Terra Cognita is an Alternate History timeline which takes place in a dimension that did not witness a "collapse" of the Western Roman Empire. Though suffering invasion and conflict the Roman realm lingers and spins through history in fits of growth and decline as a constant.
Hello intrepid dimension traveler, welcome to this Alternate World. Here I will lay out some of the basic differences to help avoid confusion in your meanderings and explain this Alternate History.
Time and Dating
In this alternate world the years are dated as A.U.C. (often written AUC preceding the numbers), meaning Ab urbe condita. Ab urbe condita literally means "from the founded city", meaning from the traditionally held day that the city of Rome was founded. The Gregorian calendar introduced in Our World by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 AD does not come into being in This World.
AUC is the most common dating system in the “western world” in This World. The conventional dating system in the "eastern world" is the Sinaean (Chinese) Lunar calendar. So 2019 CE/AD in Our World would be AUC 2772 in the western world and 4717 in the eastern world.
The other widespread and commonly used calendars include the Era of the World calendar, used across the Christian world (excepting Egypt). In this system the date today is 7527 AM (Anno Mundi, the Latin-based translation of Year After Creation, this is written ε.Κ. in Greek, among who the calendar is common). The Islamic world uses the Hijri calendar with today being 1440 AH.
Other more regional calendars are common around the globe in This World. The Egyptians use the Alexandrian calendar (where the year is 1735) for example, Hesperia has two dominant calendars based on systems devised in Ganonsia (Iroquois-land) and one based on the Meshicoan system (Nahua-Mexico); a number of dating systems exist, just as in Our World. The four mentioned dating systems (Ab Urbe Condita, Sinaean Lunar, Era of the World, and Hijri) are the most widespread however, with the AUC and SL being the ‘global systems’ of dating – the two sharing a status that is very similar to Our World’s Gregorian system.
- Eras and Ages
Historians in Europe order history according to Ages/Eras. The commonly accepted division currently sits at six and this is broadly used in Europe, most of Asia, and variously in other parts of the world. Each periodization carries two names; firstly is a numerical Age and secondly is a common Era name, descriptive as best it can be. They are as follows:
Golden Age/Prehistoric Era: 3.3 mya to AUC -2245 (OTL Prehistory)
First Age/Ancient Era: AUC -2245 to -46 (OTL Ancient History)
Second Age/Classical Era: AUC -46 to AUC 1370 (OTL Classical Antiquity)
Third Age/Postclassical Era: AUC 1370 to AUC 2100 (OTL Middle Ages)
Fourth Age/Middle Era: AUC 2100 to AUC 2500 (OTL Late Medieval through Early Modern)
Fifth Age/Modern Era: AUC 2500 to Present (OTL Modern History)
AUC to BCE-CE (aka BC-AD) Guide
A useful Gregorian calendar to Ab urbe condita conversion guide:
2000 CE = AUC 2753
1950 CE = AUC 2703
1900 CE = AUC 2653
1700 CE = AUC 2453
1600 CE = AUC 2353
1500 CE = AUC 2253
1400 CE = AUC 2153
1200 CE = AUC 1953
1000 CE = AUC 1753
900 CE = AUC 1653
200 CE = AUC 953
1 CE = AUC 754
200 BCE = AUC 554
400 BCE = AUC 354
600 BCE = AUC 154
753 BCE = AUC 1
800 BCE = AUC -46
Words and Terminology
You might notice a word that is unfamiliar, different, archaic, or new to Our World. This is based on the preference for common usage from This World. This is a tricky thing to do since in This World English does not exist. The Anglo-Saxons, though settling in Britannia, never came to dominate the island and so Old English never came to fruition.
The global Lingua Francas in This World are Romanian (that is, the Vulgar Latin spoken in the Roman Republic, not the same Romania as Our World), Sinaean (Standard Mandarin of Our World), Cambrian (the dominant language of Britain, evolving from the native Celtic language), Persian, Bakitaran (the Luganda language of Our World), Ganonsian (Iroquois), Meshican (Nahuatl), and Tavantinsan (Quecha).
It is in this light that I pick and choose what words to give pseudo-English translations to, what words to just use the translation from Our World, and what words to use directly from a dominant language from This World.
Terra Cognita Glossary:
Our World, This World - I refer to the world you and I live in, this timeline or dimension or plane or however you'd view it, as Our World. I refer to my alternate timeline, my parallel dimension, my counterfactual story, as This World.
Homophile – Homosexual; Gay; LGBTQ. The term homophile is from love ("-phile" from Greek φιλία). The first element of the word, the Greek root "homo-", means "same"; it is unrelated to Latin homo, "person". The word gained traction in the gay-rights movement in the Christian world of This World, where such rights were under attack, therefore Greek terms were used (as the Greek world was predominantly Christian and the Christian world heavily Greek). In the equivalent of Our World’s 1925 CE (AUC 2678 in This World) the term was adopted broadly across Europe during the rise in global gay-rights of This World. The term has remained in place, used widely as the predominate terminology for what Our World would term ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’.
Septentrional, Meridional, Oriental, Occidental, Austral, Ultimal - These are words typically used in reference to "cultural spheres" in This World. Unlike Our World, where the term Oriental fell from use due to imperialistic attitudes and exoticism attached to the term, This World's terms are broadly accepted and without baggage.
Septentrional Culture refers to the "Northern Culture" or that of Europe, North Libia (North Africa), West Asia, and, sometimes, Vinland in Hesperia.
Meridional Culture refers to "Southern Culture" or that of Libia (Africa) excluding the northern part.
Oriental Culture refers to "Eastern Culture" or that of Asia excluding West Asia (the Middle East).
Occidental Culture refers to "Western Culture" or that of Hesperia.
Austral Culture refers to "Southwestern Culture" or that of Antillia.
Ultimal Culture refers to "The Far South" or that of Antipodea.
Hellene, Hellenism - Hellene means one who practices the religion of Hellenism. Much like a Christian practices Christianity. When not capitalized (hellene) it is referring to a practitioner of the traditional Greco-Roman belief, the unreformed version before Julian. Lower case hellene is synonymous with pagan, traditionalist, folk-belief, and greco-roman tradition.
The name Hellene was given the meaning "pagan" by the early Christian church, and retained that meaning until the end of the millennium in Our World. It is believed that contact with Christian Jews led some Christians to use Hellene as a means of religious differentiation. Jews, like Greeks, distinguished themselves from foreigners, but unlike Greeks, did so according to religious rather than cultural standards. The Jewish people of Jerusalem, during Julian's time, named him Julian the Hellene for his notion to rebuild the temple. This literally meant Julian the Pagan or, essentially, Julian the Not-Christian, and was meant as a compliment. The term was used by Julian as well, and his circle.
Roman domination of the Greek world enhanced the prestige of the religious institutions that remained intact. Early Christians differentiated people according to religion, so the sense of the word Hellene as a cultural attribute became marginalized and then supplanted by its religious element. Eventually, Christians came to refer to all pagans as Hellenes.
St. Paul in his Epistles uses Hellene almost always juxtaposed to Hebrew, and in disregard of all other ethnicities (Romans, Syrians, Egyptians, etc.) living in the area at the time. The aim was probably to represent the aggregate of the polytheistic and the monotheistic religious communities, who respectively believed in many gods or one god. Hellene is used in a religious sense for the first time in the New Testament. In the Gospel of Mark 7:26, a woman arrives before Jesus kneeling before Him: "The woman was a Hellene, a Syrophœnician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter." Since the nationality or ethnicity of the woman is stated to be Syrophœnician, "Greek" (translated as such into the English of the King James Version, but as haiþno "heathen" in Ulfilas's Gothic; Wycliffe and Coverdale likewise have heathen, ergo heathen and hellene mean the same thing) must therefore signify her polytheistic religion. A broadly similar terminology is found in John 12:20–23: "And there were certain Hellenes among them that came up to worship at the feast ... Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified". This could have one of two interpretations: either that Jesus meant that the time had come for his religion to spread to the pagans (in which case the term "Hellenes" is religious), or that it would spread by using the Greek language (in which case the term "Hellenes" is meant to be linguistic). The development towards a purely religious meaning was slow, and complete by approximately the 2nd or 3rd century AD: Athenian statesman Aristeides, in his written Apology to Emperor Hadrian, picked out the Hellenes as one of the representative pagan peoples of the world along with the Egyptians and the Chaldæans. Later, Clement of Alexandria reports an unknown Christian writer who named all of the above Hellenes and spoke of two old nations and one new: the Christian nation.
Emperor Julian's attempt to restore paganism failed in Our World, and according to Pope Gregory I, "matters moved in favor of Christianity and the position of the Hellenes was severely aggravated". Half a century later Christians protested against the Eparch of Alexandria, whom they accused of being a Hellene. Theodosius I initiated the first legal steps against paganism, but it was Justinian's legal reforms that triggered pagan persecutions on a massive scale. The Corpus Juris Civilis contained two statutes which decreed the total destruction of Hellenism, even in civic life, and were zealously enforced even against men in high position. The official suppression of paganism made non-Christians a public threat, which further derogated the meaning of Hellene. Paradoxically, Tribonian, Justinian's own legal commissioner, according to the Suda dictionary, was a Hellene (pagan).
In This World the term simply remained as it had become - pagan. But more specifically, when capitalized it became the new reformed religion, as we know from sources Julian had intended, had he lived, in Our World. Hellene and Hellenism were to be the title of the reformed/official version of the old pagan greco-roman tradition.
Gentile, Gentilism, Gentilic - These terms are used as a broad categorization of the European 'post-pagan' or 'reformed-pagan' religions in This World, such as Hellenism and Romuvism. This is much the same way as how Our World uses 'Abrahamic' to group Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. It is suggested that those beliefs put under this umbrella-word come from one spiritual/culturally-religious source or origin - ultimately stemming collectively back to some distant Proto-Indo-European belief system.
New World Crops, Animals, etc - Different people are shared the food stuffs that we are familiar with today. Therefore they largely obtain different names - much of the source for the Europeans comes via the Romans, what they decided to call the items, and so I will list them as such. The Cambrian versions stay largely true to the Roman style: batate - sweet potato; papate - potato; tomate; - tomato; mais - corn; socolata - chocolate; tobaco - tobacco; lisocita - vanilla; uesolote - turkey.
People and Culture
The thoughtful traveler will notice some famous individuals who reflect those from Our World very closely, exactly, minimally, or just mildly. We can assume that no one, after the point-of-divergence, is the same as Our World (not necessarily that they do not exist. Perhaps a reflection of a person). Though, truly, this world is different from the ground up. Though the history preceding the survival of Our World’s Julian the Apostate (This World’s Julian the Philosopher) is nearly identical, it is still different in itself. What butterfly flapped its wings in that more distant past may never be known. But there are subtle differences, tiny ripples, from before This World’s defined PoD. Furthermore, there are many other PoDs after the Julian one, some small and some big, across the globe, perhaps rippled by these other, older, wing-flaps. Therefore no one is really the same, not one hundred percent.
Even so, people and ideas of familiarity will guide This World. This is in part for familiarity and believably. This is also due to my personal belief that much of our collective human ideas would ultimately be reached. The world need not be a radically unrecognizable place at all. So there is mimicry, perhaps due to fate or a natural flow of the river of life.
Music - Music comes to fairly similar ends as Our World but it is still different. Take rap – it never evolves along the lines it did from the cultural melding of the United States, as there is no United States. The East Coast and West Coast styles do not develop. But people were rhyme-battling well before the USA, in Africa and in Scandinavia such things are recorded as historical events in Our World. The melding of sounds in This World culminated in a birthing of something akin to rap from a meld of African and European influence. London is a veritable melting pot and there is an abundance of cross culture travel, much of it on more equal footing.
The sounds are far more influenced by the African continent but the arrival of and influence of European instruments and sounds still occurs. So we end up with music that echoes Our World's Afropop, Trip-Hop, African-Rap, and African-Jazz, for example.
In This World technology is, roughly,15 years ahead of Our World. That is for the most part, in some areas things do not exist at all. This World witnessed many ideas and inventions that Our World did, only perpetrated at different times, by different people, in different places. But the human mind eventually got there anyway. The traffic light is invented, but there is no Tupperware, no basketball, volleyball, snowboarding, no ferris wheel. Some things are different, with the barcode being a circular symbol rather than a square. But there are personal computers, cellphones, and so on.
On the high advanced end of things This World is not overtly different in an obvious way. A glance around the world would not strike one as much changed, but many things are so in subtle fashion. Above ground power lines are incredibly rare, for instance. Almost always buried worldwide. Many cities are much larger and more built up, with London being more akin to Our World’s New York City. There are three Lunar Research bases and there have been several Moon-Landings by different nations. The moon is treated much like Our World’s Antarctica. Airships, descendants of dirigibles, are widespread. Though surpassed by planes for travel, they never phased out and continue to be employed for leisure in a style similar to cruise-liners, as well as for cargo transport and other things.Tanks (Landships in This World) progressed differently but culminated to end up largely the same as Our World, only from a different origin point. This World has bionic hands for amputees, controlled by brain signals, self-driving cars are a norm (though not the majority for personal use just yet) and make up most train cargo and truck transports, nanotechnology is used in computers resulting in a blazingly fast internet and the internet is far more widespread across the globe, drones constitute about 40% of deliveries, electric vehicles are the majority as is renewable energy, though still not quite a massive majority on the power end of things, evens so – solar energy is very widespread and nearly majority by a bit, bio-printing exists with arteries available, and more complex organs like hearts and livers.
The reason for this minor technological boom in This World is manifold. In the Roman sphere there was no Renaissance, rather there was a consistent built up, largely unbroken from antiquity and so no need for it. This faced some dips long its history, particularly during the loss of territory to the Barbarian Invasions, during the reconquest of said lands, and during the Black Plague. The Romans otherwise do not lose their emphasis on the beauty and movement of the body in sculpture. Painting and freestanding sculpture do not gradually fall from favor in the artistic community and are not replaced by interests in mosaics, architecture, and relief sculpture (note this does happen in the Eastern Roman realm, or Greek Empire). The Greek texts, science, philosophy, and ideas were never lost to them and the Latin never submerged beneath piety. This gives the Medieval Roman’s in This World an art and architecture closer antiquity without the so called Dark Ages. Imperial and later Republican money and unity contribute immensely to these endeavors.
Trade links that grew in the 1300s also aided global growth. Roman connections to Hesperia (Our World’s North America) and west Libia (Our world’s west Africa), Chinese growth into east Libian (East African) markets, making the Western Ocean's regional integration and increase in international circulation of people, ideas, and goods. It also provided a platform for cosmopolitan discourses. For the first time in its history, the maritime region from China to Africa was under the dominance of a single imperial power and thereby allowed for the creation of a cosmopolitan space. Aiding this growth is the internal and earlier development of Bakitara, a state in east Africa that becomes a power of its own. Rome would play this role on the other side of Africa and across the Atlantic. The general lack of open conflict (no dynastic wars between England and France, invasion of France into Italy, no regional power struggles) due to more cohesion in western Europe aids this growth. China nor Japan close themselves off, shutting off ports (Japan only a bit), and no missionary threat arrives to give them an extra cause (though the causes in Our World were manifest certainly). The Sino-Roman linking and trade post established on the Cape of Good Hope solidifies this global growth exponentially.
The world is cleaner and greener, connected earlier and therefore longer, gender equality is more widespread as is general stability, technology is about 15 years ahead. That said, the world is not utopian: it is full of prejudice, conflict, and lingering doubt.
So, What's Different?
Here I will give a quick list to show some difference throughout history.
The New World - The New World in this alternative timeline consists of the two continents Hesperia and Antillia (North America and South America). The inhabitants have a different experience. Due to a large movement to 'Vinland' via the excessive and extensive Scandian Wars (civil wars in Scandinavia in This World) there is a much larger movement. The Norse who make it to this new land are never enough to 'take it all' and they never intend to - the idea is far too insane sounding a task. They essentially remain largely on the island Our World calls Newfoundland and trade furs to Europe. Folks in the Old World are aware of them but they don't think much of the land they are on - cold woodland as far as the eye can see is assumed to be most of it. Ultimately the rest of Hesperia is opened up, quite a bit more up-to-date in technology when it does. Steel is used, cities are built up, walls of stone are present. The level of technology of This World's 1400s AD is comparable to the 1400s AD Sami or perhaps Mali or perhaps medieval Ethiopia - they use steel lamellar armor, weapons, stone castles. Essentially they are comparable to their Vinlandic neighbors - 'behind' Europe or Asia but not as lagging in terms of war-tech as Our World. Disease also came about via the Norse, in milder doses across 400 years before the other Europeans arrive on the scene. This trickles south but doesn't quite make it beyond the Isthmus of Panama and never reaches the islands of the Caribbean. Ergo those folks suffer mightily still in the realm of disease. The Rocky Mountains give another barrier to disease, which will impact the people of "Western Hesperia" once the later Europeans do arrive.
The global situation today is one largely of peace and prosperity, though there are numerous cracks in this facade. The world can largely be divided into three camps: GOLA, CENTA, and SECAL. Numerous smaller alliances exist, such as one involving exclusively Muslim states. For the most part the world is divided between the three aforementioned alliances however. The leading neutral nations, widely respected, are Frisia, Bakitara,, Tavantinsa, and Korea; these neutrals each hold a League of Peace HQ due to their status.
The Global League Alliance (GOLA), nicknamed the Sunshine Alliance, the Shanghai Pact, and the Five Policemen (referring to the five founding members Romania, Sina, Cambria, Benin, and Ganonsia and the perceived global-policing of the pact). GOLA is considered to be the most prominent global alliance and is certainly the largest and most influential.
GOLA members are Romania, Sina, Cambria, Benin, Oyo, Francia, Syria, Morea, Hibernia, Wendia, Wallachia, Lombardia, Dalmatia, Vinland, Renapia, Ganonsia, Scralia, Ojivegia, Japan, Lakota, Mauritania, Andalusia, Carnatia, Goa, Cerola, Bengal, Mali, Grecia, Egypt, Makuria, Majapahit
The Central Treaty Alliance (CENTA), also known as the Sunset Alliance and the Baghdad Pact. Devised as a counter to GOLA, this alliance is seen as the counterbalance to GOLA world-control by some and by others as a foil to GOLA's work towards a more connected world.
CENTA members are Persia, Judea, Meshico, Tsalagia, India, Alania, Mongolia, Arabia, Comancheria, Cambosia, Vietdai
The Security and Cooperation Alliance (SECAL), also known as the Third Way or the Nidaros Pact. SECAL rose out of antagonism towards the push-and-pull of GOLA and CENTA, who in some nations eyes treated the world like a toy to be fought over.
SECAL members are Scandia, Armenia, Finnia, Ruthenia
The Global Great Power Council (GGPC) is an international intergovernmental organization consisting of the twenty-three largest advanced economies in the world - the 26 states considered Great Powers. This organization is an additional global machine which essentially determines the course of the world and its politics.
The Great Powers are: Romania, Cambria, Francia, Wendia, Grecia, Sina, Japan, Bengal, Majapahit, Siam, Tataria, Armenia, Korea, India, Persia, Ganonsia, Tsalagia, Comancheria, Anian, Meshico, Mali, Egypt, Bakitara, Congo, Benin, and Tavantinsa
Of these 26 Great Powers there are ten considered World Powers - the dominant states in the world, the most powerful economically, politically, culturally, and militarily: Romania, Cambria, Tataria, Persia, Sina, Japan, Bakitara, Benin, Ganonsia, and Meshico. Meanwhile some consider an 11th power in Egypt.
The League of Peace (LoP) is an intergovernmental organization responsible for maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among all nations, achieving international cooperation, and being a center for harmonizing the actions of nations. It is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world - though that power is frequently tested and found wanting. The LoP is headquartered on international territory in London, Cambria; other main offices are in Milan (Romania), Sofala (Bakitara), Seoul (Korea), Auerk (Frisia), and Qosqo (Tavantinsa).
Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Europe, in particular ancient Greece and ancient Rome, was the birthplace of Septentrional Culture.The splintering of the Roman Empire into two permanent halves in AUC 1375 marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Postclassical Era from. Humanism, exploration, art and science led to the modern era, born largely from within Romania. Since the Age of Exploration started by Romania, Europe played one of the predominant roles in global affairs.
Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. Sina and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from AUC 750 to 2550. Sina was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, and for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce and exploration. The Silk Road became the main east–west trading route in the Asian hinterlands while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route, The Spice Current, terminating in Melinde in Libia. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism as well as robust population growth during the Modern Era. Asia was the birthplace of many of the world's mainstream religions including Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, as well as many other religions.
Libia is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent; it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Eritrean Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Malagasy and various archipelagos. Libia is considered by most paleoanthropologists to be the oldest inhabited territory on Earth, with the human species originating from the continent. Anthropologists discovered many fossils and evidence of human occupation perhaps as early as 7 million years ago and Libia is therefore deemed the womb of humanity. The historical record opens in Northern Libia with the rise of literacy in the Pharaonic civilization of Ancient Egypt. One of the world's earliest and longest-lasting civilizations, the Egyptian state continued, with varying levels of influence over other areas. Libia possessed perhaps as many as 10,000 different states and polities characterized by many different sorts of political organization and rule. These included small family groups of hunter-gatherers such as the San people of southern Libia; the city-bound kingdoms of the Bantu-speaking peoples of central, southern, and eastern Libia; heavily structured clan groups in the Horn of Africa; the large Sahelian kingdoms; and autonomous city-states and kingdoms such as those of the Asante, Benin, and Oyo in West Libia; and the Swahili coastal trading towns of Southeast Libia. The Mali Empire, along with Bakitara, Benin, and others would consolidate these regions by the mid-2000s AUC and develop Libia into a trading and exploring powerhouse.
Hesperia is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Seric Ocean, and to the southeast by Antillia and the Altinean Sea. Hesperia was reached by its first human populations during the last glacial period, via crossing the Chukchi land bridge approximately 40,000 to 17,000 years ago. The Paleo-Hesperian period is taken to have lasted until about 10,000 years ago.
Antillia is a continent in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere. It is bordered on the west by the Seric Ocean and on the north and east by the Atlantic Ocean; North America and the Altinean Sea lie to the northwest.
The continent of Antipodea consists of the land masses which sit on Antipodea's continental plate. This includes mainland Antipodea, Trowenna, and the island and of Papua, which comprises Papua and Majapahit's easternmost territory. It is the smallest of the seven traditional continents. The continent includes a continental shelf overlain by shallow seas which divide it into several landmasses. When sea levels were lower during the Pleistocene ice age, including the Last Glacial Maximum, they were connected by dry land. During the past 10,000 years, rising sea levels overflowed the lowlands and separated the continent into today's low-lying arid to semi-arid mainland and the two mountainous islands of Papua and Trowenna. The Antipodean continent, being part of the Indo-Antipodean plate, is the lowest, flattest, and oldest landmass on Earth and it has had a relatively stable geological history. Aotearoa and the rest of Polynesia, as well as Melanesia, are considered part of the continent of Antipodea (though not the geological continent). Papua, a country within the continent, is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse countries in the world. It is also one of the most rural, as only 18 percent of its people live in urban centres. The mainland Antipodea has the world's 4th largest immigrant population. The first settlers of Antipodea, Papua, and the large islands just to the east arrived between 50,000 and 30,000 years ago.
Australia is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,200,000 square kilometres (5,500,000 square miles), it is the fifth-largest continent and nearly twice the size of Antipodea. At 0.00008 people per square kilometre, it is by far the least densely populated continent. About 98% of Australia is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km (1.2 mi; 6,200 ft) in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Australic Peninsula. Australia, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Most of Australia is a polar desert, yet 80% of the world freshwater reserves are stored there. The temperature in Australia has reached −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) (or even −94.7 °C (−135.8 °F), though the average for the third quarter (the coldest part of the year) is −63 °C (−81 °F). Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at research stations scattered across the continent. Australia is noted as the last region on Earth in recorded history to be discovered, unseen until 2570 when a Scandian expedition sighted the Fimbul ice shelf. The continent, however, remained largely neglected for the rest of the century because of its hostile environment, lack of easily accessible resources, and isolation. In 2646, the first confirmed landing was conducted by a team of Scandians. Australia is a de facto condominium, governed by parties to the Australic Treaty System that have consulting status - a similar situation as the Moon. The treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, supports scientific research, and protects the continent's ecozone. Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists from many nations.
Nations of Interest
- Roman Republic - Information and History of Romania
- Romans - People of Romania
- Romanian - Language of Romania
- Roman Symbols - Flags and Emblems of Romania
Romania is among the leading countries of the world and has long held the status of the preeminent power. A financial and cultural powerhouse and possessing what is considered the worlds most powerful army, as the foremost military power in the world, Romania retains a position of global influence. Romania is among the leaders in technological development and in higher learning, with a great degree of ability in space sciences, mathematics, computer sciences, neurosciences, and physics. One of the world's largest economies, Romania is a leading player on the global stage and is often thought of as the leading player, though despite this it is increasingly seen as a twilight-power, beginning to be eclipsed internationally as it slowly lags behind in many areas.
Traditional Rivals: Persia, Egypt, Armenia, Grecia, Tataria, Meshico
Traditional Allies: Sina, Cambria, Benin, Hibernia, Ganonsia, Taprovana, Morea
Cambria was world's first industrialised country and has remained among the world's foremost powers since the dawn of the Fifth Age. With considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally, Cambria is considered one of the world's most powerful states. Cambria is often considered to have the most powerful navy in the world (along with Sina) and has the most powerful airforce. It is the leading financial center of the world and Cambrian political philosophy has reigned supreme across the world for centuries, with mercantilism's home often considered London. Cambria is also the leader in higher learning globally with its Universities the most sought after internationally. Cambria is believed to be the nation whom Romania has involuntarily passed the torch as World Leader next to Sina. The Cambro-Roman friendship is therefore both tight as well as rival-esque.
The Wendish state is a great power with a strong economy. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's fourth-largest exporter and importer of goods. As a highly developed country with a very high standard of living, it upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection, and a tuition-free university education. Wendia has continuously been the home of influential and successful artists, philosophers, writers, musicians, cinematographers, athletes, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, and inventors. Nicknamed the Phoenix Nation, Wendia has consistently risen up into a strong position after repeatedly falling throughout history. Having often been a foil on the European scene to the more traditional European powers, Wendia has forced itself onto the world stage as a prominent player.
The World Duo has long been the description of Sina and Romania, with Sina playing the role of the most powerful nation in the world alongside its longtime ally. Sina is therefore among the most powerful in all fields. It is particularly known as owning the most powerful naval force globally, being among the top educationally and technologically. Sina is an invention powerhouse and a manufacturing powerhouse - the world's leading. Made in Sina has earned a mark of respect for not only quality but quantity, an aspect found nowhere else. Among the most populous countries, Sina faces on-going population issues, but otherwise is among the most broadly powerful states and among the leading in clean-energy. Despite having held its position for a long time, Sina does not appear to be on the decline and, in fact, appears to be continuously rising. Theorists believe that Sina may alone develop into the first and, at least for the time, only World Superpower in the near future.
Traditional Rivals: Japan, Mongolia, Tataria
Traditional Allies: Romania, Bengal, Bakitara
Persia has long been an oil powerhouse, the leading producer and exporter of the substance and subsequently quite rich. Persia has high standards of living and civil rights in the green as well. A center for technology, Persia is specifically proficient in robotics, aerospace, and biomedical sciences as the top ranker in all three. Scrutinized for its political system known as Interventionism, Persia has a penchant for favoring government intervention in market processes to impact the economy and in the political sphere to prevent dissension. This has led to a two-party system in Persia that many abroad argue is a single-party split into two factions. Despite these accusations, Persia has retained a high degree of political autonomy internally and the rights of Persians are on par with much of the developed world. Persia and Romania are long-standing rivals and many global actions by each are sometimes seen as attempted foils against one another, to the potential detriment of global cooperation.
Japan is considered a great power and holds significant sway in Northeast Asia and Northwest Hesperia. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity. It is also the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan benefits from a highly skilled and educated workforce; it has among the world's largest proportion of citizens holding a tertiary education degree. Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, it ranks as the world's fourth-most powerful military. A highly developed country with a very high standard of living and Human Development Index, its population enjoys one of the highest life expectancy and the third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, but is experiencing issues due to an aging population and low birthrate. Previous centuries witnessed repeated Japanese attempts at global expansion, though after failed conflicts the realm has joined the international community and retains its sphere of influence in the Northern Pacific region.
Bakitara is a technology powerhouse, one of the most advanced in the world, and the leader in microchip production and medical sciences. Bakitara is among the leaders in in aeronautics and aircraft manufacture. The economic framework of the country is decentralized and self-managed in autonomous economic units; public services such as healthcare and education are collectively owned. A universal public health system paid largely from taxation, the entire population has equal access to health care services and one of the highest life expectancy rates globally. Bakitara has among the highest standards of living globally and is considered the bastion of liberty and is often found as a champion of human rights internationally. Consistently ranked as among the least corrupt states and the happiest, Bakitara has a remarkable standard of living. The country has largely avoided international conflict, being semi-isolationist, and touchy alliances though remains a player on the international stage, particularly for human rights. The nation has one of the highest literacy rates on the planet and among the top education institutions with an eleven year free, compulsory cycle of primary and secondary education.
Conflicts of Note
Early Modern Wars
Religions of Note
For more detail see Hellenism (Terra Cognita)
Hellenism belongs to the religious branch called Gentilism.
Believers of Hellenism are known as Hellenes. It is the predominant religion in Romania, Cambria, Hibernia, Francia, Africa, Sicilia, Morea, Acolua, Goa, and Wallachia.
Hellenism is a reformed belief system from the polytheistic classical Graeco-Roman tradition. Hellenism is a polytheistic, substance monistic, monolatric, henotheistic and panentheistic religion, based on the teachings and writings of Flavius Iulianus, Iamblichus, Plato, Numa, Pythagoras and Sallustius among many others. Hellenism is largely philosophically backed by Iamblichean Platonism. Hellenism believes that the noblest ambition is to imitate the Gods by having the fewest possible needs and doing good to the greatest possible number.
Hellenism believes that the supra-essential principle is the One, the supreme and unknowable Godhead which manifested the Cosmos through the overflowing emanation of its superabundant goodness. The One is of a singular, unitary nature and is totally transcendent, being beyond the quality of Being (Ousia)
Hellenism believes that below the One is a hierarchical pantheon of Gods, who are lead by the three suns:The first sun is Aion, the One reflected in the Intelligible Realm which acts as its ruler. Aion gives rise to the quality of Being and can only be worshiped through silence. From Aion comes the Magna Mater, the Mother of the Gods, who births the following Intellective and creative Gods and co-reigns as both the mother and spouse of the second sun. The second sun is Zeus-Helios, who reigns as the King of the Gods, ruling over the Intellective Realm. He is the Celestial Demiurge, the creator God brings the superabundant goodness of the One into order through His shaping of the Phenomenal Cosmos through His Logos. The third sun is our own Visible Sun, the pneumatic vehicle of the Celestial Demiurge that we naturally reach out to when we pray towards the heavens.
Hellenism believes that under the Celestial Demiurge lies various realms with a variety of Gods residing in each, with the three Intelligible Realms divided by Zeus-Helios through the zodiac to create 12 divinities that rule the Hypercosmic Realm in the Phenomenal Cosmos, who are then divided by again to create 36 Deacons who rule the Encosmic Realm, who are then divided a final time to create 72 Hylic Gods in the Sub-Lunar Realm, a portion of the Encosmic Realm where we resides, which is ruled over by the Sub-Lunar Demiurge. Among these Gods are also a wide variety of guardian divinities of particular individuals and nations.
Hellenism believes that the human soul is immortal and a fallen divinity, and that salvation is attained through theurgic rites, ritual activity (such as prayer and sacrifice) which through imitation of the Gods aims to perfect oneself to achieve union with the divine, or henosis.
Hellenism believes in the reincarnation of humanity as continued by humanity and denies the reincarnation of humanity into beast, but only from human into human and on.
Principles in Hellenism:
- The Gods exist.
- The Gods concern themselves with things of this world.
- The Gods are responsible for all kinds of good and are responsible for no evil or injury, neither to humankind nor one another, being without jealousy, envy or enmity.
- Upon death reincarnation of the soul is directed by the Gods into successive bodies to fulfill divine order.
- Humans can only reincarnate as humans
- Gods refuse the sacrifices of those who approach Them with "unwashed hands" (without ritual purity)
- Preoccupation with Castitas and Pollutio is a significant feature of Hellenism
- Castitas (ritual purity) is essential for every human being to maintain, especially during worship, as otherwise all of their spiritual work is fruitless
- Pollutio or Miasma is a spiritual pollution or lingering aura of uncleanliness
- Miasma results from transgressions against the Natural Law
- Natural Law is disturbed or diverged, we weaken our own receptiveness to the benevolent light of the Gods
- Sacrifice brings us into henosis, or union with the divine, and rids us of Pollutio
- Prayer, sacrifice, and virtue lead us back to the light of the Gods
- Virtue comes from good works and good deeds, such as charity and kindness
Zoroastrianism belongs to the religious branch called Aryanism
Believers of Zoroastrianism are known as Zoroastrians. It is the predominant religion in Persia, Kurdistan, Zazaistan, Alania, Avaria, Circasia, Tsetsenia, Nogaia, and Albania.
Zoroastrianism is one of the world's oldest continuously practiced religions. It is a heterodox yet orthopraxic faith centered in a dualistic cosmology of good and evil and an eschatology predicting the ultimate conquest of evil with theological elements of henotheism, monotheism/monism, and polytheism. Ascribed to the teachings of the Iranian-speaking spiritual leader Zoroaster, it exalts an uncreated and benevolent deity of wisdom, Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), as its supreme being.
The most important texts of the religion are those of the Avesta, which includes as central the writings of Zoroaster known as the Gathas, enigmatic ritual poems that define the religion's precepts, which is within Yasna, the main worship service of modern Zoroastrianism. Zoroaster proclaimed that Ahura Mazda was the supreme creator, the creative and sustaining force of the universe through Asha, and that human beings are given a right of choice between supporting Ahura Mazda or not, making them responsible for their choices. Though Ahura Mazda has no equal contesting force, Angra Mainu (destructive spirit/mentality) is considered the main adversarial force of the religion standing against Spenta Mainyu (creative spirit/mentality), whose forces are born from Aka Manah (evil thought).
Asha (truth, cosmic order), the life force that originates from Ahura Mazda, stands in opposition to Druj (falsehood, deceit) and Ahura Mazda is considered to be all-good with no evil emanating from the deity. Ahura Mazda works in gētīg (the visible material realm) and mēnōg (the invisible spiritual and mental realm) through the seven (six when excluding Spenta Mainyu) Amesha Spentas (direct emanations of Ahura Mazda) and the host of other Yazatas (literally meaning "worthy of worship"), who all worship Ahura Mazda in the Avesta and other texts and who Ahura Mazda requests worship towards in the same texts.
In Zoroastrianism, the purpose in life is to become an Ashavan (a master of Asha) and to bring happiness into the world, which contributes to the cosmic battle against evil. Zoroastrianism's core teachings include but are not limited to:
- Follow the Threefold Path of Asha: Humata, Huxta, Huvarshta (Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds).
- Charity is a way of maintaining one's soul aligned to Asha and to spread happiness.
- The spiritual equality and duty of the genders.
- Being good for goodness' sake without hope of reward
- Ahura Mazda is the Supreme and Universal God, He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent
- Zoroaster is the prophet of Ahura Mazda
- The world is battle ground between good and evil forces; the good will ultimately triumph and the evil forces would be destroyed
- Death is as a result of the spirit leaving the body. The sanctity and purity of the body is lost once the spirit leaves it.
- Upon death the Spirit is led to the Chinawad bridge, where an angel assesses its actions and decides whether it should go to the heaven or hell for a temporary residence till the Last Judgment Day.
- At the end of current cycle of 3000 years, Ahura Mazda will destroy the evil forces in a final conflagration and herald the Judgment Day.
- On Judgment Day He will resurrect the dead and subject their lives to another scrutiny.
- Those pious and obedient to His instructions will obtain eternal life in heaven and the rest will be condemned to an eternal suffering in a purgatory.
- Yasnas (sacrificial rituals) are important observances and the best means to communicate with Ahura Mazda and His entities
ChristianismChristianism belongs to the religious branch called Abrahamism
Believers of Christianism, or Christianity, are known as Christians. It is the predominant religion in Syria, Grecia, Cappadocia, Armenia, Jorgania, Slavenia, Gepidia, Egypt, Makuria, Dalmatia, Lombardy, and a notable minority in Cerola
Christianism is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianism, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is principally found in southeastern Europe, northeastern Libia, and western Asia.
Christianism began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the late eighth century in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus' apostles and their followers spread around Syria, the Levant, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, and Ethiopia, despite initial persecution. It soon attracted gentile God-fearers, which led to a departure from Jewish customs, and, after the Fall of Jerusalem, AUC 823 which ended the Temple-based Judaism, Christianism as a religion began.
Emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianism (AUC 1065) and decriminalized it in the Roman Empire by the Edict of Milan, later convening the Council of Nicaea where Early Christianism was consolidated into what would become the State church of the Roman Empire until the reign of Julian the Philosopher. The Church of the East split after the Council of Ephesus and Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon (AUC 1204) over differences in Christology.
The creed holds the belief in Jesus as the Son of God — the logos incarnated — who ministered, suffered, and died on a cross, but rose from the dead for the salvation of mankind; as referred to as the gospel, meaning the "good news", in the Bible (scripture). Describing Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with the Jewish Old Testament as the gospel's respected background.
Its main points include:
- Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit
- Believers are saved by grace; Salvation cannot be earned by human efforts or good works
- Those who reject Jesus Christ will go to hell forever after they die until the Day of Judgment
- All people have sinned
- The Bible as the Word of God
- The Bible in its original manuscripts is without error
- Jesus is the only way to God the Father
- Worship no other God but God. Do not make images to worship.
- The death, descent into hell, resurrection and ascension of Christ
- The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints
- Love God with all your heart, soul and mind.
- Satan is the antagonist of God; Hell is a place of punishment ruled by Satan
- Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful
- Christians will be raised from the dead when Jesus returns
- God is infinite and eternal. He has always been and will ever be God
Islam belongs to the religious branch called Abrahamism
Judaism belongs to the religious branch called Abrahamism
belongs to the religious branch called Aryanism
Buddhism belongs to the religious branch called Dharmism
Hinduism belongs to the religious branch called Dharmism
Shintoism belongs to the religious branch called Taoism
Shenism belongs to the religious branch called Taoism
Vodunism belongs to the religious branch called Mulungism
Heathenism belongs to the religious branch called Gentilism.
Vedism belongs to the religious branch called Gentilism.
Gaihwism belongs to the religious branch called Manitism
Lalawithism belongs to the religious branch called Manitism
Believers of Lalawithism are known as Lalathins. It is the predominant religion in Hasina and Osajia and has a minority of adherents across central Hesperia.
Lalathins believe that Aasha Moneto, the Lord Above, or Master of Life, Good Spirit, is the supreme and only God. Xinesi, the priests of the religion, commune with the Lord Above and direct much of society. Priests drink a purifying sacrament made of wild olive leaves. The belief holds a largely conservative world-view and sees European and the northeastern Hesperian traditions as 'great evils', forces for the Evil Spirit. Alcohol is forbidden among other 'Eastern Morals'. The belief in an apocalyptic end of the world where the Evil Spirit and his followers will be destroyed is a pinnacle belief of the religion.
The religion was founded in the late 2453 in Shaouenia by Lalawethika and developed a strong following in Central Hesperia.
Lalawethika had a series of religious visions that transformed his life and led him to reject his old ways. He experienced his first vision when he fell into unconsciousness during one of his alcoholic stupors and was thought to be dead. Unexpectedly reviving as his body was being prepared for burial, he recounted a powerful vision of two different worlds, one filled with ample blessings for the virtuous ones who lived as the Master of Life intended, while the other world was filled with pain, hardship, and terror for those who refused to follow His ways.
Lalawethika became known as "The Prophet," began preaching and gathered a growing number of followers. He soon emerged as a powerful and influential spiritual leader. More visions followed in succeeding months, including revelations that the Europeans from the east were "the children of the Evil Spirit" and the Ganonsians in league with the Evil Spirit. Lalawethika denounced the Roman traders and influencers and decreed that Gaihwism was bad for the soul.
The Prophet's developing purification movement caused him to urge his followers to reject European habits, such as consumption of alcohol. Lalawethika also encouraged his people to follow traditional gender roles (such as women as farmers, men as hunters and warriors). He accused his detractors, and anyone who associated with the Romans, of witchcraft, and virtually the entire nation of Ganonsia as well. For Lalawethika, witches remained the most active agents of the evil spirits on earth, and he sought to identify and destroy them, culminating in the Great Hesperian Witch Trials.
Lalawithism would diminish in Shaouenia after a failed war with Ganonsia saw The Prophet perish and Shaouenia's hopes for territorial regain from Ganonsia withered. The religion would find a following in Iowe and Illiniwe as well as creeping into Comancheria. Lalawithism would prove to have no staying power in those Hesperian states however, save for minority status. It was in Hasina and Osajia that the belief found root and it would come to dominate those nations to this day.
Lalawithism has today decidedly moved from its Shaouenian origins and taken much of its flavor from Hasina and Osajia, linguistically especially.
The belief holds that for a true believer to gain the virtuous life as a Spirit they much shun the ways of the Evil Spirit. The teachings of The Prophet are paramount: Alcohol must never be consumed, the wisdom of the Xinesi must be heeded, traditional gender roles must be adhered to. European ways must be shunned - much of "modern society" is part of this and it is expected that a true believer will shun popular music and culture, as it stems largely from those societies guided by the Evil Spirit. The family and community must be taken care of and one is expected to live a virtuous life.
It is believed that when the world was created Aasha Moneto gave the world to the Hesperian peoples and that the Shaouenian in particular were the first of the First People. Other peoples came into being by Modchi Moneto's machinations.
Its main points include:
- Aasha Moneto, the Lord Above, is the only God and the savior of the world
- Lalawethika is Aasha Moneto's Prophet and Messenger, contacted by the Lord Above to save the Chosen People, the Hesperians, from damnation by the Evil Spirit
- Those who reject The Prophet's message will spend eternity in a world filled with pain, hardship, and terror
- Those who accept the Prophet's message will spend eternity in a world filled with ample blessings and bliss
- The Prophet's words are the words of Aasha Moneto
- Modchi Moneto is the Evil Spirit, intent on corrupting the Chosen People and damning them for eternity
- Modchi Moneto is aided by the corrupting forces of The East
- Lalawethika will return with Aasha Moneto to banish the Evil Spirit and the world will be destroyed, made again as an blissful world for the Chosen People.
(This is an excerpt of this Alternate Timeline's history, focusing on the most overt initial Point-of-Divergence - 363 CE to 373 CE. This highlights the victory of Julian in Persia and his death in Armenia. More detailed history can be gleaned from the many pages within Terra Cognita.)
The provided information is composed of excerpts from historian and author Arthyen Columan’s following books: Himnu Ad Roma: A History of Romania; A Concise History of Romania; Pirate Kings; Cup of Solid Gold: A History of Sina; Libia: Womb of the World. Additional excerpts from historian Eledh Eseld Nanscoll’s following works: Looking East, A Brief History of Asia; Looking West, A Brief History of Hesperia; Looking North, A Brief History of Europe; Looking South, A Brief History of Libia; Kingdom of Light: A History of Bakitara.
Translations from the original Cambrian provided by me, with excerpts arranged chronologically and highlighted on events that will interest the reader due to counter factual events.
A note on translation, transliteration, and the non-existence of English: English is a non-existent language in this world, this dimension, this universe. The Angles, though invading Britannia with the Saxons, Frisians, and Jutes were only half successful. Ultimately, the invading Germanic were defeated by a Romano-Briton coalition reinforced by Syagrius and a mass of refugees from the continent. Though allowed to settle along the eastern portion of Britannia, their power was broken and they never came to dominate. Instead, a dialect of the Britons from the southwest corner of the island came to be the lingua-franca of what is called Cambria. The two primary sources I use to explore, explain, and translate from are Cambrian and Roman. I will subsequently use the best English-language equivalent for names and locations when available or develop one that seems like the most plausible English-language version when such a thing does not exist in parallel from our universe.
I have chosen to begin our study of history at what, in this alternate world, is considered to be the Late Second Era, also known as the Late Classical Era. My choice is based on items of importance to counterfactual readers and so our travels begin here. This period, though perhaps a great many little things predated it that edged this world in this direction or that, it appears to me is important in that the victory of Julian in Persia heralded a large divergence from our own timeline.
So it is here that I will place excerpts from Mr. Columan's books and Ms. Nanscoll's as well, translated from Cambrian into our world's English.
Julian the Philosopher
☀Julian has long been held in a great dichotomous view: on high in the Hellene West as a genius and one of the greatest emperors produced by Rome. In the Christian East, a villain and the original source of the splintering of a once mighty Empire (though perhaps ironically an empire despised by many of these same writers as imperial Latin oppression). Our world view, supported by the distance of time and an increase in secular thought, has allowed us a more nuanced view of Julian the Philosopher, less tethered by Christian antipathy or Hellene laurels.
We could examine the more positive fulcrum of Julian’s success. This route, however, has been gone down in the West, the Hellene world, since the Emperor first rose to power. It therefore seems a fairly redundant avenue to travel. I will say that I am not against Julian the Philosopher and that my intent is not to be controversial and swim against the accepted current of history, rather I prefer to see him as the complex character from the past that he was, just like all of the other rulers of all of the realms of the world. I will certainly and without qualms say that Julian is to be ranked among the top rulers of the Roman Empire, though I will not venture to rank him in the top three as has so often been done in the west. He had faults but he was also stocked full of positives. Julian’s revenue reforms were an undeniable boon to Romania and his tax system aided to realm from his time onward. His martial prowess and successes are laudable and undeniable as well. One can also delve into him as a thinking man and the examine his immense popularity, during his life and after, to the Romans.
Julian was, however, with many faults which we heirs of the West may highlight through this new understanding of history. His reformation of the old Greco-Roman tradition into an organized Henotheist religion, Hellenism, might be, with just reasoning, a principal source of the undoing of the Roman Empire and what would lead to a rift between West and East that became permanent. With whimsy, we can speculate that had Julian perhaps embraced Christianity the whole of the Roman realm, from Hispania to Anatolia, may have remained intact to this very day. Christianity is estimated to have constituted approximately 10% of the populace of the Roman Empire by AUC 1053, with a bulk located in the Eastern and southern parts of the empire. The growth in numbers, however, was significant and these numbers coupled with the overt influence the religion had on the Hellenistic Reformation and the ultimate dominance of Christianity in the east suggest a plausible scenario of being fully embraced in the West. It may seem fancy to say that now and we do know that Hellenism, or rather the old Hellene Traditional belief, was still prevalent in the Western Roman world which makes it seem inevitable that Christianity would never truly take hold there. But I believe, and history suggests, that Christianity was taking hold regardless and, without Julian’s interference, may have spread just as it had in the east. The rift caused from the fallout of the Hellenic reformation also planted the seeds of the endless-to-come Wars of Religion with all the myriad zealotry and carnage wrought by all sides that would not only include the Hellenes and Christians, but Zoroastrians, Muslims, Jews, Manichaeans, and others. Additionally, Julian seemed to tilt from popular to mockery throughout his reign, despite rose-colored reviews from later generations of the inhabitants of Romania - likely colored so by the successive eyes of devout Hellenes as that religion solidified and dominated. His successor, Procopius, wisely removed animal sacrifice from the reformed Hellenism, a practice Julian favored but which was outdated and viewed unfavorably by most Romans; rightly called an ‘animal holocaust’ by historian Elestren Marghek. It is through glimpses such as this that we might rightly see Julian as human and fallible with his success sometimes teetering on a precipice of disaster or success – the latter of which he ultimately fell into. History is nothing if not chance and whimsy!
- The Roman-Sassanian War
The battle beneath Ctesiphon did not end as decisively for the Romans as had the previous engagement. The losses to both sides were stunning and, after the dust had settled, Shapur II lay dead at the hands of Julian himself, so recorded history from the victors claim. The death of the King of Kings compelled the Persian city to open its gates to the new Roman conqueror and by days end Julian had gained the city and the honorific of Parthicus. Ctesiphon’s resistance had fallen.
The Romans installed Hormisdas, exiled brother-in-law of Shapur, as the new Persian King and annexed all the land west of the Tigris to, and including, Armenia (previously a joint venture between the Romans and Persians, now fully Roman), Ardhania, and Hiberia – all now Roman Provinces.Julian became the first, and last, Roman emperor to sail the Persian Gulf as the Roman’s mopped up the last resistance led by Ardashir II, self-proclaimed King of Kings and rival to the Roman appointed Hormisdas. Ardashir’s death in the Autumn of AUC 1116, at the hands of his own Persian nobles, ended the campaign on a whimper though decidedly.
Trouble brewed for Julian on his return home. The population of Antioch, which had ridiculed the emperor on his journey east to fight Shapur, followed up with more and amplified protests on Julian’s return. Julian had left the city with as a broken relationship, in no small words declaring that, aside from his return journey westward, he would never visit the city again. The royal break with Antioch had a devastating impact on the psyche of the city and loomed with potential economic fallout. His victory in the east had done little to impress the citizens of this ancient city who, perhaps justly, felt that their religion was under attack by the emperor. Julian would hold to his promise and strip Antioch of its regional capital status, replacing it with his beloved Tarsus, a city noted for its Greco-Roman religious adherence. It would take not be until the splintering of the Empire into two that Antioch would regain that status and the subsequent financial boon that goes with. The divorce between Emperor and City was painful.
- The Armenian Revolt
Julian was forced to change direction after the Alamannic campaigns were wrapped up. In 1125, the rebellion of Papas of Armenia, self-proclaimed King of Armenia, broke out in the eastern provinces. This rebellion was driven by the continued religious unrest among the Eastern Romans. Julian pursued Papas through Armenia, eventually besieging him in a fortress in Van. Unbeknownst to Julian, Papas was fleeing to rendezvous with the remainder of his army. The Romans and Armenians engaged in a massive battle on 10 July 1126. The battle lasted days, but in the end, the Romans were worn down to nothing and Julian was killed by a spear thrust from a heavily armored horseman, who lost his head as a result via one of Julian's bodyguards. The emperor-killer was thus to remain unknown, dead on the battlefield for his heroics. Julian’s body was hurried back to camp where he waxed about poetry and officially announced Procopius as his successor - Julian had spent the years since his return from Persia grooming his cousin for just such a purpose, despite the emperor’s self-declared disdain for nepotism. Julian was given a full state funeral in Rome and buried in Athens. His death, like his life, divided the empire. The West mourned while the East celebrated and prepared.☀