The End Of an Age

260
Emperor Gallienus defeats the Juthungi Alamanni at Augusta Vindelicorum.
Regalianus revolts against Gallienus and defeats the Sarmatians in Pannonia, only to be killed by his own troops.
Postumus declares himself Augustus, establishing the Gallic Empire.
Paul of Samosata becomes Patriarch of Antioch.
The African Legions defeat the Berbers.
Emperor Valerian is ambushed by Shahanshah Shapur I, and taken prisoner to Ctesiphon. The Sassanids plunder Cappadocia, but another force sent into Syria is ambushed by the Palmyrenes under Emir Odaenathus.
The Franks take over the Scheldt River.
Fulvius Macrianus is declared Augustus by the Eastern Legions, but gives the title to his sons Macrianus Minor and Quietus.

261
The Macriani defeat a loyalist army under General Aureolus in Thrace. [1] However, Odaenathus defeats and kills Quietus at Emessa.
Postumus defeats Franks and Alamanni who have crossed the Rhine.
In the wake of the Macriani victory, Aemilianus, governor of Egypt, declares himself Augustus. [2]

262
Gallienus diverts more troops to the east to defeat the Macriani, abandoning Rhaetia to Postumus. [3]
The Goths enter the Balkans, sack Byzantium, then move on to pillage Asia and Greece.
Odeanathus recovers Coele-Syria from the Macriani.
Aemilianus defeats a loyalist force under Marcus Aurelius Claudius. [4]

263
The Palmyrenes besiege Ctesiphon.
The Goths invade Ephesus and destroy the Temple of Artemis. The Macriani attempt to defeat the Goths, but are defeated at Thessaloniki.

264
The Synod of Antioch is held.
Gallienus battles the Goths to a draw at Naissus.
Odaenathus defeats Aemilianus and begins to move his forces into Asia. [5]

265
Victorianus, general of Gallienus, flees to Carthage and declares himself Augustus. [6]
Ctesiphon surrenders to Odaenathus.
The Alamanni invade the Empire once again.

266
Death of Cormac Ulfada mac Art, High King of Ireland. The High Kingship passes to Eochaid Gonnat.
Odaenathus is killed. Zenobia becomes Queen Regent of Palmyra and Egypt.
The Heruli join the Goths in the Balkans.

267
Eochaid Gonnat dies. Cairbre Lifechair becomes High King.
Gallienus is killed in battle with the Goths and Heruli. Aureolus declares himself Augustus.

268
The Alamannic king Chrocus defeats Aureolus at Ravenna. Aureolus is killed.
Chrocus marches on Rome and crowns himself King of Italy.
A massive earthquake devastates Cyrenaica. Zenobia sends her forces into Cyrenaica to annex it to Palmyra. Cyrene is renamed Zenobiopolis. [7]

269
General Zabdas captures Athens for Palmyra. Victorianus invades Malta, Sicilia, Sardinia, and Corsica.
Valentine I is elected Pope. [8]
Marcu Aurelius Carus declares himself Dux of Illyricum. [9]
The Suebi, Quadi, and Marcomanni invade Rhaetia and Western Noricum. The Iazyges invade Eastern Noricum.


[1] This is the POD. OTL, Aureolus defeated the Macriani. Their victory makes it harder for Gallienus to hold on to his empire
[2] He did it OTL, as well
[3] OTL, Gallienus regained Rhaetia. TTL, he believes Greece is more important than the Alps
[4] Better known as Claudius II OTL
[5] As a result, Zabdas never burns down the Library of Alexandria
[6] OTL, he fled to Gaul, and later became Gallic Emperor
[7] OTL, Claudius II renamed it Claudiopolis
[8] TTL, he is never martyred by Claudius II, so while he'll still become St. Valentine, his sphere of focus will be very different
[9] Better known as Emperor Carus OTL. You'd be amazed by the number of post-Severan emperors who came from Illyria

Comments? Suggestions? Criticisms?
 
Well, here it is, "End of an Age", one of the winners from my poll a while back. Any suggestions on how it could be improved, expanded on? Do you like it, dislike it?
 
Zenobia is queen of a kingdom that includes: Greece, Anatolia, Syria, North Africa, Palestine, Northern Arabia and Egypt? Somehow I think that Zenobia would not attempt to move into Greece and the lands beyond Asia. From what I understand of the geopolitics of the time, Palmyra was the “meat in the sandwich”. Positioned between Persia and Rome, the Arabs of Palmyra couldn’t move their armies too far from Syria without becoming vulnerable on one of the these two fronts. In my opinion, Zenobia would probably play the old imperial game that Odaenathus played so well. She would support one of the rival Emperors to the throne (probably the strong man along the Danube) in exchange for being recognized as co-regent of the East. This would give her greater legitimacy with her new Roman subjects and allow her the time and energy to plan a campaign against her other main enemy: the Persians. In fact Persia is a far more glittering prize than the West: the Persians are richer and conquering Persian territory will further cement Palmyra’s control over the caravan routes (the source of her wealth). And besides the Persian are a greater threat than the Romans.

If Palmyrawas able to survive it might recreate something of the Selucid state before the Roman conquest. It might even be able to conquer Arabia, something that both the Romans and Persians failed to do. If so then we have far more Hellenic Arabia and the seed-bed for a new and probably dazzling religious movement. On the other hand, the Sassanids may conquer these North Arabs and seize the entire Middle East. This would allow ideas to flow move easily between East and West, although it would do funny things to the development of Christianity.

I have a slight problem with you killing off Aureolous. From my understanding, Aureolous was one of the finest of Gallienus’ generals and not the kind of guy to get wiped out by the Alamanni. But then maybe that is just me. And then there is Chrocus. I have to ask why Chrocus is declaring himself: King of Italy? I hope you’re not planning to have him replay the exploits of Alaric. These northern barbarians had none of the pretensions of the Goths a century or so later, at this stage the Alamanni just wanted to raid and then go back home with their loot. I could maybe see them expanding into Gaul but the Italian peninsula? Just can’t see it (although maybe I’m wrong).
 
Im definately looking foward to seeing where this goes in the future.

I can't really comment too much on the plausibility, but it is a very interesting idea.
 
Zenobia is queen of a kingdom that includes: Greece, Anatolia, Syria, North Africa, Palestine, Northern Arabia and Egypt? Somehow I think that Zenobia would not attempt to move into Greece and the lands beyond Asia. From what I understand of the geopolitics of the time, Palmyra was the “meat in the sandwich”. Positioned between Persia and Rome, the Arabs of Palmyra couldn’t move their armies too far from Syria without becoming vulnerable on one of the these two fronts. In my opinion, Zenobia would probably play the old imperial game that Odaenathus played so well. She would support one of the rival Emperors to the throne (probably the strong man along the Danube) in exchange for being recognized as co-regent of the East. This would give her greater legitimacy with her new Roman subjects and allow her the time and energy to plan a campaign against her other main enemy: the Persians. In fact Persia is a far more glittering prize than the West: the Persians are richer and conquering Persian territory will further cement Palmyra’s control over the caravan routes (the source of her wealth). And besides the Persian are a greater threat than the Romans.

If Palmyrawas able to survive it might recreate something of the Selucid state before the Roman conquest. It might even be able to conquer Arabia, something that both the Romans and Persians failed to do. If so then we have far more Hellenic Arabia and the seed-bed for a new and probably dazzling religious movement. On the other hand, the Sassanids may conquer these North Arabs and seize the entire Middle East. This would allow ideas to flow move easily between East and West, although it would do funny things to the development of Christianity.

I have a slight problem with you killing off Aureolous. From my understanding, Aureolous was one of the finest of Gallienus’ generals and not the kind of guy to get wiped out by the Alamanni. But then maybe that is just me. And then there is Chrocus. I have to ask why Chrocus is declaring himself: King of Italy? I hope you’re not planning to have him replay the exploits of Alaric. These northern barbarians had none of the pretensions of the Goths a century or so later, at this stage the Alamanni just wanted to raid and then go back home with their loot. I could maybe see them expanding into Gaul but the Italian peninsula? Just can’t see it (although maybe I’m wrong).
Palmyra rules the OTL Palmyrene Empire, plus Cyrene and Classical Greece (and Greece only because the Greeks were terrified of the Goths). I have some interesting plans for how this will affect Arabia and Christianity (spoiler: both the Marcionites and the Gnostics will become state sponsored by at least one state each).

As for the Barbarians, Chrocus is simply making the best of a good situation. He didn't expect to wind up with Rome, but its his, so he might as well enjoy it. His hold on Italy is tenous at best, however, with both Postumus and Victorianus marshalling troops to take back the Eternal City (Carus wants too as well, but he's surrounded by barbarians). The Goths (specifically, the Thervings) are in the Balkans because no one has made them leave. Their currently the weakest of the Sub-Roman states, as they have no unified leadership, but they're being reinforced by the Heruli and Greuthings, so that might not last. The Suebi, Marcomanni, and Quadi are being pressured by the Vandals.

Keep in mind that we're only two years since Gallienus died, so anything could happen. Thanks for your comments. though.
 
I was thinking about your PoD and your premise over the weekend and would perhaps suggest that a 261 victory by Macrianus and his son in Thrace against Gallienus' general Aureolus might not be the best PoD for the purposes you outlined in your poll. After this ATL victory Macrianus (having received the support of the Illyrian and Pannonian legions) would be in a very strong enough position. If Macrianus had defeated Aureolus then he would have defeated the new mobile calvery regiments that Gallienus had put together. Without these formiable calveriers, I doubt that Gallienus could bounce back and defeat Marcianus later in 262. His position was extremely fragile in the Balkans at this stage and if he lost a major battle in Thrace against his rival, I think the bulk of his troops might desert to the winning side. In fact Gallienus might get himself murdered by his own troops (who would want to demonstrate their loyalty to the victorious Macrianus and gain amnesty).

With Macrianus victorious in Thrace, this will make it difficult for Odenathus to defeat Quietus as the cities of Syria would still support Quietus. In fact Odenathus would probably switch his support from the nearly-vanquished Gallienus to the almost-triumphant Quietus. Or he might seek an alliance with Persia (something he tried for earlier in his reign) against Quietus.

I don't think Aureolous would survive the battle in 261, or if he did then he probably wouldn’t end up at Ravenna. Anyway my point is that with Macrianus and his son victorious in 261, I think they go on to conquer Italia and establish themselves at Rome. As a result we don’t get the usurpations you describe. But then again maybe I am wrong, it is a highly debatable subject as we don't have very good historical records from that era. And obviously you have thought out this process pretty thoroughly and far be it from me to make unhelpful comments concerning your PoD. But then again you did ask for feedback.

As a guy who has an amateur interest in Roman history, I am very interested in your TL and look forward to following it. I find the idea of Marcionite successor state fascinating although I think that Gnosticism may be a little obscure to be a state religion (although again I may be wrong). Anyway don't let my comments and criticisms distract from what I am sure will be grand TL.

Actually I was thinking about starting a new ATL and your TL and its premise has inspired a certain idea in me. Therefore let me present you with some over-the-weekend-thinking I did on the subject:

In 267 barbarians burst into Greece and Macedonia, the most brutal of these intruders were the Goths and their Heruli allies who sacked Athens, burning and stripping its temples, setting aflame the Stoa of Attalus and turning the heart of the city into a desert. But the Athenians weren’t the only ones to feel the blight of the barbarians, the Goths roved over fair Greece spilling into her valleys and despoiling her towns. Corinth, Argos and Sparta felt the Gothic knife and even Olympia (the seat of the prestigious and ancient games) was raided. Having sated their bloodlust, the Goths retired northeastward. Either at the Nestus River (Syncellus) or farther north at Naissus (Zosimus), they fought the Romans and lost. Wherever the battle was (or battles as some historians believe there were two separate battles not one single one) it was an impressive one, Zosimus says that 50,000 barbarians were killed.
But what-if the Romans had lost in a manner to mirror the defeat of Decius at the Battle of Abrittus (Hisarlak, near Razgrad). Gallienus is killed, the barbarians victorious and laughing at Rome as they made their way through the mountains towards their homelands laden with the riches of Greece.

The sudden death of Gallienus will shock the Empire and in this moment of incredulity, men will realise that this would be an excellent time to try usurping the throne. After their stunning defeat, the Illyricum legions would declare one of their own to the purple (probably Claudius or Aurelian or Cecropius if they weren’t killed along with Gallienus). Aureolus, the skilled leader of Gallienus’ new mobile cavalry troops, will be affronted at this decision and will either declare himself emperor or declare for the Emperor of the Imperium Galliarum Postumus (like OTL). Marching from his base in western Austria, Aureolus will probably establish himself at Milan in northern Italia (like OTL). It is difficult to know if the Senate will support him, they certainly didn’t like his master Gallienus (who had show them great contempt) and may not look down on him for this reason. On the other hand, whatever they’re feelings they probably will be relatively unable to influence events.

Weakened after their losses at Nestus/Naissus, the Illyricum armies would not have an easy time defeating Aureolus (unlike OTL), and after fighting some bloody battles along the Po, they will retreat towards Aquileia. However Aureolus will not be able to capitalise on this victory as he now faces the savage Alemanni. He had invited the Alemanni into northern Italia to help him against the Illyrians (just like OTL) but now that they were inside the Empire they had betrayed him (in the same way that Titus Julius Priscus was betrayed by the Goths). Given the losses Aureolus has just suffered against his Illyrian adversaries, it is doubtful that he can mirror Claudius’ OTL massacre of the Alemanni at Lake Benacus. But Aureolous’ troubles with the Alemanni do not give the Illyrian legions a chance for a comeback either: fresh Gothic hordes will sweep into the Balkans in 268 (not only would these invasions be greater in scale than OTL but the invaders would find the lands south of the Danube more undefended than OTL). Indeed, given this threat, the Illyrians may murder their chosen emperor and embrace Aureolus. This would make Aureolus Augustus of much of Italia, Africa and the Balkans, but with the Alemanni ravaging the rich lands of northern Italia just like the Goths had burnt and vandalized Greece, he is not enjoying his new position.

Now who is the real winner in all this? Postumus would be keen to take advantage of the succession battles. He may offer to share the Emperor with Aureolus as co-regent, or at least declare Aureolus his successor (or appoint him to some other important imperial post). But how long would Postumus or the Gallic Empire survive? In OTL, he 269 he was murdered by his own troops because he wouldn’t let them loot the rebellious city of Mainz. Without Postumus, the Empire of the Gauls began to fall apart with various usurpers competing for the title of Gallic Emperor while the whole structured weakened and cracked.
The real winner I think will be Palmyra. While the Roman legions were hacking each other to pieces, Odenathus and later Zenobia, would be consolidating their recently gained control over large parts of Asia Minor, Syria and Palestine. Given the distractions and turmoil in Europe, Zenobia could probably seize Egypt at her leisure without fear of a Roman reprisal. After the current phase of disunity is over, the Romans may be able to eventually rise up one of their own who would be strong enough to beat back the barbarians and establish a degree of stability. The Roman army was still a relatively effective machine and could produce warriors equal to this task. But by that time this Arabian trading city would have become too tough a nut to crack and the East would have been lost forever.

Any thoughts?

 
I was thinking about your PoD and your premise over the weekend and would perhaps suggest that a 261 victory by Macrianus and his son in Thrace against Gallienus' general Aureolus might not be the best PoD for the purposes you outlined in your poll. After this ATL victory Macrianus (having received the support of the Illyrian and Pannonian legions) would be in a very strong enough position. If Macrianus had defeated Aureolus then he would have defeated the new mobile calvery regiments that Gallienus had put together. Without these formiable calveriers, I doubt that Gallienus could bounce back and defeat Marcianus later in 262. His position was extremely fragile in the Balkans at this stage and if he lost a major battle in Thrace against his rival, I think the bulk of his troops might desert to the winning side. In fact Gallienus might get himself murdered by his own troops (who would want to demonstrate their loyalty to the victorious Macrianus and gain amnesty).

With Macrianus victorious in Thrace, this will make it difficult for Odenathus to defeat Quietus as the cities of Syria would still support Quietus. In fact Odenathus would probably switch his support from the nearly-vanquished Gallienus to the almost-triumphant Quietus. Or he might seek an alliance with Persia (something he tried for earlier in his reign) against Quietus.

I don't think Aureolous would survive the battle in 261, or if he did then he probably wouldn’t end up at Ravenna. Anyway my point is that with Macrianus and his son victorious in 261, I think they go on to conquer Italia and establish themselves at Rome. As a result we don’t get the usurpations you describe. But then again maybe I am wrong, it is a highly debatable subject as we don't have very good historical records from that era. And obviously you have thought out this process pretty thoroughly and far be it from me to make unhelpful comments concerning your PoD. But then again you did ask for feedback.
I'll have to take your comments under consideration. My plan was to end the Roman Empire two centuries early (as shown in my sig). However, I am willing to have it squeak on for a few more decades (like it did after Adrianople). Would a rump state ruling Italy and Africa with the Alammani as the power behind the Caesars be plausible (which is what my original idea was going to be)? I'll need to look up this Cecropius guy, as this is the first I've heard of him.
 
Good start, jmberry. A few comments based on my knowledge of this particular era (from researching for a very similar TL):

  • The Alamanni had no interest at all in founding a kingdom in Italy. Their attacks against Rome were simply opportunistic raids for plunder and loot. For most of their history, the Alamanni were disorganized and divided into various tribes seldom united under a common ruler. This hindered their development and expansion. However, ITTL I could see them settling in all of Raetia, as well as the mountainous region of northern Italia. But creating a "Kingdom of Italia" would be unprecedented and unlikely.
  • If Aureoulus getting killed by the Alamanni is implausible, how about having him die in battle with the Macriani as part of the POD?
  • FWIW, there were several North Africans who could become emperor ITTL: Memor, for example, or Mussius Aemilianus.
  • I really can't see why the Palmyrene Empire would want to expand into Greece. In OTL they didn't even expand into all of Asia Minor. And in any case, I think that that would serve as a good natural boundary. But the Palmyrenes would have much more to worry about in the east: namely the Sassanids. The Persian Empire had just been revived under a series of strong rulers. Also, keep in mind that only a year or two before the POD, Shapur I had been campaigning in Anatolia and building Zoroastrian temples in Armenia. The Sassanids were just emerging at this time and were equal in strength to the Palmyrenes (if not even more powerful). Persia is going to bounce back very quickly from the fall of Ctesiphon, and life will become very hard for the Palmyrene Empire.
 
Okay, I've looked into the period and figures a bit more thoroughley, and here's a summary of 265-300, superceding what I had previously:

Steven24gordon's suggested POD of the Battle of Naissus is the new POD, with Gallienus dying in battle. The remnant Roman Empire is divided over who should succeed him, with Aureolus racing to Rome to have himself crowned while the Illyrians raise Carus to the purple. The two forces fight each other to a draw, partly because they both have barbarian invasions to worry about (the Alammani in Italy and the Therving Goths in Thrace and Moesia). After a year of fruitless conflict Aureolus and Carus declare each other Co-Emperor. Aureolus then has a falling out with Heraclinus. Heraclinus flees to Carthage with his two main supporters, Marcus Aurelius Claudius (Claudius Gothicus) and Lucius Domitius Aurelianus (Aurelian). The Africans and Italians fight each other to a standstill as well, at which point Aureolus decides to cut his losses. Heraclinus, Postumus, and Zenobia are acknowledged as Caesar-level rulers, while the Goths and Alammani are granted foedorati status in Thrace and Rhaetia (respectively). Most of the Cisdanubian has to be abandoned, and the Suebi, Quadi, Marcomanni, and Iazyges move in.

In Illyria Carus and his sons die out and are replaced by Diocles, who proves able to keep the nation alive against barbarian raids. Zenobia passes on and is succeeded by Vaballathus. Chrocus dies in 306, and because the Alammani fall into infighting Rhaetia is conquered by Gaul. The Gallic Empire and Illyria ally with each other, first driving the Germans out of the Cisdanubian, and then Illyria invades Italy with Gallic help. Africa gets in on the act late and takes Sicily and South Italy. The Huns show up and begin doing their thing, driving the remaining Goths into Moesia and Thrace while the Vandals begin to cross the Danube (hastening the fall of the Suebi and such).

So, does this sound more plausible than before?
 
The big difference between the Roman Empire in the 3rd century and the Roman Empire in the 5th is how de-centralised the former is compared to the later. With a collapse earlier, we would not see a system collapse as we saw in the Western Empire towards the mid 5th century because in the 3rd century the centre is very weak. The aristocracy has not been broken in by the power of the state and local elites would become stronger in this ATL. Some cities would perish in the collapse but others would bounce back from the "breakdown" stronger than before. During the OTL 5th century collapse, outside actors (the Germans) took over the role of the imperial government. In the 3rd century, the barbarians are more disorganised and wouldn't be able to act in the same way as their 5th century counterparts. Thus, I believe (although I may be wrong) that if the Roman Empire was to collapse in the 3rd century then localized actors would take over the duties of the imperium. This would be interesting. Any thoughts?

As to whether you can have the Alamanni become the power behind the throne in a Roman-Italia&Africa splinter state? I would say: not at the moment. The Alamanni are very very disorganised at this stage. There are no kings strong enough to play the role that 5th century Germanic kings played. Obviously through their close contact with Rome institutions, the Alamanni would eventually evolve strong traditions of centralised leadership. But at the moment their "democratic" traditions stand in the way of this barbarian group playing imperial politics effectively. Moreover this barbarian “democracy” may prevent them from taking over the functions of the imperial state in areas they control. But then again, maybe I am wrong. Any thoughts?
 
Well, I'm going to post a revised version of the timeline, probably tomorrow. This time the POD will be in 267 and the post will run to 277. It will basically follow the outline I detailed in my previous post.
 
After thinking about the premise of your PoD and your last post (and doing a little reading on the Empire in the 3rd century), I have put together a short ATL of my own mine to assist with the creation of this epic TL series. I hope it helps.

268
Gallienus and Aurelian are killed while fighting the Goths (April) [the PoD]. Marcus Aurelius Claudius is proclaimed Emperor by the Illyrian legions. Gallienus’ cavalry commander Manius Acilius Aureolus refuses to recognise Claudius and rebels at Milan. As Claudius marches westward, Aureolus invites the Alamanni into Italia to help him against his rival. The two usurpers engage each other in a series of battles along the Po, but Claudius is unable to defeat Aureolus and retreats to Aquileia. Postumus recognises Aureolus as co-emperor: Roman Empire is divided between Postumus in Gaul and Aureolus in Italia. Upon hearing of the alliance with Postumus, Claudius’ own troops murder him in exchange for amnesty (November). The Alamanni break their alliance with Aureolus and raid northern Italy.



269
Postumus celebrates the tenth year of his reign, and rewards his troops with money donated by Aureolus.
The Goths attack several cities on the Black Sea coast, before entering the Aegean and besieging Thessalonica. The Heruli capture Athens. Aureolus concludes a treaty with the Alamanni so he can march east, giving the barbarians gold and hostages in exchange for peace. Aureolus manages to defeat the Goths near Pharalus but Dacia and the lands along the Danube are lost.
While at Corinth, Aureolus recognises Palmyrene control over Antioch, Egypt, parts of Asia Minor, and re-affirming Vaballathus’ titles dux Romanorum and corrector totius orientis (both sovereigns are depicted on double-headed coins at Alexandria and Antioch).






270
While at Sirmium, Aureolus dies of plague (January). The Senate proclaims Aureolus’ son Marianus emperor, but after a short reign (a few days to a month) he is killed by his own praetorian guard, who proclaimed the infamous soldier and general Vibius Passienus to the purple.
Sudden death of Postumus from natural causes (or poisoning), the legions in German Superior proclaim their commander Laelianus emperor but the Senate (established by Postumus) at Trier declare for Maximianus, one of Postumus’ fellow offices.
With the defences of Raetia weakened by the rebellion of the Germanic legions and Aureolus dead, the Alamanni break their treaty with Rome (again) and raid northern Italia (again). As pressure on the western Alpine frontier mounts, the Sarmatians, Iuthungi and Vandals invade. Verona, Salona and Bononia are sacked.



271
In January, Valerian initiates the construction of the walls of Rome, Athens, Milete, Nikaia, Pisaurum and Fanum. Dacia is evacuated, and the troops are pulled back to protect Macedonia. Passienus fights the Sarmatians, Alamanni, Iuthungi and Vandals in Italia, expelling them.
Laelianus is murdered by his own troops while besieging Colonia (Cologne) and his rebellion ends. Maximianus begins to pull back troops from the Lower Rhine.



272
The Alamanni besiege Milan, the city gates are reportedly opened by a Christian, and the barbarians despoil the city. Valerian begins a short-lived persecution against the Christians in Rome: public execution of the Bishop of Rome. Passienus defeats an Alamanni army a mile from the gates of the Eternal City, earning the title Germanicus Maximus.
Death of Shapur I, king of
Persia. He is succeeded by his son Hormizd I.



273
New Gothic raids into Macedonia defeated by Valerian’s new cavalry commander Tenagino Probus.
Maximianus I elevates his son Maximianus II to Caesar, breaking with
Passienus in Rome, the Gallic and Roman Empires once again at war.
Death of Hormizd I, king of
Persia. He is succeeded by his brother Bahram I. The death of the Persian king prompts Palmyra to invade by way of Armenia. Marching down the Tigris, the Palmyrenes under Zabdas defeat the armies of Bahram, and sack the Persian capital Ctesiphon. Bahram I commits suicide, Bahram II becomes King of Kings in Persia.



274
With Passienus’ armies weakened by constant warfare, Maximianus I invades and defeats Passienus near Milan. While Passienus surrenders to Maximianus, the legions at Rome refuse to submit and declare for Probus who had proclaimed himself Emperor at Thessalonica. Another battle is fought near Ticinum, and the pro-Probus legions are defeated at great cost. Maximianus I takes control of Italia.



275
Maximianus II is made co-emperor and given control of Africa, Italia and supposedly the Balkans, with his capital at Rome. Maximianus I returns to Trier to secure the Rhine against new Frankish assaults. Maximianus II (or his ministers) oversee the work of Passienus in pushing the barbarians back from northern Italia. A mint workers strike in Rome (supported by the senate) turns into an urban uprising (winter) and in the violence Maximianus II is killed. Upon hearing of the young Emperor’s death, soldiers in northern Italia abandoned their posts and marched to Rome and in five days of terrible bloodshed massacred the rebels and executed many of the senate.



276
Probus allies himself with Palmyra (war is declared between the Roman and Palmyrene Empires) and successfully defeats Goths invading Macedonia. Joint Roman-Palmyrene operations against barbarian pirates, the general Zabdas fights Goths in Cilicia and Heruli in Cappadocia. Food riots in Rome as Zenobia stops the gain shipments that supply the public dole. Maximianus II is murdered (June) by mutinous troops while fighting the Franks, Longiones and Alamanni in Gaul. He is succeeded for 66 days by the commander of the Rhine fleet Carausius who proclaims himself emperor in Cologne. Carausius successfully defends Trier from a Frankish assault but is assassinated while attending the theatre at Durocortorum (Rheims). For weeks after Carausius' death, there is no emperor, and Carausius' widow the augusta Claudia rules in her own right. Marcus Censorinus is then elected by the Senate at Trier to succeed Carausius.



277-9
Censorinus defeats the Alamanni and pushes them back across the Rhine. Censorinus settles Burgundians and Vandals in Raetia in exchange for an alliance against the Alamanni. Probus expels Sarmatians from Dalmatia, and grants the Goths and Heruli the right to settle in Moesia in exchange for peace. Palmyrene legions are defeated and their general Zabdas killed while suppressing an Isaurian rebellion. The Isaurians loot Ephesus, Magnesia and Smyrna.



280
The people of Lugdunum support the usurpation of Flavius Aurelius, but he is betrayed by his Frankish allies, handed over to Censorinus and executed. New food riots in Rome prompt the praefectus praetorio Trebellianus to declare himself Emperor with the backing of the senate.



281
Anti-Palmyrene usurpation of Numerius in Syria, probably to satisfy his troops, who however murder him before Zenobia can react.
Trebellianus concludes a treaty with the Alamanni against Censorinus. Governor of Autun revolts in favour of Trebellianus, who dispatches an army to aid the rebels but later recalls his troops after losing a few skirmishes against Censorinus.

282
While preparing for war with Persia, Vaballathus deposes his mother Zenobia for her supposed involvement in the rebellion of Numerius.
Joint Palmyrene and Armenian offensive against Persia, death of Bahram II. Palmyra strengthens her control over Mesopotamia.
Siege at Autun broken when Censorinus’ soldiers destroy the city’s adequate.
Riots over food shortages at Rome blossom into city-wide revolt, rebels take control of the Caelian Hill. Trebellianus’ troops end the insurrection and massacre 30,000 of the rebels.


283
Probus and his Gothic ally Berig defeat Sarmatians on the Danube: Gothic confederation under Berig begins to take shape in Moesia and northern Thracia.
The Alamanni break with Trebellianus and raid Gallia Cisalpina. Trebellianus breaks up a senatorial plot against him, senate purged.
Censorinus defeats the Quadi and other barbarians in Germania Superior. Franks granted the right to settle in Germania Inferior.



284
Increased pressure on the Rhine frontier, Censorinus begins to withdraw legions from Britannia: Saxon pirates intensify raids along British coast.
Mausaeus Carausius Sabinus revolts against Probus in Pannonia. Bastarnae invited into (and later granted settlement in) Pannonia in exchange for deposing of Sabinus.
Trebellianus is defeated by the Alamanni under their king Gunderic and is killed in an ambush. The Alamanni march into central Italia and besiege Rome. The wife of the murdered senator Cornelius Licinius Saloninus reportedly opens the gates to Gunderic. Sack of Rome.
 
Well, here is the revised start of the TL:


268
Gallienus and Aurelian are defeated and killed by the Goths at Naissus. Aureleos, having already declared himself Augustus the previous year, is confirmed in that role by the Senate. The Illyrian legions proclaim Marcus Aurelius Claudius Augustus in dispute of this. However, both men have barbarians to deal with (The Alamanni and Goths, respectively). Postumus, meanwhile, invades the province of Rhaetia and re-annexes it to Gaul. In the midst of all of this, Bishop Dionysius of Rome dies, the first such man to die a natural death.

269
Emperor Aureleos defeats the Alamanni at Florentia [Florence] and settles them in the Alpine regions of Cisalpine Gaul. Aureleos then meets with Dionysius's succesor Felix, who gans from him a garuantee that Gallienus's lenient policies with the Christians would continue. In Illyria, Claudius is able to defeat the Goths at Sirmium. They are too strong for him to dislodge, however, so he grants them land in Dacia and Moesia. Claudius then recognizes Vaballathus's suzerainty over Syria, Palestine, Cappadocia, and Egypt. Postumus elevates his own son, Postumus Minor, to the rank of Caesar.

270
With his flanks secure, Claudius invades Italy. Aureleos requests help from Postumus. The Gallic Emperor, in exchange for being recognized as co-Augustus, agrees. The two armies meet near Verona, with the forces loyal to Aureleos and Postumus defeating Claudius. Claudius makes plans to re-invade Italy, but dies of his wounds before the year is out, leaving Illyria to his brother Quintillus. Before Quintillus can do anything, an invasion of Suebi, Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians forces him to abandon Italy.

271
Inflation begins to run rampant in the Roman Empire. Because of the devaulement of payment, Quintillus is murdered by his own gaurds, who raise Marcus Numerius Carus to the purple. Aureleos begins construction of a new wall to defend Rome with.

272
Shapur I dies, and is succeeded by Hormizd I. Carus sees his domain is broken, and surrenders everything from Sirmium north to the Barbarians. Postumus, meanwhile, has Denis, Bishop of Lutetia, executed for "subversive teachings." Postumus would die with a month of Denis from food poisoning, though the Church would claim it was divine retribution. A power struggle develops between Postumus Minor and Victorianus. To secure her own power, Zenobia negotiates an alliance with Axum.
 
The way I see it, we have three or four separate Roman successor states forming at the moment: one in Gaul and Spain, one in Syria and Egypt under the Palmyra, one in Illyricum and Anatolia, and maybe one in Africa and Italia. Let us discuss them in turn:

A “Gallic” state could evolve as the Roman legions pull back from the Rhine. Germanic migrations will break down the traditional Germanic-Rhine frontier and the invading barbarians will settle in Germania Inferior, Belgica, Germania Superior and parts of Gallia Lugdunensis. The Gallic imperial government may even sanction this, trading land for peace in Northern France. The new defensive line could be the Lorraine although the military dynamics of this new Gallic state will be quite different from the old. Aquitania, Narbonensis, and Spain will probably escape the worst of the violence (although sea pirates and Moors will do some damage) and will lead the Roman recover (if there is one). Britannia could be nominally part of a Gallic Empire, but cut off from imperial support and beset by Saxon pirates it is doubtful whether the local Romanized elites there could hold-the-line.

The Palmyrenne successor state will be interesting as these guys have a good shot at conquering much of Arabia and that will certainly change history. This would also be a big boost for Hellenism in the East (although that was on the increase anyway) as the Arab lords at Palmyra like to be surrounded by Hellenic philosophers and poets. Then again one could ask how long a Palmyrenne state would last against the militant and elegiac Sassanids. Indeed, the Sassanids may conquer Palmyra along with Syria and Egypt, reversing the conquests of Alexander. Another interesting possibility would to have the reverse happen and have Palmyra seize Mesopotamia: in the 3rd century the Sassanid dynasty was still it in its infancy, if Palmyra dealt it some bad defeats their house could fall and Persia as a nation might splinter.

The Illyrian legions could hold parts of Greece and maintain Anatolia in a Roman successor state, especially if they could get the Isaurians on board. Palmyra will be distracted by wars against Persia and may allow or encourage a sister state to develop to her western border. On the other hand, the Illyrians will be under enormous pressures from a range of angles and wouldn’t have that many resources to call upon (although they will have the best fighting men in the Empire). Maybe their state will fall apart before its even gotten going. If it does then Macedonia and Greece will eventually go to the Goths while Anatolia will be divided up: Maybe Phrygia, Galatia and Bithynia fall to the Isaurians, Cilicia and maybe Lycia taken over by Palmyra and the Armenians may extend their authority to Pontus and Cappadocia.

Then there is Italia, with Raetia and Noricum overrun by barbarians, the Italian peninsula is probably going to be invaded again and again. Italy had been losing its importance as an imperial centre for awhile now and a collapse of central authority will probably reflect that. In the OTL 5th century collapse, Rome sold off its territories to various barbarian groups to preserve the centre. However, the ATL 3rd century collapse occurs when the empire is far more de-centralised and that stratagem is just not an option. The north (if not the whole) of the country will be devastated and may even acquire a large number of barbarian settlers. Moreover without the public dole the famous city of Rome will shrink in size and grandeur, and most of the Italian elite may flee to Africa. While some kind of Italian Roman successor state is certainly possible, given the dire straits of the times, such a state will be a shadow of its former self.

And what about Christianity? This religion was certainly growing during the 3rd century and it may become the sovereign religion of a successor state or two. Indeed, I once read a thread about Christianity becoming the state-religion of Persia as a result of Constantine not triumphing at the Milvian Bridge. But then again how unified is the 3rd century Christian community? During this volatile period, Christianity could be seen not so much as a single religion but as a collection of competing sects. Imagine a Docetist, Marcionist, Monarchianist or Montanist state? On the other hand, a lot of other religions were popular throughout the Empire in the 3rd century and Mithras, Sol Invictus or Isis could easily replace Christianity as the state-religion of choice in many parts of the Mediterranean. In terms of what happens to Europe, it might be interesting (and telling) to think about what happens in Africa, which is bound to become the intellectual heartland of the ATL Western Mediterranean (well as long as whoever is running Africa can keep the Moors at bay).
 
The way I see it, we have three or four separate Roman successor states forming at the moment: one in Gaul and Spain, one in Syria and Egypt under the Palmyra, one in Illyricum and Anatolia, and maybe one in Africa and Italia. Let us discuss them in turn:

A “Gallic” state could evolve as the Roman legions pull back from the Rhine. Germanic migrations will break down the traditional Germanic-Rhine frontier and the invading barbarians will settle in Germania Inferior, Belgica, Germania Superior and parts of Gallia Lugdunensis. The Gallic imperial government may even sanction this, trading land for peace in Northern France. The new defensive line could be the Lorraine although the military dynamics of this new Gallic state will be quite different from the old. Aquitania, Narbonensis, and Spain will probably escape the worst of the violence (although sea pirates and Moors will do some damage) and will lead the Roman recover (if there is one). Britannia could be nominally part of a Gallic Empire, but cut off from imperial support and beset by Saxon pirates it is doubtful whether the local Romanized elites there could hold-the-line.

The Palmyrenne successor state will be interesting as these guys have a good shot at conquering much of Arabia and that will certainly change history. This would also be a big boost for Hellenism in the East (although that was on the increase anyway) as the Arab lords at Palmyra like to be surrounded by Hellenic philosophers and poets. Then again one could ask how long a Palmyrenne state would last against the militant and elegiac Sassanids. Indeed, the Sassanids may conquer Palmyra along with Syria and Egypt, reversing the conquests of Alexander. Another interesting possibility would to have the reverse happen and have Palmyra seize Mesopotamia: in the 3rd century the Sassanid dynasty was still it in its infancy, if Palmyra dealt it some bad defeats their house could fall and Persia as a nation might splinter.

The Illyrian legions could hold parts of Greece and maintain Anatolia in a Roman successor state, especially if they could get the Isaurians on board. Palmyra will be distracted by wars against Persia and may allow or encourage a sister state to develop to her western border. On the other hand, the Illyrians will be under enormous pressures from a range of angles and wouldn’t have that many resources to call upon (although they will have the best fighting men in the Empire). Maybe their state will fall apart before its even gotten going. If it does then Macedonia and Greece will eventually go to the Goths while Anatolia will be divided up: Maybe Phrygia, Galatia and Bithynia fall to the Isaurians, Cilicia and maybe Lycia taken over by Palmyra and the Armenians may extend their authority to Pontus and Cappadocia.

Then there is Italia, with Raetia and Noricum overrun by barbarians, the Italian peninsula is probably going to be invaded again and again. Italy had been losing its importance as an imperial centre for awhile now and a collapse of central authority will probably reflect that. In the OTL 5th century collapse, Rome sold off its territories to various barbarian groups to preserve the centre. However, the ATL 3rd century collapse occurs when the empire is far more de-centralised and that stratagem is just not an option. The north (if not the whole) of the country will be devastated and may even acquire a large number of barbarian settlers. Moreover without the public dole the famous city of Rome will shrink in size and grandeur, and most of the Italian elite may flee to Africa. While some kind of Italian Roman successor state is certainly possible, given the dire straits of the times, such a state will be a shadow of its former self.

And what about Christianity? This religion was certainly growing during the 3rd century and it may become the sovereign religion of a successor state or two. Indeed, I once read a thread about Christianity becoming the state-religion of Persia as a result of Constantine not triumphing at the MilvianBridge. But then again how unified is the 3rd century Christian community? During this volatile period, Christianity could be seen not so much as a single religion but as a collection of competing sects. Imagine a Docetist, Marcionist, Monarchianist or Montanist state? On the other hand, a lot of other religions were popular throughout the Empire in the 3rd century and Mithras, Sol Invictus or Isis could easily replace Christianity as the state-religion of choice in many parts of the Mediterranean. In terms of what happens to Europe, it might be interesting (and telling) to think about what happens in Africa, which is bound to become the intellectual heartland of the ATL Western Mediterranean (well as long as whoever is running Africa can keep the Moors at bay).
I'll won't give away too much, but your correct on some accounts, and way off on others on the political spectrum.

As for religion, I don't see the Sassanids becoming Christians - one of their main points was a fanatical devotion to Zoroastrianism.

Anyway, the next three years are coming up in a few minutes.
 
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273
Carus, deciding he needs to regain the Orient in order to gain Rome, launches an invasion of Palmyra. Zenobia requests aid from Hormizd, only to find out he had died. His brother, Bahram I, has no interest in a stronger Rome, and agrees to help Palmyra. The combined Perseo-Palmyrene force crushes Carus at Mazaca, and again at Ancyra, where Carus and his son Numerius are killed.

Back in Palmyra, Zenobia recieves a delegation from India, and establishes several profitable trade deals. In Italy, Aureolos dies, and the Seante proclaims one of their own, Marcus Claudius Tacitus, as Emperor.

In Gaul, Victorianus defeats Postumus Minor at Cenabum [Orleans], which he renames "Victorianum" in his honor. News of this victory is marred, however, by news that Spain has risen up under Caius Pius Esuvius Tetricus.

274
Germanic Tribes, principally Franks and Burgundii, cross the Rhine to take advantage of the Gallic Civil War.

In Illyria, Carus's son Carinus is deposed by Marcus Aurelius Probus, who sues for peace with the Easterners. Everything East of the Halys River is to be surrendered to Persia and Palmyra, while everything west to the Aegean becomes an idependent Isaurian Kingdom, ruled by Bahram's brother Narseh.

In Rome, Bishop Felix I dies.

275
In Rome, Valentine succeds Felix as the 27th Bishop of Rome.

In Gaul, Victorianus claims to recieve a vision form the Unconquerable Sun, that he would rule over "Imperium Sine Fine." He then goes on to lead his legions to defeat Postumus Minor at Lutetia, the Franks at Remi, and Tetricus at Burdigala.

Palmyra begins to exert its power, conquering and dividing Meroetic Nubia with Axum.
 
Sorry about the shortness of the last post. The library I was using closed down for the night, so I had to leave. Here's everything up to 284:

276
In Persia, Bahram dies and is succeded by his son, Bahram II. One of his first actions is to begin a purge of the followers of Mani, many of whom flee to Isauria and Palmyra. Mani himself dies in prison.

In Gothia, two distinct groups of Goths have formed - the Visigoths, who live primarily in Moesia and North Thrace, and the Ostrogoths, who live in Dacia and Scythia. Missionaries belonging to the Marcionite branch of Christianity have begun moving among the Visigoths, bringing many converts to their faith.

In Gaul, Victorianus crushes the last opposition to his rule at Toletum, where he builds a shrine to Sol Invictus, making it the unofficial state religion of the Gallic Empire.

Also in this year, General Zabdas attempted to lead a coup against Zenobia and Vaballathus, but was killed before it came to pass.

277
In this year, Victorianus enacted many military and monetary reforms to stabilize the Gallic Empire. He also settled Frankish and Burgundian mercnaries in Spain and Gaul and moved the capital from Augusta Trevorum to his own city at Victorianum.

the Agri Decumentes are abandoned during this year, and the North Alamanni and Thuringii move in to take the Romans' place.

In Illyria, Probus begins construction of new defensive walls in Sirmium, Naissus, Salona, Athens, Byzantium, and Thessalonica.

278
The Vandals begin crossing the Danube, putting pressure on the Suebi and other Cisdanubian barbarians. At the same time, Alans begin moving into Ostrogoth territory.

In Gaul, Victorianus begins a purge of Christians for not following the Sol Invictine faith. Many flee to Britain, were Gaulish rule is lax, or Italy and Africa.

279
The Suebi move into Illyrian territory, where the are defeated by Probus. The defeat is quite brutal, and the Suebi, Quadi, and Marcomanni are largel subsumed into the Vandals. Beyond the Danube, the Rugians begin moving into territory abandoned by the Vandals.

King Narseh begins his own purge of Manicheans in Isauria. Many travel to Greece, and some even arrive in Africa.

280
Tacitus and his brother Florian are overthrown by a Ligurian named Proculus. Proculus is only half succesful, because the African legions raise Julius Saturninus to the purple.

Alans begin raiding Asia Minor, mcuh to the annoyance of Persia.

In Gaul, Bonosus attempts to overthrow Victorianus, but is promptly hung.

Meanwhile, the Palmyrenes begin a concerted campaign to bring Arabia Nabataea into their empire.

281
A naval battle between the Italians and Africans leads to heavy casualties on both sides, leaving Proculus and Saturninus at an impasse. Saturninus begins to consider an alliance with Probus.

In Arabia, the last holdouts fall to the Palmyrene forces. Vaballathus begins to take a stronger role in his own kingdom.

282
Probus agrees to Saturninus's proposal, and begins plans to invade Italia.

In Gaul, Victorinus I dies, and his succeeded by his son, Victorianus II. This time, no one disagrees.

Vaballathus reaches his majority, and "convinces" his mother to retire to Edessa.

283
Vaballathus assures Patriarch Theonas of Alexandria that his mother's policy of toleration for Christians will continue.

Probus and Saturninus launch joint invasions of Italia. Probus's foray is initially succesful, until he's ambushed by Chrocus and the Italian Alammani, whom Proculus had bribed with more land. Probus is killed in the ensuing battle.

In Southern Italia, Proculus and Saturninus fight each other to a standstill at Capua. Hearing of Probus's defeat, Saturninus decides to cut his losses, and retreats to Calabria.

In the Balkans, the Visigoths, taking advantage of the turmoil in Illyria, invade South Thrace.

284
After considerable turmoil, the Illyrians raise Diocles to the purple, partly due to the influence of his friend Maximian. He prompty makes peace with Proculus, and surrenders more of Thrace to the Goths, leaving only the coast and the area around Byzantium and Adrianople.

In Gaul, the Baguadae raise up in revolt, leading to a campaign against them by Victorianus II and his second-in-command, Carausius.

Saturninus also seeks peace with Proculus, gainign Sicilia and Calabria in exchange for recognizing Proculus as Augustus.
 
262
Gallienus diverts more troops to the east to defeat the Macriani, abandoning Rhaetia to Postumus. [3]
The Goths enter the Balkans, sack Byzantium, then move on to pillage Asia and Greece.
I thought Byzantium wasn't founded till the 300's, ? Isn't the Site 260's a little fishing village called Istanbul?
284
Increased pressure on the Rhine frontier, Censorinus begins to withdraw legions from Britannia: Saxon pirates intensify raids along British coast.
Britannia could be nominally part of a Gallic Empire, but cut off from imperial support and beset by Saxon pirates it is doubtful whether the local Romanized elites there could hold-the-line.
I looked at Euratlas 300 AD [ http://www.euratlas.com/travel_time/europe_north_west_0300.html ]
This is Not the Saxon nation of 500~600 -- The Saxones are nothing but a minor German tribe at this time.
While a few men may go Viking, It is nothing the much more organized Gauls or Britons, can't easily handle even if involved elsewhere.
 
I thought Byzantium wasn't founded till the 300's, ? Isn't the Site 260's a little fishing village called Istanbul?
No, it was definately founded before that, BC I'm pretty sure.

Edit: It was founded in 667 BC by Greeks.

Anyways, the TL is looking very interesting.
 
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