Alternate History

1139-1195 CE (Superpowers)

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A New Dynasty:
1819 (1066)-1892 (1139)
Early Golden Age:
1892 (1139)-1948 (1195)
Magnus the Great:
1948 (1195)-2000 (1247)

This era saw two major events in world history. First, there was the start of the Roman Colonial Period, something which has influenced world events greatly even up to the present time, and secondly, there was the birth of one of the most fearsome individuals in all of human history, Ghenghis Khan. His time was still to come though, and his uniting of the tribes was not complete until another 11 years later.

Emperor Magnus I (1139-1175)

The third son of Emperor Columbus, Tertius Aegranus Magnus was the emperor whose job it was to fulfill his father's dream of seeing the new world. He has the distinction of not only being an emperor with a further reaching Empire than anyone before him, but he is also the first to set foot on New World soil, something which even few OTL rulers did in their colonial age.

Civil Events

On December 1142 General Marcus Kris Valerius set off with his expedition of the 3 largest galleons ever built to colonize the New World continent of Columbia in the name of the Empire. After an eight week voyage that went into February of 1143, land was finally sighted by the crew of Kris' ship and the fleet immediately went forward so they could rest after the long journey. Once they'd recuperated, sampled some of the local vegetation, and restocked their citrus supplies, two of the ships went off in opposite directions to better assess their new location. The one which went westward found out that their was a large bay which was the perfect spot for the colony. The ship that went east upon returning, having sailed around the entire coastline, reported that this was only a small island, which Kris dubbed Hispaniola, after his homeland. So it was then decided that one ship was to begin the establishment of the city dubbed Colona whilst the other two returned home to report the news to the Senate and people of Rome.

The two returning vessels came into the port at Ollisipo, Lusitania to a parade of hundreds of thousands of members of the rich and the locals, who knew of their arrival from a small messenger boat sent before they'd reached land. Emperor Magnus was present as well to personally confer to the two ship captains (Trierarchus) and their crew olive crowns, a reward usually given to winners of sporting events. Furthermore, each member of the crew, as well as the others still in the New World were given 2000 Dn for their brave efforts, something which they received upon returning to the New World with the first wave of colonists. This was only the tip of the iceberg as when the news of their success had spread it made the headlines on the newspaper and Kris and his two Trierarchi became some of the most famous celebrities in the Empire at the time.

Meanwhile, affairs in the colony were going rather well, though they certainly had their fair share of difficulties. The five crew members who had been suffering from scurvy, despite their citrus rations, were now down to only two and paranoia over what diseases might lie in the forests around the settlement abounded. In their first year though, they managed to built enough housing for more than 100 people and even a rudimentary town hall for public meetings. Under the supervision of their two urban planners, the settlement they were building was meant to follow strict Roman customs, with the only difference being the large use of wood over stone. A Forum area was soon built in front of the Town Hall and plans were made to lay the foundation for a Cathedral and hospital there as well.

Rather disturbingly, in late-1144 their priest, eventually known as Saint Almanus, went missing and only a week later had his body found near a tree, littered with arrows. Though they mourned the loss of the man who had helped them psychologically through their difficult voyage, General Kris rallied everyone to worry about the new problem at hand instead, the others. Now that they knew that there were other humans here, and that they were armed, the Romans decided that they needed some kind of defense for their town. A wooden palisade was built around Colona's planned area with several watchtowers along its length for archers to spot and kill anyone who approached. That same year, a single galleon, sent a year after the other two ships had returned, brought renewed supplies and materials for the colonists. Even more fortunately, they brought an opportunity. Kris demanded that they return to the Empire and ask for several polybolum and trained Legionaries to be brought on the next trip, and also to take the news that they were surrounded by hostile natives and they had killed their priest.

After the galleon had left, another tragedy struck. As it was the month of August a hurricane, something never before seen on this scale by the Romans, came and passed almost right through the settlement. Despite damage from the flooding, and the death, or at least disappearance, of three more people, the town was mostly intact. Finally, in late-1146, the first large wave of colonists arrived, bringing all the requested supplies and even some news from the Pope that their priest was in the process of being canonized. Additionally, one of the galleons was loaded with marble blocks with which they were expected to begin the construction of the cathedral and to await more resources to be brought for its eventual completion.

With a force of 30 soldiers to defend them now, the colonists could be a lot less cautious about venturing outside their walls, making restocking food supplies a lot easier and providing the possibility of beginning cement production. By the end of the year, the city borders had been expanded, there was housing for over a thousand people and already the seventh wave of colonists was arriving.

Cathedral of Saint Almanus

Ecclesiastical procession behind the Emperor during his visit to Colona,
Colonial architectural style is evident

Over the next three years more than sixty waves came onto the shores there, with only about two ships in total lost at sea, and the newly dubbed Cathedral of St. Almanus was completed. The city's population had swollen to about 20,000 people and already a port was in the process of being built, from stone, that could better service the arriving ships. Trade with the new city was booming, and commodities like marble, lamp oil and wine were in very high demand by the government and inhabitants of the city.

It was here in Colona at this time that Kris' brother, a known trader from Londinium, came to the city and established the Columbian Transport Guild. Whilst initially a small company only owning about 10 galleons, the Emperor in 1170 offered it enormous amounts of funding so that it could hold the burden of managing most colonial travel from then on. Though his grandson later lost the company to Greek traders, the CTG remains the single largest transporter of goods and people between the Old and New Worlds.

This hand-off occurred between the years of 1169 and 1170 when the Emperor made his visit to the city, whose population had reached 200,000 people. For the first few months of the visit, the College of Cardinals followed the Emperor, and whilst there, ceremoniously dedicated the Cathedral to its patron saint. Most importantly though, Magnus had come to settle the issue of government for the colonies, one which he believed would become a more stressing problem as they grew and which he believed needed a solution now. He eventually decided that they should be run the same way every other province was, since excluding them too much might later lead to rebellion. Kris kept his position as Praetor of Columbia and a Senator who had been brought along with the entourage was appointed representative of that Regio. Other issues that were settled were the commemoration of Kris' statue in the forum and the appointment of a Bishop for this diocese.

Back in Europe, scientists in Parisium had created glass covered copper wires whose efficiency levels and energy loss were not too far away from OTL wires in the 60's, with these wires having been made in 1156 CE. Changes like this continued to advance the electrical industry, bringing down costs and spreading the use of its products. Nevertheless, only a small part of society actually used these sort of devices, and very few thought that the technology had much of a future.

Military Events

The expense of all these expeditions to the New World were quite high, even for the government of Rome, and in 1154 the Empire had its first deficit since the Civil War. In order to maintain the status of the new government, Magnus needed to find an alternative source of income. Taking a page from Tiberius III in the VIIth Century, Magnus decided to send raiding parties to the Arab-Turkish Kingdom to his East. Relations with the nascent state had never been very good and so this was a popular enough idea in both the Senate and Congress. The plan was enacted to great success in 1157, with more than one billion Dn in loot having been brought back to Rome.

Surprisingly, as the generals sent on the raids noticed, the Seljuk Turks were hardly able to put up a fight against the Roman weaponry, and they had trouble organizing their forces to stop an attack. So it seemed at least, they had gone very far in domesticating themselves after getting used to a relaxed lifestyle. Hitting on an idea, in 1158 Magnus decided to send just two Legions to conquer himself some Muslim territory, namely, their land along the Red Sea coast. This removed the risk of another attack like the Jihad several centuries ago, and gave the Romans an even better foothold on the Silk Trade.

Within two years they had captured the capital at Mecca and two more Legion were brought in to start setting up fortifications over the newly made borders. Just a year later the Romans reached the end of the Arabian Peninsula and they by 1161 they owned a long and thin strip of Turkish land, holding some of their richest cities.

To add further to his gains, Magnus sent another two Legions to conquer the lands of the Somali, up to the Horn of Africa, so that by 1167, the Red Sea was completely enclosed by the Roman Empire, as they had done to the Mediterranean a millennium ago. Meanwhile, the fleeing Turkish government had to move its capital to Baɣdād, the second largest Turkish city at the time. In 1168 though, the Caliph managed to negotiate a deal with the Romans to allow safe passage to the Islamic Holy Cities for any pilgrims wishing to visit. The Roman controlled part of the peninsula never actually became a province, and very few citizens moved to live there, as the government and media highly discouraged it. It was a purely military state, with a Dux (General) acting as Governor, and no Regio or Senators were established to function there.

Emperor Sextus Severus (1175-1195)

As the sixth son of Columbus, Sextus was already quite old when his brother finally died in 1175'. He had grown wise in his observances of his brother's achievements and failures though, and was a rightful and just ruler whilst he was in power. Most importantly however, Sextus was the Emperor who established in written form the Constitution of Rome, the highest legally binding document in the Empire, even to this day.

Civil and Military Events

Sextus' predecessor had great plans for the city of Colona, and strangely enough, these plans involved replacing it entirely. He had figured that the first city on the new continent was inherently inefficient, since its design and construction emphasized getting things up and running as quickly as possible, rather than on long term issues. So, there were plans to build "THE" colonial city once Colona was prosperous enough to aid in its construction. Already, many of the natives were subjugated to the Romans, though neither knew each others languages, and a steady source of marble and stone on the island was discovered. In 1177, the site for the city of New Rome was established just a few hundred kilometers up the coastline from Colona.

The foundations of the city of New Rome were finished by 1181 and the following year, the first stone of the city was laid down. Within two years a Cathedral, Provincial Palace, hospital, Academy for Biology, and many of the roads were completed, but still no inhabitants were allowed into the city. After another three years, the city wall was finished and housing for more than 50,000 people was ready. Finally, in November 1186, the first inhabitants of Nova Roma moved into the city. As expansion continued in both cities over the rest of Severus' reign, by 1195 the combined colonial population of the Empire was at 500,000 people.

Elsewhere, in the Electrical Academy in Parisium, a team of scientists in 1182 finally accomplished the long sought after goal of Roman engineers, a device which could generate electrical energy through non-chemical means, in effect, an electrical generator. Discovered accidentally after a fourth attempt to try reversing different properties of a motor, the scientists realized that what they had built was creating a current. After several theorists released their worked on determining how it worked, several rudimentary theories were published in the early 1190's though non-could resolve why the generator worked, only that it did. Unfortunately, without knowledge of how it functioned, nothing could be improved upon in the design and so the device's only use was in research by scientists trying to figure out how it worked. Before practical production and application could begin, the Empire needed the theories behind it. The device was simply too far ahead of its time.

In the political world, something equally as interesting was occurring, the Emperor and the Senate were discussing the existing Roman Law and how that had remained virtually unchanged even after the taking of power of Aegranus. The Populares and the Emperor both believed that something absolutely needed to be done about this, whilst many of the Optimates were staunchly opposed to a change in the laws. Deciding to bring the vote up to Congress, it was eventually passed in 1187, whilst the Senate had exactly 5 years to make their changes to the law, and then the matter was to be closed.

This became the brainchild of Sextus Severus and he ended up spending a great deal of his twilight years fine tuning these laws. What was created was a code which took all the constitutiones, imperial pronouncements of the law, together, improved the legal language used in them and codified the entire thing into the Constitution (that's the Latin word), a single unified collection of documents which summarized the most important pieces of Roman Law. If anything is to be considered the most important part of the Constitution, it is that all the laws therein were, and still are, completely unchangeable except by extensive legal and political procedure. The documents offered certain unalienable rights to Roman Citizens, which had not been made apparent enough in the Corpus Validianus of the 500's, the last major rewriting of Roman law.

As well, the Constitution organized many aspects of law which had been heavily debated for centuries, things which had completely ruined entire court cases. For one, the court system was now organized more by class, ensuring that crimes committed by Patricians, which formerly almost never went through, could now actually be won by the claimant. This class-oriented system ensured that someone's judge was always of the same Social Order as they were, Plebs were from then on judged by a Plebeian Judge, and so on. Furthermore, the Constitution required that permanent courts of law be present in every major city, finally bringing an end to the "spontaneous courts" that were used since Ancient Roman times. Though initially provincial palaces were used for the official courts, dedicated buildings were started to be built in places other than Rome (where the only Standing Court, the Judicia Imperia existed). A new position was also created, the Minister of the Tribunal, whose job it was to ensure that the Constitution was followed and that all citizens received equal justice. This position was now one of the most powerful in the Empire, completely exempt from the Emperor, as it was elected by the Senate, and able to pass legislation, with the only other government body able to do that being Congress.

Mayan Conglomerate

Whilst the Ahau Tower was still under construction, celebrations for the 700th Anniversary of Teotihuacan's status as the Mayan capital were underway. Close to 2 million people had flocked to the city and from the summer solstice to the winter solstice the city's streets were filled with parties, parades and national processions celebrating both the achievements of the Conglomerate and the memory of its founders. One of the most important parts of the anniversary was a showcasing to the public of the current advances in Mayan technology, many even invented just for show at the technology fair. Of course, being the Mayans, many parts of the celebrations were rather brutal.

A new double-barrel smoothbore was demonstrated by having a sharpshooter take out two slaves in quick succession. On another day a cannon which consisted of 7-barrels all lined up was used to blast away a make-shift house with some slaves in it. Some of the less bloody demonstrations included new fireworks designs and longer lasting signal flare. As well, one inventor showed off a chariot he had made design for the rich that was meant to be driven by two slaves. This one became especially popular among the upper-class, though the highest class, the priests, felt that they had no use for it. Now although non of these new weapons ever went into military use, only becoming favorites among the rich for sport hunting, the event was a great encouragement for budding Mayan researchers. In late December of the same year, the King declared that every 10 years there was to be exactly such an event, held in a different city every year, as a means of encouraging civic and technological developments.

In preparation for its own fair, the city of Mayapan received a large scale reconstruction as well. Its roads were redesigned to fit the "Teotihuacan-style", with foot high decorated walls on each side, and its main square had a 30 meter statue of Mayapan I built in it. Although nowhere near as much gold was used here as in Teotihuacan, the renewed city was quite a site to behold. Waterways now flowed alongside many of its streets and some of the temples now had hanging gardens coming out from them. As with the stylistic changes in the capital city, these aesthetic features were also added to the Mayan repertoire, and were later user in numerous other cities.

General Gu'ian Ohn

Contemporary portrait of Gu'ian, in the Mayan Military Academy
Albeit without his characteristic beard to stylize him as a King

The fairs of 1162, 1172 and 1182 all had similar effects on their resident city and now once again the fair was brought to Teotihuacan. As the tower was long ago completed by this time, even more events than before were centered around it. Using new more-accurate smoothbore firearms, Mayan sharpshooters had a competition hitting, non-living, targets while standing on the sides of the tower. Near the end of the year, the great Mayan General Ha'cha Gu'ian Ohn received his own parade to honor the achievements of his career.

Gu'ian's successes in battle, whilst typical of a Mayan general, were distinguished largely in their ingenuity along with his own selfless bravery in battle, earning him the nickname of the "Frontline General". In the typical Mayan practice of sending an ambassador and guard in to a village to offer them the chance to surrender, this General often volunteered personally to play that role, putting him in the most risky situation a soldier could be in. Furthermore, he never took the usual six soldier guard with him, preferring to have only his two closest commanders. His proficiency with firearms and intimidation, he was known to carry up to twenty pistols with him at one time and to also light long matches under his hat and hanging off his beard, earned him the title among the natives as "The Demon" and the "Man of the Fires". He was so infamous within the Great Chiefdom that many tribes surrendered as soon as he entered their village, something which prompted him to occasionally destroy a village even if it surrendered in order to "keep the troops on their feet".

In spite of, or perhaps even due to his outward cruelty, Gu'ian is a national hero to the Mayan and Mexican people, receiving more honors and dedications then almost anyone else in the Conglomerate. Several cities, over a hundred ships and even a few modern weapons are named after him, and he is almost as recognized a name as Mayapan himself. A book that he himself wrote on firearm tactics is considered even by other nations as the seminal work on "industrial age warfare", and his tactics were followed by his predecessors up to the XIXth Century. His greatest achievements however were against the Mississippi Valley Civilization between 1172 and 1194, a historian from Rome later referring to those campaigns as "Ha'cha's Gaul", in homage to the battles fought by Julis Caesar.

Though not referred to as the Mississippi Civilization, the societies there, members of the Great Chiefdom, were definitely the second most advanced civilization on the continent at the time. They provide nearly all the development which the Chiefdom used for the next 500 years and were their single most densely populated territory, with a population along the entire river consisting of almost 1.5 million people. As the civilization was just reaching its peak around that time, it became the primary administrative region of the Chiefdom, centered on the capital Illiniwek whose population exceeded 70,000 people. By 1165, immigration to the area swelled the region's population to over 4 million and gave it a fighting force of over a million warriors, larger than the Conglomerate Standing Army. The area was the only thing which the Mayans showed any fear or hesitation about and so it was the perfect place for a smart general like Ha'cha to bring glory to his career.

As any Mayan General did, he had 12,000 Infantrymen, 600 Officers, 20 Commanders, 600 double-barreled cannons, 6 Bombards and 20 Hwacha at his disposal. For him, this was more than enough. Although he had hundreds of different tactics which he liked to use, one of his favorites was the "Reverse-Horn". Essentially, when faced with a force equally as large or larger than their own, the army formed a line and goaded the natives into attacking its center, by leaving it less densely manned for instance. As they charged towards the middle, the line bent away from them and then Mayan artillery on the flanks fired into the mob. Once thinned out a little by artillery and gun fire, the infantrymen who now practically encircled the native army then closed in to pistol and melee distance. At the vital Battle of Illiniwek in 1191 Gu'ian used this tactic, after preliminarily thinning out some the native force through guerrilla warfare, and managed to slaughter a native force of 80,000 warriors. The greatest asset of this tactic was that Mayan soldiers were accustomed to forming a thin line only about 4 men deep to create their firing lines, so even if the enemy army was significantly larger, Gu'ian's forces were still able to encircle them in the horn formation.

During the late 1180's and early 1190's, Ha'cha managed to convince the Mayan War Council to grant him the use of 10 more cannons and 14 more Bombards to aid in the Campaign in the River Valley. These were used to great effect as the natives had begun to build sturdier defensive structures, including a mound wall similar to that used by the Ancient Celts. The mound walls were especially bothersome to the Mayans because they absorbed the shock of gunpowder weaponry so well, even several Bombard shots were required just to knock down one small section. These structures may very well have been the most useful technological development of the Chiefdom, as it was put to more used and used more effectively than almost any advancement they'd previously made.

Nevertheless, the one Mayan weapon which they could never defend against was the fear, which as mentioned before, Gu'ian took full advantage of. Most natives, even among their Chiefs and priests, believed that the Mayan weaponry worked through magic and that they were facing a civilization which could wield it freely. No only that, but because the Conglomerate armor outwardly seemed to be simple fabric, they also believed that the Mayans were using magic to protect themselves from harm. Despite these fears, the natives were resolute in their defense of their lives and their land, fighting till the end even when they knew they couldn't possibly win. Gu'ian, if anything, admired them greatly for that and, though no official records of this exist, was reported in the personal journals of some of his soldiers to have wept silently after every victory. This paradoxical nature of his character has only added further to the mystery and legend that is Ha'cha Gu'ian Ohn.

A New Dynasty:
1819 (1066)-1892 (1139)
Early Golden Age:
1892 (1139)-1948 (1195)
Magnus the Great:
1948 (1195)-2000 (1247)

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