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41797124 No.41797124 [Reply] [Original] [4plebs] [archived.moe]

I'm developing a powerful empire at the core of my setting, but I need to advice.

If Europe never entered the so-called "Dark Ages", and Classical civilization continued to grow and prosper, what would it have looked like by the 15th or 16th century? What would have been different, what would have remained similar? Particularly in at least brief terms of society and culture, religion, government, military, and technology?

What I'm trying to develop is a nation that has combined traits of medieval and classical European civilization, in a way that's rather believable.

>> No.41797318

I'm going to assume you mean the Western Roman Empire. If you did, then very much like any other feudal empire. It would have a very latin bent with a healthy amount of Germanism thrown in for good measure. Violent, backward, corrupt, and exceptionally powerful in military means. It has a pervasive culture that is borne on the backs of its armies and in the weight of its now very old and worthy coin. I guess. There's no good answer for what you want because you're cutting out the ability for things to change.

>> No.41797442


The Black Death would still have swept on through presumably. That brought social changes in its wake.

>> No.41798919

Most of your answer makes sense but

>you're cutting out the ability for things to change.

I am? I'm just saying let's say the Dark Ages didn't happen. I imagine social and cultural evolution would have continued with or without the fall of Rome

>> No.41798969

Rome was an incredibly conservative society that went through any major change kicking and screaming. Evolution would continue, but it would likely be extremely muted in comparison to the vibrant cultural changes of the medieval period that came from a variety of cultures rubbing their dicks together in war and peace.

>> No.41799259


Firstly, technogical progress would stagnate heavily, especially in the military front. Rome, while well equipped for their time, tended to win battles through sheer force of number. They often crushed their enemies by simply having more resources available to them.

They simply had no reason to innovate.

Hell, while civil engineering never reached the scale of Rome, it started improving greatly from an engineering standpoint after.

Necessity is the mother of invention, after all.

Rome sucked. I still don't understand why western Europe masturbates so furiously over it.

>> No.41799324
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Well, that is an aweful lot of speculation...That people in the 15th and 16th centuries had a total boner for, especially in Italy!

Allow me to introduce you to "In Modo Antiquo"- "In fashion of the Ancients". With the renaissance having a heavy focus of the technology and philosophy of ancient Rome and Greece, fashion followed suit, and was especially apparent in armour: Peturges, brass/gold plating, decorative maille, stylized armour, capes, togas... It was a better time.


First one is obvious... The Corinthian barbute. A simple variation of the barbute helm, it had no advantage over the T-face, aside from being sexy.

>> No.41799387

What? one of the reasons Rome excelled as much as it did was the second they found something better they replaced the old.

>> No.41799414


What?? No, they literally threw blood and gold at everything.

>> No.41799596
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>> No.41799610
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Rome was all about that innovation. They took ideas from cultures they fought against and improved them. Their weapons were based upon Celtic and Iberian design, their helmets on Gallic tribes, their engineering was mostly original, but utilized a lot of modified Greek techniques.

Their numerical advantage and gold surely were important, but such numbers/ wealth could only be attained through advanced farming systems and very strong administration to manage the army of that size. The legions themselves were quite strong even without their numbers. Caesar managed to conquer Gaul alone using only a few legions and auxiliary troops, compared to the hundreds of thousands of Gauls and Germans he faced.

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>> No.41799892
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shall I continue?

>> No.41799961

You're talking about a society that decided that math was for fags unless it built bridges.

>> No.41799980

Are you saying they're wrong?

>> No.41800075
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>Greeks loved math
>Greeks were fags
>Ergo Math= Fags
I don't see the problem here. Pythagorean scum please leave

>> No.41800098

You are conflating their military with their civilian culture.

Yes, Rome was quick to adopt weapons that worked and similar things.

But in their civilian areas they were backwards as fuck.

Take for instance the edict against interfering with a corpse. Because the human body was considered a holy symbol, it was illegal on pain of death for a Roman citizen to open up a corpse and poke around inside. As a result their surgeries and knowledge of human anatomy was very basic, almost backwards. They based their understanding of the internal human body on studying the corpses of bonobo apes.

Autopsies and dissection was not just illegal but blasphemous.

Greeks were allowed to study the internals of a human body, and were looked down upon for doing so.

These kinds of religious superstition laws were so entrenched that there was no real way repeal them, or even the mindset to try.

>> No.41800202

Look a the Byzantines. Apply that to France, Apply that to everything else as needed.

>> No.41800364
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>You are conflating their military with their civilian culture.
That is a valid combination. A society whose idea of having a talented politician or moral citizen was someone who has served their city in war, and to not do so was viewed as cowardly. Of course I'm speaking of pre Imperial Rome, but it stands within reason that Rome's civilian life was intertwined with the military in some way, shape or form.

Considering that the Ancient Egyptians were conquered through a battle involving Persian soldiers strapping cats to their chests to prevent Egyptian troops from being quick to attack, having shitty religious practices is not uncommon for powerful empires. Having screwed up practices like this is expected, and does not invalidate the artistic, beauricratic and scientific advances of the Roman Empire. Hell, Byzantium/Constantinople was the most advanced and wealthy city in all of Christendom till its sack in 1205. Clearly it was doing things right for quite some time

>> No.41800528

Cool images. But of course renaissance Europe, especially Italy, had a super high regard for the classical era and romanticized it heavy. But it was re-appropriation of lost culture. I'm more trying to imagine what would happen if it didn't go away, and/or the dark ages/early medieval era and what came with was heavily muted if not avoided.

>> No.41800613

>shall I continue?

>> No.41800632

The first question you have to answer is 'Why didn't Western Rome collapse' or 'Why didn't Rome split into Eastern and Western Empires'.

>> No.41800701


>> No.41801381
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How about this, have the Byzantines seize the west during it's instability, and that's literally it. Or have the Byzantines seize the west after the empire had already balkanized into Gothic kingdoms. The Romans remained one of, if not the most powerful empire of their time, long after "Rome" had fallen (into and including the 15th century, btw).

Now any Romaboo will tell you that the Romans had impressive city planning, art and architecture, and what one might call factories. But I personally can't see any major change happening (unless we're speaking on the order of centuries) unless the Empire has some sort of enlightenment analogue. That could be neat, but the beginnings and implications of such a movement in your setting are beyond me.

>> No.41802280

he has a point. plus christianity was changing alot of the views that old rome had (while thankfully still limiting the power of the church). so the romans were able to culturally change and improve. however we will never know just how far they would have been able to go or not go.

You can't argue that nothing would have changed culturally. yeh they were slow to change but every culture that has ever existed and succeeded usually was slow to change. if things are changed overnight that is not a good sign its actually a sign of instability not forward thinking.

>> No.41802516

Not if they were a slave and you were tge emps could do what the fuck you want; I'm sure that this would of been the same for any slave as long as it's not a citizen do what you want with your property.

Shit the same thing could be said for doing that thing in the med or enlightenment Christians didn't take to kindly to it either.

Op if I was you I would go with no pants; only barbarians wear pants west of the Rhine, the land continues to be w roman.
Along the Rhine is a Trajan wall on the other side are the barbar who have taken to living in stone walled cities / keeps.

The Christian church never really exploded out of the middle east; leading to no over arching religion still polygots.

Advance tech levels as you want, as even when stif has been found out its still been not used; eg the steam engine, mechanical computers.

Decide how warfare changed, or stayed the same, has gun powder make it to the west, did the fact that the Roman Empires nor fall lead to the huns / mongols never becoming the super scary figures of history as they had to fight the barbars barred from entry to civilized areas?

>> No.41805015

Toby, not Tony.

>> No.41805035

What would Europe looked like if Sparta expanded instead of sticking to isolationism and low birthrates?

>> No.41805143

Also, Egyptian Macedons gave zero fucks and did autopsies.
They even did some rather organized research into what kept people well fed.
They basically did human testing on their troops (or prisoners) by feeding them in a certain way for a few weeks in the desert to find out what kinds of food would keep an army on its feet most efficiently.

This led to a rather clever and efficient system that allowed their quartermasters to basically look at a map and say 'X thousand troops, Y miles(or stadia, I guess), we'll need Z number of cattle,(plus straw for that cattle), flour and grain, chestnuts, horses, and nuts.
This was then basically consumed in that order.

The Carthaginians copied that system, and since the Romans were damn good at copying things themselves, I'm sure they also used it.

Point is, while there may have been religious taboos, they worked around those.

>> No.41805156

Read "Haunted Mesa" by Louis L'Amore. The Empire is going to be the BBEG BTW.

>> No.41805195

Sparta was a shitty way of setting up a city state, the system they ran was inherently unable to expand in any way.

If you go for such a what-if, at least use an interesting and semi-realistic setup.
e. g. 'What if Carthage had won the 2nd Punic War?'

>> No.41805216

The Rise of Islam, The Bubonic Plague, the Golden Hoard, they would've had plenty of things to thrust change upon them.

>> No.41805222

>the system they ran was inherently unable to expand in any way.

Jingoist military juntas aren't good for expansion?

>> No.41805254


Not when they are complete tied to slaves back home, yeah.

Armies march on their stomachs. You can't expand without a stable powerbase, which Sparta lacked.

>> No.41805259

Define "won". Carthage would have had to burn Rome forever and annihilate the Romans or they would face another war, just like what happened to them in the Third Punic War.

>> No.41805262

But attempting to keep ~80% of your society as serfs or slaves who are not allowed to fight unless your city is already surrounded tends to not work out well compared to other societies which are built on on a broader strata of citizens and farmes.

And that is without going into the question surrouncindg the presence of slave labor possibly stifling industrialization.

>> No.41805346


Hannibal was already winning militarily. Defeated the heads of Roman government and besieged the Roman cities. He ended up losing because the Roman citizens worn him out in a war of attrition. Unless he massacred just about every Roman citizen, they would have gotten back on their feet anyway.

>> No.41805353

... Just look at the Byzantine Empire, one of the most powerful empires existing well after the collapse of WRE.

In fact, go a step further. Look at the BE then assume thr Plague of Justinian never happened. Your empire analogy now rules a land area ca. Twice the size of the western empire at its peak. Poke around for historical analogies, weird events and civil wars and you're set.

Alternatively, look at the holy roman empire. Second reason lots of fantasy maps have a "empire" somewhere, since the HRE was a mainstay of European politics for a thousand years and then some. That also makes for a more interesting Empire in general, lots and lots of city states with their own rulers and laws organized under a emperor who wields both lots of power and yet has to be careful with it to avoid random civil war.

Also remember that if something is around long enough it takes on a weight of its own. If your empire has existed forever, it's coin and traditions probably seem as basic to people as breathing air does to us. You can justify almost any asinine idea with "they've always dobe it that way"

>> No.41805392

This. Byzantine was set to reconquer Italy until the Justinian plague wiped them so hard that they never left the Balkans thereafter.

>> No.41805421

Well, Carthage essentially had the manpower and wealth to do exactly that.
They just wasted a lot of it on what turned out to be secondary theatres. Iberia, the Balearic Islands, etc.

If they'd sent half or two-thirds (or even all of it, re-taking Iberia after Rome is no longer a threat would have been comparatively easy) of these troops to Italy, around or shortly after Cannae, I would say a siege of Rome could succeed.

Now, the reason why they (that is, the ruling council and judges of Carthage) didn't do it is probably that they were afraid Hannibal would them come home and declare himself king.
But the fact that he didn't do it when he pretty much had all kinds of chances to do it after they lost the 2nd Punic War might indicate that they were mistaken.

Anyway, the idea that Carthage burns down Rome completely and salts teh earth is probably too extreme, they just didn't do things that way.
We'll have to go into what-if territory, so let's make up a sort of Carthage-led league of city states, all more or less bound to Carthage by trade. This could easily include all teh former Greek colonies in and around Italy, and might include the Etruscan cities, and Rome. As a city state, not as a power that rules over the other cties near it.

Carthage was building pretty much exactly that, a sort of trading Empire, in Iberia and along the African coast.

The question is, where does this lead?

>> No.41805425


They did launch their campaigns agaisnt Italy and warred the whole of it till annihilation of the Gothic realm and what lasted of the Roman structures in Italy.

>> No.41805532
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A question for the Romefags here. It's commonly accepted that a large part of Rome's decline (in the West at least) came through a weakening of their army. The Romans no longer wished to be conscripted so the army was mostly one of an ever dwindling number of professional soldiers backed up by Germanic mercenaries and auxiliaries who often settled in Roman lands as a compensation for their work. Of course the horrible mismanagement of Honorius didn't help either, as he both lost Britannia and couldn't prevent the sacking of Rome itself (according to some he was pleased to hear that the demise of Rome was that of Rome the city, not Rome his chicken).

What I'd like to know is:
1. Why was the old Roman military system abandoned?
2. Why wasn't it reintroduced as soon as it became clear shit hit the fan?

The old system of the early Republic was one where everyone bought their own equipment and depending on how much you could afford you could become part of a more elite part of the army, from the lowly velites to the heavily armored TRIARII. If I'm not mistaken, Marius reformed this system by ensuring that the state would supply more or less standardized military equipment for all soldiers, allowing all of them to fight somewhat equally effectively and drawing poor men to the army as it would offer them a chance to better themselves. After a certain number of years (25 I think?) the army would reward them with a piece of farmland for their own, not exactly a bad retirement plan.

Why wasn't this reintroduced? This is the system that allowed Rome to conquer the Mediterranean world. Why didn't the heir of Honorius instantly decide to decrease Rome's reliance on Germanic mercenaries with no real loyalty to Rome?

Clickbait image for guaranteed replies

>> No.41805585

>Anyway, the idea that Carthage burns down Rome completely and salts teh earth is probably too extreme, they just didn't do things that way.

Then they will be destined to fall. Rome did that to its enemies all the time. Hell that is EXACTLY what the Third Punic War was. Rome burned Carthage, and eliminated that source of Competition. So if your Divergence is the Second Punic War this WILL have to happen at some point.

>> No.41805655


Because all those legionnaires aren't going to be settled in Italy or Sicily because the Senators families have already seized all the land there. Everyone in the Roman empire wanted to be in Italy, not bumfuck Iberia or Asia Minor.

The other part of Marius' reform was that it wasn't the senate who paid the legions, it was the generals who became responsible for paying the legions and thus the legions became loyal to their commanders in stead of Rome.

>> No.41805668

"Oh yes, all you soldiers and mercenaries are now fired. We don't need you any more because we're returning to a different system."

"Uhuh. So we're just heavily armed, well trained brigands now?"


>> No.41805712

Sparta had a massive manpower problem because they would get rid of weak babies but did not allow new people to become Spartans. And they relied entirely on slaves for their agriculture.

At one point their armies were 90% Helot slaves due to the manpower issues. And the Helots revolved every time they left home to the point that they once had to have their allies send troops to keep their slaves in line while they went off to war.

>> No.41805723

Ok so to answer your questions:

>1. Why was the old Roman military system abandoned?
Because the rules of Warfare changed over time. Horsemen were garbage in the early Roman Period, Hoplite Infantry was utterly superior to the old Persian Army model, and it was what Alexander used to Fuck over nigh the entire known world at that point. The Romans stole the Manipular Legion ideas from the Samnites, because the Samnites used them to beat the dog shit out of the Roman Hoplite armies during the early Samnite Wars.
The Marian Reforms were implemented because by the time of 107BCE the Roman Republic was no longer a region Italian power but a Mediterranean Superpower, the like of which had never been seen before. This left a HUGE amount of outsiders, and not citizens within the Republic, whom would mostly cause trouble and hate the Romans. See Spain/Greece. The Romans needed a way to convince these peoples to fight for them to solve both problems. SO they started handing out Citizenship to the people that would fight in the Legions for a period of 25 years or so. And for a LONG time it did solve these problems. It gave the Republic and then the Empire a MASSIVE manpower advantage of mostly loyal Professionals with something to fight for, their eventual citizenship and land at the end of their tenure. As you stated here

>The old system of the early Republic was one where everyone bought their own equipment and depending on how much you could afford you could become part of a more elite part of the army, from the lowly velites to the heavily armored TRIARII. If I'm not mistaken, Marius reformed this system by ensuring that the state would supply more or less standardized military equipment for all soldiers, allowing all of them to fight somewhat equally effectively and drawing poor men to the army as it would offer them a chance to better themselves. After a certain number of years (25 I think?) the army would reward them with a piece of farmland for their own.

>> No.41805724

Also, continually setlling new lands with legionares means continually fighting to get new lands. Ever lasting wars to pay for your army to have ever lasting wars lead to the crisis of the third century.

So now it's been 150 years and you no longer have giant legions because they tended to get all inclined to follow their commanders in rebellion. Most professions have been near-hereditary for a while so you can no longer raise new forces quite as easily and, besides, armies are awfully awfully expensive.

It's just plain good sense to rely on barbarian mercenaires.

>> No.41805740

Look at Byzantium and you will have your answer. It is the medieval Roman Empire. It was stagnant, ass backwards, and had the most effective, centralized government and tax system, infrastructure and fortifications of the west and near east.

It was unrivaled when it came to military innovation. After the Invasions of the Huns and other horse archers, the Byzantines transformed their armies to match the new threat; by training more efficient, heavily armoured horse archers themselves, who could double as lancers that rivaled anything the west could throw at it until the rise of heavy Norman cavalry, who could fight on foot with a plethora of weapons that would put most Frankish knights to shame. The Armies of the Byzantine Empire received such a tremendous amount of training and funding that it is nigh impossible to compare to the legions of the unified Empire.

If the west survived, it would have undergone a similar transformation, focusing more on heavy cavalry than horse archers, due to the fact that they faced different threats like the Franks and other Germanic peoples.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that not all was lost. The unified empire as a political entity ceased to be, but the culture of Rome continued on. Conquering Franks and Goths did not convert Gaul and Spain to their culture, the Goths and Franks were thoroughly, nearly completely Romanized.

>> No.41805767

I see, I guess that makes a lot of sense. After Caesar, I imagine Roman leaders would be terrified of giving their generals too much power. Running out of land and needing an economy based on something other than endless expansion is important too.

If we assume all that, looking for alternatives to the Germanic mercenaries isn't easy. That probably explains why it never happened.

What I'd like to know as my last question then is why this didn't happen to the East. Why didn't the East rely as heavily on Persian and Arabic mercenaries as the West relied on Germanic mercenaries? Up until the Byzantine empire they seemed to have their military pretty well together, with only a relatively small portion of Frankish mercenaries.

>> No.41805772

Heavy infantry ceased to be the mainstay of warfare. The fourth and fifth centuries saw the rise of heavy cavalry or horse archers as the bulk of most armies.

>> No.41805796

The East was rich beyond everyone's wildest dreams. They paid off their enemies to invade the West.

They bought allies from the steppes, they funded rebellions and pretenders. The west lacked these essential resources.

To the eastern empire, no battle was worth fighting if it was not ensured that the battle could be won with a minimum of casualties. Essentially, the Roman Empire's main advantage, it's manpower, had shifted irreversably to their enemies.

>> No.41805800

HOWEVER, eventually the Empire became so massive it was VERY HARD to continue to expand. SO Expansion slowed down gradually, the Pax Romana happened and the Empire began to compete mostly within itself. Eventually landed elites grabbed most of that farmland from the Soldiers descendents by being rich assholes and such. And to boot EVERYONE was already citizens due to how citizenship worked. SO Military service became less and less of a good option had fewer and fewer benefits. Military service, no matter WHAT the "MURICA FUCK YEAR!!!" tells you is not for most people. So the Marian System gradually became unsustainable without shit like Forced Levies, look at draft dodgers to see how well that works out. Oh and the rich assholes kids could opt out of Levies by virtue of being rich. So the Marian system broke down AND the Crisis of the Third Century, which nearly broke the Empire sixteen times in thirty years or so happened.

The Emperors, (all sixty of them at one point, yes the Senate recognized sixty different men as Emperor at one point during this incredible shit show) could NOT depend upon the Legions for anything during this period, hell most of them barely existed. So they imported Mercenaries from the Fucking horrible dirty shit hole that was Germany at the time. LOTS OF THEM. The Mercs were loyal to gold. Once the Crisis was resolved these mercs, whom now made up a HUGE portion of the Empire's total fighting powers were not just going to go back to Shithole land, not after having tasted the glories of Roman comforts and such while raping and pillaging their way around the Empire. Which leads to:

>2. Why wasn't it reintroduced as soon as it became clear shit hit the fan?

Because they could not get rid of a LARGE section of their fighting forces without them suddenly becoming landless brigands and for the most part the first few generations of Mercs were actually pretty loyal.

>> No.41805808
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How did this happen? I know this is a very broad question and I'm sorry for that but it's one that really intrigues me.

In the days of Alexander and the Early Republic, infantry was king. Hoplites formed a nigh impenetrable wall and cavalry was only good for outflanking the enemy.

In the Early Middle Ages heavy cavalry becomes the king of the battle field, but the High Middle Ages already changes this rapidly (Battle of the Golden Spurs etc.). This trend only continues as Napoleon stated that any line of infantry should, with enough discipline, be able to withstand any charge of cavalry assuming it comes from the front. He saw cavalry the same way as Alexander did: only good for flanking and charging in the back.

Why did in the Early Middle Ages the role of cavalry suddenly change so much, when both before and after it they had comparable roles? It's not just heavier equipment as even the early Roman Republic's rivals had cataphracts, a system the Romans could easily have copied if it were that effective.

>> No.41805834

>The East was rich beyond everyone's wildest dreams
Why was that? I'd say the Silk Road but that wouldn't happen until a millenium or so later, so what gave the East their wealth? The only thing I can think of is Egypt being the grainshed of the ancient world, but Italia and Gaul were pretty fertile as well.

>> No.41805865

A combination of technological advances as well as the fact that heavy infantry simply cannot best or even take on a steppe army. The only time a steppe army entered battle with a cumbersome infantry based army is when it wanted to do so. The transformation was a logical consequence of the invasion of the Huns, who showed everyone how shit their armies really were. The Magyars, finally, really cemented this idea in the west. When the Saxons finally merged the idea of the Free Man, Noble and mounted warrior. To be free was to be able to afford multiple war horses and the most modern equipment.

The Battle of the Golden Spurs was more an exception than anything. Heavy cavalry reigned supreme in most pitched field battles. The thing to keep in mind is that warfare in western medieval times switched almost entirely to siege warfare.

>> No.41805873
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Isn't there a growing consensus that one of the Roman Empire's chief problems was a dwindling population? Combine this with bloody infighting, and you end up severely depleted military forces. So you have to increasingly rely on outsiders to do your fighting for you. And at first you split them up, put units under the control of Roman citizens, and make them speak Latin. But then go through an emperor every two years during half a century of pretty much constant wars of succession, and you're pressed in the east by the Persians, and to the northeast by the Germans, and you suffer through yet another epidemic, and you're forced to start taking shortcuts. Desperate to not get slaughtered by some rival claimant to the throne, you're scrambling to muster whatever forces you can, and you're not in a position to be picky.

So you start recruiting Germans that fight together, led by their own leaders, and speaking their own language. And when that inevitable goes wrong somewhere down the line, you're in an even worse predicament, and you're forced to rely on *other* Germans to fight against the Germans that used to be on your side. Only now you're *really* desperate, so you let them have even more autonomy. And when *that* goes wrong, you're even further down the spiral.

Anyway, it's not like Rome was doing just fine, hit a bad patch and busted its ass. It was facing some very serious long term problems for quite a while. So if you want Rome to survive as a vibrant, energetic empire that's not in decline, you have go back centuries before it officially fell and somehow address the structural issues that undermined it. And that's going to be tricky, especially if the main factor in its decline population was disease.

>> No.41805886

Hell the Praetorian Guards were replaced by Merc bodyguards because they were so loyal during this time period. And of course many of them sent money and tales of what Rome was like, home to Shitholeland.

THEN THE CLIMATE CHANGED AND THE FUCKING HUNS SHOWED UP!!!! Both of these factors made for the fact that now, instead of getting mercs to kill other barbarians for them, the Mercs were now insisting that their families be brought with them. And the Romans did import WHOLE NATIONS OF PEOPLE into the empire to keep this source of Mercs going. MANY OF THESE GUYS had in fact been trained as Horse Raping Horsemen, whom were bringing in the fucking early versionsof the Stirrup, the thing that lets Horsemen rape half the planet under the Mongols later on. Of course Rome was also running out of food for all of these new people (climate change) and running out of gold to put in the cash their mercs were getting paid in. So the Loyalty of these mercs was suddenly questionable and they had their families, whom were NOT ROMANS with them. Basically impossible to expels or to deal with except to keep the current system going, which was unsustainable in the long run.
THEN THE HUNS HIT THE EMPIRE. Yknow those Satans that had driven a large portion of these peoples before them were now driving HUGE numbers of tribes into the West. Constantinople was UBER fucking RICH, there is a reason the Byzantines and THEN the Ottomans had it as their capital, it was and still is THAT RICH of a piece of property. The West had noting of the sort.
SO when Attila show up demanding MIRRIONS OF MONIES or
forever, the West could literally not afford to pay him off. The East could and DID. SO Attila began to rape everything in Gaul he could get his hands on. The Romans of the West had to let the Goths and Vandals into the system of power, at least temporarily, to get rid of the monster. They did so, at great cost to everyone involved.

>> No.41805894


No, the silk road was already happening and the Byzantine was sitting right on top of it.

They were also probably just a bit better at administration than the west.

>> No.41805900

The Eastern Empire was heavily urbanized (=rich) and populous, moreso than any empire west of China. The tax income alone was staggering compared to the west.

It was historically very advanced, economically well developed and had lots of trade. The West had mining and Agriculture. It was almost entirely dependant on the Eastern Empire for foreign trade.

>> No.41805902

UNFORTUNATELY the system finally broke down entirely. With the outside threats gone the Germanics turned on the Romans to seize ultimate power for themselves. This broke the Western Empire.

>> No.41805912

The Silk Road is actually one answer. Romans were mad for silk and other goods, which were in fact traded from China to the Near East to the East to Rome to Bumfuvk Nowhere, Europe.

>> No.41805914

The East was richer and had a much smaller frontier to defend from the Germans. Also, the geography of the Eastern empire (combined with the impregnable fortifications of Constantinople) meant that while you could invade the Balkans, you really had nowhere to go from there. So invaders tended to kind of bounce off the Eastern empire and end up in the West, even when they weren't originally pointed in that direction. Of course, sometimes there were bribes involved (again, from the richer East). Diocletian kind of screwed the West with the way he split the empire.

>> No.41805915

The stirrup. Literally the Stirrup happened.

>> No.41805916

>Rome did that to its enemies all the time
It's actually entirely possible that Hannibal would do exactly this if he managed to lay siege to Rome.

The Carthaginians didn't use the Roman method of pillaging and burning the city and selling the surviors into slavery very often, but they did use it on cities that had broken treaties, and/or tribes that had betrayed them.

What the Cartahginians also did was putting colonies populated with their former mercenaries into areas they had conquered.

So they might burn down Rome and Ostia, and put such a colony there instead.

>> No.41805944

Actually, that's a crock of shit. The East had an absolutely massive, huge fucking enormous open desert frontier with the Sassanid Empire that had to be manned and defended at all costs because unlike a few smelly Germans, the Sassanids were an immensely powerful, organised state and an omnipresent mortal danger to the entire empire.

Geographically speaking, the only edge the eastern Empire had was the Golden Horn. The European borders were rivers and mountain chains. Purely from a geographical perspective, the west had a much better position.

>> No.41805958
File: 269 KB, 2109x1047, Zhang Qian, Zhang Hongwei.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]

>I'd say the Silk Road but that wouldn't happen until a millenium or so later, so what gave the East their wealth?

Excuse me? It was already ongoing before even the Roman Empire happened. In 100's BC China's wars with the Xiongnu Empire triggered expeditions to the west that reached as far as Anatolia, which all explorers and diplomats came home saying THESE CUNTS PAY TOP DOLLAR FOR OUR SHIT.

>> No.41805968

Thanks mate. Pretty detailed explanation.

>> No.41805969

It sounds silly, but better saddles led to sturdier saddles led to functional saddles with stirrups.

Suddenly you can mount and stay mounted way easier, and then increasing populations of horse can be put to good use in wrecking absolutely everyone's shit.

Oh, so the other lads have heavy infantry. Good for them! Lets just ride around them and kill their baggage train. Oh, they're protecting the baggage train now? Bully for those lads, how about we ride out and sack a town or two while they're stuck on foot?

Once you get to a certain level of mobility+staying power+armaments then cavalry is simply superior to almost any amount of heavily armed foot-slugger.

>> No.41805970

The biggest thing preventing heavy cavalry from dominating the battlefield is well-organized, well-disciplined heavy infantry. And as Rome became more and more desperate for manpower, it recruited more and more Germans with less and less training. The Roman Empire at the time of Diocletian was not at all the same army that served under Trajan. It was significantly less sophisticated.

>> No.41805990

I didnt even scratch the surface. Hell GIBBON didnt even scratch the surface.

That is only a tiny part of it. The stirrup changes shit in a such a drastic way that its what made knights the Rapey rape-trains they were for the entire middle ages. It makes any army that isnt like all Pikes shit, and hell MOST of the armies of the Late empire were Horse Archers. Meaning that Pikes were STILL SHIT.

>> No.41805993


The balance only swings back around once foot starts being more mobile and able to fight back, for which the development of the bayonet and musket along with better backpacks and less need for heavy metal armor is important.

Hence Napoleon's "lol, horsies" line of thinking - feel free to charge towards the gun-men across an open field.

>> No.41806043
File: 963 KB, 2372x1599, romana317ad.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]

Deserts tend to be pretty good buffer zones. And Rome was pretty good in a stand up fight against another civilization. But having to garrison the much longer German frontier (seriously, look at the map) severely depleted its resources. And with the Germans leaking across the borders, it was a completely different kind of problem: like trying to swat away swarms of gnats.

>> No.41806084

>The stirrup. Literally the Stirrup happened.

Current theory is that the stirrup is more of a strategic than a tactical boon. It makes riding less tiresome, meaning that you can herd sheep all day or ride half a day and still fight a battle.

>> No.41806090

>But having to garrison the much longer German frontier (seriously, look at the map)
Isn't that partially why Rome initially wanted to extend their borders to the Elbe? Because it would mean defending a much smaller border despite having more land?

>> No.41806117

The only difference is that when Gaul gets invaded, you might lose Gaul, which was a sparesely populated shithole with relatively few important industries and cities. When the Sassanids invade with their organized armies and you cock up, you lose fucking Syria, Egypt and Anatolia, the economic heartlands of the Empire which are smack dab on your fucking frontier.

>> No.41806119

>the Germans leaking across the borders, it was a completely different kind of problem: like trying to swat away swarms of gnats
The problem along that border was that it was traders, mercenaries who wanted to fight for Rome, and raiders who wnted to fight against Rome, all coming across.

And telling the sheep from the goats required manpower.
And making sure the traders paid their tolls required manpower, too.

Yes. Plus, as mentioned above, army needs land to give out to soldeirs etc.

Except that time around, they got suckered and ambushed. Kinda sucks when your scouts turn out to be your enemies and all that.

>> No.41806121

Also, cavalry was on the ascent well before the introduction of the stirrup.

>> No.41806123

As always in history, there is never one reason for anything. There were many. Conquest, fame, prestige, slaves, military goals, etc.

>> No.41806127

I see nothing wrong with that statement.

Math without engineering is masturbation, it leads to shit like "2+2=-1" and similar shit.

>> No.41806145

They had norse mercenaries
The Varangian Guard

>> No.41806162

There's a difference between fighting a "civilized" power and what is, in comparison, hordes of savages. If Persian attacks, you march against them, and the fight goes one way or the other. If you get attacked by some barbarians, you march against them and maybe repel that group. For a while. But there are others around. It's more like fighting a guerrilla war, where it's hard to ever get a firm handhold on your opponent, and they don't play by the rules.

>> No.41806202

True. Which is why the east survived. It learned from the west's fuck ups. It learned when to fight and when to placate and when to hole up.

When the crusaders fought alongside the Byzantines during their first haul towards Jerusalem, they accused the "Greeks" of being cowards. The Byzantine armies had essentially morphed into the elusive enemies the west had faced when the Huns showed up.

>> No.41806225
File: 32 KB, 425x340, 1409764955232.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]

But really, maybe everyone converted to Islam (if that religion appears in the first place)
Perhaps the Mongols would invade.

>> No.41806242


More like... Mathsturbation.

>> No.41806334

The Greeks had a lot on the Romans when it came to theoretical and practical science.

Romans just took everything that worked from other cultures (Greeks included) and left it at that.

>> No.41806543

>Hurr durr theoretical science is shit.
Uh huh and without it we would still think the Earth is the center of the universe.

>> No.41806606

I'm told dark ages weren't real
also, things happened for a reason
also, an empire that doesn't collapse is a fucking miracle. what it could do isn't important, because the magic to keep it from happening is already something out of this world.

>> No.41806736


When you need your army to keep order at home, your army pretty quickly becomes shit at fighting abroad.

Makes it much harder to cope with defeats and take risks; if your army is beaten it's not a loss that you can use to motivate it's a blow to the stability of your government.

Worse, when your military has a great deal of power, you constantly have to be on guard for military coups. The sort of internal security you need to have to keep the army loyal, again, makes it shit at fighting (Look at what happened to Belisarius, or any modern army in the Arab world).

Finally there's the problem that your troops are used to dealing with unorganized guerrilla resistance, and mostly deal with civilians. This is incredibly corrosive to discipline, because there aren't a lot of consequences for fucking up when dealing with civilians. Take an army that's used to behaving with impunity against people that can't fight back effectively and throw them against a committed, motivated, organized force that's willing to fight and die and they'll be humiliated, no matter how strong they look on paper. This isn't a problem the Spartans had, because they maintained their discipline, but it is a problem for a lot of armies,

For a discussion from a modern perspective: http://www.meforum.org/441/why-arabs-lose-wars

>> No.41806819


One alt I thought of, was what if after the battle of Cannae the Romans decided "We lost this because our Cavalry was shit, and created a professional Cavalry wing, "Hire some Numidians, some Scythians, anyone good with a fucking horse, and let's create our own version of the Companions of Alexander"

So Rome has a professional, disciplined Cavalry tradition that as heavy infantry starts to decline can take up the slack. If you have them paid for by the Senate, then it serves as a counter-balancing force for centralization.

The Ceasars might even keep the system in place, because forcing the Senators to pay for all those horses is a great way of keeping their resources in check.

>> No.41806850

>So Rome has a professional, disciplined Cavalry tradition that as heavy infantry starts to decline can take up the slack.

And so never conquers Gaul,much less the rest of it's empire. This is a terrible idea. The only region of Europe where a horsebreeding culture makes sense is Pannonia, everywhere else the soil is just too good to waste it breeding horses.

>> No.41806865

>I'm told dark ages weren't real
They're real. They're called 'dark' because there's not much written about them and we were in the dark about that the fuck happened during that time.

>> No.41806947

If you mean the fall of the western Roman empire...
It could have been prevented by continuing conquests and not splitting the empire.
There'd also be less generals interested in becoming emperors if they get to govern conquered provinces as awards.
Rome and the Ottoman empire declined for three common reasons:
1. Corruption
2. Halted military conquest (which caused infighting and disputes over the emperrors seat)
3. Innefficiency of the tax system

>> No.41807000

>I'm told dark ages weren't real
you are that kind of fuck that perpetuates misinformation even if it's from an effort to try and clear up misinformation. The dark ages existed. They even included a decline in literacy and a slowing of cultural advancements. They just weren't a regress of culture and nowhere near as terrible a slowing as they are advertised.

But more importantly: They aren't called the dark ages for that. They are called the dark ages because it's a periode with comparably few records in contrast to both the time preceding and following it.

>> No.41807031


Iberia disagrees.

>> No.41807045


Not everywhere in Europe is Great Britain.

>> No.41807048
File: 483 KB, 1077x1473, KellsFol034rChiRhoMonogram.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]

Not the guy you are replying too but..

>muh cultural advancement

How the fuck do you even measure that? The number of pillars used in buildings?

>> No.41807053

>1. Why was the old Roman military system abandoned?

The old Roman military system was essentially fueled by conquest. The basis of their economic system was slavery. When slaves weren't abundant, Rome went through economic contraction. Free citizens took on paid jobs formerly occupied by slaves, which meant a smaller tax base for the empire because of how taxes were conducted (they were mainly paid by wealthy magnates in exchange for the right to tax, basically they were long and the state was short). The Legions also posed a huge issue to stability, because when you aren't making a new pie, you're going to want a larger slice of the pie you already have. The Crisis of the Third century is basically Augustus' system imploding on itself as the legions and their generals looked inward. Later reforms severely cut down the legions and focused on quick response and border security.

>2. Why wasn't it reintroduced as soon as it became clear shit hit the fan?

What shit? What fan? The German migrations were a slow process and were mostly welcomed by Romans because they were settling unpopulated and unworked land that had become unprofitable due to the lack of slaves. They didn't come in and start wrecking the empire, at least not any more than the empire was already doing to itself. Alaric started his war over a military promotion!

The Germanic kingdoms of the immediate "post-Roman" world were almost exactly the same as they were when they were all Roman provinces. You had a local strongman who controlled the armies and had precedence in military matters sharing power with a bureaucratic civic power structure, which was first the Roman state and then the Church, which took over most of the important functions, like grain distribution. Roman law still existed and was exercised for Roman citizens, Germanic law for Germanics. The strongmen still swore fealty to the Roman Emperor (in Constantinople) as their suzerain lord.

>> No.41807054

You wot? The eastern roman empire had posessions in italy as late as 1071, and returned to briefly reconquer much of the south in 1154, not to mention their posessions in crimea, anatolia, and beyond in various periods after the plague.

>> No.41807084

not him, but by comparing innovation before and after. Things like agriculture and architecture have fairly wide-reaching effects when some new innovation or technique is created

>> No.41807140
File: 2.56 MB, 1816x712, cannae.png [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]

Yeah but that's not cultural advancement in the normal sense of the word is it? Maybe I am thinking about this in the wrong way but when I hear of the thee field system or the moon landing I think technological or scientific advancement. When I think of cultural advancement is could be anything like a new music style or art.


>> No.41807274

>The Germanic kingdoms of the immediate "post-Roman" world were almost exactly the same as they were when they were all Roman provinces. You had a local strongman who controlled the armies and had precedence in military matters sharing power with a bureaucratic civic power structure, which was first the Roman state and then the Church, which took over most of the important functions, like grain distribution. Roman law still existed and was exercised for Roman citizens, Germanic law for Germanics. The strongmen still swore fealty to the Roman Emperor (in Constantinople) as their suzerain lord.
Very much this.

This took centuries to change, and when it did it was because everyone in the west now realized that Byzantium was unwilling and unable to care for the western parts of the empire north and west of Italy.
From the 5th to the 7th century, the West essentially balkanizes, and only after the Merovingians manage to take everything between the Pyrenees and Rhine (north of the Alps) they begin to claim rule in their own right.

>> No.41807308

They did successfully defend their eastern border against the Sassanids, though. Too well. By making Arab foederati. You know how great that turned out.

>> No.41807872
File: 48 KB, 707x770, 1430544611064.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]

>ignoring architecture point
>ignoring flow-on effects from advancements, e.g breeding into secondary and tertiary fields like new forms of wool and cloth, specialised animals for hunting or eating allowing for higher population density, etc
>thinking that advancement is ever truly linear

i mean, im a drunk australian, so feel free to go ignore everything i say and feel happy about it, but culture and civilization go hand in hand, and civilization requires technological advancement to grow-whether it be architectural advancements like sewers and water storage, or scientific, like more efficient methods of forging or a new breed of especially well-adapted sheep.

>> No.41807960

>thinking that advancement is ever truly linear

I don't know where you're getting that from. I linked a jazz song which is of a later date than Beethoven.

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