The Darling of the World

Egypt a de facto autonomous kingdom, although one that is very closely linked with Palmyra. In fact, a good part of the soldiers that took part in Odainat's siege of the Arg e Bam were Egyptians.
Are they loyal to Palmyra, or loyal to Odainat? If the latter, they could start to become rebellious once a new king takes power and doesn't give the kingdom the attention it wants.

As for the Seven Great Houses, the current situation ironically makes them extremely loyal to the Sassanid dynasty. They know that any kind of serious dissent now will make a future Palmyrene attack much easier to succeed, so even though they aren't exactly fans of the Sasanians, they hate Odainat and his descendants infinitely more. This won't prevent them from pulling all sorts of shenanigans against Narseh and his successors if for whatever reason they start to act like Hormizd IV or Khosrau II.
Interesting. Can't wait to see how that plays out.
 
From this point on, the butterflies will start to flap their wings really hard. As such, unless specifically stated in the notes, most of the people who will show up in this story will be fictional characters.
 
Are they loyal to Palmyra, or loyal to Odainat? If the latter, they could start to become rebellious once a new king takes power and doesn't give the kingdom the attention it wants.



Interesting. Can't wait to see how that plays out.
For the moment, Egypt doesn't have much of a reason to rebel, despite the failure of Odainat's attempt to conquer Iran. In fact, it will end up being fully integrated into the rest of the empire, because the royal couple's son, Vaballathus, will inherit both Palmyra and Egypt once his parents pass on.

Glad to see that I've got your attention. Next update, we'll check on how Gallienus is doing. Will he and his ragtag force survive, or will they succumb to the Alemanni and lose the Eternal City? Stay tuned.
 
Will Gupta embrace Hinduism or Buddhism will get their new patron? Will they able to unify India?
Uh... I'll have to do a LOT of research before I'm able to answer your question. To see if there are any events that might be butterflied, since Iran is right at India's door.

Speaking of Iran, Manichean preachers in Northern India, perhaps? I'll see if I can do anything with that.
 
By the way,who does the title ‘darling of the world’ actually refer to?
It's the popular nickname of a very peculiar city ITTL. Think of it as something similar to the way Constantinople was sometimes referred to as the Queen of Cities, or Rome as the Eternal City.
 
In OTL, we saw an Indo-Greek kingdom, an Indo-Parthian kingdom, and an Indo-Sassanian kingdom; will we see an Indo-Palmyrene kingdom ITTL, in Bactria at least?
 
Part 10: Invictus
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Part 10: Invictus

Nobody knows what really happened at the Battle of Lake Volsinii.

There are many myths.

One legend in particular says that Sol Invictus, who became one of the most important Roman gods after the Crisis of the Third Century, deeply moved by the courage of Gallienus and his soldiers, blessed and made them as tough and strong as any veteran soldier could ever hope to be several times over. It was with this super strength that they charged straight into the Alemanni host and inflicted so many casualties on the enemy that it seemed that the barbarians would be pushed into the cold waters of the lake and either drown or be cut down by the swords of the valiant last defenders of the Eternal City. It is said that Gallienus himself slew as many as two hundred barbarians on a bloody, frenzied attempt to personally kill Chrocus, king of the invaders, something that would surely shatter Alemanni army if he was successful.

For a fleeting moment, it seemed that a repeat of the famed Battle of Cannae was taking place: a smaller but better led army surrounding and annihilating a much larger opponent. And with the lake on their backs, Chrocus and his generals knew that a defeat here would lead to exactly that.

The volcanic Lake Volsinii.

But that's just a legend. It doesn't matter.

What is relevant is the final result, and despite whatever fantastical feats of heroism that may have taken place on that cataclysmic day, the Romans were utterly defeated. Gallienus was never seen again, for he supposedly struck by an arrow at the height of his glory not unlike the ancient Greek hero Achilles, and his body was never found, with some speculating that his corpse was taken from the earth by the gods before it could be desecrated by the Alemanni. Another legend says that he survived the battle and fled to a remote location somewhere in the Appenines, where he would lie in a deep slumber until the time was right to lead save the people of Italy, right when all hope seemed to be lost (1). This messianic myth turned him into a national symbol many centuries later, and ensured that the valiant emperor would never be forgotten.

The atrocities that happened after the battle, along with their consequences, wouldn't ever be forgotten either. After their victory, the Alemanni marched into Rome and descended upon the city like a pack of hungry wolves, looting as many buildings and as many valuables as they could over the course of a week, during which large parts of the Eternal City, once one of the largest urban aglomerations on the planet, were burned to the ground. Chrocus and his people had done something that was once unthinkable: for the first time in almost six hundred years, a foreign army occupied and sacked Rome, the last one accomplishing such a feat being the one led by the Gallic leader Brennus in 387 B.C. (2).

In doing so, the Alemanni destroyed the Roman Empire and, with it, all sense of political and military unity in Italy, and all of the peninsula would be sacked by repeated incursions organized by them and other peoples, whose armies would reach as far as Bruttium (3) and Apulia. Full of glory and plunder, Chrocus led his people back into their homeland somewhere in southern Germania, content with the fact that they could return and steal even more riches at any time if they felt like it.


The Eternal City burns.

Far away beyond the Alps, one man was listening to the news that came from Italy with great horror and surprise. This person had a humble and obscure childhood somewhere in northern Gaul, near the delta of the Rhine, joined the army and rose through the ranks until he became a general sometime in the mid 250s. However, even though he was acutely aware of just how rotten the empire really was, thanks to his high position, he had no idea that something as outrageous as the Eternal City being pillaged and the once almighty colossus that it commanded completely broken was remotely possible. As soon as he heard about the atrocities that were happening in Italy, from Mediolanum to Tarentum, he knew that something drastic had to be done to ensure that his homeland didn't suffer the same fate.

His soldiers had the same idea, and since they knew him personally, they knew better than anyone who was skilled and worthy enough to lead their effort. On that day, sometime in 259, Marcus Cassianus Latinius Postumus was proclaimed emperor and protector of Gaul by the legionaries in the city of Augusta Treverorum, not far from the Rhine, which became the capital of this Roman remnant state that became known as the Gallic Empire (4). The legions of Hispania and Britannia also swore their allegiance to Postumus, hoping that he could prevent their homes from being invaded and plundered by the seemingly endless waves of barbarians. In what was the historical equivalent of the blink of an eye, Postumus found himself leading a state that stretched from Gadir (5) in the south to Hadrian's Wall that marked the border between Britannia and Caledonia.

A well preserved coin of emperor Postumus.

The new emperor's first priority was setting up an independent administration that transformed Augusta Treverorum into its own little Rome, something that despite the growth of localism ever since the start of the Crisis of the Third Century, was no easy feat. The saying "All roads lead to Rome" was very much a real thing, and turning this "little" remnant into a functioning state that could stand on its own proved itself to be a task that stretched all of Postumus' exceptional administrative skills to the limit. New governors were appointed to lead the various provinces, and several administrative and cerimonial bodies that were essentially copies of old Roman institutions were put in place. The Gallic Empire had its own Senate and Praetorian Guard, along with other institutions.

Postumus' other priority was the one area in which he truly excelled at: fighting barbarians. Ironically, even though defense was the main reason he was proclaimed emperor by his legions, it took a few years until the foreign peoples turned their eyes in the direction of the Gallic Empire and its lands, thanks to the horrible situation Italy was in. The first attack came in 263, four years after the emperor's acclamation, and was made by the Alemanni and their king Chrocus, the same man who led the Sack of Rome. The first city to be attacked was Argentoratum (6), on the left bank of the Rhine, which was quickly sacked with most of its inhabitants fleeing to the nearby countryside.

After that, the king of the Alemanni ordered his forces to march northwest to Treverorum, no doubt wishing to deliver the same kind of decapitating blow that was delivered against Rome just a few years before. However, Chrocus' great victory over Gallienus had left him arrogant, and he failed to realize that the context was very different, and the army that was ready to oppose him was very different from the brave but feeble militia that he crushed at the battle of Lake Volsinii. As such, he was greatly surprised to see that his army was met by an equal force at the banks of the river Saravus (7), and even more so when his people suffered a stinging defeat at the hands of Gallo-Romans.

However, Postumus wasn't satisfied with this victory, and pursued the Alemanni back to their homeland of Suebia, beyond the Rhine, andn in the following year, won such a complete, crushing victory over them that they would disappear from historical records for many decades afterwards. More so than that, his soldiers brought along with them many valuable relics that were stolen from Italy and other places that were raided by the barbarians, including the legendary urns that contained the ashes of emperors Augustus and Hadrian, among many other things. Chrocus' severed head was supposedly handed over to the protector of Gaul as a gift, and he ordered it to be put on display in the main square of Augusta Treverorum. Thousands of prisoners of war were either enslaved or crucified and left to rot on important roads, a warning to all who would dare to invade the empire in the future.

Alemannic belt mountings that were taken by the Gallo-Romans in 264 (7).

Not all foreign invaders were treated in such a brutal manner. The Franks, who began to cross the Rhine in 265 or slightly later, were incorporated into the imperial army after they were defeated (probably being spread over its units to prevent them from getting any ideas) and were allowed to steadily settle within the borders of Gaul, being assimilated into Gallo-Roman society in the course of the following centuries. Frankish soldiers would play a critical part in repelling the largest invasion of them all, wich was made by none other than the Goths, the same people who ravaged the Haemus Peninsula and killed a Roman emperor in battle. By the time this invasion began, in 272, the Goths were running out of lands to plunder in their traditional regions, and their fragile confederation was threatening to fall apart. The lands that they controlled, their "kingdom", could be best described as the "Gothic Desolation" rather than as the "Kindgom of the Goths".

Taking advantage of the remarkable quality of the Roman Empire's road network, even after years without proper maintenance, a massive army that may have counted with as many as 70.000 men advanced with great speed through Illyria, crossed the Alps into northern Italy and then crossed the mountains once more. The first major city to fell their wrath was Lugdunum, capital of the province of Gallia Lugdinensis, and after that they crossed the Rhodanus river (8), into the fields of the province of Gallia Aquitania. Postumus was unable to respond to this massive attack appropriately, since he was busy facing the very same enemy that destroyed so many emperors before him: usurpers. Throughout his reign, he had to face three of four of these people, and this one, who was named Marcus Aurelius Marius, happened to rise against him at the same time of a foreign invasion (9).

A depiction of the usurper Marcus Aurelius Marius.

By the time Postumus had cleaned house properly to gather all of his forces, the Goths were at the gates of Burdigala (10), capital of Aquitania, and had already pillaged the surrounding fields and villages. The ensuing battle consisted of a very large ambush made by the Gallo-Roman army while the bulk of the Goths were still dedicating most of their attention to the Burdigala garrison, and by the time they were finally ready to fight, their ranks were already being torn apart by seemingly endless waves of angry legionaries. This confrontation, which was given the name of Battle of the Garunna, after the river that flows from the Pyrenees and meets the sea in Burdigala (11), became one of Postumus' most famous victories, second only to the one that vanquished the Alemanni as a threat.

It was also after this last victory that the Senate gave the emperor his famous title: Invictus (The Undefeated). He certainly deserved it, for he not only managed to carve an entirely new state and make it stand on its own (granted, pretty much all of the existing bureaucratic structure was inherited), and most importantly, managed to keep it together even though he faced multiple foreign invasions and usurpers at home. He obviously didn do it entirely on his own, and had multiple allies that sadly still don't get the credit they deserve even to this day, especially his right hand man and consul Victorinus, who played a critical role in suppressing Marius' revolt and ensuring that the Goths could be dealt with.

Some day in 285, after ruling his new state for twenty-six years, emperor Postumus Invictus passed away of old age. He was succeeded on the imperial throne by his son Claudius (12), who inherited an empire much stronger and richer than the one that had been created by his father more than two decades ago. In his very long reign, which would be the longest since the days of Augustus, he would take it to incredible new heights.

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Notes:

(1) This is pretty much TTL's version of the myth of king Sebastian of Portugal, who vanished in the Battle of Alcácer Quibir (1578).

(2) Rome would only be sacked IOTL in 410 AD by the Visigoths and their king Alaric I.

(3) Calabria.

(4) IOTL, the Gallic Empire was proclaimed in 260 and was caused by the capture of Valerian in Edessa.

(5) Cádiz.

(6) Strasbourg.

(7) Somewhere close to modern day Saarbrücken.

(8) These belt mountings were crafted in the seventh century IOTL. Butterflies, I guess?

(9) IOTL, Marcus Aurelius Marius replaced Postumus after the latter's murder by his own soldiers, but he ended up being assassinated and replaced by the same Victorinus that is mentioned in this update.

(10) Bordeaux.

(11) The Garonne river.

(12) AFAIK, Postumus IOTL had no offspring other than a certain "Postumus the Younger" who was likely a fictional character. Since this story's POD is in 243, he ends up having a real son sometime before he became emperor because of butterflies, thus creating a dynasty.
 
So what happened to Italy,Balkans and Africa?
Italy is currently in a state of anarchy, and those who are watching the current situation from afar are wondering if there will be anything left to unify after the barbarians either settle down or just return to their homes. The Alemanni were completely obliterated by Postumus, so that's one less foreign people to raid it.

The eastern Balkans (Moesia and Thrace) are still controlled by the Gothic confederation/desolation, but their people suffered a heavy blow after their defeat at the Battle of the Garunna, and their traditional raiding lands (Greece, the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean) are running out of things to plunder. They're also suffering from infighting after Cniva's death by old age/assassination (some historians think he was poisoned) in 270, and as if that weren't enough, the Palmyrene Empire and its new ruler, Vaballathus, desire to cross the Bosphorus, conquer the lands under their control, particularly Byzantium and the Hellespont, and "liberate" Greece from the devastating Gothic raids.

Africa is currently an autonomous state centered in Carthage that was established by Aspasius Paternus, who was the provincial governor at the time Rome was sacked, and proclaimed himself protector (but not emperor) of the regions under his command (Africa Proconsularis, Mauretania Caesariensis and Tingitana, Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily and the Balearic Islands). The state isn't much different from the one established by Postumus in the north, but it's currently suffering from instability and problems with the Berbers on their long African borders.
 
Two things you guys might find interesting: I originally inteded for this "Invictus" character to be emperor Gallienus after he secured a seemingly impossible victory at Lake Volsinii, but I decided to scrap the idea because it seemed to unrealistic/romantic to me.

Second thing is that I changed the picture of the Battle of Seleucia Pieria (in Part 3) after @Atamolos 's comment about the Roman soldiers of the original image having the Chi Rho on their shields, a symbol that wasn't adopted yet (and, spoiler alert, never will, since Christianity won't win over so many people in the west, never mind any crowned heads). The new image also includes dead cataphracts, which shows the extent of the Iranian defeat rather nicely.
 
In OTL, we saw an Indo-Greek kingdom, an Indo-Parthian kingdom, and an Indo-Sassanian kingdom; will we see an Indo-Palmyrene kingdom ITTL, in Bactria at least?
Palmyra will engage in extensive trade with India and China, not only because of their port in Mesopotamia (located roughly where Basra is IOTL) but through the Red Sea and the port of Berenice and the Nile. It will make the empire really rich, and emperor Vaballathus will use the wealth acquired from this very well.
 
Part 11: Summit of Greatness
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Part 11: Summit of Greatness

Odainat, lord of Palmyra, was never the same after his humiliating defeat at the Siege of Bam. For most of his life, he was a talented, astute ruler who administrated his vast dominions fairly and protected them from most outside threats, allowing the cities and fields under his control to grow and prosper while the once magnificent empire in the west collapsed utterly. While he hated the idea of being subordinate to anyone, he knew that bending the knee to Shapur I gave him a once in a lifetime opportunity to manipulate the messy internal politics of Iran and allow him to become even more powerful. Unfortunately, the king's neverending streak of successes proved to be his undoing, for after his capture of Ctesiphon and seizure of Mesopotamia, it he convinced himself that he was the reincarnation of Alexander the Great, and therefore was invincible.

With this illusion shattered by the unexpected resistance of the Citadel of Bam combined by its relief by Iranian forces right when victory seemed certain, Odainat fell into a deep depression and began to neglect affairs of state, leaving more and more of his work on the hands of his wife, Queen Zenobia, a skilled administrator in her own right. To make matters worse, even though the realm recovered from this great defeat and grew ever more prosperous in the following years, its king fell into a death spiral and, ironically, incorporated one of his role model's worst aspects: alcoholism. By the time he died in 275, Odainat was little more than a shadow of the man that he once was, a broken alcoholic who was nothing like the charismatic, adventurous king whoo turned Palmyra from a tiny autonomous state stuck between two giant empires into the center of one of the great powers of the world.

The was one crucial difference between Alexander and Odainat: the latter had a clear heir (who was not an infant) at the time of his father's death.

And that's where Zenobia truly left her mark. The boy, named Wahballat ("Gift of Allat", Allat being an Arabian goddess) spent most of his childhood and adolescence with his mother, since Odainat was either too busy conquering new lands or, after his campaign against Iran, drinking until his liver finally gave out. The queen cut corners to ensure that her son truly grew up to become a divine gift to the world, and Wahballat spent most of his early life in Alexandria, his mother's seat of power, surrounded by tutors, scientists and philosophers like Cassius Longinus (1), the best of the best of the great city's intellectuals that gave it its well deserved reputation as a center of learning, personified in the Great Library or Musaeum, which existed since the days of the Ptolemies (2). After the prince reached the age of ten, he began to take part in state meetings and ceremonies, as preparation for his future days as king.


An artist's rather anachronistic idea of Zenobia addressing her soldiers. Though no representations or descriptions of her appearance exist, the painting shows her power quite nicely.

By the time Odainat died, it was clear that Zenobia's efforts were well spent. Her son, though young (he was just 16), was extremely intelligent and not only interested in matters of state, but also in science and philosophy. It is not surprising that contemporary and future historians would call Wahballat a philosopher-king just like the one that Plato saw as the perfect ruler in his most famous work, The Republic. However, even though he was crowned at Palmyra with great splendor, it would take a few years for him to truly rule the vast territories under his jurisdiction, since Zenobia was still queen of Egypt and had enormous influence in the court. Still, even if he had very little power during these early years, he gradually learned more and more about the inner workings of state, such how full the treasury was, how many soldiers could be raised and armed without damaging the economy, among other things, which went hand in hand with his gifted eduaction.

By 283, Wahballat, then 24 years old, had grown into a very shrewd individual, and was getting tired of being nothing more than his mother's puppet. That year, according to historians, he "convinced" (read: deposed) Zenobia to abdicate as queen of Egypt, handing over the throne to him, uniting this vast, ancient and rich land with the rest of the empire, which was ruled from Palmyra. Though Zenobia wasn't particularly old and could theoretically maintain her privileged position for quite a few more years (she was born around 240), she wasn't stupid, and saw the writing in the wall. In fact, she was actually quite satisfied, since she saw this act as evidence that her son was more than capable of filling her and Odainat's shoes. Thanks to her lack of resistance, she was allowed to retire and live the rest of her days in a comfortable estate somehere in the Nile Delta, where she peacefully passed away in 304 at the age of sixty-four.


A coin that gives us an idea of what Wahballat may have looked like as an adult (left) and as a teenager (right) (3).

Now with complete control over an immense realm that stretched from the Aegean to the Zagros and from the Euxine Sea to Aswan, Wahballat was eager to flex his muscles and secure some military glory for himself through the conquest of new territories. Thanks to events that were outside of his control, he had a big opportunity in the west: the once fearsome Gothic Kingdom in Moesia and Thrace was on the verge of falling apart thanks to internal struggles, and their traditional raiding grounds (Greece, Macedonia, Epirus and other adjacent lands) were desperate for someone to save them from the wrath of their northern neighbor, especially since their frequent civil wars led to new migrations and raids all over the Haemus Peninsula.

Obviously believing that he was this saviour, Wahballat crossed the Hellespont in 284 at the head of an army of 70.000 men, and from there marched northeast along the coast of the Propontis and into Byzantium, the capture of which would provide him with a strong bridgehead into Europe. After a short siege and naval blockade, the city surrendered and threw open its gates to the Palmyrene soldiers, who occupied it without great difficulties. After this, the army marched westward and captured Adrianople, capital of the former Roman province of Thrace, without any resistance whatsoever. It was only after the Palmyrene troops marched to the north, intenting to take Philippopolis, that the Goths scraped together an army to face their vastly superior opponent.

The battle, which took place in right to the south of the once great city, was a catastrophe for the Goths, whose army, decayed by infighting and the severe defeat imposed on it by the Gallo-Romans in the last decade, was a shadow of the once mighty fighting force that killed a Roman emperor and shattered his troops.

The rest of the campaign was a cakewalk, much to the relief of the young king, who desired to pose as a liberator but was more of a civil servant rather than a general. After the Goths were kicked out of Moesia and forced to move into Illyria, Wahballat and his soldiers marched into Macedonia and Greece, where they were received with great joy by the citizens and peasants of these lands and their cities, and the Palmyrene annexation of the eastern Haemus was concluded with a massive triumphal parade in Athens, whose inhabitants pledged their allegiance to the eastern king in great fanfare. In less than a year, Wahballat conquered a considerable amount of territory and greatly increased his prestige, earning him the respect of those who were still skeptical of him back home.


It is believed that Wahballat celebrated his conquest of the Haemus at the top of the Acropolis of Athens. The city definitely looked a lot uglier than in this painting, though.

After this victory, it was time to incorporate the newly acquired territories into the rest of the empire, something that proved itself to be far more time consuming and exhausting than anticipated, even to a skilled bureaucrat like the young king of Palmyra. Decades of warfare and raiding transformed most of Greece, Moesia and Thrace into a wasteland, with cities like Athens, Thessalonica and Philippopolis being much smaller than they were prior to the Crisis of the Third Century, and the once fertile farmlands that surrounded places such as these were completely devastated. It would take many years and massive amounts of cash to fully reverse this situation and repair the decadent infrastructure, and even more time for the new provinces to actually bring in a profit for Palmyra (4). Still, at least the population wasn't particularly rebellious.

The second military campaign that happened under Wahballat's reign was the subjugation of the kingdom of Himyar, which took place in the late 290s. An expedition led by a general whose name is unfortunately unknown and Hairan, an older brother of his who for whatever reason was denied a place on the throne, probably because Zenobia prevented him or something else. The main goal of this war was the conquest of the port of Aden, which controlled trade between the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea (and therefore the Mediterranean), something that made the little kingdom of what was known to the Romans as Arabia Felix ("Fortunate Arabia") very rich. However, even though Himyar was a strong regional power in its own right and had a particularly remarkable navy, it was no match to Palmyra's naval and terrestrial forces, and the capital city of Zafar fell in 298.

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It was not these comparatively small military victories that made Wahballat famous, but rather what took place during the long times of internal and external peace that dominated pretty much all of his reign. Ever since Odainat began his conquests, Palmyra took control of the multiple trade routes between China and India on one end and Europe on the other, the most famous of them being the Silk Road. As China was reunited under the Eastern Wu and the mighty Gupta Empire began to rise in India, the amount of trade in the Palmyrene ports and cities increased dramatically, and heavy taxes were imposed on this commerce that ensured that the state grew immensely rich. The conquest of places such as Byzantium and especially Aden gave Wahballat a virtual monopoly on all trade between the East and the West.

This also made the Palmyrene Empire an extremely diverse and cosmopolitan polity, with multiple cultures, languages and religions all living under the same banner. Aware that this scenario generated large amounts of cultural exchange that increased the spread of innovations and new ideas, Wahballat instituted a religious and cultural policy that was largely tolerant and accepting of multiple groups at once, and ordered the construction and upgrading of several libraries and other institutions of learning, chief of them being the Musaeum of Alexandria, something that further cemented his reputation as a philosopher king. As if that weren't enough, some historians even state that he, always interested in science and how things worked, personally ordered and oversaw the construction of an aeolipile (a type of steam engine invented by Heron of Alexandria nearly two centuries before) using blueprints from the Musaeum (5).

This odd device was probably used to entertain and impress the foreigners that entered his magnificent capital.

An aeolipile.

There was, however, a large group of people that was prevented as much as possible from having any sort of protection whatsoever: the Manicheans. With its founder and prophet Mani fleeing to Istakhr during Odainat's attempt to conquer Iran, the large following that he gathered, particularly in Ctesiphon, remained loyal to the King of Kings and was, because of that, subjected to a cruel persecution that was marked by multiple massacres and executions. Seeing this religious community as a bunch of potential rebels as well as a fifth column, Wahballat maintained his father's draconian policies towards the Manicheans and eventually forced most of them out of Mesopotamia and into the Iranian Plateau, still under the control of the Sasanians, with a small but constant trickle of devotees and preachers moving further to the east, into India, Central Asia and China.

Speaking of Ctesiphon, the former Iranian capital also suffered under Palmyrene occupation thanks to the loss of its status. Although it was still an important center of commerce, most investments were diverted to Palmyra and other major cities of the Middle East, and the gradual loss of its Manichean population and workforce was also a blow to the city's economy and that of Mesopotamia as a whole.

The end result is that, while Wahballat's death in his sleep at the age of sixty-nine was received with much grief all over the great empire, Mesopotamia was about to explode out of anger.

Its cries would be answered soon enough.

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Notes:

(1) Cassius Longinus was a famous Platonian philosopher who was well respected as a literary critic. Thanks to his support of queen Zenobia and the Palmyrene Empire, he was executed in 273.

(2) IOTL, the quarter where the Musaeum was located was destroyed during Aurelian's reconquest of Alexandria, though the Great Library was in decline for some time before. Well, at least before Zenobia took charge of the place and refurbished it ITTL.

(3) The adult man on the coin is actually Aurelian.

(4) Think of Italy right after the Gothic War.

(5) Considering that this device was developed in the 1st century AD and that papyrus is pretty durable, I wouldn't be surprised if someone managed to build something similar two hundred years later. And no, Palmyra won't undergo an industrial revolution. It's too early for that.
 
Just wondering but why did Odainat never intervene during the invasion of the Goths. I mean wouldn't it have been a boon to his powerbase as he was a Roman citizen originally?
 
Just wondering but why did Odainat never intervene during the invasion of the Goths. I mean wouldn't it have been a boon to his powerbase as he was a Roman citizen originally?
He was busy consolidating his power in Syria and Anatolia, and was waiting for an opportunity to either become the most powerful man in Iran (the power behind the throne) or subjugate it entirely, like Alexander the Great did so many centuries ago. Besides, the Goths seemed to be quite powerful and had just killed a Roman emperor. Picking a fight with them would be a costly distraction, but, in hindsight, it probably would have been a good idea.
 
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