Alternative History

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The House of Valentinian

After the death in battle of Julian in 363 and the brief reign of Jovian (363-364), the brothers Valentinian I and Valens became Emperors of West and East, respectively. Valentinian I was Nicene, Valens Arian. During Valentinian I’s reign, a young catechumen named Ambrose died shortly before the death of the Arian bishop of Milan, Auxentius.

In 375, Valentinian I died. His son Valentinian II, although still a child, was proclaimed Western Emperor. Valentinian II’s mother, Justina, was Arian. Valentinian II’s half-brother Gratian assumed effective control of the West. In 378, Valens died, leaving Gratian in control of the entire empire, but in 379 he appointed his brother-in-law Theodosius I as co-augustus for the East. In 383, a British officer named Magnus Maximus successfully conquered Britain and Gaul, killing Gratian and driving Valentinian II and Justina into the arms of Theodosius I. In 387, a Neo-Platonist named Augustine of Hippo was studying in Milan. In 388, Theodosius I provided the force that restored Valentinian II. Although Valentinian II had been forced to acquiesce to Theodosius I’s Orthodoxy, Valentinian II immediately returned to Arianism in the West.

Temporary Unity

Valentinian II died in 392, probably at the instigation of his Frankish general Arbogast. Arbogast then elevated Flavius Eugenius, a pagan, to the Imperium. Theodosius I, who had declared Nicene Christianity as the religion of the Empire, marched against Arbogast and Eugenius. Arbogast was killed, and Eugenius held for execution. In 395, Theodosius I died. He divided the Empire into East and West. To his son Arcadius he gave the East, to his other son Honorius he gave the West; neither were related to the Valentinians. Honorius was a tool of the Romanized Vandal Stilicho.

In 402, the Visigoths invaded Italy and Honorius moved the imperial capital from Milan to Ravenna.

Invasion of the Vandals and the Marriage of Visigoths and Romans

In 406, the Vandals, Burgundians, Alans, and Sueves crossed the frozen Rhine and cut off Britain from the Empire. An officer, Constantine III, was proclaimed Emperor of West in 407. In 408, Constantine III fetched his son Constans from a monastery and sent him off to Spain to defeat the Spanish cousins of the House of Theodosius. On August 13, the Roman army at Ticinum mutinied. On August 22, Stilicho was executed. Then the general Sarus abandoned the imperial cause. Honorius, trapped in Ravenna, witout an army, and threatened by both Constantine III and an invading army of Arian Visigoths under Alaric, declared Constantine III co-emperor and joint consul for 409. In 409, however, Alaric kidnapped Honorius’ half-sister Gallia Placida, the daughter of Theodosius I and Galla, daughter of Valentinian I. Also in 409: the Vandals entered Spain.

Theodosius II: The First Romano-Visigothic Emperor

In 410, Alaric sacked Rome, died, and passed the throne to his brother Athaulf. The major events of 411 were the death of Caesr Constans, the defeat and replacement of Constantine III, and the marriage of Athaulf and Gallia Placida, who bore Athaulf a son, Theodosius. Athaulf suffered a fatal wound in 415. The next king of the Visigoths, Wallia (415-419), returned Galla Placidia to Honorius, but Theodorid, the illegimate son of Alaric, and other family members grabbed Theodosius, son of Athaulf. When Wallia, died, Theodorid established himself as King of the Visigoths (419-451) and his cousin Theodosius (II) as Emperor of the West, starting in 423.

Vandal Invasion of North Africa

In 429, the combined Vandals and Alans had abandoned Iberia to the Visigoths. In 430, the town of Hippo Regius despaired and fell to the Arian Vandals. In 437, Theodorid, King of the Visigoths, married Licinia Eudoxia, daughter of Theodosius III, Emperor of the East. Genseric, King of the Vandals and Alans (422-477) captured Carthage in 439. The Vandals soon conquered Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica. In 442, the Emperor of the East, Theodosius III, son of Arcadius and Eudoxia, recognized the independence of the Kingdom of the Vandals and Alans. This treaty greatly annoyed Theodosius II, son of Athaulf, Emperor of the West.

Battle of Chalons

When Theodosius III died in 450, Marcian, the husband of Theodosius III’s sister Pulcheria, became Eastern Emperor. In 450, he repudiated the tribute Theodosius III had paid to Attila. Attila, deprived of an eastern source of income, turned west. In 451, a combined Roman and Visigothic force faced Attila at the Battle of Châlons near Châlons-en-Champagne. Attila was defeated, but Theodorid perished. His son Thorismund became King of the Visigoths (451-453) and the survivingv pro-Attila Ostrogoths merged back with the Visigoths. After Thorismund came Theodoric (453-466).

Vandal Capture of Rome

In 455, Theodosius II of the West died. His murderer, Petronius Maximus, declared himself Emperor and married Theodosius II’s widow, Eudoxia, who was the daughter of Theodosius III of the East and the poetess Aelia Eudocia. The Empress Eudoxia sent for aid to Genseric, King of the Vandals and Alans, to whom her daughter Eudocia was betrothed. In 455, therefore, the Vandals captured Rome and took custody of the Empress Eudoxia and her two daughter, Eudocia and Placida.

Vandal Supremacy and Imperialism

In 468, the Vandals destroyed a Byzantine fleet and confirmed their hold on Africa, the western Mediterranean, Sicily, and Italy. Euric, King of the Goths (466-484), youngest son of Theodorid, King of the Visigoths and Licinia Eudocia, daughter of Eastern Emperor Theodosius III, controlled Iberia and Aquitaine. Gunderic, King of the Burgundians, controlled the Kingdom of Burgundy, while the Franks held the rest of Gaul. Huneric, son of Genseric and husband of Placida, daughter of Theodosius III of the East and Eudoxia, was declared Emperor of the West. Genseric died in 477, leaving Huneric as Emperor of the West (468-496) and King of the Vandals and Alans (477-496).

Rise of the Franks

The death of Euric, King of the Goths, in 484 and the succession of his infant son Alaric II (484-507), allowed the Arian Clovis I, King of the Franks, to place pressure on the Goths. At the death of Huneric in 496, the Kingdom of the Vandals and Alans passed to his nephew Thrasamund (496-523), but Alaric II, King of the Goths, son of Euric, claimed the Imperial title as an Imperial descendent. Clovis I, King of the Franks married Clotilda, the daughter of Chilperic, King of Burgundy. The Goths entered into an alliance with the Vandals. In 507, Clovis attacked the Goths, killed Alaric II, and drove the Visigoths out of Aquitaine.

Vandal Civil War

The Goths elected Gesalec, an illegitimate son of Alaric II, as King of the Goths (507-511) until Alaric II’s legitimate son, Amalaric (526-531), was of age. Gesalec was aided by Theodoric the Great, a descendent of the defeated Ostrogoths, and Amalaric’s maternal grandfather. Theodoric assumed full responsibility for Amalaric after an attempt coup by Gesalec. The same year (511), Clovis I, King of the Franks, died and divided his inheritance among his four sons, who soon killed each other off within the year.

After the death of the sons of Clovis, King of the Franks, a minor noble, Munderic, was chosen as King of the Franks (521-532). Although the kingdom became hereditary in his family (Bodegisel I; Bodegisel II), it was not until the middle of the reign of his great-grandson Arnulf (588-640) and Arnulf’s ally Pippin of Landen that the Frankish kingdom (which had included Burgundy from Bodegisel I’s conquest of 534) was fully reunited and began to regain its former influence.

In 523, Thrasamund, King of the Vandals, died. Hilderic, son of Huneric and Placida, daughter of Theodosius III of the East, who was a homosexual and an Orthodox, became King of the Vandals, opposed by his heterosexual and Arian cousin Gelimer. The Eastern Emperor recognized Hilderic as Viceroy of the West. In 526, Amalaric achieved majority and became Emperor of the West. His wife was Clotilda, daughter of Clovis I of the Franks. Since all the sons of Clovis were dead and Clovis had murdered most of his close relatives, Clotilda and her husband Amalaric had some influence in the Frankish realm.

In 530, Gelimer deposed his cousin Hilderic and became King of the Vandals and Emperor of the West in his stead. Gelimer’s ally, Justinian I of the East, used this as a pretext for an attempted reconquest of North Africa and Italy by his general Belisarius.

In 531, Amalaric died. Theudis, son of Amalaric and Clotilda, descendant of Romans, Goths Franks, and Burgundians (via Clovis' wife Clotilda of Burgundy), was proclaimed Emperor of the West, and Master of the Germans.

Belisarius: The Byzantine Revival

In 533 and 534, Belisarius conquered Vandal Africa and ended Vandal occupation there. Gelimer fled to Italy. In 535, Belisarius began his campaign to recover Italy from the Vandals. He swiftly took Sicily and crossed into Italy. After he had captured Naples and Rome in 536, he defeated and captured.Gelimer in 540. The Italian Vandals and their exiled African cousins offered to make Belisarius Western Emperor, but he refused. The offer, however, aroused the suspicions of Justinian I, who recalled Belisarius to the East.

Lombard Invasion of Italy

The chaotic state of western encouraged Audoin, king of the Lombards, to invade Italy in 541. The Vandals, unable to find a leader among their own, borrowed the Gothic leader Totila. Not until 544 could Belisarius return to Italy to aid Totila (who was offered in bad faith the regency of Italy) and reclaim it for the Empire, and even then he enjoyed only limited success. Audoin and his Iberian Gothic, Frankish, and Burgundian allies succeeded in driving the Totila and Belisarius from all but the fortified towns. In 548, Justinian I recalled Belisarius and replaced him with the less capable Narses, thereby ensuring the loss of Italy and Sicily to the alliance of Vandals, Lombards, Goths, Franks, and Burgundians. The Lombard king Audoin (d. 565) and his son Alboin (565-572) now became recognized as the Arian Emperor of the West, while the Vandals swiftly declined in prestige. In the next two decades the Arian Germans consolidated their power. Vandal communities continued to exist on the islands of the western Mediterranean. Africa, however, remained in the control of the local tribes.

The Goths Regain Supremacy

In 572, Alboin died. His successor, Cleph, reigned only two years, and between 574 and 584 there was no single Lombard authority. The Gothic king Leovigild (568-586) seized the opportunity to restore Imperial Glory to the Goths and provide a model of enlightened theocracy that was more tolerant than the Byzantine system. Leovigild’s eldest son, Hermenegild, has the same dream, but converts to Orthodoxy and attempted to overthrow his father. Leovigild defeated Hermenegild and reduces the power of the (Orthodox) Iberian bishops as much as possible. By the time of Leovigild’s death, the Goths had regained their dominance over Iberia (the Suevi had been conquered in 585), the islands, and Italy.

Another Failed Conversion

The Orthodox bishops tried to convert Reccared, King of the Goths (586-601), other son and successor of Leovigild, who rebuffed them. The attempt at conversion, however, convinced Reccared that Arianism needed to grow in order to resist Orthodoxy, which existed within the Empire, and to its north and east. The Byzantine Empire was too powerful to confront directly, and the Orthodox within his own realm were too numerous to stir up in such a provocative manner. Reccared, therefore, looked northward to the British Isles, where there were both heathens ripe for conversion and Pelagians hostile to Arianism [1].


In 597, Reccared sent Theudis of Toledo as a missionary to the pagan Aethelred, King of Kent, son-in-law of a Frankish duke, who was the dominant ruler of the Anglo-Saxons. Since Aethelred's military victories had stretched as far as they could on his own and he was unwilling to risk any defeat that would unravel his power, Aethelred welcomed a new arena in which to achieve mastery. Theudis did not attempt to contact West British Pelagian bishops. After Aethelred and his nobles had been baptized, Reccared offerred to supply troops to Aethelred to conquer his more obstinate neighbors who were not taking to Arianism. The West British Pelagians took the Anglo-Saxons' conversion to Arianism as yet another sign that the Anglo-Saxons were barbarians. Some Pelagians even contemplated an alliance with the Orthodox against Arianism.

Although Aethelred and various other Anglo-Saxon kings declined Gothic aid, the strengthened friendship of the Western Emperor and the Anglo-Saxons worried the Franks, who feared a two-front attack. Arnulf, King of the Franks (588-640), therefore, and his ally, Mayor of the Palace Pippin of Landen imposed internal unity on the Franks by 613 and began to prepare for an eventual assault on the Frankish realm.

In 616, Oswald, a young prince of Bernicia, fled to the Kingdom of Dal Riada,. The victors of the battle were the Cadwallon ap Cadfan (Pelagian), Penda of Mercia (pagan), and Edwin of Deira (Arian). While Oswald was in exile, the monks of Iona converted him to Pelagianism. In 634, Oswald reunited Northumbria. He brought a monk, Aidan, with him. The conflict between Pelagian and Arian Northumbrians was exacerbated by Oswald’s marriage to Cyneburh, daughter of Cynegils, King of Wessex. Although Cynegils himself was not a Christian, he allowed the Arian bishop Birinus freedom to preach in his kingdom.

In 640, Arnulf, King of the Franks, died. He divided the kingdom of the Franks between his sons: Ansegisel (640-680), son of Arnulf, who was married to Begga, daughter of Pippin of Landen; Chlodulf; and Martin. Ansegisel served as the senior ruler of the Franks and soon overshadowed his junior colleagues.

In 642, Oswald of Northumbria died. His successor and brother Oswiu was also Pelagian, but married the Arian princess Eanfled, daughter of Edwin of Northumbria in the same year as he acceded to the Northumbrian throne. A notable accomplishment of Oswiu was the conversion to Pelagianism of Peada, son of Penda of Mercia, and Sigeberht II, King of Essex (653-660). Unfortunately, both these promising beginnings backfired. Peada was murdered by his wife Alchflaed, daughter of Oswiu; Oswiu took over Mercia for a while, but the Mercians produced Wulfhere, another son of Penda, who was an enthusiastic Arian. Sigeberht II was murdered by his successor Swithelm, who was converted from paganism to Arianism in 664.

In 660, Oswiu married his son Ecgfrith to Aethelthryth, daughter of former King of East Anglia, Anna, who was known as a pious Arian.

In 664, Oswiu summoned the Synod of Whitby to determine whether Northumbria should be Arian or Pelagian. Oswiu, Colman, and Chad represented Pelagianism, while Wilfred represented Arianism. Oswiu was convinced, albeit narrowly, to recognize Arianism, since an Arian monarch could participate more easily in Western Imperial diplomacy. He ordered all Pelagians either to convert or leave the country. The disgruntled Pelagians disavowed any further attempts at converting Saxons.

In 680, Ansegisel, King of the Franks, died. Pippin, son of Ansigisel and Begga, daughter of Pippin of Landen, became King of All Franks (680-714).

711 Islamic armies cross into Iberia. The Islamic armies drive the Goths northward, into the former territory of the Suevi.
712 The Muslim invaders conquer the town of Leon.
718 By this point, the Muslims have conquered most of Iberia. In the same year, Pelayo, an alleged descendant of the Gothic Emperor Chindaswinth (641-649), founds the Kingdom of Asturias, but does not claim an Imperial title.
721 A Muslim army conquers Aquitaine.
732 Charles Martel (d. 741), an illegitimate son of Pippin, King of All the Franks, defeats a Muslim scouting force near Poitiers and is proclaimed Emperor of the West, thereby surpassing in rank his half-brothers, the legitimate sons of Pippin, the kings of the Franks, Drogo, Grimoald, and Childebrand.
751 Frankish kingdom passes to Carloman I (751-754).
754 The Frankish Crown is unified with the Imperial Crown.
759 Pippin the Short drives the Muslims from Gaul.
768 Charles II the Great becomes Emperor, with his brother, Carloman II, serving as King.
803 Demarcation of Arian and Orthodox imperial spheres.
804 Charles II the Great subdues Saxony.
810 Demarcation of Arian and Orthodox imperial spheres
840-911/987 How do you want to handle the decline of the Carolingians/arrangement of the West? Does the Imperial title pass West to the Gothic Kingdom of Asturias/Leon, East to Germany, or North to England? To Flanders/Boulogne (via Judith Martel, Queen Dowager of Wessex and the first Baldwin of Flanders), or Burgundy? Does a Kingdom of Italy have any legitimacy?
842 The Muslims conquer Sicily.
1099 Constantinople falls for lack of Orthodox Crusaders. The Muslims enter Europe via the Balkans.


Unlike OTL, the native Romance speakers are limited to a band stretching from OTL's southern France to the islands of Sardinia and Corsica to central Italy to the Dalmatian coast and over to Rumania. Most Romance speakers are Catholic, while most Germanic speakers are Arians.

Germanic family

  • Gothic — spoken in Spain, Portugal, and the Balearics
  • Frankish — spoken in northern France
  • Burgundian — spoken in Burgundy
  • Lombardic — spoken in northern Italy
  • Normannic — spoken in northern France (Normandy), southern Italy, Sicily
  • English — spoken in England and Scotland
  • German — spoken in the German Empire

Romance family

  • Provencal — spoken in Langue d'Oc
  • Florentine — spoken in central Italy
  • Sardinian — spoken in Sardinia
  • Corsican — spoken in Corsica
  • Romanian — spoken in Rumania
  • Dalmatian — spoken in Dalmatia

King lists

Roman Emperors

  • 363-364 — Jovian
  • 364-375 — Valentinian I (in the west)
  • 364-378 — Valens (in the east)
  • 375-378 — Gratian (in the west)
  • 375-383 — Valentinian II (in the west)
  • 378-379 — Gratian
  • 379-392 — Theodosius I (in the east)
  • 379-383 — Gratian (in the west)
  • 383-388 — Magnus Maximus (in the west)
  • 388-392 — Valentinian II (in the west)
  • 392-392 — Eugenius (in the west)
  • 392-395 — Theodosius I

Eastern Emperors after 395

  • 395-408 — Arcadius
  • 408-450 — Theodosius III
  • 450-457 — Marcian
  • 457-474 — Leo I
  • 474 — Leo II
  • Justinian I

Western Emperors after 395

  • 395-423 — Honorius
  • 409-411 — Constantine III
  • 423-455 — Theodosius II
  • 455 — Petronius Maximus
  • 468-496 — Huneric
  • 496-507 — Alaric
  • 526-531 — Amalaric
  • 531-? — Theudis
  • 548-565 — Audoin
  • 565-572 — Alboin
  • 572-574 — Cleph
  • 574-586 — Leovigild
  • 586-601 — Reccared
  • 601-603 — Liuva
  • 603-610 — Witteric
  • 610-612 — Gundemar
  • 612-621 — Sisebut
  • 621-631 — Suinthila
  • 631-636 — Sisenand
  • 636-640 — Chintila
  • 640-641 — Tulga
  • 641-649 — Chindaswinth
  • 649-672 — Reccaswinth
  • 672-680 — Wamba
  • 680-687 — Erwig
  • 687-701 — Egica
  • 701-710 — Witiza
  • 710-711 — Roderic
  • 711-732 — Vacant
  • 732-741 — Charles I Martel
  • 741-768 — Pippin the Short
  • 768-814 — Charles II the Great
  • 814-840 — Louis I the Pious
  • 844-855 — Lothar
  • 855-875 — Louis II
  • 875 — Charles III the Bald
  • 881-887 — Charles IV the Fat
  • 887-899 — Arnulf of Carinthia
  • 899-911 — Louis III the Child

Kings of the Visigoths

  •  ?-410 — Alaric
  • 410-415 — Athaulf
  • 415-419 — Wallia
  • 419-451 — Theodorid

Kings of the Goths

  • 451-453 — Thorismund
  • 453-466 — Theodoric
  • 466-484 — Euric
  • 484-507 — Alaric II (Western Emperor 496-507)
  • 507-511 — Gesalec
  • 511-526 — Theodoric II the Great
  • 526-531 — Amalaric (Western Emperor 526-531)
  • 531-548 — Theudis (Western Emperor 531-548)
  • 548-549 — Theudigliscus
  • 549-554 — Agil
  • 554-567 — Athanagild
  • 567-568 — Liuva I
  • 568-586 — Leovigild (renewed Emperor)
  • 586-601 — Reccared
  • 601-603 — Liuva II
  • 603-610 — Witteric
  • 610-612 — Gundemar
  • 612-621 — Sisebut
  • 621-631 — Suinthila
  • 631-636 — Sisenand
  • 636-640 — Chintila
  • 640-641 — Tulga
  • 641-649 — Chindaswinth
  • 649-672 — Reccaswinth
  • 672-680 — Wamba
  • 680-687 — Erwig
  • 687-701 — Egica
  • 701-710 — Witiza
  • 710-711 — Roderic (last Gothic Emperor)

Kings of Asturias

  • 718-737 — Pelayo
  • 737-739 — Favila
  • 739-757 — Alfonso I
  • 757-768 — Fruela I
  • 768-774 — Aurelio
  • 774-783 — Silo
  • 783-788 — Mauregato (usurper)
  • 788-791 — Bermudo I the Deacon
  • 791-842 — Alfonso II the Chaste
  • 842-850 — Ramiro I
  • 850-866 — Ordonyo I

Kings of Leon

  • 866-910 — Alfonso III

Kings of the Vandals

  • 422-477 — Genseric
  • 477-496 — Huneric (Western Emperor 468-496)
  • 496-523 — Thrasamund
  • 523-530 — Hilderic (Western Emperor 523-530)
  • 530-540 — Gelimer (Western Emperor 530-540)
  • 540-? — Totila the Goth

Kings of the Franks

  •  ?-511 — Clovis I
  • 511-521 — Sons of Clovis
  • 521-532 — Munderic
  •  ?-? — Bodegisel I
  •  ?-588 — Bodegisel II
  • 588-640 — Arnulf
  • 640-680 — Ansegisel
  • 640-? — Chlodulf
  • 640-? — Martin
  • 680-714 — Pippin
  • 714-? — Drogo
  • 714-? — Grimoald
  • 714-? — Childebrand
  •  ?-741 — Charles I Martel
  • 741-768 — Pippin II the Short (Emperor)
  • 741-747 — Carloman I (d. 754)
  • 741-754 — Grifo
  • 768-814 — Charles II the Great
  • 768-771 — Carloman II
  • 813-840 — Louis I the Pious
  • 840-855 — Lothar
  • 855-875 — Louis II

Kings of the Lombards

  •  ?-565 — Audoin (Western Emperor 548-565)
  • 565-572 — Alboin (Westerm Emperor 565-572)
  • 572-574 — Cleph (Western Emperor 572-574)
  • 574-584 — Interregnum