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Total War: Shogun 2 Heaven » Forums » Total War History » The Alternate History Thread
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Topic Subject:The Alternate History Thread
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Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 02-14-13 04:44 PM 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 07-05-13 08:33 PM EDT (US)     101 / 142       
So possibly it would take a reduction in the power of the Growing Romans, and civil changes in Carthage, and a military genius to 'maybe' turn it around?

Seems like a pretty crap situation, which is quite obvious. So it would Appear that the second Punic war was the last chance for a decent independence. But with the Roman mentality of not giving up- was it even possible then? I dont think so.

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
Thalassocracy
Ashigaru
posted 07-07-13 00:31 AM EDT (US)     102 / 142       
For Carthage to reemerge as a super power in the Mediterranean once more would be impossible. The better question would be what should Carthage have done to continue its existence even if its just going to be as a measly city-state now, to simply avoid the total annihilation of Punic culture therefore.

Slave, thou hast slain me. Villain, take my purse.
If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body...

[This message has been edited by Thalassocracy (edited 07-07-2013 @ 00:32 AM).]

markdienekes
Ashigaru
posted 07-29-13 04:08 AM EDT (US)     103 / 142       
Punic culture was not destroyed with the fall of Carthage, it is still attested in historical sources hundreds of years later.

For example, Punic religion did not disappear with the end of Carthage. There were sanctuaries reserved for the Punic gods and goddesses all over North Africa - Baal Hammon, under the guise of Saturn continued to be a popular deity even despite the rise and spread of Christianity. Another figure to persist and even resist Christianity was Tanit, who bore the name Caelestis. Some deities even preserved their former theonyms. We have numerous religious cults and practices that are a product of the Punic heritage attested in North Africa and its also believed that Punic beliefs contributed to the success of Christianity there too!
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 07-30-13 04:57 PM EDT (US)     104 / 142       
Allow me to raise another question to breathe some life into this thread, while continuing the theme of revolving around the Second Punic War.

How different would the outcome of the Second Punic War be if Philip V of Macedon had followed through with his alliance with Hannibal and landed in Italy with his army?

Macedon wasn't nearly as formidable as it had been in the days of Philip II and Alexander the Great, but she was still a strong military power and Philip's army of 25,500 soldiers (using the numbers he fielded at Cynoscephalae as a base) may have been enough to tip the balance in Hannibal's and Carthage's favor. Many of the cities in Magna Graecia had already declared for Hannibal so it isn't too far-fetched to believe they would've been even more receptive to a Greco-Macedonian army, especially if it was led by a descendant of one of the greatest of Alexander's Successors.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"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 Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums

[This message has been edited by DominicusUltimus (edited 07-30-2013 @ 05:28 PM).]

Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 07-31-13 02:11 AM EDT (US)     105 / 142       
Hmm. That would be hard to guage.

I suppose it depends upon the timing as well. But could see Philip making a large impact if only just mentally on the Romans. Here you would have a fresh, relatively numerous and presumably experienced new army which will need alot of effort to destroy. The incorporation as well of a Greek(ok Macedonian) into the mix could have encouraged more of Magna Grecia and other states to rebel against Rome. A possibility with that also is what if Hannibal got his hands on reinforcements of that Caliber? surely they would have massively boosted the power of his army.

Also, one of the major problems with Hannibal in Italy was his inability to besiege cities and port cities. The addition of this army into Italy could have quickly changed that. With Phillip's army besieging cities and storming them, and Hannibal and his army running defense, it is possible that more cities could have been occupied by the combined force, and the supply and communications problem gone some way to being remedied.

However, even with Philip and his reinforcements, i dont see Rome capitulating quickly. I think nothing less than the destruction of Rome could have made them surrender. That is for sure.

I am quite keen to hear your thoughts on this as well.

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
Edorix
High King of Britain
posted 07-31-13 04:22 AM EDT (US)     106 / 142       
I think it is not "if only Macedon had," but rather, "if only Macedon could have."

The problem was, as I understand it, no lack of will on the part of Philip V, but rather the fact that the Romans had him covered by an alliance they had formed with the Aetolian League during the Illyrian War. As I recall they even sent a bunch of troops to Greece to help with keeping Macedon out of Italy...

This is why the war surrounding the Battle of Cynoscephalae is known as the Second Macedonian War, despite being the first direct confrontation between Rome and Macedon; the First Macedonian War was fought parallel to the Second Punic War, and was the confrontation between Macedon and Rome's Greek allies.

EDORIX
~ ancient briton ~

/\
/|||| ||||\

(dis ma house)

[This message has been edited by Lord Eddie (edited 07-31-2013 @ 04:25 AM).]

Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 07-31-13 06:42 AM EDT (US)     107 / 142       
Indeed. But the question was what would happen if Philip landed in Italy...

But yes, a good insight into the first Macedonian War. Adrian Goldsworthy covers that well from memory in his book The Fall of Carthage. Great book indeed

EDIT: can either of you suggest a decent book on Rome's involvement and campaigns in Greece?

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

[This message has been edited by Awesome Eagle (edited 07-31-2013 @ 06:46 AM).]

DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 07-31-13 10:42 AM EDT (US)     108 / 142       
I think it is not "if only Macedon had," but rather, "if only Macedon could have."

The problem was, as I understand it, no lack of will on the part of Philip V, but rather the fact that the Romans had him covered by an alliance they had formed with the Aetolian League during the Illyrian War. As I recall they even sent a bunch of troops to Greece to help with keeping Macedon out of Italy...
While the Romans were allied with the Aetolian League throughout the Second Punic War and the First Macedonian War, the Aetolians themselves were tired of war with Macedon and had recently signed a peace treaty with Philip at Naupactus in 217 B.C. He then started constructing a fleet of 125 lembi, light warships used by the Illyrian pirates, and training men capable of rowing and maneuvering them swiftly. Given these preparations, it's logical to assume that Philip was contemplating and preparing for an invasion of Italy and taking the fight to the Romans in their homeland instead of awaiting for them to cross the Adriatic and land somewhere in Epirus or Aetolia. The problem however, was how he approached the war with the Romans once his preparations were complete and how far he was willing to go.

Once his fleet had been and their crews adequately trained, Philip departed Macedon and sailed for the city of Apollonia in southern Illyria. He had with him around 6,250 soldiers (each lembi capable of carrying roughly 50 men) which he'd planned to use to conquer southern Illyria and thereby establish a secure staging point for him to launch an invasion of Italy. Meanwhile, the bulk of the Roman fleet was docked at Lilybaeum as they were mainly concerned with containing the Carthaginian fleet and making sure Hannibal received no reinforcements from Africa. This left them with only 25 ships to patrol the Adriatic coastline of Italy (primarily to ward off the previously mentioned Illyrian pirates) and gave Philip a very really chance of outmaneuvering or simply overwhelming the Roman's Adriatic fleet and leaving Italy open to a Macedonian invasion. Unfortunately (for Philip and Hannibal), Philip's nerve cracked when he heard word that Roman ships had been sighted heading towards Apollonia which somehow gave Philip the impression that the whole of the Roman fleet was sailing against him. Not wanting to risk losing his fleet and a sizable portion of his army at sea, Philip ordered an immediate retreat and set sail for the Ionian Island of Cephalonia

As it turned out, the Roman "fleet" was nothing more than a simple patrol of 10 warships. Thanks to his brief moment of fear and overreaction, Philip lost his best (and only) chance of conquering southern Illyria and securing a reliable base for future campaigns around the Adriatic Sea. This also caused the Romans to become wary of Philip and their ships more vigilant in their patrols, which may have culminated in the capture of Philip's emissaries to Hannibal a few years later which eventually led to the outbreak of the First Macedonian War.

As for the military involvement of the Romans in Greece, they actually never sent any troops to Greece as they needed all their troops to check and contain Hannibal in southern Italy. Instead, they eventually convinced the Aetolian League to declare war on Macedon and let them handle the war on land, while the Roman's took charge of the sea.
As I recall they even sent a bunch of troops to Greece to help with keeping Macedon out of Italy...

This is why the war surrounding the Battle of Cynoscephalae is known as the Second Macedonian War, despite being the first direct confrontation between Rome and Macedon; the First Macedonian War was fought parallel to the Second Punic War, and was the confrontation between Macedon and Rome's Greek allies.
Kinda contradicting yourself there Ed, since the Romans would be directly confronting Philip if they had sent troops to Greece to help the Aetolians.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"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 Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 08-07-13 02:42 AM EDT (US)     109 / 142       
[q He then started constructing a fleet of 125 lembi, light warships used by the Illyrian pirates, and training men capable of rowing and maneuvering them swiftly.Interesting. Is there any more sources on these warships? I have not heard of them before.
Not wanting to risk losing his fleet and a sizable portion of his army at sea, Philip ordered an immediate retreat and set sail for the Ionian Island of Cephalonia
Also interesting.Is the term "Ionian" an general term? Because i just looked up the island and it is off Western Greece. I always thought/ assumed that Ionia was a term of Asia Minor.
As for the military involvement of the Romans in Greece, they actually never sent any troops to Greece as they needed all their troops to check and contain Hannibal in southern Italy.
What i meant before was the Romans in Greece in the 2nd and 3rd Macedonian Wars- and after. I have very little knowledge on this. Also: a book on the Roman conquest of Spain would be great. I know the very basics, but an in-depth study of Roman Spain through its fight with Rome, occupation, Romanisation then Vandals would be great.

Dom: What do you think the integration of the Macedonian Phalanx and Cavalry would have on Hannibal's army? Would they have been a help or a hindrance?

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 08-07-13 01:21 PM EDT (US)     110 / 142       
Interesting. Is there any more sources on these warships? I have not heard of them before.
From what I remember, they were an Illyrian design that was intended for raiding and boarding actions. I definitely remember reading about them in one of my books, but I can't remember exactly which one.
Also interesting.Is the term "Ionian" an general term? Because i just looked up the island and it is off Western Greece. I always thought/ assumed that Ionia was a term of Asia Minor.
I think its just one of those cases with two separate places having the same name. I also associate Ionia primarily with the the area located in Asia Minor/Anatolia. Another example of two different areas having the same name are the battles of Salamis. The first occurred in Greece during the Greek-Persian Wars, while the second occurred near Cyprus during the Wars of the Successors.
What i meant before was the Romans in Greece in the 2nd and 3rd Macedonian Wars- and after. I have very little knowledge on this.
I was mainly saying that in reply to Ed saying he recalled Rome sending troops to Greece to help the Aetolians and their other allies keep Macedon out of Italy, which didn't occur because they didn't have the spare manpower to support such a venture.
Dom: What do you think the integration of the Macedonian Phalanx and Cavalry would have on Hannibal's army? Would they have been a help or a hindrance?
Having heavy cavalry modeled after the Hetairoi would certainly have been a boon to Hannibal, but I think phalangites would've done more harm to his cause than good. The areas where Hannibal fought the Romans were for the most part rugged and uneven, and would've been less than ideal for phalanx warfare. The Battle of Pydna showed just how fatal it was to the phalanx when multiple gaps were opened in the pike wall by bad terrain, and the Romans proceeded to hack and gut the tightly packed Macedonian phalangites to pieces.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"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 Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 08-08-13 07:18 AM EDT (US)     111 / 142       
Could those 'lembi' be another name for the Liburnian? The Romans loved those things for their post-Republic navies.

Ionia indeed refers to the area now known as western Turkey.

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Edorix
High King of Britain
posted 08-08-13 08:56 AM EDT (US)     112 / 142       
Kinda contradicting yourself there Ed, since the Romans would be directly confronting Philip if they had sent troops to Greece to help the Aetolians.
Something like that. I did read the (excellent) wikipedia article after I posted but didn't bother coming back with details.

EDORIX
~ ancient briton ~

/\
/|||| ||||\

(dis ma house)
Vasta
Ashigaru
posted 08-08-13 09:05 AM EDT (US)     113 / 142       
Ionian is also a broad linguistic and ethnic term, like Doric or Aeolic. Ionians were typically the Greeks from Western Turkey, but the Athenians also considered themselves to be Ionian (the Attic dialect was a break-off of Ionian).

The ethnic relationship between the Athenians and Greeks of Western Turkey is what led to Athens supporting Ionia during the revolt from Persia, and kicked off the Persian Wars.

/now back to lurking
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 08-08-13 09:42 AM EDT (US)     114 / 142       
Could those 'lembi' be another name for the Liburnian? The Romans loved those things for their post-Republic navies.
I do believe they are one and the same Terikel. Lembi was probably a type of slang term used by the Macedonians to refer to Liburnian galleys.
Something like that. I did read the (excellent) wikipedia article after I posted but didn't bother coming back with details.
Wikipedia can actually be quite a good source for looking topics concerning ancient history. I wouldn't list it as a source on a term paper or report, but it is more reliable than most people give it credit for.
Ionian is also a broad linguistic and ethnic term, like Doric or Aeolic. Ionians were typically the Greeks from Western Turkey, but the Athenians also considered themselves to be Ionian (the Attic dialect was a break-off of Ionian).

The ethnic relationship between the Athenians and Greeks of Western Turkey is what led to Athens supporting Ionia during the revolt from Persia, and kicked off the Persian Wars.

/now back to lurking
Glad to know we got you to even post at all Vasta

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"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 Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 08-08-13 06:45 PM EDT (US)     115 / 142       
Ionian is also a broad linguistic and ethnic term, like Doric or Aeolic. Ionians were typically the Greeks from Western Turkey, but the Athenians also considered themselves to be Ionian (the Attic dialect was a break-off of Ionian).

The ethnic relationship between the Athenians and Greeks of Western Turkey is what led to Athens supporting Ionia during the revolt from Persia, and kicked off the Persian Wars.
Ahhh, fantastic. Thank you very much for your insight!
Wikipedia can actually be quite a good source for looking topics concerning ancient history. I wouldn't list it as a source on a term paper or report, but it is more reliable than most people give it credit for
It is also a great resource to find other resources. More than once have they pointed me in the right way for a good book on a topic.

Ok, so another topic- this one a bit different.

During Leonidas's famous stand with the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, he had an adequate chance to escape and live to fight another day- yet he chose to remain behind to sacrifice himself and his bodyguard for Greek unity. Now; How might the overall direction of the Greek Wars been influenced if Leonidas withdrew and maintained command over the Army of Greece? Would the war have progressed similarly? Would a year have been wasted (by Cleombrotus) fortifying the Isthmus? Would the Persians have been sent packing in 480? or would it still take another year (Salamis was in 480) for the Persians to Withdraw if they were confronted with the Greek force in a pitched battle in 480?

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
Edorix
High King of Britain
posted 08-09-13 08:58 AM EDT (US)     116 / 142       
Wikipedia can actually be quite a good source for looking topics concerning ancient history. I wouldn't list it as a source on a term paper or report, but it is more reliable than most people give it credit for.
Wikipedia actually has several decent anti-vandalism mechanisms, both automated and user-based... but I suspect this particular case is mainly because vandals have largely never heard of or don't think of such esoteric subjects.

What I have found however is that the (amateur) wikipedia community can be even more academically conservative than professional historians and such like. In my area, where a new consensus has been growing gradually over the last twenty years, this shows itself extremely plainly; but for historical narrative of this kind I shouldn't imagine this to be an issue.

EDORIX
~ ancient briton ~

/\
/|||| ||||\

(dis ma house)
Vasta
Ashigaru
posted 08-10-13 00:21 AM EDT (US)     117 / 142       
Heh. It's been a busy year. Had a kid in March and am trying to crank out the dissertation. Two chapters done.

Some of the Wikipedia entries for Classics are very good - clearly there is a bored grad student updating things. Others are seemingly good, but based on Encyclopedia Britannica entries from like a hundred fifty years ago, or refuse to cite scholarship after Mommsen or Syme if they're absolutely radical (though pop historian hacks always seem to make it on there). The Sallust entry in particular is galling, and a number of my edits have been rejected (guess what, Anthony Everitt, Sallust did not marry Cicero's ex-wife. That's stupid).

Professional historians, good ones that is, tend to be pretty avant garde with their tendencies while the amateur community will usually pull out the old standards of "but but, multiculturalism is ruining things, and post-modernism is just hippie hog wash, and the facts! What about unbiased facts?!" Ancient material in particular seems to get people going about how these darn professors are ruining everything (see V. Hanson's ridiculous "Who Killed Homer?"), which is really funny, since, you know, our sources are so absolutely dreadful that to think we can ever come close to ascertaining "what really happened" is entirely naive.

Then to get into the fact that the ancient conception of "the truth" is so foreign to ours, and well, the can of worms is opened and overflowing.

Alrighty, that's over. Sorry, my main PC has gone into crashing whilst writing my third chapter and it's put me into a ranty mood while I attempt to revive it. Never let in-laws near your machines.
Edorix
High King of Britain
posted 08-12-13 04:10 PM EDT (US)     118 / 142       
I call that a cutting-edge rant, jolly nice to hear.

EDORIX
~ ancient briton ~

/\
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(dis ma house)
Pitt
Daimyo
posted 08-27-13 11:08 PM EDT (US)     119 / 142       
Hi Vasta. I noticed that the new Loeb of Sallust's Catilinarian and Jugurthine Wars is coming out soon.

Did you say you'd done a tiny bit of translating for it, or am I misremembering?

"Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
Vasta
Ashigaru
posted 08-28-13 03:24 PM EDT (US)     120 / 142       
Ohhh, it IS finally coming out! Yes, I did help with a whopping one sentence. Had lunch with John Ramsey to discuss my dissertation and he busted out his Teubner for some translation thoughts. If I remember correctly (it was a year or two ago?), it's the passage in the Jugurtha where the Romans are almost defeated by the Numidians but then pull off a narrow victory. Participial issue, I think - could be taken as causal or adversative, with an ambiguous subject. So yes, when you read the Jugurtha, know that one of your own contributed in a very minor fashion.

I'm more looking forward to Volume 2, which is supposed to contain all of the Histories fragments. Maurenbrecher is the old standard Latin edition, but there have been many new Sallust fragments identified since the 1890s. McGushin took into account these new fragments, and provided an English translation and commentary, but no Latin text! Ramsey said that his manuscript will have full Latin text and English translation - that's why the Cat and Jug are a separate volume.

Also, some advice to any who are looking into scholarly pursuits as a career: email scholars! I've corresponded with many of the biggest names in my field and they have been nothing but helpful and generous with their time and advice.
Pitt
Daimyo
posted 08-31-13 06:01 AM EDT (US)     121 / 142       
Another one to watch out for then.

It's good to see you're doing well. Certainly better than the Latin department at my old university, which has been cut along with a few other less popular programs. Strictly speaking, you can still study Latin 1, just not Latin 2. But an honours program still exists, so go figure.

I sometimes regret not studying Latin, but I never seemed to find the time. Oh, well. Too late now. Tempus fugit.

"Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
Vasta
Ashigaru
posted 09-03-13 09:31 AM EDT (US)     122 / 142       
I've been lucky in that regard. My undergraduate had just been restarting its Classics program, and actually is in the process of growing right now (let's hope they need a professor of Latin literature and Roman history in about a year), while my graduate school is a massive public institution that has had Classics since it opened, and will have a Classics department when it closes (even if they're bleeding the department try by not replacing tenured faculty who retire).

The situation for anyone in academia who isn't a business or science person is pretty grim right now, and the economy is encouraging lots more people to hide from the job market by going to graduate school. This has led to a far lower overall quality of grad students, as well as a huge glut of PhDs who are competing for fewer and fewer jobs. Add to that the fact that tenure positions in general are being replaced by one-two year adjunct spots with no benefits and little pay, and well, ugh. I'm lucky that my wife has a good job as a tenured high school teacher, but that has its own problems, as she can't exactly move around while I'm bouncing from adjunct to adjunct. That means until I get a tenure track job, she's going to stay where she is with our son, while I have to go rent an apartment somewhere during the week and hopefully be able to drive home on the weekends.

So yeah, all you kids out there, cut your junior faculty some slack, it's a much rougher life than it seems.

And there's always time to learn Latin, Pitt. It's actually a lot easier than you might imagine - Greek on the other hand, is the worst thing ever, with more moods and tenses that you know what to do with. Six principle parts of a verb? That's dumb and I'm glad they were conquered.
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 12-18-13 07:03 PM EDT (US)     123 / 142       
*Revives thread*

Ok, so listening to Mike Duncan's History of Rome and right now in the 4th century as waves of Barbarians and internal strife destroy the empire. Now here is my question:

Is there anything that could have been done to salvage the Western Roman Empire? What would have been needed to stave off defeat for a century more? Could it have been possible if a leader the caliber of Aurelian or Trajan or another emperor was available?

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
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 12-19-13 05:35 AM EDT (US)     124 / 142       
I don't think a strong emperor would have helped any. There were plenty of strongmen to the end there- Aetius and Ricimer stand out. The emperorship was bought and sold- not that that mattered a whit.

Rome was exhausted. It was an ideal, a symbolic legend, but one that had run its course. The Crisis of the Third Century and the Antonine Plague had severely weakened the city and the empire as a whole. The rife internal struggles for the purple wore the army down to where people had to be pressed into service, and other sectors of the economy were becoming so deserted that one fo the emperors had to decree that sons went into the same business as fatehrs. More and more of the military was being made up of feoderati and foreigners. How long can an empire survive when its army is made of foreigners?

The economy was in the toilet. The army was disciplined but tiny, and worn out from near constant warfare. The populace was poor, wracked by the wars (devastation is not just a concept in RTW, passing armies that had no logistical chain often destroyed vast tracts of land in their passage), services were failing, and the money near worthless. Plus the plague wiped out a good portion of the population- recovery was too slow.

And politically, idiots in the Senate thought the purple could be bought and sold, and good generals were to be assassinated lest they aspire to restore the glory of what was once Rome.

The Roman Empire died basically through apathy. Nobody cared enough to keep it going. Those in power only wanted the power and trappings- and could care less about the rest. The people gave less than a rat's ass, as long as they could survive in those hard times. The army didn't care about the empire, only their paymaster.

So there is no clear point where one can say: "if this was different, then Rome may have survived." There was a whole cartload of shit wrong with the empire there in the end. A bushel of things had to be fixed for that to happen. So what could have made the empire survive?

Nothing. It was time to hit the reset button.

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
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[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 12-19-2013 @ 05:36 AM).]

Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 12-27-13 07:25 PM EDT (US)     125 / 142       
So we know the consequences of the Western Roman Empire falling as it did, but what could have been some of the consequences if the Eastern Roman Empire had fell as well. Is this something that is even possible to gauge?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
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Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 12-28-13 09:19 AM EDT (US)     126 / 142       
Had the East gone the way of the West, we would probably all be speaking Arabic or Turkic now.

For almost a millennium the Eastern Empire was a bulwark against the hordes of the Asia and the Middle East. The west needed that time to get its head out of its collective ass. It wasn't until 732- three hundred odd years after the fall of the Western Empire that Western troops first managed to stop an eastern army. And many claim that was by luck (the rumors of the baggage train being looted drew off some of the best troops and started a retreat, and the Muslim commander died trying to stop it), though some do declare it was by design and bravery.

Had it not been for the cork of Constantinople, those armies might have swept in through the Balkans in the 700s and 800s, instead of doing so as they did in the 1500s and 1600s, when the Austrians were finally able to stop their drive into Europe at Vienna. Those Austrians were not around eight hundred years earlier, which meant without the Eastern Empire, most of us would be bowing toward Mecca and get our beards caught in the carpet five times a day now.

At least that is my take on it.

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DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 01-02-14 01:18 AM EDT (US)     127 / 142       
Instead of Arabic or Turkic, I think we'd actually be speaking some form of Persian.

Without the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire to oppose them, I don't think it's to far-fetched to believe that the Sassanids could've made good on their claim as "Successors of the Achaemenids" and reconquered all the old territories of the Achaemenid Persian Empire up to the Hellespont. Without a hostile power or any organized resistance to challenge them, the Sassanids would've been able to cement their rule in their new territories fairly smoothly and consolidate and expand their military forces.

Fast forward about 150 years and now instead of facing an empire exhausted by war and racked with economic collapse and religious unrest, the prophet Muhammad and his followers would instead be reckoning with a Sassanid Persian Empire at the peak of its power with an equally powerful military to protect it. With Islam failing to rise to prominence, it would instead be Zorastrianism that would emerge as the dominant religion in the Near and Middle East.

Just my 2 cents on what could've happened.

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Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 01-02-14 01:10 PM EDT (US)     128 / 142       
Nice points, though I disagree about the conclusion.

The Persians have always done well under a strong leader. Under a weak leader, which plagued their last centuries (with an exception here or there), they fought as much against each other vying for the throne as against outsiders- very reminiscent of the Romans in that respect. Plus, the Turks and other migrants would have come against them. Your premise has the Persians uniting and consolidating their pwoer, then expanding their military. Yet that unification is what I doubt.

I think the Sassanids were doomed, no matter what happened to the Eastern empire. A premature fall of the eastern Empire might have gifted the Sassanids a few more years, but the rot was already far too evident. They fell apart rather swiftly and completely when confronting the Arab Muslims- I doubt they would have fared any better against the Turks coming in.

The Arabs and early Muslims were the original juggernaut, the Mongols and Turks the second and third. Both rolled from far away up onto and sometimes through the gates of Europe. Should Islam have failed to prevent the Arabs from becoming that first juggernaut (crushed by the Persians, for example), the other two would have bashed on through. leaving us with Turkic as the most likely.

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[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 01-02-2014 @ 01:13 PM).]

DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 01-02-14 01:52 PM EDT (US)     129 / 142       
The Persians have always done well under a strong leader. Under a weak leader, which plagued their last centuries (with an exception here or there), they fought as much against each other vying for the throne as against outsiders- very reminiscent of the Romans in that respect. Plus, the Turks and other migrants would have come against them. Your premise has the Persians uniting and consolidating their pwoer, then expanding their military. Yet that unification is what I doubt.
I was mainly using 480 C.E. as the point of divergence since I took AE's latest question as to mean what would happened if the East collapsed at the same time the West fell.

I think you might be giving the Persians' penchant for ambition and infighting a bit too much clout in this case Terikel. Historically, the Sassanids enjoyed what was called a 'Second Golden Age' roughly 18 years after the Western Roman Empire fell even with the Eastern Roman Empire to oppose them. Without their archenemy to oppose their ambitions, drain their resources and cause trouble, I think the Sassanids would've prospered more and not less. Consolidation and expansion in such an environment wouldn't be too unrealistic (though it is admittedly idealistic and wishful thinking).

As for the Turks, it was my understanding that they didn't really rise to power to power until the Seljuk Era. I remember reading how they were primarily spread throughout much of the Middle East as slaves after the Muslim Conquests, but since we've "butterflied away" the rise of Islam and thus the conquests I don't believe the conditions that precipitated the spread of the Turkish people historically would exist in this alternate timeline.
I think the Sassanids were doomed, no matter what happened to the Eastern empire. A premature fall of the eastern Empire might have gifted the Sassanids a few more years, but the rot was already far too evident. They fell apart rather swiftly and completely when confronting the Arab Muslims- I doubt they would have fared any better against the Turks coming in.
I don't the believe their system of governance and rule was rotten, but rather pushed to the breaking point thanks to all their wars against the Eastern Roman Empire. Perhaps the 'alternate history' Sassanids wouldn't have been completely united against the Arab Muslims or the Turks (if they still emerged), but they would've at least been in a better state to fight against them with an adult ruler instead of the boy-king Yazdegerd III to lead them.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
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Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 01-03-14 08:38 AM EDT (US)     130 / 142       
I think you might be giving the Persians' penchant for ambition and infighting a bit too much clout in this case Terikel. Historically, the Sassanids enjoyed what was called a 'Second Golden Age' roughly 18 years after the Western Roman Empire fell even with the Eastern Roman Empire to oppose them. Without their archenemy to oppose their ambitions, drain their resources and cause trouble, I think the Sassanids would've prospered more and not less. Consolidation and expansion in such an environment wouldn't be too unrealistic (though it is admittedly idealistic and wishful thinking).
Maybe, but realistically, the larger and more prosperous the empire, the more likely a civil war or power struggle will bring it down- or at least severely weaken it. A few like Shapur II might emerge to re-unite the wracked realm and bring strength, but others would not be so strong and a lot of infighting would occur. Hey, did this not happen before? Rome, Macedon, the Franks, the Ostrogoths, etc. All once vibrant and strong, then internal struggles and divisions and bam. No more. The Franks, however, jettisoned their weak Merovingians (who themselves were once strong) and found new life under the Carolingians, but still, it was not until the Capetians that the Franks stopped subdividing themselves back into tiny units.

You might have butterflied away from Islam failing, and while I did consider that for the sake of argument, I am not totally onboard with it. Should the united Arabs meet a revitalized Persian realm not hampered by the Eastern Empire (who says whatever grows up on those fallen bones will not be a pain in the Persian ass itself? Soissons kept going as a Roman unit for 10 years until Clovis had Syagrius killed), I feel it might be more of a coin toss than a given who would eventually survive or emerge victorious. Islam was about the spirit and the soul; Persia was about power. The faith appealed to the people- it still does. It answered deep questions better than their current religion. The adherents and converts might end up splitting off from the state religion and bringing the Persians down into civil war. Or a prince might convert to secure military might from the arabs, and in that way bring the Persians to their knees for another to strike.

So sorry, I am not yet fully convinced that a lack of Byzantium would have brought ultimate success and survival to the Sassanids, or whatever.

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[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 01-03-2014 @ 10:29 AM).]

DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 01-03-14 01:13 PM EDT (US)     131 / 142       
Maybe, but realistically, the larger and more prosperous the empire, the more likely a civil war or power struggle will bring it down- or at least severely weaken it. A few like Shapur II might emerge to re-unite the wracked realm and bring strength, but others would not be so strong and a lot of infighting would occur.
Why would the rulers in this alternate timeline (ATL) be just as weak or weaker than the historical ones? The conditions that gave those weak rulers the opportunity to exist (military defeats, heavy taxation, dissatisfaction with the preceding ruler & the dynasty, etc.) wouldn't be the same. I'm not saying the ATL Sassanid kings would be paragons of virtue, but they would be ruling in an environment where they weren't constantly threatened with war or the civil unrest caused by it.

The possibility of civil war is always present in any empire, but if the ruling dynasty remains strong then the empire they rule will also stand firm. My recent posts probably imply I have a greater knowledge of the Sassanids than I actually do but from what I remember reading, they didn't have nearly as many civil wars and incidents of infighting as the late Roman Republic and the succeeding Roman Empire.
Hey, did this not happen before? Rome, Macedon, the Franks, the Ostrogoths, etc. All once vibrant and strong, then internal struggles and divisions and bam. No more.
My knowledge on the Franks and Ostrogoths is greatly lacking so I cannot comment on their history with any amount of confidence. I can however comment on Macedon and the Successor Kingdoms. I have a moderate knowledge of Rome, but I believe you are as well-educated in their history as I am if not more so.

  • Macedon and the Successor Kingdoms: Because of Alexander's failure to designate an heir before his sudden death, the empire he built was doomed to fall apart. Even if Alexander IV had been born before his death, it's unlikely that his generals would've followed him given their acknowledge bias against any ruler that was not a full-blooded Macedonian.

    As for the Successor Kingdoms, the three chief states were rarely plagued with civil war unless an outside party supported a usurper or a lack of confidence in the dynasty caused their subjects to champion another member of the royal family. With the exception of the 'War of the Brothers', every Seleucid civil war was caused by the machinations and intervention of either Rome or Egypt. The Ptolemies themselves also had a fair bit of infighting, though one could also credit the instability of their dynasty to be caused by their incestuous nature. As far as I can recall, the Antigonids had no major incidents of civil war, but then again their kingdom wasn't large or prosperous enough to merit such a conflict.
    You might have butterflied away from Islam failing, and while I did consider that for the sake of argument, I am not totally onboard with it. Should the united Arabs meet a revitalized Persian realm not hampered by the Eastern Empire (who says whatever grows up on those fallen bones will not be a pain in the Persian ass itself? Soissons kept going as a Roman unit for 10 years until Clovis had Syagrius killed), I feel it might be more of a coin toss than a given who would eventually survive or emerge victorious. Islam was about the spirit and the soul; Persia was about power. The faith appealed to the people- it still does. It answered deep questions better than their current religion. The adherents and converts might end up splitting off from the state religion and bringing the Persians down into civil war. Or a prince might convert to secure military might from the arabs, and in that way bring the Persians to their knees for another to strike.
    By no means am I saying the Sassanids would curbstomp the Islamic Arabs in this ATL we have going. I'm simply saying that they'd be in a better condition to face them militarily speaking.

    I'm sure there would be successor states that would emerge after the early fall of the ERE, but there'd be just as much of a chance for them to follow the lead of Alexander's Successors and fight each other over who the 'True Heir of Rome' was. It would be far easier for the Sassanids to defeat and conquer a group of smaller states hostile towards one another instead of a single, united empire like the ERE.

    As for Islam and its appeal to people of the Middle East, I don't think the conditions would be the same in this ATL to cause them to embrace it as eagerly as they did in original timeline (OTL). With heavy taxation, class disparity between nobles and commoners, disillusion with the Sassanid dynasty and the apathetic atmosphere caused by the seemingly endless cycle of war, peace, and war with the Byzantines/ERE it was only natural for the people of the empire to look towards the Prophet Muhammed and his teachings and embrace them because it gave them hope and faith that their lives could be better. In my opinion, the people in the ATL wouldn't as been disillusioned with the Sassanids because there would've been a much longer time of peace and stability between the fall of the ERE in 480 C.E. and the beginning of the Muslim Conquest in 633 C.E.

    With regards adherents and converts gaining enough strength to stage a major uprising, it would definitely be a possibility as is the one of an ambitious prince converting and rallying the Arabs to his cause but instead of the breakup and destruction of the empire in the latter scenario I think instead we'd see one similar to what Constantine I the Great did when he made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. A replacing of the religion in charge if you will.
    So sorry, I am not yet fully convinced that a lack of Byzantium would have brought ultimate success and survival to the Sassanids, or whatever.
    I guess in this case we're just going to have to agree to disagree. To be honest, I think there are simply way too many variables and "what ifs?" in this ATL to make a completely believable prediction.

  • "Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
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    Terikel Grayhair
    Imperator
    (id: Terikel706)
    posted 01-04-14 08:45 AM EDT (US)     132 / 142       
    Why would the rulers in this alternate timeline (ATL) be just as weak or weaker than the historical ones?
    Because that was the way ruling houses were. Most monarchs were mediocre, average at best (hence the term average), with only a few outstanding. Look at Rome- the period of the Five Good Emperors. Five Good Ones in a row. After that? How long until Diocletian came along to try and fix things up? Quality of leadership is not going to improve just because a great foe suddenly falls away.

    Also, as shown in the fall of the West: Rome did not simply cease to exist. It was replaced by the Ostrogothic Kingdom (which by the way, was a huge thorn in the Eastern Empire's side). In Gaul the Franks were consolidating their power, while the Visigoths and Suebi were carving out realms in Hispana. The Vandals ruled North Africa. Roman imperial power may have disappeared, but there were other powers emerging. One would assume if the Eastern Empire fell, it would degenerate into various kingdoms and power blocs as did the West. These may or may not fall to the Sassanids, but that is a question of leadership and skill on both sides.

    As I stated orignally somewhere, I think they may have been granted some extra years (decades, maybe even a century or two), but they would eventually crumble as had their foes- either from weakening within or onslaught from without.

    We can argue fairy tales and vapors all day- but neither of us can provide evidence or proof of our views since we are indeed arguing about fairy tales and vapors. Still, twas fun, was it not?

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    Awesome Eagle
    Spear of Mars
    (id: awesomated88)
    posted 01-25-14 07:19 AM EDT (US)     133 / 142       
    Great work guys- this is exactly the kind of Indepth discussion I hope for.

    Now- one scenario before I go to bed:

    If Caeser was not assassinated and actually journeyed to te east and underwent his invasion of Parthia, what do you see as possible consequences? Would he have succeeded? If he lost a few battles could his regime have collapsed?

    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
    Thalassocracy
    Ashigaru
    posted 01-25-14 07:53 AM EDT (US)     134 / 142       
    If Caeser was not assassinated and actually journeyed to te east and underwent his invasion of Parthia, what do you see as possible consequences
    He'd be sure to remind himself of dear Crassus first.

    Slave, thou hast slain me. Villain, take my purse.
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    [This message has been edited by Thalassocracy (edited 01-25-2014 @ 07:54 AM).]

    Awesome Eagle
    Spear of Mars
    (id: awesomated88)
    posted 02-13-14 05:42 AM EDT (US)     135 / 142       
    Well- that is an interesting point. Crassus was no soldier- he was a banker and property mogul. Caesar could well ignore what Crassus had done and make the same mistakes out of over- confidence. Also, how would the experienced Legionaries have fared in the Syrian desert? There is a constant theme of Legions that are based in the colder climates (Gaul, Britannia) having trouble when faced with a fight in the desert.

    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
    Terikel Grayhair
    Imperator
    (id: Terikel706)
    posted 02-13-14 08:22 AM EDT (US)     136 / 142       
    Crassus was not a bum of a soldier. Sure, he barely scratched the Parthian army at Carrhae, but Spartacus and his 6000 would argue quite effectively that Crassus was not a mediocre general.

    It was his bad luck and poor opinion of the horseborne cowards that brought about his demise. Evidently, the Testudo not being a wonder-formation gave him quite a shock, as did the Parthian heavy cavalry. And the Surena was bright enough to keep out of pilum range and had a wonderful resupply system to replenish his little toothpicks.

    We have ample proof in later generals that a well-planned and well-supplied expedition can indeed invade the heartland of Parthia. Did not Avidius Cassius burn the capital Ctesiphon?

    I rest my case.

    As to Caesar versus the Paerthians... he would have won. It might have been bloody and start off poorly, but once he had a measure of Parthian tactics and the like, he would have crushed them utterly, leaving them to wondder just what the hell happened.

    Sorta like what he did in Gaul...

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    DominicusUltimus
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    posted 04-01-14 11:13 PM EDT (US)     137 / 142       
    *Breathes life into old thread and Total War History forum*

    I agree with Terikel's opinion that Caesar would've eventually emerged triumphant in a war against the Parthians. True, it would've been a rough start since he was facing a completely new military doctrine and tactics that he'd never faced before in his military career but Caesar was nothing if not adaptable and innovative. Once he'd learned to have short and secure supply lines, a large compliment of archers, slingers and other assorted light infantry and to fight the Parthians on rough or broken ground to negate their cavalry advantage he would've carved through the Parthians like a freshly sharpened gladius through a sacrificial pig.

    *****

    Here's a new Alternate History scenario that I've been pondering for quite awhile: How different would the Hellenistic Age have been if Antigonus I Monopthalmus and Demetrius I Poliorcetes had defeated (and perhaps killed) Seleucus I Nicator and Lysimachus at the Battle of Ipsus? Could the Antigonids have possibly consolidated and reunited some of the scattered remains of Alexander's empire and rebuilt it into a more compressed and stable empire than any of their historical rivals?

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    Terikel Grayhair
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    posted 04-02-14 12:26 PM EDT (US)     138 / 142       
    Intersting topic.

    I had to look up the battle and find out what was going on, to be honest. It strikes me as a bit odd that if Seleukos did have 300-400 elephants lying about, why did he not use these to simply trample the Antigonid phalanx from the flank, instead of inserting the mass of pachyderms between Antigonid cavalry and the phalanx battle? That strikes me as very odd indeed.

    Had Antigonos won, though... Hmmm.... Methinks the Ancient World would have been much, much different. At least for a while. Rome was already on the rise by then, and would soon be battling Pyrrhus to a standstill. The lessons learned from those battles helped shape Roman military thinking and led to refining reforms and other improvements. But would those battles have happened had Antigonos emerged victorious at Ipsus?

    One of two things could wreak havoc on the future there: Antigonos lives, and keeps Pyrrhus at home. No battle then, but the Romans would learn those lessons in other battles later and eventually triumph. Or, Antigonos secures the Macedonian realm in its entirety and sends forces like those of Pyrrhus, only stronger, to conquer westward. This would induce massive changes to history.

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    posted 04-03-14 01:14 PM EDT (US)     139 / 142       
    It strikes me as a bit odd that if Seleukos did have 300-400 elephants lying about, why did he not use these to simply trample the Antigonid phalanx from the flank, instead of inserting the mass of pachyderms between Antigonid cavalry and the phalanx battle? That strikes me as very odd indeed.
    From what I can remember of the top of my head, most of the battles fought by the Diadochoi weren't fought with the goal of destroying the opposing troops but to kill the opposing commander and afterwards bring as many men to their side as possible. A dead soldier has no use, but a live one, even if he is of doubtful loyalty, can bolster your ranks, be used to garrison dangerous outposts or serve as a military settler in a newly founded city. Seleucus in particular preferred to win battles by luring enemy soldiers to his side or convincing them to abandon their commander. The most notable example was his last conflict with Demetrius Poliorcetes, where despite having tactical superiority he refused to do battle and approached the Antigonid troops alone to urge them to his side so that he would not be forced to kill them. The ploy worked and the Antigonid soldiers defected en masse, leaving their commander to be captured and eventually die ignominiously in an alcoholic binge of epic proportions.
    One of two things could wreak havoc on the future there: Antigonos lives, and keeps Pyrrhus at home. No battle then, but the Romans would learn those lessons in other battles later and eventually triumph. Or, Antigonos secures the Macedonian realm in its entirety and sends forces like those of Pyrrhus, only stronger, to conquer westward. This would induce massive changes to history.
    If Pyrrhus was able to venture westwards with the considerable manpower that could be provided by an Antigonid Empire, then I can very much imagine him coming very close to achieving victory over the Romans. The Romans would undoubtedly make a fight of it though so I wouldn't count them out immediately, but faced with Pyrrhus, or a similarly capable commander, backed by resources comparable or greater than those possessed by Rome it would probably only be a matter of time.

    "Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
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    Terikel Grayhair
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    posted 04-04-14 05:02 AM EDT (US)     140 / 142       
    That would seem logical.

    As to Pyrrhus, what ended his dreams of an Italian empire was the horrendous losses he took in defeating the Romans. Had he the resources and reinforcements from an Antigonid empire behind him, declining manpower would no longer be a problem and he could then grind the Romans down.

    But would Antigonos let an underling have such power as an independent command? That becomes the question, as well as what would Pyrrhus do with an Italian Empire, nominally under overlordship of a Macedonian?

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    posted 04-13-14 01:52 AM EDT (US)     141 / 142       
    Regardless of the degree of power Antigonos granted Pyrrhus, I think he would have recognised the value of Magna Graecia and tried to hold onto it, and even try to expand his territory. If Pyrrhus was clever, he could have played on this to gain influence
    Terikel Grayhair
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    (id: Terikel706)
    posted 04-13-14 04:25 AM EDT (US)     142 / 142       
    I think he would have recognised the value of Magna Graecia
    Please define the 'he' in that statement. The previous line mentioned both Antigonos and Pyrrhus.

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    |||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
    |||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
    Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
    Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
    Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII
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