Alternate History

876-892 CE (Superpowers)

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Early Peritan Dynasty:
1590 (837)-1629 (876)
Reign of Aulus:
1629 (876)-1645 (892)
Reign of Brutus:
1645 (892)-1704 (951)

The adopted son of the Great Builder, Aulus almost his whole life felt that he had a lot to live up to. Graduating second in his class at the Academia Bellica only two years before the death of his father, the ideas of military glory and conquest were still fresh in his mind during the early part of his rule, though some say this made him rather rash and a little reckless, his proficiency as emperor was never denied. Luckily for the state, very few opportunities of war arose during his reign, and the ones that did were dealt with through ruthless efficiency.

Civil and Military Events

Left with an enormous amount of debt from his father, but with a wonderful imperial infrastructure, Aulus made it a point to actively resolve this issue. Taxes among the middle and upper classes were increased, with full consent from the Senate and a limit was placed on allowed spending by provincial governments. During several auditing attempts between 879 and 887, almost half a dozen provincial promagistrates were charged with corruption, siphoning of state funds, and quickly fired from their positions. Permanent auditing positions for each province were created to ensure that repeats of this kind of corruption would be less likely. By 888 every Senatorial and even Imperial Province had auditors working for the Conlegium Diastoleum Imperium. This new government controlled guild became the primary establishment for the control of financial corruption within the federal system of Roman government.

Other rather pro-active methods taken up by Aulus were directed to improving education for upper-class and Equestrian citizens. In the city of Florentia near Rome the Academia Arcitectonicus Aulia was founded as the first school devoted purely to the architectural arts. Given the important rise in architectural jobs over the last century, especially during the recent destruction and reconstruction of Rome, this was an expected, almost necessary development for the Empire.

The Academy featured three primary buildings. The first was the Ludum or school building itself, where classes were held as well as announcements made in the atrium of the building. On the other side of the Horti Arcitectorae (Architectural Gardens) was the Center for Architectural Studies and Design were architects from around the Empire could gather to share ideas and even practice methods in the large central courtyard of the building. Finally, at equal distance from the two buildings, and opposite the ground's entrance was the Domicilium Scholasticum or Faculty and Student Residence. This last building made the Academia Arcitectonicus the first in the Empire to offer on site residences for students, teachers and researchers. This allowed for anyone in the Empire to have a long term residence there, making an integration of Empire-wide architectural practices far easier to occur. Although architectural studies of course continued to be given through schools across the Empire, the Academia gave in depth education to aspiring architects over the age of 16, as well as offering a full preliminary education for any rich families wishing to put their children into architecture at an earlier age.

In 883 Aulus ordered the reconstruction of the Cathedral of Saint Peter in the Roman Forum. Although it had not been destroyed in the 851 Earthquake, it suffered marginal damage that was never repaired by the church or state. Instead of enacting repairs, the plan was decisively made by Aulus to have it rebuilt entirely. Completed in 889, the new Cathedral was considered the most glorious building in the city by its residents, even exceeding the grandeur of the new Imperial Palace. Dominated by a 190 m tall central dome that was almost 400 m wide. On top of this was a small cupella that on Sunday nights emitted a constant light from mirrors that directed light from a fire at the base of the cupella. This was powered by fuel pumped up by through pipes at the base and required very little human interference except for repairs. The energy to bring up the fuel was provided both by flywheels charged throughout the week and water from the city's aqueduct system.

The Dome's rotunda has four sections of the building branching out in a N-S-E-W pattern. The one going to the North is about 200 meters long and houses the Papal Throne and primary center of worship of the Cathedral. The South section is over 500 meters long and features statues of 10 of the Apostles, Peter and Judas Iscariot being missing. This section leads to the Golden Gates which feature engraved scenes from the New Testament. These 40 m high gates were, and still are, ceremoniously opened at sunrise every morning by the Pope or the Cardinal of Rome using the Keys of Saint Peter, a purely ceremonial item that references the fabled keys of Saint Peter. Between the Gates and the South section is the Atrium which has a fountain depicting the slaying of the Devil by the Archangel Michael. Directly underneath the Dome is a statue showing the Emperor Constantine I being crowned by Saint Peter, the entire set-up being about 30 meters high. The East and West sections each feature 7 of the fourteen Stations of the Cross going counter-clockwise from the southeastern most end.

The West end has a door leading to the underground Mausoleum of Adam, a reference to Adam's role in creating human death in the story of Genesis. It is here that every Pope from Alexandrius II (893) to Aegranus I (1076) were buried, any later ones being either buried here or by Imperial tradition. The East end leads to the Papal residences, a building last constructed in 858 following the former's destruction in the Earthquake. Both ends, East and West are 200 m long, like the North end, giving the Cathedral an ascetic symmetry lauded by many artists and architects. Furthermore, beautiful pieces of art adorn many of the walls, with awe-striking frescos covering most of the building's ceilings, the South end alone featuring golden designs on its ceiling. Finally, behind the Papal Throne is the Sancta Gratia (Holy Grace) an enormous golden figure of the Holy Spirit, as a dove, with golden rays spreading forth from it. Part of the same structure, but directly bellow it, with the rays practically "shining" on to it is a silver Eagle, representing God's dominion over Rome.

Outside of the Cathedral is of course a beautiful courtyard adorned with columns, fountains, statues and the like, though its detail is far to great to go into. Directly in front of this courtyard is a 500 meter long road that leads straight to the Coliseum, and many people have since joked that this was so that after a day of killing and beating people for sport, the fighters could conveniently get forgiveness. Few people, Christian, Pagan, Jewish or Muslim could not visit this area without viewing the beauty of this part of the city. As well, it has usually been the tallest or second tallest building in the city and so is visible from almost any point.

Aulus' rather active construction efforts aside, he was far more pro-active in his few military endeavors. The first opportunity came in 879 when a rebel general from the Federation took a small army and fleet to try and take Constantinople by sea. His efforts were stifled by the mighty Black Sea Fleet and completely ended by a rapid attack on his fort near the Roman border. Then, in 890 an army of Danes, unaffiliated with any of the major kingdoms, went through Danemarc (Cimbria) to attack the Roman border. Although the wall there was rather unimpressive at the time, its destruction and the subsequent crisis that followed in Germania pushed the emperor to have a much larger one built there.

Two years later, on a trip to the province of Aegyptus, Aulus contracted malaria from an unknown source, most likely a mosquito and died after a week in a galenaria in Memphis (often called New Memphis). This left the throne to his youngest brother Servius Brutus Corruptus.

Mayan Conglomerate

During this short period, cannons were the primary focus of the Conglomerate. A weapon of this kind was about 3 meters in length and 50 kg spherical shell a distance of about 100 meters. No structure built by any of the Mayan's neighbors had the capability to resist this weapon. Wooden palisades were shattered, creating holes almost half a meter across at every hit, and troop formations were scattered by the force of the weapon. Every force of 6000 infantrymen (led by a Mayan General) had use of three cannons by 890 CE. These would usually be fired alternatively at about one shot every 5 seconds. Their awesome power and awe-inspiring designs caused many potential enemies to surrender after only a few shots. Given that no one knew what these devices were, their psychological effect in battle was incredible. Nevertheless, each cannon was usually accompanied by a man-drawn wagon carrying about 30 more shells. This meant that a formation of three cannons could go on firing for about 7 and a half minutes straight before running out of ammunition. With the extensive supply lines running through Mayan territory, empty caches of cannonballs could be restocked in only a few days time.

Fortresses along the border, and even within Mayan territory, also made use of these cannons. An average fort of about 6000 men would usually have 18 cannons along its walls, plus the three cannons that accompanied its battalion. The cannon remained only a useful addition to the Mayan armed forces, not entirely revolutionizing warfare in the area yet. It served especially however as a symbol of Mayan power and technology, standing as the most powerful weapon developed in history up to that point. Though other existing siege weapons were more effective, like the Trebuchet, the cannon's ease of use, accuracy and shock value made it many times more useful in war.

In 886, a single battalion was sent about one hundred km east of Mayan territories to establish an advance fortress to help make a later invasion easier. Built by a team of skilled Mayan military engineers and construction workers, the Fortress was one of the finest of its day. Finished in 891, Fort Huanacan comfortably housed all 6618 soldiers, their 100 officers and the General. It was designed in an octagonal shape, with almost perfectly vertical walls more than 18 meters high, and then even taller towers placed at each vertex. Seven of the eight faces of the fortress each housed 10 cannons, with another cannon in each tower. Finally, the northern wall, holding the gate, housed 12 cannons. The three cannons part of the main battalion were housed near the entrance for whenever they're needed. Given the success of the fortress, Huanacan-style forts became the most popular design for the next four centuries or so. Either octagonal or hexagonal shapes were usually used, and the walls were always perfectly vertical. They would fall out of disuse during the Two-Hundred Years War when Roman artillery made vertical tower designs very ineffective.

Still, by the Xth Century, all new forts were being designed in this manner, and many of the old forts were being replaced as such. Another reason though, why this fort design was so popular was the government liked it especially. Although rebellions, especially within the army were almost unheard of, should something of the sort happen, or an enemy manage to take one of these forts through subterfuge, the Mayan cannon technology rendered them virtually useless and so a larger government force could easily take it back or destroy it with their heavy weaponry.

Back to Timeline or Superpowers

Also see Geopolitics

Early Peritan Dynasty:
1590 (837)-1629 (876)
Reign of Aulus:
1629 (876)-1645 (892)
Reign of Brutus:
1645 (892)-1704 (951)

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