18 centuries between the Hellenistic Age and the Age of Enlightenment condensed into six centuries of continued progress.
The Points of Divergence are caused by a science fiction scenario: a robot was sent from the last human colony to the past to steer humanity into a direction where they don't become assimilated in the future. The Information Age of this alternate timeline and secret history of this timeline are full of science fiction (better suited to novels, web comics or other wikis). However, this alternate timeline, as observed by most, is plausible through the early Information Age — hopefully.
This alternate history is no utopia. Though the Middle Ages are skipped and democracy never fully dies, Roman civilization is no better than OTL contemporary civilization. The Modern Age happened earlier but its culture was worse. Slavery was replaced with indentured servitude and the propaganda regarding it discouraged protests from the moderately well-off. The aristocracy of heredity was replaced with the aristocracy of wealth though most aristocratic families knew how to maintain and grow wealth. Crime and corruption were no better than in the late 19th century. Lack of major wars in the Modern Age caused innovation to stagnate. The concept of Human Rights existed but few people cared. The concept of animal rights didn't even exist in the Mediterranean influenced world though meat consumption was lower because only the wealthy could afford it.
Points of Divergence
Alexander the Great died early in the Battle of the Persian Gate, causing a retreat of his army to friendly territory in Greece and previously conquered Persia.
Phoenician naval technology experienced increased innovation and invention in Tangier during the sixth through first centuries BCE.
The Maya experienced unprecedented growth and prosperity thanks to the inventions of a few siblings and their descendants, starting in the early Classical Period in Tikal.
Corruption during the Eastern Han Dynasty was curtailed by competent emperors and lasted through three more emperors before being usurped by a military aristocracy in the northwest, transitioning into the Tang Dynasty.
Major Ripple Effects
Tarantine aristocrats successfully plotted to hand Taranto over to Rome in 282 BCE.
Greece and Carthage successfully defended Sicily from the Romans.
Carthage, Greece and Rome joined forces to expand and thrive without stepping on each others toes in 199 BCE. This becomes 1 Anno Imperium in the new timeline.
The Roman Republic remained a de facto oligarchy of the senate with landowners technically allowed to vote democratically but rarely doing so outside local elections.
Rome focused on conquering the Iberians, Gauls and Berbers with a little help from Greece and Phoenicia.
Herod was not put in charge of Judea.
A carpenter by the name of Jeshua was executed by the Pharisees at age 42 in the mostly independent client state of Judea. Christianity and Islam become the most popular sects of Judaism but Judaism (including Christianity and Islam) spreads little more than Judaism (excluding Christianity and Islam) in OTL. Christianity never becomes a majority religion outside Greece. Islam never becomes a state religion outside Arabia.
Pompeii and Herculaneum were evacuated ahead of the eruption of Mt Vesuvius. Infrastructure and health in Italia (and eventually the rest of the Mediterranean world) improved from the adaptation (though the economy suffered in the short term).
Vaccines discovered in Ptolemaic Egypt in the first century CE (third century AI) eventually saved the lives of the important people (government, aristocracy, military, gentry, wealthy traders) and consequently saved the lives of many indigenous populations of the New World.
Renewed interest in mummification for the elites in Egypt led to discoveries of anatomy, with eventual use for forensics to bring justice to the dead and surgery to improve health of the living.
The Library of Alexandria never caught fire.
The Mediterranean Triple Alliance (known as the Roman Empire to the Romans, the Greek Empire to the Greeks, and Punic Empire to the Punics) started breaking down after Greece officially recognized Christian Judaism (and slowly abandoned polytheism) and Rome co-opted Judaism (claiming that Jupiter is the same as YHWH and conflating various other gods with angels and prophets, mixed in with Divine Right of Senators).
Greece and Rome started colonizing Germania in the eighth century AI. However, Germania rebelled in the ninth century AI, triggering The Global War.
The descendants of the early inventors became the Mayan royal family. Feel free to fill in the blanks with a semblance of the Mayan Conglomerate (Superpowers) though the point of divergence is earlier, the first inventors were siblings, and transatlantic contact happened much earlier.
Mayans traded some of their advanced technology (water wheels, windmills, iron, etc) for llamas (and eventually Alpacas) from the Moche.
Rather than collapse from changes in weather starting in 536 CE, the Moche civilization adapted and morphed into an empire akin to the Inca before European or Asian contact.
The Maya began industrialization and expansion, forming a federation of tribes under Mayan control (non-Mayan tribes being no more powerful or influential to the system than the state of California does in the USA in OTL).
Seeking riches from fabled islands. Phoenician explorers landed on what are called the Virgin Islands in OTL in 372 CE (572 AI). The transatlantic exchange between the Romans and the Maya occurred nearly two centuries later.
The economic boom of the Eighth century AI (10th Century CE) allowed for scientific and technological advances in the Mediterranean, Chinese, and Indian spheres of influence, triggering the Second Industrial Revolution in the ninth century AI. The Maya slowly caught up by examining and reverse engineering weapons and machinery from the Global War.
The Global War began during the late ninth century AI when many subjugated colonies and client nations rebelled simultaneously, breaking apart the empires. The colonial seaports in the New World declared independence immediately after receiving news regarding Germania while Britannia didn't become independent until the mid-Tenth Century.
The Chinese Golden Age of the Han Dynasty continued through the Tang Dynasty while military technology and government projects merely slowed down for a short period during the late Han and early Tang. Gunpowder was invented at the earliest estimation by OTL (142 CE). Alchemists eventually discovered the Scientific Method cerca 500 CE, developing effective medicines and useful non-medical chemicals including pure elements and synthetic dyes. Non-medical alchemy branched off from medical alchemy shortly after the Scientific Method was developed.
Seaworthy ships allowed China to begin trading with Pacific Islanders and eventually the Pacific Coast of the New World.
Penicillin and other drugs discovered by accident following contamination were not discovered before the Information Age.
The Medieval Warm Period coincided with the late Modern Age and Information Age, resulting in greenhouse gas taxes and stricter pollution taxes.
Biodiversity in nature and agriculture were much higher from environmentalism. Genetic diversity of the human population was far higher from prevention of plagues and ethnic killings.
The Phoenicians (based in Tangier) built the first colonies in the Caribe islands in the fifth century CE. When the Phoenicians encountered the Maya, they saw a thriving, powerful civilization in the process of expanding. The Maya had cities that rivaled Carthage and Tangier and even developed grain mills to make flour from Mahiz and used both windmills and waterwheels to do work. Trade between the Punics and Mayans was slow at first because the Punics didn't develop infrastructure until more established. Punic colonists and traders in the Caribe eventually prospered and expanded to the northern Maya Sinum, encountering the less advanced Coles Creek culture. The Columbian Exchange of OTL is called the Mago-Maya Exchange in this timeline, named after the Punic trader Mago who made the first contact with the Mayans. The identities of the early explorers were lost to myth and legend and subject to plays and motion pictures in the Modern Era.
Romans eventually grew suspicious of the Punics who suddenly had goods with designs that did not resemble African art. After two centuries in secret, the Punics eventually told Rome of a vast continent to the west. Britannia was chosen to be the launch site and the Romans sent over an exploration ship. Later, colonies were built along the Atlantic coast of the northern continent by Romans. The Romans encountered very primitive Woodland Peoples and exported their own agriculture to the New World in light of the lack of agriculture in Sixth Century CE North America OTL. Around the turn of the millennium AI (early 13th century CE), motion pictures were made romanticizing the noble Punic sailors and the imperialistic Romans.
Mediterranean Romans mostly kept to the areas without cold winters while Celtic Romans colonized as far north as the Great Lakes. The subarctic Atlantic coast was eventually colonized by Scandinavians in the late colonial age helping maintain their independence from Rome.
Antibiotics had not been discovered prior to the Information Age but vaccination, hygiene, roman civil engineering and quarantines spelled the end of plagues. Transportation to less developed areas was difficult so no diseases were completely eradicated until the Information Age. Influenza ravaged the New World early on but the death toll was barely any worse than Spanish Flu OTL. Other diseases such as measles spread during the colonial period but the fact that these were less virulent than smallpox and came in two separate waves (first flu, later the others) meant that the indigenous peoples were able to recover. The Maya understood quarantines--having previously put a social stigma on those infected with syphilis--and had invented soap (though it was a scarce luxury) before anyone else; the arrival of the foreigners and their diseases only made the Maya stronger, expanding into tribes ravaged by disease. Reverse engineering the weapons used against them in the colonial period further helped them.
Diet in the Colonial Era
The Punic sailors were accustomed to seafood, bread and wine. Punic colonies in the Caribe cultivated grain and grapes from the Old World and several crops native to their new lands to supplement their seafood diet.
Wealthy Romans ate game, fish, cheese, bread, and old world fruits and vegetables. Poor Romans ate porridge. Sheep were not brought over to the New World until colonies were well established and cows were brought over later still. The (albeit slow) spread of Judaism in the Mediterranean world brought superstitions to even the polytheistic Romans regarding disease (which were mostly proven accurate) from pigs; sausage became a European delicacy and Mediterranean colonists did not bring pigs over to the New World. The three sisters (mahiz, beans and squash) along with Mediterranean crops were widely cultivated by the Romans. Fruits from farther east (including citrus) were found to thrive in the Caribe and Maya Sinum. Romans avoided tomatoes and potatoes for centuries, believing them to be poisonous. Roman diets changed further when they started colonizing the southern continent.
Colonists from China brought crops from Asia and the pacific islands. As wealthier settlers arrived, livestock were also brought and with them disease. The second wave of colonization by China was easier though the Romans were smart enough to start vaccinating the natives to keep a buffer between them and China.
Major Civilizations Prior to The Global War
Roma - Romans ran the armies of the Mediterranean. They had the best engineers in the Old World. The powerful Romans grew decadent and indolent while the commoners and slaves toiled. They directly controlled the Italia and Hispania, allied with Greece and Phoenicia, losing grasp on Gallia, never strongly grasped Germania or Scandia
Ελλάς/Graecia - A vassal state of Rome, warriors joined the Roman armies. Greece was most well known for its intellectuals including famous philosophers, mathematicians, alchemists, artists, and writers. The directly controlled what is known as Greece, Egypt and Turkey OTL, losing grasp on Persarum
Arabia fought a religious-fueled war for independence in the early ninth century AI (613 to 632 CE).
Phoenicians controlled the least land area of the advanced civilizations but they ruled the seas. Most merchants and privateers were Punic and official navies consisted of Roman sailors on boats of Punic design. They only directly controlled coastal cities along the southern and western Mediterranean sea and Atlantic coast of Africa.
China had experienced a golden age that never seemed to end. Their art, culture, and achievements were famous around the world. Silks from China were in high demand among the aristocrats and leaders. They directly controlled most traditionally Chinese lands, plus a few other areas, with a weakening grasp on Korea, Japan, and New World Colonies.
India was a diverse empire known for its steel and inventions. The consumption of meat was greatly frowned upon by them. They directly controlled roughly what is known today as India, Pakistan and Australia OTL, along with a few islands
Maya - controlled most of mainland central New World
Moche - controlled most of the Andes and coast, weak grasp on western Amazon basin
There were other civilizations, some with more land than Punics and Moche but none as technologically advanced or powerful. The Global War of the late Ninth Century AI (Seventh Century CE) officially ended when Britannia becoming independent in 915 AI (715 CE) though parallel wars were ongoing in Africa and did not end until almost the Information Age.
The Global War
To Do: expand in a separate article.
This is a combination of WWI and the various wars for independence if all of them happened with 19th century technology. Inspired in part by Alternate History videos of what if disease didn't wipe out the Native Americans and what if the Rush to Africa didn't occur.
The Global War was a horrific struggle for independence seemingly across the Globe. Gunpowder had been used in China for over a century but cannons were used on ships for the first time in the Global War and used to much greater extent in war than ever before. Bombs were never used in previous wars. Ironclad warships saw their debut in The Global War as did sea mines. Incendiaries and synthetic spice (i.e. mustard gas and pepper spray) were used though the Global War was mostly naval.
The Mediterranean Triple Alliance itself became less effective when monotheistic Greece, semi-monotheistic Rome, and polytheistic Phoenicia started disagreeing with each other (Greece and Phoenicia had freedom of religion but the Punics mostly worshiped their own gods and Greece was slowly converted over to Christian Judaism)
Though the Punics lost most of their inland territories, they managed to hold onto their most important cities along the African coast and exert some pressure on their former territories (and beyond) through trade.
India and China, however, were the best prepared and lost no territories on the mainland. India maintained its grasp on Australia. China expanded to both the north and west. Korea and Japan eventually broke off from China.
The Maya managed to retake most of their land (from the colonists) and expand into the northern interior (American southwest in OTL) and southern front (because they knew how lucrative a canal could be once fighting ended)
The colonies north of Maya land gained independence though the Mediterranean settlers on the Atlantic coast had no commonality with the East Asian settlers (mostly from China though India and subjugated peoples by China and India also settled) on the Pacific Coast.
Though the Global War had the most bloodshed out of all wars in this ATL history, fewer died across all the battles in the Global War than WWI + WWII, not to mention the fact that smallpox never plagued the indigenous populations of the New World and genocide was virtually unheard of in this timeline. Many slaves earned their freedom in the battlefield and slavery saw a decline in the aftermath of war (though indentured servitude replaced it). However, wars in the African and New World interiors happened concurrently until the Information Age, as the tribes fought to control more land.
The Modern Era in this timeline is the post-war period of the Tenth Century AI through Eleventh Century AI. It precedes the Information Age, which sees Atomic Energy used for the first time and the invention of The Internet in the mid-eleventh century AI. Scientific breakthroughs from WWII OTL do not occur before the invention of The Internet in this timeline. Hustonium becomes the research and economic capital of the world in the late Modern Era onward relating to the science-fiction cause of the Points of Divergence. Therefore, Hustonium in the Information Age falls outside the scope of this wiki.
The Maya equipped the indigenous peoples north of them with what amounted to hunting rifles by today OTL's standards. However, the colonists of both the Atlantic coast Colonies and Pacific coast colonies had access to crossbows of Roman design and flaming arrows of Chinese design. The colonists relied on trade to expand their power, eschewing open warfare in light of being outnumbered and by certain standards outgunned. The greatest population increases in the Modern Age were in India, China, Southern Phoenicia (coastal Africa) and the (now mostly independent) colonies.
The Maya were able to further increase their power by taking the cities built on their land by the Mediterraneans and East Asians. The written Mayan language became simpler after analyzing Latin and many books were written after high quality paper making devices and woodblock printers were found in the retaken territory of the west coast.
The baby boom following the Global War led to massive urbanization and agricultural innovations. The global population swelled to roughly a billion by the late Modern Age (812 CE). The causes included historically high birthrates not declining before the Information Age, synthetic hormones requiring prescriptions, excellent healthcare for the healthy (and quarantines for the contagious), greater genetic diversity (no ethnic group ever significantly decreased in population), plenty of room & technology for growth, and economic pressures from the capitalist economy for continued growth. Once overpopulation and climate change (which was a combination of natural and artificial causes) became prevalent in the Information Age, reproductive health became more focused on eugenics to maintain a healthy and productive population.
Slavery was different in this timeline. Before industrialization, slaves typically came from wars and were rarely transferred. After industrialization, indentured servitude became a common way to pay off debts. Joining the Roman army was the surest way to freedom and citizenship and the only professional military in the Mediterranean world was Roman. Phoenicia hired Romans to fight their wars when typical mercenaries were insufficient though this required paying not only the soldiers but also Rome itself. Enough wars were fought that actual slavery didn't start declining until after the Global War. Indentured servitude didn't start declining until the Information Age. The treatment of non-citizens was a matter of honor; social pressure was the only discouragement from human rights violations. However, citizens had the equivalent of First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendment rights (US Constitution OTL) though standards for reasonable, excessive, and cruel were not as liberal.
The discovery of petroleum deposits in Scandinavia and Texas helped bring about a new era of technological development. Plastics of all kinds were invented and the diesel engine was perfected — both by Olium Minerva, a corporation founded by Roman aristocrats (also inventors of synthetic Purpura Tyria) with the original invention of the diesel engine, now headquartered in Hustonium. The Scandinavians joined Persians in becoming the leading exporters of petroleum and its products to Rome, China and their former territories. Jet fuel, diesel, machine lubricants, asphalt, and especially plastics were the main uses for petroleum. The gasoline engine was never invented in this timeline because it served no purpose in a world without suburbs. Arabian petroleum deposits were not discovered until the Information Age; in time to make a fortune off rising prices. Africa developed rapidly in the Information Age, the Maya refused to export petroleum products, and seemingly everything was made out of plastic by the time Arabians started exporting.
The Cities of the Modern Age
The various differences from OTL to this ATL amount to the vast majority of the world population living in cities by the Modern Age (which is 12 centuries early). Bedroom communities simply do not exist. The equivalent of a suburb is the industrial area outside the main city; Suburbio having the same definition as OTL Spanish.
The biggest new cities were built on oceanic coasts and were extremely diverse. These new cities were full of immigrants from around the world seeking new opportunities and escape from oppression. Even young people from indigenous populations traveled great distances (by their standards) to seek opportunities not found in the traditional and largely agrarian tribes (often warring with each other and exploited by said coastal cities). Though the cities were clean and healthy in the biological sense, crime, violence and corruption were major issues for over a century.
Italian Peninsula: Neoclassical with villas on the tops of skyscraper condominiums and parks (or pools, clubs, or restaurants) on the tops of skyscraper businesses in the coastal cities. The capital city of Roma becomes a city devoted 100% to politics, education, and culture. All non-government jobs were in the service sector to support the government workers and tourism.
Greece: Greek revival skyscrapers in the central business districts though less developed than Roman ports
Paris: Haussmann and Belle Epoch high rises and skyscrapers
- Parisian Latin sounds like a cross between Italian and French with grammar similar to modern Italian with some Esperanto-like grammatical clarity.
- Paris in this timeline is known as a city of arts, culture, cuisine, and love; it's pretty much the positive stereotypes of France while Rome has the snobbish, imperialistic stereotypes.
Londinium: Steampunk mixture of Greco-Roman and Victorian styles.
- Rome's military industrial complex for northern conquests and one of the last to gain independence.
- Home to many researchers of steam power.
- Inventors of the dirigible.
Hispania, Caribe and the Punic colonies of the Maya Sinum had architecture that could be described as Neoclassical or Spanish colonial but the peoples living there were polytheistic.
The colonists didn’t invade farther inland than Lake Erie. The place where most of the industry of the Great Lakes took place was in the location of Buffalo, NY (OTL). It produced electric automobiles for the cities and goods of all kinds for local use, export, and trade with the natives. The Niagara Style in this timeline is synonymous with The Chicago Style in our reality.
NYC in this timeline is called Manhattan and its architecture looks exclusively Neogothic (though Gothic architecture never arose).
Jacksonville in this timeline is called Urbem Deco Nova and its architecture is mostly Art Deco, with some Modernist.
The equivalent of Washington DC is merely called the Unita Poleis Caput (capital of the United City-States of the Atlantic Coast) and was built the same way as ours at first, but didn’t grow much because typical civilians avoided it and the United City-States never expanded inland; it was also built away from the swamp.
Hustonium was built similar to Hugh Ferriss’ Metropolis of Tomorrow by Oleum Minerva and Colossus Constructio Corp after oil was discovered. Oleum Minerva was the leading researcher in organic chemistry and invented the diesel engine during the Second Industrial Revolution in Rome. The Diesel-Electric hybrid engine was invented in Hustonium and the aerospace industry started there. Eventually a space center was built in the same location as in our timeline. The mid rise housing units, highrise workplaces, and typical skyscraper sub-centers were built first. The gigantic central edifices took decades to build using the most advanced materials and technologies available. Unemployment was low because construction jobs stayed in demand even after the offices were fully constructed. By the time the last and biggest center was built, the offices around the city were open and hiring while most older buildings had demand for maintenance and upgrades.
Trade centers in China and its former territories looked much like Republic City from the Legend of Korra
The west coast of North America was colonized by China and settled by various East Asian immigrants after gaining independence. The cities of the Pacific Coast were built in international styles reminiscent of modern day OTL cities in Asia, North America, Australia, and Eastern Europe. These cities grew slowly inland with the newer, taller buildings built uphill from the harbor and historic district full of mid-rise buildings. City planners decided to enforce this aesthetic to maximize the amount of buildings that had water views (at least from the upper levels)
Culture of the Modern Era
Imagine the Roaring Twenties happening in ancient (late Tang Dynasty) China, ancient India (the Gupta Empire), and a Rome that never fell. There are some anachronisms here. However, there is more familiarity in the independent colonies of the Atlantic coast despite speaking a Latin derivative with consistent grammar and spelling similar to Esperanto (Ido with Latin vocab). The high culture of Rome, China, and India continued but new forms also arose.
Though 12 centuries of medieval history did not occur to romanticize, somehow all of the famous fairy tales were completely imagined without any historical basis by the visionary artist W. Dives. His company made a fortune off the mystical tales of heroic princes, beautiful princesses and magic. Since all these stories were original, copyrighted works, with no basis on history and very weak basis on pre-Roman mythology there were no unlicensed stories at all like them in the Latin speaking world. At roughly the same time, another visionary artist in recently independent Nippon drew on the various mythologies of East Asia, especially Chinese and indigenous Yamato mythology. Eastern animation was not quite the monopoly as western animation because it drew more upon mainstream culture and established mythologies. Eventually, Dives Corp. would distribute and dub the feature films that were made in the late modern era the most famous studio of this animation company, most directed by yet another visionary artist. Dives films would eventually include live action adaptations of its animations and historical fiction with their Naute ad Caribe franchise spawning a dozen feature films. However, competition was fierce for historical fiction.
Gladiators still fought in coliseums but deadly sports declined after industrialization. Contact sports and the Mayan pitz ballgame were more popular in the colonial cities even before independence. After the Coliseum in Rome suffered water damage after a mock naval battle, a new type of coliseum was engineered for water sports and mock naval battles. Zoological gardens and animal circuses in the outskirts of cities were also popular. Human rights and animals rights did not become gain widespread acceptance until the early Information Age.
Jazz and Blues evolved from the plight of indentured servants and impoverished "free" plebs and slaves of all kinds. Similar music evolved on both coasts of the New World though the Pacific coast included traditional Chinese instruments in their bands and languages were obviously different for vocals. Eventually Jazz spread to Eurasia, where it gained equal popularity. The Jazz Age lasted much longer in this timeline than OTL because the civilized world did not experience any further wars as influential as the Global War. Blues and protest songs eventually lost popularity as the modern world improved and the plight of impoverished persons in the least developed areas received little-to-no media attention. The greatest loss to the world of music was the non-existence of Baroque and Christian music.