The Amalingian Empire: The Story of the Gothic-Roman Empire

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by DanMcCollum, May 30, 2011.

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  1. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Before I begin, I feel I must explain a few things about myself and where this is all coming from. In order to do so, I have to travel back a good 11 or 12 years (please, bare with me!). It was roughly around that time that I, a High School student with a deep interest in history, and some rather odd ideas about life, discovered Soc.History.What-If. I spent the better part of my later High School and college years posting to that group, before eventually drifting away. I'd found work as a High School teacher, and found little time for posting and, after leaving that job, I found myself back in school working on my Master's degree.
    But all that same later. Back in 2000, I'd been a part of SHWI for the better part of a year or two, and had finally built up the nerve to try my very first multi-part WI. I entitled the work "For Want of a Son," and focused my attention on charting what would have happened in Theoderic the Great had had a son to carry on for him. In hindsight, it wasn't that great, but I was 18 or 19, and it was fun. I felt like I was playing with the big boys, if you would, and really enjoyed the chance to show that I knew a thing or two about history! It ended up being the longest thing i ever posted (save for a few contributions to Decades of Darkness a few years later, which the author gracefully let me submit0
    So, what does this have to do with anything? Well, a few months ago I rediscovered SHWI after a few years hiatus, and was distraught to see that it had faded to a shadow of its former self! That was until a few days ago when I discovered this group. It was life old times all over again!
    Furthermore, a few weeks back I had been telling my best friend, an avowed Byzantine fanatic, about For Want of a Son. While discussing it over a few beers, the thought came to me that maybe it was time to brush the old thing off and rewrite it. Certainly, I knew a great deal more about the Germanic peoples and later Antiquity than I did when I first wrote it. Ever since beginning work on my Masters degree, and especially my Thesis (an analysis of Wisconsin politics from the 1930s through the 1950s. I swear its more interesting that it sounds!), reading about the early Germanic people have been a side interest and a place to run when my eyes start bleeding from looking at election statistics. Although I still felt that the general outline of events seemed solid, it would be fun to go into more depth, get rid of some of the Deus Ex Machina, and just have fun with it.
    And so, here you have it, the revived "For Want of a Son" under the new title "The Amalingian Empire," because, lets face it, it just sounds cooler!
    So, what is the goal of this Timeline? Part of it, of course, is to follow the history of the Goths if they had had a direct male descendent of Theoderic. More to the point, if the son lived up to the potential of his Father and was able to hold the realm together and, possibly, expand it. But that is only one part. The second is to see what would happen if the Goths had really stuck it out and become permenant players in the European scheme of things. Timelines have been done before where the Goths reform the Western Roman Empire and are then culturally assimilated. This just strikes me as too ... easy.
    In this timeline, the Goths may be influenced by Roman Culture, and the Romans by Gothic Culture, but they remain seperate groups. This may seem unlikely to some, but I'd point to the history of the Anglo-Saxons who managed to maintain their cultural identity despite a large Briton population under them (there are differences of course and, yes, I plan to deal with them!).
    One final thing, and them I'll post the true introduction. Does anyone know a good source for maps, and the best way to edit them. I would love to produce maps to illistrate the events of this Timeline, something I was never able to do with the original. I'd appreciate any helpI could get!
    With that said ...
     
  2. Threadmarks: Introduction

    DanMcCollum P-WI

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    The Introduction

    The Life of Theodemir the Great
    Wulfila Strabo [FN1]
    Trans. Athelrad Edwardson
    London: National University of England Publishing, 1964
    Introduction
    Having once made up my mind to set to parchment the life of my patron and friend, Theodemir the Great, King of the Goths and Emperor of Rome, it became my desire to be as faithful to the man as possible. In the years since his death, a great many legends and myths have emerged, and they do a great disservice to the man. For, that is what he was, and remained through his life. A great man, the greatest since Caesar, I have no doubt, and one of great faith in our heavenly Father, but a man all the same. And so, it shall set down the stories as he told me, as I witnessed, and as I have been told by those who knew him well. In doing so, I do not aspire to reach the levels of eloquence set by the great fathers of literature, for I am but a simple servant and have no desire to promote the name of Wulfila, but only to glorify Theodemir. I pray to God that I am capable of this task, and that no lies, intentional or not, shall fall from my pen.
    I am sure that there are many men of leisure and learning who feel that the history of this present age should not be neglected and that the many events which are happening in our own lifetime should not be held unworthy of record and be permitted to sink into silence and oblivion. On the contrary, these men are so filled with a desire for immortality that they prefer, I know, to set out the noble deeds of their contemporaries in writing which may well have no great merit, rather than permit their own name and reputation to disappear from the memory of future generations by writing nothing at all. However, that may be, I have decided that I myself should not refuse to write a book of this kind, for I am very conscious of the fact that no one can describe these events more accurately than I, for I was present when they took place and, as they say, I saw them with my own eyes. What is more, I cannot be absolutely sure that these happenings will in fact ever be described by anyone else. I have there decided that it would be better to record these events myself for the information of posterity, even though there is a chance that they may be repeated in other histories, rather than allow the extraordinary life of this more remarkable emperor, the greatest man of all of those living in his own period, to sink into the shades of oblivion, together with his outstanding achievements, which can scarcely be matched by modern man.
    Another reason had occurred to me and this, I think, not an irrational one. Even by itself it would have been sufficient to compel me to write what follows. I mean the care which Theodemir took in my upbringing, and the friendly relations which I enjoyed with him and his children from the moment when I first egan to live at his court. By this friendship he found me to him and made me his debtor both in life and death. I should indeed seem ungrateful, and rightly could be condemned as such, if I so far forgot the benefits he conferred upon me as to pass over in silence the outstanding and most remarkable deeds of a man who was kind to me, suffering him to remain unchronicled and unpraised, just as if he had never lived.
    My own meager talent, small and insignificant, nonexistent almost, is no equal to writing this life and setting it out in full. What was needed was the literary skill of a Cicero. But, in his wisdom, God has seen fit to give his servant few of the skills needed for this task. As they say, the lord builds great things from dull tools. I pray, again, that my own meager talents shall be enough to do him justice in my assigned task.
    Here then you have a book which perpetuates the memory of the greatest and most distinguished of men. There is nothing to marvel at in it beyond Theodemir’s own deeds, except perhaps the fact that I, not a Roman by birth and a man but little versed in the tongue of the Romans, should have imagined that I could compose anything acceptable and suitable in the style of the Latin histories, and that I should have pushed my impudence so far as to scorn the advice given by Cicero in Book I of the Tusculanae Dispurariones. Speaking about Latin authors, he says that, as you can read for yourself: “For a man to commit his thoughts to writing when he can neither arrange them nor bring any new light to bear upon them, and, indeed, when he has no attraction whatsoever to offer to his reader, is a senseless waste of time, and of paper too.” This distinguished orator’s advice would certainly have deterred me from writing had I not made up m mind to risk being condemned by other men and endanger my own small reputation by setting these matters down, rather than preserve my reputation at the expense of the memory of so famous a man. [FN2]
    Book I: The Early Amalings
    The Amalings, of whom the Goths have long been accustomed to choosing their kings, descended from a great man who earned the name Amala, which means the mighty. It was from the children of Amala that the Gothic people have reached their greatness in power. Following the death of the great Ermanerick, the Goths broke into two. The East Goths, who remained loyal to the Amalings, fell under the sway of the Huns, while the West Goths fled from the plains of their home under the Baltilings and come into the land of the Romans.
    After the death of Attila the Great, and the collapse of the Huns, the Goths under the Amalings continued to prosper on the European plains, beyond the borders of the Romans. It was during this time that Theoderic came to power after the death of his father, Theodemir the First. After nearly twenty years of rule, Theoderic invaded Italy at the request of Zeno, the Roman Emperor of the East. Italy had fallen under the sway of the wicked and vile Odoacer.
    Theoderic led the Goths into Italy and quickly subdued the land, agreeing to hold it for the Emperor Zeno. Shortly after, Theoderic married the Queen Audofleda, sister to Clovis of the Franks. It is told that Audofleda had been a pagan before her marriage, but due to his great piety, Theoderic convinced her to see the light of the true faith, and she accepted God and his Son into her life. Because of their faith, God granted Theoderic and Audofleda’s wish, and the queen soon bore the king two children; first Amalsuntha, who deeds and end will be recounted later, and Theodemir who was born 496 years after the birth of our savior, or the year 1249 according to the founding of Rome. Theoderic had an heir, and the people rejoiced.

    [FN1] Wulfila the Squinter. Not to be confused with Wulfila the Great, the Arian who converted the Goths to Christianity. Although named after him, they are two very different people.

    [FN2] Much of the text of the introduction is taken directly from Einhard's Life of Charlemagne (as translated by Lewis Thorpe), with a few noticable, and important differences.
     
  3. MNP Dark Souls 3!

    Joined:
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    Central North America
    Hello, welcome to AH.Com.

    I understand what you mean about looking back and starting over after learning more about the topic. We have a few "2.0" type timelines here.

    If you are looking for maps, you might want to try the blank map thread. The simplest way to edit maps is simply to find a blank map then use MSPaint (or if you are feeling more adventurous, GIMP or Paint.net) to edit the maps to whatever you like. Then you can either use an image hosting service or upload them directly to the forum if it meets the space requirements. If you have something like say, photoshop and you feel like making a more fancy map there are some people who make more complex maps.

    In terms of your first post and in regards to formatting I would urge you to put blank lines between your paragraphs to make for easier reading. We have a lot of space, so no need to economize. Otherwise I look forward to reading what you have to say. We don't get a lot of dark ages timelines and as someone who is writing a TL that began in 750, I know it can be hard to find sources.

    So best of luck!
     
    Admiral Matt likes this.
  4. Basileus Giorgios Augustus and Autocrat

    Joined:
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    Location:
    West Riding
    This looks a great start, though I urge you to follow MNP's advice and space out your paragraphs, which makes things a great deal easier.

    If you're going to write the book in the style of a first hand history, I urge you to use the Anni Mundi system, as used by contemporary East Roman historians. In this world, I'd imagine the Italo-Goths would pick it up too. As an example of Anno Mundi dating, Theophanes the Confessor calls our year 595 6095. Theophanes here is deliberately confusing AD and Anno Mundi to make life easier, for he is in fact seven years out. But, for your purposes, if you wish to use Anno Mundi, September 500-August 501 is AM5993. The Anno Mundi calendar begins on September 1st, as the Emperor Augustus was born in September, and I would guess the Italo-Goths will continue to have a system of starting their years there.

    Another quick one on contemporary chronology- they'll talk about indictions too, a way of describing years based on the system of land taxation set up by the Emperor Diocletian. Indictions took place on a fifteen year cycle, and can be calculated quite easily on a scientific calculator using the formula I show below for the year x to calculate indiction y.

    (x mod 15) = y

    To put this into practise with a real year, here 500, it is...

    (5993 mod 15) = 8

    Anyway, enough of this mumbo jumbo, good luck with the TL. I'll be interested to see how the Gothic King gets away with calling himself Caesar- is this the ceremonial title of Caesar given to him by Constantinople, or is he genuinely a Caesar in his own right? Interesting times ahead...
     
    Admiral Matt likes this.
  5. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Thanks a great deal for pointing me in the direction of the blank maps thread, it will be very useful. As for the formatting, i simply cut and pasted out of word, and looking at it now, I do see the headache the spacing must cause. I'll be use to fix that up in my next update. Thanks a great deal!

    Dan.

    P.S. Since I have been away from SHWI for some time, I wonder who else has made the transfer. I wonder if President Chester A. Arthur makes these rounds, Doug Muir, or Jussi. In any case, thanks for the welcome, and I hope you enjoy what follows!
     
  6. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Thanks for the imput! I, unfortunately, went by the wikipedia page for Roman dating. I figured, by the year 500 + the modern Christian calander wouldn't be well accepted yet. Unfortunately, it seems that i got the dating wrong! I'll have to fix them up from here on out.
    And, as to Constantinople, I fear the Eastern Empire may have some problems coming their way soon. Nothing too serious, all in all, but enough to keep their attention elsewheres ...
     
  7. Threadmarks: Chapter 1: A Portrait of a King as a Young Man

    DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Chapter 1: a Portrait of a King as a Young Man

    Chapter 1: A Portrait of a King as a Young Man Part 1
    The Glory of Emaneric’s Heirs: the Lectures of Dr. Valamir Fralet
    Trans. Edwin Smith
    Bern [OTL: Verona, Italy]: Skipmann and Sons Publishing, 1997

    The Gothic state throughout the early life of Theodemir the Great was a hodge-podge. Theodemir’s father, Theodoric, was determined to settle his long-wandering people within the confines of the Italian peninsula and to provide for them a homeland. In order to accomplish this goal, the Gothic king was concerned not only with the physical settlement of his people but also with their transition into settled life, and the possible corrupting influence of Roman culture upon the Goths.

    Theodoric’s dream was of two peoples sharing a single kingdom, remaining side-by-side, but unique and separate. A realist, Theodoric understood that contact with the Romans in Italy would invariable change the Gothic people, but he felt that as king it was his duty to act as a steward, moderating these changes as much as possible, allowing for the Gothic adoption of the best aspects of classic culture while maintain their own cultural integrity. In order to accomplish these goals, Theodoric passed edicts forbidding Goths to study at Roman schools, maintained the legal separation between the Roman and Gothic peoples. He also strove to secure the position of the Goths in Italy, creating a vast network of alliances, based on marriage, with the Germanic kingdoms of Thuringia, Frankreik, Vandalia and the Visigoths of Hispania.

    The birth of Theodemir in 496 played an important part in Theodoric’s plans. The Gothic King, just three years into the Ostrogothic settlement in Italy, had produced a male heir. His birth was immediately seen as a god-given blessing by the royal court, and amongst most of the Goths and Romans in Italy, as it stabilized the succession. Perhaps most importantly, Theodemir combined in himself the bloodlines of the Amalings and the Merovingians, as his mother, Theodoric’s second wife, was the sister of Clovis I, King of the Franks.

    Theodoric moved, over the next several years, to strengthen the alliance system that he had created. By 494 the King had already married his daughter, Theodegotha to Alaric II, King of the Visigoths, and Ostrogotha to King Sigismund of the Burgundians. In addition, he formed a marriage alliance with the Vandals by marrying his sister, Amalfrida to King Thrasamund. Finally, in a coup-de-grace, Theoderic arranged the marriage of his daughter Amalsuntha to Eutharic, a Visigoth nobleman of the Amaling line, and Theodemir to Amalafrida, a Visigoth princess of the ruling Balti line. In doing so, Theodoric moved to secure his dynasty’s claim on the Visigothic throne.



    One of Theodoric’s chief aims was securing the succession of his son to the throne. Due to the composite nature of his kingdom, this simple task would take a great deal of diplomatic maneuvering. The Gothic King’s first concern was gaining the support of the Emperor in Constantinople, whom Theodoric still served as a vassal. In order to do this, Theodoric raised Theodemir to the rank of Consol in 512, shortly after the victory of Vouille which he shared with the Emperor Justin. This position gave the young man, only 23 at the time, a great deal of exposure amongst the Roman population of Italy. Furthermore, although the role was chiefly ceremonial, Theodoric used it as an excuse to give administrative duties to his son, readying the man to eventually serve as King. [FN1]

    The support of the Emperor was crucial, but Theodemir would never be able to serve as a viable king of the Ostrogoths if he was unable to win the loyalty of his own people, as well as the support of the Roman people. Theodoric had always been a supporter of providing his children with a Roman education, even while he denied this same right to his own followers. When it came to the education of his son, however, he was struck with a problem. Although the Gothic nobility was unlikely to harbor many concerns about the Roman education of a princess, they proved much more nervous about that same education being provided to a young man who would eventually serve them as king. However, the Romans were unlikely to accept the rule of a man who they viewed as an uncultured barbarian. Theodeoric’s own time as a hostage in Constantinople had give him a deep appreciation for Roman law, education and customs, and this had made his rule over Italy acceptable to many Romans. This was a benefit that Theodemir would not possess. Therefore, it was imperative that Theodemir received a Roman education, while still remaining independent enough of Roman tradition to win the support of the Gothic nobility. This would prove to be a struggle, to appeal to both the Roman and Gothic peoples of his realm, which would consume Theodemir for much of his life, and would eventually influence many of the greatest reforms of his reign. [FN2]

    However, all of these concerns would have to be put aside in 511, when Clovis, King of the Franks and one of the greatest rivals to the Amalings in Europe, invaded the Visigothic kingdom …

    The Life of Theodemir the Great
    Wulfila Strabo
    Trans. Athelrad Edwardson
    London: National University of England Publishing, 1964
    Chapter 2 The Early Life of Theodemir the Great


    Clovis had long desired to bring all of the lands of Gaul together under his own rule, but had been stopped from doing so by the strong bonds of friendship between Alaric and Theodoric King. In the 36th year of Theodoric’s reign [507 CE], he and Alaric celebrated the betrothal of Theodemir to Alaric’s niece Amalafrida. However, as often happens between men of valor and glory, jealousy can rear its head, and so it did between those two princes of men. Three years after the two kings came together to betroth their own relation, they began to feud in a petty manner than was beneath them! [FN3]

    Clovis, a heretic and bandit, saw the weakness between the two kings and decided to exploit it, as a lesser man often will strike at the righteous in their lowest moments. He gathered his Reiks [translator note: literally, ‘Prince’. Came to be used in Early Gothic to denote a rank of nobility roughly equal to Earl] and, in the spring of the 40th year of Theodoric’s reign [511 CE] he proceeded south to harry the Western Goths and drive them from their land.

    He might have succeeded, had Theodemir not seen the injustice about to be down to his brother-in-law and the West Goths. While Theodoric’s heart had been hardened to Alaric, Theodemir’s had not, and he begged his Father for the chance to show his worth and win glory in a righteous cause. Theodemir was then in his 15th year and greatly wished to take to the field of battle to increase his own renown. His pleas eventually found his Father’s favor, and Theodoric King agreed to send his son, with an army, to aid Alaric in battle.

    The armies of the Goths met the army of the Franks at Vouille and there utterly defeated them. Theodemir valiantly tricked Clovis by rushing his army into battle, feigning youthful valor and foolishness, and then retreating after the counter-attack. This caused the Franks to break rank and pursue their opponents, losing all order, before being attacked by Alaric’s men who had laid in wait.

    In the attack, the Franks were defeated utterly and Clovis himself was captured by Theodemir. At first, Theodemir had planned on sparing the Frankish King, who was also his uncle, despite the craven way he had attacked Alaric and the West Goths. But then he received word that Alaric himself had fallen in combat, killed bravely while leading a charge to blunt a Frankish attack. Enraged, Theodemir beheaded Clovis. This act enraged Audofleda, Theodemir’s mother and Clovis’ sister, and afterwards a great rift opened between Mother and Son. Theodemir would later claim that killing Clovis was his greatest regret, as so much blood sprang from that one man’s death.

    [FN1] There is historical precedence for this action. In 519, Theodoric did just this for Eutharic, his daughter Amalsuntha’s husband, in an effort to establish that man as his heir apparent. In this timeline, it only makes sense for him to do the same for his son in order to boost his legitimacy in the eyes of the Roman people.

    [FN2] In OTL the education of an heir was of great importance to the Gothic nobility. In the years following Theodoric’s death the Roman education given to his grandson Athalric, by his mother Amalsuntha, was nearly the cause of a revolt and one of the reasons that his Mother remained so bitterly unpopular. As Theodemir is even more likely to take the throne, his education is of equal importance. Theodoric, as a strong figure, is not going to be challenged, but in later life it will be Theodemir’s duty to somehow show enough appreciation for Roman customs and culture to gain their loyalty, without alienating the Gothic nobility.

    [FN3] Amalfrida is a character born post POD, as she is two years younger than Theodemir. Although she is often referred to as Alaric’s ‘niece’ she was, in fact, his daughter sired outside of his marriage.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    One of the problems with telling any story is the need to get through the introduction. I apologize for this post being slightly bland (although you will notice that one important butterfly has emerged already as a result of Theodemir's birth!), but I felt its important of establishing the background of this TL. The next post will wrap up the early life of Theodemir and set him firmly upon the Gothic throne. And from that point onward, things should get very interesting indeed!
    As always, comments and critques are always welcome!
     
  8. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    New update will follow tomorrow or the day after that. It should finish up the early days of Theodemir and i'll flesh out his personality along the way. Hope you all agree!
     
  9. Threadmarks: Chapter 2: Portrait of a King as a Young Man Part 2

    DanMcCollum P-WI

    Joined:
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    Chapter 2: Portrait of a King as a Young Man Part 2

    Chapter 2: Portrait of a King as a Young Man part 2
    The Glory of Emaneric’s Heirs: the Lectures of Dr. Valamir Fralet
    Trans. Edwin Smith
    Bern [OTL: Verona, Italy]: Skipmann and Sons Publishing, 1997



    Theodemir’s bravery on the fields of Vouille had saved the Visigoths from Frankish aggression, but at a terrible price. Alaric II was dead and his son, Theodoric’s grandson, Amalaric was still a minor. The Visigoths were in disarray and unable to follow through their victory by invading the Frankish lands of northern Gaul. Rather, they returned home where the nobles met to elect a new king, Alaric’s bastard son Gesalec.

    Meanwhile, the Franks were in even greater turmoil. With Clovis dead at Theodemir’s hand, the surviving sons of the Frankish king were forced to settle for themselves the division of the Kingdom between them. Chlodomer was dead, along with his father at Vouille, this left Childebert I to take all of the lands from modern day Brittany, east, to the lands surrounding Paris, as well as Orleans. Theudoric was given the region of Metz, and Chlotair received the region of Soissons.

    The death of Clovis caused repercussions, however, even within the Ostrogothic court. Although Theodoric was initially enraged by his son’s actions, relations between the father and son were quickly mended. Theodomir was his father’s only heir, and had won admiration within the Gothic court for his bravery in battle; it would make little sense for the Father to remain alienated from his son. Furthermore, the death of Clovis and the division of the Frankish kingdom into three had removed much of the pressure along the northern border of the Ostrogthic kingdom.

    The division between Theodemir and his mother, however, would never fully heal. Audofleda would blame her son for Clovis, her brother’s, death for years to come. Although they would eventually reconcile, their relationship would remain strained throughout the remainder of her life. This would continue to cause Theodemir much grief, even in his later years, and would help spark the first great crisis of his own reign.

    Before moving forward, however, it might be useful to take some time in order to examine the young man who had managed to so greatly unsettle the political stability of Western Europe in a single battle. Up until this time, we have talked about Theodemir only as one might a chess piece in a long drawn out game. I feel that this is a flaw inherent to the field of History itself; it becomes so much easier to discuss the actions of a man or nation when they are divorced from their humanity. In other words, we historians occasionally forget that the people we are dealing with were once living, breathing human beings with dreams, loves, envies and faults, just like everyone in this room currently. We do a great disservice to men like Theodemir when we fail to take their humanity into account.

    There are two histories of the life of Theodemir the Great. The first was written by Wulfila the Stammerer, and the second by Sigmund the Burgundian. Of these, Wulila’s work is, by far, the most lauding, which is what one would expect from an author who was taken in by Theodemir and acted as one of his closest associates. Sigmund’s work is much more critical of the Emperor, which is hardly surprising considering Theodemir’s role in the conquest of Burgundy. However, and for this we can feel truly blessed by the patron saint of Historians, both of the works are, above all, honest. Both Wulila and Sigmund try to stay as close to the facts as they can, and point out their own biases when it is important. Between the two of them, a very clear picture of Theodemir the Great develops.

    Physically, we know, Theodemir differs somewhat from modern romantic depictions of him. We do know that he, like most other Goths, foreswore Roman fashions in his dress. Much like his father before him, he was known for a mane of thick, long hair. Contemporary depictions often describe him having either blond or red hair, as well as a long flowing mustache, although he appears to have gone beardless for much of his life. Unlike his appearance in modern works, however, Theodemir was not the six-foot tall warrior of legend. In fact, he appears to have been of medium-to-short in height, even for the era.

    Whereas legends, and popular fiction often portray Theodemir as a great military genius, the historical record does not back up this view. Although his victories against internal foes, the Franks, Burgundians and, later, the Byzantines were certainly great victories, Theodemir seems to have shown the keen political sense to exploit his foes weaknesses, rather than to dominate them through simple force of arms. The Franks, following the rapid expansion of Clovis, had become too spread out, and their collapse was imminent in any case. Likewise, the political and military turmoil faced by the Byzantine Empire after the death of Justin I made it difficult for them to ever bring their full weight to bear upon the Goths. In fact, the true genius of Theodemir lies in his administrative ability and skills in diplomacy. It was these skills which allowed him to restructure the Kingdom of Italy and the Goths and build the foundations of the future Gothic state. And, even here, he was not infallible, as the several revolts which occurred under his reign attest.

    Personality wise, Theodemir was known as a dynamic figure. Ever since he was a young man, he was forced to walk the very thin line between his Roman and Gothic subjects. Although the Goths, of all of the Germanic tribes, were one of the most culturally influenced by the Romans, they still strove to maintain their own cultural traditions and group cohesion. As a result, as a young man, Theodemir found himself in a very difficult position. As a rule, although he was openly appreciative of aspects of Roman culture, and saw himself as a champion of Roman institutions, he continued to associate more with the Gothic traditions of his past. This conflict between ruling two such different people, and attempting to maintain both a political unity, but cultural independence, remained one of the biggest pressing concerns of Theodemir’s reign, and his unique solutions to these problems were groundbreaking. Despite his drastic reorganization of the state, he always maintained that he remained a staunch supporter of his father’s dreams of Goths and Romans living side by side.

    The future Emperor was usually considered to be a judicious figure, and a paradigm of virtue. Several contemporary reports have compared him to the figure of King Solomon, likely because of the fairness of his courtly decisions, as well as his sponsoring the compiling of the Codex Theodemir. However, he was also given to periods of deep moodiness which some historians have posthumously diagnosed as depression. Furthermore, much like his father before him, Theodemir was capable of acts of severe brutality while under the strain of great events, as well as great forgiveness, as exemplified by the eventual fates of his Mother, sister and nephew.


    Theodoric and Theodemir officially reconciled On Christmas Day of 512. Throughout the remainder of his life, Theodoric began to rely more and more heavily upon his son. In 515, Gesalec, King of the Visigoths and the illegitimate son of Alaric II was overthrown in a coup, and fled to Vandalia. The nobles of the Visigoths quickly convened and raised Alaric’s son Amalaric to the throne. However, since Amalaric had not yet reached his majority, Theodoric was chosen to act as the regent for his young grandson. Theodoric wasted no time, and named Theodemir his representative amongst the Visigoths, giving his son a great deal of administrative experience, as well as giving him the opportunity to forge important ties amongst the nobility of the Visigoths. [FN1]

    As Theodoric’s main representative in Hispania and Southern Gaul, Theodemir’s first duty was to engage the deposed Gesalec, who had fled to gain support amongst the Vandals. In 514, the two met in battle near the city of Cordoba, and Gesalec was slain in the conflict. For the remainder of his time in Hispania, Theodemir ruled the land as near-king, with the tactic support of his father and the local nobility, collecting taxes, fielding armies against incursions by Franks, and maintaining local laws. He remained in close contact with his father in Italy, however, and even lent him his support in the elder Amali’s war in alliance with Sigismund of Burgundy in 522. [FN2]

    The result was that Theodemir not only possessed experience in ruling, but had built up a large support base amongst the nobility of both the Visigoths and Ostrogoths by the time his father passed away in 526. Upon hearing word of his Father’s death, he quickly set sail for Ravenna where he was raised on the shield by the Gothic military and proclaimed king in Rome. However, the transition from Theodoric to Theodemir would soon run into problems, and Theodemir would quickly face the first great crisis of his reign.

    [FN1] There has been long been rumors that Theodoric may have been behind the coup, as part of his long running policy of bringing together the Visigothic and Ostrogothic kingdoms under the Amali line

    [FN2] This conflict occurred much as in it did in OTL. In 512, Sigismund, King of Burgundy, strangled his own son, Theodoric’s grandson, after the young man insulted his father’s new wife. He was overcome with guilt over the entire experience and, after he was attacked in 522 by Clovis’s sons, he went to Theodoric for help who was, understandable, a bit less than willing. After he was killed, his brother, Godomar rallied the Burgundians and was able to hold the throne for ten years. In this timeline, Theodoric and Theodemir came to Burgundy’s defense a bit sooner and, as a result, they fielded a small army to help Godomar who is now somewhat indebted to them for his throne.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    All right, now that Theodemir has taken the throne, the background of this tl is officially done with and we can get down to the real work. One important note that I have didn't get a chance to put into a footnote. The Amalaric of this TL and one of his cousins share a name with OTL counterparts. However, they were born far after the POD. I gave the same names to figures who would fulfil similiar roles in this tl simply to avoid confusion. This should be the only time this occures in the TL.

    Once again, thank you all for reading, and all of your questions or feedback and totally welcome!

    Dan
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  10. Sapiento Well-Known Member

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    Salzburg, Austria
    This is a truly excellent time line! Bravo!
    Do you already have some pictures or maps?
     
  11. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Not yet. Once I get through the next post, I plan on producing a map that shows the general outline of Western Europe. For the time being, its pretty consistent with Europe during the early reign of Theodoric. The Franks were not able to take Aquataine, notr have they had as much luck against the Burgundians. The only large difference at the beginning of the reign of Theodemir is the division of Frankland between the three surviving sons of Clovis.
    All of this will start changing shortly.
     
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  12. Mongo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    I also used to frequent ASWI back in the day, and one of my favourite stories in that newsgroup was indeed "For Want of a Son".

    I am greatly looking forward to reading this new, improved, version of that timeline.
     
  13. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Oh crap, you know where this is going! Shhhhh, don't tell anyone! :cool:

    In all honesty, I'm rather chocked you remember "For Want of a Son" from back in the day. This new TL will definitely have a distinct resemblence to its distinguished ancestor, but there will be some noticable differences as well (including, for instance, I have a very definite end in mind that I will reach this time around). Although, I think, the general trajectory will be similar, I hope this one will be more detailed a bit more realistic.
     
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  14. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    And of course, cement Gothic supremacy in the legal code.

    This is interesting, and I too look forward to seeing how this goes, having enjoyed For Want of a Son back in the day.
     
  15. DanMcCollum P-WI

    Joined:
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    Well, all of the section you quoted was taken from OTL. Theodoric's vision of Italy was to have the Goths and Romans living side-by-side, as part of the same kingdom, but still as two seperate and distinct peoples. One of his greatest concerns was that the Goths, especially the upperclass, would be seduced by Roman culture to the point of no longer identifying as Goths. He saw himself, in the role of king, as the man best able to dictate what parts of Roman culture would be accepted by his people, and which wouldn't. At the same time, he understood the importance of maintaining the forms of Roman government and not alienating the Roman people by creating a situation where the Goths became overlords.
    This would be a very difficult program to carry out in the long term, naturally. In the ATL, Theodemir realises this, especially after some of the events of his early reign, and takes steps to protect the sanctity of both groups, Goths and Romans. If you've read For Want of a Son back in the day, you may recall what these reforms were. In TTL the decisions are fairly similar, but more nuanced. Also, there are going to be some unforeseen concequences to some of Theodemir's actions (I do see the resulting Empire being dominated by the Goths more and more as time progresses, for instance. A fact which is going to cause some very real problems down the line.)
    Finally, I have to say that I'm downright shocked how many people seem to remember "For Want of a Son." It was a timeline that I was always particularly fond of back in the day (it certainly stuck with me, after all!) but I never considered it to be one of the top-tier multi-part timelines from back in the day; that would have to be For All Time, Lest Anarchy Fall, Submission and so forth. Its cool to see that it stuck with folks, and I hope that the new version is even better!
     
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  16. Threadmarks: Chapter 3: It’s a Family Affair

    DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Chapter 3: It’s a Family Affair

    Chapter 3: It’s a Family Affair
    The Glory of Emaneric’s Heirs: the Lectures of Dr. Valamir Fralet
    Trans. Edwin Smith
    Bern [OTL: Verona, Italy]: Skipmann and Sons Publishing, 1997
    Lecture 2: The Reign of Theodemir the Great

    At the time of his Theodoric’s death in the autumn of 526, Theodemir was in Toulouse, serving as his father’s representative to the Visigothic courtAccording to accounts, a rider had been dispatched from Ravenna within hours of the Ostrogothic king’s death, and made the 690 mile trek to Toulouse in five days time.

    Theodemir understood that time was of the essence. Although he was widely considered to be the Theodoric’s natural heir, a power vacuum would exist in the capital until he could arrive, and that gave plenty of time for rival claimants to attempt to assert their power in his absence. The next day, Theodemir hastily assembled a traveling party and set out from the Visigothic capital to the city of Arles, on the border between the two gothic kingdoms. Once there, he mustered his supporters with the local military garrison, and marched on Ravenna, determined to reach the city within two weeks.

    He need not have worried. Upon arriving at Ravenna in later Mid-October, he found the city gates opened for him. He made a grand procession as he marched to the center of the city where the city garrison quickly raised him on the shield, and pronounced him King of the Ostrogoths. A delegate from the Roman Senate, who had ridden to Ravenna upon hearing of Theodoric’s death, announced the Senate’s acceptance of Theodemir as King of Italy. Although word would not arrive from Constantinople until the resumption of the sailing season, Theodemir must have felt assured that his hold upon his father’s throne was secure. He would quickly be proven wrong.

    There were three major forces which resisted the rise of Theodemir’s rule over the Ostrogoths. The first was Audofleda, Theodoric’s widow and Theodemir’s mother. Audofleda had never forgiven her son for his killing of her brother, Clovis, king of the Franks. The eventual reconciliation between his husband and son isolated her influence within the court, and spawned a desire for vengeance.

    Second, was Theodemir’s sister Amalasuntha. A year older than her younger brother, Amalasuntha had given birth to a son, Athalaric in 516, with her husband Eutharic. Amalasuntha possessed a deep love of Roman culture and learning, all of which she attempted to pass on to her son, and was suspected of secretly being Orthodox. Amalasunthra was a favorite of the roman elements of Theodoric’s court, and had expressed her strong devotion to the cultural heritage of the Romans, and her desire for closer connections to the imperial power in Constantinople. [FN1]

    Finally, the policies of Theodoric towards the end of his life had created a small but dedicated faction opposed to his rule. The execution of Boethius only a year before in 525 had greatly insulted many Roman aristocrats and Orthodox Christians. Rumors had begun to spread through Rome that same year that Theodoric planned to renounce his policy of religious freedom and begin a major persecution of the Orthodox Church in response to the Emperor Justin’s persecution of Arians in the Eastern Empire. Theodemir had been largely absent from Rome for much of the past decade, helping to rule the Visigothic kingdom for his cousin Amalaric. This meant that, despite his roman education, and experiences in Aquitaine, he was largely an unknown entity to many of the Roman aristocrats in Italy. [FN2]

    Within months of his ascension to the throne, these three forces would combine in an effort to topple Theodemir and place Amalaric on the throne in his stead.

    The Life of Theodemir the Great
    Wulfila Strabo
    Trans. Athelrad Edwardson
    London: National University of England Publishing, 1964

    Chapter 3: The Early Reign of Theodemir

    Audofleda had never forgiven her son for the death of Clovis, her brother. She nursed her anger while her husband still lived, but with the death of Theodoric, she could no longer control her hatred for her own flesh, and decided to do the unthinkable. One night she came to her daughter, Amalasuntha, and spoke to her of treason. Together they hatched a plan to place Athalaric on the throne.

    Theodemir caught wind of their plans and sought to place all three under house arrest in the palace. But, a guard of the palace who was sympathetic to their designs, passed word onto the conspirators, and they escaped from the palace one night in the height of winter. The next morning, Theodemir was notified of his mother, sister and nephew’s escape and sent a party to capture them, but it was too late. They had with them a guide who led them off the main roads, and into the hands of those sympathetic to their quest.

    The conspirators made their way to Rome where a small cadre of traitorous Senators met to declare Athalaric king of Italy. These Senators then moved to secure their control of the city of Rome, greatly oppressing the wise citizens of that city who remained loyal to Theodemir, the true king. Since Athalaric was but ten years of age, and a minor, the rebels decreed that Amalasuntha should act as his regent. To increase her power, she married a Roman noble by the name of Boniface. The rebels quickly dispatched messengers to all corners of Italy to draw their supporters to Rome, so that they might march on Ravenna once the winter had ended. They even sent a courier to Constantinople to obtain the blessing of Emperor Justin, but he refused them. [FN3]

    Theodemir spent the winter drawing those forces loyal to him together. It grieved him to see his own mother and sister turn against him, but he knew that he would be forced to destroy all opposition to his rule if he was to maintain Gothic strength in Italy. During this time, he made many trips to the Basilica of Christ the Redeemer and prayed for guidance on how to proceed. By the beginning of May, he had drawn together his army and marched South to meet the rebels in battle.

    The two forced met near the city of Perugia, where once rebels against Augustus had found refuge, and Theodemir quickly chased his enemies from the field of battle. They retreated to Rome, with the King following behind them. Now Theodemir found himself vexed. He had no desire to subject Rome to a length siege or sack, because he feared it would drive others into the hands of the rebels, but he could see little other choice. However, God was with him, for upon seeing his army reaching the city walls, the citizens of Rome, who had been oppressed for months by the rebels, threw open the gates and delivered Amalasuntha, the rebel ‘king’ Amalaric, and Audofleda to the King.

    Seeing this as a sign, Theodemir decided to show mercy upon the city, and many of the rebels. He promised to spare any of the rebels who would swear a personal oath of loyalty to himself and donate land or money to his kingship. Most responded readily to this, seeing that Theodemir was not the brutal warlord his enemies had made him out to be, but was, rather, a gracious and kind lord. Some refused however, perhaps because they were wicked at heart, or doubted Theodemir’s word. These unfortunate souls, including Amalasuntha’s husband, were executed.

    Next Theodemir turned to his own family. Against the advice of his many of his closest advisors, he spared his young nephew, seeing that the boy had simply been used as a piece in a game far beyond him. Amalaric was sent to a monastery, high in the Alps, where he lived a life of piety and religious devotion for years to come. Amalasuntha, the boy’s mother, was also granted her life, sent to a nunnery, in southern Italy, far from her son, and the court life of the Kingdom. Finally, Theodemir forgave his mother and sentenced her to house arrest in the palace, and the two were reconciled in the presence of the Bishop of Ravenna.

    Finally, in June [527 CE], Theodemir was given the title of King of Italy by the assembled Senate in Rome. To mark the occasion, he officially returned the lands of Boethius to his family, which had been seized when Theodoric ordered the philosopher’s execution. Both Flavius Boethius and Flavius Symmachus, the sons of that eminent man, would serve as Consul of the Senate and would go on to ve faithful allies of Theodemir throughout the rest of his days.

    [FN1] in OTL Amalasuntha was forced by the Gothic nobility to not proceed with her son’s Roman education, as they feared that he would be to sympathetic to Romans ideas as king. In this timeline, rather, her son is not the direct heir to the throne and so does not fall under the eye of the nobility as easily. As a result, she is able to impose of him many of her own Roman sympathies which allow him to become a rallying point to the anti-Theodemir forces. It’s worth noting that Amalasuntha and Amalaric both end up having substantially longer and happier lives in this TL.

    [FN2] in OTL Theodoric was likely planning a persecution of the Orthodox Church as a result of Justin’s persecution of Arians. It seems likely that some of the anti-Gothic sentiment which had been rising in the Roman aristocracy was allayed because of the throne being taken by Amalaric with Amalasuntha as regent, as the later was well known for her pro-roman tastes. In this timeline we had an heir who is much stronger, capable, but who has more connections in Toulouse than in Rome. It seems reasonable that the Romans might assume that Theodemir will simply continue some of the later policies of Theodoric.

    [FN3] Justin, at this point, was in the last year of his life. Although he had named Justinian his co-ruler and would name him his heir a few months later, he was in no position to meddle in the affairs in Italy. Justinian would be more willing to do so, but likely wants to wait to see how events play out before taking any sides in a civil war in Italy. In any case, it’s a moot point as Theodemir smashes the rebellion early, and grealy increases his popularity amongst the Roman population in the process, dramatically strengthening his position in Italy.
     
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  17. Zioneer Relief Society Bene Gesserit

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    Apr 2, 2009
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    Red Deseret
    Wow, this is a really cool timeline. Great work, DanMcCollum! This is a fascinating timeline; I've never thought of how a surviving Gothic state would look.

    Will we have a map soon, or no?
     
  18. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    I do hope to get a map pulled together soon. As of right now, not a great deal has occured on the map. The biggest change between OTL is that the Visigoths have managed to maintain their control of Aquitaine and their kingdom is still centered around Toulouse. The Franks have broken into three seperate kingdoms which, largely, resemble the layout of OTL, minus Aquitaine, of course.
    Things will be changing quite a bit in the next few posts however, both interally and externally.
     
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  19. Threadmarks: Chapter 4: The Beginnings of the Franco-Gothic Blood Feud

    DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Chapter 4: The Beginnings of the Franco-Gothic Blood Feud


    [​IMG]


    Chapter 4: The Franco-Gothic Blood Feud Part 1

    Who can forget now the fury of frightful Theodemir
    That slayer of Salians of whom songs are sung
    When he avenged the insults to the Amaling line
    Pounding old Paris the pride of the north
    Reducing to rubble its raised walls
    And dealing out death to the defending Merovings
    The rivers still reek with their royal blood!
    That evil ended so also will this!
    - Excerpt from Anglo-Saxon poem “Doer”, author unknown [FN1]

    The Glory of Emaneric’s Heirs: the Lectures of Dr. Valamir Fralet
    Trans. Edwin Smith
    Bern [OTL: Verona, Italy]: Skipmann and Sons Publishing, 1997

    After the defeat of his sister and nephew at Perugia, and his subsequent crowning in Rome, Theodemir returned to Ravenna to take up the important duties of administrating his realm. Save for his several month stay in the capital following the death of his father, Theodemir was still largely an unknown force amongst much of the Gothic nobility, who had not known him since he went to Toulouse as his father’s representative at the Visigothic capital. As a result, much of his first few years in power were spent building up a powerbase amongst the Gothic and Roman nobility of the realm. He appears to have, initially, kept many of the court officials of his father although, over the course of time, he began to build up a circle of advisors who were loyal mainly to him and not to the memory of his father.

    The period of 527 through 531 was a learning period for Theodemir. Although he had a great deal of administrative experience as a result of his time in Toulouse, Theodemir likely found it difficult to transition from the Visigothic capital to Ravenna, where he was forced to build new relationships, and come to some grasp the political realities of Italy. Surely, during this period he did not show much of the administrative genius and vision which would mark the later years of his reign, with one single exception. In 529 Theodemir made two declarations which would have subtle, but long reaching, influence upon the development of the Gothic state. First, he reaffirmed his father’s policy of religious freedom, which he had previously made a pledge to do in Rome, making tolerance the official policy of his government. Secondly he called for scholars from throughout his realm to come to his palace in Ravenna where he set up a school for the expressed purpose of translating Greco-Roman works into Gothic, for the education of the children of Gothic nobles. [FN2]

    This brief learning period came to an end, however, with the reemergence of Theodemir’s old rivals, the Merovings. The three surviving sons of Clovis had never forgiven the Amaling king to his killing of their father, and brother. Their invasion of Burgundy in 522, to avenge themselves upon King Sigismund, furthered their hatred, as Theodoric and Theodemir rushed to the defense of the Burgundian king and routed the Franks. However, revenge for these slights, if it were to happen, would have to wait. Following their defeat at the hands of the Goths and Burgundians, the Franks chose not to attack either Gothic kingdom, as the two practically remained united under Theodoric. [FN3]

    The death of Theodoric opened up an opportunity; Theodemir had risen to the throne of the Ostrogoths, while his nephew Amalaric came unto the Visigothic crown. However, problems still remained; in an attempt to end the feud, Theodoric had arranged the marriage of Amalaric to the Frankish princess Chlotilda, Clovis’ daughter. As long as the marriage remained strong, there appeared to be little recourse that the brothers could take, as they had taken a vow to protect their sister’s honor.

    However, religious issues soon gave the Meroving kings the chance that they needed to exact revenge upon their rivals. The marriage between Amalaric and Chlotilda was an unhappy one from the beginning. Amalaric was a devote Arian who continually attempted to harass his wife into converting from the Orthodox faith. Chlotilda soon became a pariah at the Toulouse court, with crowds jeering her as she made her way to mass each Sunday. This proved to be the opportunity that the Franks needed to punish the Goths and drive them from Gaul. They may also have hoped that, since the two kingdoms were close, but no longer united, that they might be able to push the Visigoths from Aquitaine, without incurring the wrath of Theodemir, who they likely hoped to turn on next.

    This proved a mistake on the parts of Theuderic, Clothaire and Childebert. During his time in Toulouse, as the representative of his father, the official regent of Amalaric, Theodemir had grown fond of his nephew who, by his own admission, he had come to see as a younger brother. Although he likely did not endorse Amalaric’s stringent Arianism, he was unwilling to let the younger man face down the Merovings alone. Furthermore, there were political concerns at hand. Theodemir’s wife had given birth to their first son, Theodebert, while he served as acting regent, and he had professed the desire to betroth his son to Amalaric’s first born, his daughter Erminhilde. Any offspring of such a marriage would stand of a strong chance of being able to unite the gothic thrones. Upon learning of the proposed war against the Visigoths, Theodemir quickly marshaled his forces for war.


    The Life of Theodemir the Great
    Wulfila Strabo
    Trans. Athelrad Edwardson
    London: National University of England Publishing, 1964

    War came to Theodemir, once again, in the fourth year of his reign. The Sons of Clovis, wishing to avenge themselves for the treatment of their sister, Chlotilde, by Amalaric, brought their forces together for this task. So deep had the bad blood become between the Merovings and the Amalings that the Franks could think of nothing else excepting taking revenge upon all Goths for the defeat of their father. It is said that Clothaire, the most vile of the three, vowed that if Theodemir came to the defense of his nephew that he, Clothaire, would take our king’s head as a trophy. This may be hearsay, but I am led to include it, because the future actions of that man make it seem likely.

    The three brothers planned their assault as follows: Childebert, the King of Paris, would march south in Aquitaine and attack the city Poitiers. Theuderic, King of Mainz, would march down the River Rhone in order to meet Theodemir, if he should join the war. Finally, Clothaire would move towards Clermone, where he would either be able to lend assistance to his other brothers, or move directly on Toulouse.

    Upon hearing of the invasion, Amalaric took his army north, where he hoped to engage Childebert first, knowing that Theodemir would cross the Rhone and engage Theuderic. The army of Amalaric met Childebert at Poitiers, mere miles from the site where both of their fathers had died years earlier. The Visigoths were victorious and defeated the Franks, who then began to retreat back to the north. Meanwhile, Theodemir had crossed the Rhone at Arles where he fortified himself and waited for Theuderic.

    It did not take long. Theuderic’s army arrived a month later, in June, and engaged Theodemir. The battle was brutal, and it is said that thousands died on both sides. However, the defenses of Arles held, and Theodemir was victorious. It was here that Theodemir made a grave error; being still full of youthful vigor, he chose to pursue Theuderic’s army and destroy it utterly. He harried his rival as the two made their way north, but was caught by surprise, at Javols, when Clothaire arrived to give his brother aid. [FN4]

    Again a battle raged, but this time is was Theodemir who suffered the pain of loss. After inflicting heavy losses upon his foes, but suffering just as badly, he was forced to retreat to the South where he returned to Arles. Here, he would be able to send for reinforcements from his own Kingdom, as well as withstand any siege, as he controlled the Rhone’s east bank.

    In the north, Amalaric continued his offensive against the King of Paris. He marched into his enemy’s territory and began to besiege the capital of Paris, where Childebert had taken refuge. The siege lasted for months, and it seemed as if Amalaric was assured victory, but Cildebert refused to surrender while there was still fight left in himself and his troops. In November, as just the hard chill of winter was upon the land, Childebert rallied his troops and sallied out of the city gates at his enemy. As the season for fighting was over, and because the granaries of Paris were still full, the attack caught Amalaric by surprise. In the melee that followed, the Visigoths were routed, and the king was cut down by men unknown. His body would eventually be returned to Toulouse from the battle field, and it lays there to this day.

    When word arrived of Amalaric’s death, Theodemir was enraged at losing a man who had been like his brother. However, winter had set in, and he was unwilling to attack rashly, as he had at Javols. Thuederic and Clothaire had been unable to take the east bank of the Rhone, and his reinforcements would arrive soon. Their own supplied running low, the Franks were weakening, and he was confident he would route them in the spring. And so it occurred. Theodemir’s forces came out of Arles that spring and soundly defeated the Franks. Thuederic and Clothaire were driven from the field and forced to retreat with a fraction of their original armies.

    Theodemir was enraged at the unjust invasion of the Visigothic kingdom, and his nephew’s death. However, for the moment, he held his temper and chose to bide his time. The Franks had been defeated, but pursuit would have been costly. Also, the Visigoths were now without a king, and he felt obligated to return to Toulouse to help usher in Amalaric’s successor. And so, Theodemir sent out messengers under the flag of truce to the two defeated Kings and, later, to Childebert of Paris. He would allow the safe access out of Aquitaine, if they would agree to a yearly tribute of gold.

    Having no choice, they all agreed, and peace was signed. However, the conflict only nurtured in the hearts of the Merovings and Amalings an even greater hatred. For the Merovings, they had lost in battle to the killer of their own father, and then forced them to sign a humiliating peace. For Theodemir, he still raged at the loss of Amalaric. Further atrocities would be committed on both sides, before a true peace could be reached.


    The Glory of Emaneric’s Heirs: the Lectures of Dr. Valamir Fralet
    Trans. Edwin Smith
    Bern [OTL: Verona, Italy]: Skipmann and Sons Publishing, 1997


    Theodemir’s election as King of the Visigoths seems to have come as a genuine surprise. Although he had ruled the land, in the name of his father and nephew, for over a decade, he had never lusted for the throne itself. His plans, much like those of his father, seem to have been to closely ally the ruling houses of the two realms in marriage and arrange the unification of the Goths under his son Theodebert. However, turning down the throne never seems to have crossed his mind. In May of 533, Theodemir officially became King of both the Ostrogoths and Visigoths.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [FN1] Although its largely unlikely that the same poem would be written in OTL and ATL, I’ve always been a particular fan of the “Deor,” as it has a beautiful message, and also acts as a great encyclopedia of Germanic myth at the time of its writing. I figured it was pretty likely that a similar poem would be written in the ATL.

    The main point of the excerpt, besides showing off how much of a Germanic myth geek I am, is to show that Theodemir becomes a figure of legend in Germanic cultures in this TL. In OTL it was Theodoric was did so, becoming Dietrich of Bern, and generating an interesting cycle of myths about him, although most have been lost, and those that do survive largely tie in with the Nibelungs. In the ATL Theodemir overshadows his father and generates a myth cycle on par with that of Charlemagne OTL.

    If interest in this TL continues to grow, I do plan on delving into this at some later date (because, as stated, I’m a myth-geek!)

    [FN2] Theodemir remains, much like his father before him, primarily concerned with creating a stable home for the Gothic people, and maintaining their cultural identity. Theodoric tried to accomplish this by limiting the intellectual influence that Roman culture would have on the Goths by denying them the chance to attend roman schools. Theodemir, however, realizes that to run a strong kingdom, one needs well educated courtiers. If Goths are denied Roman education, then these positions will be filled mainly by Romans, who will form an intellectual upper class. His idea is to translate several of the most popular works of the Greeks and Romans into Gothic, stimulating literacy, and possibly inspiring a gothic literary class (the later is a bit hazy in his mind at this time, but it is still there)

    [FN3] You will be excused if you believe that I based this section off of a little known Godfather movie. The Goths and Franks are very much focused with the other not ‘messing’ with ‘the Family”

    [FN4] Theodemir is not, as has been stated previously, a military genius. He is competent, perhaps even very good, but he’s not great. At this point in his life, he is still capable of making some rash decisions on the battlefield that can cause his defeat. I’m trying to show that our lead actor at the moment is not some undefeatable wunderkind.

    On a side note, I hope that the military campaign sounded somewhat reasonable. Truth be told, I'm not a military expert and really am looking forward more to writing the political and cultural aspects of this timeline. As a result, the description of the war might have rang a bit hollow. If so, I apologize.

    One more point of interest, I do plan on having a map or two up to show the changed circumstances here very soon!
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
    Shador, Višeslav, Lisowczycy and 8 others like this.
  20. Zioneer Relief Society Bene Gesserit

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Location:
    Red Deseret
    Excellent work! Theodemir seems to be at the height of his power; definitely a Gothic Charlemagne. It's a bit sad that Amalaric (side note: I love the way Gothic names sound) died, though. All that work to unite the Goths, and while it wasn't wasted, it felt like Theodemir would have had a major setback if he wasn't elected king of the Visigoths.

    I like how even the Anglo-Saxons recognize the Goths as a power to be reckoned with. I wonder what role they will play in the formation of the Gothic state, however.

    I feel sorry for the Franks; they just can't compete against a powerful Gothic leader. Their territory will probably be slowly shrunken by each war they wage against Theodemir and his sons.

    Finally, I really like the semi-mythic feel you've given this TL, it's very gripping.
     
    Gladsome, TimTurner and Mohamud like this.
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