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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    I was wondering, on the off chance, does anyone have any suggestions for a good book or two about either the Sassanid Empire and also the nomadic tribes of the Western steppe at this point? I'd be interested in learning more about the Avars, Bulgars, ad so forth :)
     
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  2. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Okay, I'm not going to lie; I don't want to be 'that guy' begging for comments. But, I have to ask; is anyone still reading this? If they aren't, its not a problem, I will restart it with a new title and such, but I don't want to invest hours of writing and research into a post and not get anything. Sorry if I found like I'm whining, I really don't want to, and I understand I took quite the break from the thread, but I'd like to at least make sure people are reading my work.

    I apologize for being "that guy".
     
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  3. altwere Well-Known Member

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    Yes dan I'm reading and enjoying your work. I'm not comenting a lot as most of the time it's 5:00 in the morning and I'm working on coffee before work.
    So please keep it up.
     
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  4. FleetMac Patriotic Scalawag

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    I'm still reading your work, it's just that (while I understand you're trying to expand on what's going on in Europe in general) the events in the Byzantine Empire don't interest me that much. The rest of the TL, however, is a different story :)
     
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  5. Mongo Well-Known Member

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    Still reading, and have been since the original version back in the day. I don't know enough about the time (at least not since your TL started to greatly diverge from OTL) to post anything insightful, though.
     
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  6. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    So sort y about that giys, long week at work, and UK trying to quit smoking. I got a bit craggy. So embarrassed :eek:
     
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  7. Corsair_Caruso Well-Known Member

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    No worries. It can be discouraging when you feel like you don't have any audience interaction. That's part of the reason people post on this forum anyway. If we just wanted to write for our own satisfaction and no one else's, we wouldn't bother posting online.
    My reasons for not commenting are mostly the same as the others. I find the premise very interesting, but I have little experience with this period of history. Good work on the TL thus far, though. I hope you keep it up.
     
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  8. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

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    Interesting as always. My one thought is whether the Franks would be as weak as you portray them; OTL they were consistently one of the great powers, no?
     
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  9. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    The Franks definitely were a powerhouse in OTL and, to an extent, in this ATL as well. The Franks turn of luck in the ATL comes in Clovis' invasion of Aquitaine. In OTL he was able to drive the Visigoths out of the territory, and bring Frankish domination over all of Gaul. In the ATL, the main battle goes different, and Clovis shuffles loose the mortal coil, as it were.

    This accomplishes two things. First, it denies the Franks control of Southern Gaul and, second, is breaks the Frankish territory into several parts, as Clovis' children all get their share of the realm. Notice, however, that the Franks are still powerful enough to invade Acquitaine a second time, several years later, and, although they still lose, they do so much less extravagently than in the first attempt (in fact, its the Visigoths that lose a King in this conflict). They are still strong enough to meddle in the affairs of Burgundy shortly thereafter.

    When the final confrontation happens, there are several factors that work against the Franks. First of all, they are divided, as one of Clovis' children opts for neutrality in the conflict (partially out of disgust at his brothers' actions, and partially out of a belief that discretion may be the better part of valour, all of a sudden), which means that Theudemir is only going against two-thirds of the Franks strength. Secondly, the Goths have all been united under a single ruler and, although not a unified state yet, are able to bring the full weight of their strength down to bear in a coordinated effort. Finally, and I think this is actually the biggest thing, is that the Gothic-Frank conflict had now progressed past the point of being a mere political conflict to one of a blood fued. Theudemir has, by this point, lost his nephew and his eldest son to the Merovings and is in the mood to wipe them off the face of the earth.

    Perhaps I wasn't as clear in my account of the conflict (partially because I was writing as Stabo, who was not particularly knowledgable or interested in military affairs), but the final war was apocalyptic. Theudemir practices scortched earth against his foes, and Northern Gaul is severely depopulated as a result. The two Meroving brothers who are invovled in the conflict fight valiantly, but ... there is very little stopping a man (who possess the combined force of Italy, Spain and Southern Gaul) who is hell bent on your utter destruction. Paris is eventually sacked and destroyed, for instance, and thats not even getting into what happened to the countryside.

    I was hoping that some of the emotions of this conflict came through in my description of the folklore and mythology that evolved around it, and I've mentioned the after effects at other times; including in my last post, which touched on the Plague's impact on the already reeling Gaul.

    In all honesty, I may have to look back at my description of the war and tweak it a bit more; for instance, I may have to extend the length of the conflict, somewhat. Hmmmm.

    So, hopefully, that answers your question and points out how I eventually see the Fall of the Merovings taking place and my reasons behind it. :)
     
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  10. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    No worries :) Honestly, one of the reasons I took as much of a hiatus as I did, in addition to all of the reasons I set out before, is that the Byzantine portions were causing me writer's block. Just like you, I really wanted to turn my attention back to the West. But, for the sake of the story, I needed to expand on what was going on in the East, as those events are going to have a major impact upon the development of the West as well.

    Luckily, I think its safe to turn back to the Goths for at least a post or two, before combining the two narratives :)
     
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  11. Umbric Man Umbric Manned

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    Another loyal reader here. Part of my weakness in commenting is that Byzantine history is not my forte, although the Germanic entries are what really capture my interest...granted, even *I* know Belsarius as emperor is going to be something. :D

    I do have some general questions to be asked...

    1) Will you tell us how English colonization in the Americas goes? I know it may be mere flavor and you'd never get that far in the timeline, so if you could entreat us how Old England begat New England in your mind I'd be delighted. ;)

    2) It seems much of Europe will be much more Germanic, and the Plague decimating both Celtic Britain (as in OTL) but also Latinate Italy will allow the Goths to successfully settle southern France and northeastern Spain (if I remember the map right)...especially since I DO remember the Goths are concentrating their settlements.

    It also seems north Italy shall stay Lombard (what with Verona staying Bern), and I'm even willing to bet the Franks may survive since I see a Dutch name in one of the works, since Frankish evolved into Dutch. England, of course, is noted to stay far more Germanic as well.

    OTOH Ireland seems untouched. Perhaps much less 'mixing' of Slavic, Germanic, Latinate, and Celtic peoples in this world? Certainly Gothland, Frankland, England, and Lombardy seem to exist as per my hypothesis...
     
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  12. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Alright; to answer your questions, one at a time :)

    1) I have a pretty good idea for the end of this TL, as there is an event which will occur in the 9th century which should act as a good capstone of the work. The settling of New England (as well as the colonization of the Americas) falls out of the range of this. But I do plan on doing a few epilogue episodes, so New England will likely get dealt with at that point. Truthfully, I'm trying to form a rough picture in my mind of what the Americas will end up looking like in the ATL.

    2) Europe will be more Germanic in this TL, yes, although you are right that Ireland certainly doesn't get displaced; the great Kingdom of Gaelia has an interesting history of its own in this TL. In fact, I can say that there are more Q-Celtic speakers in the ATL than in OTL. There may even be another Celtic nation or two popping up/surviving that don't make much of an appearance in OTL.

    3) Although the Lombards will factor into this TL, and will survive to the present, they don't make it into Italy (which would cause quite the problem for the Goths who are already happily living there!). I chose to use the name 'Bern' for Verona, partially as a reference to the myths of Deidric of Bern (the Medival myth cycle circling around the figure of Theodoric the Great). I had assumed the name had been used by previous German settlers as well. If that's not the case, I will have to change it :)
     
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  13. Threadmarks: Chapter 14: A Tale of Two Empires

    DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Chapter 14
    A Tale of Two Empires

    “The Roman Empire died in 476 with the overthrowing of the last, true, Emperor Romulus Augustulus. From that point onward, the Eastern Roman Empire would move, with ever quickening speed, to becoming an Empire of the Greeks. In the West, the Empire that was reformed by Theodemir and his dynasty, despite wrapping themselves in the vestments of Rome, was utterly Gothic. Rome was dead, but its children would forever cling to its name, while they moved further and further apart. – Martin di Columbo [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

    The Plague of Belisarius had a great impact upon the development of the Gothic West. As the waves after wave of the disease ravaged the Kingdoms of the Goths, Theodemir found himself facing the difficulty of not only administrating those lands hardest hit by the pandemic, but maintaining the fragile remnants of the Roman system upon which he relied.

    Although the plague had struck the Gothic realm hard, it had done even more damage to Southern Italy, where the old Roman administrative system still held out. As a result, Theodemir was forced to rely upon the Roman Senate to administer the lands of old Italia more so than he likely would have wished. Furthermore, in the lands of Gotland, he would find himself relying, to an even greater extent, upon the graduates of the Gothic college of Ravenna.

    Perhaps the greatest difficulty the King faced, however, was in the situation which presented itself in northern Gaul. In his efforts to route out the Merovings of Gaul, Theodemir had practiced a scorched earth policy that had laid waste to the region; so much so that modern estimates predict that over 50% of the population had been wiped out. As Gothic garrisons continued to search for, and destroy, any pockets of resistance, that number increased to 55%. And, naturally, none of this takes into account the effects of the Plague, which are estimates as claiming another 10 to 15 percent of the population of that benighted region. By 547, the northern reaches of Gaul had been so depopulated that Gothic chroniclers had taken to calling the region “The Authida,” meaning ‘The Wasteland,” which survives as the name ‘the Authia’ for those territory surrounding the city of Paris.

    It was obvious that Theodemir needed to turn to help outside him realm n order to stabilize the region. The population movements this would inspire would presage, even set the precedence, for those which occurred under his heir Amalaric I.



    The Norræna Fræðibók
    Entry: Britanny

    Britanny is a historical region comprised by the majority of the modern Kingdom of Britanny, which is one of the six Celtic nations. The name Britanny designates the territory as “Little Britain” and signifies that it was settled by refuges of the on going Saxon-Briton wars of the 6th and 7th centuries. The majority language of the modern state is ‘Breton,’ or Brezhoneg, which is one of the P-Celtic languages, and is directly related to the languages of Cymru, Cornwall and Alt Clud.
    History

    At the end of the 5th century, the Roman province of Armorica was settled by refugees fleeing the conflict between the Saxons and the Britons. These settlements were, according to local folklore, the result of the British warlord Conan Meridoc who sailed from Britain to support the Roman usurper Magnus Maximus. Whatever the truth of the legend, by the time of Theodemit the Great, Briton tribes had settled the region of Armorica and claimed it as their own.

    The second d wave of Briton settlement occurred as a result of the famous “Edict of Cornwall,” in which Theodemir the Great negotiated the nominal subjugation of Armorica, which had remained steadfastly independent of Frankish rule, and opened up northern Gaul to settlement by Briton refugees. The Edict would invite refugees to settle the depopulated regions, offering local political control, in exchange for taxation by the Gothic crown as well as annual military levies. In effect, the settlement of Brittany would be the first case of the Goths renewing the old Roman tradition of Federation. Over the next century, Britons, fleeing the collapse of Britain in the face of Saxon invaders, fled to Gaul to take up service to the Gothic crown. In time, these Briton settlers would forge their own identity in the old Roman provinces of Baio-Casses, Lexovii, Caletes and Velio-Casse, effectively bringing much of non-Frankish Gaul under their control. [FN2]

    Despite the initial settlement, the folk of Britanny remained politically disunited; placing their loyalty upon their local political leader, and not upon a single King of Brittany until the onset of the Theutish Invasions of the 8th century. This trend would make northern Gaul difficult to rule for the Theodemir and his successors, as the region was plagued by continuous revolts by local leaders, protesting increased levies and taxation.

    It would not be until the collapse of Gothic rule in the 9th century that the region of Brittany would be united under Mael Map Pagrid, and the Breton state which he created would prove to be short lived.



    It is of interest that refugees from Britain would prove to not be the only settlers of the region. Place names and folk traditions indicate that Brittany was also settled by numerous communities of Gaelic speakers from Gaelia. These settlements, in many ways, would act as a foreshadowing of the raids and settlements of the Gaelic Rautharing Age. [FN3]

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



    Following the collapse of Meroving Gaul, and the Plagues of Belisarius, Theodemir was forced to reexamine the administration of his Kingdom. Whereas, previously, he had relied heavily upon the continuation of Roman administration, this was no longer feasible; the plagues had ravaged the remains of the Roman intelligentsia, outside of Italia, and the newly added territories were those in which the Roman system was by far the weakest.

    As a result, Theodemir found himself relying upon a system of loyal Reiks, or nobles, for the administration of his realm. Although Goths were generally not allowed to own property outside of the territory of Gotland, Theodemir now moved to make an exception to his own law; local territorial governors were allowed plots of land, under the assumption that such land would be used to provide military units on a yearly basis to the Gothic crown. Governors, furthermore, were appointed directly by the crown, although they were allowed to choose subordinates of their own choice without crown supervision. Such governors, at least initially, served at the pleasure of the King, and could be recalled at will by the crown.

    Although, within the territories of Gotland, the Reiks would find themselves under the constant watch of the crowd, governors of territories in Gaul and Hispania operated with a great deal more independence, and many were able to carve out powerful realms for themselves within the old Roman provinces. Theodemir’s policy of appointing Reiks with few connections to their newly acquired territories would begin to fray under the reign of his successors. Even during his reign, the policy was never administered to the full satisfaction of the crown, as Theodemir appointed several governors in northern Gaul who were recent emigrants from Britain.

    The situation was somewhat different in Italia, comprising those lands of the Italian peninsula south of Gotland, where territorial governors were nominated by the Roman Senate, although they still faced confirmation by the crown. Over time, the Senate would gain more powers in confirmation, and few Emperors would choose to veto the Senate’s choice of appointment.

    Although later historians would blame Theodemir for the decentralization of the Western Roman world, such critiques are not always fair. Faced with the burden of administrating a large realm, while witnessing the further dissolution of the Roman system of governance, Theodemir and his successors simply made due with the best that they had. Gothic society, much like the Germanic societies to which it was related, already placed an emphasis upon the notions of personal loyalty to the clan and the warlord; Theodemir simply worked to exploit such cultural notions in order to better administer his own realm. That this system eventually frayed has little to do with the genius of Teodemir and Alamaric, and more to do with the historical trends which would influencing development in the West.

    Meanwhile, the structure of the Arian church was beginning to undergo reformation. Whereas, previously, Arian Bishops had vied for the same seats as those of the Orthodox Church, the continued patronage of the Gothic state brought about a more parallel structure. Now, Arian Bishops were opened appointed to sees, where Orthodox bishops already existed. As such, for instance, cities such of Lyon, Marisales and Toulouse often supported an Arian as well as Orthodox Bishop; and the Bishop of Ravenna, known locally as the Fadar, was coming to hold a place in the hearts of Arian faithful similar to that of the Patriarch of Rome (known locally as “il Papa” or “the Pope”).

    Although Theodemir and his successors often strove to appoint local officials who would be accepted by the population, as well as hold fast to their decree of religious freedom, they favored churchmen and officials of their own faith so that, although being Orthodox was not an automatic hindrance to one’s advancement, being of the Arian church was much preferable.

    The Empire of the East: a History of Rhomania from Constantine I to Justinian IV
    Ewan McGowan
    [Royal University Press: Carrickfergus, Kingdom of Gaelia, 2010]

    Following his defeat of the Avars, Emperor Belisarius I moved to consolidate his power within the Rhoman capital of Constantinople. Unfortunately, much as Hypatius and Justinian I before him, he was often constrained by the powerful families which had cemented their control over the capital and set themselves up as king-makers.

    Faced with the prospect of further invasions from both the East and the West, Belisarius moved to institute a number of reforms and building projects meant to secure the safety of the Empire. Primary among these was the creation of a series of forts which would guard the Danube, and Anatolia from invasion by the Empire’s foes. Unfortunately, such building projects would cost the state a fortune in gold, and many of the leading families of the Empire showed themselves to be as unwilling to pay for them as they had similar projects proposed by Hypatius.

    A soldier at heart, Belisarius was utterly convinced of the needs of the projects, and acting accordingly. Unable to understand that his power rested upon the shoulders of such noble men, he moved to pass the necessary taxes and to confiscate that which was needed from the citizens of the state. Although few would speak out against him, at the time, as everyone had seen the fury of the Persians and Avars combined, the resulting taxes did much to alienate Belisarius’ support amongst the ruling classes of the Empire.

    More successful, were Belisarius’ efforts to reform the Rhomanian military. Identifying every large population center, the Emperor organized a series of garrisons which could be called on for defense in case of invasion. Each city would be required to field a defense force relative to its own size and ability to pay. In case of invasion, such garrisons could be combined to create larger field armies to fight for the cause of the Empire. Furthermore, in addition to the garrisons, the Empire would support four freestanding and independent armies; the Army of Greece, stationed in Athens, the Army of the Empire, stationed in Constantinople, the Army of Syria, stationed in Antioch, and the Army of Egypt, stationed in Alexander. Despite the taxes involved, it was felt that such a system would deter the Empire’s enemies and allow for a quick and solid defense in times of invasion.



    Despite his popularity with the citizens of the Empire, as a result of his own manner as well as his military victories, Belisarius quickly made enemies among the upper echelons of Rhoman society. Unwilling to strike at his directly, these leaders chose instead to weaken the Emperor by striking at his wife who, rumor had, was having a series of affairs. In the Senate of Constantinople, they brought their charges and caused Belisarius’ wife, Antonia. Antonia’s trial, conviction and execution, greatly undermined the Emperor’s authority.

    In 551, Belisarius passed away as a result of prolonged illness, likely dysentery, some say brought upon by a broken heart. His successor was Photius, his adopted son from his wife’s previous marriage. [FN4]

    [FN1] Martin di Columbo, is an *Italian nationalist from this world’s 20th century. As such, his view of both the Rhomans and the Gothic-Roman state is rather harsh, to say the least. He views Italy, and Italy only was the true successor to Rome’s splendor.

    [FN2] *Britanny comprises much of OTL Normandy and surrounding environs. I hope that my listing of the Roman provinces was correct, as I did some map research, but, if not, please let me know J

    [FN3] I’ve foreshadowed an increased Celtic presence earlier in the TL, this is just a bit more of the same ;) The Gaelic Rautharing Age will be explain in more detail in a further post. Extra points go to anyone who can figure out what I’m talking about before I get there J

    [FN4] I just have difficulty seeing Belisarius becoming a fully successful Emperor, especially in this ATL where the Eastern Romans have seen so much chaos in the last few decades. I don’t see him being enough of a politician to really navigate the waters of Constantinople politics successfully; his biggest lasting impact will be upon military organization, a topic which he is well versed, and over which even his staunchest opponents will have difficulty going against him.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Okay, so there you have it. No cool graphics this time (as seems befitting of an entry largely describing the administration of a state), but a lot of good information. I hope you found this an interesting read. Despite the amount of information detailing the adminsitrating of the Gothic Kingdom and the Eastern Roman Empire, I tried to slip enough details and foreshadowing in there to keep you all interested :)
     
  14. FleetMac Patriotic Scalawag

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    Firstly DM, that was a really good update!

    Next, despite the "dry subject matter", it was indeed good information, and (to me, anyway) not boring at all. Discussing the evolution of bureaucracy and governance works well to establish how a nation-state changes, which boils down to "stuff happening", and I for one like seeing how the Goths, Rhomanians, etc. have begun to shape and reform.

    And the little geo-politico-cultural tidbits you threw in there are deliciously teasing :).
     
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  15. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Thanks for the comments, and I'm glad you enjoyed the update! My own personal feelings were that Theodemir has managed to unite the two Gothic realms as well as spread his influene into Gaul; that is a lot of things to digest all at once, and, no matter how innovative you are, that's going to take some work. Also, from my reading, much of the Roman administration outside of Italy proper was already in steep decay by this point, making it difficult to rely on for the administration of the entire West. As a result, we're getting a Gothic state that doesn't have a unified government that applies to all corners (I mean, there are, at least, three territorial lawcodes currently in use; the Gothic, the Burgundian and the Roman, just to give you an idea.)

    In some ways, Theodemir has it more difficult that Charlemagne in that the later had centuries of Frankish traditions and government to use in the administering of his new conquests; Theodemir is, more or less, being forced to slap things together as they come.

    As for the Rhomans ... well, it was sad to see Belisarius go, but he didn't strike me as someone who was going to be able to lock horns with powerful Rhoman elites and bend them to his will. His place in Rhoman history is secure, as a great battle leader and inspirational figure, but his Emperorship was rather limited in successess (although not utterly bereft, of course. He was certainly better than Hypatius). Still, the Rhomans are going to have to find a dynamic leader soon, to really help them overcome the years of invasions and civil war.

    Finally; glad you're enjoying some of the foreshadowing and easter eggs I've been throwing out there :) As I come to have a clearer vision of the world that is being created, I like to throw some of those outthere from time to time; it makes the writing more realistic, and its always good to tease the readership a bit (although, when I was rereading some of my old posts, I was somewhat surprised to find that I'd made an off handed reference to a larger Brittany much earlier than I had remembered!)
     
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  16. ingemann Banned

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    Interesting the settlement of British Celts in Neustria seem realistic and follow the development of OTL settlement of British refugees.

    I do have a few thoughts about the Franks, Neustria while the richest part of the Frankish main territory, also was military the weakest thanks to mostly being populated by Romans. the Austrasia the centre of Frankish settlement, and that area was almost impossible to depopulate (hard invasion route, hard to support a invading army and a militarised decentral population, there was a reason the Viking sailed up the Seine instead of the Rhine). Also if Theodemir just annex the Frankish realm he risk that Chlotair take revenge later and he's a serious threat. Instead Theodemir should let him get the entire Austrasia, while settling the Celtic confederatis in Neustria and integrate Alamannia into the Burgundian kingdom (which meant Burgundia proper could raise the taxes and Alamannia supply the troops). The result would be a balance of power in the north, where the Franks do not dare to rebel as he would risk the Britons and the Gothic ruled Burgundia-Alamannia would run him over, while the Britons would stay loyal to avoid a Frankish-Gothic coaliation moving against them.
     
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  17. B_Munro Member

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    Just started looking at this thread, very interesting. So much of what OTL is Northern France is going to be Celticized...and parts of northern Italy are going to be Germanized?

    Bruce

    PS-any chance of an updated map? :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2013
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  18. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    OTL Northern France will be Celticized, yes; at least to the north of Paris; I don't see the Bretons expanding quite that far to the South. And, yes, Gotland is northern Italy, Provence, and parts of Aquitaine. Although this is not an over night transformation, of course, and will gnaw a long period of time.

    As for a map, I would love to post a new one, but I am woefully inexperienced at doing that (the one shown earlier was actually created by someone else) and I want to firm up the situation in Gaul a bit further; I haven't had a chance to respond to the post above ypurs yet, and they made some good points I would like to explore before settling for any firm borders yet.

    Thanks for the comments, and I hope you enjoy the show :)
     
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  19. B_Munro Member

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    Probably includes some parts of OTL Switzerland, I'd imagine. Iberia will eventually break off: I imagine it will remain mostly Latinate-speaking? Seems we are heading to a very different-looking Europe than OTL.

    If you can't find anyone else to help, I'd be willing to give a map a shot, as long as the description is precise...

    Bruce
     
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  20. Umbric Man Umbric Manned

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    B_Munro doing a map for this? Be still my heart. :D

    And since no one else said it: the Rauthauring Age seems to be a Celtic version of the Viking invasions for Europe, I'd wager.
     
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