That must be the 100000th thread about a plausible Byzantine wank, but I NEED to ask this...

Okay, let's pretend that Justinian chose to not conquer the west for whatever reason that is (anti-barbarian sentiment, I don't know) and focus in the eastern border with Persia. The effects of the plague are less worse than OTL and the empire was able to survive the arabic conquests (but the Sassanids fall anyways).

The byzantines crush the attempts of an arabic conquest of Egypt and Syria because they're stronger and the Persians pay the price. In the future, is it possible for the empire to declare war against the arabs and conquer the rest of Mesopotamia, restoring the original Trajan borders? Maybe during a independent islamic revolt in Persia or something else that could break the Caliphate in several states like OTL. What are the challenges to be faced?
 
It's not impossible, though I wonder at the less damaging plague. Leaving the Vandals in North Africa is also risky, as while they were weak they were also irritating, but in being weak vulnerable to a more powerful conquest which would place all those resources in the hands of an opponent willing to properly attack the Romans. An 'ideal' Justinian conquest would still include North Africa and perhaps Southern Italy.

That aside, the Romans are always going to struggle to hold on to Mesopotamia, irrespective of Arab or Persian rule. It is wide open to invasion with no real natural borders, with powerful enemies to the south and east. To be sure, holding it even temporarily ensures that no one else can use it to invade further west, and it is a valuable territory. Whether the Romans can even hold Egypt and the Levant long term is uncertain, although I certainly would not suggest that it is at all 'inevitable' that they'd lose them.
 
An 'ideal' Justinian conquest would still include North Africa and perhaps Southern Italy
An ideal Justinian reconquest should involve giving Belisarius 20000 troops instead of 7-8k like IOTL, and this could be easily achieved by postponing Hagia Sophia. A quick reconquest of Italy would be a massive gain.
 
Okay, let's pretend that Justinian chose to not conquer the west for whatever reason that is (anti-barbarian sentiment, I don't know) and focus in the eastern border with Persia. The effects of the plague are less worse than OTL and the empire was able to survive the arabic conquests (but the Sassanids fall anyways).

The byzantines crush the attempts of an arabic conquest of Egypt and Syria because they're stronger and the Persians pay the price. In the future, is it possible for the empire to declare war against the arabs and conquer the rest of Mesopotamia, restoring the original Trajan borders? Maybe during a independent islamic revolt in Persia or something else that could break the Caliphate in several states like OTL. What are the challenges to be faced?
It's very unlikely with a world with Islam as in OTL for the Byzantines to survive as a christian state. Maybe it's because I've been talking to XFE too much but I feel like a Greek Muslim empire is the most likely for "Byzantine" expansion.
 
An ideal Justinian reconquest should involve giving Belisarius 20000 troops instead of 7-8k like IOTL, and this could be easily achieved by postponing Hagia Sophia. A quick reconquest of Italy would be a massive gain.
I wonder about that. I agree that the Romans could have pretty easily recaptured Italy with appropriate effort, but holding it seems to be asking for trouble. Northern Italy in particular is a very long way from the Roman heartland, and difficult to supply, with many potential enemies seeking to enter. Continuing to hold the Gothic kingdom in semi-vassalage prevents any regular expenditure of resources, while Southern Italy/Sicily are pretty secure and very wealthy. IMO the Roman Empire really did become too big by 400, not in and of itself but rather the rapidly increasing sophistication of regions beyond the Empire's borders inevitably meant that the level of effort to hold outlying territories would continue to rise. A more compact Empire that could prevent an Eastern breakthrough and which has a handle on the Western med seems more sustainable.
 
Honestly Greek Islam is a dope concept and I want to see more of it. Imagine how far forward technology would be today.
Should be but this board his heavily christian and they skew their pod to their religion, still would be interesting how could happened 674-678 and 713-717 both opens very interesting and different scenario each one
 
They can still turn West and have a more richer empire for doing so, OTL the conquest of Italy took so long because Justinian didn't support Balisarius, if Justinian did, it would've ended much earlier. The West, if it was properly rebuilt, could've expanded the manpower, granary, and overall wealth of the Empire, as well as improving their own prestige. The West, with a little work, would've well worth it's buck, and a bunch of forts all along Italy, much like how William built many forts in England, would've protected it from the Lombards. Though, this wouldn't be the best POD for his reign, a better one IMO, is Justin I adopting Khosrau, a peace with the Sassinids, a early conquest of Italy, and less severe Justinian Plague. Would lead to a eventual successful restoration of the Roman Empire, under Justinian's dynasty, though, of course, it wouldn't be a leisurely stroll, but it's a likely possibility.

I wonder about that. I agree that the Romans could have pretty easily recaptured Italy with appropriate effort, but holding it seems to be asking for trouble. Northern Italy in particular is a very long way from the Roman heartland, and difficult to supply, with many potential enemies seeking to enter. Continuing to hold the Gothic kingdom in semi-vassalage prevents any regular expenditure of resources, while Southern Italy/Sicily are pretty secure and very wealthy. IMO the Roman Empire really did become too big by 400, not in and of itself but rather the rapidly increasing sophistication of regions beyond the Empire's borders inevitably meant that the level of effort to hold outlying territories would continue to rise. A more compact Empire that could prevent an Eastern breakthrough and which has a handle on the Western med seems more sustainable.
Italy has always been a very prosperous place, the Romans only would've had to build it back up, with infrastructure and the likes, then it'd make it's money worth fairly easily, it could've also been able to build a series of forts to keep the Lombards and other such peoples out. Italy's only ever not been prosperous before and after the Western Roman Empire fell, but it quickly regained it's wealth during the Medieval Ages, it'd be a great jewel. More easily readable resources are always a great thing for a empire, Justinian's could certainly gain much from holding it, there's a reason it was the center of the Roman Empire for millennia.

Edit: grammar.
 
It's not impossible, though I wonder at the less damaging plague. Leaving the Vandals in North Africa is also risky, as while they were weak they were also irritating, but in being weak vulnerable to a more powerful conquest which would place all those resources in the hands of an opponent willing to properly attack the Romans. An 'ideal' Justinian conquest would still include North Africa and perhaps Southern Italy.

That aside, the Romans are always going to struggle to hold on to Mesopotamia, irrespective of Arab or Persian rule. It is wide open to invasion with no real natural borders, with powerful enemies to the south and east. To be sure, holding it even temporarily ensures that no one else can use it to invade further west, and it is a valuable territory. Whether the Romans can even hold Egypt and the Levant long term is uncertain, although I certainly would not suggest that it is at all 'inevitable' that they'd lose them.
isn't the Zagros Mountains a natural border? Assyrians and Babylonians have been using it as their borders for centuries. If the byzantines fortify the defenses of the provinces of Assyria and Babylonia, is there any possibility? And of course, more manpower for the Empire to deal with future enemies like the Seljuks.
(I'm pretending that the Byzantines stopped to persecute nestorians and miaphysitians...)

I don't think some arabian emirates in the arabian peninsula can be a threat for the empire.
 
So basically... these borders? Vandals defeated, a foothold in Italy, the common balkan borders and Trajan's frontier in the Zagros restored
awful_byzantine_wank_map.png
 
It's very unlikely with a world with Islam as in OTL for the Byzantines to survive as a christian state. Maybe it's because I've been talking to XFE too much but I feel like a Greek Muslim empire is the most likely for "Byzantine" expansion.
What do you base that on? If the initial Arab invasions are beaten then Islam will be discredited in the eyes of many and will either wither in Arabia as Roman influence drifts them toward Christianity, or will go into Persia semi-peacefully.
 
isn't the Zagros Mountains a natural border? Assyrians and Babylonians have been using it as their borders for centuries. If the byzantines fortify the defenses of the provinces of Assyria and Babylonia, is there any possibility? And of course, more manpower for the Empire to deal with future enemies like the Seljuks.
(I'm pretending that the Byzantines stopped to persecute nestorians and miaphysitians...)

I don't think some arabian emirates in the arabian peninsula can be a threat for the empire.
While your point is true, I'm not sure the Zagros are a good border for Rome.

There are plenty of policies based in either Persia or Mesopotamia that have been able to hold the other region. The mountains seem reasonably porous.

And if you're Rome, these reasonably porous borders are quite far away from the Mediterranean. Roman sea power can provide strong logistics and support to Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, etc, but shrivels up quickly once you're trying to march on Baghdad.

Any Persian based competitor state will inevitably try and take the region too. I suspect it's easier to make their logistics shrivel up as they march to the Mediterranean, where Rome is stronger.

The ideal if you can swing it is probably a bunch of Mesopotamian petty states in competition with one another. Rome can then defend them from a Persian power and play them off against another.

I wonder about that. I agree that the Romans could have pretty easily recaptured Italy with appropriate effort, but holding it seems to be asking for trouble. Northern Italy in particular is a very long way from the Roman heartland, and difficult to supply, with many potential enemies seeking to enter. Continuing to hold the Gothic kingdom in semi-vassalage prevents any regular expenditure of resources, while Southern Italy/Sicily are pretty secure and very wealthy. IMO the Roman Empire really did become too big by 400, not in and of itself but rather the rapidly increasing sophistication of regions beyond the Empire's borders inevitably meant that the level of effort to hold outlying territories would continue to rise. A more compact Empire that could prevent an Eastern breakthrough and which has a handle on the Western med seems more sustainable.
I find this argument quite convincing. It's basically an alternative to defending the northern Italian mountains and I'm not sure which is easier.

Southern Italy is closer to Constantinople, but I also feel any power that takes northern Italy would be able to sweep south quite easily. Alternatively, the north can be fortified and defended with quick application of Roman sea power.

Basically, I think an eastern Mediterranean focused Roman Empire can have very strong interior lines if its territory can be supported by sea power, which this Roman Empire needs to preserve.
 
While your point is true, I'm not sure the Zagros are a good border for Rome.

There are plenty of policies based in either Persia or Mesopotamia that have been able to hold the other region. The mountains seem reasonably porous.

And if you're Rome, these reasonably porous borders are quite far away from the Mediterranean. Roman sea power can provide strong logistics and support to Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, etc, but shrivels up quickly once you're trying to march on Baghdad.

Any Persian based competitor state will inevitably try and take the region too. I suspect it's easier to make their logistics shrivel up as they march to the Mediterranean, where Rome is stronger.

The ideal if you can swing it is probably a bunch of Mesopotamian petty states in competition with one another. Rome can then defend them from a Persian power and play them off against another.


I find this argument quite convincing. It's basically an alternative to defending the northern Italian mountains and I'm not sure which is easier.

Southern Italy is closer to Constantinople, but I also feel any power that takes northern Italy would be able to sweep south quite easily. Alternatively, the north can be fortified and defended with quick application of Roman sea power.

Basically, I think an eastern Mediterranean focused Roman Empire can have very strong interior lines if its territory can be supported by sea power, which this Roman Empire needs to preserve.
(Ignoring the fact that any other major persian power will try to take mesopotamia, and eventually they will take, until the romans conquer it back again)
About the logistics problem... Could the romans use the Tigris and the Euphrates to deal with the resources? They don't have proper roads or a great sea, but they have the Amazon River of Mesopotamia.

And I liked your argument about Southern Italy. In my point of view, any piece of land in Italy is asking for trouble. I have the same feel that eventually a northern great power could easily take it from the hands of the Byzantines, but at the same time I feel that once North Africa is secured as an important prosperous byzantine province again, the chances of a major threat are not that big and Magna Graecia stays under greek roman control.
 
I wonder about that. I agree that the Romans could have pretty easily recaptured Italy with appropriate effort, but holding it seems to be asking for trouble. Northern Italy in particular is a very long way from the Roman heartland, and difficult to supply, with many potential enemies seeking to enter. Continuing to hold the Gothic kingdom in semi-vassalage prevents any regular expenditure of resources, while Southern Italy/Sicily are pretty secure and very wealthy. IMO the Roman Empire really did become too big by 400, not in and of itself but rather the rapidly increasing sophistication of regions beyond the Empire's borders inevitably meant that the level of effort to hold outlying territories would continue to rise. A more compact Empire that could prevent an Eastern breakthrough and which has a handle on the Western med seems more sustainable.


Southern Italy is closer to Constantinople, but I also feel any power that takes northern Italy would be able to sweep south quite easily. Alternatively, the north can be fortified and defended with quick application of Roman sea power.

Basically, I think an eastern Mediterranean focused Roman Empire can have very strong interior lines if its territory can be supported by sea power, which this Roman Empire needs to preserve


liked your argument about Southern Italy. In my point of view, any piece of land in Italy is asking for trouble. I have the same feel that eventually a northern great power could easily take it from the hands of the Byzantines, but at the same time I feel that once North Africa is secured as an important prosperous byzantine province again, the chances of a major threat are not that big and Magna Graecia stays under greek roman control
Northeast Italy would connect Southern Italy with Dalmatia. In addition, the Venice lagoon, as we know, is extremely valuable. It would be a big naval base, it could very well replace Ravenna as the HQ of Exarchate of Italy. Those barbarians are not going to lay siege on Venice, they can't.
 
Northeast Italy would connect Southern Italy with Dalmatia. In addition, the Venice lagoon, as we know, is extremely valuable. It would be a big naval base, it could very well replace Ravenna as the HQ of Exarchate of Italy. Those barbarians are not going to lay siege on Venice, they can't.
And a Byzantine Italy means no Schism? Because historically, Rome always wanted to be “superior” compared to the other patriarchates... so maybe the schism could happen anyway.
 
Honestly Greek Islam is a dope concept and I want to see more of it. Imagine how far forward technology would be today.
Maybe a little more not at all or maybe even worse depends on how Greek Islam views on technology is and how it deals with the question to understand the world with faith or reason being the important question
 
And a Byzantine Italy means no Schism? Because historically, Rome always wanted to be “superior” compared to the other patriarchates... so maybe the schism could happen anyway.
The seeds of it predate the 7th century the Muslims just accelerated the divisions by cutting of the Mediterranean making the Byzantines go iconoclast and more
 
Maybe a little more not at all or maybe even worse depends on how Greek Islam views on technology is and how it deals with the question to understand the world with faith or reason being the important question
It would have to be a fair bit forward- would make the spice-starved Europeans more likely to resort to drastics and find the Americas because T H E S P I C E M U S T F L O W
 
It would have to be a fair bit forward- would make the spice-starved Europeans more likely to resort to drastics and find the Americas because T H E S P I C E M U S T F L O W
Depends, if Anything they might just trade with Muslims as trade with Ummayds and Abbasadis in OTL, too early too navigate around the globe, European ships don't have the range yet
 
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