The Roman Imperium

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Tom Kalbfus
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The Roman Imperium

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:00 am

In my Parallel Earths thread I mentioned an Earth where the Roman Empire never fell, and which instead developed the Jump Drive and colonized space. I thought I'd create a thread to talk about this particular setting. The Romans never developed the means to cross into parallel universes, so they aren't aware of them, the Third Imperium of course does not want to inform them, so it has secretly sent scout agents to collect information on this Interstellar Roman Empire. Culturally, little has changed in this empire from classic times. the departure point from our history occurs in the second century AD, you see in this Universe Jesus Christ was never nailed to a cross, instead it was somebody named Barabas, as a consequence Christianity never developed, was never persecuted by this Roman Empire, and after a few generations was quickly forgotten about. The Romans remained a pagan empire, the Roman gods evolved, gods that were in charge of various physical forces of nature, Jupiter, Neptune, for example declined in importance, more important where the philosophic gods such a Mercury, Venus, Mars and so forth. There were many other gods besides those of the Official Roman State religion, and they were tolerated and embraced as much as those worshipping those also embraced the Roman gods and goddesses. As Rome progressed technologically, the Roman Religion evolved to match the Romans' new understanding of how the Cosmos worked. The Romans colonized the New World, they conquered Asia and Australia, by what would have been our 18th century they achieved the status of a planetary government, and launched rockets into space. By what would have been our 19th century, they colonized Mars, Luna, and the Asteroid Belt, later on in that century, they invented the Jump Drive. By the 20th century they encountered the Vilani, and the Interstellar Wars began a century earlier, which resulted in a significant set back for the Vilani, as the Romans conquered half their territory. The Romans were much more proficient in administrating their newly won Empire, than the UN was in the Traveller Prime Universe. The Second Imperium and the First coexisted in an uneasy peace punctuated by various conflicts, but with neither side every able to completely conquer the other. the Romans retained certain institutions from their classic period, slavery being one of them. The Romans were an equal opportunity enslaver, usually slaves were made out of people or aliens that actively fought and resisted Roman Conquest of their territory, those that did not resist were made into Roman citizens instead. Another part of Roman life were the Games, games were about life and death, and also a means to deter crimes against the Empire, some people volunteered to fight in these games, and often won tidy sums of money, or if they were slaves, they won their freedom is successful. The Emperor's title was First Citizen or Imperator, there was an advisory body called the Senate, which represented the upper classes, and the Assembly which represented the opinions of the common citizen. The Generals and Admirals of the various services were the kingmakers, they were the power behind the throne, the Senate had the official duty of rubber stamping the decisions of the various armed services about who would be Imperator whenever that position became vacant, in practice the seat was nonhereditary, emperors chose a successor that was a nonrelative to the emperor through a process called "adoption." The Emperor groomed his successor and cleared the way for his acceptance by the armed sevices and to be voted on by the Senate upon the current Emperor's death or retirement. the Capitol of this Empire is still in the Ancient City of Rome on Terra.

Any thoughts, suggestions or questions?
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby legozhodani » Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:06 am

Always interesting to see where people take the Roman empire. It could work, though I shudder at the thought of being on the edge of such an Empire. The Romans were a mercyless bunch at the best of times. Fear the great empire!
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby Condottiere » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:24 am

The Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire had a number of different factors contributing to it, then just a change of religion, which was co-opted to becoming the state religion and altered and homogenized to reflect the realities of realpolitik of the fourth century anno Domini.
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:30 am

Condottiere wrote:The Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire had a number of different factors contributing to it, then just a change of religion, which was co-opted to becoming the state religion and altered and homogenized to reflect the realities of realpolitik of the fourth century anno Domini.
Yes, more than a different religion is required. I just wanted to keep this Empire recognizable as a Roman Empire, rather than implement 5000 years of cultural change. Technologically it is an advanced society, but it still has slavery, they still worship many gods. Part of what cause their decline was the establishment of hereditary emperors, instead of the previous method of one leader picking their successor, one does not pick one's children after all. If someone feels they're entitled to inherit the throne because one's parent is sitting on it, then assassination attempts might be made, this tends to weaken the Empire, and it produces such characters like Nero.
phavoc
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby phavoc » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:46 pm

You should take a look at the Renegade Legion universe.
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby -Daniel- » Mon Nov 07, 2016 6:42 pm

phavoc wrote:You should take a look at the Renegade Legion universe.
I was just going to suggest the same thing as I was reading this thread.

Phavoc is right, I am sure parts of that game will interest you and give you ideas. :D
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby JBRocky » Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:59 pm

-Daniel- wrote:
phavoc wrote:You should take a look at the Renegade Legion universe.
I was just going to suggest the same thing as I was reading this thread.

Phavoc is right, I am sure parts of that game will interest you and give you ideas. :D
Was going to say the same thing. Good setting that can give you some good ideas.
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby Condottiere » Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:20 am

Rick
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby Rick » Sun Nov 13, 2016 3:10 pm

Yeah, about the religion bit; the Roman state religion was the previous Emperors that had been deified, the Roman cultural religion was the Jovian pantheon (the renamed Greek gods + a few others) as a regional selection of gods. The people of a conquered province had to worship the state religion, but was free to worship whichever other gods they chose - you generally ended up with a mix of local gods and roman cultural gods, or sometimes a roman cultural god and a local god might become one - such as Lenus Mars or Jupiter Poeninus in Gaul, or 2 gods from different pantheons might be seen as a married couple - all to aid in the romanisation of a province. Added to that was the widespread worship of Mithras, originally a soldier's god, but had spread throughout the empire - a popular choice as the ideals of being against indulgence coincided well with Roman ideals.

The roman idea (and in fact the original Christian idea) was that a people must have no other gods before the roman state gods (which was later corrupted into the late Christian idea that you must have no other gods but me).
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby Condottiere » Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:46 am

I don't know how sophisticated Roman thought was about the relationship between church and state, but Augustus probably instituted the Imperial pantheon as an extension of the Roman religious institutions that were yoked to the state, to the rest of the Empire, more as an ideal to strive for, loyalty and a sort of super patriotism, or at least, a nominal bending of the knee to Rome by the client kings, subject peoples and colonies.

If you accept the concept of multiple deities, adding one more isn't an issue, except as a symbol of subjugation.

I think the Israelis piously ignored this, and Roman administrators wisely didn't push it, until someone decided to have that imposed by violating their temple.
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Mon Nov 14, 2016 2:19 pm

Condottiere wrote:I don't know how sophisticated Roman thought was about the relationship between church and state, but Augustus probably instituted the Imperial pantheon as an extension of the Roman religious institutions that were yoked to the state, to the rest of the Empire, more as an ideal to strive for, loyalty and a sort of super patriotism, or at least, a nominal bending of the knee to Rome by the client kings, subject peoples and colonies.

If you accept the concept of multiple deities, adding one more isn't an issue, except as a symbol of subjugation.

I think the Israelis piously ignored this, and Roman administrators wisely didn't push it, until someone decided to have that imposed by violating their temple.
Well my timeline starts by Jesus not becoming a martyr, Pontius Pilate spares him, why? What if Barabbas murder's Pilate's wife, that might be enough to put him on the cross instead of Jesus? Without the cross, there is no Christianity, and lets just leave it at that.

The Roman Religion continues in its place, and at some point the Romans become interested in science, and number of Roman philosophers decide to follow in the footsteps of the Greeks, Rome becomes secularized, the Educated Romans don't take the state religion seriously any more, and neither do the Emperors. Some Emperors become interested in science, some even build observatories s they can observe the stars. The Industrial Revolution gets going centuries earlier than in our timeline. The Romans discover gunpowder, build sailing ships, and colonize the New World, and the Native American are added to the Roman Pantheon, it takes Rome a while to subdue the Native American tribes, but they eventually do. Cities are build, the Roman Imperial Eagle standard is planted on the surface of the Moon and the Romans move on to colonize the Solar System. The Jump Drive is invented, and the Romans expand their imperium to the nearby stars and after expanding for a number of centuries, their Imperium encounters the First Imperium. The First Imperium hasn't declined as much by the time first contact occurs, because it occurs earlier than in our timeline. Conflict between the Imperiums results in a stalemate rather than in one conquering the other, and both Imperiums learn to coexist, and competition ensues between them, it is conflict that keeps both imperiums ital. and active. The Roman Imperium expands rimward, while the Vilani expands coreward.
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby Rick » Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:35 pm

Try reading the "Germanicus" series by Kirk Mitchell (Procurator, New Barbarians and Cry Republic) - diverges from our timeline at about the same point as yours and, although it just goes up to about the 1950's or so, could give you some ideas. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanicus_trilogy
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:15 am

This is the backwards Rome model. Though the lack of a Dark Age and Long Night could mean that this Roman Empire reaches the same level of technological development by 1106 Imperial as does the Imperium, but it is a 5000 year old Empire, as a much longer history than the Third Imperium, and is in Competition with the Vilani Imperium. Since it I stagnant, it still has slavery, has sometimes cruel emperors, has blood sports Arena fights to the death, barbaric executions of criminals and enemies of the state, and wouldn't it be nice if the PCs got stuck in such an alternate universe, perhaps through a misjump. So who would be worse, the Romans or the Vilani?
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby Condottiere » Tue Nov 15, 2016 9:49 am

How far does modern technology impact the Empire?

If you don't fully automate, you can manufacture clones to do the slavery part.

They're considered more reliable after the Android Wars, led by their great leader, Sparktickedoff.
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Nov 15, 2016 2:26 pm

Condottiere wrote:How far does modern technology impact the Empire?

If you don't fully automate, you can manufacture clones to do the slavery part.

They're considered more reliable after the Android Wars, led by their great leader, Sparktickedoff.
Enslavement was viewed as a punishment, if you were an enemy of Rome and your were captured, if your crimes weren't severe enough to justify execution, you were enslaved. Slaves could after a time purchase their own freedom. I think Romans were wary of having the population of slaves outnumber the population of free citizens, because that would invite slave revolts. Cloning people would just add to the slave population. What the Romans would rather have was obedient citizenry, somebody with a stake in the Empire, as managing slaves is difficult. I think the Empire would rather have people paying their taxes than having to enslave them, but if they refuse to pay them and or revolt against authority, they will be enslaved. I think that was the attitude. Slaves usually came from conquests out of people who resisted those conquests, it wasn't really a racial thing like it was in the old American South.
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby AndrewW » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:13 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote:Slaves could after a time purchase their own freedom.
Or win it in the arena.
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby -Daniel- » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:28 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote: Well my timeline starts by Jesus not becoming a martyr, Pontius Pilate spares him, why? What if Barabbas murder's Pilate's wife, that might be enough to put him on the cross instead of Jesus? Without the cross, there is no Christianity, and lets just leave it at that.
I get wanting to leave Christianity out of the picture but what about the other religious movements of that time? Are they all out?
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:16 am

-Daniel- wrote:
Tom Kalbfus wrote: Well my timeline starts by Jesus not becoming a martyr, Pontius Pilate spares him, why? What if Barabbas murder's Pilate's wife, that might be enough to put him on the cross instead of Jesus? Without the cross, there is no Christianity, and lets just leave it at that.
I get wanting to leave Christianity out of the picture but what about the other religious movements of that time? Are they all out?
Islam probably doesn't exist because that's in 700 AD, without Christianity, that changes things to much, Muhammad is never born. There is Judaism, a very hereditary religion, people are born into it, not usually brought into it as converts. The Roman State religion is surprisingly tolerant, but its a two-way street: "We'll accept your gods if you accept ours" the concept of a religion that rejects their gods is something that is not tolerated very well, some people take it as an insult! The Romans don't have much of a concept of a religion, that somebody else's world view could be different from theirs, and that it doesn't include the gods and goddesses they worship and sacrifice to. A more technological Roman Empire becomes more secular, they have more philosophical gods and less force of nature gods because those forces are more explainable by science. Things like war and love, they have gods and goddesses. So what happens when the Romans encounter the Vilani, assuming they are standard Vilani? What happens when the Romans encounter the Zhodani, or the Aslan or any of those other standard races and cultures?
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby Rick » Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:59 am

Enslavement was viewed as a punishment, if you were an enemy of Rome and your were captured, if your crimes weren't severe enough to justify execution, you were enslaved. Slaves could after a time purchase their own freedom.
Yes and no - most slaves were hereditary, in that there parents were slaves, although you could become a slave by either your parents/guardians selling you into slavery, or by being a debtor - your debts were paid by your submission, basically. It was exceedingly rare for a slave to purchase his own freedom - usually an owner might free a slave for long service, or some act, but the manumission (act of freedom) was very rare indeed. Criminals within the empire were usually executed, or put into the arena as Noxii - they'd receive no training or equipment and were usually put up against professional gladiators or wild animals. Captives taken by Rome in war were divided into 2 types - the dangerous ones, which were executed immediately, or the safe ones, who could be used as slaves - don't forget almost every ancient civilisation went to war to obtain slaves; the Romans inherited this civilised practice from the Greeks, who had been doing it for several centuries.

As to other religions, one of the biggest in the middle east would have been Zoroastrianism, which had been the state religion of the Persian Empire (and would be pushed into obscurity by Christianity and Islam) and was a bit like Judaism, as most sects didn't accept converts (except for converts by marriage), although a few did. It's probably one of the oldest living monotheistic religions in the world (Judaism and Zoroastrianism tie for that as neither can say precisely when they started) - both Judaic and Zoroastrian religions were on good terms with each other.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: The Roman Imperium

Postby Condottiere » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:59 am

Buddhism replaces Christianity.

Or Mithraism.

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