This timeline explores a world which diverged from history at two independent points:
Marcus Aurelius is followed as Princeps Civitatis by a more competent, adopted son, maintaining the period of the "Good Emperors" for another two centuries. With a stable hold on its territory and a clearer form of government, the Roman Empire does not fall. On the other side of the world, one of the city-states of the Maya civilization comes under the leadership of its own "great unifier" (ala Temujin or Charles the Great) - a man of great charisma and a breaker of old traditions. His effort to unite the Maya into a confederation of cities creates a lasting state, centered on the captured metropolis of Teotihuacan.
From these points, the alternate history goes in an entirely different direction from actual history. Industrialization in one part of the world is fueled by water instead of coal, a pure representative method of democracy is never established, and no existing states are recognizable as countries that exist in the modern world (differing in name, territories, government, or culture).
Anyone interested in plausibility may be inclined to read an explanation for the historical fall of the Roman Empire, which can be compared with the events in this timeline as a measure of the plausibility of a surviving Roman Empire.
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