WI: a "Byzantine Empire" post Alexander's death

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by John I of Brazil, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. John I of Brazil Well-Known Member

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    Well, let me explain this premise: what if, after Alexander the Great died and his empire was devided, one of its generals (or a descendant of one) was able to conquer the western/mediterranean part of Alex's empire (Greece, Anatolia, the Levant and Egypt), thus creating an empire with similar borders to the (perhaps butterflied) Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire. What hellenic dynasty could do it (i would think one ptolomy)? How strong could this empire be?
     
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  2. Captain Jack Hobbes Was Right

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    There are a lot of ways to achieve this.

    The earliest, and probably the best, is having a successful Antigonus. At the end, he controlled Anatolia, Syria, the Levant, and parts of Greece under his son Demetrius who was actively engaged with Cassander (and in suppressing rebellious Greek cities IIRC) in Greece up until Lysimachus, Seleuchus and Ptolemy attacked. Plus, Antigonus had attempted to conquer Egypt but failed to defeat Ptolemy in his invasion. So, just have Antigonus successfully defeat Cassander and Lysimachus, not a huge ask IMHO, and have him either succeed in his intial attack on Egypt or have him return after having subdued Macedonia and stalemated Seleuchus. Presto, a Diadochi "Byzantine empire".

    Ptolemaic Egypt would maybe seem to be a natural choice for this, but I'm not so sure. IOTL they never seemed especially inclined to conquer regions beyond Egypt. Their conquests in the Aegean/Anatolia and Cyprus seem to have been more about strategic positioning against the Seleucids than outright conquest. Admittedly, this may have rather a lot to do with the incessant waring with the Seleucids in Syria.
     
  3. Albert.Nik Transhumanist,Aspiring Metaphysicist Banned

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    Byzantine Empire as much as it is said as a Greek Empire is a successor to the Roman Empire,not Ancient Greece. They called themselves Romanos or something so that should be evident. Alexander's empire was structurally different but yet,you could have an empire that rules the territory of the Byzantine Empire OTL. It would need stronger Greek hold and a larger than OTL settlement on the Levant and Egypt. Not impossible but I doubt such an empire would be unified as Ancient Greece at that time was one disunited place.
     
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  4. TyranicusMaximus Irrational Statist

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    The Ptolemies had ambitions towards consolidating Syria and Cilicia and moving into Mesopotamia. I do think they're not likely to fit the challenge because control over parts of Anatolia seems to have been for strategic reasons, they never really found central Anatolia particularly tempting whereas the Antigonids and Seleucids did.
     
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  5. Sertorius126 Badass guerrilla fighter

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    Although Ptolemy did try to conquer Greece, and possibly Macedonia, in 308.
     
  6. jocay Well-Known Member

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    A successful Antigonus would be your best bet for this given that he ruled Asia Minor and the Levant. Have the pivotal Battle of Ipsus end with all of the anti-Antignous coalition's leaders (Seleucus, Lysimachus and Antipater) killed in battle and let Antignous and his son Demetrius split their attention to Greece and Egypt and you'd have an empire with borders similar to the Eastern Roman Empire and its capital in Antigonia in Syria.
     
  7. John I of Brazil Well-Known Member

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    I liked this scenario. There would probably be conflicts between this empire and the Seleucids, but if this empire remained stable, it could maintain a hegemony in the Mediterranean in a manner similar to what the Roman Empire would do in the future. I wonder how the interactions between this Greek/Neo-Macedonian/Antigonian Empire and the Romans and Carthaginians would be.
     
  8. Grey Wolf Writer, Poet, Publisher, Cat-sitter Gone Fishin'

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    Could you do this with a combination of Antiochus III and IV, if they drove off Roman interference?
     
  9. stevej713 Well-Known Member

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    If Seleucus is killed at Ipsus, there are no Seleucids. Antigonus would probably gain Mesopotamia and nominal suzerainty over the Eastern Satraps as he did before, but in the long run the Antigonids would content themselves with Mesopotamia. The real problem starts with Rome, which had just finished the Second Samnite War by the time of Ipsus. If Pyrrhus stays allied to the Antigonids, the Greek invasion of Italy might be large enough to overwhelm the Romans. But if Pyrrhus betrays the Antigonids as IOTL, the Pyrrhic War might not even happen, giving Rome quicker control over Southern Italy.
     
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  10. Practical Lobster scuttling across the floors of silent seas

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    I think that some of Antigonos' decisions somewhat conflict with the notion that he didn't want to maintain Persia and the Upper Satrapies as part of his empire. Diodoros reports Antigoneia on the Orontes was founded specifically because it could serve as a gateway to the Upper Satrapies as well as Syria and Egypt. During his eastern anabasis in 315-317, he was definitely interested in replacing local rulers with his loyalists - and if those loyalists were given autonomy, well that is just a general Persian practice and sensible when you hold a huge land empire.

    While some have suggested that he was disinterested in the upper satrapies, and I agree there is evidence of that, I think it's more likely that Antigonos was a political realist. There was always too much going on to focus on the East totally. When he removed the treasuries of Ekbatana and Susa to Kyinda, I think that was more based on his (correct) assumption that leaving vast sums of treasure outside of his heartland was just silly when you have as many enemies as he did.

    I think that anything he could practically conquer would have remained his "spear-won land" as long as he could keep it. He was just shrewd enough to know when he was overreaching. If Ipsos ends with every major enemy dead (a huge stroke of fortune) I expect that Antigonos (more probably, Demetrios) will be able to consolidate what remains with relative ease.

    Of course the very existence of Ipsos was a strategic failure for Antigonos. As the big guy in the middle, he was trying to defeat his foes before they had a chance to link up. And he almost pulled that off.
     
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