The Eagle and the Dragon

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Mars, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. Mars Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2006

    I've always thought of what it would be like to see a great war between the Chinese and Roman empires. I drew up this map today, when some ideas about the POD's came to me.

    Basically there are 2 major POD's. One is Hadrianople, with the Goths being defeated by Valens. Without goths attacking Italy, Stilicho is able to turn his army to the rhine when it freezes in 406, and deals a catastrophic defeat to the Vandal/Suevi/Alan force crossing the river. The Huns cause their disturbance, but the Romans are able to fight them off successfully, since they still hold all their provinces in this TL. The Roman empire lives on and eventually conquers the aztecs and establishes colonies in america.

    Then we have Ming China, between 1405 and 1443, Chinese sailor and explorer Zheng He went on several naval expeditions, some say even to the Americas. In OTL, China isolated itself after these naval adventures, destroying many of their ships and naval charts. In this TL, driven by trade with the Roman empire and news of riches in the americas, Zheng He is sent on a mission there. His massive fleet reaches the incan empire and takes them over.

    The stage is now set for a massive conflict of 2 great world superpowers for the riches of the americas.

    Thoughts? Comments? ideas? I don't know where im going with this really, just thought id share it. :)
  2. Flocculencio Fabian Socialist Donor

    Jan 12, 2004
    You get bonus points for actually including something in India but it's a mystery why Vijayanagar, with access to South Indian maritime culture hasn't spread overseas when the much less maritime Chinese and Romans have done so.
  3. Mars Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2006
    I wanted to create a varied number of nations, not just Rome and China. Britannia breaks off from the empire during the barbarian invasions and later conquers the british isles, so you have a sort of half celtic half roman civ there that could be quite interesting. The same happens in Frankia, where the romans capture that area and romanize it, but later it separates from rome, and there is sort of a cultural mix between germanic and roman cultures.

    Persia falls to Rome, but later the mongols take persia from them and now the turks have replaced them.
  4. Advernt Well-Known Member

    Apr 22, 2007
    How did the Romans last that long anyway? Would'nt the structure come crashing down during a civil war , in say the 800s? How did both portions of the Roman Empire restaged a Byzantine like revivial? There should have been many moments during the next thousand years where the Roman Empire was on the edge of collapse.

    What about technological progress? How advanced are the Romans now anyway?
  5. Atreus Deceased

    One of the things which distinguished the early and middle Romans was their ability to bounce back from any setback. Adrianople was the end of that, though. It had the morale aspects of Verdun or Battan, and the physical loss of an emperor and several thousand soldiers. If Adrianople is not a crushing setback, the Romans are in a stronger position overall. If they lose a battle on the frontier, they recover, adn destroy the barbarians.

    I am also interested in the tech.

    Why are the only colonial powers uber-sweden, Rome, and CHina? The British have all the natural advantages to being a maritime power as in OTL, in fact, a strong navy would be almost necessary. The Indians could possibly settle colonies. And why is there nothing marked on West Africa? I would expect some of the OTL kingdoms to rise. Finally, what is the religious situation?

    For the record, this could be interesting. Perhaps a timeline.
  6. Hendryk Banned

    Aug 24, 2004
    So the second POD is actually a butterfly of the first one.

    Indeed. It would be interesting to see the South Indians develop an overseas empire of their own.

    I'd be tempted to answer, Because in any ATL regardless of the POD, Britain always somehow becomes independent of whichever power rules mainland Europe ;) It's not factually true, but you know what I mean. Call it Orwell's Law, since even in the ultimate dystopia that is 1984, Britain is still independent from mainland Europe.
  7. Atreus Deceased

    Ah, but Orwell had a reason. The US absorbed Latin America and the British Empire, Russia absorbed europe. He states that there is no real reason that Eurasia could not conquer Britain, or that Oceania could not make it's border the rhine or even the Oder. But that would upset the balance of power, and cause difficulties for all empires. And what if there is just one world government?
  8. Mars Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2006
    I didn't really think of making India a major power, since i was mainly thinking of making a Rome vs China scenario, but it could get interesting. What areas do you think a powerful Indian empire could colonize, maybe Malaysia?

    Well, maybe because Britain is at an interesting place in the world stage. Not quite in Europe, but still somehow part of it. Here they have a mix of Roman and Celtic culture, which i thought could be very interesting. Making them a colonizing power along with India sounds good too. When i made this map i was kinda concentrating on China and Rome, but yeah, fleshing out other powers makes it seem much more realistic.

    The technology is on the verge of a industrial revolution, something like late 17th century. So its over 100 years ahead of OTL, which i think is a reasonable proposition. The steam engine will probably be discovered soon.

    About religion. Valens was an Arian Christian, and he dealt with alot of religious problems in the empire in his time. After the defeat of the visigoths, Valens will try to reconcile the various religions of his state. Only a few years ago, Julian the apostate had tried to revive the pagan religion.
    Valens tries to meld Christianity and the old pagan ways into one religion, he gathers together several Christian and Pagan leaders in the council of Philippopolis to reach a compromise, at first they are reluctant, but Valens forces the issue, and what emerges is a new religion, half roman pagan half christian. In this new religion, the Christian god is equated with Jupiter, jesus with Apollo, and Satan with hades. Its a religion that alot of Romans can get behind and it spreads quickly as Valens continues his victories against the goths. Eventually, this religion will become the major religion in the empire.
  9. MerryPrankster Gone Fishin' Donor

    Jan 10, 2004
    The Arians tended to be a fanatical lot--I doubt he'd try to merge paganism and Christianity. They and the orthodox would gleefully persecute each other, depending on who was in power.

    And I believe Julian the Apostate was after Valens, not before.
  10. Philip One L only

    Apr 19, 2007
    Malaysia, Indonesia, Arabia, East Africa. Anywhere they could sail, and they have a wonderful maritime tradition.

    This part seems ASB.

    I just can't buy this. This is the era of the Great Cappadocians. Basil and the two Gregorys are among the best philosophers Christianity ever produced. If, when they met at Constantinople just after Valens reign OTL were unwilling to tolerate Arianism, I fail to see how you are going to get them to go along with this hybrid. Read some of the writings of Christians from that era -- they had no tolerance for what they perceived as deviations from the Apostolic teachings.

    This seems to expose a lack of understanding of either Christian doctrine of the time, or Classical paganism. Perhaps both.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2007
  11. Malta Kirked

    Jul 2, 2007
    Looks interesting. Whats the current/latest time-date for events?
  12. Mars Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2006
    I admit i do not know much about the state of roman religion at this time. However i know that for the Romans, Syncretism was not a new thing, they did identify greek gods with their own, as well as germanic and celtic ones. Perhaps the Jupiter = Christian God thing might be overdoing it. However, accepting the old pagan gods into the Christian religion, as saints or angels maybe, might be a way to gain converts easier.
  13. The Federation Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

    Nov 1, 2007
    Why not Indonesia, Malaysia, or coastal Burma, regions that are culturally very Indian already?
  14. Philip One L only

    Apr 19, 2007
    Syncretism between various pagan systems is relatively easy. Mixing in Christianity is much more difficult.

    They were already incorporated as demonic spirits

    Gaining converts wasn't a problem. In fact, many Christians were concerned that there were too many converts too quickly.
  15. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

    Jan 4, 2004
    Actually, Vijayanagar went into decline during the late medieval era, didn't it? Indian (Hindu) merchants become much less common even before the Portuguese show up, right?

    It might simply be that the Indian states are there, but they haven't established colonies for the same reasons as OTL.
  16. strangeland Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Great map, but Hadrianople is WAY too late of a POD for this world to be feasible. I'm thinking that the POD would have to occur in the mid-2nd century at the latest for the empire to last into the modern age, and would probably consist of a major invention or a plague or natural disaster that's avoided rather than a battle won or lost.
  17. Mars Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2006
    I've actually been thinking of having a POD a little more into the past, maybe Trajan conquers persia. With persia and the middle east in roman control, they can definetly stop the barbarians and do not have to worry about being attacked by sassanids all the time like they did in OTL. Also it will give me more room to change the religious situation to what i want (a kind of christian , pagan hybrid) Since it seems its too late to stop christianity from completely taking over in by the 5th century. It also means Rome will meet the Kushans, and maybe even Han china before it splinters. Might be more interesting.
  18. Mars Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2006
    Ok i've been toying with the idea a little and i've redone the map. POD is Trajan's conquest of Persia.


    As you can see india is one unified state, those are the turks - mainly orghuz turks who founded the seljuk and ottoman empires in OTL. Here they continued raiding Rome, but instead settled in india and eventually conquered it all, creating the Turkish empire of india, which is another Major power along with Rome and China. Other Turkish and Mongol Khanates are still controlling central asia for now. The caliphate hasn't been able to breach Roman defenses and does not get as big as in OTL, but instead begins to conquer east africa, as well as putting trading ports in south africa and trading with the other european powers - basically breaking the monopoly on trade from the east which Rome has on them, and getting filthy rich in the process. The colonization race in the new world is a bit more heated now with Britons and Franks going at it as well. The hungarian plain is controlled by the gothic kingdom, which is now paradoxically a staunch ally of rome, as Rome has used them as a buffer state for years against avars, alans and bulgar tribes. The crimea and caucasus are controlled by bulgars. The light blue state in OTL Ukraine is the Magyars. Purple is Varangia, OTL Russia.
    The major powers though are still Rome and China, which was my original thought, and they are going to duke it out for awhile in the Americas. This Tl's version of the world wars will mainly be fought in the Americas and in central asia, between of course China and Rome.

    Let me know what you guys think.
    Also, i don't know what the Romans would call the turks, probably just Turci and Turkish india, India Turcia? I don't think the Romans ever met the turks in OTL so they might end up calling them huns or scythians too.
  19. le.Singe is watching you from above...

    Sep 16, 2006
    I'm really liking where you're going with this... One question: is "Germania Franca" really capable of colonizing South America at this point? Remember: to colonize the New World, you're going to need a decent navy and some sort of reason to go on adventures. In a Roman-dominated world, Germanic tribes are probably going to stick with the "protecting-the-frontier-so-the-Romans-don't-steamroll-us" strategy, which would involve concentrated efforts on land forces and a less-than-urgent desire to play Safari Jack. The last thing they want on their plate is more conflict. Other than that, superb job! :D

    EDIT: Same goes for the Goths in Africa (even more so, actually, as they are even more threatened by Rome and have even less of a coast...). However, one group I can see in a colonial setting is the Saxons... they have no border with Rome and are situated on a peninsula... hmmm...
  20. Mars Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2006
    I see your point there, the saxons do seem to be in a better position to start a maritime empire, i'll see where i can go with that, thanks for the input.
    About the colonies in africa , they are Arabic not gothic, maybe i should change the color a bit to a more darker green.