Alternate History

Politics (Superpowers)

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Politics (Latin: Politica), in a general sense, comprises the activity of governments, citizens, and cities in their interactions over time. The Superpowers world is inhabited by a small number of sovereign states - one twentieth the number of OTL - reducing the complexity of international politics. However, particular diplomatic and military relations between two countries take on great significance in the grand scheme as individual governments own such large shares of global activity. Most sovereign states influence huge areas of land and manage hundreds of millions of people. An advantage of this geopolitical situation is reduced competition for national interests and fewer albeit more destructive and conclusive conflicts.

Strictly speaking, politics only refers to the processes by which people self-govern themselves as citizens. A state where the people are subject to the will of an elite body (oligarchic) or one person (autocratic) is technically apolitical since its people are slaves rather than citizens. Although OTL has widely adopted the looser definition above, the political scientists of this timeline understand terms such as politics and democracy closer to their root. For this reason, an oligarchy such as Greater Yuan China or an autocratic theocracy such as Tawatinsuyu is not considered to engage in internal politics. Furthermore, there is no unified concept here of international politics, only war, commerce, sanctions, and diplomacy.

Modern Politics

In the modern world, countries are focused on reconstruction after the last world war. The Alliance of Earth has emerged as the dominant organization on the planet and leads efforts to rebuild. Its hegemony extends over half of the globe and its member states directly control more than a third. The only state that is independent of the Alliance is Greater Yuan China or the Mongol World Empire. Its population, army, and resolve competes with the much more advanced Imperium Romanum, the leader of the modern world. A possessor of nuclear weapons, modern computers and aircraft technology, Mongolia, or China as the Romans know it, is in a position to challenge Rome's world dominion. However, satellite weapons and international alliances keep Mongol ambitions in check and have ample capacity to contain the expansion of Mongolia for the foreseeable future.

Certain social values and political issues that gained public attention in OTL are non-existent. Separation of church and state was only sought in some states; sexuality only refers to behaviour without reference to preference or inclination; environmental damage remains local rather than global; and morality is directed by academics, with religious institutions subject to academic interpretations of moral and metaphysical dogma. Sometimes, society's lack of recognition of social issues has been detrimental, as in the cases of corporate exploitation and of racism, but other times, as with abortion and euthanasia, not viewing public actions as a social crisis has benefitted national discourses.

Race on its own is an interesting topic in the modern world. Societies like the Romans and Maya emphasize the importance of blood and patriarchal family ties over physiological appearances - an Italian paternal grandfather will make even the darkest skinned African socially accepted in upper society - as people can usually discern heritage from manner, dress, and speech. As will be noticed throughout the article, the Orient, which includes China and Japan, are where typical Western and Columbian social mores and customs breakdown. The Japanese, for instance, look down on most foreign races as inferior by their physiology not by their heritage, starkly contrasting the Roman attitude toward race.

Humanity itself has taken a unique meaning in this timeline. Wheras it might have become a term that symbolizes global unity and cooperation for the benefit of all people, here it embodies the magnanimity of being human and the need to approach technological and socioeconomic ideals. This came into play in the struggle between capitalism and platonic socialism, which was framed as a fight for the spirit of humankind.

Recognizing the subtle distinctions of the Superpowers history is vital to understanding how that world works.

Civil & Geopolitical articles

Political Ideologies

  • Technocracy: Political system where bureaucrats are selected for a role by being experts in the relevant field and a sovereign is elected by consensus among these technocrats, who reserve the right to impeach him
  • Fascisma: Belief in the national unity of the Roman Empire under a Senate and Caesar, opposing the fragmentation of the country along cultural borders and endorsing Roman expansionism
  • Platonism: Radical movement seeking a classless and moneyless society governed by oligarchic meritocrats, trained from birth as governors of the country. The national authority embodies the sovereignty of the people, serving its general will, and cannot forcibly subjugate individuals in its domain. This ideology is an idealized combination of Platonic republicanism and social contract theory
  • Islamism: Conservative ideology espousing Islam as politically as well as religiously authoritative. It seeks to establish Sharia (Islamic Law) over the Muslim world and remove Western and Eastern economic, political and cultural influences over the Islamic peoples
  • Confucianism: Belief that humans are inherently malleable, and that the government's role is to be a guide or teacher for the self-cultivation of its citizens. This requires that the state be ruled by the most able people in the country. This ideology endorses a powerful, meritocratic bureaucracy and interventionist policies
  • Parsimonium: Economic system founded on private ownership of the factors of production and expansion of a country's capital base by investment. This requires support of a competitive market free from excess regulation, excessiveness determined by whether the state follows laissez-faire or state parsimonium
  • Daoism: Anarchist religious and political ideology devoted to maintaining harmony with the natural human inclinations, as a means of being in harmony with the way of nature. This opposes the enlargement of a government's power and supports freedom of markets, expression, and religion
  • Constitutionalism: Conservative ideology founded on the primacy of a state's constitution above all other authorities and the necessity that this constitution reflects the general will of citizens


Geologically, the continents are shaped almost solely by natural processes; nothing in history has changed this. However, geopolitical borders are unrecognizable. The only geological diversions center around the Mediterranean Sea which has been terraformed into an enormous lake. Rivers branching out of the Mediterranean into the Sahara provide enough water to transform this former desert into a luscious grassland. Much of Roman agriculture happens in the Sahara Grasslands.

Geographical borders between the Eurasian continents are malleable since Europe is defined by Rome's border with the Orient. Since the 1860's, Europe has extended deep into what could be considered Asia. Also, the Middle East and Anatolia form a separate continent of Asia Minor, smallest continent on the planet.
2000 AD Superpowers Map

Modern geopolitical borders



  • Europa Occidentalis (Western Europe)
  • Europa Haemaia (Balkans)
  • Scandinavia
  • Nova Germania (Slavic Europe)


  • Africa Major (North Africa)
  • Africa Minor (South Africa)


  • North Columbia (North America)
  • South Columbia (South America)
  • Tainuria (Caribbean)

Asia Minor

  • Arabia
  • Anatolia
  • Persia

Asia Major

  • Serica (China)
  • India
  • Nipponia (Japan)
  • Asian Grasslands (Russia)


  • Australia Maior (Australia)
  • Australia Minor (New Zealand)
  • Insulae Antipodae (Polynesia/Melanesia/Micronesia/Indonesia)

Units of measurement

Most countries abide by a distinctly Roman system of measurement founded on the use of Arabic numerals (known in the Roman world as numerus mathematicus). The first decimal number system, as opposed to showing non-integer numbers by division, appeared in the 8th century in the works of Archaedavincus. His system has been expanded by later generations to incorporate orders of magnitude above and below those that ancient mathematicians could conceive.

Orders of Magnitude

English Latin
Prefix Decimal Place Powers
of ten
Order of
septillionth 0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001 10−24 −24
sextillionth 0.000 000 000 000 000 000 001 10−21 −21
quintillionth 0.000 000 000 000 000 001 10−18 −18
quadrillionth 0.000 000 000 000 001 10−15 −15
trillionth 0.000 000 000 001 10−12 −12
billionth nano- 0.000 000 001 10−9 −9
millionth mikro- 0.000 001 10−6 −6
thousandth milesimo mili- 0.001 10−3 −3
hundredth centisimo centi- 0.01 10−2 −2
tenth decimo deci- 0.1 10−1 −1
one unum 1 100 0
ten decem decem- 10 101 1
hundred centum 100 102 2
thousand milia due- 1 000 103 3
million trige- 1 000 000 106 6
billion tetre- 1 000 000 000 109 9
trillion pente- 1 000 000 000 000 1012 12
quadrillion hexe- 1 000 000 000 000 000 1015 15
quintillion septe- 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 1018 18
sextillion octe- 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 1021 21
septillion none- 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 1024 24


  • 1 uncia = 24.6 mm
  • 1 pes = 0.296 m
  • 1 cubitus = 0.444 m
  • 1 passus = 1.48 m (common unit)
  • 1 mille = 1.48 km


  • 1 jugerum = 2523 m2


  • 1 sextarius = 0.546 L (common unit)
  • 1 amphora = 26.2 L


  • 1 libra = 328.9 g

Data Storage

  • 1 quad = 4 bits = 0.5 bytes
  • 1 tetrequad (1 Tq) = 500 GB (common unit)

Processing Speed

  • 1 Amb = 1 Hertz


  • 1 nundina = 8 days

The calendar of world business is and has been, since the end of the first world war, the Roman calendar. Based on the original Julian Calendar, which was made after the formation of the empire, the new Galilean Calendar was created by the Hebrew astronomer Galileo (the Galilean) in 859 CE. It marks years from the foundation of Rome and recognizes an additional day every four years. The year 1 AD in OTL is 754 Ad Urbe Condita (AUC) in the Galilean calendar.

The months of the Galilean Calendar are: Januarius (31); Februarius (28); Martius (31); Aprilis (30); Maius (31); Junius (30); Julius (31); Augustus (31); September (30); October (31); November (30); December (31-32). It's months are nearly identical to the Gregorian Calendar in OTL except that the leap day is in December.

Hours are measured in relation to midday using two divisions of 12 hours. Those twelve hours before midday are labelled AM for Ante Meridiem (before midday) while those twelve hours after are labelled PM Post Meridiem (after midday). For example, 6pm is the sixth hour after noon and 4am is the fourth hour before noon or very close to sunrise. The hours around midday itself are simply am and pm without a number to denote the hour.


Human beings are evenly distributed across the globe. This homogeneous spread is owed to the worldwide prevalence of advanced medicine, chemical agriculture, and industrialization. Less fertile regions have received the capacity to support populations that match China. The population of Europe alone is 782 million, mostly concentrated west of the Vistula River. India has a population of 260 million, North Columbia has one of 1.3 billion, and South Columbia has one of 430 million. Meanwhile, the Japanese Archipelago, as the most densely populated region on the planet, has 220 million people.

By density, Japan leads with 582 inhb/km² and is distantly followed by Italy with 346 inhb/km². Few regions compare with the sparsity of the Far North of the United Chiefdoms and the Alyeskan colony of China. Centers of population are known as cities (urbes), to be contrasted with rural areas. The average population density in Columbian, African, and European cities is around 2,400 inhb/km² but this statistic rises to an incomparable 10,200 inhb/km² in Asia. The density of the latter cities is maintained against the threat of urban congestion by impressive transportation networks while the populace itself is saved from ennui within the urban jungle by an almost unparalleled access to communications and entertainment. Advanced industrial socities have tended to build their major cities under the principles of urban planning, a technique pioneered by the Ancient Romans during the social crisis of the 4th century CE. While segregation of economic and social functions is the preferred method in the West, Oriental countries favor an organic integration of residential, official, commercial, and locomotive facilities within the cityscape.

Roman cities

Urban engineer (doctor urbanus) is a respectable profession in the Roman Empire, created by the Senate in the 5th century as an ongoing solution to urban congestion and overpopulation. They can find work whenever new cities are being founded, old ones are being renovated or advice on urban laws is necessary. Their codex is the magna lex urbana, an immense collection of laws dating back to 308 CE. These regulations have continually been expanded or modified to match the changing structure of society and cities, leaving urban engineers an up to data and flexible field to do their job.

In the Roman Empire, an urbs (city) is defined as an enclosed area inhabited by over 50,000 people, which distinguishes cities from urbolae (settlements) and megalopoles (urban areas) as a matter of law. Set numbers of portae (gates) are required for specific population brackets depending on terrain, local rivers and position on trade routes as such factors influence how much entering and exiting needs to be facilitated and, as a matter of defense, it is unwise to construct an excessive number of entrances. For the sake of costs, city walls are built far beyond contemporary city limits to make room for at least a century of anticipated expansion. This became difficult during the agricultural revolution but the Senate has managed by making concessions.

Districts (Praefecturae)

The law demands segregation of major activities within city limits, necessitating the ancient system of districts.

Civilian life happens in the praefecturae vitae (living districts). These contain a mixture of doma (houses), insulae (apartments), pergulae (shops), grammatici (schools), galenariae (hospitals), ecclasiae (churches), horti (gardens) and basilicae (public buildings) for use by a city's residents. Planning keeps these separate from the praefecturae industriae (industrial districts).

An industrial district must be located on the fringes of the city when constructed, basically touching the city wall. Within these regions are structures with no social functions, e.g. fabricina (factories), spensae (storehouses), fontae potentiae (power stations) and stationes vehiculae provinciae (provincial public transport stations). No citizens desire homes next to such ugly and noisy facilities; even the people who work in them; so it became essential to keep them distinct from living districts. The natural result was that land prices towards the center of a city rise as its borders approach the factories and storehouses near the wall and demand for unoccupied land falls. This contributes to how high houses cost in major imperial cities.

Open Roman Market

Open-air market in Baiae


Roman houses (doma) often come in the form of attached housing, sometimes sharing an entrance to the street and an outdoor atrium. Architecture varies from province to province, with the marble buildings of Italy and Greece, the mud houses of Arabia and thatch residences of Africa Minor. Shops can be found around or underneath people's houses, often sticking out the side of a building so that customers can line up on the street. Where the density of shops has historically been high, a marketplace often opened, giving locals a place to concentrate their shopping chores and converse with friends of the family. Usually, the finest and most popular markets become a forum once the government recognizes their importance with the construction of a monument. Hours of operation tend to be 8am to 11pm followed by 1pm to 5pm and finally 9pm to 12pm before closing for the night. Your typical market is open-air though some guilds have collaborated to produce the shopping malls characteristic of markets in Asian cities.

Insulae cannot be taller than 29.6 meters by urban law. Similar restrictions exist for houses (22.2 meters), markets (26.64 meters) and churches (44.4 meters) unless granted a special permit. Other ancient restrictions for apartments are that they must have a water tower of a certain volume and provide at least one fire escape pole somewhere inside. This goes back to the days when apartments were serious safety liabilities as it was difficult for the number of people inside to escape in case of a fire. On that note, no more than thirty residents may live in one apartment for every stairwell and entrance with which it is equipped.

While insulae are disliked by the general populace - partially for their association with poverty and partially for being an eyesore - turrae (towers) are popular for private residences, with municipal permission, places of worship, schools, hospitals and government buildings. The city of Sancta Joanna especially embodies the love of outfitting buildings with a tower as the city officers had a period of lax enforcement of urban law which spiraled into a cultural phenomenon for the modest settlement.

Most rich citizens of the empire own no less than one home in a city. While they often live in some ostentatious domum, the patriarchs of the patrician clans tend to build enormous urban villas known as palatiae (mansions). These extraordinarily extravagant dwellings have tall façades and vast internal gardens which display the owner's wealth and influence. The only buildings which match their splendor are those of the local government.

Taj Palace

Palatia of the North Indian Consul


Capital cities of provinciae and foederatae are home to a Praetor and Consul respectively who are tasked with governing that division of the Roman Empire. Consules are high-ranking magistrates, deserving of nothing but the finest accommodations. As such, their palatiae tend to stand out among other buildings in the city - wonders of engineering some of them.

Although the latter's residence does not need to be in the thick of urban life, a Praetor necessary places himself on the primary forum of his capital city. This keeps him close to the affairs of the public and near the publicani who do his dirty work. Necessary offices assigned to major cities include the curatores viarum publicarum (commissioners of public roads), curatores aquarum (commissioners of waterways), curatores mercandorum (commissioners of trade) and curator rerum publicarum (commissioner of public relations).

In daytime, medium-sized or larger vehicles are outlawed past the city walls so the primary means of diurnal transport are walking, public transit and small personal vehicles. The most widely used form of transit is the subcanalis (underground railway) system. Its lines run deep beneath a city's streets; muffling surface vibrations; so entry by long staircases or elevators is necessary. Entrances tend to be out of the way or innocuously integrated into the street. Larger subcanalis stations have entrances in basilicas at street level. Few stations anywhere in the empire are closer than 2 km apart.

From 9pm to 7am, vehicles may enter the city limits to make deliveries or help people leave under cover of darkness. At this time, streetlights in alleyways and near rivers turn on to reduce the risks attached to travelling those routes in the dark. Vehicles entering the city are expected to use their headlamps for the most part so main roads usually don't have streetlights. Meanwhile, people who venture out at night carry a facula (torch) to light their way and show their position to passing vehicles. Modern torches are batons with a powerful bulb on one end which can illuminate a wide area around the user.

Japanese cities

If the functionality of a Roman city is described with the efficiency of a machine, the a Japanese city can be likened to a living organism. The cityscape does not feature distinct buildings for specific functions but rather melds their functions together in order to form an integrated living space. Far from walling off its cities, Japan's entire central island (Honshu) is one continuous metropolis. This Tocaido Corridor contains a population that exceeds 200 million people; half of the country's total.

In order for such an agglomeration to function, efficiency is key. Food and supplies are constantly transported across the city and civil service workers are capable of accessing virtually all parts of the megalopolis at any time. Maintenance is able to be performed throughout the city with absolutely no hindrance to processes of Japanese society. The fusion of different functions into single buildings is what allows this urban nightmare to be a dream for its residents.

Transportation systems in the megacity are incredibly complex; functioning mostly outside the conscious consideration of the general populace. Underground freight trains ferry products, food and materials around, in and out of the city. This simply network of rails is completely inaccessible to most people yet is able to link to over 3,000 destinations in Honshu and Chicoku and areas outside the main islands. Public transportation comes in three forms: light rails, magnetic rails and the Shinkansen. The latter uses stations with three platforms consisting of a large central ones and two others on each flank. Therefore, two passenger trains are able to come and go in each direction (a total of four trains). Each train is automated and can comfortably seat 150 people. As one train on each of the four lines will usually arrive just 20 seconds after the previous one has left, a station with 1,000 people could be theoretically emptied in less than a minute.

The light rails run in both directions, directly through the center of major roads on the main island. Their cars follow simple back and forth patterns along just one road, meaning they are not able to turn at any intersections. Unlike the 200 km/h magnetically levitated trains, light rail vehicles travel at a relaxing pace of 15 km/h. Standing in one spot along a line, one may expect to see a tram once every minute or so. Meanwhile, the Shinkansen is designed purely for rapid transportation throughout Japan. One of these high-speed trains is capable of making the 200 km journey from Nagasaki to the end of Hokkaido in a mere 20 minutes if no stops are made. In 1986 the Shinkansen was expanded to Korea, providing a fast alternative to ferries for getting from one territory to the other. Plans are in place to build an underwater tunnel from Edo to Cubagua. Though such a project is estimated to cost 12 trillion Dn ($600 trillion US) it would allow for the Cubagua airport to be decommissioned, removing the 15 billion Dn a year maintenance costs of the site. Personal vehicles larger than an OTL bicycle are illegal in the main cities, so public transit must satisfy most transportation needs of the Japanese.

In order to illustrate the interconnectivity of Japan, take this specific example. A steel factory in Edo usually has housing for all of its workers and their families built it, thus cutting out their commute and saving space in the city. The children of those workers are then educated in a school that is linked to the main factory, as well as other factories nearby. Large shopping places that are densely packed with stores dot the city, providing access to goods for tens of thousands of the surrounding inhabitants.

Additionally, the Japanese Archipelago possesses the largest area of artificial land of any country or location in the world; exceeding the surface areas in all other nations combined. Entire artificial islands have even been built for both military and civilian use, with the latter being integrated into the nation's primary metropolis.

Political Legitimacy

Ancient governments were legitimized by tradition. At any given time, someone is in power over a given region. Transition from the current government to an alternative is viewed as illegitimate without consent of the current one. This preceded the rational inquiry into statecraft and politics. Legitimacy, as the notion of who deserves power, was intimately linked with the idea of who actually possessed power.

In China, the legitimacy of the emperor came to be accepted on the basis of a Mandate of Heaven - that divine powers would support a monarch's authority if his rule is just. The loss of this divine legitimacy is proven by the overthrowing of the emperor. This has remained in place to the modern Mongolian rule over China. Mongol Khans are believed to govern by divine right as this criterion is not viewed to depend on heritage or birth, only conduct.

Roman emperors were once accepted as gods themselves, and as naturally the most suitable leaders of Rome. When this view dissolved with the advent of Christianity under Constantine the emperors maintained their legitimate office by procuring acceptance from the Catholic Church, thereby establishing the divine right of emperors. This was displeasing to Caesar Sapiens who ultimately laid out the legislation allowing the Senate to elect a new emperor if a dynastic line went extinct. Sapiens also emphasized the longstanding tradition of forcing new Caesars to seek the recognition of the Senate, Legion and people of Rome to gain power. This established an official policy of the popular legitimacy of emperors to accompany their divine right.

Over time, these criteria for a legitimate government came to be viewed as insufficient for political legitimacy by the great Western philosophers. Archaedavincus questioned the idea that God concerned himself with who ruled Europe and saw the acknowledgment of the Catholic Church as insufficient to prove the consent of God himself. Contemporary dogma, in its technicalities, agreed with his view, and ultimately he was vindicated in espousing this dangerous view. His criticisms ultimately led to a rational form of justifying political legitimacy.

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