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1750 (997)-1768 (1015)
|Reign of Legarus:|
1768 (1015)-1775 (1022)
1775 (1022)-1834 (1081)
Pope Legarus brought an end to the civil war using the authority of the Christian Church and the political power of the tribunes to break the Committee of the Senate and pardon the illegitimate emperor of the now defunct dynasty. Making his first priority the restoration of the eastern provinces from the Caliphate, this first caesaro-papist leader began a period of heavy war between Christianity and Islam, in retaliation for its attempt to expand into Rome.
Caesar Legarus (1015-1022 CE)
The Bellum Civile (Civil War) through which the empire suffered upset the stable line of succession that had sustained the Pax Romana (Roman Peace) for a millennium. A reactionary movement granting the powers of princeps civitatis to the pontifex maximus ended the conflict and brought the disparate forces of Rome under a single banner of the people (through the tribunes) and Christianity (through the Bishop of Rome). In that year, the Senate expressed regret for the civil war and how it left Rome vulnerable to foreign invasion, resolving to accept this new leadership voted to power by the people. The restoration of the empire behind the Church renewed the idealization of Rome as a union of nations and softened the grievances that had arisen in Italy over the excessive support of other nations - benefits for Germany, in particular, being the catalyst for the civil war.
As Supreme Pontiff and First Citizen, Caesar Legarus came to the conclusion that the permanent unification of these two offices would be a safeguard against future aristocratic revolutions. By a vote of the people, the pontificate (papacy) was intertwined with the principate (caesarship), making the Emperor of Rome the highest spiritual and civil authority in the Ecclesia Christiana (Christian Church or Community) and the Populus Romanus (Roman Republic). In this way, Legarus re-solidified the dignity of the principate in the wake of the failed attempts to abolish the office. The period in Roman governance after the civil war is commonly referred to as the pontificate as a way of singling out the new combination of imperial titles.
At the same time, Legarus owed his position to the populus (people) and sought to magnify their power in relation to the Senate. Aside from reforming the tribuneship to select two tribunes by lottery from each foederata (client nation) of the empire, he also enfranchised nations other than Italy, Greece, and Egypt by building saeptae (voting plazas) in their national capitals. By this means, there came to be sixteen voting sites in the empire that would be used for nationwide popular assemblies. The fiscal and mercantile costs of holding votes on this scale were deemed worthwhile by the emperor.
Legarus enfranchised the other nations of the empire with his institution of the procedure of comitia gentia (assembling nations). An agreement of one tribunus plebis (tribune of the plebs) from half of the nations was made a condition for beginning any irregular assembly of the people of each nation in their respective comitiae gentiae. A regular meeting of the comitiae was scheduled to happen during the traditional electoral month of Julius (July), when the annual magistracies were determined and lotteries held for the tribunes (whose Concilium Tribunum now consisted of 32 tribunes). Every nation had a substantial population of citizens but the system was designed to recognize regional demographics.
Once in place, the Comitium Gentium (National Assembly) - the term for the collective voting of the comitae gentiae - consisted of 3,653 centuriae (voting groups) in which only a cives (citizen of Rome) was permitted to vote. Every male citizen was assigned a centurial group by the Census and every century was connected to the saepta of a specific nation. An aedilis was now assigned permanently to each nation and one of his primary duties was to arrange the voting pens after the tribunes called for a popular assembly. Due to their unwieldy nature, popular assemblies could not be called within a month of an earlier assembly or within a month of the yearly elections. With centuries of refinement, Romans had learned to hold voting for hundreds of thousands of people in voting plazas - the logical conclusion of earlier voting pens - within the span of a day. For example, the Saepta Julia in Rome were able to handle the voting of 700 centuriae, in which nearly three million people would participate, by covering the region behind the Pantheum (Pantheon) with an elaborate structure of voting pens (the Saepta Julia) that voters entered from the temporary pathways prepared on the massive plaza in front of the Pantheon. Campus Martius (Field of Mars) had become a name for the place of assembly in Rome in recent centuries due to this system of pens now covering about 0.23 km² of the former field.
Property had gradually been appropriated on the Field of Mars to enlarge the voting pens but Caesar Legarus took this land and built a stunning plaza over one half and a sophisticated complex of hallways, for voting in July and public affairs in other months, over the other. As the largest open space in Rome, the Field of Mars was a popular site for locals and stunning sight for anyone witnessing its size for the first time. During an election, the Field held a crowd of a third of a million people, a ninth of the people that might come to Rome to cast their votes. A dozen pathways were laid down from this plaza to roads as far as the Vaticanum, in this incredible display of social engineering that took place regularly in the capital of the Western world.
As before the civil war, magistrati and senatores could only come into their positions through election by the populus romanus, after receiving permission to run for the office from the princeps civitatis (First Citizen of the State). The greatest power of the emperor was his ability to deny offices to senators and bar equites (knights) from the Senate. Although the electoral system was a traditional procedure, Legarus made some modifications reforming the Comitia Centuriata into the Comitium Gentium.
First, senators were made subject to the same method of voting as other magistracies, where each citizen wrote the name of two candidates and at the end, candidates were ordered by number of votes. Order determined the allocation of available positions. Second, the assignment of a citizen to a century was detached from geographic location, abolishing the earlier problem where the centuries farthest from the cities where voting took place gave disproportional influence to their members. Lastly, the process of announcing the decision of each local century before allowing the next century to vote was abolished and the process of counting would happen concurrently with the voting of another century. However, each century still voted individually, partially to prevent the staff from accidentally mixing voting jars prior to counting.
Although the practice of bringing voters together into the same location to vote may seem strange, elections continued to be very public affairs at the time and the massive gatherings of people during a vote or an election were seen as symbolic of the fact that the entire body of male citizens was the arbiter of who was in power and what laws were passed. Few things implied democratia (power of the people) as effectively as a single organized crowd of the entire voting populace. A downside that doctors had noticed over the centuries was that there was always a large influx of sick after a public assembly but these outbreaks had never seriously threatened Rome, especially after doctors began advising people not to vote when they were ill. Nevertheless, there had been several epidemics in Rome due to elections since their rise in prominence during the 6th century.
Unlike the Senatus Romanus, a popular assembly had no quorum (numera satis) or required minimum for a vote to be legitimate. Instead, assemblies intended to pass a law had to be scheduled a minimum of 21 days after being announced, leaving enough time for all of the national capitals - where voting took place - to receive the news and prepare people for an assembly. A nationwide assembling of the people could only be scheduled by a tribunus plebis (tribune of the plebs) or the princeps civitatis. A magistrate from the Roman Senate needed to be present to preside over every assembly, otherwise the assembly would be unlawful. In Rome, this magistrate could be the Italian Consul, the praetor urbanus, the princeps senatus (First Senator), or the princeps civitatis. Elsewhere, the only feasible presiding magistrates were the national consul, the nearest provincial praetor (praetor provincialis), or the nearest national aedile (aedilis foederatis), of which there must always be one at any given time in the capital city of each client nation. These particular requirements were unchanged from pre-war times.
Although popular assemblies were only one of two ways to legislate for the Roman Empire, post-war reforms stifled the powers of the Senate and left some legislation exclusively in the hands of the people. Constitutional laws, pertaining to the distribution of powers and duties in the state, and laws for crimes against the state could only be passed by popular assembly. The latter referred to treason, sacrilege, and other de jure delicta publica but did not include de facto delicta publica (crimes against the public) which were defined as the result of a system of appeals that could bring crimes to the attention of praetores. In general, no future changes to jus publicum (public law) could be made without democratic approval.
Crimes between individuals remained under the purview of the Senate, although this jus privatum (private law) could also be altered by a popular assembly. Since holding a popular assembly was cumbersome, the Senate almost always handled such affairs. However, as had been the case for almost six hundred years, the legislative power of the popular assembly remained as a threat against abuses of law by the Senate. Other laws that remained under the control of the Senate were municipal regulations, rules for civil servants (apparitores), and the rules for private contracts (e.g. business, marriage, slavery, property), citizenship, and public land (ager publicus), as technicalities in public and private law. As before, the provincial praetors retained their authority to enforce unwritten laws when making their judgements in the public courts, a legislative power that determined praetorian law.
Although the Senate lost control over some types of legislation, senators retained two powers even under those cases. First, no bill could be placed before a popular assembly before the Roman Senate had issued a senatus consultum (advice of the Senate) on the matter, decided by a vote within the Senate. This consultation could be in opposition or in support of a bill but was always followed by its posting in the primary fora of every urbs (city over 80,000 people). Furthermore, on the day of the vote, the advice of the Senate was constantly repeated by a herald to the people before entering the booths. Since only a very small majority of voters could read, the presence of these heralds had long been essential to the feasibility of popular legislative voting.
A subtle consequence of the need for consultations was that bills could be blocked by preventing the Senate from coming to vote. Although filibusters had been difficult to perform ever since rules were implemented under Caesar Faustilon that allowed the presiding magistrate of the Senate to silence a senator after he has spoken for a defined length of time, unless his silence was opposed by a senior censor or a tribune, they were possible when enough high-ranking senators opposed a bill (since they could each take their turn speaking until the assembly closed at dusk).
Second, every bill that went to a popular assembly had to be drafted by a committee of senators. Since a committee could be formed without a vote in the Senate, a bill could be made even when the concept only had the support of a minority of senators. However, a committee could not form without the consent of both a praetor and a tribune, as a check on the ability of new senators to formulate laws. Also, the Senate could vote down the formation of a drafting committee but there was the risk of a public outcry if senators attempted to vote down a committee for a law that was popular with the people, mitigating the abuse of this power. As usual, many of the checks on abuses of power were customary rather than enshrined in statutes, depending upon the desire of senators to maintain a reputation and for the Senate itself to save face in its co-operation with the people.
Overall, the legislative power and authority that remained in the Senate was extensive, despite the empowerment of the democratic check on its activities. Most senators understood that the majority of commoners were incapable of judging effective laws, much less formulating sensible statutes, and should only have authority over the general form of the state and its laws. Even with this authority, the public could not be trusted to come to its own conclusions without some direction from the professional jurists and lawmakers in the Senate (cf. the need for a senatus consultum to advise every referendum in a popular assembly).
As for the logistics of mass voting, the Republic had heavily refined procedures for holding crowded public assemblies for people drawn from hundreds of miles away from the place of assembly but the practice remained a logistical nightmare, costing several million denarii to implement each assembly. Over half a decade was needed to prepare national capitals other than Rome and Byzantium for their comitiae gentiae, with the result that only a few cities could handle more than a few hundred thousand voters. Despite these deficiencies, the reforms of Legarus were a step toward a more efficient and egalitarian political process.
When Legarus became princeps civitatis, the authorities of Emperor of Rome and Pontifex Maximus (Pope) became united into a single person holding both titles. In principle, there was no reason for this combination to become a trend but Legarus saw some benefits to combining the spiritual authority of the papacy with the civil authority of the caesarship.
The sacrosanctity of emperors due to their tribunicia potestas maior (greater tribunician powers) had saved Caesar Theophilus from conspirators in the Senate and allowed Caesar Cleganus to keep his life but could do nothing to prevent the aristocracy from conspiring against the authority of an emperor, as had been done to Caesar Marius. Although respect for an emperor could never be assured, giving one the status of spiritual leader for the entire Christian community would give more weight to his decisions and put the people behind him. In effect, the emperor would have a more secure position.
However, Legarus was not blind to the greater potential for the abuse of power. Recalling how the civil war had been started by the Senate deposing an emperor for "abandoning Rome", Legarus took inspiration from the Chinese in allowing votes to remove a caesaro-papal emperor from power, deciding that the violent mechanism of the mandate of heaven was undesirable but its check on ineffectual leadership was worth imitating. A majority in the Comitia Censoria, consisting of the twenty most senior Censors in the Senate, sufficed to authorize either the Senate to vote for his abdication or a tribune to call for an assembly to vote on his abdication. In this way, an emperor who could inspire the Senate or the people to violence could be removed peacefully. The inspiration of the Chinese mandate of heaven seems clear in the notion that the displeasure of the populace was a truly accurate indication of losing the favor of God, a notion that Romans rationalized as God being unable to abide a poor leader of his faithful and as poor leadership being indicated by civil unrest.
With this in mind, Legarus eventually incorporated a process of acceptance by the priesthood of Rome into the full procedure for selecting an emperor after the death or abdication of a reigning princeps civitatis. As with all of his reforms, Legarus implemented his modifications of constitutional law over the course of his reign; this change was one of his last decisions. Backing the desire to combine spiritual, civil, and military leadership in one person was the ongoing war against the Islamic world and the positive reactions of the populace to trying to permanently remove Islam and the Caliphate as a threat to Rome.
On the whole, the imperium (power of command) of the princeps civitatis remained largely unchanged. He could not pass or draft laws but could dismiss any magistrate other than censor or tribunus (although his dismissal could not revoke their rank as senator). The largest modifcation of his power was that distinctions between provinciae populorum romanorum (propraetorian provinces) and provinciae augustorum (imperial provinces) were abolished, leaving only the generic designation of provincia populi romani. Even Aegyptus (Egypt) as ager privatus (private land) of the emperor was relinquished to the control of senatorial magistrates, after a millennium of being passed on from emperor to emperor.
The military rank of legatus augusti pro praetore was raised to legatus augusti pro consulare (commander on behalf of the emperor - acting consul) and received a joint-command with the consul of the foederata (client nation) to which he was assigned by the princeps civitatis. In practice, the legate had the military authority over legions and auxiliaries but the consul had the authority to forbid commands or to halt ongoing military actions. All legates were appointed by the princeps civitatis and all consuls were elected by the people of their respective nations from among eligible members of the Senate.
Legarus created a system where the First Citizen of Rome was also the Bishop of Rome, foremost of the bishops (episkopes) and patriarchs of the Christian Church. In this capacity, he could issue epistulae canonae (papal charters) to the bishops, had the highest authority in the finances of the Church, was regarded by Roman Christians as the temporal representative of God, and could institute new reforms in the administration of the Church. As the divine representative, the authority of future principes civitates was seen by the common people as uniquely sanctioned by God, in contrast to the limited temporal authority of kings (reges). In some sense, this status was similar to the earlier practice of a Pope explicitly recognizing the authority of an emperor - the new divine right was only more direct now in the eyes of the people. To a degree, the reform can even be seen to undermine the sanctity of the caesarship by providing a way to force him to abdicate; instead, this possibility only made his authority seem even more to stem from God, by prioritizing the good of the people above all else.
Regarding religious belief, the status of Christian articles of faith remained unchanged. The College of Augurs, that had been reformed under Caesar Constantine as a Christian institution, remained the highest authority on interpretation of the holy texts of Christianity. Although the earlier pontifices maximi advised emperors on matters of faith, this role was informal and the Pope had less spiritual authority than the augurs as a college, since they could overrule his statements about doctrine. An emperor after Legarus could continue to advise other bishops through his epistulae, giving him a degree of control over the beliefs of Christians, but earlier emperors were nearly as authoritative and emperors occasionally appointed popes before the 9th century.
Another change worth mentioning was that the original authority of the pontifex maximus to regulate candidates for a censorship was stripped from the office and the task was delegated to the college of augurs. Legarus deliberately placed the censors as a counterpoint to the powers of a Caesar, by giving them a primary role in deposing an ineffectual one.
On the whole, the union of pontifex maximus with princeps civitatis was more of a symbolic transfer of authority than a way to transfer ecclesiastical power to a magistrate or political power to a pontiff. Future caesars would have a more secure position from unwarranted usurpation of power but were also more vulnerable to deposition, since a lawful and less risky procedure now existed to force their abdication.
The art of the numerarius (accountant) had grown in sophistication with the introduction of papira (paper) and the adoption of a decimal system of numbers to replace Roman numerals. Even five centuries later, the Ars Mercatura remained an essential teaching tool for accountants and merchants, in the form of reprints using contemporary numerals, but newer texts had overtaken it as reference material for active accountants. Around 1020, the Fiscus (Office of the Treasury) adopted a technique of listing all expenditures, revenues, and transfers as simultaneous debits (necsae) and credits (fidae) in corresponding accounts.
Accountants and merchants in Melita during the late-9th century had invented this double-entry bookkeeping but the bilateral accounting technique had not become widely known until it was popularized by its use in state treasury accounts. This sytem was a natural result of the accounting practices used in the merciae recepticulae (import-export houses) on the island of Melita, facilities that mediated trade on the Mediterranean by buying goods from one ship and selling them later to another ship while storing the goods in the recepticulae during the intervening time. This service had made Melita the focal point of maritime trade between the cities along the coast of the Mare Internum (Mediterranean Sea) and dramatically reduced the risk undertaken by traders. Its unique procedures were always a breeding ground for new financial practices but bilateral bookkeeping was the most notable.
Within a couple of decades, more public officials, such as the managers of the grain dole (annona) and customs offices, used the new method of bookkeeping to track changes in storage and the transport of goods. This transition was a direct result of its adoption by the treasury. However, widespread use of the procedure by private accountants did not come about until a manual on its use - De Rationum - was published in the year 1044, clearly describing and illustrating how to do bilateral bookeeping.
All records used directly by the Roman Senate were stored in the five public archives (tabularia) spread throughout the capital. The Tabularium Anticum (Old Archives) contained the records of public court (judicium praetorianum) proceedings and of the civil service records of magistrates; the Tabularium Vaticanum (Vatican Archives) stored all public records after they were moved from other archives and contained the public maps of the known world; the Tabularium Antonini (Archives of Trajan) held census records for Italy, Greece, Egypt, Syria, and Gaul; the Tabularium Quirinum had all the local copies of records from the treasury in Byzantium; and the new Tabularium Tyriani (Archives of Gallian) near the new amphitheater contained other census records.
Census records after Legarus were extremely detailed. An entire page existed for each household of citizens in the empire, with over a thousand words worth of lightly abbreviated information on the pater familias, his children, his familial relationships, and his wife (or on simply the citizen and his or her relationships for bachelors or bachelorettes). Non-citizens were less thoroughly detailed by censitores (census-takers) but there was enough information on them for purposes of taxation.
Throughout the history of the Roman Empire, the rapidity of long-distance communication has contributed immensely to stable governance of its more distant territories, encouraging travel by the nobility and allowing the Senate greater oversight of governors. By the 11th century, around 5,000 couriers were delivering letters for the public postal service (cursus publicus), at the requests of both public officials and paying private citizens. Through its fastest channels, the cursus could deliver news from Æthiopia to Rome in less than 25 days, always copying important messages for transport along multiple paths.
Over the centuries, alternative means of communication had been tried, usually on a limited scale. In the Scandinavian Wars of the 9th century, the entire northern coastline of Germania (Germany) was covered by signal fire towers that were tasked with alerting nearby legions of raiders when they came from the sea. The system was only in place for about a decade but was only one in a long history of optical telegraphy. Caesar Tyrianus had implemented a similar system of beacons along the ~1,400 km of the Vallum Magnum Judaecum (Great Judaean Wall), spreading word of an attack across the whole wall in mere hours. In short, the Romans were no strangers to communicating over long distances through visual signals.
At the start of his war against the Caliphate, Legarus sought the Technaeum for a faster way of receiving reports from the frontline and sending orders in return, due to a desire to control the direction of the conflict while remaining in Rome to secure his regime. In 1017, he was given a proposal for a means of visually communicating words using a 6x6 square array of lanterns that would encode letters and numbers in a kind of extended Polybius square, including nine of the Indian numerals alongside the Latin alphabet.
Completed the following year, this first catenus lucaneus (chain of lights or optical telegraph line) stretched from Petra to Rome through Antioch, Byzantium, and Aquileia, bringing daily news to the emperor about the war. After whatever delay was needed to reach the chain, a message would be transmitted overnight from one signal tower to the next - these towers were mostly built on the position of a mutation (change station) for horses in the postal service as they were spaced about 15 km apart. Otherwise, positions were chosen with a good vantage point on the nearest two signal towers.
Writing a message through this optical telegraph was a slow process of opening the correct lantern in short intervals (2-4 seconds). Reading was done by telescope (distaviderum), requiring line-of-sight between towers, and was facilitated by a grid that gave a good indication of the spacing of the lanterns in the array. Lantern covers could be opened by pulling strings laid out behind the array in an identical arrangement and the lanterns themselves used candles for cost as well as ease of lighting and extinguishing. Desire to send a message was signaled by opening all lantern covers simultaneously. Operators in the catenus lucaneus worked in pairs with one person reading the signal while dictating letters to the other. A direct order was given to the legates making use of this telegraph to keep the daily reports short, as messages taking more than ten minutes to send would strain the system.
Nearly 450 signal towers were built in a line across the empire for this one chain. Under normal circumstances, this telegraph could deliver a 50 word message from Petra to Rome over the course of hours. This increase in speed was staggering for the time. For a route longer than 4,000 km, a duration of even five hours was a nearly 50 fold increase in the rate of transmission over the already fast cursus velox (swift service) of the public postal service. Only one message was sent in each direction per night but the system could easily handle hundreds of messages, assuming suitable protocols for sorting messages when they crossed.
The capabilities of the optical telegraph captured the imagination of the public and academia. Several treatises were written that described alternative mechanisms of signalling or invented codes and abbreviations of varying efficiency. Over the following few decades, the military adopted a number of conventions for abbreviating common phrases, as the system was adapted for other purposes than coordinating the invasion of Islamic Persia and Arabia.
Since the conquest of the Eastern provinces by the Fatimid Caliphate had motivated the tribunes to support Legarus in his coup, the new emperor made retaking these territories his top priority at the start of his reign. The conquered territories were inhabited by millions of Roman citizens, notably the four million citizens in Syria and the entire nation of Judaea, and contained the religious sites of Hierosolyma (Jerusalem) that were important to both Christians and Jews within the empire. The public uproar over the loss of these provinces to the enemies of Rome and its Church is difficult to exaggerate on paper, especially over the extent to which this unrest contributed to the ability of Legarus to usurp power in Rome.
Near the start of the civil war, several legions had abandoned the struggle between Marius and the Senate to focus on the foreign invaders but their numbers were few and successes came only through guerrilla warfare. By 1015, their efforts had borne little as the armies of the Caliphate were beginning to push into Eastern Egypt. Legarus used the crisis to further extend his authority over the legions of Marius, expressing his goal of re-uniting the empire under a single, holy, Roman authority and of defending it against the threat of Islam that was now directly threatening one of the major bases of power for the Marian forces. Within a year, united armies of Romans were deploying to Palestina and Aegyptus, with a total of five and ten legions respectively in addition to the thousands of soldiers that were already stationed in those regions. Since the civil war had instigated a massive build-up of the navy there were more than enough ship to transport these armies over the course of several months.
By this time, the provinces were being held by ~110,000 Muslim soldiers who had begun to fortify their positions within a number of major cities: Antioch, Petra, Jerusalem, etc. The first target of Rome was the holy city of Jerusalem, which was taken within the span of two years, followed by the recapture of Arabia Petraea and Syria by 1020. Within the next year, the more northern regions of Galatia and Cappadocia were also retaken, allowing the legions to pursue a new stage of the war.
Nine legions were reorganized to reach nearly full strength and were taken beyond the limes arabicus into the Caliphate itself. Striking at the heart of Persia, the legions refused all requests for surrender even as they took the Fatimid capital of Bagdad. After sacking the capital and plundering the similarly rich Islamic center of Basra, they traveled south into Arabia. The strategy of the Generalissimus (most general commander) was to follow the same measures taken by the famous Caesar Titus when he put an end to the ancient rebellion of the Jews - that is, crushing Islamic culture.
When the legions took Mecca in 1026, under another emperor, they sacked the holy city. Over 150,000 people were enslaved and the Masjid al-Haram, as well as its shrine (al-Ka'bah) and sacred relic (al-Hajar al-Aswad), were destroyed. The black stone itself was brought into full view of the fleeing locals and crushed until only dust remained. This desecration of the most holy site of Islam was an outrage to the entire Islamic world and, in the short-run, was a miscalculation on the part of the emperor. Even Roman citizens who were Muslim revolted against Rome, burning down several Christian temples and civic buildings, when news spread throughout the known world of the destruction of Mecca. Legionaries had to be brought into several towns in the empire to put down rebels who were reacting to the desecration of their holy city and its shrines.
Meanwhile, the Generalissimus followed through with the plan to permanently hold the western coast of Arabia for Rome. Cities such as Medina were held but largely left to their own devices and a colony - Colonia Legara Augusta - was founded on the elevated land that formerly held the city of Mecca. This colony would serve as an administrative center as Rome exacted tribute from the locals, under the usual laws of taxation for a client kingdom (foederatus), and maintained military control of the region in denial of this land from the remnant government of the Fatimid Caliphate.
Four legions went north around 1028 to properly liberate the largely Christian region of Armenia, meeting little resistance from the Fatimids as they were still reeling from the war in Persia. It had been 392 years since Armenia was conquered by Muslim forces but the Armenian nation retained its cultural independence as Caliphs permitted both religious freedom and cultural traditions, with the sole request of taxation and political separation from Rome. Several emperors made attempts to have Armenia peacefully given its independence, ostensibly as a vassal of Rome, but no Caliph had relented to these requests despite the prestige of Rome. Until the Caliphate made a definite enemy of the Roman Empire, Armenia had remained a territory within the Islamic world.
Around 1030, Armenia was admitted as a province and client nation of the Roman Empire, getting the same level of independence as other client nations (persistence of its local laws, national support of its local culture, and freedom from anything more than a limited requirement of military services). From the cultural and provincial capital of Kars, hundreds of Armenian nobles went to Rome to receive citizenship; several years later, two Armenians would succeed in gaining seats in the Roman Senate. Rome made great efforts to re-integrate Armenia into Roman society, rebuilding the usual infrastructure, enlarging the postal service into the recaptured region, and building a new cathedral in Kars to reflect its status as the episcopal seat of a new archdiocese.
The nation of Armenia was given administrative authority over the other new province of Mesopotamia, covering parts of the two great rivers west of the Persian border near Bagdad. With its capital in Mepsila (Mosul), this province had a heavily mixed populace of Christians and Muslims as well as of Armenians, Arabs, Syrians, and Persians. Due to its Muslim majority, Mesopotamians were adverse to Roman authority, further encouraging the desire of the Senate to maintain a thin pretense of Armenian rule over the area. There were no legionaries on patrol in this province, except on the eastern frontier, but the governor was always a senator of Rome and it was impossible to prevent Romans from traveling to the new province so the change in governance was noticeable.
Fracture of the Ummah
As Fatimid Persia fell, the entire Islamic community (Ummah) fractured. Western Arabia was subjugated by Rome while Eastern Arabia continued its independent existence under an amalgamation of tribal and urban governments. The Sultan of Maqadisha took this opportunity to assert the independence of his people from the Fatimid Caliph, carefully maintaining close ties with Rome to ensure that his people did not suffer the fate of Arabia. As a newly autonomous kingdom, the Sultanate of Somalia continued to foster Islamic culture and philosophy, earning the city of Maqadisha a reputation as the greatest city of Islam (after the destruction of Mecca, subduing of Medina, and sacking of Basra and Bagdad - the other four pillars of Islam).
Meanwhile, the Nasurid Empire between Persia and India went a similar route to Somalia as it broke ties with the Sultanate of Mansura (Sindh), in 1022, conquering land up to the eponymous river of Sindh. The Fatimids themselves still existed despite the killing of the Caliph and his immediate family, allowing for a modest restoration of their centers of power by 1027. Unfortunately for the former leaders of Islam, the Nasurids did not halt their conquests after taking Sindh and turned upon the Fatimids, conquering the entirety of Persia up to the Tigris river by 1036. In this way, the Fatimid Caliphate came to an end and the Nasurid dynasty made its claim to leadership of the Islamic community, with its emperor donning the title of Caliph in the year he captured Bagdad. Using past intermarriage between the Fatimids and Nasurids, Caliph Mu'alin justified his status through his ancestors.
By this time, the Nasurids relied heavily upon Turkish slaves as generals and soldiers, redefining the military power structure of their empire. This situation was precarious for the Nasurids, especially with the proximity of Turkish Qaganates in the northeast. For the time being, the Nasurid Caliphate would remain the strongest of the various Islamic kingdoms and would maintain calm relations with its new neighbor of Rome, as the Roman Senate slowly processed these massive changes in its immediate area.
The conquest of Western Arabia was a dramatic increase in the territory and population of Rome, absorbing a region inhabited by around seven million people. The hostility of the locals to their Roman occupiers did not make the expansion any easier but the almost total loosening of the moral restraints that had been characteristic of legion activity toward urban populations, after the emergence of Islam, made responses to their unrest both decisive and inexpensive. Historians point to the similarities between the treatment of Muslims in this conquest of Arabia and the Roman treatment of Jews in the wake of their rebellions in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, when the Jews were ultimately expelled from their holy city and scattered throughout the empire. In this case, the Muslims put up tremendous resistance, with disorganized rebel forces numbering in the tens of thousands. However, the time had long passed when the difference in equipment of a rabble and of the Roman legion was small enough for battles to be equalized by anything but the most disproportionate advantage of numbers. Roman steel and artillery cut the rebels to shreds as they tried desperately to fight off their invaders from 1026 to 1031. Ultimately, the futility of these efforts, near genocidal loss of life, and success of diplomatic avenues pursued by the Muslim elite brought defiance to a more manageable scale for Rome.
In the conflict, Muslims were forbidden from visiting Mecca except for the purposes of their Hajj, whose symbolic significance had been drastically diminished by the annihilation of the Kabah and its sacred artifacts, but whose role in Islamic life was allowed to persist at the mercy of Rome - an olive branch to weaken the rampant rebellion. These pilgrimages were supervised by legionaries in the nearby colony built on the ruins of Mecca - the ruined structures of the Masjid were left alone for the activities of pilgrims.
The rest of Arabia was held with marginal intervention by the legion. In practice, the city of Medina became the capital for a small Emirate of Medina, as a client kingdom of Rome within the new provinces of Arabia Deserta and Arabia Rubricana. In this way, the empire could control most of the new land without maintaining a costly presence, only intervening with military force when the people of the Emirate were overtly expressing opposition to Rome. For their part, the elite of Medina did well in maintaining order within their city, convincing many notable a'immah in the city to preach clemency from the faithful for the sake of survival and to avoid further desecration of holy sites (such as those in their own city). Fear of further reprisal from Rome and reassurance from the religious leadership momentarily calmed the wave of anger resonating through the capital.
In 1042, the peace was broken by an uprising against the Emir. Declared a traitor to his people and a heretic in the eyes of God, the Emir was killed in his home and a majlis (gathering) of various local figures was established to govern Medina, along with some attempts to guide the surrounding cities. The reaction of Rome was unexpected but the rebellion was not sufficiently guided to take this inevitability into account (it was likely the result of continuous displeasure of the people with the Emir and his obvious loyalty to Rome, alongside his high taxes required to fund the religious festivals and construction of mosques that he was enacting to attempt to soften the loss of the Masjid in the hearts of the people - these efforts were for nothing). Medina was besieged and sacked in the span of a few months as nearby towns were razed to the ground as further examples. Dispensing with alliances and clientele, Rome simply killed the locals almost without discrimination, pausing only (occasionally) for Christians and Jews, and prepared the way for a program of colonization by Christian Romans. The Arabian era of Islam was at its end.
Although Sarmatia had been loyal to the Senate in the Roman Civil War, Legarus emphasized to the Senate that the decision to betray an Emperor of Rome could not be allowed to set a precedent. Citing this transgression, Rome forced the reigning Qaysar of the Sarmatian Empire (Magnum Imperium Sarmatianum) to abdicate in favor of a nephew, who had famously opposed any intervention in the war between the Senate and Caesar of the Roman Empire. At the same time, Rome demanded a tribute in the value of several million denarii as a way of compensating Rome for the citizens killed by Sarmatian soldiers.
At this time, the reputation of the imperial family of Sarmatia had become poor. The nobility had become polarized by the political treatises of Roman authors, especially by their criticism of monarchy and praise for rule by the best (aristocracy) under the consent of the common. Meanwhile, the commoners were lamenting the heavy taxation and high food prices that were the result partially of suspended trade with Roman suppliers during the war, partially of financing the Sarmatian role in the war, and partially of existing inefficiencies in the bureaucracy that were only aggravated by these strenuous circumstances. Although the majority peasant class was indifferent to these affairs, commoners in the capital city of Maghas were discontent with their present situation.
In 1016, a few months after the new Qaysar had been installed, a group of nobles calling themselves the aquiferii (bearers of the eagle standard) - a term borrowed from the Roman military - undermined the authority of the Qaysar by holding a public assembly, in the style of a Roman referendum, for voting against a recently announced reform of the taxes that would increase fees across all strata of society. After his ministers had failed to disband the assembly, the Qaysar himself went on July 6 to request that the noblemen organizing these illegal assemblies would cease their seditious activities. The only recorded events after this decision was announced to his privy council is the sudden growth in the violence of the crowds and the return of the body of the Qaysar.
When the people assembled again the following week, there was a nearly unanimous vote against the new tax code. Immediately, the men leading the assemblies proposed to the people that they now elect a replacement to the Qaysar, as a Consul who would lead them as a client nation of Rome. Given the status of Rome in Maghas, support for this motion was strong. However, there remained many who were loyal to the imperial family and, in conjunction with rivalries between candidates for the first consulship, the streets of Maghas suffered repeated bouts of riots and fighting. When an assembly gathered to formally abolish the monarchy, the capital erupted into absolute chaos as monarchists tried to disrupt the vote, which was claimed to have passed.
By this point, the military, largely led by aristocratic generals, had a minority of its forces in favor of the public assemblies but a majority who did not dare to respond to the chaos in Maghas (as well as one general who took control of a small region near the Caucasus mountains). By August, the sympathizing soldiers had come to the capital and restored a modicum of stability, helping to organize the streets, restore trade with the countryside - as farmers were hesitating to visit the chaotic capital - and forced the remaining members of the imperial family out of the city.
After the elections, one of the generals who had helped stabilized the capital was elected Consul and, under the support of the entire crowd gathered for the assembly that day, recognized a group of about 80 nobles as the people to continue the efforts of the revolution through smaller assemblies, naming them the senate of their nation - which had begun to be referred to as the Hallan nation in reference to the heritage of the people of Maghas (from the Alani society of the ancient Sarmatians).
By 1018, the Hallan Senate had adopted a new set of constitutional laws that defined the appointment of new members, the conditions for calling an assembly of the people, and the term limits for Consul and various ministerial positions they had created in emulation of the government of Rome. The nation itself was renamed the Populus Hallanus (Hallan Republic).
Rome had mixed reactions to these revolutionary events. Legarus was indifferent to the affairs of the Sarmatians in his absolute focus on the war in the East. Most in the Senate were dealing with their republic's own constitutional changes (namely, the greater enfranchisement of the nations throughout the empire) but followed the events in Maghas enough to declare the support of Rome for the change in regime - a letter was even sent to the Hallan Consul praising his people's attempts to enact popular government. However, communication between the two states made it very clear that the Roman Senate did not regard the Hallan state as a proper republic, with respectful reference to "improvements in the affairs of the Regnum Hallanum" and other similar comments.
As the Roman Empire became whole once more, contact with the Chinese Empire (Sina) was restored (after a few decades of only a few half-hearted messages between the Marian brothers and the court of the Heavenly Sovereign - alongside the level of trade between Rome and China that had been maintained since the re-unification of China under the Zhao dynasty). Legarus and the Emperor of China (皇帝) corresponded during this time, comparing their two states and their recent civil wars. This discussion marks the earliest comparison of the ideals of Rome and China as unifying forces over specific regions of the globe. The emperors expressed agreement on the belief that no force could stamp out their cultures, as the idea of each was too strong. Privately, many senators resented China for not lending aid during the war but the official consensus in the Senate was that neither side was right and that the civil war reflected a moral sickness in the Republic that could only be relieved by the Church. Under this interpretation, China had done right by the Roman Empire, bringing the two states closer than before the civil war.
Statistics for the Roman Empire of 1022 CE
Population: 163 million (35.6% of humans), plus occupation of 6.4 million people
Area: 9,894,000 km², plus occupying 614,000 km²
GDP: 15.00 billion denarii (~$255 billion US)
Treasury: 31 million denarii (~$527 million US)
Government revenue: 1.545 billion denarii (~$26.3 billion US), 10.3% of GDP
Military spending: 710 million denarii (45.9% of revenue or 4.73% of GDP)
Military size: roughly 30 legions and ~300,000 auxiliaries
Legislature: 1000 senators
Christianity: ~92% of the population
1750 (997)-1768 (1015)
|Reign of Legarus:|
1768 (1015)-1775 (1022)
1775 (1022)-1834 (1081)