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Topic Subject:The Alternate History Thread
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Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 14 February 2013 16:44 EDT (US)         
Ok, so i was thinking the other day about the many what-if? moments in history, and realised we dont have a thread for one. So to get the ball rolling, i will ask a question that is a popular one in alternate history.

What would have been the consequences of Rome not being sucked into the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, and maintaining a hold over Germany? Would the area have been Romanized after a time? Would it be impossible to hold the area? Could the Empire lasted longer or collapsed earlier?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
AuthorReplies:
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 26 April 2013 20:22 EDT (US)     76 / 142       
Ok, so now that that discussion has ceased(sorry for double post) how about we start a new one, but still Punic war themed.

How would the Punic war have been different if Scipio was not allowed to host an invasion of Africa, but was instead forced to confront Hannibal in Italy at the Senate's urging? Would he still have won, or would Hannibal have used the urging of the senate on Scipio against him and forced Scipio to fight in on a battle field of his own choosing?
(By scipio, i mean Africanus)

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
Warlod Redvig
Legionary
posted 27 April 2013 04:00 EDT (US)     77 / 142       
From what I have seen about the Punic Wars {Which is considerably less than most here :P} then it would all lie on who chose the battlefield

Hannibal had a far superior army in terms of numbers in Zama but Scipio claimed the better ground and was more in control that Hannibal

If Hannibal had the chance to choose ground against a Italy based Scipio then personally I believe that Hannibal would of pulled through. The combination of his sheer skill at using the terrain and a veteran army which he had led for years would of, perhaps not as crushingly as Trebia or Lake Tras' (The name of the other one escapes me :/) pulled through

But then again Africanus was talented himself, and wasnt as much of a noob to war as previous consuls. I suppose it would all come down to the battlefield itself

It is pleasant, when the sea is high and the winds are dashing the waves about, to watch from the shores the struggles of another - Lucretius
ShieldWall
Legionary
posted 28 April 2013 03:34 EDT (US)     78 / 142       
My understanding is that Hannibal's army at Zama was very inexperienced apart from a reserve of some of his Italian veterans, so although his isolated army was getting progressively weaker in Italy and the Romans were getting ever stronger I think he'd have stood a better chance there.

His only hope at Zama was his elephants causing a level of mayhem which he could exploit, and they did, but to his army not the Romans. Scipio was a different proposition though as he was effectively a student of Hannibal's and so was unlikely to fall into the same traps and could also spring some surprises of his own. If there had have been a battle between them in Italy and Scipio had lost, I don't think it would have changed much as Rome was only desperate for manpower after Cannae and so one destroyed army could be replaced. The same wasn't true for Hannibal though, one defeat and it would be over.
Punic Hebil
Centurion
(id: Punic Hoplite)
posted 28 April 2013 15:02 EDT (US)     79 / 142       
At Zama, Hannibal was hamstrung by having essentially 3 armies, all of different levels of proficiency. Carthaginian armies, due to the motley nature of the men that made them, needed time to become a good, cohesive force. If Hannibal would have met Scipio in Italy vs in Africa, I am confident Hannibal would have won. As I said on the other topic, Scipio wasn't stupid and wouldn't get himself in a situation where disaster was certain, but I am confident a battle would've taken place, and Scipio would've been defeated, but not spectacularly.

The differences between what Scipio had in Africa compared to what he most likely would've had in Italy comes down to cavalry. There wouldn't be any Numidians in Scipio's army to help counteract Hannibal's mastery of the cavalry fight, and at Zama that was really what tipped the battle in Rome's favor, the return of the cavalry and their charging into the Punic lines. Take away that charge, make it against the Romans, and the outcome might've been different. It must be remembered that when Hannibal's veterans went to blows with the Romans, the battle could've went either way, according to Polybius I believe.

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 05 May 2013 07:59 EDT (US)     80 / 142       
Ok then, so since that has Stagnated, another topic:

What if CLaudius' invasion of Britannia had failed? The landing troops had been forced into battle 2 days after landing and wiped out by superior numbers. Could ther have been another invasion to get pride back? Or would the romans have taken it as a sign and left Britain alone?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
ShieldWall
Legionary
posted 05 May 2013 12:28 EDT (US)     81 / 142       
The Romans were fond of reprisal missions so I'd imagine there would have been some sort of consequence for a defeat, but as the reasons for the invasion of Britain in the first place were somewhat thin I'm not so sure that they would have bothered trying again. This would make their response similar to that after their defeat to the Germans under Arminius - reprisals with a bit of devastation, but basically we're stopping west of the Rhine from now on. There was some wealth to be had in Britain, but perhaps not enough to justify the effort.
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 06 May 2013 02:40 EDT (US)     82 / 142       
Didn't Western Britain have like 10% of the known world's tin production at the time?

That alone would make it worthwhile.

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ShieldWall
Legionary
posted 06 May 2013 03:32 EDT (US)     83 / 142       
In that case an invasion of Cornwall would probably be all that was required. There were such metals available, but they could be obtained through trade.
markdienekes
Legionary
posted 11 May 2013 06:28 EDT (US)     84 / 142       
I have to disagree with Lazenby on this. While Rome certainly could've raised fresh forces in the form of an emergency conscription and slave soldiers, these men would only have several weeks training at most be and completely untested in battle. The Macedonian Wars, Seleucid War, and the civil war between Caesar and Pompey all highlight the significant advantage that experienced and hardened troops have over freshly trained or quickly raised soldiers. Numbers can only give so much of a psychological advantage, and it isn't beyond reason that thousands of unseasoned slaves and Roman citizens would break quickly after witnessing Hannibal's Gauls, Iberians and Libyans cut down hundreds of their comrades in the front ranks.
Great discussion guys, just wanted to answer a few points raised by Dominicus.

Here, they wouldn't engage Hannibal in open battle, the raised forces would stand no chance, but behind defensive walls, they could put up a much better fight.

The forces that would be raised or returned to defend the city (from Sardinia, Sicily, and Spain) wouldn't need to engage Hannibal in a pitched battle, they could harass his supply lines and simply starve his army.

Hannibal's choice to consolidate his army and position in Italy probably seemed like a good idea at the time, and I generally agree with it!
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 22 May 2013 02:21 EDT (US)     85 / 142       
Ok, here is another one to revive the thread:

What if Xerxes wasnt assasinated? WOuld could have been the possible outcomes for the Persian Empire? Hopefully people know about this, other wise i will pose a different one in a couple days

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
Alex_the_Bold
Legionary
posted 22 May 2013 10:23 EDT (US)     86 / 142       
Well, Xerxes I of the Achaemenid empire was 84 years old when he was assassinated, so I don't think it made much of a difference...

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 22 May 2013 16:14 EDT (US)     87 / 142       
Umm, i believe you mean he was 53 years old when he died( born 518, died 465). In ancient terms, that is a decent age and still campaign-able.
He was outseted by a Harem plot, most likely with Artaxerxes I as the man responsible. By this time however, Xerxes had his failed campaigns in Greece, lost the Ionian Coast, BUT had incorperated new lands in the east into the empire. Could he have added more lands?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 22 May 2013 17:35 EDT (US)     88 / 142       
I agree with AE regarding Xerxes I's age. I think Alex might've mistaken Xerxes I with a different king of the same name.

With regards to the main question, I think Xerxes would've conducted a purge of the royal court and the royal harem if he survived the attempt on his life. After that, he probably would've started a campaign to suppress the Ionian Greeks who had become emboldened after his failure to conquer Greece.

The Persian Empire itself was large and unwieldy enough as it was. Trying to add more lands beyond the Aegean or the Indus would've been dangerous (and disastrous in the case of the former), and deprived the empire of troops needed to maintain the empire's security and stamp out any rebellions in the more unstable areas of the empire like Egypt and western Anatolia. A successful punitive expedition against the Scythians or distant Indians might've been good enough to erase, or at the very least diminish, Xerxes' failure in Greece but a campaign of conquest would've taken time, resources and soldiers that could be put to better use elsewhere.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
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Alex_the_Bold
Legionary
posted 23 May 2013 02:25 EDT (US)     89 / 142       
Sorry guys, wrong dates...

As for Xerxes, he tried to check the success of the Delian League but was crushed at Eurymedon. So he probably had limited resources...

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
QuintusMarcellus
Legionary
posted 24 May 2013 04:04 EDT (US)     90 / 142       
Ok how about this: what if Flavius Aetius lost the battle of the Cataulonian plains? Would Attila have had the strength to continue devastating Gaul and Italy?
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 29 May 2013 19:17 EDT (US)     91 / 142       
Perhaps that question was a bit late for some?

After a cursory reading, i am not sure. Attilia would have taken high casualties in the battle, but then again, Flavius' army was one of the only available, and once defeated, would have opened Gaul to plunder. Weather or not Attilia would have moved on to Italy later is another question...

Here is another one:

What could have been the consequeces of a Roman revival in 450? Say an army or two with some great leaders were found,pushed back the barbarians, solidified the Empire, re-occupied britian, Settled barbarians peacefully in the de-populated areas in exhange for tribute and troops. What could have been the possible consequences?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
Punic Hebil
Centurion
(id: Punic Hoplite)
posted 29 May 2013 23:11 EDT (US)     92 / 142       
It only would've prolonged the Western Empire. By then it was in need of major reform, and even then the weakness of provincial emperor making was still there. Perhaps if they changed to mirror the Eastern court in how they did things, and then somehow managed to revive their economy. I don't think it would've done any good besides make it last slightly longer.

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 29 May 2013 23:21 EDT (US)     93 / 142       
This era would be good for a map game..

So without major reforms, it wouldnt have lasted. By then as well, most of the weath had been drained from the west through repeated invasions. Another source of money/ economy back on its feet would be needed as well. it really was a sad time for the Roman Empire, if it can be called Roman that is. Pretty much all soldiers were Germanic, and Auxiliaries in the form of Barbarians were also present. Would a re-militarization of the italian populace, rather than just Germanic soldiers be a positive factor? To be roughly on par in terms of numbers?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
Punic Hebil
Centurion
(id: Punic Hoplite)
posted 30 May 2013 00:40 EDT (US)     94 / 142       
The thing is, it wasn't the Germans that brought down the empire. It was the constant infighting amongst the elite that brought it down, the guys calling the shots. Plus there were the laws proclaiming that whatever profession your father/mother was, the children had to follow that profession as well. Basically they tied the people to the land they were on. The economy stagnated, people actively tried to evade the tax collectors, hiring their own private armies because the state couldn't protect them. To fix the empire at that point is too late. The cracks are too deep to fill, too wide to cross. You'd have to go earlier to solve the issues. Or perhaps abandon a province or two (Britannia was a HUGE drain on the military and economy. I believe they had 3 legions there. No way in hell Britannia was able to be a profitable region to own with that kind of expenses to pay. Sure you'll lose income, but you'd also have less military to pay for.

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 30 May 2013 19:16 EDT (US)     95 / 142       
It was the constant infighting amongst the elite that brought it down, the guys calling the shots.
SO the rise of only one or two strongmen that were more oftern at odds? And a very weak series of Emperors that covered behind the walls and marshes of Ravenna didn't help. So a strong Emperor that could bring the generals back in line would be needed. That, and he would need an aemy to make his rule legitimate.
To fix the empire at that point is too late. The cracks are too deep to fill, too wide to cross. You'd have to go earlier to solve the issues.
Hm, so when would you see is the crisis point that the Empire is petering on the edge of destruction, or revival if strong leaders and armies are found?
Or perhaps abandon a province or two (Britannia was a HUGE drain on the military and economy. I believe they had 3 legions there. No way in hell Britannia was able to be a profitable region to own with that kind of expenses to pay. Sure you'll lose income, but you'd also have less military to pay for.
Until this point however, Brittian had been abandoned and recaptured a couple times. Not to mention the frequence saxon raids and the Province becomes not worth the effort. COuld the establishment of an automous, friendly Britian have helped the issue? Like the establishment of a Britannic Roman empire to go with the Western RE and Eastern RE? Although this could be seen as being begun after the final withdrawal, an BRE that had the support of the WRE for a few years before being pulled out?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
Punic Hebil
Centurion
(id: Punic Hoplite)
posted 30 May 2013 22:24 EDT (US)     96 / 142       
They need to find a a way to keep the generals in line. I don't know what could be done to save the West, merely what needed to be fixed. The earlier the reforms happen though, the better. The state needs to excel when it has a strong leader, but do decent if it has a weak one as well.


I'm not quite understanding your second question.

As for the Britannic Roman Empire, it might've. I do believe there was a usurper that was able to take Britannia over, and made a semi-stable state with a decent economy. So it might've. Whether making it a third part of the Empire is doubtful, because while the Eastern emperor would've liked it, as it weakened the West, the Western one obviously wouldn't. Perhaps making it a friendly vassal state?

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 05 July 2013 19:24 EDT (US)     97 / 142       
OK, i think it is time for another Question:

What if the Carthaginians destroyed the Roman Army besieging Carthage during the 3rd Punic War? At this time the Romans were undisciplined in their siege and many problems were evident. What could have been the consequences of this besieging army was destroyed? Could there have been a Carthaginian resurgence in the Mediterranean?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
Punic Hebil
Centurion
(id: Punic Hoplite)
posted 05 July 2013 19:57 EDT (US)     98 / 142       
Highly doubtful. Rome would have simply reorganized and sent another army, if they were truly wanting to finish Carthage off. Perhaps the faction wanting Carthage to exist would've found new grounds and support for their cause, though Cato and allies would've 'proven' that Carthage is indeed a deadly foe yet and should be crushed. More likely than not they simply would've sent another army under another commander.

Carthage was basically on its own in the 3rd war. Most of the cities it had controlled abandoned it, fearing Roman attack, or were already under Numidian control, due to Roman backing. Add in that Rome was ever expanding, it would take a serious challenge on all sides for Carthage to really expand again, and even then Rome would take on Carthage first with how close it is to Italy. If Greece was being overrun by Seleucids, Iberia was in revolt, northern Italy was being rampaged by Gauls, Carthage would still be seen as one of the biggest threats, if not the biggest depending on the situation in northern Italy.

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 05 July 2013 20:15 EDT (US)     99 / 142       
Ok, SO basically Carthage was a broken power at this point with almost no hope of a revival, and a deep hate between themselves and Romans. So even without another Hannibal to lead Carthage and destroy Roman army's in Africa when they tried to land, you wouldn't see Carthage becoming possible a regional power in Africa again?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
Punic Hebil
Centurion
(id: Punic Hoplite)
posted 05 July 2013 20:24 EDT (US)     100 / 142       
They'd definitely by a big influence in the region, but they were no longer the regional power broker they used to be. They couldn't go to war without Rome's permission, their fleet was a laughing stock, and their armies didn't fair well in the field against the Numidians. Even with another Hannibal, they would've merely stayed independent, maybe growing in some power, but they would've needed massive changes both at home and abroad to become a major power again.

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
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