Geography (Greek: γεωγραφία) of the Superpowers world, while identical to our own on the scale of plates and continents possesses utterly unique biospheres and landscapes. Rome has been perfecting a technology called terracommuta (terraforming) which allows them to reshape the world in their own design. The Caesar and Senate don't make it public but they have big plans for the future geographical map of Earth. Already, Rome physically separated the Mediterranean from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and redirected its waters for reforestation of the Sahara Desert, now the world's most expansive grasslands. Future projects seek to create an enormous barrier reef along the West coast of Europe and a new mountain to separate Roman from Ottoman Asia Minor.
Africa (Nahuatl: Aztica) is the second largest and fourth most populous continent, just behind Europe in terms of inhabitation. It covers exactly 30,221,532 sq km and houses one billion people from four different countries. At its southernmost tip is its only independent nation, the Grand Zulu Republic, a military dictatorship monitored by the Romans. On its mid-Western end are the Maya and Inca colonies. They possess the continent's most fertile natural regions. However, the Sahara Grasslands to the north in the Roman empire have even more arable land, maintained by a vast network of artificial lakes. The east end of the continent is dominated by prosperous Roman trading outposts interspersed among impoverished native settlements.
Following the completion of Rome's Eden Project, North Africa became the most fertile land in the world, surpassing Europe. About 46% of the Imperium's agriculture is performed there by thousands of automated farming complexes.
The jewel of Africa is the Garden of Eden, a 90 km² complex built 240 km south of Carthage. A wall encloses the space but its beautiful greenery is visible from the air. Roughly half of all plant species in the world, including several hundred unique hybrid or previously extinct species, are grown in the Garden. Aristocrats from around the world visit Eden, entering for a modest daily fee of 5,000 Dn. Journalists and magistrates that went inside describe it as the most beautiful and serene place on Earth. Emperor Cicero himself said that even "the Angels that guarded the Garden of old would weep in awe of the life we created in what was once the most inhospitable desert on Earth."
Economically, there are three distinct Africas. The first and richest Africa is North Africa, where the most arable land and most prosperous settlements are located. The next one is Middle Africa which contains the rich colonies of the Romans, Maya and Inca that do well for themselves but are not by any means unusually rich. Finally there is South Africa, which mostly consists of Swahilium and the Zulu Republic and suffers the most abject poverty of anywhere in the world.
The origin of the name of Africa is heavily disputed in academic circles, particularly as it has been adapted as the name used by every country in the world. The Maya for instance refer to it as Aztica and the Inca as Uachicua. There are two origin theories which are currently the most popular, one attributes the name to the Latin language, and the other to the Greek language. Either it comes from the Latin for "Sunny", aprica, or from the Greek for "Land without cold and horror", Aphrike (Αφρική). It is likely that the true origin will never be known.
Africa is the largest southern projection of the planet's primary landmass. It is separated from Europe by the Mediterranean Sea and Arabia by the Red Sea. Africa connects with but does not actually touch Asia at the Isthmus of Suez. In order for ships to pass they must go through the Suez Dam that prevents water from the Mediterranean from mixing with that of the Indian Ocean. Two other dams link Africa to its next neighbour, Europe. The first of these complexes is the Hercules Damn in the West which controls the inflow of ships and water from the Atlantic Ocean and the second is the Phoenician Dam, an artificial extension of land and concrete that partially links Sicily and Carthage in the bridge from Africa to Italy. Unlike the three dams that isolate the Mediterranean from the rest of the world, the Phoenician Dam has 24 massive (250 m wide) canals running through it that ensure that the flow of neither ships nor water is in anyway inhibited.
Stretching from Africa's north coast to the western tropical forests is the Great African Grasslands that were created by an artificially formed lake and river system that runs through the former Sahara Desert. This is tremendously rich agricultural land that if exploited by only one quarter of its surface area could theoretically sustain over 10 billion people. However, current plans project that only 8% of the land should be exploited for agriculture, with 4% already in use. North of this is rich Mediterranean vegetation that is ideal for human settlement and already contains about 15% or so of the continent's population. Surrounding the grasslands are some semiarid deserts left over from the terraforming project but further south there is even more vegetation in the form of the Congo Tropical Rainforests and the African Savanna. It is in these regions that the majority of Africa's biodiversity is found, including the great apes, lions, elephants and the like.
Further south from the rainforests the land becomes arid once again. Although the southern part of the continent is inhabited by only 90 million people, it is extremely rich in minerals and economically sustains the native Zulu state very nicely. Overall the majority of Africa has virtually identical climactic and vegetation conditions to OTL, and it is only the Sahara that has been altered. This is, however, a huge difference, one which is expected to become especially important in the coming decades.
Europe (Latin: Europa) is, based on Roman geographical divisions, one of the seven inhabited continents. It comprises the entire landmass of the contiguous Roman Empire as connected to the city Rome by land. In the last 200 years, those lands and islands that constitute the Imperium of Danemarc, up to the land of Thule Minor, have also been included. Additionally, the islands that make up the Mediterranean Basin are also considered to be part of Europe, as are those around Britannia and north of Fennoscandia. The definition of Europe as all land owned by Rome that is connected to Rome has historically decided what Europe is since the 5th Century. Since the defeat of the Gallic tribes in 52 BC, Rome has been the dominant power in Europe, a state of affairs that has not changed in the present day.
Europe is, and has always been, the smallest of all the world's continents. By population however, it was the most populated one from the 200's to the 1000's CE, at which point it was surpassed by Asia Ulterior, then again in the 1700's by North Columbia. Therefore, it currently stands as the third most populated continent on Earth.
This region has played a dominant role in Eurasian affairs since the resurgence of the silk trade during the first half of the 1st millennium. By the 1300's, Europe was already taking part in affairs around the globe through the colonies of its home nations. From the 17th Century onwards, not a single major nation in the world was not being heavily influenced by Europe, and in particular, the Roman Empire. Every nation had military, political and economic ties with either the Danes or the Romans, essentially making Europe the most influential continent in the world. Currently, although their are only two countries there, a European capital directly controls approximately one half of Earth's surface area, as well as large parts of other planets.
In ancient Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess whom Zeus abducted after assuming the form of a dazzling white bull. He took her to the island of Crete where she gave birth to Minos, Rhadamanthus and Sarpedon. For Homer, Europe (Greek: Εὐρώπη, Eurṓpē) was a mythological queen of Crete, not a geographical designation. Later, Europa stood for central-north Greece, and by 500 BC its meaning had been extended to the lands to the north.
The name of Europa is of uncertain etymology. The best originating theory suggests that it is derived from the Greek roots meaning broad (eur-) and eye (opt-), hence Eurṓpē, "wide-gazing", "broad of aspect". Broad has been an epithet of Earth itself in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion and so it could mean that Europa originally meant the whole Earth, but evolved once other lands were discovered.
Physiographically, Europe is the northwestern constituent of a larger land mass, either Eurasia or Afro-Eurasia. The eastern boundary is generally defined as the Roman border with the Mongols. It then continues to the Black Sea; the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, the Dardanelles, and the Aegean Sea conclude the Asian boundary. The Mediterranean Sea to the south separates Europe from Africa. The western boundary is the Atlantic Ocean; Frigerra, though nearer to Greenland (in North Columbia) than mainland Europe, is included in Europe.
European geology shows great variation within relatively small areas. The southern regions, however, are more mountainous, while moving north the terrain descends from the high Alps, Pyrenees and Carpathians, through hilly uplands, into broad, low northern plains, which are vast in the east. This extended lowland is known as the Great European Plain, and at its heart lies the North Germanian Plain. An arc of uplands also exists along the north-western seaboard, which begins in the western parts of the islands of Britannia and Hibernia, and then continues along the mountainous, fjord-cut spine of Fennoscandia.
The Mediterranean Sea (Latin: Mare Nostrum, Our Sea) is a vast body of water between Europe and Africa that was once a sea that emptied into the Atlantic Ocean through the Strait of Hercules. Since 1991, the Mediterranean has been the largest saltwater lake in the world. The transition from sea to lake was the product of an ambitious terraforming project, the Magneuropa Program, to isolate the Mediterranean and unite Roman Africa and Europe. The program proved itself to be a resounding success and prudent investment.
Salinity levels are still artificially maintained at their original levels but the water level has fallen 50 meters from where it was twenty years ago. The implications of this will be noted later. Motivations for the terraforming project were to double inflow to allow twice the outflow of water to supply the reverse desertification of the Sahara, and only dams could bring in water at twice the natural rate. Italy, Spain and Judaea have also benefitted from extra outflow, improving their arability and providing more water to their cities.
The Mediterranean Sea covers approximately 2.3 million sq km but is surrounded by a huge length of coastline for its size. Most uniquely, it is the largest body of water within a single country, the Roman Empire. Literally every inch of coastline, from the Suez to the Dardanelles is Roman territory. Consequently, an enormous amount of Rome's commerce relies on sealanes passing through the sea. As all entrances are now blocked by Dams, the Romans have built waterway to transport ships into and out of the Mediterranean, without offsetting normal water flow. The three pathways are canals at the Suez, Dardanelles and Hercules Straits that carefully control the influx of water into the sea, using various methods to prevent the sea level within the Mediterranean from leveling out with the world's oceans.
The drop in sea level of 50 meters across the entire Mediterranean Sea has opened up approximately 200,000 km² of new, fertile land for the Roman Empire. Over 70% of new land is in the Aegean and Adriatic Seas as well as parts south of Carthage. This has had widespread effects, of course, on maritime settlements but Roman engineers prudently handled as many of these problems as possible.
One solution was that major coastal cities (hundreds of which were vulnerable) that would be landlocked had nanotube-lined dams built around their ports and a canal cut into the seabed before the water level fell. The resulting bay contains the entire sea traffic of that city. A constant flow up the canals slows the escape of water from the bays while pumps replace what water is lost. This part of the project was funded local provincial governments, large national Guilds and the federal government for a price of 960 billion Dn ($48 Trillion US). Technically, the price could have been 20 times higher if the materials were not extracted from space mines that have no price beyond the cost of shipping minerals to Earth.
Venetia (Venice, for sea-blue) was the city most vulnerable to a lower sea level since it was built in a lagoon supported by an intricate system of canals that weave through its streets. Its tourist and transport industries relied on these canals but the city was predicted to be left 40 km inland. The 41 km long, 0.5 km wide canal linking Venice to the Mediterranean meant water was quickly escaping. An especially large pump system is needed to maintain the Venetian Lagoon.
Smaller coastal towns and villages had their populations relocated and everyone compensated with new homes in the land that was being freed up, property owned by the imperial government. Ultimately, due to the gains in valuable real estate, the reduction in the sea level has already resulted in a net gain for all the investors of more than a trillion Dn, only rising as the government sells more and more land.
A total of 5.9 trillion Dn ($295 Trillion US) was invested into the Magneuropa Program over a period of 10 years. Construction began on January 1, 1986 under Emperor Cicero, who inherited the program from his predecessor, Raphael. Work finished in mid-1991 but activating the dams was believed to be too risky with the ongoing war. When World War III was effectively won that year, the dams sealed the Mediterranean from the oceans and were activated, starting to lower the water level on December 25. By February 4, 1992 the water level had fallen by the desired 50 meters and normal operation of Magneuropa's systems began.
Of the total investment, 66% was from the federal government, 13% from provincial and municipal governments, in particular Judaea and Baetica, and the last 21% was from private corporations like the Collegia Aegypti Annona, Melitae Mercatora and Danuvius Labora.
Revenue for Magneuropa came from numerous sources. First, the system of dams has a net power production since water levels are lower than global sea level. The hydroelectric dam across the Dardanelles provides 2/3rds of Constantinople's power and three small dams on the Nile River Delta provide half of the power for Alexandria. Second, 200,000 sq km of new lands were opened by the retreating sea. While much of it was granted as compensation for relocating citizens, over two trillion Dn has been made.