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AHC: Destroy 'Europe'


Well-known member
The use of the term "Europe" has developed gradually throughout history. In antiquity, the Greek historian Herodotus mentioned that the world had been divided by unknown persons into three parts, Europe, Asia, and Libya (Africa), with the Nile and the River Phasis forming their boundaries—though he also states that some considered the River Don, rather than the Phasis, as the boundary between Europe and Asia. Europe's eastern frontier was defined in the 1st century by geographer Strabo at the River Don. The Book of Jubilees described the continents as the lands given by Noah to his three sons; Europe was defined as stretching from the Pillars of Hercules at the Strait of Gibraltar, separating it from North Africa, to the Don, separating it from Asia.

A cultural definition of Europe as the lands of Latin Christendom coalesced in the 8th century, signifying the new cultural condominium created through the confluence of Germanic traditions and Christian-Latin culture, defined partly in contrast with the lands of Islam (Byzantium), and limited to northern Iberia, the British Isles, France, Christianized western Germany, the Alpine regions and northern and central Italy. The concept is one of the lasting legacies of the Carolingian Renaissance: "Europa" often figures in the letters of Charlemagne's court scholar, Alcuin. This division—as much cultural as geographical—was used until the Late Middle Ages, when it was challenged by the Age of Discovery.

The problem of redefining Europe was finally resolved in 1730 when, instead of waterways, the Swedish geographer and cartographer von Strahlenberg proposed the Ural Mountains as the most significant eastern boundary, a suggestion that found favor in Russia and throughout Europe. Europe is now generally defined by geographers as the western peninsula of Eurasia, with its boundaries marked by large bodies of water to the north, west and south; Europe's limits to the far east are usually taken to be the Urals, the Ural River, and the Caspian Sea; to the southeast, including the Caucasus Mountains, the Black Sea and the waterways connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.

So, your alternate history challenge is to create a plausible ATL in which the concept of 'Europe' is effectively destroyed, and resigned to the dustbin of ancient history; one in which the European peninsula is universally acknowledged as being merely part of the larger continent of Eurasia (the name of which may well be completely different ITTL). The POD has to be after the year 0AD. How would you go about achieving this? What would be the latest POD which could conceivably bring about this outcome? And how profound might the repercussions be- how radically different would a world without 'Europe' be?

Gary Oswald

Old and Foolish now
Sea Lion Press staff
Published by SLP
No Islam would keep north africa and the middle east within the same religious and political orbit and avoid the cultural definition of Europa from emerging.

But the problem with that is a med based view is still likely to view the three sides of the med as basically equilivant.

To view europe as a part of asia you need the silk road to be much more of a thing and more political contact between china and france so that the idea of that as one land mass seperate to africa takes hold.

Cheap way is you simply have some other culture come up with the idea of continents. You must remember that the idea itself is european, there isnt a chinese word for asia with different roots because thats not how the chinese viewed the world. If theres a competing Iranian definition that has eurasia as one that might well win out when it comes to formalising it.

The less cheap way is more successful control of the steppes and regular contact. If its more standard for persia and the balkans to be in the same empire then it was in otl then you might well see people in damascus and jerusalem viewing china and france as one continent, especially if christendom still extends past the don.