What if Rome focuses more to the east?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Rèxīn, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. Rèxīn Member

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    Playing PDX games and lurking here made me more interested in history, particularly the antiquity and middle ages. Rome surviving longer what ifs have been done to death and here is one with several crude questions, so apologies in advance.

    My first question is a Roman Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Yemen plausible? Not just as client states but as Roman provinces having some sort of Roman identity and relating with proper "Romanness".

    What PODs would make this possible? Also if this ATL Rome focuses more to the east, would it lose or not take territory in the west? Say Britain or Gaul?

    Say these regions become integrated in the empire during the principate, how would this affect the survival of the (Eastern?) Roman Empire? Considering these regions have access to the silk road.
     
  2. A Most Sovereign Lady Princess of the Kingdom of Maryland

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    Roman Sudan is plausible, they indirectly influenced the Nubian kingdoms and even warred with one after the conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt. Augustus himself campaigned in the Arabian peninsula; but IIRC it didn't go that well. Ethiopia I don't think is within the realm of possibility; to say nothing of Somalia. But that's an opinion.

    As to divergences, dunno. As to taking/losing western things, Gaul was an intrinsic part of the Republic and later Empire, there's no reason that it would lose it outside of 'on schedule' (the 5th century). Not taking Britain wouldn't make much sense, since they invaded it for industry reasons (British lumber, specifically); and concentrating on the albeit metal rich but otherwise resource poor deserts of sub-Saharan Africa and Arabia won't scratch the itch for strong wood.

    If Rome conquers and keeps Arabia you just saved the Eastern Roman and Sassanid Empires, congratulations. You also possibly made them a bit richer.
     
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  3. Albert.Nik Transhumanist,Aspiring Metaphysicist Banned

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    Possible. Have Rome give up Dacia,Germania,Eastern Gaul which werent very rich and hence friction with the Germanic people is reduced though it would exist. Have them with only France and Hispania to the West if Italia. This would help them focus on the East and South. They could conquer Sudan and Romanize it and the entire Arabia too with South of Arabia quite rich. Ethiopia could be possible. Persia was very strong for Rome to single handedly takeover. They did try Arabia Felix though during Augustus. But they were cheated by some Nabetian who misled them into a land of deserts near today's Mecca or Medina and hence all their soldiers and supplies came into the red and had to return to Alexandria back. This is what I read somewhere.
     
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  4. OurSacredWar Meri of Ethiopia

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    In regards to Roman provinces in the Horn of Africa, what might they look like in the aftermath of a Roman collapse?
     
  5. Albert.Nik Transhumanist,Aspiring Metaphysicist Banned

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    Probably with a lot of Roman influence and settlement,Rome actually outlives in these regions as it did in the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of WRE.
     
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  6. OurSacredWar Meri of Ethiopia

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    How long would they manage to last without the assistance of the Roman motherland?
     
  7. Albert.Nik Transhumanist,Aspiring Metaphysicist Banned

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    In my opinion,these could become like the Eastern Roman Empire which lost Rome in 476 CE but managed with its own Rome in Byzantium. In this case,you would have a large Roman settlement in Sudan and Ethiopia along with Egypt as these provinces are quite rich. You could have an another Rome somewhere along the Nile or something. That would help them live as an SRE. Would be interesting.
     
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  8. OurSacredWar Meri of Ethiopia

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    Perhaps they attempt to proclaim themselves the location of a "Third Rome" similarly to various other countries at the time - I'm particularly interested in how these East African states would deal with the spread of Islam nearby.
     
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  9. A Most Sovereign Lady Princess of the Kingdom of Maryland

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    If Arabia is sufficiently Romanized the question becomes "What is Islam?". Especially as its poised to become an integral part of the ERE later on once/if that happens.
     
  10. OurSacredWar Meri of Ethiopia

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    How much of Arabia would the Romans be able to take beyond Himyar/Yemen?
     
  11. SeaCambrian Alien Space Bat

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    A Romanization of Arabia would be extremely difficult. The only feasible way I could think of would be for a new age of desert monasticism causing thousands of monks and nuns to proselytize to the Pre-Islamic Arabs and dotting permanent abbeys supported by aqueducts across the peninsula. Christianized Arabs continue it further south. This itself probably wouldn't complete the Romanization, there would have to also be an invasion of Roman Egypt and Syria from the west or something to cause an internal migration. Then Hellenistic Aramaeans, Arabs, Copts, and Nabataeans would migrate in larger numbers into other quarters of Arabia gradually spreading Roman identity. Ultimately they would be Arabized too but could be theoretically Roman like Bulgarians or Armenians during the middle Byzantine period.
     
  12. Albert.Nik Transhumanist,Aspiring Metaphysicist Banned

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    IMO,this part of the Roman Empire being incredibly rich would attract a lot of Latin,Celtic and Romanized Germanic settlers who would come and exploit the Nile for good food yields and the Mineral mines in the region hence giving then a large chunk of the population in the lands South of Egypt. Hence you would have this part more Latin dominated. In an alternate Partition here,WRE gets Mainland Europe till Croatia,ERE gets Balkans and lands till the Northern Levant,Southern Roman Empire would get North Africa,Egypt,Sudan and Ethiopia. SRE will become the breadbasket and for the other two. Two Latin Empires and one Greek Empire we would have.
    Totally unrecognizable. More Roman and Greek Pagan influence than Arab Pagan,Christian and Jewish influence as OTL.
    Himyar would be the center. Beyond that not much but the Hijaz could become a trade route province and of course,Northern Arabia. Oman could also be used as a trading province with India and East Asia.
     
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  13. Rèxīn Member

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    Are trees growing in Britain any different and more abundant in Gaul? I ask because it really seems like Britain doesn't offer much compared to other regions of the empire, especially compared to the east. I feel like the only reason the Romans conquered Britain was because it's just there.

    Off-topic but I would imagine that the Romans and Sassanids (or whichever Persian dynasty) will probably be at war against each other, much like OTL, only this time there will be no Arabs to defeat both. I speculate that the Persians will probably lose these wars of attrition (if Rome have the regions mentioned) and be replaced by another dynasty. Maybe even replaced by a foreign one from the steppes.

    It would be interesting what religion Persia would have. Zoroastrian? An Indian religion maybe Buddhist? Maybe even Christian if the Romans really crucified Jesus.
     
  14. A Most Sovereign Lady Princess of the Kingdom of Maryland

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    Availability.

    There's no reason to assume the Arabian peoples would just up and vanish, at most they'd speak different languages and have a different god(s) over time.
     
  15. Daedalus Well-Known Member

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    Nubia is definitely reasonable as a conquest, but to what extent of it? Through Makuria (Lower Nubia) or up to Alodia(Upper Nubia)? They were able to push up quite a bit, though communications through the cataracts will make it difficult. If they take Alodia, at that point they will have borders with Aksum. Aksum could be a vassal state, way too far to effectively control outside of maybe the coasts. The same can be said about Arabia, with Hejaz and Yemen being the most valuable areas of the peninsula. But control of these requires a larger Red Sea navy, and they don't have many big ports on the Red Sea aside from Clysma(Suez), Myos Hormos(near Al-Quasair), Berenice Troglodytica, and Aelana (Aqaba, Jordan). They did lend some vessels to help the Axumites defeat Himyar, so it is plausible they might use those vessels instead to secure Yemen for themselves.

    As for the rest of Arabia, the only other area I think could see some Romanizing is the Bahrain region had they held Mesopotamia longer (which is in of itself a feat that requires more explanation and butterflies). Taking the Persian Gulf could see some competition for Indian Ocean dominance. And from there, maaaybe taking the souther Arabian coast from the Gulf to Yemen, but again, only if they decide to take the Gulf at all.
     
  16. Rèxīn Member

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    Interesting. What would be the capital of this SRE? Alexandria? Aksum? If ever the SR emperor also wants to expand, the only way is south unless he wants to risk war against the other emperor/s. And if Rome splits into west,east, and south? We get Romance of the Three Empires.

    Forgive that last part, it was uneducated rambling. Cheers!
     
  17. Albert.Nik Transhumanist,Aspiring Metaphysicist Banned

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    However,after some time,these wouldn't be Roman Empires anymore. They could be a greater Eurosphere,ethnically and culturally but the three would become different Empires but cherish their Roman ancestry and how they came from a small city state in 753 BCE. The two on the East could get a more of a Slavic,Scythian,Caucasian with some Turkic and East(some North) Germanic character by language and DNA and the one on the West would get a West or North Germanic character who would assimilate the aspects of the previous Roman,Egyptian and Semitic Cultures. Europe would be Huge and would have two lake(Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea) and one river. Beyond Gaul and Britain,Germanic,Slavic and Finnic character rules as a whole. Northern Balkans would have a large Hungarian presence who would be very close and friendly with these.
    Arabs wont vanish. They would speak a different dialect with a lot of Indo-European Centum and Satem(from Slavic and Iranian) influence,have a different religion and could look somewhat different and a bit closer to Southern and Central Europeans.
    Very relevant. IMO,Nubia would be an easy conquest and eventually after they pile up wealth and population settler base,could venture into the Himyar and Ethiopia. All this would be very different from OTL Rome though.
     
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  18. Albert.Nik Transhumanist,Aspiring Metaphysicist Banned

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    These would be rich enough and powerful too. Hopefully,the three Empires would share good relations. Southern Expansion isnt too hard except for the possibility of tropical infections(can they find a way around?). Whichever Roman/Germanic/Slavic/Greek,etc emperor rules the Southern Empire as I said in my previous post would need to build a large wealth and settler base to expand south which they potentially could but would be hard and the possibility of infection. If they could industrialize with this abundant capital and then expand,it could be successful. As I said,except for a cherished heritage,this wouldnt be the Roman Empire anymore.
     
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  19. Optical_Illusion Well-Known Member

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    Don't disagree but I would emphasize Britain is not necessarily totally a story about an empire seeking resources, and arguably seems more about crushing incipiently threatening armies and the value of the glory of conquest itself to personal ambition.

    Just generally, there are clearly wealth (in materials, people as slaves) that the Romans found that they could use in the west, but a lot of these conquests are also very much about taking over people who were a threat to them.

    As a general comment, before we know of Roman expansion, we have invasions and movements of people going back and forth between the Mediterranean west and central and northwest Europe, so you know, it's not like Rome was sitting there impregnable and in isolation and part of a separate "Mediterranean sphere" and getting entangled in regions to the west and northwest was unprecedented and a kind of odd thing. Rome (or Italy generally) is just kind of in the overlap in all these spheres in ways that probably make sense for expansion across all of them, if anyone is going to do it.