Alternate History

1066-1139 CE (Superpowers)

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An Empire Divided:
1765 (1012)-1819 (1066)
A New Dynasty:
1819 (1066)-1892 (1139)
Early Golden Age:
1892 (1139)-1948 (1195)

To begin his reign, the new Papal-Emperor Aegranus first needed to consolidate his formed position as Pope with that of Emperor of the Romans. Although he had already worked out all of the religious issues, there were still legal matters to attend to, most notably the reorganization of the Imperial Government. No one wanted to see another rebellion, least of all him, and it was important that the Second Roman Empire not fall victim to the first. Technically speaking though, it was still the same Roman Empire, but the public was pleased to hear that this was a new beginning and so the new name stuck within most circles.

Emperor Aegranus (1066-1076)

At a very old age for someone just arriving onto the throne, Aegranus for the entirety of his reign felt as if he had very little time to accomplish what he needed to do and so many of his reforms occurred in very short order. Luckily, the people of the Empire were very eager for change and so opposition to his actions was completely non-existent.

Civil Events

Firstly, he abolished the old Governorship practice where a high-ranking senator was placed at the head of each Proconsular Province. Even more so, he completely got rid of the Proconsular and Imperial distinctions between provinces. The entire Empire was now one homogeneous entity. Now, Praetors, appointed either by the Emperor or the Senate, were placed at the head of each and every province. These were purely Heads of State and had very little other responsibilities other than controlling the populace and reporting directly to the Emperor.

Then, still in 1066, Aegranus created a new lower division than the province, the Regios. These were created based on the population of an area and each one was under the dominion of 1 Senator. Most importantly though, the Senators would now be elected into their position by the populace inside their Regio, essentially giving all citizens of the Empire full representation in their government. As well, Senators would now be constantly moving back and forth between Rome and their Regio, giving them less time to do things like plot together against the Emperor. Whilst they weren't in their Regio, a Vice-Senator, called a Dukator would take care of things in his absence. The Senator and Dukator are expected to always be in touch through letters in order to keep the Empire in order. In total, the Empire was divided into exactly 900 Regios, and so the Imperial Senate was made up of 900 Senatores.

More radically, Aegranus decided to maintain the new Consular Congress which the Republic had established. Each Consul ruled over a Foederata, essentially an ethnically defined agglomeration of provinces, and so was the highest and largest division of the Empire. These Consuls are chosen by the Emperor, but his decision must have a majority agreement from all Senators within that Consul's Foederata. The bicameral system established by Aegranus has remained virtually unchanged up to the present time, and so more information can be found on the article for the Roman Senate.

Furthermore, the entire provincial network itself was reworked entirely by Aegranus. All instances of an upper and lower province, except in Germania, were combined into one, and numerous other borders were shifted around greatly. As well, new provinces were created for sparsely represented ethnic groups, including one for the former Welsh called Cambria and another for the Arabs which will be discussed later.

Additionally, Aegranus created a new currency, to support the wavering Denarius, called the Aureus, a strong golden standard for the currency. Although it was never recognized as an official currency of the Empire, which remained the Denarius, since its value was now tied to the Denarius it could be used to keep the latter from falling too much in value during hard times, as many people would invest in this convertible gold standard. Most importantly though, the government could suspend the convertibility into this standard at times when a lot of spending was required, such as war, to fund these high levels of expenditure. Several safety measures were also established to prevent deflation if gold supplies fell. The main advantage of this over other golden standards was that it was technically not related to the price of gold, but the price of the Aureus, which was worth a lot more than the gold used to make it. Although this would make the standard's efficacy related more to confidence in the new currency rather than gold supplies, Aegranus had a great deal of faith in the Empire and felt assured that such a thing would only happen anyway if the Empire was falling, something which should be avoided always.

After adding these reforms to law on Christomiss Day 1066, Aegranus moved on to the next issue, appeasing the non-Christian religions whom he feared he had alienated by his action of taking control of the Empire. Many historians attribute his very tolerant treatment of other religions during his reign to the continued tolerance of government for the rest of Roman history.

Technically speaking, there were only two other religions which needed appeasing. The first, and most important by far, were the Jews. In April of 1067, he decreed that the province of Judaea would be an Independent State of the Roman Empire. What this amounted to was that any Senator from that region was required to be both Jewish and a native of Judaea. As well, instead of a Praetor and Consul, the Head of State of Judaea was the Praeministrum Judaeum, Minister of the Jews. He was elected by the populace directly and received one seat in the Consular Congress.

For the Sunni Muslims who had been living in the Empire after fleeing from the Shi'ite Genocide, Aegranus created another province, taking part of the province of Arabia. The province was called Palestina, after the Phillistines, historical inhabitants of the area. As well, the two provinces of Arabia and Palestina were given one Consul, a very small area and population for an entire seat in Congress. Although this Consul was also required to be Arab, as per the custom of Consuls being part of the ethnicity in question, he was not elected by the people there and so was more in line with other in the Empire. Still, both the Jews and Arabs were greatly pleased with their treatment by the Emperor and most people would agree that he performed his task admirably.

Finally, Aegranus created a new province for the city of Rome itself, to the great pleasure of its inhabitants. This new Imperial District had no governor and was represented by the Emperor himself. In addition to this though, the effective Consul of Italia and Roma, the Consul Italii, was the accepted representative of the city, often performing many of the symbolic functions that the Emperor was required to do.

Amongst his other civil reforms, Aegranus also streamlined taxation within the Empire. Only Federal taxes needed to be paid and all money collected by these taxes was in effect, though not necessarily physically, brought to Constantinopolis. At the Federal level is was then handed out to the Provinces and Regios to be used for improvements there. This way, the Emperor didn't have to approve every single infrastructural improvement or addition, nor did he have to worry about the micromanagement of the Empire. Should the funds be spent badly by the Senators, the populace would simply elect someone new, who would hopefully do a better job than his predecessor. Praetorian funds were usually reserved for large provincial projects, like intercity roads and large public works. Federal funds could now be focused on things like the military, foreign affairs and the most important public works in the Empire.

Military Events

Alongside his numerous civil reformations, Aegranus made certain to rebuild the army, making it as immune to revolution as possible and bring it fully into the present of warfare, even further beyond what it was before. The new military, Aegranus hoped, would serve as the model for which all future military organizations would one day be based. To his respect, he succeeded very well here as well.

Firstly, he wished to reduced upkeep costs of the army, so he commissioned for about a dozen "manufacturing plants" to be made in Germania and be alone dedicated to the rapid and cheap production of Legionary and Auxiliary Armor and weapons. These smithies and workshops built items such as gladii, shields, helmets, body armor, grieves, bows, arrows and even more advanced devices such as Polybolum, celerite arqui and magna ballistae. Although this seems to mean that less of these things could be in production at any one time, it was a long term solution for the army and in the event that emergency supplies are needed, other places could easily be commissioned to manufacture those things as well. The important thing was that his plan brought these things down to between a fourth and a tenth of their original cost and so imperial funds could be now put to much better use.

In 1067 Aegranus created a new law referred to as Auxilaria Subito, which allowed the government to call men of working ages to fight in the army when there was a national emergency, a law of Consription. Now, without appealing to the religion of the populace, an emperor could quickly field an army of any size when the need arose.

Next he both raised the number of Legions to 42 and increased their pay to just above the highest levels they had historically been. With 6 more Legions than before, the number of auxiliaries was greatly reduced, a necessity after all the people who were given citizenship after being auxiliaries during the Civil War. The number of Sagittae (archer) regiments per Legion, as well as ballistarii (artillerymen) was also increased to offer more support for the main army. Then, in 1069, Aegranus began a propaganda campaign for the Legion, encouraging the writing of plays and novels which glorified the organization and essentially laying the foundations for the high regard given to the Legion in modern times. After two years of this, he was able to do things to increase the required training for legionaries, making them a stronger and more disciplined force even than before, at some cost to their comfort. To compensate, he spend a good deal of resources upgrading and building new forts, many of which had been destroyed in the Civil War, ensuring that more personal comforts were available to the men whilst relaxing. Strangely enough, taking a page from their current allies the Shi'ites, Aegranus tried to make sure that some of the larger forts had a substantial harem of women, usually previously poor locals, for the enjoyment of the soldiers.

As it stood there were now 42 Legions with a total of 268,800 Legionaries; 336 Sagittae wings, with a total of 201,600 archers; 37,800 Ballistarii in 3 wings of 300 men per Legion; 8,000 military field-engineers (Doctores Ballistarii); 210 Testudos Invictos (5 per Legion); 160,000 Comensati in the Auxilia; and almost 3,000 officers of various ranks to lead these men. Furthermore, Aegranus dissolved the Equites, a non-professional battalion of armored horsemen, and created the Cabellica, a branch of the Legion dedicated to horseback riders.

His Cabellica consisted of 120 wings of 60 lightly armored Horse Archers each, a total 7,200 mobile archers. Above this were 300 wings of 100 extremely-heavily armored cavalrymen known as Kataphracti, all 30,000 of which were usually members of the richer classes, Equestrians or Patricians. 294 wings of Kataphracti and 84 wings of Light Archers were connected evenly to various Legions whilst the rest were an independent arm of the military and could be brought in for invasions or defense of the Empire. The new Cabellica was completed in December of 1075, bringing an end to the hundreds of military and civil reforms that marked Aegranus' reign. A month later, his life's goals completed, the Emperor and Pope died peacefully in his sleep, leaving the Empire in its first Golden Age in centuries.

Emperor Columbus (1076-1139)

The Greek adopted son of Emperor Aegranus Kaeso Aegranus Columbus was raised for ten years by his father to be the ideal ruler. So despite his father dying when he was only 17, Emperor Columbus was as prepared as any emperor for his job. Not wishing to disturb what his father had done however, Columbus did very little from 1076 to 1079. He simply let money fill the Imperial coffers and the public enjoy their new Imperial regime. After his 20th birthday however, he got to work.

Civil Events

Under Aegranus, all of the science academies in the Empire were united in their work once again, and for the first ten years or so, they spent most of the time updating each other on what they'd done and re-establishing officials contact networks. Although these academies petitioned Columbus to recreate the electric weapons that were in use during the civil war, he wagered that those devices were far too expensive to be of any use yet and instead he put almost a billion Dn every year into improving electrical research. One thing in particular that he wanted was a new source of electrical energy, less costly and more continuous than a battery. Currently the only way to charge them was through either natural sources of electricity or other batteries and the non-rechargeable ones were still costly and cumbersome to make.

Nevertheless, Roman chemists managed in 1091 to invent rechargeable batteries with at least half the capacity per volume of OTL lithium-ion batteries. These were several times denser and heavier though and became unusable a lot more quickly. Still, this invention made rechargeable batteries a more profitable investment, as methods for charging them by lightning were improved even more in the 1080's. Over two-thirds of all major printing houses and three-quarters of all electroplating shops now made use of this sort of system.

In 1103, the Emperor decided that the Turris Horologis in the city's center should become electrically powered, something which would make it over ten times more accurate than the mechanical version and require substantially less maintenance, with the only requirement being to refill the batteries when they ran out completely, something which happened every four to eight years, and repair any occasional damage. Since very little power was required, just over long periods of time as the batteries were used to continuously reload one of two mechanical pendulums which ran the clock faces, all the energy could come from lightning strikes, as most power from the time did.

Meanwhile, academics in the fields of geography and cartography finally released their radical theory to solve the problem of the size of the Atlantic Ocean. Since mathematics and astronomy were improved in the IXth Century, many had calculated that the Atlantic Ocean would have to be as wide as Asia itself if on the other side was China. Now although this new theory was first proposed in the 900's, it wasn't until 1087 CE that enough of the community agreed and released their theory of an unknown continent in the Ocean between Asia and Europe. When this news was released, the public and media went absolutely crazy as so many people were excited by the revelation. Less than a month after the news was released, the researchers named the new continent Columbia after the current Emperor.

Columbus himself was especially interested by the theory and so in 1092 he started to put funding into a potential future mission to conqueror this new continent. Estimations were made on what distance the coastline would most likely be from Europe, and research was done to have accurate methods of determining location without any coastline. This was something which the Romans were quite good at, but over long distances, it was previously considered to be impossible. By 1138 however, the process of star navigation had improved considerably and actual physical preparations began for the journey. The good emperor unfortunately died the next year before he could see his dream come to fruition.

Military Events

Ruins of Ctesiphon

Drawing from 1180 of the ruins of Ctesiphon, abandoned after the war

The field where Columbus really shined was in battle, as his father wished to have a son who was a strong military commander, unlike himself, who was more of a peacetime ruler. Although Columbus did fail it what might have been the most important military campaign of his reign, his failure was largely due to the lack of desire to spend so much money on a war that meant nothing for Rome, and was even against the opinion of many.

This war was of course the Conquest of the Shi'ites by the Seljuk Turks, starting in 1057. Though at first many in the Senate and in Congress voted to actually conquer some of the Caliphate for Rome as well, the Emperor did not want to dishonor the Treaty between the two nations and instead opted to defend them, wishing in part to preserve Islamic Knowledge and prevent another more barbaric neighbor from emerging. Additionally, it was believed that if the Turks only captured some of the Shi'ite lands, but not all, it would weaken their former enemy and Rome's position would be even more deeply consolidated. In any case, Columbus declared war on the Turks in 1078 and immediately sent 3 Legions and their supports to assist the forces of Islam.

Amazingly, the Muslims had been painfully losing the war before the Romans arrived, with more than 1 million of their own soldiers laying dead already. Former Central Persia had just fallen into Turkish hands once the Legion came and a defensive line from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf. With Roman assistance, a stone wall was even built here and choke points created to concentrate the more primitive enemy forces, of which there were now almost 7 million soldiers. This held until 1086 when the Turks broke through and the Battle of Ctesiphon was fought. Nearly all of the Roman forces were at this battle, more than 18,000 Legionaries.

The fight lasted all the way into the night, with nearly all of the Arab forces having either fled or been killed, and now only 15,000 Legionaries remained, perfectly surrounded by the Turks, with only their support units circling their enemies to help them to escape. Through their circular formation, better weapons and vastly superior armor, the Romans managed to remain like this, with only a few casualties, for another four hours after which time the Roman General, in his Testudo, offered a ceasefire to the exhausted Turkish army of 2 million men. They would be allowed to return to Ctesiphon and were given one week to surrender the city, a gift from the Turks who greatly respected the brave and honorable Roman soldiers. In that time, a messenger was sent to Rome when the Emperor decided to simply forfeit the war and let the Arabs fall. Although Ctesiphon was surrendered before the message was received, within the next week all Roman forces were retreating back to the Empire, pleased at their conduct in battle. Five years later, the Turks reached the Islamic capital of Mecca and the city surrendered without a fight. All was not lost though as the Turks quickly settled into their new empire, even adopting Islam as their state religion by 1094, greatly appeasing the majority of the populace. As well, their rulers began to adopt the Muslim practices of tolerance to Abrahamic religions and respect of foreigners.

Nevertheless, once they were secure in their position, the Turks tried expanding further into Rome by penetrating the Great Judaean Wall in 1111. This failed obviously and the Romans made no attempt to retaliate, knowing that the Turks could do nothing to them anyway, safe as they were behind their walls and ships. Dissatisfied, the Turks began to expand into India that same year, spreading Islam as they went.

Earlier, in 1084, Columbus decided to protect his border with the Federations by conquering a large swath of territory averaging 600 km away from the former border at the Vistula and Borysthenes Walls/Rivers. A new province of Barbaria was established in this land, and settlement by Roman citizens began very slowly. Unlike the Germanic provinces, Barbaria never became an important part of the Industrial Heartland of the Empire, and was mostly just a poor region with a small population. Nevertheless, the point of the conquest was simply to create a buffer zone between the Empire and the Federations as a means of continuing to strengthen the Roman position.

In 1092 construction was started on a defensive wall along these new borders, since by that time the Romans had negotiated a fair peace with the Federations. Termed the Wall of Europa, as it essentially blocked Europe off from the rest of the continent, the structure far exceeded the size and length of the Great Judaean Wall, taking the latter's place as the most defensible wall in the world. When it was completed in 1106, the Wall was over 2000 km long and perfectly uniform along the entirety of this length.

Similarly to the Judaean Wall, its rear wall was very sloped, and eight meters thick at the base. Standing 24 meters tall, the wall gave a perfect vantage point for defenders and made ranged weaponry very effective. In front of it is a two meter wide and two m deep ditch (fossa) running along almost the entire length. Next is a ten meter tall solid wall, with nowhere to walk on top, that was about four meters wide. The inner side of both walls consisted of brick and mortar supported by solid concrete pillars which continued about a meter into the ground. The outer face was made of solid concrete blocks, more than a meter thick each. It would be almost impossible for a siege engine to break either of them. In front of the second wall was a diverted river stretching between the Baltic Sea and an artificially created lake just a few hundred km from the Black Sea. This acted as a moat for the entire length of the wall and made it impossible for direct assaults to succeed.

Finally, every eight km was a bastion holding anywhere between 100 and 1200 trained archers and artillery men. Tens of thousands of Polybolum are placed on the rear wall, allowing only a few defenders to damage even a large army enough to convince it to retreat. Effectively, it would take an army of extraordinary size to get through this defense. Also, though the Senate wished to continue the conquest into the Taurica to cut off the Germans from the Black Sea, but the Emperor reasoned that their foreign trade was too valuable to stop like that.

Once again, the Roman Empire considered itself to be invisible, as it had during the middle part of the 1st Millennium CE. Romans could interfere in whatever business they pleased, upset whatsoever country they liked and not have to worry about the consequences. Such a thing occurred when in 1130 they encouraged a revolt of Christian citizens in the Danish city of Veerståndt on the Baltic Coast. After the Viking Army was brought in to deal with the rebellion, lynchings of Christians throughout the Imperium of Danemarc became exceedingly common. This led to thousands of Christians fleeing into Rome and the Federations, people who both nations were more than happy to accept.

Meanwhile, the Danes had already beaten the Romans to the New World, arriving there in 1123 and establishing the city of Røngsbruk two years later. All of this occurred unbeknownst to the Romans, who still had healthy trade relations with them, even after the incident in 1130. Though the Danes had the advantage of being able to pass through Groenland before going to the New World, they had nowhere near the resources of Rome and were soon to be left in the proverbial dust.

Mayan Conglomerate

As the Mayan state religion was recently changed to the nascent Ahauism, many parts of the new Dogma were still required to be written out into religious law. A new sacrificial calendar was finally made in 1065, which required that these sacrifices be performed daily at the Pyramids of the Sun and of the Moon. Other sacrificial altars would be shut down and devoted instead to the actual worship of Ahau.

Teotihuacan City Center

Recreated model of the City Center (1094), Almost identical to the city as it stands today

For this change to be made, all of the temples needed to be cleaned of blood and whitewashed to make it easier for the general populace to worship and pray there every night at sunset. As well, references to all other gods needed to be removed or replaced with texts venerated Ahau. Since this required thousands upon thousands of gold statues to be taken away and melted down, the Mayan government now had far greater wealth than it previously had, allowing it to fund the continuous wars of expansion. As another change, the Conglomerate Standing Army was now publicly referred to as the Mayan Holy Army, reflecting its status as a defender of the Mayan faith.

In 1094, the Federal King Palenk'ua V found another use for all the new funds which they were receiving. He commissioned the finest Mayan architects to redesign the city center of Teotihuacan, the nation's capital. In this new design there was a massive city square going from the Pyramid of the Sun to the Pyramid of the Moon and an even larger park behind it purely for leisure. This new city center was extensively covered in gold wherever possible, making the capital shine in daylight, even when viewed from miles away. Though the square itself was completed in 1110, there was still one more structure the king intended to build.

Finishing the designs in 1099, Mayan architects finally revealed to the public the plan for the Grand Tower of Ahau, known generally as the Ahau Tower, an enormous steel and gold religious structure dedicated to Ahau. Standing 320 meters tall on its completion in 1145, the Grand Tower was the tallest building in the world for centuries after it was built, and even today, remains a marvel of structural engineering. The method of its construction was incredibly costly and unbelievable given the Mayan level of technology at the time. Not only that but the protective as well as decorative outer gold layer has allowed it to still remain visible in all of its glory despite a millennium of time having passed since its construction.

Ahau Tower Construction

Photograph of Ahau Tower under construction in 1128

The tower itself has become an icon of Mayan Culture around the world, featuring in virtually any film set in the city, and thousands of replicas being made in its image. Unfortunately, centuries of dust, dirt and impurities collecting on its surface have made it only a shadow of its former self, as it only shines somewhat in the sun. However, the Mayan government plans to completely clean and re-layer the tower's outer surface in late-2000 and it is expected mid-time the next year to be returned to its original glory.

Furthermore, the tower is known to be the subject of the first photograph ever taken outside of a laboratory. Whilst still under construction, several academics took a photo of the growing tower in 1128 from near the base of the Pyramid of the Sun. The image became immediately famous and is generally credited with the rapid growth in the popularity of photography since the XIIth Century. Unfortunately, the low quality black and white image does not capture the tower's true splendor, something which was only recorded later in the 1400's when the first colored photographs were taken, with their subject also being the great tower.

Palenk'ua, despite dying several years before the completion of his vision, set a tone which was followed by his predecessors for the next century and a half. Grand works of art and architecture started to be made, making the Conglomerate resemble, at least in grandeur, the Empire of Rome itself.

An Empire Divided:
1765 (1012)-1819 (1066)
A New Dynasty:
1819 (1066)-1892 (1139)
Early Golden Age:
1892 (1139)-1948 (1195)

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