Alternate History

Survival of the Roman Empire

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Points of Divergence

AUC Calender

AUC refers to the Latin phrase ab urbe condita - from the founding of the city of Rome, traditionally believed to have occurred in 753 BC. Therefore when converting and AD date to AUC format all you have to do is add it to 753.

For example: The year Emperor Nepos was overthrown, 475 AD would be 1228 AUC. Our year 2007 AD would be 2760 AUC.

The Retaking of Italy

1228 AUC: Julius Nepos, Emperor of the Western Roman Empire is overthrown by Magister militum, Orestes, who then proceeds to installing his son Romulus Augustus as Emperor. Legally, Nepos is still the Western Emperor and Romulus is not recognized by the Eastern Emperor Zeno.

The next year, Orestes and Romulus are killed by Germanic mercenaries who've become dissatisfied at not being allowed to take lands in Italy. The Germanic chieftain Odacer then takes control of all Italy.

Julius Nepos appears in Constantinople and requests the help of Zeno in order to rightfully return Roman rule to Italy and to regain his throne. It is unknown what Nepos says, but he successfully convinces Zeno to help him in this goal. Together they raise up a massive army and march on Italy.

Retaking of italy

Path of the armies of Zeno and Nepos in the retaking of Italy from Odacer

In 1231 AUC, the armies of Zeno and Nepos take Rome and force Odacer and his forces south. The people of Rome rejoice, and the remaining Roman Senators declare Zeno and Nepos as saviors of Rome.

Zeno and Nepos then further pursue Odacer south, and he eventually flees to Sicily. Later, in 1232 AUC, Odacer's army is crushed at the Battle of Messena, and he and his commanding officers are crucified to make an example of what happens when Roman Rule is defied.

Consolidation of Power

Tremissis Julius Nepos-RIC 3221

Tremissis of Julius Nepos

Julius Nepos came to show himself as one of the most capable and competent rulers that Rome had had in a very long time. In his time he effectively re-established Roman authority throughout the entire Italian peninsula and passed a series of reforms that were intended to rebuild and strengthen Roman institutions.
Nepos zeno map 1139

Map of the Roman Empire under emperors Nepos and Zeno, 1239 AUC

Nepos also sought to remove the need of the Roman army to use so many mercenaries to defend its borders. He upgraded and strengthened the military and in less then ten years was able to drive the Franks out of most of Gaul and re-establish Roman rule in the province.

To further improve Roman institutions, Julius Nepos sponsored massive building campaigns throughout Italy and Roman-controlled Gaul. This greatly boasted the economy, and by 1245 AUC, Rome was quickly rising in dominance to once again rival Constantinople as a bustling urban metropolis. People once again began to move from the surrounding countryside into the city due to the great increase in the number of available jobs and trade.

Flavius Theodoricus Magnus

Since the time Nepos retook Gaul in 1239 AUC, the Germanic tribes located in Germania east of Gaul had been attacking the fragile borders of the new Western Empire realized by Emperor Nepos. The newly trained and updated Roman army had so far been able to hold them back and hold the frontier, but Nepos was aware that this would only be able to last for so long. Soon the barbarians would breach Roman borders and reinstate their control over the provinces.

In 1242 AUC, the two Roman Emperors, Julius Nepos of the West and Flavius Zeno of the East, met in the port city of Messena to discuss the ongoing barbarian onslaught that was threatening the empire. They devised a plan to establish a buffer state that would separate the majority of the barbarian factions from actual Roman interests.

Flavius Theodoricus coin

Flavius Theodoricus, King of the Ostrogoths

To accomplish these goals, Zeno employed Flavius Theodoricus (Theodoric the Great) who was king of the Ostrogoths currently living as foederati within Eastern Roman territory. Theodoricus' men were becoming increasingly difficult for the Romans to manage, and this gave Zeno the perfect opportunity to arrange a deal that would benefit both sides.

Theodoricus was to command a combined force of his army along with some allied Roman legions to stabilize the Germanic lands bordering Gaul and Italy. He would instate a buffer zone that would be beneficial to the Romans, and he would be allowed to rule the lands he took as king. This would be a protectorate of Rome, and Theodoricus would rule under Roman authority as a viceroy.

Flavius Theodoricus

Ostrogoth Kingdom under Flavius Theodoricus

In only seven years, Theodoricus was able to accomplish more then the Romans could have ever hoped for. They wanted him solely to set up a buffer state in order to get the Germanic threat away from Roman borders. Instead, what he had successfully done was to unite most of Germania under the Ostrogoth kingdom. In this seven-year campaign, Theodoricus successfully crushed rival chieftains and implemented many Roman laws and organizational systems to the regions. He all but whipped out the German threat to Rome from the east.

Goth frank roman map

Map of the Roman Empire and surrounding provinces 1257 AUC

In 1256 AUC Theodoricus' son, Alaric II, king of the Visigoths in Hispania, was killed in a Frankish raid. This in turn made Theodoricus king of all the Goths. Now much of the old Roman territory in Hispania was again under Roman rule through the Gothic vassal state. To stop Frankish raids on Gothic and Roman territory, Theodoricus married the daughter of Clovis I, King of the Franks, forging and alliance with them. This is turn created an era of peace and stability throughout Europe and the Roman Empire.

Military Reforms

In addition to Julius Nepos' massive political and social reforms he also instated massive military reforms to the Roman army. It was obvious that in order to be effective against the threat of the Germanic tribes, the Roman military must be updated.

In order to achieve this goal, Nepos employed a man from the city of Rome itself by the name of Decimus Iunius to study various military techniques throughout Europe and come up with a system of defending and fighting against it. Iunius had served in the Roman military and was present at the time that Italy was sacked by the Ostrogoths. He knew how the barbarians fought and sought to find a way to effectively cripple them in battle.

Iunius successfully brought about upgrades to Rome's weapons and armor and his reforms once again made the Roman army a force to be reckoned with. Iunius went on to becoming one of Rome's most influential and well know General and commanded to loyalties of thousands of Roman Legions.

Death of Nepos; Roman Civil War

In 1244 AUC with the dying of Emperor Zeno of the East it was up to Nepos Romanus to appoint a new Eastern Emperor. He choose a man by the name of Gaius Claudius Francorus a man who received his cognomen by successfully leading the campaign to retake Gaul from Frankish hands. This came with much rejoice from the Roman senate who began to see a greater influence of actual Romans on the Empire has a whole.

Francorus proved to be an extremely ambitious Emperor and in winter of 1251 AUC when Emperor Julius Nepos Romanus died, Francorus refused to choose and new Western Emperor, instead claiming the entire Empire for himself.

This greatly upset The Roman Senate who refused to accept to be ruled by outside forces. They appealed to Decimus Iunius and began a scheme to once and for all return Roman authority to Rome where it belonged.

In 1253 Decimus raised a huge army and began to March on the Italian Peninsula from Gaul.

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