storm? It depends on where they're going to land. I'd say the same time it took to Columbus if the Caribbeans are the final destination.

    The Romans weren't really great sailors, but I'm pretty sure two thirds (At least.) of them have chances of landing quite safely.

    I've seen many arguments for Northern Brazil and Guyana, but I'm not sure if that would work. For NA I'd say Florida, but it really depends on the way the Romans deal with the Atlantic streams.

    Zero ideas. Was smallpox in Europe a thing back then?

    I think the biggest issue would be minerals.
    We can't just throw some Iron Age guys on another continent and wait for them to discover all the metal they need, otherwise there's the considerable risk of having them evolving into Stone Age Romans (A concept that I find simply amazing, by the way.).
     
  3. Swedish luck Active Member

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    the Caribbean or Brazil is the most likely destination because of ocean currents [​IMG]
    question is for me at least what was the Romans doing so far out at sea
     
  4. Rath Well-Known Member

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    Maybe something to do with the canaries? Perhaps someone powerful is convinced that there is a treasure there or something.

    Also, what I think would make a better story would be if the Romans land on, say, Cuba and make Cuba/Hispaniola the core of their empire, which would eventually control some of the mainland (Yucatan, some parts of Mexico, Florida, etc) with more heavily 'nativized' successor states from a once far greater Caribo-Roman Empire elsewhere on the mainland.
     
  5. Swedish luck Active Member

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    malaria tuberculosis and typhoid fever. don't think as many of them would die whit out smallpox.
     
  6. Queen Edward II³-(IV+II²) Trigger-Happy Beerbarian

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    The idea behind this 'journey' is that it should be unintentional, so it wouldn't be a willing decision to set sails for a new world. Maybe they were trying to bring a few dozens of colonists to the Canary Islands, but got caught in a storm and drift all the way to America?

    Admittedly, I don't know enough about sea currents, weather and the like to make any assumptions on the plausibility of this scenario.
     
  7. Queen Edward II³-(IV+II²) Trigger-Happy Beerbarian

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    Read that only after my comment above; but yes, the Canary Islands would make a good starting point.

    That's the conclusion I came to as well. Having the New World Romans developing a thalassocracy over time and from there expanding their empire to the mainland of both North and South America seems like an intriguing concept.
     
  8. Musadutoe Well-Known Member

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    IMO, I have consider that the Phoenecians would have had more of a chance than the Romans.
     
  9. Istariol Well-Known Member

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    Funny now that you mention it, i remember a documentation in which the german anthropologist Peter Lerche speculated that the south/middle-american Chachapoya could be decendants of the Karthagians(?!)

    Source:
    Bock: Hans Giffhorn: Wurde Amerika in der Antike entdeckt? – Karthager, Kelten und das Rätsel der Chachapoya, Beck, München (Beck), 2013, S. 75
    TV: Michael Gregor: Karthagos vergessene Krieger, aired 8. März 2014.
    (Sorry both in german)
     
  10. Lusitania Well-Known Member

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    There was a Alt comic book series posted somewhere on the forum about such a scenario.
     
  11. Musadutoe Well-Known Member

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    There was a trilogy of alternative history novels where the third novel dealt with the Roman Empire coming to the western hemishpere. I did not get past the first book, but the third novel dealt with this storyline, but it was much later than the timeline beinf reference in this thread.
     
  12. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    Roman ships weren't built for the North Atlantic. Two thirds losses are FAR more likely than two thirds surviving.
    The Roman ships wouldn't be provisioned for a month long voyage, so the sailors will be starving by the time they land.
    Even if they had had some livestock when they started the trip, they'd have eaten it all by the time they arrived. Ditto for grain supplies.
    Even if, somehow, some grain survived, if they start from Spain or the Canaries, they'll end up in the tropics, where their crops won't grow.
    The best you can hope for in this scenario, imo, is them introducing iron working and constructed boats with sails.

    Note, too, that the crossing will almost certainly take long enough that and sick sailor will have recovered or died. The chances of introducing Eurasian diseases is minimal. Ah. Aside from malaria, that doesn't cure.

    Honestly, if you want a Roman settlement to succeed and grow in the Americas, something close to
    https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/sketch-of-a-roman-colony-in-north-america.466366/
    Is the only way I can think to get it established. Start with 1) a deliberate effort, 2) using the only period ships that had a chance of dealing with the Atlantic, and 3) carrying crops and farmers used to climate simply lar to where they arrive.