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Roman Marcomannia

Ricardolindo

Active member
Location
Portugal
#1
In our timeline, in order to end the Marcomannic Wars, Marcus Aurelius wanted to annex Marcomannia. What if his plan succeeded? How would a border north of the Danube affect the Roman Empire?
 
Last edited:

Alex Richards

She needs an artificial Mountain, not AV
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Derbyshire
#2
I'd have thought it would be similar in history to Dacia? A difficult province to hold, subject to frequent raids that lasts about a century before being lost and given up 50 years later.

There'd probably be a serious attempt to conquer the Free Dacians in the lands in-between the two provinces, but I have no idea if it would work or not.
 

Yokai Man

Well-known member
#3
I'd have thought it would be similar in history to Dacia? A difficult province to hold, subject to frequent raids that lasts about a century before being lost and given up 50 years later.

There'd probably be a serious attempt to conquer the Free Dacians in the lands in-between the two provinces, but I have no idea if it would work or not.
Eh,hard to say.The Free Dacians were seen more as a nuisance than something needing to be conquered by the Romans.

They could do that,but it would just make Dacia last slightly longer as a province before being abandoned.
 

Alex Richards

She needs an artificial Mountain, not AV
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Derbyshire
#4
Eh,hard to say.The Free Dacians were seen more as a nuisance than something needing to be conquered by the Romans.

They could do that,but it would just make Dacia last slightly longer as a province before being abandoned.
It's more that if they've got a province on either side, it would be a significant shortening of the borders.
 

Ricardolindo

Active member
Location
Portugal
#6
I'd have thought it would be similar in history to Dacia? A difficult province to hold, subject to frequent raids that lasts about a century before being lost and given up 50 years later.

There'd probably be a serious attempt to conquer the Free Dacians in the lands in-between the two provinces, but I have no idea if it would work or not.
Marcomannia has gold mines. The Romans might get a financial boost from them. Thus, they may think they should try to keep the province.
Regardless, a Roman Marcomannia would probably reduce the raids on Dacia.
 

Redolegna

Champagne Socialist
Moderator
Published by SLP
Location
Paris
Pronouns
he/him
#9
Would present day Marcomannia (in our timeline, Northern Bavaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Northeastern Hungary) be Romance speaking?
Not a guarantee: see the Illyrian and Dalmatian provinces now having now a Slavic language. Not sure exactly why it kept in Romania, @Yokai Man might be able to illuminate us on this one, but in Gaul and Hispania it required a large buy-in by elites already favourably looking towards Rome and with significant trade and political links pre-conquest, reverberating down centuries of rule. That was, I believe, significantly weaker in Britain, for a shorter period of time and with fewer people. My guess would be it would be closer to the latter than the former.
 

Ricardolindo

Active member
Location
Portugal
#10
Not a guarantee: see the Illyrian and Dalmatian provinces now having now a Slavic language. Not sure exactly why it kept in Romania, @Yokai Man might be able to illuminate us on this one, but in Gaul and Hispania it required a large buy-in by elites already favourably looking towards Rome and with significant trade and political links pre-conquest, reverberating down centuries of rule. That was, I believe, significantly weaker in Britain, for a shorter period of time and with fewer people. My guess would be it would be closer to the latter than the former.
It's not clear why Romania remained Romance-speaking. Indeed, it's not even clear if Romanian is, actually, Dacian Romance or derived from a migration from further south.
 

Yokai Man

Well-known member
#11
Not a guarantee: see the Illyrian and Dalmatian provinces now having now a Slavic language. Not sure exactly why it kept in Romania, @Yokai Man might be able to illuminate us on this one, but in Gaul and Hispania it required a large buy-in by elites already favourably looking towards Rome and with significant trade and political links pre-conquest, reverberating down centuries of rule. That was, I believe, significantly weaker in Britain, for a shorter period of time and with fewer people. My guess would be it would be closer to the latter than the former.
It was mostly due to Christian missionaries and the Byzantine Empire managing to win against Slavic forces and repel them out of the area of Romania.

It's not clear why Romania remained Romance-speaking. Indeed, it's not even clear if Romanian is, actually, Dacian Romance or derived from a migration from further south.
Now that there is a really heated topic around here in academic circles and oh boy,you don’t want to get roped into that,trust me.
 
#12
The question of whether the 'Romance' language origins and connections of modern Romanian come from a long-term Roman survival in Dacia or from a medieval ethnic or cultural migration is both tangled and impossible at present to solve, quite apart from the heated political debate. I read up quite a bit about this in the Byzantine Studies library at King's College London as a student, using the multitude of English and French translations of 1910s to 1940s Rumanian and other E European books there, and the most you can say for certain is that there is a long gap with no clear written evidence of who the emergant 'Rumanians' of Wallachia and Moldavia in the later C13th and C14th were (let alone the ethnic origins of pre-Hungarian annexation Transylvania.) If the Romanised Dacians did survive the deluge of incoming nomads from the East after Dacia was evacuated by Rome (260s or 270s??), they must have been mixed up with their new overlords the Goths, then the Huns, then the Avars, and also later settlers in the region like the Bulgars and Pechenegs and Cumans - who we know were from Byz sources were in Wallachia threatening the lower Danube over the centuries. Not to mention the Slavs, who spread over the Balkans under the Avars in the later C6th and early C7th.

It is like the equally heated question of who the emergent Greeks pre-Independence in 1821 were ethnically; were they all 'authentic' Greeks of Hellenic descent from the Ancient Greeks, or did the arrival of Slav settlers in the southern Balkans and even the Peloponnese in the C6th and C7th (and the loss of Byz political and Orthodox Church religio-cultural control) imply ethnic dilution. Also, after the reunion of the parts of Rumania in 1919 the 'Roman' cultural/ethnic identity of Transylvania (as the centre of Dacia) as well as the 'Roman/ Byzantine' identity of Wallachia and Moldavia helped to project a picture of culturo-ethnic unity of ancient date for all of Rumania. To some nationalist writers and their political admirers, any suggestion of an ethnic mix after AD 500 is a slur on their nation and undermines its emergent C19th political and cultural integrity - they claim to be reasserting the ancient nation so the 'new' one after c. 1800 must be ethnically identical to the old one. The debates are still too heated for comfort!


On the question of Roman Marcomannia and Dacia surviving, I have made this part of my theory for 'how the Western Empire could have survived the C5th ' in my 2011 Pen and Sword book 'If Rome Had Survived' (Tim Venning, P and S). It also appears in detail in my current write-up of how this surviving Roman Empire would turn out, hopefully scheduled for publication by Sealion; I have been writing on this topic since I was at school. Broadly speaking, I deal more with the effects on Rome than the effects on the Czech/ Slovakian lands and on Rumania - though I do argue that the result would be a sort of Czech version of Rumania (or Transylvania at any rate) with a degree of 'Romanised' cultural legacy and a cultural allegiance to the Empire, either in Rome if that survived or in Constantinople if not. But in political and military terms:
1. Settling 'Marcomannia' (Bohemia and Moravia from the Danube lands N to the Carpathians), plus a Roman protectorate over the surviving allied Germanic kingdom of the 'Iazyges' tribe to the SE (ie the Danube / Theiss plain in E Hungary), not conquered by Marcus Aurelius in the late 170s but an ally, gives Rome a Carpathian not Danube military frontier. Further from Rome and in need of new roads, towns, garrisons etc so expensive, and no great boost to income unless the mines are brought into action quickly.

It's an easier line to defend than a river, provided you block the Carpathian passes (wooden lines of fences and ditches with guard-posts?) and put up a long earthworks/ wooden fences and ditches 'limes' (frontier line) as in the Rhine to upper Danube line of SW Germany across lower land like the gaps in Carpathian ridges N of Brno and Olomouc. But you need long-term committment and possibly keeping most of the 20,000 or so troops that Marcus was said to have used in the conquest stationed there - a larger Roman army and more taxes. A risk of withdrawal if the costs get too high or once the post-235 civil wars start?

2. If there's a large garrison in Marcomannia, does this mean less troops in Upper Germany or on the central Danube and if so are the local tribes sufficiently Romanised to avoid revolting (which will now be easier) after the Empire starts to break up? Or if the existing garrisons are kept and the Marcomannia army is a new one, which side does it take when Septimius Severus , commander on the middle Danube, intervenes in the 193 succession crisis to march on Rome? Does he dare to revolt at all if he is uncertain of the backing of the Marcomannian commanders, or do they try to stop him? Does this mean that the Severans do not come to power in 193 at all? Or even if the army in M backs Septimius, or he is commanding there not on the Danube so he can use this army to attack Rome, does he have to evacuate Marcomannia to win the civil war? if so, does her retake it later or not? Even if he can use the Marcomannia garrison and wins, how does the army there affect later civil wars eg 238, 249, 260? Does a larger army in the North enable the unpopular but capable 'despot' self-made general Emperor Maximin (r 235-8) with his Rhine/ Danube army backing to defeat the Italian revolt in 238? Or embattled Emperor Philip to hold out against Decius in 249 or Valerian to defeat Persia with these extra troops in 260?

3. On the plus side, if the local Germans are Roman vassals and Roman troops in the mid-late C3rd and then continue to be so in the C4th, does the West have enough troops to give it a better chance of tackling the Goths when they arrive on the lower Danube in the 370s in flight from the Huns in Ukraine? if the Romans still rule Dacia, they can attack the Goths in the rear when they cross the Danube into Moesia (Bulgaria), and win the 378 war there; or the Goths will move by force into Dacia not into Moesia and Thrace. So no Roman defeat at Adrianople, no death of Valens in battle, no Theodosius as Emperor, no split of the Empire in 395? No repression of the pagans by a militant Catholic Emperor?
 

Ricardolindo

Active member
Location
Portugal
#13
Now that there is a really heated topic around here in academic circles and oh boy,you don’t want to get roped into that,trust me.
The question of whether the 'Romance' language origins and connections of modern Romanian come from a long-term Roman survival in Dacia or from a medieval ethnic or cultural migration is both tangled and impossible at present to solve, quite apart from the heated political debate. I read up quite a bit about this in the Byzantine Studies library at King's College London as a student, using the multitude of English and French translations of 1910s to 1940s Rumanian and other E European books there, and the most you can say for certain is that there is a long gap with no clear written evidence of who the emergant 'Rumanians' of Wallachia and Moldavia in the later C13th and C14th were (let alone the ethnic origins of pre-Hungarian annexation Transylvania.) If the Romanised Dacians did survive the deluge of incoming nomads from the East after Dacia was evacuated by Rome (260s or 270s??), they must have been mixed up with their new overlords the Goths, then the Huns, then the Avars, and also later settlers in the region like the Bulgars and Pechenegs and Cumans - who we know were from Byz sources were in Wallachia threatening the lower Danube over the centuries. Not to mention the Slavs, who spread over the Balkans under the Avars in the later C6th and early C7th.

It is like the equally heated question of who the emergent Greeks pre-Independence in 1821 were ethnically; were they all 'authentic' Greeks of Hellenic descent from the Ancient Greeks, or did the arrival of Slav settlers in the southern Balkans and even the Peloponnese in the C6th and C7th (and the loss of Byz political and Orthodox Church religio-cultural control) imply ethnic dilution. Also, after the reunion of the parts of Rumania in 1919 the 'Roman' cultural/ethnic identity of Transylvania (as the centre of Dacia) as well as the 'Roman/ Byzantine' identity of Wallachia and Moldavia helped to project a picture of culturo-ethnic unity of ancient date for all of Rumania. To some nationalist writers and their political admirers, any suggestion of an ethnic mix after AD 500 is a slur on their nation and undermines its emergent C19th political and cultural integrity - they claim to be reasserting the ancient nation so the 'new' one after c. 1800 must be ethnically identical to the old one. The debates are still too heated for comfort!
The strangest part is: How did illiterate peasants in Moldova, which was never part of the Roman Empire, start to speak a Romance language?
 

Ricardolindo

Active member
Location
Portugal
#14
The question of whether the 'Romance' language origins and connections of modern Romanian come from a long-term Roman survival in Dacia or from a medieval ethnic or cultural migration is both tangled and impossible at present to solve, quite apart from the heated political debate. I read up quite a bit about this in the Byzantine Studies library at King's College London as a student, using the multitude of English and French translations of 1910s to 1940s Rumanian and other E European books there, and the most you can say for certain is that there is a long gap with no clear written evidence of who the emergant 'Rumanians' of Wallachia and Moldavia in the later C13th and C14th were (let alone the ethnic origins of pre-Hungarian annexation Transylvania.) If the Romanised Dacians did survive the deluge of incoming nomads from the East after Dacia was evacuated by Rome (260s or 270s??), they must have been mixed up with their new overlords the Goths, then the Huns, then the Avars, and also later settlers in the region like the Bulgars and Pechenegs and Cumans - who we know were from Byz sources were in Wallachia threatening the lower Danube over the centuries. Not to mention the Slavs, who spread over the Balkans under the Avars in the later C6th and early C7th.

It is like the equally heated question of who the emergent Greeks pre-Independence in 1821 were ethnically; were they all 'authentic' Greeks of Hellenic descent from the Ancient Greeks, or did the arrival of Slav settlers in the southern Balkans and even the Peloponnese in the C6th and C7th (and the loss of Byz political and Orthodox Church religio-cultural control) imply ethnic dilution. Also, after the reunion of the parts of Rumania in 1919 the 'Roman' cultural/ethnic identity of Transylvania (as the centre of Dacia) as well as the 'Roman/ Byzantine' identity of Wallachia and Moldavia helped to project a picture of culturo-ethnic unity of ancient date for all of Rumania. To some nationalist writers and their political admirers, any suggestion of an ethnic mix after AD 500 is a slur on their nation and undermines its emergent C19th political and cultural integrity - they claim to be reasserting the ancient nation so the 'new' one after c. 1800 must be ethnically identical to the old one. The debates are still too heated for comfort!


On the question of Roman Marcomannia and Dacia surviving, I have made this part of my theory for 'how the Western Empire could have survived the C5th ' in my 2011 Pen and Sword book 'If Rome Had Survived' (Tim Venning, P and S). It also appears in detail in my current write-up of how this surviving Roman Empire would turn out, hopefully scheduled for publication by Sealion; I have been writing on this topic since I was at school. Broadly speaking, I deal more with the effects on Rome than the effects on the Czech/ Slovakian lands and on Rumania - though I do argue that the result would be a sort of Czech version of Rumania (or Transylvania at any rate) with a degree of 'Romanised' cultural legacy and a cultural allegiance to the Empire, either in Rome if that survived or in Constantinople if not. But in political and military terms:
1. Settling 'Marcomannia' (Bohemia and Moravia from the Danube lands N to the Carpathians), plus a Roman protectorate over the surviving allied Germanic kingdom of the 'Iazyges' tribe to the SE (ie the Danube / Theiss plain in E Hungary), not conquered by Marcus Aurelius in the late 170s but an ally, gives Rome a Carpathian not Danube military frontier. Further from Rome and in need of new roads, towns, garrisons etc so expensive, and no great boost to income unless the mines are brought into action quickly.

It's an easier line to defend than a river, provided you block the Carpathian passes (wooden lines of fences and ditches with guard-posts?) and put up a long earthworks/ wooden fences and ditches 'limes' (frontier line) as in the Rhine to upper Danube line of SW Germany across lower land like the gaps in Carpathian ridges N of Brno and Olomouc. But you need long-term committment and possibly keeping most of the 20,000 or so troops that Marcus was said to have used in the conquest stationed there - a larger Roman army and more taxes. A risk of withdrawal if the costs get too high or once the post-235 civil wars start?

2. If there's a large garrison in Marcomannia, does this mean less troops in Upper Germany or on the central Danube and if so are the local tribes sufficiently Romanised to avoid revolting (which will now be easier) after the Empire starts to break up? Or if the existing garrisons are kept and the Marcomannia army is a new one, which side does it take when Septimius Severus , commander on the middle Danube, intervenes in the 193 succession crisis to march on Rome? Does he dare to revolt at all if he is uncertain of the backing of the Marcomannian commanders, or do they try to stop him? Does this mean that the Severans do not come to power in 193 at all? Or even if the army in M backs Septimius, or he is commanding there not on the Danube so he can use this army to attack Rome, does he have to evacuate Marcomannia to win the civil war? if so, does her retake it later or not? Even if he can use the Marcomannia garrison and wins, how does the army there affect later civil wars eg 238, 249, 260? Does a larger army in the North enable the unpopular but capable 'despot' self-made general Emperor Maximin (r 235-8) with his Rhine/ Danube army backing to defeat the Italian revolt in 238? Or embattled Emperor Philip to hold out against Decius in 249 or Valerian to defeat Persia with these extra troops in 260?

3. On the plus side, if the local Germans are Roman vassals and Roman troops in the mid-late C3rd and then continue to be so in the C4th, does the West have enough troops to give it a better chance of tackling the Goths when they arrive on the lower Danube in the 370s in flight from the Huns in Ukraine? if the Romans still rule Dacia, they can attack the Goths in the rear when they cross the Danube into Moesia (Bulgaria), and win the 378 war there; or the Goths will move by force into Dacia not into Moesia and Thrace. So no Roman defeat at Adrianople, no death of Valens in battle, no Theodosius as Emperor, no split of the Empire in 395? No repression of the pagans by a militant Catholic Emperor?
I believe the gold mines would be explored fairly quickly, like in Dacia.
Regardless, the Carpathians would, indeed, be a more natural border than the Danube. As discussed in https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...atural-borders-of-france.441168/post-16856271, mountains are more natural borders than rivers.