What would Europe be like if Rome fell to barbarian invasions without converting to Christianity

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by joeyanonymous, Aug 12, 2017 at 3:27 PM.

  1. joeyanonymous Well-Known Member

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    If the Romans hadn't converted to Christianity and remained polytheistic but still fell to barbarian invasions as in OTL, what would Europe be like afterwards?
    Additional details:Would more ancient knowledge get lost since there's no Catholic Church or monasteries to preserve Roman and Greek texts?
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017 at 3:57 PM
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  2. Alex Zetsu Well-Known Member

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    Europe would be Muslim? I don't know why, but Monotheistic religions tend to expand like weeds. Arguably Buddhism too
     
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  3. Minnesota_Nationalist (Not actually a Nationalist)

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    Would the Barabarians still have converted to Christianity?
     
  4. Lord High Executioner Is also the very model of a modern Major-General

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    WHY they didn't convert to Christianity would affect the answer.
     
  5. Mikestone8 Well-Known Member

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    Could be quite a different form of Christianity.

    It wouldn't automatically view Rome as its natural headquarters. Maybe spreading more via Iona or some TTL equivalent of it.
     
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  6. Alex Zetsu Well-Known Member

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    Then we just have Greek Orthodox Christianity, which is not what the OP asked for. He said they stayed Pagan
     
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  7. joeyanonymous Well-Known Member

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    No
     
  8. Tanc49 On Faraway Seas

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    Christianity was a force that kept civilization and culture going after the Vth century disintegration, no Christianity but still the external pressures due to barbarian migration would cause further, longer disintegration of Europe
     
  9. joeyanonymous Well-Known Member

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    Now that I think of it,yes it would. Perhaps because of butterflying away Emperor Constantine?
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017 at 4:14 PM
  10. Alex Zetsu Well-Known Member

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    Why can't a common polytheistic religion keep neighbors together?

    I'll admit in the Dark Ages, the Catholic Church was generally the one that kept record keeping alive and it offered hope for the masses that even if life sucks now, the afterlife would be awesome. It was to some extent the center of intellectuals in the 500s to 800s. But why can't another religion do that?
     
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  11. Fabius Maximus Unus qui nobis cunctando restituit rem

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    Probably because polytheistic religions aren't generally exclusive enough to provide a sufficient sense of shared unity. "We all worship the one true God, all others worship false gods" creates a pretty clear in-group; "There are lots of different gods, we just happen to worship these ones in this way" doesn't, or at least not to the same degree.
     
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  12. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    If Christianity doesn't become the dominant religion, Mithras or one of the Eastern Great Mother cults might well. Or a different variety of heretical Judaism.
    Less likely, Buddhism is what takes over.
    Whether the artificial 'Sol Invictus' could succeed is an interesting question. I'd put it down there with Buddhism as a low probability, but who knows.
     
  13. joeyanonymous Well-Known Member

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    Is Mithraism polytheistic?
     
  14. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    I don't think ANY polytheistic religion will succeed. The only one that really did iOTL was Hinduism, which had hundreds of years to compete with the brand new Buddhism, and was able to transform itself.
     
  15. Analytical Engine Monarchist Collectivist Federalist

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    A lot of polytheistic religion "succeeded" in surviving for hundreds, even thousands of years.

    There are still plenty of them around - Hinduism being the most popular.
     
  16. Lalli Well-Known Member

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    POD is so early that Islam would butterfly away.

    One reason why there wouldn't be Christian Rome might be that Christianity never formed or it was strangled to its cradle.

    And there is not any reason to assume that polytheism can't survive. Polytheism has survive in India several millenia and even Roman Polytheism has been exist very long.
     
  17. Alex Zetsu Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough, but since he said "didn't convert to Christianity" it seems that the POD is post Christ, around the type Christians ere considered a subtype of Jews,

    That didn't last 1,000 years. Roman Catholic and all the "old" monotheistic ones did and I bet Protestant will survive 1000 years, under the assumption humans are around 2520s.

    I'll grand you this point.
     
  18. darthfanta Offline

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    What led to the barbarian kings converting was that they get legitimacy from their subjects for doing so.The barbarians were greatly outnumbered by their Roman subjects.Another thing is that barbarian kings getting the support of the church increases their authority amongst subordinate rulers.
     
  19. Practical Lobster scuttling across the floors of silent seas Donor

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    I remain skeptical of the oft-asserted claim that "monotheism wins, polytheism fails" - religions are generally always in a state of evolution and flux. Christianity filled a void in the social and religious world of late antiquity, but that void could have been filled by any number of things. In the absence of Christianity - say a no Jesus or a less successful Jesus PoD, the "winner" of Rome's heart and soul won't just be the next monotheistic faith to show up but rather the first faith that manages to successfully make religious experience more personal and more individually meaningful.

    Still, no reason there has to be one winner. I rather like the idea of a blur of competing cults and divinities. Isis and Serapis remain a typically under-considered duo, to say nothing of the fact that certain late Hellenistic ideas of god rather sound like the kinds of things that certain Hindu schools might develop. I wonder if we couldn't have a world where all Gods were aspects of a single prime divinity.

    The key was to move past ritual and the regulated order of late antiquity paganism into something more personal and more moving. I think paganism could do that and indeed there was every indication it was moving in the right direction before Christianity superseded it. In uncertain times people want to feel safe. People like feeling like they're part of a big cosmic battle or some sort of struggle that's bigger than themselves. If a nonchristian faith can provide these things, then Christianity becomes less necessary and indeed less likely to triumph.
     
  20. Indicus Raianus Indicorum

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    A myth. Monotheism isn't some sort of airborne virus that spreads everywhere despite all attempts to contain it, it just got lucky.