Alternate History

700-799 (Abrittus)

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Co-operation between Rome, Persia and China to keep the Silk Road open has far-reaching implications, first for the central Asian steppe and later due to intensified contacts between Europe and China.

Economy & Technology

  • Newspapers develop in earnest. They are used in the ideological battles of the Roman and Celtic Republics.
  • Exchange through the Silk route brings advanced glass products for distillation, optical devices, alcohol, new ailments and fertilisers to China - and advanced steel products and gunpowder to Europe.
  • In this century, several technological innovations are not yet exchanged (Chinese furnaces, Roman mills, scientific theories), only their products.
  • Fertilisers and the green revolution following them are able to increase agricultural output throughout Europe, North-East Africa, Persia and China.
  • Many more substances can be generated and transmuted in chemical laboratories. Tests for several metals are developed and widely used.
  • In Asia Minor, batteries are used for electroplating for the first time.
  • In Aksum, high arched architecture for buildings develops and is used for the construction of churches.
  • In China, the nautical compass is invented.
  • In the Roman Empire and in India, optical lenses are improved to a great extent. Telescopes facilitate sea navigation and are used by Indians first, then copied by Ostrogoths and others.
  • With exact weighing methods and chemical methods for testing metals, the solid Celtic Denarius, protected by the Callatian provisions of the constitution against devaluation, replaces the Roman Denarius as the leading currency in the Mediterranean and among the Ostrogoths.


  • At the University of Samarkand, the potentials of gunpowder that Sui China had not thought of are theorised. Roman Academiae Collegiarum Militum quickly develop devices which can use this power. First primitive firearms are used towards the end of the century by the convoys protecting Euro-Chinese trade through Turkic, Sogdian, Shaihr Jaari and Xiyu territories.
  • Sheba`s fleet and ground troops undertake dozens of punitive campaigns against pirates in the Persian Gulf and along the Somali coast.
  • Since Sui China does not invade and occupy deserts or dry steppes, there is no requirement for professionalised frontier troops. The continuous enforcement of the Jun-tian (equal field system) is the foundation of a continuously successful Fubing military system, which, in contrast to OTL, is not replaced with a professional army based on long-term serving Jian´er soldiers). Without large, professional frontier troops, the power of regional military governors (jiedushi) never grows out of proportion. This complex chain or network of alterations had the following major implications for Sui China (in contrast to OTL Tang China) and its neighbours in the 8th century:
    • The An Lushan rebellion never occurs. Sui`s economic, political and military ascendancy is not stopped in the middle of the 8th century.
    • Sui China`s expansion proceeds as far and as fast as its settlement campaigns and infrastructural projects allow. The expansion is slower and focused on the Taipyingyang (OTL Pacific) coast, but much more stable, and brings deep-reaching Sinicisation of new provinces like the former lands of the Mohe.

Philosophy / science

  • In the natural sciences, several conflicting theories are developed concerning the fixed or changeable properties of substances and their internal structure, as well as concerning mass and weight.
  • Sogdian scholars translate, systematise and develop Chinese economic theories. The great public interest in understanding the different paths social, political, cultural and economic developments have taken in China and in Europe favours both the spread of economic theory to the West and of geography as a science everywhere, as well as racist theories and explanations.
  • Li Qichao, a major Sui scholar-magistrate, formulates a political philosophy which quickly overshadows Confucianism and reduces the (still numerous) Confucianists to the role of a politically marginalised, but socially still important conservative-libertarian opposition. Li Qichao`s theory is mainly a theory of the state - and a theory of balance through power, instead of a balance of power. Its main emphasis is that, to survive and ensure the well-being of all of its citizens, the state must prevent some individuals from becoming too powerful. To do this, the (idealised - but in practice, it was always the emperor) centre of the state must be so powerful as to keep everyone else from gaining too much power. Practically, Li Qichao provided the ideological foundation for absolutist monarchy. Often combined with older reformist economic ideas, it also legitimised state interventions into the market, the expropriation of large enterprises and their transformation into state monopolies, and of course existing policies like Fubing and Jun-tian. Some say it also provided a fertile ground for the institutionalisation of the secret police, which would become the Sui empire`s main weapon in future foreign policy, creating inner tensions and dissense among peripheral rivals like the Tibetans, the people of the South and the Indianised kingdoms of the South East Asian archipelago, the international alliance along the Silk Road, the Turkic and Mongolian societies to its North and Korea and Nihon to the East.
  • Celtic scientists develop the alcohol thermometer.


  • Among the Turks living along and North of the Silk Road, a syncretism between Mazdakism and Tengrism develops. Religious texts of this new cult are written in the Orkhon script.
  • In Tibet, a syncretic Bön-Buddhist religion develops and becomes culturally dominant.
  • Since Hinduism has not found many followers in Tamilakam, there will be no person named Adi Shankara, and nobody to exert the powerful philosophical unifying and strengthening force on Hinduism in the form of Advaita Vedanta. Instead, Buddhism remains powerful in Northern India, while Jainists and Hinduists also persist. Within Hinduism, the Mimamsa and the Samkhiya schools remain equally powerful among educated elites, while popular Saivist and Vaishnavist cult lacks a coherent philosophy or theology and is often syncretised with Buddhist traditions.
  • The extremely wealthy Sogdian city states, especially Samarkand, become the most varied "salad bowl" of religions; from here, old and new religions are spread into all directions. In these cities, atheism blossoms for the first time as a mass phenomenon, too.
  • After the first Celtic monks founded one of the most popular monasteries at the invitation of the city of Sørstad in the 7th century, Norway becomes all the rage with theologically interested Celts and new monasteries are built all across the spectacular West coast, but also near the growing port town of Oslo in the Kingdom of Viken.
  • At the Council of Beihan, the Sabaean Church harmonises the doctrine valid on the entire Arabian Peninsula. It rejects radical Paulicianism, but includes some of its criticism of iconodulity; it perpetuates miaphysitism by declaring trinitarian and arianist creeds heretic, and it decrees a common calendar for Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and other important celebrations.

Nations of Europe

  • Roman Empire: Population growth has led to the development of large shanty towns. While citizens in the "pomeria" and farmers in the societates liberorum enjoy the abundance of cheap and good textiles, an ever-increasing variety of new types of food, newspapers brigning information from around the world, political participation in the comitia and socio-economic self-determination in the collegia and societates, as well as general education for the children, the new urban underclass depends on free grain and lives without access to aquaeducts and sewers. Epidemics abound, and some civitates forbid such settlements, demolishing or burning down illegal settlements. In other civitates, the marginalised proletariat has mobilised majorities in the comitia and pressed for a massive extension of the urban infrastructure. Although the socio-economic conflicts are often channeled, and they seldom spiral out of control, the self-concept of the Second Roman Republic as an egalitarian polity begins to crack.
  • Celtic colonisers and research expeditions discover and map Polaris (OTL Greenland), where they do not encounter any indigenous population yet.
  • Great Perm: Bjarmians, now taken over by Southern Komi and Merya, take control of their trade with the Celts directly, cutting out the Norse middlemen. Armed conflicts ensue.
  • Glacianian fishermen hunt whales and extract whale oil, an important resource for the Celtic Empire, which has not yet found any significant amounts of oil on its territories.
  • Denmark: The Kings of Gudme provide protection for Saxon and Obodritic towns on the Southern coast of the Baltic Sea (Traveborg, Reric, Wollin etc.)
  • Venedia: With capital from Vineta, windmills and manufactures are built across Rania and Veletia. Trade expands both within the federation along the Odra and other Baltic Sea tributaries and with foreign traders through the Hansa and the Gutar.
  • The oarsmen on the numerous ships on the Borysthenes, which are the economic arteries of the confederacy, form the first trade union and go on a strike, protesting their bad payment and treatment and general marginalisation both in the Slavic and Ostrogothic towns and in the confederate polity. In violent conflicts, many oarsmen and some of their political leaders are killed, but the protests continue, and town guards as well as paramilitary groups hired by the trading syndicates suffer deathly losses, too. The oarsmen finally obtain contracts guaranteeing good payment, and their own representative in the Confederate Council.
  • In these times of quick social change and conflict, the knyases (petty kings) of the towns which form the Potamian Koina of the Borysthenes and the Tanais begin to erect marvellous temples for the Slavic deities and to endow temple academies for the training of priests and the education of the new urban elites in philosophy, medicine, architecture, engineering etc. under the supervision of the theological elite. These temples - the most impressive among them found in Chortitia, Voronezh and Severopolis - imitate the latest Roman architectural designs, e.g. round domes erected over square foundations, which in the Roman Republic are used for assembly halls, academies and temples of various cults, or pointed arch windows.
  • Chasaria stabilises itself as a Gregorian Christian khaganate. The role of the khagans diminishes vis-a-vis the bishops and a council of representatives of newly forming guilds. Like the Nǔshībì a century earlier, the Chasars have settled down, but in contrast to the former, they have retained their political independence. Their strong ties with the Caucasian kingdoms remain, but peace treaties are also concluded with Rome and Eran. The Chasars adopt the Gregorian alphabet.
  • Several Celtic exploring missions fail in their quest for an Ultima Thule, many of them do not return from the Arctic Seas. Some report about uninhabitable islands (perhaps OTL Spitzbergen and Jan Mayen) far in the North, where many whales and seals are found, which motivates yet more exploring missions.
  • Ostrogothic sea merchants explore ever new parts of the world. They return to the Azores and later to Europe from a journey far West into the Atlantic Ocean with terrifying tales about islands haunted by spirits and ghosts (OTL Bermuda Islands). European fear and curiosity are sparked.

Nations of Africa

  • In Agisymba, Gao, Djenné and Takrur as well as among the Asante, religious and political models of the Imaziyen are copied (from the Tifinagh script over legislative-religious assemblies, parts of the "Christian law", efficient administration and projects of public infrastructure), but also adapted to local circumstances. None of these polities joins either of the Imaziyen Ljama`as, though, perhaps due to linguistic differences.
  • Among the Hausa and Banza, Agonistic Christianity and the new trends from the North stirr unrest and cause prolonged wars with changing alliances in the 7th and 8th centuries.
  • Djolof thrives through its trade with Ostrogoths, Romans and Celts. It expands Southwards along the coast up to Romarong at the mouth of the Bankasoka river, subduing sparse indigenous populations and employing them as serfs who work on their Kola nut plantations, as elephant hunters or lumberjacks.
  • Aksum`s growing population and economic development induce the East African War caused by Aksum`s Southward territorial expansion. Sheba enters the conflicts and defends the Kikuyu Mombasa Kingdom. As its result, Aksum acquires land formerly held by the Kamba, Okiek and Nandi tribes, who are pushed towards the coast, where they form the Kirinyaga Alliance, together with the Kikuyu. On the other hand, Aksum must grant Kismayu independence and introduce parliamentary democratic elements in its Empire.
  • In the aftermath of the First East African War, the multi-tribal Kirinyaga Alliance becomes black East Africa`s first independent democracy.
  • In the Gulf of Guinea, Yoruba emerges victorious from among a dozen nascent and warring kingdoms and controls the entire Guinean Golf Coast and large swaths of its hinterland.

Nations of Asia

  • Sui China: Instead of the catastrophe of the An Lushan rebellion, China experiences unprecedented growth and cultural development. All major cultures, religions and philosophies of the world are learned and often find their Chinese varieties, here.
  • Sui China expands far into the lands of the Mohe and into the Taipyingyan, occupying Taiwan and the OTL Northern Philippines. Han peasants are settled in Taiwan.
  • In Sui China, six years of education in schools supervised by the imperial academies become compulsory for children of all four occupation categories.
  • Tibet: After conflicts between dynasties and clans and between Buddhists and Bön-followers (often inspired by Sui machinations), the Tuyuhun end up controlling Zhangzhung, while Yarlung remains isolated.
  • Imported fertilisers are used  to increase agricultural output in the artificially irrigated, arid lands of central and Southern India.
  • Uyghurs and Six Oghuz, who are frequenty employed for the international Silk Road convoys, begin to amass wealth. The Six Oghuz settle down in their already established state. Uyghur clans subdue the Karluks, Basmils and Türgesh, who are robbing the caravans and also competing against the Uyghurs in protecting them, throughout the 750s and 760s. An Uyghur state is established which safeguards the Dsungarian branch of the Silk Road and later joins the Silk Road Treaty. Its capital is named Bügü in Uyghur (Urabo in Sogdian and Pahlavi, and Luntai in Chinese). Under Emtysh Bilge-Kül, Uyghur control expands across all of Western Mongolia, before Emtysh converts to Mazdakism and abandons all conquests.
  • Along the Oxus and in Bactria, the former Nǔshībì tribes have completely blended in, their aristocracy forming a part of urban elites, while common warriors have found employment in the protection of Sabaean, Iranian, Indian Silk Road convoys, and blacksmiths etc. have found good employment, too. These common Nǔshībì Turkic civilians are increasingly called "Turani" by their Iranian neighbours - the name which still sticks to this ethnic group until today.
  • The Kangly/Kangar Confederacy gains in strength, as the Silk Road Protocol renders those Turkic warriors who have not found employment as convoy soldiers or elsewhere without suitable options. Its attempts to establish control over Merw, Bukhara and other Silk Road towns encounter organised international resistance and disrupt trade. The Silk Road Protocol powers invade and defeat them, destroying their capital of Kangu Tarban in the process. Escpaed Turks flee - some to the Ulutau mountains, another part flees to the Kimek, while a third rides to the West until they reach the Kama River. The latter become known as the Pechenegs. They subdue the Mari, who live in the region, establish control over their towns, and defeat a Permian army which sought to defend Mari El. After their victory, the Pechenegs also extend their empire over the Magyars.
  • Great Perm: Some Magyars and Mari flee from the advent of the Pechenegs and cause a Westward migration within Great Perm. In thsi context, Merya and Komi expand North-Westwards and take over Zyrian port towns in the Far North (Bjarmaland). More towns are established along the Dwina and its tributaries. Great Perm  thus expands North-Westwards.
  • Between 730 and 760, Funan and Da Mengguo conduct three wars against each other. Both powers try to establish control over the müangs of the Tai, Shan, Hmong etc. at the Southern rim of Sui. Finally, Meng Geluofeng decides to ignore the arrogant treatment his kingdom is subjected to by the Sui overlords, and offers his daughter as a concubine to Emperor Jiang of Sui, submitting very overtly and thus ensuring Sui´s military engagement in the protection of his realm. Thus, instead of losing great numbers of soldiers in a war against a nascent Nanzhao, as in OTL, Sui gives up its support for Funan and sends in troops from Lâm Ấp and Vạn Xuân, while a Bai confederacy under the leadership of Sui`s vassal king Meng Geluofeng attacks the weakened Funanese positions from the North.
  • As a result, Sui establishes a string of weak, dependent Müangs like pearls all along its Southern border, from Dali to Oc Eo. They are neither a threat to Sui, nor to the Indianised polities to their West. All of them begin to adopt Theravada Buddhism.
  • Nihon: At the end of the 8th century, under Sui influence, the equal field policy and general conscription are not given up. Instead, they are enforced, imperial examinations are begun, Buddhist monasteries are expropriated, the members of rebelling clans are assassinated, and several additional islands are added to the Kingdom, which moves its capital from Nara to the city later known as Kyoto.
  • India: Chemists from Mathura manage to reproduce fertilisers and no longer depend on Roman imports.
  • Roman and Bharikuchan textile industry have swamped the Indian market and rendered tens of thousands unemployed. Economic restructurings threaten and undermine the jati system. Deccan kingdoms react with protectionist isolation, while the Shaihr Jaari, the Kannauj Alliance and Dantapura experience inner reform of social norms for occupation.
  • Pyu and Dvaravati craftsmen manage to produce leadlights, too.
  • Cheran architects manage to copy Aksumite arched buildings.
  • Eran and Sheba agree on a joint control of the Strait of Hormuz and sharing customs revenues equally.
  • As Eran assumes greater responsibilities in the Caucasus and in Transoxania, a modus vivendi for non-Mazdakist communities is found, which incorporate themselves to enjoy self-government and participation under Iranian laws. Mazdakism maintains its hegemony through great public works projects, which are undertaken in a mixture of "voluntary common work" and paid civil service, providing both integration, employment and career opportunities for devout followers. The Mazdakist public works projects renew roads, aquaeducts, sewer systems, urban street cleaning water systems, lighthouses, canals, and even undertake reforestation projects in order to substitute at least some of the wood imports.
  • In a Great Council, Arabia is finally formally united under the King of Sheba. The Kingdom of Sheba gives itself a newly structured War Council, in which the roles and privileges of the king, the Southern noble dynasties, other clans, and the towns outside of the Arabian Peninsula (mostly on Africa`s East Coast, but later also in India and on islands in the Indian Ocean) are defined. Regional laws which do not violate the church`s doctrine, the principles of the Hilf al-Fudul pact or the royal prerogatives retain their validity.

Salvador79 (talk) 12:49, March 12, 2014 (UTC)


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