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Serica  was the name ancient Greeks and Romans used to refer to a country in Central Asia. Literally meaning "land of the Ser (silkworm)", many argued it was inappropriate to name a country after an insect. However, in this timeline, the name stuck after the First Silk War and long after it.
In the late 900s, the Chinese civilization was once again at one of its Golden Ages after nearly half a century of turmoil. Emperor Taizu of Song had just unified the country and established the Song Dynasty. He created a strong, central government and promoted the Civil Service Examinations. Under the Song, cartographers made detailed maps of each province and city and the Chinese invented many things, such as gunpowder. However, different political fractions in the Imperial Court caused the government to weaken. In 1127, Jurchens (a tribe from the North) crushed the weak military and forced the Song to retreat south and establish the Southern Song Dynasty. There, the Southern Song continued to resist the Jurchens with its powerful navy until it was completely conquered by the Mongols in 1279
In 161 AD, Marcus Aurelius became the emperor of the mighty Roman Empire. He was the last of the "Five Good Emperors". After his death in 180 the Empire plunged into the Crisis of the Third Century. Constantine the Great briefly united the empire for about 30 years but it split up again after his death. The Eastern Roman Empire survived unto it was conquered by a Turkish sultan in 1453, while the Western Roman Empire collapsed after barbarians invaded in 476.
Timeline of XI: Serica & Romanum
Imperium Romanum/ Roman Empire
Main article: Roman Empire
Instead of Marcus Annius Verus Caesar (Marcus Aurelius' son and first heir) dying of natural causes like in OTL, he survives and becomes the next emperor in 180, naming himself Verus. Leading a gigantic army, Verus invaded Northern Europe and pacifies the "barbarians". By 203, Rome was in control of all of Europe except Russia, Iceland, Scotland, and Ireland. After Verus' death in 204, Pertinax became emperor and decided to turn his attention to Africa. With the unanimous approval and support of the Senate, he and his successors led the Roman army as it swept through Africa, conquering most of East Africa (including Ethiopia, Somali, and Sudan) and the rest of Algeria.
However, starting from the late 4th Century, a nomadic tribe from Asia known as the Huns began to invade the empire. Although losing some territories in Eastern Europe, they managed to prevent the Huns from going further, thus preventing the migration of barbarian tribes deeper towards the heart of the Roman Empire. When Attila the Hun died in 453, the Romans, led by Emperor Avitus, managed to regain lost territories in Northern and Eastern Europe.
After Avitus died in 461, the empire fell into chaos as usurpers and claimants to the throne fought among themselves. Meanwhile, Christianity began to rise as the followers of Jesus Christ traveled and preached throughout Europe. In 483, the empire was reunited by Emperor Justinian I, a Christian, who moved the capital to Byzantium. After he died on November 14, 565; his son Justin II succeeded him and reclaimed the lost regions of Aegyptus (OTL: Egypt) and Germania (OTL: Germany). During Justinian's reign, a deadly plague killed millions of people and greatly weakened the empire.
In the early 13th Century, Emperor Timothy III's army invaded Iraq, Azerbaijan, and southwestern Iran. These conquests made it possible for the Romans to come in direct contact with the Romans.
Great Song Empire of Serica/China
Main article: Song Empire of SericaWang Anshi managed to convince the politically powerful Empress Dowager Gao that his reforms are the solution to Serica's problems, thus securing an important ally in the court. Even after an economic crisis occurs because of Wang Anshi's reforms and the death of Emperor Shenzong, most of Wang's reforms continued to be carried out. With peace and prosperity in the empire, the Song emperors dream going beyond Serica's present borders and conquering the west. The Song army swiftly crushed the Jurchens with its advanced organization and technology and resist the Mongols. As a result, the Mongols were unable to conquer Serica and the Serican gunpowder weapons which they used to conquer Eurasia in the OTL were not acquired. Hungry for land and power, Shenzong's successors launched violent campaigns to subdue the northern and western "barbarians". The imperial army invades Tibet in 1242 but spares all the Buddhist monks. Instead of executing the Tibetan leaders, the government installs Sakya Pandita as Imperial Viceroy of Tubo and the High Priest of the Way of the Buddha.
In an effort to conquer the known world, the Chinese army begin the invasion of the Mongol Empire in 1276. They invaded all of Manchuria, Mongolia, southern Siberia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and northern Persia. The Mongols are left with a small part of Western Russia but they are soon overthrown by the local Russians.
Late Middle Ages (1300s-1500s)
Pax Eurasia (14th century)
The Sericans and the Romans came into contact during the late 13th century. By then the Sericans had heard of the Roman Empire which they called Daqin (大秦). The Sericans were known as the Seres or the Sinae to the Romans.
In 1321, a Serican military ambassador named Yangzi Liang(扬子 亮）was sent to the Roman Empire as an envoy. It is believed that he reached as far as the Roman province of Britannia (埠列澹). The Romans were eager to trade with the Sericans after a famine killed millions in Northern Europe. With a powerful navy, Serica is able to explore some parts of Alaska, but expeditions were halted after some soldiers froze to death in the cold weather. In 1356, the Romans force the Vikings out of Europe and crush Celtic revolts in Britannia.
First Silk War (1393-1402)
Main article: First Silk War
Tensions between Serica and the Romans had been rising in the years just before the start of the war. Mass amounts of gold were being drained out of the Roman treasury, and there were disputes over the exact border between the Roman Empire and the Serican Empire. In 1393, war broke out when a skirmish in Isfahan occurred between Serican troops and Roman legionaries. For their own reasons, the Islamic Abbasid Caliphate and the Grand Duchy of Moscow also joined in the war on the Roman's side. The war ended with the Treaty of Baghdad and an Allied victory.
Collapse of the Two Superpowers (early 15th Century)
The First Silk War had left the Roman Empire economically and militarily weak. The capture of the Diocese of Oriens (modern-day Middle East) and the Diocese of Aegyptus by the Islamic Abbasid Caliphate was a severe blow to the Roman Empire, for most of its riches came from those two regions. In the northern part of the Roman Empire, Germanic tribes rebelled and formed the German Federation, while the Britons, Scots, and Picts of Britannia (OTL England); who had been de facto independent for much of its history; united and formed the Kingdom of Britannia. This was divided into four duchies: Caledonia (Scotland), Hibernia (Ireland) Cambria (Wales), and Braeton (England). Meanwhile, the northernmost provinces of the Roman Empire broke away and formed the Union of Scandinavia. It was a nation only in name, as various kings and dukes set themselves up among the villages. The only reason why they weren't gobbled up by the ambitious Muscovites was because the various small kingdoms in the Union protected each other and sent military aid to one another if they happened to be attacked. As the migration of the Goths hadn't taken place, there was still a very sizeable population there. In 1418, the remaining Roman provinces merged together to create the Roman Commonwealth, a reincarnation of the Roman Republic of the past.
Meanwhile, the destruction of the Roman Empire mirrored the decline of its greatest rival, the Song Empire of Serica. Having been defeated by the Roman Empire and stripped of strategic forts and towns along the Silk Road, the Song Dynasty was now weaker and more vulnerable than it ever was. The Koreans, Mongols, Vietnamese, and Tibetans were now revolting in their respective areas and pushing out the outnumbered Serican garrisons. When General Yang Weifeng realized all was lost, he destroyed the Song Court and proclaimed the creation of the Later Sui Dynasty in southern Serica.
Early modern period
Serica (early 15th century - mid 17th century)
In East Asia, the Mongols rose up against the Sericans and proclaimed the Yuan Dynasty, conquering much of northern and central Serica. Against the wishes of many scholar-bureaucrats in the New Sui court, the New Sui emperors encouraged the perfection and the production of gunpowder weapons, leading to the invention of matchlock muskets. Eventually the Sericans regained central Serica and defeated the Mongols.Also threatening Serica were Japanese pirates known as wokou, who raided the southeastern coasts. General Qi Jiguang was instrumental in defeating these pirates. In 1556, the deadliest earthquake of all times struck Shaanxi and killed approximately 830,000 people. During the Later Sui dynasty the last construction on the Great Wall was undertaken to protect Serica from foreign invasions. While the Great Wall had been built in earlier times, most of what is seen today was either built or repaired by the New Sui. The brick and granite work was enlarged, the watch towers were redesigned, and cannons were placed along its length. Some of these cannons were primitive, using stone cannonballs. However, they were enough to keep away Mongol raiders. Later, the stone cannonballs were replaced by explosive shells. In 1592, the Japanese warlord Hideyoshi invaded Joseon Korea, announcing he would conquer Serica as well. The Later Sui saw this as a threat to Serica, and sent large amounts of troops to help defend Korea's independence. Both of Hideyoshi's two campaigns were defeated by the combined Serican and Korean armies and the Korean admiral Yi Sun-sin. Due to the Japanese not being able to attain muskets from the Portuguese, the Serican and Korean armies defeat the Japanese quite easily on land (in this timeline, gunpowder was introduced to the West only two centuries ago during the First Silk War, therefore muskets were not invented by the Europeans yet). The Japanese managed to evacuate most of their forces to Busan, a town in Korea's southern coast, before sailing back to Japan. The Japanese lost about 140,000 men in total. These invasions were known as the Imjin Wars.
The Imjin Wars, the wars against the Mongols, and the wokou raids further weakened the New Sui financially during the Jingtong Emperor's reign (1574-1620). Chancellor Zhang Juzheng (in office from 1572 to 1582) had established an effective network of alliances with senior officials, but after he died there was no one skilled enough to maintain the alliances. The foreign and economic policies he had set were reversed and the court were split into several opposing political factions. Eventually Jintong grew tired of the constant bickering and locked himself behind the walls of the Forbidden City, away from the officials. Corrupt eunuchs began to dominate the court as the emperor neglected his duties. Adding to these problems were the widespread lack of silver; which was the empire's chief medium of exchange, and the famines caused by the Little Ice Age.
Europe and the Americas (early 15th century - late 18th century)
In 1437, a Goth navigator and sailor by the name of Alaric Kantern was in need to get around the draconic trade tariffs the Roman Commonwealth was imposing on merchants plying the Silk Road. After reading the works of the famous Greek astronomers, he developed a belief that the Earth is round. He appealed to the Overlord of Scandinavia and scrounged up enough capital to purchase 7 ships. Carrying a total of 400 men, they set off to the west. About two months later, they arrived in what is now Nova Scotia in Canada. Most of the crew had heard detailed descriptions of Serica, and soon realized that this was not their destination. Alaric decided that he and 300 others would remain on the new land with four ships, while the rest would return to Scandinavia, carrying a veritable mengerie of animals, as well as samples of fruits and plants from the land.
When the ships returned to Stahlkoam and told the
Nations *Editor's Notice*
- Republic of Serica 中华共和国 (Zhonghua Gonghe Guo)
- Empire of Iopania 日本帝国 (Nippon Teikoku)
- Empire of India
- Later/New Sui Dynasty 大中華新隋国 (Da Zhonghua Xin Sui Guo) [Former]
- Song Empire of Serica 大中華宋国 (Da Zhonghua Song Diguo) [Former]
- State of Zepang 日本國 (Nippon Goku) [Former]
- Tsardom of Russia [Former]
- Grand Duchy of Moscow [Former]
- Russian Federation Российская Федерация (Rossiyskaya Federatsiya)
- Roman Commonwealth Res Publica Romanum
- Kingdom of Britania Brenhiniaeth chan Lloegr
- Kingdom of Gaul
- Holy German Empire Heiliges Deutsches Reich
- Roman Empire Imperium Romanum [Former]
- Russian Empire Российская Империя (Rossiyskaya Imperiya)[Former]
- Grand Duchy of Moscow Великое Княжество Московское (Velikoye Knyazhestvo Moskovskoye)[Former]
- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia المملكة العربية السعودية
- Kingdom of Mesopotamia المملكة العراقية
- Islamic Republic of Persia جمهوری اسلامی ایران
- Islamic Abbasid Caliphate الخلافة العباسية الإسلامية [former]
The Americas 美洲
- Iroquois Confederacy
- Holy Aztec Empire
- Great Sioux Nation Oceti Sakohowin
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