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SPQR
A Novel of Rome 2031
© 2023 James LaFond
JAN/6/24
Copyright 2023 James LaFond
A Crackpot Book
Lynn Lockhart: Publisher
Premise
In 390 B.C. Rome was sacked and burned by the Gauls, a people they would one day exterminate. Rome would rise again, first as a republic and then as an empire. The old capital would be sacked in A.D. 410 by the Goths and the new capital of Constantinople sacked by the 4th Crusade in 1204. Yet, Rome would rise once again and not finally fall until the Turks battered down its seven circuits of wall in 1453, effectively ushering in Modernity.
What if, Rome had risen phoenix-like yet again in 1454?
A Novel of Rome 2031
Doris and Orpheus are two runaway slaves, twin brother and sister, seeking the secret Catacombs of Elysium. Unable to bear the separation of being sold off to various owners at the estate auction of the late kind master, the “Synchronous Twins” make a bid for that rare thing called liberty, their harried flight offering a view of a Rome that could have been.
SPQR: “Senate and Populace or Rome”
Inspirations
Edward Gibbon’s the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and
The Acts of John and Thecla, a novel of late antiquity about a fugitive duo.
A question about the rejuvenative capacity of Rome and America, posited by Electric Dan, during a truck drive from Joliet, Illinois, at the hour of sunset on Saturday, April 29, 2023.
Dedication
For Electric Dan fellow fighter and friend
Inspirational Quote
“Under the deplorable reigns of Valerian and Gallianus the Empire was oppressed and almost destroyed by the soldiers, the tyrants and the barbarians.”
-Edward Gibbon, Chapter 11
To the Reader
As a speculative fiction writer, I have chosen to present SPQR as a science-fiction rather than fantasy. My Elder Earth setting is also an alternative earth setting, that I rate as a fantasy, for the reason that I gathered 6 signal events that would have required, in part, divine intervention, to achieve a Renaissance level of technology and a medieval catholic society in North America. One of these keys, was that Constantinople not fall to the Turks.
Science-fiction requires stricter and simpler causality to produce an alternative earth, such as sending a time traveler back to Robert E. Lee with a train car load of AK-47s and ammunition to turn the tide at Gettysburg.
The historical conceit for SPQR is much simpler, in that Rome reinvented itself every 250 years from 700 B.C. down through through A.D. 1220. I posit here merely a reasonable extension of that 2,000 year cycle of rebirths by roughly 25%, requiring only two more reboots of the Roman cycle.
The conceits fro SPQR, where our actual past diverges from this speculation, are:
-1. In the 400s, The Romano Britains, represented by the legends of King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table, succeeded in resisting the Jutes, Angles and Saxons and in re-establishing a quasi Roman monarchy.
-2. Charles “The Hammer Martel” is slain at Tours in 710 by a Berber arrow. This would result in the reconquest of the Moors occurring in France rather than Spain and of critically weakening Christendom against the heathen Magyars and Norse. Without Charlemagne, Italy would have gone to Islam and much of Germany would have remained pagan, leaving the British Isles as the moral center, if not the bulk, of Western Christendom.
-3. In the late 900s, the Anglo Saxon King of England, Alfred, under Norse heathen pressure, began a martial Renaissance, bringing back ancient Greco Roman martial arts. In this proposed timeline, a Romano Britain monarch would go even further and possibly resurrect gladiatorial schools to serve as military cadres and crusading orders.
-4. The final speculative event that might logically flow downstream from the chain of alternatives posited above, is that Constantinople in 1453, would fall more completely, with no Crusade of Nicopolis coming from half Islamic France, and the crucial resistance to the Ottomon Empire provided by Wallachian and Polish forces being compromised by the heathen kingdoms of Germany exerting pressure from the north. In such a case, Vienna easily falls to Suleiman the Magnificent, which it nearly did historically, in 1529.
-5. Without the crusading orders of the Temple and the Knights of Saint John and Teutonic Knights, based in the Middle Sea, France and Germany, this time line reduces Christendom to The British Isles under a Romano British Monarchy, that during the Viking Perils of the 900s reverted to a meritocracy, such as the Rome of Diocletian in the late 200s.
Technological Notes
Historically, Rome understood the concepts of the steam engine but did not use it, possibly in defense of the slave based social order. Rome was also in possession of civic engineering and steel production closer to Early Modern levels than Medieval. The line of Arthur Brittanicus would wish to achieve technological and naval superiority over Islam as surely as historical Early Modern Britain did over the continental powers of Spain, France and Germany. In that the actual Industrial Revolution did occur in Britain, I will place it there as well, but retard it due to the lack of Protestantism [which was key to this process] compounded by residual Roman class values.
Assumed is, heavy steam technology, to include paddle boats, steam ships and trains, but excluding large scale industrial manufacturing, with the elite clinging to high manual labor craft production models to maintain social control and prevent idle servile hands from turning their attention to “the Devil’s work.” Additional airship technology, based on ballooning, will be limited to wind power due to the lack of petroleum technology and the high weight of stem technology.
18th century flintlock and wheellock firearms technology, [1] with rival Islamic and Asian societies in possession of 17th Century matchlock technology.
Medical technology will be limited to that of Galen [A.D. 200].
Literacy will be limited to the elite and the upper tier slaves who serve the Senate, merchant princes, Legions and Houses Munera [2] as in ancient Rome. The use of crude wood block printing presses are limited to Rome, with other civilizations still dependent on the manual copiest.
Political Geography
Rome: The Seven Seats of Rome [3]
The High Seat
Britannia, to include, the Azores, Maderia Islands, Canary Islands, Cape Verde islands, Ascension Island, Saint Helena Island, Iceland and Greenland.
2nd Seat
Canada, to include Alaska.
3rd Seat
North America.
[America would be called Panonia. See Voice of Britannic Rome.]
4th Seat
Central America.
5th Seat
South America, to include The Falklands, South Georgia, South Africa, Madagascar, the various isles of the Indian Ocean.
6th Seat
Australia, to include Antarctica, New Zealand, Tasmania and New Guinea.
7th Seat
Oceanna, to include all of Polynesia, Micronesia, Japan and Formosa.
Islam:
Caliphate: Arabia, Palestine, Africa, Iberia.
The continued Coptic Christian nation of Ethiopia is the great embarrassment of every sitting Caliph, who, as his first order of office, declares a jihad, which regularly fail in various stages of calamity, in part due to Roman interference on behalf of the Ethiopian Kings.
Suffi Sultanate: Kurdistan, Armenia, Persia, Afghanistan, lower Central Asia, Azerbijan
Tartar Sultinate, Siberia, Mongolia, Russian, Upper Central Asia, Caucasus, Ukraine
Ottomon Empire: Anatolia, Syria, Lebanon, Bulkans, Italy, France, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Switzerland, Bavaria
Heathenry, Kingdoms of
Prussia
Lithuania
Latvia
Estonia
Finland
Sweden
Norway
Denmark
Frisia [Holland]
Saxony
Bohemia [3]
India is under fractured Hindu rule under a dozen monarchies and includes Ceylon, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Independent Buddhist kingdoms in Nepal, Tibet, Burma, and Indochina exist under Chinese and Roman influence.
China extends to the Taklamakin Basin, Korea and into Manchuria and is afflicted by Roman interference and Islamic revolt in much the same as it has been historically under British malevolence.
Notes
-1. For my “race casual technology” adherent editor, I am permitting the pre-industrial Odinists of Scandenavia, and the reverse engineers of China, flintlocks.
-2. I have imagined that revised gladiatorial orders would serve as crusading orders, bodyguards for the elite, intelligence services and police. Munera means rites due the dead. A separate treatment on the 12 Houses Munera will be found in the appendices.
-3. The Empire is ruled by an Augustus Britannicus, elected, on the passing of his predecessor, from among the 6 Caesars, rulers of the six lesser Seats. The election is conducted by The Senate, with 1 vote granted to the Pope, and no influence tolerated from the Legions or the Praetorian Guard. [5] This divided government is based on the reforms of Diocletian, as reinstituted by Augustus Britannicus the 8th, in A.D. 1529, inspired by the Fall of Vienna and Continental Christendom. Caesar’s are appointed by Augustus and confirmed by the Senate.
-4. Denmark, Frisia, Prussia, Saxony and Bohemia would have been much more vibrant kingdoms if their man power had not been exported to the British Isles in the face of a Roman presence instead of in a post Roman vacuum. Also, without a Charlemagne, these folks would have likely maintained their ancient faiths. Indeed, Prussians and Lithuanians were only converted in the 1300s and 1400s, one by war and the last by diplomacy.
-5. Each Lanista of each of the 12 House Menura are employed as agents of Augustus. Upon His death, these leaders of the gladiatorial cults report to the Pope, and, as needed provide the bloody hands necessary to quash conspiracies from among the Prefects of the Praetorians, the Generals of the Legions and the Admirals of the Fleets.
-6. Normal civil order over the Populace is provided by the Lictors, consisting of 7 regional police forces, typically understaffed. Lictors have no authority over members of the Legions, Praetorians, Fleets or 12 Houses Menura. The Lictors act at the behest of the Senate. These civic police/militia and the three military arms of the empire and the 12 crypto military arms of the Munera, are often at odds with one another over jurisdiction. This situation, though not conducive to harmony, does place much power in the hands of Augustus and his six subordinate Caesars, all being his adopted sons.
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marius     Feb 5, 2024

This sounds fascinating! can't wait to read
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