Alternative History


The New City
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Location of Halorium Location of Halorium in Roman Columbia
Nation Roman Empire
Province Audenisonea
Area 2,150 km2
Population 12,963,500
Population Density 6,029 hab/sq km
Representation 8 Consuae
Demonym Halorinus
Elevation 10 m
Settled 1631
OTL equivalent New York City

Halorium is the second most populous colonial city in the Roman Empire, behind the Indian metropolis of Hastinaporum. Settled on the south end of Manhatta island on July 1, 1631, the city of Halorium was originally known as New Alexandria. As the city expanded through government funding, the newly appointed Governor of Audenisonea, Lucius Halorius Macedea chose the city, one of only seven cities on that part of the continent, as his province's capital city and renamed it after himself, Halorium. Originally the only provincial capital in North Columbia, and in a very advantageous geographic position, the settlement's population and size swelled and by the time of the Great War, had more than 2.7 million inhabitants, almost superseding New Rome as the largest colonial city.

Before this time though, the Romans had to first force out the native Lenape tribe from the area. This act however incited rage from the Great Chiefdom, and in 1639, they declared war on the Romans and tried to retake the island. Once these other natives were driven back, a massive wall was built inland to prevent them from even approaching the settlement. This gave the Romans free reign to construct things as they pleased. Amazingly the ensuing war didn't soil Roman-Columbian relations as the newly formed United Chiefdoms of Columbia attempted to join the Roman-Inca alliance, seeking a more tension free situation. In 1675 a treaty was signed in Halorium, promising cooperation between Rome and the Columbians, and two years later, the Natives were admitted into the CCA following a conference in this same city.

After the Great War, Halorium grew into its role of Rome's primary colonial city, and management of nearly all colonial trade moved from New Rome to here in 1755. When the Treaty of Teotihuacan was signed in 1815, Halorium became the center point of Roman-Mayan relations, holding its embassy and boasting one of the largest Mayan populations in the Empire by the mid-1800's. During this time the settlement had long expanded to the mainland and the neighboring long island, all to accommodate its population of over 4 million people.

Currently the city remains one of the fastest growing colonial cities, with one of the highest immigrant populations in the entire Empire. The city is renowned in Columbia for its beautiful bridges linking it together, as well as the Plaza of Columbia, a forum larger than The Forum in Rome. The city's skyline is dominated by the Turra Aurea, a radio tower on the north end built in the early-1800's. Throughout the Empire, Halorium is often known as the "Capital of Columbia", or the "City of the New World", both of which are names that reflect its status as the most important Imperial city on the continent.


Upper Manhatta District

Map of the Upper Manhatta Region of Halorium

Halorium consists of 8 distinct Regio, making up the districts of the city. These districts are: Upper Manhatta, the upper part of the eponymous island; Lower Manhatta, the lower part, along with several smaller islands to the south; Lower Pomana, the southern tenth of North Columbia's longest island, with several nearby islands as well; Ranach, the mainland north of Manhatta; Insula Unamia, the southern-most island of the city; Upper Pomana, the sparsely populated middle part of Long Island; Lenapa, the mainland west of Manhatta and finally Macedea, the mainland to the south of Manhatta.

Upper Manhatta contains the central business district of the city, around the main Forum, and is also the center of government for the city and province. It is also the location of many of the other most important buildings and monuments in the city. Lower Pomana is by far the most densely populated district of the city, holding more than two million of its inhabitants, and a density of about 7000 inhabitants per sq km. Now Lower Manhatta is a major port region, receiving nearly half of the city's coastal trade, though the Grand Halorium Harbor is located in Upper Manhatta.

Numbered parts of the Map are:

  1. Universalis Halorio (Two Campuses)
  2. Grand Halorium Harbor and Mall
  3. Diversorium Garium
  4. Tamoria Automobiles HQ
  5. Central Bank of Columbia
  6. Provincial Palace and Praetorian Residence
  7. Columbian Transport Guild HQ
  8. Halorium Museum of the Arts
  9. Monument to Julius Caesar
  10. Arch of Lucius Halorius Macedea
  11. The Turra Aurea
  12. Diversorium Audenisonea
  13. Grand Mayan Embassy
  14. Halorium Amphitheatre
  15. Trader's Guild Office Building
  16. Cathedral of St. Matthew
  17. Halorium Legionary Headquarters
  18. Mexican Gulf Trader's Guild HQ
  19. Bank of Columbia HQ
  20. Retail Guild of the Cornelii Office Building
  21. Museum of Roman Columbian History
  22. Columbian Radio Commission HQ
  23. Halorium Transit Authority HQ


Like any provincial capital, the municipal government of the city is chosen by the Praetor (Governor) and his cabinet of ministers. In the case of Audenisonea, all municipal power is in the Praetor's hands, and so no municipal government exists. This has been the case since Halorius himself was governor, and so the autocratic state of this province is the historical standard there. All power therefore rests in the Provincial Palace, the Praetorian residence and the location of his court.

As well, Halorium is widely considered to be the Capital of the Columbias, and the Consul of North Columbia has both his permanent residence and own palace in the Lower Manhatta district. Historically, between 1631 and 1815, the Praetor of Halorium and Consul of North Columbia were synonymous positions, whoever held one held both. The position was therefore one of the most important in the Empire, serving as a primary connective point to the New World. Even the primary Conglomerate Embassy is located here, one which supersedes the Mayan Embassy in Constantinopolis.


Halorium's population is about 12,963,500, making it the most populated city in Columbia, and 13th most populous city in the world. Its population amounts to almost 45% of the province of Audenisonea, a little less than 5% of Roman Columbia, and 0.6% of the Empire's population. The city is rapidly growing at a rate of 3.4% every year, largely due to immigration from both other countries and other parts of the Empire now that the new bridge has facilitated immigration.

Two key demographic features of the city are its density and ethnic diversity. The city has a very high population density of 6,029 inhabitants per sq km surprisingly dense for a city of its importance. The Regio of Lower Pomana in particular is very densely populated at around 7102 inhabitants per sq km. The least densely populated Regio conversely is Upper Pomana, with a population density around 2008.

Surprisingly, only about 29% of the city's population is of Roman descent, a great deal smaller than the national 64%. Aside from Roman, the two dominant ethnic groups are Greek and Mayan, each holding a 25% and 23% share of the population respectively. The district of Ranach has the highest number of Mayan expatriates of any other city in the world, with entire areas of the Regio being almost completely Mayan. Many of the Greeks in the city are concentrated to the south, especially in Lower Manhatta and Unamia. In the former, there are around 1 million Greeks, giving them a nearly 85% share of the district's population.

Historically speaking, the city was originally founded by Greek immigrants from Alexandria (in Aegyptus), and even the city's greatest patron, Halorius Macedea himself, was pure Greek. They continued to dominate coastal trade within the city and now the Greek population has the highest income average in Halorium.

As well, there are about 1.8 million Jews in the city, one of the largest regional populations outside of Judaea, as well as about 1.4 million Egyptians. These figures reflect the intensely immigrant nature of the city. A subject which has been the focus of its economy for centuries.


Halorium is an international hub of business and trade within both the Columbians and partners of the Roman world. A full 40% of Europe-Columbia trade occurs through this city, most of which is controlled by powerful Greek magnates in the south. Halorium was one of the two nodes, the other being Ollisipo, of the Transatlantic Trade Route between the two continents, and so hundreds of ships stopped there every day before making the big journey. Now, Halorium is only a few km from the Columbian side of the Neptune Transatlantic Floating Bridge, completed in 1996 between the north end of Long Island and the aforementioned city of Ollisipo (OTL Lisbon). As trains pass through a vacuum tunnel there at several thousand km per hour, thousands of tons of goods can now be brought over everyday through this new system. To appease the Greek traders, 40% of the profits derived from the bridge's use go to them, with no work needing to be done on their part.

Due to the influence of maritime trade, there are two major economic sectors in the city, with a third growing in recent years on Long Island because of the bridge. The first of these is at the Forum in Upper Manhatta, the location of the Halorium's central business district and the Grand Halorium Harbor. Over a third of its economic activity originates from this one small area, whilst an additional third comes from the series of ports in Lower Manhatta. These Greek port districts were the settling point of the city in 1631, and are still the major trading hubs of the city, next to the Grand Harbor.

The other major industry in Halorium is housing, as the city has the largest amount of coastal property of any metropolitan area in the world, a good deal of which are centered on Manhatta Island. Many rich Equestrians and Patricians own these spots, whilst the government has also bought a lot to create small national parks of public recreation. One of the largest plots of coastal land is owned by the Audenisonean Grand Hotel, the largest of the hotels from the Audenisonean Hotel chain. Including the latter, many of these coastal areas have been converted into either public or private beaches, whilst the rest serve as private docks or public walkways.


Universalis Halorio

Southern campus main entrance of the Halorio

The Halorium education system is widely considered to be the fourth best in the Empire, and its one University, the Universalis Halorio, is the fifth largest Roman University. The university student population of the city is 830,000 people of which 490,000 attend the Universalis Halorio. Founded in 1638 by Macedea, the University was originally outside the city limits, in what is now the Southern Campus in Upper Manhatta. Providing a Greek education to over a thousand students, the facility was the only educational organization in Halorium until 1681, when the first public schools were founded there. In 1722, when the city was still young, a 1.2 sq km plot of land was bought on the island's north end for the construction of another larger campus. Completed partially in 1728, the new campus more than quintupled the university's student capacity, allowing it to teach nearly 150,000 students. The facilities continued to be expanded over the land which the university owned until their capacity became what it is in the modern day. On the map above, there are four students residences to the right of the Northern campus, these were built in 1745 to allow for more interprovincial and foreign students to attend the school.


Although currently crime levels are at around the Imperial average (1.8 homicides and 24 robberies per 100,000 people), this was not always the case and for most of the 1800's, the city was controlled in part by powerful Greek crime families originating from the drug trade in the Aegean. Skirmishes between the various factions, at one time known as the Five Families, were not uncommon in the city and a few dozen deaths per year resulted from people being caught in the crossfire. Still, the heads of the families were usually very powerful men in the city, at times even Praetor or Consul of North Columbia.

After the death of Emperor Alexander XIV, rumored to have been an acquaint of some of the family heads, these organizations began to falter and soon the local Vigiles were able to shut down many of their activities. Only one family remained in its position by 1896 and following a lengthy court case, was granted permission to exist as a legal entity. Though this family exists even to this day, their members are mostly just rich Greek businessmen, and the extent of their "activities" is forming trade cartels to force other businesses out of the city. A full 89% of all trade into and out of the city is controlled by members of the family, and a deal was even made between them and the large Columbian Traders Guild that restricted all trade between this city and the Old World to the Sanguini (literally "The Family" or "The Bloodline").

Culture & Leisure[]

Audenosean Grand Hotel

Main entrance to the Audenisonean Grand Hotel

Although not to the same degree as the city of Rome, Halorium is a major cultural hub of the Empire, particularly in its state of multiculturalism. This blending of the various Roman cultures has led many to refer to Halorium as the "Imperial Mosaic", for its varied and very distinct cultures. Although the uniformity of Roman city construction has made cultural separation difficult, it is not impossible and many immigrants have historically tried to buy property only on streets with significant numbers of their own people.

Unlike most Roman cities, Halorium has no single major theater that holds its grandest plays. Instead, the Halorium Amphitheater acts as both its primary theater and sports arena. Completed in 1669, just after Halorius' death, the massive 900 meter wide stadium was the second largest amphitheater in Columbia, after only the one built in New Rome. Nationally, the stadium is the fifth largest and third most visited of the amphitheaters. The Amphitheatrum Halorium features the largest monthly slave gladiator tournament, an event far bloodier and deadlier than the citizen equivalent. Furthermore, it remains the most popular stadium for the playing of Ullapila, hosting games from both the yearly Nike Tournament and even several matches each year in the Mayan Grand Ullamaliztli Competition. It is noted as the only city to have its own Ullapila and Ullamaliztli teams, and surprisingly both are ranked very high in their respective sports.

Owing to both its high number of beaches (more than any other city) and private boats, Halorium is a very popular destination for tourism and leisure for both Roman and Mayan, and even Japanese, travelers. Nearly 120 million tourists visit the city each year, more than Rome, making Halorium the second most popular tourist destination on the planet. Other sites such as the Amphitheater, the many hotels, the Halorium Museum of the Arts and the Museum of Roman Columbian History alone attract millions of visitors each year, providing tailored entertainment for people with all varieties of interests.

The Plaza of Columbia, and the Via Columbia which stretches upwards from it, are together considered to be one of the finest locations in the Roman world. If one stands just behind the Arch of Halorius Macedea and looks down the Via Columbia, the road continues for about 4 km to the Golden Tower and its gardens. Standing about 480 meters tall, the Turra Aurea is the third tallest building in the Roman Empire and 98th tallest in the world (structures extending into space notwithstanding). With an exterior almost completely covered in gold, during the day the structure is a sight to behold. This building alone, counting only those that enter it, attracts nearly five million people a year.

See Also[]