Alternate History

1247-1276 CE (Superpowers)

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Magnus the Great:
1948 (1195)-2000 (1247)
Two Hundred Years War:
2000 (1247)-2029 (1276)
2029 (1276)-2074 (1321)

The world is now, figuratively speaking, shrinking rapidly. The Romans have just encountered the Mayan Conglomerate in its home territory and the Mongols were gradually connecting all of Asia together in one massive empire. Africa was being engulfed completely in the slave trade and slowly but surely were falling under Roman dominance. Even the natives of Columbia, once merely an amalgam of unrelated tribes is now a unified federation of Chiefdoms resisting the Mayan war machine.

The Romans for their part have already classified the world into three distinct civilizations. There is the East, land of the Mongols, Indians and Turks and to them a region of "Civilized Barbarians"; then there is Middle Earth, the lands around their Sea and under almost complete control of the Romans, and then there is the West, an uncharted and barbaric land of human sacrifice, half-naked natives and, apparently, forceful weapons that release death at the pull of a trigger. Everyone it seems, is moving into the unknown.

Roman Empire

Roman civilization, as usual, continues to cope well despite the discovery of an advanced civilization in a barbaric land. Thousands of miles away the Empire is still safe and sound, shielded by distance, its navy and thousands of walls and fortress that line its borders. Life here continues as it always has. Peacefully. In the colonies however, no one feels safe. Half of Hispaniola had been taken in just a few short years by the enemy and though Centerpoint Station, the main fortress at the island's center, was rebuilt, they feared that another, even larger, attack would ultimately do them in.

However, from 1245 to 1255 the Roman Legions amazingly repelled another two attacks on the citadel, and at last, confidence was restored to the Legionaries. In 1256 Emperor Magnus III (1247-1262) himself arrived in New Rome to bolster the army there with another 2 Legions, this time from Gothia. There were now 6 Legions on this one tiny island, concentrated in three different points, ready to defend their families and brethren. The Mayans were by this time completely spent from all the lives they'd thrown away in this war and had been focusing on a different tactic. If they could colonize some of the other islands around Hispaniola, then they'd be able to muster their forces on the other side and stage an amphibious assault from all directions.

This was the Mayan dream but it was something that was impossible for one main reason. The Romans had nearly total naval supremacy, with their Galleons, Magna Ballistae and flamethrowers and were quite successfully able to dictate where the Mayan ships were able to go. In fact, many Roman commanders were shocked at how easy their enemy was to beat at sea. Even the Vikings were more formidable a foe there, and they had nowhere near the numbers or level of technology of the Mayans. Nevertheless, the Mayans, for fear of losing too many cannons at once, had not yet started putting cannons on their ships and so they were dominated completely by the Romans who had artillery of their own.

Therefore, from 1255 onwards, Hispaniola finally saw the peace that it so desired whilst the rest of the sea around it erupted into warfare. Desperate for a new tactic, in 1257 the Mayans now used their singular advantage in speed to crash fire ships into Roman battle lines. These were usually filled with gunpowder that was then detonated as soon as the Mayan ship was in contact with the Roman one. When before it took almost 6 Mayan galleys to take out a Galleon, now only one was required. Furthermore, these were manned far more sparingly and so the overall was far smaller. For the first time, the Romans were scared of the Mayans at sea.

This was a limited tactic however, since a large enough Roman fleet could usually destroy a galley with artillery fire before it got close enough to detonate. Still, when used correctly the effect was undeniable. Best of all, Roman ships were no longer as free to roam the Caribbean sea as they were before and for once both sides felt themselves limited by the enemy.

Back home in Europe there were other problems which the government needed to attend to. In 1251 all make-up with arsenic in it was finally banned by Federal Law, just a few years after the twentieth Province passed a law banning the substance in cosmetics. The reasoning behind the new law was two-fold. Firstly, there had been sporadic reports, every year or two, of someone miss using it and and being killed by the poison. The other was that when the residue was thrown out and burned with the other Roman garbage collected in the cities, it released poisonous fumes which scientists had believed for centuries were reducing the lifespan of the slaves disposing of the garbage. Worse, it was thought that actual people nearby were at risk as well and so something had to be done to stop it.

The Industrial Revolution, spurred on by electrical technology was just then gaining momentum. By 1262 CE, when Emperor Rufus (1262-1276) ascended to the throne, already half of all major cities had access to at least some electricity. A census taken two years before noted that there were: 215 Windmill Generators, 506 Waterwheel Generators and one new structure known as a Irrigagger Electrika. The Irrigagger, built along the Danube in Germania Superior, provided an enormous amount of electricity to the region, but necessitated damming the river. The Danube River Dam itself was huge and made entirely out of concrete. Although its construction was highly lauded amongst the rich, the costs in relation to the rewards were simply too much and the idea of building any more was abandoned for the time being.

The electricity generated by the Irrigagger was however put to very good use in Factiara. The first factiarum was built in 1259, less than one km from the Dam and was designed to cast metallic pieces for wheels at a rate of about two every second. As the entire process was powered by electricity, there was only a slight need for human involvement to oversee the process and fix any minor mistakes made by the machines. It was an extremely simple process however and mistakes in this factiarum were very rare. Over the next two years, nine more factiara were built around the Irrigagger, building things like arrows, fabrics and printing press components.

The repercussions of the Industrial Revolution are enormous. Engineers were now focusing on building innovative new machines that made use of electrical energy to more easily perform a task. A large machine, not unlike a Spinning Jenny was created that automatically wove large cloths for bedding and the like. Others built things purely catered to the rich. The patriarch of the Valerian family for instance now had a front door that could be allowed to open whenever someone stepped on a mat on either side. Other Patricians and Equestrians had things like electric heaters for keeping their houses warm in the Winter and large fans to keep them cool in the Summer. In fact, when Gaius Metellus Corvus was elected Princeps Senatus in 1264 he promised to the Senators and people of Caledonia that every home by the end of his reign would have access to enough electricity to keep out the cold. Amazingly, he was able to have more than 50 Windmill generators and 80 waterwheel generators built to serve the cities of Correlia and Votadinum, thereby supplying power to over three-quarters of the population.

In 1270 an interesting new innovation was developed. Lucius Claudius Horus asked some Doctores Electrikae (Electrical Engineers) to install wiring directly into the walls of his house, and give him access to this electricity at will through a small emplacement sticking out of the wall. Normally, any electrical equipment had to be specially installed in each house, but this new convenience that Horus had come up with would allow someone to have the wiring installed, and then bring in any other devices later. This "contact piece" (Contactrum) became all the rage among the aristocracy, many of whom had their electrical plus coming out of some fancy piece of furniture in their homes to proudly display them to guests.

The only requirement for a contactrum was that it need three holes. An input, an output and a grounding wire for safety (required by law). The actual arrangement of these holes varied widely, making it impossible to create standardized power plugs, but that was all part of the fun for the rich as customization seemed to be the big thing when it came to electricity. Virtually no poor houses had access to electricity, the only time the Plebs could ever see any electrical devices were in public places or at work where they were used.

Political intrigue meanwhile was growing in Judaea, where a Christian for the first time was running for the office of Praefectus Urbi of Jerusalem. The office of city prefect was closely tied with the governorship and although the latter was allowed exclusively to native Jews, city prefect had no such restrictions. Aulus Borius Galeus for his part was a native to the city who came from the prominent Borian clan that dated back to the Jewish Civil War in the time of Vespasian. Despite his high popularity amongst the people of Judaea, most Jewish patricians were very conservative and so opposed to a non-Jew holding the office. Ultimately in 1268 Borius won the election to the chagrin of the aristocracy, was a very good at his job. Although he was expected to run again once his three years were up, pressure from his upper-class compatriots resulted in him never submitting his nomination.

The city of Jerusalem is actually an interesting case in the history of Roman cities. It is the center of government for both the Judaea Province and Foederata, and so is very separate from other Roman territories, due to the exclusive rights given to the Jews. At the same time its one of the most important cultural centers in the entire Roman world, visited by millions of Christians and Jews year round. As well, the native Aramaic population itself is roughly divided into Jews and Christians, and in some cases, like the Borian clan, a family can have one line of Jews and another of Christians. Were it not for the sanctity of the city itself, this situation surely would have led to another civil war. Fortunately, all rights, except the right of representation, are perfectly equal amongst members of both religions.

Early Golden Age:
1892 (1139)-1948 (1195)
Magnus the Great:
1948 (1195)-2000 (1247)
Two Hundred Years War:
2000 (1247)-2029 (1276)

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