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|Early Classical Era|
27 BC - c. 78 AD
c. 78 - 100 AD
101 - 200 AD
The First Century AD, dated between the years 1-100 was seen as the height of Imperial Rome as it increased its hegemony over the Mediterranean and beyond, most notably seen in its conquest of Britannia and Hibernia. In Persia and in East Asia, Parthia and Han China strengthened their hegemony over their regions, though not to the degree of the Romans. The nascent Roman Empire proved to be a remarkably successful government, at least under the guidance of notable emperors such as Augustus, Tiberius, and Claudius, building new cities and expanding heavily across Europe, much to the dismay of the local Celts or Germanic people, who defeated the Romans at Colchester and Teutoburg Forest, respectively.
This century also saw several important technological advances such as the invention of the codex (the modern form of the book), replacing the scroll in the Roman Empire, and the water-powered bellows in Han China. The First Century was also notable for the foundation of Christianity in Roman Judea.
This page covers background information for the timeline and the first 22 years following the Point of Divergence. Only events that were directly affected by the butterfly effect are located on this page. For more information regarding the non-alternate parts of this time period, see this page.
Before the Point of Divergence of Hibernia Unanimis, a certain understanding of First Century Ireland (referred to as Hibernia henceforth) and indeed, the whole Roman Empire is important. In the mid-First Century, Rome was at its height under the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and later the Flavian Dynasty. Far-flung lands were rapidly added to the empire, with the inhabitants of them easily subjugated using advanced Roman military technology and tactics. Locals, after being conquered were usually quickly assimilated, due to the rapid expansion of Roman infrastructure and luxuries to conquered regions--who would want to live in a hut in the woods at the mercy of the elements when you could move to a Roman city or town and enjoy sewers, walls, stable government, and far-flung luxuries? These factors, especially when good leadership was to be had, allowed Rome to quickly expand and hold new lands that would remain part of the Empire for many years.Britannia was one of these provinces that was recently annexed by Rome. In the mid-First Century, long after the establishment of several client states in the southeast during a prior expedition during 55-54 BC, Claudius' general, Aulus Plautius landed his forces in OTL Kent in 43. Several major river battles were fought and most of the wealthy tribes of southeastern Britain were relatively easily conquered, with the Romans marching into the Cantuvellaunian capital at Camulodunum (Colchester) by the end of the year. East of Colchester, the future emperor Vespasian subdued the Atrebates and Durotriges in OTL Sussex.
By the end of 47, most of the wealthy (compared to the rest of Britain) southeastern region was subdued and the Romans turned to the less commercially viable, yet strategically important hinterlands of the island. The first region they invaded was Wales, almost directly after the Romans subdued the tribes south of the Trent. Unlike many tribes in Southeastern Britain, the three major Welsh tribes, the Ordovicies, Demetae, and Silures were almost completely opposed to Roman hegemony. A guerrilla campaign proceeded, with the Silures especially utilizing Wales' rough terrain to their advantage against the Romans, who pumped troops into the region to little avail. Finally, in 51, Publius Ostorius Scapula, governor of Britannia lured the Silurian leader Caratacus into a set-piece battle and defeated him. Caratacus then turned to the Brigantes, a powerful central British tribe and begged their queen for aid. Cartimandua, the Brigante queen was not about to break her alliance with the Romans and to further prove her loyalty, she turned Caratacus in to the Romans.
Conquest against the Welsh tribes largely ended by this time, with the Romans and Welsh tribes, especially the Ordovices preventing one another from becoming victorious in a long campaign that drug on for many years. Britain then experienced a few years of peace and relative prosperity in the Roman-held area of the island.
These good years came to an end in 60-61, when the Roman vassal of the Iceni in OTL East Anglia was annexed by the Romans after the death of its chief. Boudica, the late-chief's wife rose up in revolt, gathering support from both the Iceni and Trinovantes to the south. The nearby capital of Roman Britannia, Colchester was destroyed, and the rebels continued onward to Londinium, which they also destroyed. Eventually, the Romans took a stand in the West Midlands and defeated Boudica and her rebels, who quickly disbanded after the battle.
In 69, the "Year of Four Emperors", the Brigantes seized their chance, when the legions were preoccupied, and attacked Northern Britain. However, when Vespasian became emperor, he ordered the legions to subdue the Silures and Brigantes, and they were crushed.
This was how Roman Britain stood on the eve of the ascension of Gnaeus Julius Agricola to governorship, a poor, yet militarily important backwater of the Roman Empire. Britannia's isolation prevented large-scale immigration to the province, so many "Roman" institutions on the island were actually local, headed by a motley mixture of Romanized Celts and native Romans and were largely free from direct influence from Rome, ruling in the name of Rome, but largely left to their own devices.
Roman control petered out over central Britain, until you reached tribes (such as the Brigantes) who were Roman vassals, swearing allegiance to Rome and occasionally paying tribute, but independent in every other way. These tribes were oftentimes fickle, and would break ties with the Romans for a variety of reasons, and they, for the most part, were only "Roman" in name. Further to the north lie tribes that were independent and, more often than not, were completely hostile to the Romans, seeing them as unjustly colonizing Britain or simply as good targets to raid.
In Hibernia, it was a similar story to the far north. Celtic tribes or "tuatha", as they were known as to the local Hibernians were constantly jostling for power and land. The fundamental unit of Celtic Ireland was the tuath, an independent polity that ranged in size from a small community to a large group of communities. Tuatha were, in essence, a body of people and their land holdings voluntarily united for socially beneficial purposes. Usually, Tuatha consisted of between 6,000 and 9,000 individuals. Each tuath's members annually met and decided all common policies, declared war and peace on other tuatha, and elected and deposed their kings. However, in contrast to tribes, Hibernians were free to leave their tuath, and individuals often left their own tuath for another one if they disagreed with its policies. Tuatha themselves were also free to join other tuatha or secede, and, as such, strong kings or tuatha with policies that worked usually expanded in an odd system of Darwinism, as members of weak tuatha with policies that did not work usually joined larger ones. Celtic Hibernia was in a state unlike any nation seen before and not seen again until the advent of Norse Iceland or the Iroquois Confederacy that could not be described as disunited anarchy or a united federation, a form of government that would appeal to the modern OTL libertarian.
The population of the island was very low and largely rural, with the only real urban centers in the island located near the mouths of rivers or around hill-forts that were used for defense. Records of Hibernia before Roman rule were sketchy at best, and mythology often blends with real history to the point where they are indistinguishable from one another. Fabled "kings" were often little more than leaders of small clanns, with their "kingdoms" as clans that managed to make a name for themselves for a short period of time, only to be inevitably swept away in the extremely fluid geopolitical system of Iron Age Ireland.
Into this void stepped the Romans, and one Roman in particular, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, Governor of Britannia. Despite Hibernia's close proximity to Britain, the Romans knew very little about it, and it was referred to, when it was referred to at all, as an island, similarly sized to Britain, that was located anywhere from off the coast of Iberia to north of Britain, where "men ate human flesh" and "openly have sex with their mothers and sisters". The first actual reliable account of the island's size and location was by Julius Caesar in his Commentari de Belo Gallico, where he is the first to refer to the island as Hibernia and correctly locates it as west of Britain and approximately half the size of it.
Roman ignorance surrounding Hibernia continued into the First Century, and it was largely ignored during the early days of the Roman conquest of Britain, with only limited trade operations occurring between Britain and Hibernia, spreading some Romano-British goods throughout the eastern part of the island. However, few Romans took note of the island until the ascension of Agricola to governorship.
Agricola saw Hibernia to the west as an easy target for Roman expansion, due mostly to its low population and flat terrain. Agricola did not see Ireland as a target for its resources or strategic location, rather he saw it as a potential target to "pacify" the natives so in the future, the local Hibernians would not cause trouble for the Romans. In our timeline, Agricola ignored his thoughts about Hibernia, and chose to push north, into Caledonia. This would eventually prove to be a mistake, as the Caledonians, utilizing the rough terrain in their homeland to their advantage, were able to play the long game and gradually whittle down Roman occupiers until they retreated behind the Antonine Wall, and later, Hadrian's Wall.
However, what if Agricola saw merit in an invasion of Ireland to the point where he would send more than an expeditionary force to the isle? What if, for instance, a raid on a Brigante trade colony on an island off the coast of Hibernia was enough to convince him that the Hibernians were a threat and needed to be absorbed into the empire?
Well, I guess this is the place for you.
Welcome to Hibernia Unanimis.
During Domitian's reign a series of military campaigns would be carried out in the British Isles, under the command of Britannia's proconsul, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, whese son-in-law Tacitus wrote a detailed account of his actions. Agricola arrived to Britannia in the summer of 78 AD, where he was immediately confronted by the insurrection of numerous previously subjugated tribes, including the Ordovices of northern Wales. The Ordovices destroyed a cavalry ala of Roman auxiliaries within their territory, and Agricola planned to march immediately. Using his knowledge of the region from previous military service in Britannia, Agricola was able to react quickly and defeat the Ordovices in battle, effectively exterminating their tribe. From Wales Agricola next marched on the island of Anglesey, forcing its inhabitants to submit. The following year Agricola marched against Brigantes of northern England, as well as the Selgovae along the southern coast of Scotland. Overwhelmed by Agricola's vastly superior numbers, both tribes resubmitted to Roman rule.
Beginning in 71 AD the region of northern England had been subjugated by Rome, beginning with Petillius Cerialis leading a successful war against the Brigantes. Both Cerialis and his successor, Julius Frontinus, would continue to establish a stable border in the north of England. Under both governors, and subsequently Agricola, numerous fortifications would be established along the northern border with the Caledonians. Furthermore a combination of force and diplomacy ended discomfort among the Britons along the border, allowing Agricola to focus his attention elsewhere.
Around the year 74 AD it is believed that refugees from Brigantia fled to the island of Lambay across the Irish Sea. Over the course of the next decade the island would become increasingly Romanized by merchants, who sought to open the door for Roman trading in the western British Isles. By 80 AD Roman institutions had been established on the island, possibly from numerous skirmishes with the native Brigantes. Following his successful campaign in northern England and Scotland, Agricola returned south to the city of Deva, where he assembled a small party to scout the island to the west. Agricola's expedition would be the first military expedition across the Irish Sea, exploring areas only vaguely known by merchants and traders at the time. Where Agricola landed he established the fort at Drumanagh as a military beachhead, and to protect a local trade post with Hibernian merchants. It is likely that he planned to use this fort for a future war with the Hibernians, as at the time Agricola was harboring an exiled Hibernian prince, Túathal Techtmar, who would be installed as a puppet Hibernian king under Rome.The following year it is reported that the Hibernians became hostile to Roman influence and trade, with the settlement on Lambay Island being raided. Hibernian kings across the island prepared for war to end these excursions into their territory, prompting an immediate Roman response. Agricola assembled the Roman army at Deva, and according to Tacitus the Roman army consisted of one legion from Britannia, namely the Legio XX Valeria Victrix, under the command of Agricola, supported by large number of British auxiliaries. The Roman army numbered at least 8000 auxiliaries, including four cohorts of Batavians and two cohorts of Tungrian swordsmen, 3,000 cavalry, and 17,000 to 30,000 overall. Likewise, with support from the Romans, Túathal Techtmar raised a large army of Hibernian auxiliaries and allies to join him in his cause. The Legio II Augusta was transferred from southern Britannia to the north to secure the border with the Caledonians. Agricola seemed confident in the security along the border, with this legion fortifying a series of fortifications constructed by Agricola and his predecessors.
Roman forces under Agricola landed at Drumanagh that year, using the already established fortification to defend against an initial wave of Hibernian warriors. After the victory at Drumanagh, Agricola pushed further inland, encountering a coalition of Hibernian nations along a riverside, which the Romans called the Bolinna, from the Hibernian word Bhóinn. The Hibernians reportedly outnumbered the Romans marginally, and stood upon high ground, with its front ranks on level ground and subsequent ranks rising in tiers along the slope of the hill, in a horseshoe formation. A brief cavalry charge was also ordered along the level plain between the two armies. After a brief exchange of missiles, Agricola ordered his auxiliaries to launch a frontal attack on the enemy position. Along the lower slopes of the hill the HIbernians were cut down, while at the top of the hill the remaining army attempted a flanking maneuver. The Hibernian flanking attempt was in of itself outflanked by the Roman cavalry. As a result the remaining Hibernians forces were completely routed, fleeing to the surrounding woodland, pursued heavily by the Roman legions.
According to Tacitus the Romans killed a third of the Hibernian army, with little to no casualties, although this is probably heavily exaggerated. At this time Agricola marched back east, heading toward a settlement known as Eblana, home of the so named Eblani, a tribe along the coastline hostile to the Romans. At the city outskirts an army of the Eblani and Cauci, an allied tribe to the south, marched against the Romans, but were decisively defeated. The city of Eblana was pillaged, with its inhabitants largely slaughtered. At the same time as the advance on Eblana, Túathal Techtmar's army of Hibernians loyal to him and his brothers, pursued the fleeing Hibernians into the interior. Upon the hill of Achall he met the Hibernian high king Elim mac Conrach, who had deposed his father, and defeated him in battle. Elim would be killed, allowing Túathal Techtmar to march on Tara and be crowned king.
Over the next year the forces of Agricola would march south, subjugating the Cauci, before marching west to support the Hibernian forces loyal to Rome. The Romans reportedly marched as far west as the Lough Ree, encountering hostile forces in a series of skirmishes. The Hibernians' sparse attacks were largely ambushes and other forms of guerrilla warfare, which slowly dwindled the Roman force. With knowledge of the interior of the island, Agricola returned to Eblana. Túathal Techtmar reportedly defeated armies from Ulster, Leinster, Connacht, and Munster, and he convened a conference at Tara, where he established laws over the island, and annexed territory from each of the four provinces to create the central province of Míde (Meath), centered around Tara to serve as the High King's territory. Four fortresses were constructed in Meath, including Tlachtga, where the druids sacrificed on the eve of Samhain, on land taken from Munster; Uisneach, where the festival of Beltaine was celebrated, on land from Connacht; Tailtiu, where Lughnasadh was celebrated, on land from Ulster; and Tara, on land from Leinster. Meath was officially a client kingdom of Rome, and if the high kingship was any indication, Rome in theory held hegemony over the entire island. Confident in his victory, Agricola departed for Britannia, leaving a small force in Eblana and Drumanagh.
Upon his return to Britannia, Agricola was recalled from the province in 85 by Emperor Domitian, after an unusually long tenure as proconsul. Tacitus theorized that Domitian recalled Agricola, fearing that his success would outshine the emperor's own modest victories in Germany. Agricola returned to Rome, where he was awarded triumphal decorations and a statue, the highest honor Domitian could bestow minus an actual triumph. Agricola would be offered governorship over the province of Africa, but he declined it. In 93 AD Agricola would die on his family estates in Gallia Narbonesis at the age of fifty-three. Rumors persisted that his death was due to poisoning by Emperor Domitian, but no conclusive proof was produced to support such a claim.
Rest of the WorldShortly after Agricola seriously plotted a Hibernian expedition, in 79, Mount Vesuvius in southern Italia erupted, burying the nearby towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash. The Roman Emperor Titus organized a major relief effort to relieve the devastated communities around the Bay of Naples. The next year, a rebellion by Terentius Maximus, a man claiming to be the late emperor, Nero, gained steam in the eastern provinces of Rome. Terentius was banished to Parthia when Titus heard about him. It was in 80 when the Flavian Amphitheater, or the Colosseum of Rome, was completed. Titus died soon after, in 81 AD.
Titus was succeeded by his brother, Domitian, who was notoriously more autocratic, and was almost universally despised by the Senate. However, he was an intelligent and efficient ruler who was popular with the people. Domitian created many public works across the Empire. and micromanaged the metal levels of the denarius. Domitian, however, rejected the idea of aggressive expansion, and used taxes for public works, for the most part, cementing his popularity with the people and enraging the Senate, who had little-to-no power at the time. In 85, though, the Suebi, Dacians, and Sarmatians, who had harassed the northern Roman frontier in Mosea (OTL Bulgaria), had invaded Roman lands under a loose confederation. Domitian, seeking military glory without expensive conquests, launched a swift counteroffensive, personally leading the Roman forces. His actions were effective in driving the confederation north of the Danube; however, the barbarian confederation fought the Romans in their own lands, completely wiping out a legion and sending the remaining troops into Roman lands, shattered. In 87, Domitian personally launched a much larger counterattack into Dacian lands, and completely defeated the barbarian forces, and negotiating a peace with the Dacians that would last until the reign of Trajan.