The Justinian plague never happens

The Justinian plaque, in the sixth century, devastated mostly eastern Mediterranean and, by then, charted world to the east and south, but spared most of continental Europe. North Africa was the putative origin of the outbreak. The plague had a great effect on the Roman Empire. For one, it coincided with the Gothic and subsequent Germanic invasions directed at both the Eastern and Western Empire. Emperor Justinian did all he could to stop the plague in its moving west and north. Partially his efforts may have been successful if one considers the comparison with the outbreak that would devastate Europe 8 centuries later, yet, it seems, it was the decisive blow to the Western Empire -- the plague coupled with barbaric invasions. The plans to unite the Western and Eastern Empire were never realized and the control over the rest of the Roman Europe shrunk effectively to the Italian South. Another downside was the spread of Islam to Spain and its attempts to conquer more.
Which way the European history would go if this plague never happened? There still were the Germanic invasions the Romans had to recon with and Hunnish residues, and Avars and Bulgars who controlled lands right next to Byzantium. Can't forget well organized and aggressive Islamic expansions.
 

Germaniac

Donor
The Justinian plaque, in the sixth century, devastated mostly eastern Mediterranean and, by then, charted world to the east and south, but spared most of continental Europe.
North Africa was the putative origin of the outbreak. The plague had a great effect on the Roman Empire. For one, it coincided with the Gothic and subsequent Germanic invasions directed at both the Eastern and Western Empire.
No it did not, the Gothic kingdoms were already established at this point as well as the vandal kingdom. The invasions were hundreds of years before.

Emperor Justinian did all he could to stop the plague in its moving west and north. Partially his efforts may have been successful if one considers the comparison with the outbreak that would devastate Europe 8 centuries later, yet, it seems, it was the decisive blow to the Western Empire -- the plague coupled with barbaric invasions.
The plague did not effect the western empire as much because the western empire no longer existed. Justinian did attempt to slow the spread but the empire was based on trade, so spread was inevitable. Finally the barbarian invasions are a thing of the past, the barbarians are at least somewhat "civilized" as of now, they have nations which rival the Eastern Empire.
The plans to unite the Western and Eastern Empire were never realized and the control over the rest of the Roman Europe shrunk effectively to the Italian South. Another downside was the spread of Islam to Spain and its attempts to conquer more.
Justinian was a very troubled man. He was always afraid he would loose control. His greatest mistake, or his most unfortunate need, was getting rid of Belisarius. His expertise was one of the reasons the campaign stagnated when it did, along with a quarter of the population gone. And what is so wrong with Southern Spain under Islamic control, without it we would have lost centuries of knowledge lost the the antics of the Roman Catholic Church.

Which way the European history would go if this plague never happened? There still were the Germanic invasions the Romans had to recon with and Hunnish residues, and Avars and Bulgars who controlled lands right next to Byzantium. Can't forget well organized and aggressive Islamic expansions.
Well for one the Eastern Empire would have 25% larger population and Greece would not have lost its population base. Constantinople would remain the largest population in the world for a lot longer, possibly forever, the Western Empire would likely be reestablished under Justinian as Emperor however he would most likely name someone to handle the western Empire as it wasn't as profitable as the eastern Empire. The Germanic invasions were over. The Bulgars, facing a more stable and larger populated Byzantine empire would most likely be vassalized. Avars would also face a unified empire capable of fending them off. As for Islam, with the Eastern Empire a solid block the muslims will likely not breakthrough. The Muslims will turn east against a weak Sassanid empire. Expansion into central asia and India on onward.
 
No it did not, the Gothic kingdoms were already established at this point as well as the vandal kingdom. The invasions were hundreds of years before.
Not hundreds. The plague came pretty much after Germanic invasions. There is not much to find in historical accounts that can divide both events. Besides, you have forgotten Lombards, who settled in Italy after the plague, and they were the last nail to the Roman coffin. The Islamic invasions also happened when the plague was over.

The Western Empire didn't exist anymore on paper, but Justinian never forgot it, thus his attempts to piece the whole together.
 

Germaniac

Donor
The Lombards took over after the Eastern empire realized it was overextended and couldn't hold onto Italy (Due to the plague or at least partly due to it)> I explained the Arab Invasions. And the Western Empire in no way existed, Justinian wanted to reestablish it.
 
Not hundreds. The plague came pretty much after Germanic invasions. There is not much to find in historical accounts that can divide both events. Besides, you have forgotten Lombards, who settled in Italy after the plague, and they were the last nail to the Roman coffin. The Islamic invasions also happened when the plague was over.

The Western Empire didn't exist anymore on paper, but Justinian never forgot it, thus his attempts to piece the whole together.
An abreviated timeline:

-300-500 CE: Principal Germanic Migration to the western Roman Empire*

-476 CE: Fall of the Western Roman Empire**

-541-1 CE: Justinian Plague

-568 CE: Lombards invade Northern Italy

-632 CE: Death of Muhammed, beginning of the Rashidun Caliphate and the Muslim Conquests***

You seem to be mistaken, to say the least.

And on the note of the Western Roman Empire, you got it backwards; it never ceased to exist; the Byzantines would continue to claim the title until the death of Constantine, and the Ottomans and Russians both claimed the title of Emperor of the Romans.**** And that ignores the fact that the fall of the western empire is something of a misnomer; as I note below, the traditional date is debatable because, among other things, Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus in the name of another claimant to the western empire, Julius Nepos.

To be perfectly honest, the only information in your post that seems to be entirely correct is that the Lombards settled Italy after the plague.

* A simplification, to be sure, but it gives you a general idea of when the Germanic people entered what was the roman empire.

** Again, something of a simplification, but it is the traditional date and, for our purposes, sufficient.

*** Though technically the actual expansion took another year or so to start.
 
In addition to what everyone else has stated here, there are already several past discussion threads related to this subject.

https://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=130738&highlight=Yellow+Plague

https://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=115642&highlight=Yellow+Plague

https://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=31674&highlight=Yellow+Plague

A review of these threads will yield some interesting discussion points, if anyone is interested in such.
 
And on the note of the Western Roman Empire, you got it backwards; it never ceased to exist; the Byzantines would continue to claim the title until the death of Constantine, and the Ottomans and Russians both claimed the title of Emperor of the Romans.**** And that ignores the fact that the fall of the western empire is something of a misnomer; as I note below, the traditional date is debatable because, among other things, Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus in the name of another claimant to the western empire, Julius Nepos.
I am not sure if you realize that we are talking here the Yellow Plague/the Plague of Justinian, not the Black Plague. There were no Ottomans in Byzantium yet, no Russian state to claim the title. With the Western Empire you may be somewhat right. It may have been the prime military target for Byzantium. There were however opponents who also wanted to claim the country: East Germanic tribes, who already controlled Italy, Arabs and Lombards, but the greatest challenge would eventually come in the form of Franks.
 
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There were however opponents who also wanted to claim the country: Easter Germanics, who already controlled Italy...
Yes, the Easter Germanics were a menace...hopping about in their furry bunny suits, leaving colored eggs all over the Roman Empire.;)
 
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Philip

Donor
One thing of note: Prior to the Plague of Justinian, Non-Chalcedonian Christianity was on the decline in the East. Partly this was due to Justinian's practices, partly due to a split in the Non-Chalcedonian party, and partly due to 'forced indifference' (probably not best term). It made a surprising recovery during the plague with the support of Empress Theodora, the election of Jacobus Baradaeus, and Justinian himself contracting the plague.

Without the plague, it is possible (not necessarily likely) that the two halves of the Eastern Church could move towards each other while drifting further from the West.
 
I fail to notice how the plague helped to bridge Chalcedonian Christianity given that the Eastern Empire must have become politically, and not only, isolated from the West and from the rest of Europe. Mind you the plague was restricted, or so the accounts tell, from the rest of Europe. This very isolation of Byzantium was one of the reasons Justinian failed to regain control over the lost Italy, yet Chalcedonian Christianity came to unite Byzantium with Rome and the Frankish zone.

There are, though sparse, accounts that the plague reached further than the eastern Mediterranean and was in fact pandemic in Europe. In Britain, it had a ruining impact on the British. It must have arrived there from the Continent. I can’t see how the Continent stayed unaffected while Britain didn’t.
 

Philip

Donor
I fail to notice how the plague helped to bridge Chalcedonian Christianity given that the Eastern Empire must have become politically, and not only, isolated from the West and from the rest of Europe.
The Plague may have allowed for a resurgence of non-Chalcedonian Christianity. It ended the drift that had been bring the two sides together.

Mind you the plague was restricted, or so the accounts tell, from the rest of Europe.
Surely you jest. The plague continued to move back and forth across Europe for the next 200 years. Some estimates have gone as high as 50% population loss in Europe. There is even good evidence that it was the Plague of Justinian spreading to Britain that finally gave the Saxons the upper hand.

This very isolation of Byzantium was one of the reasons

The isolation? Are you sure it didn't have to do with the great depopulation of the Eastern Empire and its associated loss of revenue? Or perhaps the fact the Constantinople was fight a war on at least two fronts

Justinian failed to regain control over the lost Italy,
Huh? Who did the Lombards defeat to take control of Italy?

yet Chalcedonian Christianity came to unite Byzantium with Rome and the Frankish zone.
Yes, as non-Chalcedonian Christianity regained its strength, Justinian and his successors more strongly favored Chalcedonian Christianity because that the was the faith of Rome's core territories.

There are, though sparse, accounts that the plague reached further than the eastern Mediterranean and was in fact pandemic in Europe. In Britain, it had a ruining impact on the British. It must have arrived there from the Continent. I can’t see how the Continent stayed unaffected while Britain didn’t.
Kind of contradicts what you said above, doesn't it?
 
I am not sure if you realize that we are talking here the Yellow Plague/the Plague of Justinian, not the Black Plague. There were no Ottomans in Byzantium yet, no Russian state to claim the title. With the Western Empire you may be somewhat right. It may have been the prime military target for Byzantium. There were however opponents who also wanted to claim the country: East Germanic tribes, who already controlled Italy, Arabs and Lombards, but the greatest challenge would eventually come in the form of Franks.
yes, I realize that we are describing Justinian's plague. For one thing, I specifically mentioned it on that little timeline. I don't know why you thought I was talking about the black death.

The point I was trying to make is that you were mistaken about the roman empire's fall, for two main reasons. The first of those was that the events that you cited as helping to bring that end about the collapse of the roman empire in the west (the Lombard invasion, the justinian plague, the arabs) all happened significantly after the generally cited end of the roman empire in the west. The second reason is that, technically, the roman empire in the west never ceased to exist, contrary to what you seem to believe. though their posessions were generally confined to the eastern portions of the old empire, the Byzantines were theoretically the legitimate successors to the emperors of the west (there are probably a few germanic ruler who also claimed the title whom I am forgetting at this moment.). I realize as well that the Ottomans and the Russians did not exist in anything much resembling the form that they would centuries later; they were brought in to continue the point of the claimed descent of the roman empire. Their claims may not have meant anything, but they did exist.
 
The Plague may have allowed for a resurgence of non-Chalcedonian Christianity. It ended the drift that had been bring the two sides together.
[FONT=&quot]It may have briefly allowed, but you must notice that Justinian landed in Italy and took over. One of his goals was to reestablish Trinity and that is what he partially did. [/FONT]
Surely you jest. The plague continued to move back and forth across Europe for the next 200 years. Some estimates have gone as high as 50% population loss in Europe. There is even good evidence that it was the Plague of Justinian spreading to Britain that finally gave the Saxons the upper hand.
[FONT=&quot]
[/FONT][FONT=&quot]It continued to rise and subside but there are no archeological digs of grave sites that can be ascribed to the plague and to the time window we are talking about. There are no excavations even from Britain, though loads of accounts. Plenty of accounts too from the eastern med, but in continental Europe the scarcity of reports is surprising. Coastal routes and inland waterways were the primary channels -- it could be why it hit Britain more than the continent. On the continent major cities never saw the plaque. There is no timeline, no endemic death estimates for the Justinian plague, save for the byzantine Europe where the account is vast and precise.[/FONT]
Huh? Who did the Lombards defeat to take control of Italy?
[FONT=&quot]
Lombards were not Byzantines, though they would help Justinian, post mortem, to establish Chalcedonian Christianity in Italy.
[/FONT]
Yes, as non-Chalcedonian Christianity regained its strength, Justinian and his successors more strongly favored Chalcedonian Christianity because that the was the faith of Rome's core territories.
well, it was the faith that took off in the Eastern Empire. Justinian favored this faith because it was the faith of the empire of which he had become Emperor. Trinity itself had traveled in one form and another to the West, but to call it the core faith of Rome is an exaggeration. There were political unions through Western Europe that translated to military unions, but Christianity itself, not to mention its various derivatives were too young to offer a historical bond.
 
The point I was trying to make is that you were mistaken about the roman empire's fall, for two main reasons. The first of those was that the events that you cited as helping to bring that end about the collapse of the roman empire in the west (the Lombard invasion, the justinian plague, the arabs) all happened significantly after the generally cited end of the roman empire in the west.
about Goths. they arrived before but not hundreds years before. there is a gap much shorter than that,some xx years of empty time line, and there is nothing to patch it up with. Notice that Justinian fought most of his life against these Goths and against Arianism. Lombards came later but here is Justinian's laborious work of pushing the wheel of Trinity westward realized, thanks to the Lombard's. All these events are weaved together and show logical continuity. You have to consider also that our formal TL may not be accurately calibrated with events missing, names misspelled and altered.


I realize as well that the Ottomans and the Russians did not exist in anything much resembling the form that they would centuries later; they were brought in to continue the point of the claimed descent of the roman empire. Their claims may not have meant anything, but they did exist.
Are there any accounts of Turks penetrating in one form or another the Eastern Empire, within the time frame we are talking, around the Justinian plague.
 
And what is so wrong with Southern Spain under Islamic control, without it we would have lost centuries of knowledge lost the the antics of the Roman Catholic Church.
You've got to be kidding. If your 'history' books are authored by a guy named Dan Brown, you may want to reconsider.
 
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