Saint Caligula??!

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Geon, Feb 16, 2015.

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  1. Threadmarks: More on the Great Riot

    Geon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    More on the Great Riot

    My job has kept me busy for a while but here is a brief update.
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    Tiberius Gemellus was only in his teens, when he became Emperor but he had a fierce devotion to his Cousin Caligula according Caligula’s hagiography. Thus, it was no surprise that Tiberius was prepared to go on a rampage of vengeance once he became Emperor.

    According to the most reliable accounts, Tiberius had been taken outside the city by some of Caligula’s surviving bodyguards and servants. There he had been sheltered at the army camp for the 3rd Roman legion. Once safely in the camp Tiberius gave orders that the Legion should immediately enter Rome and punish those responsible for the death of his Cousin.

    Traditionally no Roman army could enter the city without the permission of the Roman Senate or the Emperor. But the murder of Caligula apparently also effected the officers of the 3rd legion. Despite the fact of Caligula’s conversion to Christianity he was still considered affectionately as “little boots,” by many in the Roman army and had during his reign done nothing to disenfranchise the army. The murder of Caligula was considered a crime by the Senate against the people of Rome and the Empire. However, it should be noted that there was probably a political motive involved in what happened next. The Senate was not popular with many in the Army and the thought of weakening its power in favor of an Emperor more sympathetic to the needs of the military may have played a role in the decisions.

    By nightfall the 3rd legion was entering Rome and making its way to the Senate. When the Senate was reached Tiberius ordered that all the Senate should be gathered and forced to convene. The troops spread out and soon the Roman Senators – those who had not been lynched by the vengeful mob – were gathered before Tiberius.

    Tiberius demanded that he be acclaimed Emperor before them. Literally at spear point the Roman Senate declared Tiberius Gemellus to be Emperor of Rome. Tiberius then ordered the arrest of the entire Roman Senate on charges of regicide. He also ordered the arrest of his nephew Claudius once he learned he had been acclaimed Emperor by the Senate. In the meantime Tiberius sent the troops into the parts of the city that were still burning to aid as they could and put an end to the rioting. Orders were given that any who were actively instigating the riots were to be arrested.By the next morning several hundred individuals, many of them priests in the temples had been arrested.

    Meantime the fires that had been set as a result of the riots would continue to burn for several days despite the attempts by Tiberius and his men to extinguish them. A full ¼ of the city was destroyed by the time the fires died down due to the coming of a rainstorm. But while the storm may have put out the fires a whole new one was about to rage as the trials began.
     
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  2. Tyg Corporate Inquisitor

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    Nothing like a strong and popularly-justified purge to set a new leader on a secure foundation! Tiberius will have plenty of Senators to replace after this, and those he doesn't will be left under obligation to him for such mercy. Confiscating the lands and wealth of those found guilty will go a long way toward rebuilding the city and rewarding the new Emperor's friends and allies.

    Of course, if Tiberius has taken any of Caligula's new moral framework to heart, he could act with very cruel mercy. Spare the lives of the guilty, but strip their lands, their wealth, and their status in the Senate, leaving them to live out their lives in relatively comfortable exile in a distant province, their names recorded and remembered for their eternal humiliation...
     
  3. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Well, I am really intrigued. The fact is time ago I wondered to make a TL with a similar POD, only that the first Christian Emperor should have been Claudius instead, through an incidental encounter with Paul, and when he was still far from being Emperor; only, respect to Caligula here in my project Claudius kept his conversion secret, and from then things should have developed... then I renounced to the project.
     
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  4. Yuelang Tr'ump fhtagn Banned

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    largely nonlethal purge by exiling the senators and taking their property to be distributed for the poor... as well as taking their children and sending them to be educated... in Jerusalem, under the guidance of the Apostoles, so they wont back up the Pagans again... lol

    ah, speaking of which, what is the situation at the Roman province of Syria? Caligula should do something to help the Christians there right? Are we going to look at a new Jewish civil war or...
     
  5. Evan Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness!

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    Great updates! Caligula's martyrdom has just as awesome consequences as we all predicted, and more so. I'm looking forward to the continuation.

    The big problem was that a lot of Roman plays were essentially pornography, both because it was popular and because it was associated with the Roman religion. If Christianity catches on among the educated class, perhaps they could push for a restoration of the more sedate Greek dramas. But what we're seeing now, at least, is the opposite: the upper classes are the most opposed. And given the reference to Tacitus, it sounds like that'll continue.
     
  6. Barbarossa Rotbart Well-Known Member

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    In class/caste based cultures (e.g. Rome, India) Christianity was always very successfull among the lower classes and considered a danger in the upper classes, because they feared that they will loose their privileges. But even among the rich and powerfull you may find Christians, often people unhappy with either social realities, the traditional religion or even both.

    Do not forget that at the time Constantine the Great began to openly support Christianity, Christianity was already one of the largest (if not even the largest) denominations in the Roman Empire. A stronger Christian communityin Rome having the support of the Emperor may hasten this even if the Roman nobilty is strictly against Christianity. This also means that persecutions of Christians may only happen in the provinces but not in Rome or in all provinces at once.
     
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  7. Yuelang Tr'ump fhtagn Banned

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    agreed, ITTL, unless Tiberius Gamellus is unseated or succeded by a staunch anti-christian, the odds are Christianity to dominate Roman scene of politics.

    Having a beloved emperor, with good public image in plebs as well as military means that Christianity will be taken as unifying spirituality instead of lower class religion.

    Plus still look forward to several crapton of Kings, Popes, and influential figures being named or take the name of Caligula (as Constantine does OTL)
     
  8. Threadmarks: Tiberius Strikes Back!

    Geon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    I know it's been a while, but after 4 years I decided to add at least this one little bit here. Please comment and enjoy!
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    The fires in Rome may have been put out. But the fire of vengeance was burning in the heart of Tiberius, now Tiberius Gemellus Caesar. Tiberius was determined to make the Senate pay for the murder of his beloved cousin. And many in Rome would have been happy to assist Tiberius in this task. For many of the poor who had survived the fire had lost their homes to the flames.

    Two days after Tiberius was proclaimed Emperor the trials began. First Claudius was brought into his presence. Claudius had reluctantly allowed himself to be crowned Emperor by the Senators and the priests involved in the conspiracy after the report of Caligula’s death.

    Claudius, according to all accounts, expected nothing but death and stuttered so badly that he could not defend himself before Tiberius. However, at this moment the new bishop of Rome, Linus, entered the picture.

    Linus had according to Eusebius only been proclaimed bishop the previous day following the death of Clement. And had come to the palace to witness the trials. Seeing Claudius was so unable to defend himself and seeing the wrath of the Emperor, Linus stepped forth and offered to speak for the unfortunate accused.

    Tiberius agreed. Though it is clear from various historians that he was already considering a most unpleasant death penalty for the would-be “emperor.”

    Linus’ defense, according to the historian Eusebius, reminded the Emperor Tiberius (II) that he was both a Christian and now ruler of Rome and as such must judge and rule justly. He also told Tiberius that Claudius had not had anything to do with the conspiracy to kill his cousin. “He is merely used by these jealous Senators as a tool for their wickedness.” Linus proclaimed.

    Since Claudius was not responsible for the death of Caligula, Linus asked he be pardoned.

    Tiberius after a moment’s thought agreed with Linus. Claudius would be pardoned. But he would not be allowed to remain in Rome. Claudius was to be permanently exiled to the island of Cyprus. To return to Rome would mean an instant sentence of death.

    Not so fortunate would be the priests and senators who were the ringleaders of the conspiracy. According to Tacitus, 15 had survived among those who had plotted the death of Caligula.

    All of these were condemned to death by Tiberius. The Senators were taken out and beheaded in the Circus Maximus before the crowds, who now consisted mostly of those who had lost homes and loved ones in the Great Fire. The priests were sentenced to be imprisoned without food and water in dark windowless cubicles, in effect buried alive, and to die slow torturous deaths.

    As further punishment the Emperor ordered the pagan temples closed indefinitely and their treasuries seized, as well as the properties and assets of those Senators accused of being part of the conspiracy. The funds thus collected would be used in helping the poor survivors of the fires and in rebuilding their lives.

    Those Senators whom had not joined the conspiracy were forced at sword point to swear an oath before the Emperor. In the oath they agreed first, to accept and acclaim Tiberius Gemellus as Emperor of Rome. They also agreed to affirm the Emperor Caligula’s Decree Regarding the Worship of the gods. Finally, they had to swear that they would no longer interfere in any way directly or indirectly with the worship or livelihood of the Christians in Rome.

    Nevertheless, for the remainder of Tiberius Gemellus’ reign the pagan temples in Rome would remain closed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2019
  9. Hawkeye Source?

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    This was a surprise to see in my notifications.

    [​IMG]

    I didn't expect Tiberius to straight up close the non-christian temples so suddenly. Replace the priests sure, but a lot of people should still be pagans in the empire. I guess this is only for the city of Rome on top of extraordinary circumstances.
     
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  10. jocay Ambiguously Brown

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    Wouldn't this just promote an anti-Christian backlash once Tiberius passes on/is assassinated?
     
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  11. Tyg Corporate Inquisitor

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    Very likely, but if he reigns long enough, Christians would be too well entrenched to dislodge. The pagan temples will surely be restored at some point, and the privileges of the Christian Church could get pared back, but that still leaves Christianity as a powerful influence and potential mass-movement.
     
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  12. FranzAncheNo Citizen of the Republic of Pistoia

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    An unexpected comeback? Well done!
     
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  13. TheNerd_ Noobie History Entusiast

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    I just binged this after I found it on the 1st page. A surprising P.O.D. [Considering the amount of Roman TL's were Christianity gets royally screwed... Looking at you, Hadrian's Consolidation] and nice writing. Waiting for more!
     
  14. FriendlyGhost Haunting history for 45+ yrs

    @Geon, this is a great TL.
    Like TheNerd above, I spotted it on the front page. The title intrigued me, the first post got me hooked. I was worried that the last post would be from a mod warning someone against necro'ing an old thread - I am very pleased to be wrong! Looking forward to more...:)
     
  15. Threadmarks: The Reign of Tiberius Gemellus Caesar

    Geon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    I don't know how long I'll continue this currently. But, FriendlyGhost your wish is answered.
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    Tiberius Gemellus Caesar would reign for 15 years. During those years it was made very clear that the Emperor Tiberius II had not forgiven nor forgotten what the Senate had done that fateful day in the tunnels leading to the Circus Maximus.

    As indicated above the pagan temples in Rome remained closed for the reign of Tiberius II. Those in Rome who wished to worship the pagan gods could keep shrines in their homes and could journey to temples and shrines in other cities of the empire to offer sacrifice. But the temples in Rome would remain closed.

    There were attempts by many of the surviving priests to force the Emperor to reopen the temples. But, the infamous “riots of Jupiter” made it plain the Emperor meant business.

    Three years after the Great Riot and Fire, many pagan priests had stirred up several of the pagans in Rome to march to the temple of Jupiter and demand the emperor reopen it and allow them to make sacrifice there. The Roman guard (still made up of members of the third legion) blocked the way into the temple. The priests and other members of the crowd demanded that the soldiers stand aside or face “the wrath of both the god and men.”

    By now, many in the 3rd legion were at least nominally Christians. Following the murder of Caligula and the crowning of Tiberius II many in the 3rd legion had chosen to become Christian as a sign of solidarity with their emperor. Though secretly many continued to worship the pagan gods in addition to attending Christian service.

    One of the men of the 3rd legion standing guard at the temple of Jupiter was one Sylvanus Graccus. When the crowds threatened the soldiers with the wrath of Jupiter as well as their own if they were not allowed into the temple Sylvanus is said according to Justin Martyr to have replied, “Your ‘god’ Jupiter is no god at all. We do not fear his thunderbolts, for our Lord Jehovah rides on a chariot of the thunderbolts. If your god is so great, why does he not appear now to help you? Likely he is off somewhere whoring with another mortal wench.”

    Enraged the crowd surged forward and attacked the guard. Sylvanus was seized and stabbed by many in the mob and died shortly thereafter. [Sylvanus would later become St. Sylvanus known as a patron of soldiers.] The rest of the guard sent for reinforcements. Soon a cohort was marching toward the temple of Jupiter even as the rest of the guard in front of the temple was overwhelmed. The crowd was about to force open the doors to the temple when the cohort arrived.

    In the brief skirmish that followed several in the crowd were killed (estimates from ancient accounts vary between 25 and 200). The rest were arrested and ordered to be brought before the Emperor.

    Tiberius II was furious at the outbreak of violence. “It is not enough that you pagans sought to commit regicide, that you burned down much of Rome, that now you seek to murder my faithful soldiers. I will tell you now that I will take and tear down your Temple of Jupiter piece by piece and force you to watch as I do so. This lawlessness shall not be tolerated in Rome!”

    At this point, according to all the ancient chroniclers, Bishop Linus, who was now an advisor to the Emperor asked that the accused be put outside so he could talk with the Emperor. What was said between them has been variously reported by different sources none of which appear to be accurate. But the accused were summoned back in after an hour.

    The Emperor Tiberius II decreed that he would not destroy the Temple of Jupiter. But it would remain closed until he decreed otherwise. The priests who had incited the riot were to be taken to the Circus Maximus and there publicly executed for the crimes of sedition, murder, and inciting a riot. The rest of the rioters would receive a stiff fine and some would find themselves permanently exiled from Rome.

    Tiberius II also greatly reduced or modified the power of the Roman Senate. Tiberius decreed a Senator’s son could not hold the office of his father although his grandson could if he proved capable. All Senators before they could take office must now affirm Caligula’s Decree Regarding the Worship of the gods before they could take office. A Senator must annually present his financial records to be examined by officials of the Emperor to assure he was not taking bribes. Finally, any Senator found engaging in “lude or lascivious conduct” could be removed from office.

    The first two years of Tiberius reign saw the rebuilding of Rome from the Great Riot and Fire. Tiberius took a hand in the rebuilding ensuring more stringent building standards. The rebuilding was financed by monies and treasures from the temples and by the money from the estates of those Senators who had been executed as a result of their treason in the murder of Emperor Caligula.

    The Emperor Augustus had been proclaimed divine by the Senate. Tiberius decreed that from this time forward no Roman Emperor could declare himself divine. Any who did would forfeit the crown of Rome.

    Privately Tiberius II lived a very devout life depending on Linus II as his spiritual and temporal advisor. Like his cousin Tiberius gave to the poor and frequently visited those in need disguised like his cousin had been as a beggar.

    On the other hand, Tiberius was somewhat promiscuous having a concubine in addition to a lovely wife (Livia). He would end up having two daughters by the concubine and a daughter and two sons by Livia. In his will he directed all were to be looked after as his own legitimate children.

    When Tiberius died at the age of 28 from a fever, he would be mourned by many in Rome. But many more rejoiced, albeit quietly, at his death.
     
  16. TheNerd_ Noobie History Entusiast

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    @Geon , could you please threadmark your chapters?

    Edit: That was quick!
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  17. Blorg Credit to comics I post is SMBC or flork of cows

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    Good update!
     
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  18. Hecatee Traveller of the pasts

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    Bhoo :p I do absolutely recognize my monotheists got quite crushed... although my Pagans are also loosing some ground to atheism and pure philosophy ;)
     
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  19. Threadmarks: The Houses of Caligula

    Geon Well-Known Member

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    Jul 22, 2010
    In this small section we'll see how one of Caligula's acts of charity had future ramifications.

    The Houses of Caligula

    As indicated in the hagiography Caligula had taken an interest in helping the unfortunate children of Rome whom for various reasons were abandoned by their parents.

    To be sure, by the time of Caligula the Christian church in Rome was already doing an important work in rescuing many of these children from the trash heaps where they had been left to die of exposure.

    For Caligula the situation was still intolerable. He ordered that houses should be set up throughout Rome where childless young widows would care for these children at the expense of the state. The idea was warmly received by the Christian church in Rome and many of those children rescued from exposure were brought to these houses to be cared for.

    By all accounts at first the houses were extremely simple affairs. The widows would serve as surrogate mothers for the children until they were old enough to seek employment and support themselves. But things became slightly more complicated after the Great Riot and Fire of Rome.

    The Emperor Tiberius and many of those in the military saw the houses not only as places where unwanted children could be raised but they saw those unwanted children as future leaders in a Christian Rome.

    By the time Tiberius died these Houses of Caligula were staffed not only with “mothers” but also with teachers and slaves. The houses, at first simple, evolved during Tiberius’ reign into large villas, some of them located outside the city where the children that were rescued would receive top-notch care and education.

    Many of those who left the homes once they were old enough immediately enlisted in the army. There they swore an oath of loyalty in “the name of God” that they would defend the Empire. Others would become teachers and lawyers in Rome or merchants. All of them were loyal both to their faith and to the Emperor.

    By the time Tiberius died these Houses of Caligula were spreading beyond Rome into the rest of the Empire. And with them also the Christian faith continued to spread its influence to all strata of society.
     
  20. America'sFuhrer New Member

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    This is a great timeline, I'm glad it is getting resurrected. I feel these houses will spread Christianity much faster than IOTL. How is Christianity spreading throughout the empire itself?
     
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