Alternate History

Timeline (Third Rome in Britannia)

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Tremissis Julius Nepos-RIC 3221

Roman coin featuring the image of Emperor Julius Nepos

Relocating The Empire

475 - August 28, Julius Nepos is deposed by Flavius Orestes. He decides to flee to Britannia with his family and some supporters, planning on re-taking the former province, and using it as a springboard to invade Gaul, then Italy, and then take back his throne.

475 - September 17, Nepos lands in Britannia with approx. 5,000 supporters from Rome and Ravenna. He is welcomed happily by the Romano-British people; they hope he will drive back the Saxons and re-establish Roman rule on the island.

475 - October 5, Julius Nepos wins the support of most of the Romano-British warlords and they recognize him as their ruler. He organizes a local army and defeats the first Saxon force in Southeastern Britannia. He is hailed as a savior, and more Romano-British flock to his army to destroy the Barbarian Saxon horde.

476 - February ?, The reconquest of Britannia happens faster than expected. The Saxon kingdoms of Kent, Sussex, Wessex, and most of Northumbria fall to the forces of Julius Nepos. He orders all Saxons to be deported off the Britannic Isles, since he considers the Barbarian hordes not fit to inhabit civilization. However despite this, a small Saxon enclave in Northeastern Britannia still exists. It is around this time that one of Nepos' Generals, Ambrosius Aurelianus comes into prominence.

476 - April 15, Despite his feelings towards Barbarians, Nepos realizes the importance of the Celts, believing their support can help him consolidate his control over Britannia. He institutes laws that will help assimilate the Britons into Roman Society, ordering that their culture be respected, and allowing their chieftains to maintain control over their villages.

476 - September 4, Barbarians led by Odoacer, sack Ravenna and capture the young Emperor Romulus Augustus. His father, Orestes is executed, and the young Emperor is forced to abdicate the throne. Nepos then claims that the seat of government of the Western Empire is now in Britannia. The Emperor of the East, Zeno, recognizes Nepos' claim and orders the Senate in Rome to transfer its power to Britannia.

477 - January 1, On New Year's Day, the Roman Senate of the West arrives in Britannia to reorganize the government, and hopefully take back their homeland from the Barbarians.

477-483 - ?, Julius Nepos doesn't have enough funds or men to destroy the last Saxon outpost; so he turns to internal affairs. Over the next few years he creates more laws to assimilate the Britons into Roman Society. One of Nepos' best Generals, Ambrosius Aurelianus, leads this program by recruiting and training Celtic Britons in the Roman ways of war. He also encourages Roman families to learn the Britons native languages, and their style of dress. For the time being, Nepos does not force Christianity on the Celts, hoping they'll respect him more, if he tolerates their beliefs.

483 - July ?, Another of one Nepos' Generals, Ovida, has become disgruntled by the actions of his Emperor, due to the fact that he tolerates such "disgusting barbarians" in a Roman province. He plots with like-minded pure blooded Romans, who plan on overthrowing Nepos. After bribing a few Romano-British commanders to join him, Ovida raises an army to take control of the island. Nepos pleads with the Celtic chieftains to join him, and they agree to fight alongside his army.

483 - July 17, Ovida confronts Nepos' forces near the old Saxon kingdom of Mercia. The battle lasts the whole day, but due to the courage of the Britons, and the ingenious strategy employed by Aurelianus, Nepos wins the day, and Ovida is slain during the battle.

484 - March 3, The murderer of Orestes, Odoacer who still reigns in Italy, allows trade to be conducted through Italy, between the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. The overstretched, but valuable trade with the East provides Julius Nepos with funds to further rebuild Britannia.

484-489 - ?, Julius Nepos continues to rebuild the Roman bureaucracy in his Britannic domain, and he has created a firm and lasting relationship with the native Celts. Ensuring their loyalty to the small, but growing Roman Empire in Britannia. It is around this time that intermarriage between the two peoples begins on a larger scale; while more Romans continue to migrate to Britannia from Italy and Gaul.

489 - October 2, With enough money and resources for his army, Emperor Julius Nepos decides the time is right to eliminate the last Saxon enclave in Britannia. He leads an army of 30,000 men to what was former Northumbria. But the Saxons had also been preparing for this day, and they are able to beat back Nepos' forces, forcing him to call off the campaign.

489 - December 14, Julius Nepos writes a letter to the Eastern Emperor Zeno; asking him to conquer Italy on his behalf, while he rebuilds his army and invades Gaul from the Britannic Isles. Zeno rejects this offer, stating he is in poor health to lead a campaign, and that there are situations within his own borders that require his attention.

490 - August 17, Nepos' wife falls ill, and dies a week later. The Emperor is overcome with grief, and he enters a depressed state, lasting the rest of the year. During this time, Ambrosius Aurelianus runs the affairs of the Western Empire on behalf of Nepos.

491 - April 9, Eastern Roman Emperor Zeno dies in Constantinople at age 66. Julius Nepos sends his condolences to the Eastern Court, and congratulates the new Emperor, Anastasius I.

493 - ?, Odoacer is killed in Ravenna by his Ostrogoth enemies; whom he had recently made peace with. At this same time, Ambrosius Aurelianus is given the title of Magister Militum of the Western Roman Empire. A title that had not been used since the overthrow of Romulus Augustus.

493-496 - ?, The now old Emperor Julius Nepos realizes that he will not live long enough to reclaim Italy; and he grows tired of the day-to-day administrations of his small Empire. So he takes up residence in the former Legionary fortress of Deva Victrix, and names Ambrosius Aurelianus as his heir and successor. The Magister Militum takes up the tasks of running the state in the name of the Emperor.

496 - June 22, Julius Nepos, Emperor of the West, and Ruler of Britannia dies of a fever at his fortress-turned residence, at age 66. He is given a lavish funeral, and is remembered as "The Last of the Romans". Just as he wished, he is succeeded by his trusted Romano-British General, Ambrosius Aurelianus as Western Roman Emperor.

Reign of Aurelianus

496 - June 25, After a three day period of mourning, Ambrosius Aurelianus is anointed as Caesar and Western Roman Emperor. Unlike Nepos, who occasionally moved around Britannia and did not have a designated center for his government. The new Emperor quickly consolidates his power by naming the city of Londinium as his capital and moves the Senate to his new power center.

496 - August 3, Emperor Aurelianus quickly decides to rebuild his realms' defenses by organizing new Legions, and repairing fortresses that had been built by the Romans centuries ago. He knows that the Saxons still pose a threat, and he prays that he will be able to crush their last kingdom, before they receive reinforcements from their original homelands in Germania.

497 - March 30, The Emperor passes a new law regarding incoming Roman immigrants, and the military. He orders that if these Roman incomers wish to obtain citizenship, they must serve at least seven years as Legionaries. This law applies to the native Britons as well; who are willing to obey it, due to the Emperor having Celtic blood in his veins.

498-499 - ?, Trade increases for Britannia, as Aurelianus is able to obtain trade with the Visigoths in Iberia, and the other Barbarians occupying Gaul. Trade is even started with the Ostrogoths, who are now the effective rulers of Italy.

498 - September 9, Word reaches the Emperor that a large invasion force is being assembled in the Saxon homelands of Northern Germania. What Aurelianus has feared is now being realized, and he increases funding and training for his new Legions; with some being made up entirely of Celtic Britons.

499 - February 15, Realizing the Saxons dependence on their ability to sail to the Britannic Isles, Emperor Aurelianus orders the constructing of a new navy, that hopefully will stop the Saxons before they even reach Britannia.

499 - November ?, The Saxon invasion fleet is finally spotted off the shores of Britannia, what ships that have already been built by Romano-British shipbuilders, cannot stand up to the Saxon fleet's numbers. They land in the last Saxon kingdom on the Island, and immediately prepare to re-conquer the island.

500 - March 2, The Saxons have been pushing the Romano-British further south, and have already inflicted 3 defeats on Aurelianus' forces. The Emperor decides to take command himself, and with his Celtic allies joining the fight, amasses an army of roughly 32,000 men to meet the Saxons.

500 - March 22, Emperor Ambrosius Aurelianus faces a Saxon army comprising of 70,000 men. Details of the battle have been lost to time, but Aurelianus defeats the Saxons, and begins to drive them further north, back to their landing point. It is said by the cleric and chronicler Gildas, that the Saxons suffered over 50,000 casualties while the Romano-British suffered only 10,000. However historians debate this.
Arthur Badon

A stain glass window depicting Aurelianus as Arthur returning from his victory at Badon Hill.

500 - August 20, The Saxons have been pushed back to Northumbria and are finally defeated by Aurelianus. He spares their women and children, and allows them to become Roman citizens; but only if they convert to Christianity, and only if they agree to not inter-marry with the Roman or Celtic peoples. Many Saxons agree to his terms, and they are spared.

500 - September 1, Ambrosius Aurelianus is given a "Triumph" when he returns to Londinium for his victory against the Saxon horde. His popularity among both the Romans, and the Britons increases dramatically, and he orders a month's period of no taxation for the people.

500-506 - ?, It is around this period that the Celtic Britons start addressing Emperor Aurelianus as Arthur. This name will spark a legend in the next centuries to come, based heavily on Aurelianus' reign.

501 - June ?, Despite the terror they caused to the Romano-British people, the Anglo-Saxons spared by Aurelianus are slowly absorbed into Roman society. The men join the Legions, while their customs are learned by both the Celts and the Romans. Even noble Senators start learning the Saxon language.

502 - April 12, The fleet that Emperor Aurelianus commissioned to be built is finally finished. They are immediately given the task of patrolling the waters around the Britannic Isles to protect them from pirates and other Barbarian raiders.

502 - August 8, Pict raiders from the north cross Hadrian's Wall and attack some Romano-British settlements. Some raids are successfully stopped, but many of the Picts escape to Caledonia(OTL Scotland). The Emperor announces his intention to stop these raids by conquering Caledonia in the name of Rome.

503 - July 2, After months of preparations and planning, Ambrosius Aurelianus has an army of 85,000 men. Among their ranks are Romans, Celts, and even some Saxons who are promised land in Caledonia. The Emperor crosses Hadrian's Wall and starts a war that will last six years.

503-508 - ?, The horrid war in Caledonia drags on, but the Picts are eventually defeated and subjugated by the Romano-British. Many of them fought stubbornly, and Aurelianus was forced to implement brutal tactics against them.

509 - December 1, With a new province added to the Empire, Aurelianus, with the support of the Senate begins a program to spread Christianity among the loyal Britons, and the recently conquered Picts.

510 - January 30, Monasteries and churches are built all across the island, and missionaries are sent by the Emperor to peacefully show the people the path of Christ.

508-520 - ?, Since the war in Caledonia, the people of Britannia have lived in peace. There is great progress on the island, as old settlements and forts are restored, new baths are erected, and the continued absorption of Celtic and Saxon culture into the Roman culture increases each year.

513 - ?, It is around this year that the Anglo-Saxon language is greatly influenced by Latin, and little bit by Celtic. Due to this combination, the language of Old English begins appearing, and many Romans of the noble classes learn how to speak it.

520 - April 19, After having a long enough break from war, Emperor Aurelianus is ready to conquer more land. Some of his advisors suggest he conquer the nearby island of Hibernia(OTL Ireland). But the old Emperor wants to fulfill Julius Nepos' dream of retaking Rome from the Barbarians. So he prepares his forces to depart for Gaul.

521 - February 28, The Emperor lands in modern-day Normandy with an army of roughly 38,000 men comprised of Romans, Celt, and even more Anglo-Saxons. He start to push deeper into the mainland where he is met by jubilant Romans who wish to be free from there Frankish conquerors.

521 - October 15, Due to many of the Romans in Gaul joining him, Aurelianus conquers much of territory, today known respectively as Brittany and Normandy. However when tries to push deeper into Gaul later in the year, he is met with fierce resistance from the Franks who are determined to keep their new homeland.

523 - ?, After two more years of warfare, and with other Barbarians like the Burgundians, Visigoths, and even other Saxons joining the Franks, Aurelianus sues for peace. He recognizes the Franks' right to the lands of central Gaul, While they in-turn recognize Roman control over the north and northwest coasts of Gaul.

523 - November 3, The Western Emperor returns to his capitol of Londinium where he is still met by crowds of joyous people, happy to see his safe return. However the Emperor later expresses in private, that he will now never walk through the streets of Rome as it's liberator, or ruler.

523-534 - ?, Over the next eleven years, Aurelianus passes laws that strengthen the economy of Britannia. He continues to convert the different peoples on the island, and the Picts themselves are starting to embrace the true faith. He also commissions the constructions of new Aqueducts, new forts for the Legions, and he order his Generals to study the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon ways of warfare; since he used their strategies combined with Roman discipline in battle with great effect.

530 - August 30, The first pure-blooded Celtic Briton is named a member of the Western Roman Senate. One of Aurelianus' Celtic Generals named Claudius Cerdic, who adopted a Lain first name, is named a Senator of Rome in front of the cheering crowds of Londinium.

534 - April 1, Ambrosius Aurelianus, the successor of Nepos, Emperor of the Western Empire, and Ruler of Britannia dies in his sleep at one of his Villas. His death is mourned greatly by all the different peoples of Britannia. He was considered an innovator, a warrior, a savior, and a pious man. For all of these reasons, he is given the title "Last of the Romans" along with his predecessor Julius Nepos. This will later become a coveted title for all Britannic Monarchs who valued the ways of ancient Rome. Although the title of "Emperor of Britannia" did not come into use until centuries after his death, Ambrosius Aurelianus is considered by modern Britannics to culturally be the first Emperor of the Empire of Britannia.

The False Empire

534 - April 8, After a week of mourning, the Senate agrees to name Aurelianus' adopted son, Flavius Novellus as the next Western-Emperor. One of the Empire's best Generals, and a hero in his own right, the new Emperor immediately looks to further conquest to strengthen the realm.

536 - January 28, After only two years on the throne, Western-Emperor Novellus invades the island of Hibernia (known to the locals as Ire). With an army of 50,000 men, he quickly gains a foothold on the island and despite being outnumbered, he is able to out maneuver and out smart the Celtic barbarians to the point that by 537, most of the island was in Roman hands.

534 - April ?, The Eastern Roman Empire reconquers the old Africa province from the Vandals and reinstates Roman administration in the city of Carthage.

535 - ? The Gothic war starts in the Italian Peninsula between the Eastern-Romans and the Ostrogoth rulers of Italy. Novellus mistakingly believes that Eastern-Roman Emperor Justinian is conquering Italy on behalf of the Western Roman Empire in Britannia.

536 - June 9, Emperor Novellus sends a message to Justinian offering to abandon his campaign in Hibernia and instead direct his forces to conquer Gaul from the Franks; thereby linking Justinian's armies in Italy with the Western Roman Empire.

536 - June 20, Justinian answers Novellus' offer by declaring to the world that the Roman domain in Britannia is not the Western Empire, and that the people there did not deserve to be called Romans. Scholars would later document this proclamation, and call it the Betrayal of Justinian.

536 - ?, Emperor Flavius Novellus is shocked by Justinian's proclamation, and he continues his war against the Celtic Barbarians in Hibernia.

540 - February 16, The last pocket of resistance in Northwestern Hibernia has been crushed. Novellus is still angry toward Justinian, and he wants revenge against the Eastern Empire, and against the Barbarians who lead to the decline of the Western Empire in Italy.

540 - ?, The Sassanid Persian Empire attacks the Eastern Roman Empire in spring. Justinian recalls many forces from Italy including the great General Belisarius, to fight against the Persians in the East. Novellus decides to invade Frankish controlled Gaul and re-conquer the old province.

541 - March 27, Despite initial successes against the Franks early in 540 AD, the other Frankish kings unite to drive the Romans out of their territory. Novellus' forces are pushed back, and Roman-controlled Gaul is threatened by Frankish invasions.

542 - October 4, After the Franks inflict more defeats upon the Western Romans, Hibernia revolts against the Empire, and the rebellion quickly spreads throughout the island.

542 - October 18, After listening to pleads from the Senate, Novellus agrees to end the war against the Franks, and quell the rebellion in Hibernia. The Franks receive modern-day Normandy, and a tribute of 3,000 pounds of gold. But Brittany remains in Roman hands.

543 - April ?, The rebellion in Hibernia is quickly stopped by Novellus' battle harden Legions. To prevent such a rebellion from occurring again, the Western-Emperor constructs several forts on the island, and begins Christianizing the native populace.

543-564, Flavius Novellus continues his reign at Londinium in seclusion. During this time, the settlement of Dubh Linn is constructed on the Eastern coast of Hibernia. It becomes a bustling center full of Roman settlers who help spread the Christian faith to the native Celts. Novellus becomes an excellent administrator; and despite his defeat in Gaul, he becomes a popular, and respected ruler.

564 - August 3, Flavius Novellus dies after getting in a riding accident near East Anglia. He is mourned greatly by many people, and he remains a popular (if unlucky) Emperor to this day.

British isles 802

The Britannian Iles divided into their respected provinces. (Map made during the middle ages)

565 - November 14, Justinian I of the Eastern Roman Empire dies at age 82. His conquests of Italy and North Africa would not lead to lasting results, as those territories are slowly lost over time. His treatment of the Romans in Britannia would never be forgotten, and it set the two Empires against each other.

Early Middle Ages

570 - 1,000 AD, Shortly after the death of Novellus, the Western Roman Empire entered a state of isolationism from the rest of Europe. This period would last for centuries with each new Emperor guiding the Empire through different events, wars, famines, and political crisis'. During this isolationist period, the Kingdom of the Franks and the Western-Romans went through several wars with each other over Northern Gaul (starting to be known as France.) Despite this isolationist stance, the Western-Romans were still able to keep up the military progress of Europe. The army was divided into the Legions, mounted and dismounted Knights, and Celtic Berserkers. Later on, the Norse Vikings started raiding the shores of Caledonia and Britannia, plundering the shores and killing innocent people. To counter this threat, Emperor Joannes II ordered the construction of several signal towers to warn the people, and to signal to the army when a Viking raiding fleet was approaching the shores. This would prove to be an effective strategy, because within 20 years, Viking raids decreased and the people in Britannia were safe. This would cause a group of Vikings to settle in Northern France and establish their own Kingdom. These people were called the Normans, and they would later become a threat toward the Western Roman Empire.

The New Nation

1035 - July 3, William II begins his reign as Duke of Normandy at the age of seven. He will later have a great impact on the future of the Western Roman Empire.

1064 - March 21, Lucius Decimus Murchad is made Western Roman Emperor by the Senate. He is only 14 years old, and is the son of an influential Celtic Senator.

1064 - May 16, William of Normandy sends emissaries to the Imperial Senate, demanding that they remove the young Murchad, and place the Duke of Normandy on the Western-Roman throne. The Senate is outraged by this, and abruptly refuse William's offer.

1064 - May 30, The Kingdom of the Franks pledge to give their support to the Normans in any way. However the French King is reluctant to send his entire army to reinforce William's invasion.

1064 - December 4, The Normans are organizing their army for the invasion of Britannia. Emperor Murchad's father sends spies into Normandy to gather further information on William's forces. Meanwhile, in Norway, King Harald Hardrada hopes to take advantage of the political chaos and invade the Western Empire himself.

1065 - March 8, Lucius Murchad decides to appeal to the Pope in Rome. He hopes the Holy Father can resolve the crisis, or at least condemn William and his outrageous claim to the throne.

1065 - October 15, After drawn out negotiations, Pope Alexander II decides to support Murchad, and condemn William. The Duke of Normandy is angry, but continues with his invasion plans.

1066 - April 27, The Viking King of Norway Harald Hardrada, hoping to take advantage of the political turmoil surrounding the Western Empire, leads a large invasion fleet of Norwegian ships. He hopes to conquer the Britannic Isles and claim the Western Roman throne for himself.

1066 - May 4, The watchtowers along the coast spot the Norwegian fleet, and are able to warn Londinium of the impending danger. The Legions are put on alert, and the Emperor declares a quasi-state of emergency.

1066 - May 5, Bad weather prevents King Harald from landing with his army, causing the Vikings to anchor their ships off the coastline, waiting for the weather to clear up.

May 7, Almost as soon as the weather begins to brighten, the Western Roman navy is upon the Vikings. Although the Norwegians are renowned seafarers, their ships cannot stand up to the Roman warships, and at the end of the day, almost the entire Viking fleet is destroyed. Among the casualties is King Harald himself.

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