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With the conquest of Ægyptus Rome soon learned of the monsoon patterns on the Mare Erythraeum through the innumerable Indian embassies which landed in Ægyptus to congratulate Augustus' reign with gifts. Augustus, intrigued, would maintain the Erythraeum port cities, and the tenuous overland trade routes to India via Parthia were quickly overshadowed by this sea lane. Hundreds of ships a year traveled by the ascension of Cæsar Carico despite the intermittent hostilities of Meroe and implacable pirates on the Arabian coasts. Roman merchant outposts, numerous but small, sprouted all the way from the Horn of Africa to India's eastern coasts, in fierce competition with middlemen traders.
Trade with Rome grew steadily between 900(147) and 920(167), a result of the Roman economy's growth after the conquests of Scandia and Gothia. The influx of wealth brought about considerable conflict between the Indian States, but no political stability, in turn actually making overland trade even less profitable. As the Parthian Plague (919(166)-923(170)) afflicted Rome, Indian states again shrank and shifted in influence; battles and armies shrank as well.
By the early 1070's(317+) two Indian states began emerging and vied for control; in the east was the Hindu Odra Empire, capitaled in Champa (OTL ~Champa), and in the richer west was the Buddhist Moronton Empire, capitaled in Morontobara (AKA Krokola and Barbaricum, OTL ~Karachi) at the mouth of the Indus. Both were largely tolerant of minor indigenous and foreign religions, but Hinduism, being a cheaper structure to maintain and propagate than Buddhism, spread faster while the Buddhist state west became ever more dependent on Roman and Sinican trade to support the Buddhist clergy. It was also in this era that the Hindus placed their gods on Ama Dablam in the Himalayas and began building temples of according designs. That is to say, three mountainous structures where the centre one is highest. Some architects took inspiration from records of Mesopotamian ziggurats as well.
In the mid 14th century (600+) a variety of Hunnic and other nomads from Central Asia invaded from the northwest, destabilising the Moronton kingdom and encouraging the expansion of the Odras. Eventually the Moronton kingdom collapsed (1561-2(808-9)) while the Hindu Odras later fractured under the stresses of expansion, but Hinduism would continue to gain dominance in India.
When It’s Hard To Get Started, Start With Chola
In the 16th century from the south the Chola Empire emerged and from all accounts had the economic and leadership potential to control the subcontinent. They started the practice of making their temples double as fortresses for awe and might, and the process of assimilating Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu while producing propaganda against non-Hindu faiths. The social rigidising and conflict between the Hindu sects continued.
The Miasmata began in India at the start of the 17th century AUC. It had undoubtedly (though at the time of the plague it was only one of many theories due to low medical knowledge) congealed from the continued unchecked growth of urban areas and a lack of sanitation and infrastructure. The population and economic booms were direct results of the extensive Roman and Sinican trade routes through the region, again making several Hindu kingdoms regionally powerful, and impediments to the Chola. The devastating outbreak of the Miasmata and the following population crash and infighting cut the Chola Empire's and others' lives short, further disuniting the subcontinent. Hinduism fractured farther, used by local rulers for popularity and personal power.
The resurgent Rome of the mid-18th century, on a mission to conquer India, would have little trouble in playing up the politics, securing vassals, coercing various monarchies, and conquering all opposition despite communication difficulties and occasional mutinies. There were few incidents of united Indian armies.
The greatest battle fought in India between Rome and the Indian states was in 1735(982) between the 15 legions under Blaesus Impertius Horatius (later to be known as Cæsar Indus Horatius) and Mansur Sebuk Tekin's 105,000. Fought at Lavapuri (Lahore), Horatius' grand victory over Tekin's united army was what would ensure Roman success in India.
Vassals of the 18th century
In 1744(991) there were three major states allied to Rome:
The Nashatrapas Sultanate (~Gujarat) with its capital at Bajjain (~Jamnagar).
The Kingdom of the Chaluka (~Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra) with its capital at Nidanovale (Nidadavole). It was the most powerful of the states, and greatly helped with Roman expansions and garrisons of its other vassals in India.
And the Adi Shakira Sultanate (~Tamil Nadu) with its capital at Karur (~Coimbatore).
The first mountain vapoline in India was constructed 1746-52(993-999) across the mons Thule Sydris in the Sydrii (Thall Ghat in the Western Ghats). It had 25 tunnels and eight viaducts; built by 50,000 workers.
Another line was started in 1747, finished in 56, across Bor Sydris (Bhor Ghat), with 13 tunnels and six viaducts.
The greatest revolt in India started in the Indian Legions in 1857-60(1104-7), over the use of cow fat in pilium ammunition cartridges and spread into a general rebellion. After the mutiny, imperial control of the province was strengthened, several prisons to hold both legionaries and civilians that were neither executed nor pardoned were built. These prisons' reputations for cruelty would become notorious and eventually these prisons served to hold anti-Roman elements from throughout Asia.
The Consul rarely interfered with the businesses of India (both native and imported) outside of standard imperial regulation (no corporations) and war needs (gimme it now), not forcing Roman industry as the OTL Raj had British industry since keeping India economically viable had been a investment, having helped Rome out of financial difficulties numerous times, despite the danger of allowing such a powerful full-rights highly autonomous province with a complex assimilation policy.
Coal was discovered in India in 1879(1126).
Rome's main exports to Sinica through India included clockworks, scientific instruments and texts, and opium; China's to Rome were tea, silk, porcelain, and fine art.
In the 1980's(1227+) the first bridges over the Rivers Krishneveni (spanning 3970pes (1.175km)) and Jumna (two spans, 2575pes (760m) and 3090pes (915m)) were built.
The conquest of India was understandably a very profitable venture in the end; trade with India in 1600 had been 27 million libras of goods a year (~37.5 million pounds), by 1750 it had reached 90 million (~125 million pounds).
Were it not for the Xun revolution India would have entered the senate far earlier than 2157(1404). Having senate provinces next to wild lands or cool neigbours was not new but relations with Xun Sinica were always volatile and its armies ready for invasion. India would be a special case of Cæsar appointed Legates and Duxi under the direction of a standardly elected Consul Senator (though they were usually a former head of the Senate). The Indian Senate Consuls would be given enough autonomy to respond to Sinican aggression or internal dissent but be amongst the most intently scrutinised.
India’s caste system was never banished as it was seen as a part of Indian social culture and was not in opposition to the Empire. The system largely worked for India’s stability until the cultural disruptions of industrialisation began to cause some elements to chafe. Neither was it impermeable but by the 19th century Rome began passively supporting caste abandonment, finding support from the Buddhist communities. By the late 21st century when private aeralexy shows began proliferating in India the drive increased, backlashes were largely avoided due to the work of social engineers. In the late 22nd century the caste system was still acknowledged but not well adhered to in practice.
Buddhism (Budæmus in Rome) was introduced during Augustus a few years after the conquest of Ægyptus by a monk traveling with an embassy, it found popularity with the same demographics as stoicism and Epicureanism.
Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism all arrived in the Empire soon after Buddhism but were not nearly as popular.
The Indian extended family system has been only slightly stronger than the Roman system until the late 1600’s(910+) when accelerated industrialisation of the empire made nuclear families in Rome more popular. The conquest of India in the 1730’s-40’s led to a temporary backlash against this trend, which resumed in the 1770’s.
Arranged marriages made a comeback in the empire in the same period as India’s conquest, but they received a far harsher counter backlash than the reintro of the extended family system.
The Namaste/Namaskar formal greeting would have varied levels of popularity, for the most part as a fad, notably taken up by the neo/Pruddai.
By assimilation many traditional festivals were integrated with like dated/themed Roman holidays, and many Indian holidays spread to the rest of the Empire through returning legionaries and migrating Indian families.
Romanised Indian names became prevalent everywhere, and as part of assimilation Indians were encouraged to adopt them if not traditional Roman names.
After the conquest of India, most exotic animal species were being exterminated through hunting for sport and the arenas within 200 years.
Since the establishment of Indo-Roman trade relations in the late 8th century Roman knowledge and fondness of Indian food was on an ever increase until the Miasmata. Its popularity would resume and surpass previous levels after India’s conquest, many Indian chefs becoming huge celebrities in the west and even serving as senators’ private cooks. Spices, spices everywhere.
Clothing and Accessories
Silk clothing inspired by Indian forms had been imported to Rome since before the acquisition of Ægyptus, and directly thanks to the wives of emperors, new fads in Rome frequently copied those of Indian embassies.
Makil (muslin) fabric, its light and airy fibres great for hot weather, was introduced to Rome in the 10th century from southern India and manufacturing techniques for it were quickly adopted around the Mediterranean. Makil would thence be perpetually available in the Roman world.
The wide regional varieties were awesome, but the high points of Indian clothing influence on Rome were with the rise of the Chola empire in the 16th century and the conquest of India. Sari, dhoti, churidar, kurta, and lungi becoming frequent sights on all Roman social levels, the Indian caste significance known only by the inquisitive and becoming the source of ever so many witty and ironic jokes when seen worn by the unknowing. Roman tunic and toga styles became truly popular only with the Indian conquest.
Largely ignorant of its religious significance, Roman men and women were known to get bindi tattoos or implants in regular fad waves since the introduction of Hinduism in the 8th century. A number of minor western religions also ended up adopting the bindi.
The Consul of India rarely interfered with the textile industries outside of war needs, not forcing Roman cloth industry as the OTL Raj had since keeping India economically viable had helped Rome numerous times out of economic hardships.
From the 19th century on Indian citieswhich? became undisputed trend setters of clothing world wide, the first new lines always premiering in Italy.
Even in the 18th century, Romans were notoriously snobby about dancing. Indian dances came in popular waves to the less Romanised peoples of the Empire, but did not last. Only since India’s admission to the Senate in 2157(1404) has its ancient dancing traditions found esteem, occurring at private upper class parties as often as at amateur singer bars.
Drama and Theatre
Romans had learned to love Indian theatre unlike dance, and their importation of dramas throughout India and Rome’s relations provided Roman playwrights with new ideas even as traditional theatre in India itself was moribund. A few decades after the Indian conquest the old traditions were revived by Indian and immigrating Roman dramatists, again renewing interest Empire-wide.
During the Odra and Moronton empires the Indian musical systems became solidified until the introduction and prominence of Roman systems after the conquest. Classical Indian music, however, was not terribly popular among Romans. Modern (21st-22nd C) Indian music, however, became as widespread as that of other provinces.
TV and radio
The first televisa had been set up in major cities’ forums, stations and baths in 2139(1386) showing news and announcements from the west. By 2140 western Animum Lineamentumi shows and provincial news was being aired. Private sets began selling in 2142(1389). India had long been a hub for aeralexy programmes, and although the local studios were slow to emerge for the public video venues, by the time private sets became numerous, India was putting out a lot of animum, seriae and annosariae to compete with western broadcasts, and in fact Indian shows were available in many provinces and nations by the 60’s.
The city Candaris in eastern India eventually became the most prominent filming location in the Empire and the world until 2143(1390) with the establishment of Spinaen Aventinus in the Cuashium Confederation.
India was as varied in language as in politics, during the 9th century most were either Samsertam (Sanskrit) or Prakerta (Prakrit). Before the conquest familiarity with Latin and Greek was disseminated from traders and their outposts. In the late 11th century the Odra and Moronton empires each developed their own scripts, but the Odra script spread faster through its Hindu monks. The Odra script became the most prevalent, representing many dialects.
Upon India’s capture, the Rectorius Latinus tried to extend its area of influence over a language possessing a generally uniform script but a chaotic system of pronunciation and spelling. Planning to slowly assimilate Samsertam (which had supplanted Prakerta by the 10th century) into Latin while at the same time re-engineering Latin itself, the RL was encouraged by the Roman government, but its policies simply didn’t absorb well (contributing to India harbouring five of Latin’s 47 major dialects), and by the 19th century the RL decided to simply let it go since Latin education in general was progressing well, and India would end up with 20 minor languages, some derived from Samsertam, some using the Odra script.
With a pænuniversal script provided by the Odra, Indian literature exploded, producing many poets and philosophers; their books joining the silk and spices flowing west, although of course the "upperest" and crustiest of the upper crust of Rome still deigned only to read the Latin/Greek Classics.
India’s ancient and new (11thC+) epics were popular in the rest of the Empire, and were in turn influenced heavily by Roman/Greek epics. During Roman control of India the religions and ethics espoused by both sides’ literature would cause as much understanding as friction.
Like the early Romans’ adoption of foreign technologies, so the Indian’s integrated many building styles from others. Stupas appeared first on the Egyptian east coast in the early tenth century. The first in Alexandria was in 933(180), and from there they showed up in Rome and other major Mediterranean cities. Torana also came to influence Roman construction, notably in triumphant arches. Indian cave temples’ unique styles influenced the cave temples within Asia Minor the most.
India was the maker of several sports and games including bedamitana (~badminton), quatuformae (~chess), and a number of card games. They were among the first items to enter the Empire, and Romans developed many variants to their rules, often not realising their origins, bedamitana in particular joining the Capitoline Games in 1657(904).
Kelari (kalarippayattu) was created in Kerala in the mid -5th century, and was first viewed by Roman merchants in the region in 852(99) when the local kingdoms unsuccessfully resisted conquest by the Andrara Empire. Some merchants purchased enslaved warriors of these kingdoms, and brought them to Roman cities to train gladiator schools. During the conquest of India, Kelari was again seen in use against Rome in the south, and impressed legates had it adapted to legionary training in India in the 1740’s(987+). Over the next fifty years Kelari would be unofficially adopted by many legions in the east, and with the encounters with East Asian arts and the Menguren the Magastratus Arma in 1974(1221) made such training compulsory for all legions, but left which school of arts to study entirely up to the legate.