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Alternate History Thread IV: The Sequel

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Dachs, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. Thorgrimm

    Thorgrimm Senior Elder

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    EDIT: All offending material removed
     
  2. Disenfrancised

    Disenfrancised Beep Beep

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    A very impressive timeline Thorgrimm and I like the very serial format, though I (as an ardent chaos theorist) have problems with historical emperors turning up long after Germanicus has changed history ;), though it is mostly a style thing (at least its being acknowledged). However here are some actual problems:

    1. This:
    Needs rather more explanation. As does the effing insane rate of advancement of gunsmithing those pictures indicate, and why none of their enemies adapted to these advances

    2.Why are the romans getting so far to the east (increasing supply lines and cost all the while) in the difficult terrain of Iran?

    3.My final point is that the reasons for the romans decline included many, many economic and demographic factors that really need to be addressed before any vast military victories or magic technology further streach the empire.
     
  3. Thorgrimm

    Thorgrimm Senior Elder

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    The first Point of Divergence is in 9 AD, the Teutoburger Wald. In out history due to Arminius Augustus thought Germania was pacified so appointed an administrator, Quintilius Varus as Governor of Germania Magna. As we know Arminius was less than truthful and Varus was wiped out.

    In this history I have Augustus just a bit more suspicious of Arminius and his statements that Germania was pacified. So he appoints Gaius Avidius Maro, one of the better legion commanders as Governor of Germania Magna. Adn the rest as they say is history. The first PoD has almost no implications for Roman history till later under the Flavian Emperors when expansion is once again possible. What ir did was change Octavian's Decree from exhorting future emperors to give up expansion to one where he tells them to keep expanding.



    1. That came about due to the Cult of Hermes Trimesgustes, or known in Egypt as the Cult of Thoth, trying to find the secret of Vulcan for the emperor after the eruption of Vesuvius in the hopes of preventing any more Pompeii's or Herculanium's. Throughout history, even classical history, there were reports of wizards or alchemists being destroyed by thunderbolts that had the smell of brimstone. So it is possible that others may have stumbled on the secret of gunpowder and blew themselves up because they did not know what they had created. The Cult of Hermes in OTL was a secretive body that did what we would call research. So this possibility is not in the realm of fantasy, it is actually quite plausible.

    Those weapons are only accurate to about 50 yards and are equal to our early muskets. As for protecting the secret of Fulminata, the Eastern Empire did the same thing with Greek Fire, so the keeping of fulminata a secret is also quite plausible. Besides those weapons were not developed till almost 100 years after the discovery of fulminata.

    2. The Romans conquered Mesopotamia in OTL and it was Hadrian who pulled the borders back to Syria. The reason he gave was Trajan had violated the Decree of Octavian and they did not have the manpower to defend such a frontier. Without the Decree of Octavian, which was given due to the Teutoburger Wald massacre, He can not justify a pullback since Octavian in this TL exhorted future emperors to not stagnate and to continue to expand the frontiers. So again, quite plausible, even without fulminata weaponry.

    3. Actually ANY nation that stagnates will eventually decline and fall. Growth is the key to survival. And all those problems can be traced right back to that Roman stagnation and inane civil wars. No 'magic' technology is needed to explain the Roman expansion. Hell, in OTL Alexander did it and do you maintain that Rome, who's empire was vaster than Greece's, could not do it? Sir, I beg to differ. :D For examples of Roman campaigns in non Roman lands and their ability with being able to resupply their forces see Caesar's Gallic Campaign and Tiberius' campaign in Britannia. And I am sure there were far more cities and supplies in the Parthian Empire than there were in Gaul and Britian. ;)



    :nuke: Cheers, Thorgrimm :nuke:
     
  4. Disenfrancised

    Disenfrancised Beep Beep

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    It took many centuries for the alchemists to get the formula right elsewhere, the Cult doing it in 20 years strikes me as a bit handy...

    A hundred years to do what Renessience Europe (richer, more populated, much more conflict driven, and with a much larger craft and intellectual community) three hundred to do, and whilst keeping it a secret at the same time (the greek fire comparison is silly, as the greeks didn't hand out Greek Fire to thousands of soldiers), and whilst making the requist metallurgical advances at the same time?

    Disease, running out of currency and huge taxation problems all were independent of Roman growth. And please, Alexander's conquest was very different to the Romans, happening before the real advent of CA horsemen, occuring when the east was less populated, and just coopted the Persian noble culture rather than establishing the alien roman prefecture system on top of it. Plus he didn't have to pay for the upkeep of the rest of a huge empire, he just focused on his armies and wherever he was at the time.

    And comparing an Iranian campaign to one in Gaul is a pretty hilarious reach.

    Net gain is the key to avoiding stagnation, but all these territories your having the romans conquer, when they couldn't fill the ones they had will give huge trouble and expenses down the line.
     
  5. North King

    North King blech

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    Gunpowder being discovered early has become one of my major pet peeves with timelines. Without the centuries of experimentation with alchemy that the Eastern World had, there is very little plausibility in discovering gunpowder.
     
  6. Thorgrimm

    Thorgrimm Senior Elder

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    What I find amazing that folks keep sticking to the fact that it took china to discover Gunpowder. Hogwash. Anybody could have developed it given the proper circumstances. China did not have a lock on certain technologies.

    What is the formula of gunpowder? Nitrates, Sulfur, and Carbon, preferably Charcoal or coal. Now, what is so hard about an entire group of researchers discovering this formula? Not very much. Just because we did not discover it sooner in our TL does not mean it could not have been done in another. What it seems to me you dislike is the fact it diverges too much from your perception on how history should go. Well, I hate to tell you, but you cannot know all possible divergences in history that the Many Worlds Theory of Quantum Mechanics supposes. Read up on it sometime. ;)

    you forgot more pig-headed and locked in religious intolerance that had proscriptions against developing weapons like the Crossbow, much less Gunpowder weapons. Europe's follies are of its own making in that period. So comparing a MUCH more open-minded Roman state to close-minded intolerant European princling states is what is silly. ;) As for more populous and richer? Hardly. The Imperium Romanum contained one quarter of the worlds population at this time, around 300 million counting the slaves and non-citizens, and the Government counted its taxes in the hundreds of millions of Denarii, or billions of sesterces. Rome was far richer than you may imagine. ;) Far more richer than any puny European princling state of the Middle Ages or Rennisance. And you say Rome was not in a state of conflict? Man you need to read your classical history again.;) By the way, It was the Eastern Roman Empire, not the Greeks. And you are correct, they did not hand it out to soliders, only to thousands of sailors. ;)

    How long did it take Europe to re-learn how to build a proper bridge or road? How long till they once again stopped living in their own filth? The Romans had been doing that for centuries till the barbarians pulled down their civilization.

    How long till Europe learned once again the true art of war with professional armies instead of silly feudal peasant armies?

    How long did it take till a European city to once again reached a million citizens? And you compare Rome to that barbaric era? Pfft, what nonsense. :lol: The Romans were engineers and builders without peer at their height. So a little research on a very simple formula is not beyond their capabilities given the right conditions.

    I can go on and on about the backwardness of Europe when compared to Roma, but instead I challenge you to prove, without a doubt it, that it would take centuries to develop Gunpowder, and then only by the Chinese. if you can do that, then by all means I will change what I have. But I have a feeling I will not have to do that. :lol:

    Only real plague that struck the Empire was when Trajan and his army returned from the campaign in Mesopotamia.

    Running out of currency was due to debasing the metal used in that currency to finance those inane civil wars. Without those civil wars the debasement would not have occurred.

    See previous paragraph for taxation. The Empire lasted as long as it did because the Romans weren't idiots. When the governor of Egypt sent Tiberius more taxes than he was supposed to, Tiberius reminded him: "I want my sheep shorn, not skinned." So once again the civil wars led to the increasingly heavy tax burden.

    Because we draw maps of the ancient world with the Empire shaded all one color, we sometimes forget the complexity of the Roman government. It's only a slight exaggeration to say that each province had a unique relationship to the central government. Peaceful provinces were ruled by the Senate. Provinces that were under martial law because of rebellion or proximity to the frontier were ruled by the emperor. Some Roman lands were ruled by client kings like Herod and Cleopatra. Many tribes and city-states remained under self rule, and would probably have considered themselves independent allies -- certainly not conquered vassals. Take Armenia as an example.

    And his empire promplty fell apart when he died. The case would not be so with a Roman East. And to say the Persian Empire was a desolate wasteland is silly. They had population and some to spare in the time of Alexander. In fact the demographics states that the population was not much greater than in Alexander's time. Rome was the example of explosive growth due to their adherence to cleanliness and removal of filth along with proper city planning.

    So pray tell why is that? As far as I can tell from history, Caesar was as outnumbered as Alexander was. And his campaigns would have put Alexander to shame. Read about the siege of Alesia and the campaign just a bit better.:D Hell, Alex got stuck outside Tyre for a year. The Romans knew how to conduct a proper siege. ;)

    They had plenty of population and many of the provinces and when the empire fell they did not regain their former population numbers under the empire until far into the later eras. See my previous paragraph about the demographics and taxation of the empire. :)

    So far I have not seen anything but your own opinion on why this is not possible, while I have provided historical reasoning as to how, given the correct set of events it could have happened. I would love to see your evidence to the contrary.



    :nuke: Cheers, Thorgrimm :nuke:
     
  7. North King

    North King blech

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    Course they didn't. I've seen claims Arabs invented it. Point being, people with an alchemical tradition of many years discovered it.

    Your point would almost be valid, if it were simply a matter of knocking the three together. Unfortunately, they're in pretty specific quantities, and given which three things you're playing around with, just haphazardly throwing them in a bowl is a bad idea.

    Therefore, unlikely to be discovered by a surviving person.

    Sure. We also could have discovered it a lot later.

    Wrong, bud. If you've ever read some of my alternate histories, there are often wild divergences from real history. My dislike is of people who decide, "wouldn't it be cool if [insert cool civilization] had [insert cool invention]?" and so shove it in their timeline rather arbitrarily. It's pretty silly.

    Thank you, been there, done that.
     
  8. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    I also sort of have issues with the Parthians' survival (even if for an extremely short period of time) after being reduced to what is in effect the Dasht-e-Lut. Besides, what's the motivation? It ain't profitable to grab a load of desert.
    Especially before most of those were resolved in the Crisis of the Third Century, too. :p I'm pretty sure I've made some comments somewhere about Rome actually not declining (and not really stagnating either per se, just improving in different areas other than vast territorial expansion) from about 324-376, and even (to a lesser extent) up till right after Stilicho beats up on Radagaisus. A lot of the economic factors leading to Rome's ultimate fall can be found in the destruction of the Spanish and Gallic economies during the first decade of the fifth century, along with the Vandal seizure of Africa.
    Since when is it profitable to grab a forested wasteland with a populace that isn't just going to lie down and absorb Roman culture? Germania doesn't become a realistic target for the Empire until about 350 AD or so, due to the absorption of Roman agricultural practices. Till then, Rome grabbing Germania isn't going to attract the kind of settlement or the kind of economic exploitation that would make it tenable.
    Yes, it was a justification. But honestly, until Mesopotamia has a better link with Rome (i.e. the spread of Christianity in OTL in the sixth and seventh centuries, or for TTL the adoption of Mithraism by Rome (if you want to do that)), it's going to keep rebelling. Think Japan, if it had been conquered by the Mongols instead of the divine wind of OTL; it's just not going to sit still, less than the Gauls would (and even the Gauls fought a decade long war against the Romans, plus revolts such as that of Vindex and the one that brought Galba to the throne). Trajan also failed to eliminate the barrier of Hatra in his rear (that's where he died after all), so until that town was besieged and captured by the exhausted Roman army in Mesopotamia, the entire country from Charax north isn't possible to hold. The Parthians are going to resurge, or the Sasanians (or an analogue) are going to arise a century earlier with their proto-Persian nationalism and establish a viable state that can retake Mesopotamia anyway. For a relatively intelligent emperor such as Hadrian, I can't see the lack of Octavian's decree in TTL keeping him or his analogue from withdrawing.
    The Gallic campaign and the Britannic one were both paid for by excess revenue from North Africa, Asia Minor, and Hispania, which barely had the money to cover these entirely unnecessary expansions. (Gaul can be argued, I suppose, but it makes less sense than, say, a great salt desert like we find in eastern Persia.) Parthia does have many towns and supplies, but not after you push through the Zagros Mountains. Anything east of that is just caravan trails and a few fortified outposts spaced few and far between.
    Mmmm...before the Crisis of the Third Century, yes, but after that the second two are symptoms of Rome being forced onto the defensive by a vast wave of barbarian invasions prompted by the westward movement of Huns, combined with the fact that these barbarians now had something approximating the technological prowess of Rome due to centuries of economic interconnection.
    QFT.
     
  9. shortguy

    shortguy It's a working title

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    What "researchers"? You act as if this secretive, mystical organization was some sort of elaborate skunk works. No, it's just a bunch of kooks playing with chemicals. Sometimes great discoveries are made this way, but it's quite rare, and these discoverers usually aren't the ones who end up figuring out exactly what they've stumbled onto.
     
  10. The Strategos

    The Strategos Thanatos

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    Edit: Nevermind, I figured it out.
     
  11. alex994

    alex994 Hail Divine Emperor!

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    Rome was so great wasn't it that it could conjure up years of research into alchemy *snap* just like that? Rome was undoubtedly great at her height, but so was Han China with a wealth and population to match if not surpass Imperial Rome at her own heyday.

    People don't normally go looking for stuff they don't know exist and frankly it appears to me that you just decided to randomly give Rome gunpowder and rather superior gunpowder weaponry. I mean, such speed in reaching early muskets and pistols from inventing gunpowder; it's like they had an unseen force guiding their technological progress ;)
     
  12. Thorgrimm

    Thorgrimm Senior Elder

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    Do you know who Thoth was in Egyptian Mythology? If so then you would see why they were not considered kooks playing with chemicals. :D

    If you have issues, please, by all means make suggestions as to how to improve it. :D Constructive criticism is always welcomed. Bashing without a helpful suggestion is always resisted. :lol:

    EDIT: All offending material removed.
     
  13. Thorgrimm

    Thorgrimm Senior Elder

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  14. alex994

    alex994 Hail Divine Emperor!

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    Your portrayal of Chinese actions is at best utterly unrealistic. First off, Wei was the one with the most of the steppe connections and the steppe allies, not Shu in the Three Kingdom Period after Han collapse and as such would have naturally prevented Shu from sending an emissary to Rome.

    Who the heck is Hou Chou? The Shu Han Emperor at the time was an incompetent buffoon unworthy of his father's legacy and would never have done anything intelligent. Zhuge Liang was already dead and by the time gunpowder is supposedly introduced into Shu Han, I doubt its effect would be large enough to keep Shu Han on an equal footing. Heard of the repeating crossbow? A lot cheaper to make with a faster rate of fire than the gunpowder weapons that Shu Han would be able to produce.

    *shoots Thorgrimm after reading the ending* Death to Rome! :p
     
  15. Thorgrimm

    Thorgrimm Senior Elder

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    In AD 221, after Ts'ao-ts'ao established the Wei Dynasty by overthrowing the house of Han, one branch of the Han Royal family survived in Liu Pe, who established the Minor Han Dynasty with his capital at Ch'eng-tu in Szechuan province. Mitchiner (page 694) assigns the 100 Wu Shu (500 shu) coins to Chao Lieh (AD 221-222) and the Value 100 (assumed 100 shu) to Hou Chou (AD 222-265).

    EPOCH OF THE THREE KINGDOMS
    The fall of Han resulted in a China divided among three major dynasties: Wei in the north, Wu in the south and Minor Han in the west. The following chart shows the relative relationships between them over time.


    Code:
                  Northern China                Southern China            Western China  
    Pre-221     Eastern Han                   Eastern Han                Eastern Han 
    AD 221-229 Wei                              Wei / Wu                    Minor Han 
    AD 229-265 Wei                                Wu                       Minor Han 
    AD 265-280 Western Chin                      Wu                      Western Chin 
    after AD 280 Western Chin                  Western Chin              Western Chin

    It seems you do not know as much as you think you do my friend. ;) *Shoots Alex994 right back with his own weapon* :D


    Its also much easier to manufacture a spear, instead of a rifle. You saying we should give up rifles for spears? ;) And a repeating crossbow can knock down how many walls? ;)




    :nuke: Cheers, Thorgrimm :nuke:
     
  16. North King

    North King blech

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    I will attempt to approximate my face upon reading the last few posts with a smiley:

    :scared:

    If the eyes weren't moving so much, that would do it.
     
  17. ThomAnder

    ThomAnder Deity

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    What Alex meant, was that in your case, the "minor han" nation never really had access to the trade routes/silk road that leads to the west (This was controlled by the Wei). They were in western china yes, but SOUTHwestern china to be precise. Kinda unrealistic for them to cross over the mountains of tibet, isn' tit?
     
  18. Thorgrimm

    Thorgrimm Senior Elder

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    So I take it you missed this part of my post? ;)

    Or do you want some cheese with that whine? ;) :D

    As my pappy used to say, put your money where your mouth is and if you have criticisms, please by all means, give suggestions for improvement. :D

    Because something did not occur in our reality does NOT mean it could not happen in other reality in the multiverse. In the realm of althist I have seen some truly wild Althists that had things as wild as Korea or the Confederacy ruling the world and enjoyed them for what they were, a departure from our own history, whether they were fantasy or not. I did not pick the nits by pointing out how such and such happened in our universe so should not happen there. As long as it was consistent in its background I enjoyed them very much. But around here I think some of you have your springs too tightly wound or maybe its that class thing and you do not like newb's interrupting 'your' club. ;) :D



    :nuke: Cheers, Thorgrimm :nuke:
     
  19. Thorgrimm

    Thorgrimm Senior Elder

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    Looking at this map I can not see how Wei could prevent the Han from trading or contacting the Da Qin.

    You do have a valid point, and I think after seeing another map, the crossing point should be Burma and then India. Also, from looking at the attached picture none of China could have reached the Da Qin, but we know from our own history they did have contacts.

    So I will change the crossing point into burma and across India into Roman Bactria. Will that suffice? or do you have a suggestion? :)



    Cheers, Thorgrimm
     

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  20. North King

    North King blech

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    How the hell do you fix something so fundamentally broken? You just posted a timeline involving turning Earth into a fricking double planet, with absolutely no changes to geology, geography, biology, not to mention history. This is not alternate history, this is mind numbing fantasy.

    Now, it's all well and good that you post fantasy -- I frankly don't care, though I'd rather you didn't post it in the alternate history thread, but to then attack me as having my "springs too tightly wound" and having a "class thing" is a direct ad hominem attack against me. Especially this idiotic notion that I "do not like newbs interrupting [my] club". I guess, sir, you haven't spent much time around here, because I am pretty damn tolerant towards new people, and usually tell some choice individuals bashing them to lay off of the newbies. I didn't criticize your timeline because you were new. I criticized it because I didn't find it realistic. You will see me do the exact same thing to many other timelines, some written by people who have been here for years. I really couldn't care less how long you stayed here, and especially calling this my "club" is hysterical, since I rarely even venture into this thread anyway.

    So stop your insults and your childish taunts, because between

    "What it seems to me you dislike is the fact it diverges too much from your perception on how history should go."

    "Or do you want some cheese with that whine?"

    "As my pappy used to say, put your money where your mouth is and if you have criticisms, please by all means, give suggestions for improvement."

    and

    "But around here I think some of you have your springs too tightly wound or maybe its that class thing and you do not like newb's interrupting 'your' club."

    I'm rather pushed over the edge. Being new does not get you a free pass on being stupid (anymore than being old does). It does not give you some kind of magic shield against having a flat out awful "alternate history". It does not give you an excuse to act arrogantly and snobbishly towards everyone in this thread -- far more arrogantly than most of those who apparently form this nonexistent elite.

    EDIT: Moreover, I will point out criticisms of the earlier, sensical part of your timeline were already offered and summarily rejected by you for no apparent reason.
     

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