WI: Gauls Conquer Greece?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by ThatOneGuy, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. ThatOneGuy Fite me m8, swer on me mum

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    In 279 BC a Gallic Army under a general named Brennus invaded Greece. They won a victory at Thermopylae and even sacked Delphi. However they were eventually defeated, Brennus was killed, and the Gauls left Greece. However, what if the Gauls were able to overrun Greece? How would that change the history of the region? The culture? Would the Gauls be assimilated or would a fusion of Gaelic and Greek cultures emerge? Could the Gaelic warlords even stay in power long?
     
  2. Maoistic Kicked

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    I think a fusion of Celtic and Greek culture would emerge. The Celts were already adapting some elements of Greek civilisation such as their alphabet. It's quite possible that had the Celts decided to actually occupy the Greek territories they invaded rather than just sack them, they could have overrun the whole of Greece and Celticised it. I see this Celtic Greece being far more effective against the Roman advancement and even mounting a successful conquest of Rome.
     
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  3. GauchoBadger OPEN THE TCHECA

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    Anatolian Galatia would have never been founded, as there would be richer Greece for the celts to go to.
     
  4. DracoLazarus Dragon King, Emperor of the Sky Isles, etc...

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    Would a Galatic Empire arise ?
     
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  5. cmakk1012 Well-Known Member

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    Depends, was there a Celtic general named Palpatinus? :biggrin:

    See, I would bet that the Gauls would eventually assimilate. If the Gauls only took OTL modern Greece, there would still be a whole lotta Hellenistic world beyond that to culturally sway them. Within a few generations they’d speak a Celtic-influenced Greek and maybe add/syncretize Celtic deities to the Greek pantheon.
     
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  6. Maoistic Kicked

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    I disagree on the language. Even the religion is doubtful, though it's true that Hellenism (what I call the Greek religion) was the dominant religion in Europe at this time to the point even the Romans just adopted it instead of replacing it with their own religion, and most conquering peoples in Europe just ended up adopting the dominant religion at the time (see the Germanics and Christianity for another example). But there's no reason to believe the Celts are going to replace their own language with Greek. The Romans didn't replace Latin with Greek. The Anglo-Saxons didn't replace English with Latin and Briton Celtic. Sure, some conquerors like the Franks and Visigoths did adopt the language of the conquered, but not all did and at this point, the Celts are an even more powerful force than the European Greeks.
     
  7. Escape Zeppelin Well-Known Member

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    They did in Greece.
     
  8. GauchoBadger OPEN THE TCHECA

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    Galatian. The word is Galatian.
     
  9. DracoLazarus Dragon King, Emperor of the Sky Isles, etc...

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    I know. The pun was just too close.
     
  10. cmakk1012 Well-Known Member

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    It’s not about military strength, it’s about cultural sway, something the Greeks have in abundance at this point. Greek-speaking traders and diplomats from Magna Graecia to Baktria will take their toll, not to mention the native population. This is almost the height of the Hellenistic period; unless the Celts embark on an epic destructive rampage (which is possible, I suppose) I don’t see them stopping it. The Romans certainly didn’t.

    There is a counter argument for language, though: the Galatians, the OTL Celtic settlement, kept speaking a Celtic language until the 6th century. What is unclear in this scenario is whether the Celts would just settle down in a small region of Greece or attempt to administer the whole thing. If the former, I guess some region like Thessaly becomes TTL’s Galatia and speaks a Celtic language for a while. However, odds are they eventually switch to Greek. If it’s the latter situation, Celtic becomes an administrative language, the Greeks view the Celts as foreign oppressors, and a native uprising kicks them out completely.
     
  11. Viralworld Member

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    I don't think the Gauls would necessarily start speaking Greek. The Galatians OTL in Anatolia still spoke Galatian until at least the 4th Century, and the language was still very closely related to Gaulish (albeit with some Greek influences) A much larger Celtic state in Greece would arguably be more likely to keep their native language, especially since they would be much closer to their Gallic brethren in Illyria, Northern Italy, and the general Balkan region and thus still have a reason to speak their own tongue.
     
  12. cmakk1012 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I think they’d still speak Celtic but their subjects wouldn’t. From there it could evolve towards the elite speaking a Greek-influenced Celtic or commoners speaking Celtic-influenced Greek.
     
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  13. Cuāuhtemōc Instagram Fiend

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    I suspect any Celtic infiltration of Greece would somewhat resemble the latter Slavic settlement of Greece during the Dark Ages. The Gauls seemed to have been led by a Brennus with two other divisions commanded by Bolgios and Cerethrius who seemed to have set up a short-lived Celtic statelet in Thrace. Whether they live or not, it is inconsequential: the Gauls would soon be divided and carve out the land amongst themselves. Thessaly is a good spot to set up shot but so is the Morea. I suspect outside of some initial sackings and raids, the major settlements would remain populated by Greeks for a long time while the countryside slowly becomes dominated by small to mid-scale Celtic agricultural settlements. Like the OTL Slavs who settled in Greece as well as the Galatians, their demographic presence would at least be long-lasting. Unless the Greek holdouts band together or submit themselves to the Successor kingdoms in Asia and Egypt, said Greek holdouts would remain holdouts.
     
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  14. Maoistic Kicked

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    Because the Greeks successfully kicked the Romans out.
     
  15. teg The Worst Unionist

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    Not for lack of trying and the Romans were much more organized and had more resources than the Celts would be in this scenario.

    teg
     
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  16. Maoistic Kicked

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    If we count all the Celtic countries, the Celts had about the same resources at their disposal as the Romans. The Celts under Brennus were also almost as organised as Rome.
     
  17. teg The Worst Unionist

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    I don't really see the relevance of the first point. Yes if you add together all the Celtic countries together they would have outnumbered the Romans but the Celts were not a united state in the same way the Roman Republic was. If there was a rebellion against Roman rule in Greece, the Romans could call upon legions in Italy and elsewhere for support. If Brennus conquers Greece, then it seems unlikely they would be able to draw upon reinforcements from further afield. I think the safest comparison could be the Yuan dynasty in China, which only lasted about a century in its southern form.

    Of course this might actually change nothing at all. The fundamentals which made Rome a superpower were already in place by the early 3rd century BC and sooner or later they will begin meddling on the other side of the Adriatic, either due to conflict with Carthage or just for military adventurism. An unstable ruling class is only going to add to the tempetation to extend Roman rule east.

    teg
     
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  18. darthfanta Offline

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    I have a good feeling that the Seleucids will just kick the Gauls out with the support of the local Greeks.
     
  19. Maoistic Kicked

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    But again, under the second Brennus, a lot of Celtic nations were indeed united, being able to cull the necessary forces to crush revolts. Also, I disagree that the "fundamentals" that made Rome a superpower were in place in the 3rd century. Rome's position as a Mediterranean hegemon was far from secure in the 3rd century when there was still Carthage and the Celtic and Germanic nations in the north as well as the relatively powerful Greek kingdoms and empires in the east. Roman pre-eminence is something that isn't really established until the Third Punic War with the destruction of Carthage a century later.

    I doubt the Seleucids are going to be helping their Greek rivals in the east when the likes of Pergamon are actually enemies.
     
  20. darthfanta Offline

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    What Greek rivals to the east?We are talking about ‘liberating’ Greece—which would give a massive boost in legitimacy to the Seleucids.Unlike the otl 192 b.c.e attempt however, the Greeks are most likely gonna be wholeheartedly supporting them.