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Old 07-07-2018, 11:21 AM   #3411
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

Try this idea...

(Periplus-2)

Periplus is the designation used for worlds where the change involves the Indian Ocean trade networks.

Due to one of my favorite standbys, the lost world-jumper who thinks they're a time traveler, three changes are made in East Africa in the 300sAD on this Q6 world. A) Certain rodents that were carriers of plague bacilli were wiped out. This was done in such a way as to prevent any transmission of the plague. B) A series of genetically engineered crops were introduced and vastly increased the supply of food and cloth fiber in East Africa. C) Genetically engineered trees that provide both ship timber and naval stores of a superior quality for tropical oceans, were planted, allowing the ancient Swahili Coast a far greater merchant marine.

All of these together would radically reduce the effects of the 535 event so it has little or no effect on the development of the Swahili Coast. In Homeline history the cultural renaissance that seemed to be happening in the area was stopped cold. On this world, after a short interruption, it continued.

The local year is 1183AD by the Christian calendar. East Africa is Hindu-Buddhist in religion, as in Homeline's Bali the local synthesis of these two faiths has loads of local features. Islam and various form of Christianity are also known. Frederick I, Alexios II, and Lucius III are all trying to establish regular diplomatic relations. The Islamic powers all have established embassies. The Indo-African cultural area is ruled by a federation of city states, the majority of which are republics, and fairly democratic for the 12th century.

Centrum isn't that thrilled with this world (it looks like the Indian Ocean rather than the Atlantic will be the focus of this parallel) but they want to know who introduced genetically engineered plants into this parallel around 900 years ago. Homeline wants to know this as well. Meanwhile, the Cabal is very active in this parallel. Unique forms of trance have been developed from the cross pollination of ideas from India and Africa. The White Star company wants to see about buying some of the many unique spice mixtures and other local farm products. Swagmen just want to tap into the local slave trades any way they can.

One Homeline scholar is looking up as many local copies of Periplus of the Erythraean Sea as he can find. He hopes to trace important changes in the local culture, and the divergence points, through examining changes in this famous guidebook. Centrum understands what he's doing and wants to keep that kind of data limited. So they plan to kill him. Meanwhile, a powerful Cabalist is looking for a mystical version of the Periplus that would be a guidebook to the otherworlds and realms beyond human understanding. He's also ready to kill competitors. Keep your guy alive.
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Last edited by Astromancer; 07-07-2018 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 07-08-2018, 08:38 AM   #3412
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
Try this idea...

(Periplus-2)

Periplus is the designation used for worlds where the change involves the Indian Ocean trade networks.

(SNIP)

One Homeline scholar is looking up as many local copies of Periplus of the Erythraean Sea as he can find.

(SNIP)
Okay, this is awesome. I hadn't known about that book. Would it be possible to come up with a way to achieve the same results, without something so artificial as a wayward world-jumper?

I wonder if the alt.history forum has anything....
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Old 07-09-2018, 02:59 PM   #3413
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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Okay, this is awesome. I hadn't known about that book. Would it be possible to come up with a way to achieve the same results, without something so artificial as a wayward world-jumper?

I wonder if the alt.history forum has anything....
The problem with altering the History of the Swahili coast area is that we know so little of the History of the Swahili Coast until very late and after it's culture has collapsed because of the Portuguese. Still, one of the most important limiters on the culture in question was the plague. Before the 535 event plague barring rodents were rare, farming was moving inland. After the event, plague barring rodents were common, they survived the disruption far better, and farming more than about ten miles from the coast was an invitation to an early grave.


Get rid of the plague rodents and my scenario becomes viable.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:44 PM   #3414
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Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post

(SNIP)

Get rid of the plague rodents and my scenario becomes viable.
Or, you make the area more resilient and able to recover.

I did find a nifty idea, over on the alternate history boards, that is at least somewhat plausible (although, not very). We'd have to shift things around some.

Let's make Aelius Gallus a little smarter, more cautious about following the advice of Nabataeans of questionable character, and give him a bit more logistical savvy.

He builds up a decent supply base in Berenice Troglodytica, and kicks off his "trade-mission-in-force" to Arabia, on schedule, in 26 BCE. He crosses the Red Sea to Leuke and takes Hegra, Mecca and Medina, just as he did in the original history.

However, rather than travel across the desert to try to take Aden, which cost him his entire army, Aelius Gallus realizes he's reached the end of his communications.

He stops at Mecca, and decides to do the Roman Legion thing. Gallius fortifies that place, as well as the towns behind him, and improves the roads.

This long pause gives him the time to learn that Arabia Felix, south and east of Mecca, has a whole lot of nothing but sand and scorpions. So, Aelius Gallius sends a report back to Caesar Augustus that says "ix-nay" on an overland expedition to take Aden. He then begins to try to figure out a different way to accomplish the task.

Soon enough, Gallius starts to realize that while a lot of what they'd heard about the riches of Arabia Felix were grossly exaggerated, the coast of the other side of the Red Sea held much more promise.

So, he recruits some more troops and leaves garrisons at his fortifications in Arabia Felix, embarks his legions, and takes the rich trading port of Axum. Gallius uses that city as a supply base, and from there takes Aden by sea.

This gives Rome pretty decent control of the Red Sea, and some important trading bases on both sides. I can't imagine they'd rule, directly, but client-kingdoms backed by the occasional visiting Roman Legion to "show the flag" and support the local allies, would certainly be in character.

Aelius Gallius retires a wealthy man of good reputation, and as Roman influence grows, so does its presence in the Red Sea. Control of a big chunk of the west end of the Indian Ocean trade route pays dividends, and by the First Century, CE, Roman merchants have begun to eye trading posts on the south side of the Horn.

Eventually, they discover the trading potential of the Bantu Coast (it's not the Swahili Coast, yet...), and begin to create ever-more permanent trading settlements. While the Roman military won't travel that far, the Roman merchants open up trading opportunities with the Roman Empire for the Bantu chieftains of the area.

Wealth flows to those who play nice with the Romans, and by the time Constantine I sets up the capitol of the Eastern Roman Empire in Constantinople in 337 CE, things have changed, noticeably.

All sorts of Romano-Bantu city-states glow like jewels on coast of what are Kenya and Tanzania, today. Each of them lies at the nexus of a Roman-style infrastructure of roads, bridges, canals and aqueducts, with well-designed and carefully-maintained seaports open to trade from throughout the Indian Ocean littoral. They include laundries and baths and other sorts of Roman-style amenities.

Essentially, the Swahili Coast gets a head-start by more than 600 years. So, the 535-536 CE event happens on schedule, but the Romano-Bantu are in much better shape.

Rather than devastate their cultures, the cool years hit them just hard enough to reduce the amount of available labor, and raise the value of those who survive. Wealth flows downwards, and prosperous free farms become the norm.

Millet and sorghum form a part of the traditional diet, but rice and beans from southeast Asia have made it across the Indian Ocean trade routes. Farmers also grow also cassava and yams, but most animal proteins come from fish and chicken.

The big problem is a lack of animal muscle power. Sleeping sickness kills horses and cattle before they can reach the Romano-Bantu via overland trade routes, although I suppose some could have trickled down the Red Sea, over the centuries. Africa's Cape Buffalo can't be domesticated and, while they'd be ideal, I'd think Asian water buffalo would be too far away.

That means the Romano-Bantu civilization rests on the twin pillars of trade and slavery. Human muscle replaces animal power, which means the culture eventually stagnates, as do all slaver cultures, eventually.

The arrival of Islam, would probably rock the foundations of the society -- assuming the butterflies let Islam happen, at all. A smart client might build a Roman-style domed pantheon at Mecca, and the Al-Ḥajaru al-Aswad might just be a paper-weight on the desk of the local arch-bishop.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:30 AM   #3415
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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Or, you make the area more resilient and able to recover.

I did find a nifty idea, over on the alternate history boards, that is at least somewhat plausible (although, not very). We'd have to shift things around some.

Let's make Aelius Gallus a little smarter, more cautious about following the advice of Nabataeans of questionable character, and give him a bit more logistical savvy.



Essentially, the Swahili Coast gets a head-start by more than 600 years. So, the 535-536 CE event happens on schedule, but the Romano-Bantu are in much better shape.

Rather than devastate their cultures, the cool years hit them just hard enough to reduce the amount of available labor, and raise the value of those who survive. Wealth flows downwards, and prosperous free farms become the norm.
Good stuff. Well built.


Quote:
Millet and sorghum form a part of the traditional diet, but rice and beans from southeast Asia have made it across the Indian Ocean trade routes. Farmers also grow also cassava and yams, but most animal proteins come from fish and chicken.

The big problem is a lack of animal muscle power. Sleeping sickness kills horses and cattle before they can reach the Romano-Bantu via overland trade routes, although I suppose some could have trickled down the Red Sea, over the centuries. Africa's Cape Buffalo can't be domesticated and, while they'd be ideal, I'd think Asian water buffalo would be too far away.
Some horses were transported in the Indian Ocean trade routes in Ancient times. I forget where I read that.

Quote:
That means the Romano-Bantu civilization rests on the twin pillars of trade and slavery. Human muscle replaces animal power, which means the culture eventually stagnates, as do all slaver cultures, eventually.

The arrival of Islam, would probably rock the foundations of the society -- assuming the butterflies let Islam happen, at all. A smart client might build a Roman-style domed pantheon at Mecca, and the Al-Ḥajaru al-Aswad might just be a paper-weight on the desk of the local arch-bishop.
If Rome holds Mecca, then Mecca will become Christian. Islam is unlikely in your world.
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:50 AM   #3416
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

If I remember correctly, the Bantu-speaking people did not enter what we call the Swahali Coast until around 500 AD (the area was occupied by Cushitic peoples, Khoisan peoples, Nilo-Saharan peoples, and the Pygmy peoples). The introduction of Roman trade and organization may have allowed to people native to the region to repulse the Bantu migration, preserving the ancient cultures and the ancient peoples that were destroyed by the Bantu-speaking people. It would have been much different than the region in our world.

I disagree about Islam not evolving. If Rome holds Mecca, then Islam spreads through the same trade networks that Christianity did, meaning that it spreads throughout the Romans Empire, just like Christianity did. Or perhaps that change in the timeline prevents the spread of Christianity which, in turn, prevents the emergence of Islam.

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Old 07-11-2018, 07:44 AM   #3417
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I disagree about Islam not evolving. If Rome holds Mecca, then Islam spreads through the same trade networks that Christianity did
If Rome holds Mecca centuries before Muhammad is born, it's pretty unlikely he is born, let alone that he has the same life path. And I would credit him with quite a lot of innovation in the creation of Islam. It's *not* an inevitable development from the pre-Islamic faith(s) of Arabia, there's a definite imprint of the founder in there.

This is actually a rather underexplored feature of alternate timeline stories, probably because SF authors are not a strongly religious bunch, but most of them rather seriously undermine the basis of revealed religions, in that they usually vanish from altered timelines.

If they *don't*, say Islam does appear in this line anyway, then they support it instead - God forces the same thing to happen, or provides revelation to somebody else appropriate. Indeed if Islam is a genuinely true revealed religion, you probably ought to be turning up timelines where a similar monotheistic religion appears in 3rd century China, or half the suras of the Koran are present in the oral traditions of the Neolithic villagers of the Danube valley.

Either way there really should be significant influences on (un)believers at home who have to make "sense" of whichever of those they find out in the multiverse.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:59 AM   #3418
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If I remember correctly, the Bantu-speaking people did not enter what we call the Swahali Coast until around 500 AD (the area was occupied by Cushitic peoples, Khoisan peoples, Nilo-Saharan peoples, and the Pygmy peoples).
My initial perusal seems to indicate the Bantu began to arrive in Azania by the First Century CE, and then reached South Africa by about 500 CE.

So, split the difference. The initial Roman merchants find Azania in upheaval, as the existing coastal Cushitic people face tremendous pressure from the "invading" Bantu people from the interior.

Sensing opportunity, the Romans sell to both sides, and play rivals off against one another. Those who succeed in that complicated and dangerous game increase their wealth and influence.

The advantages offered by trading ties with Rome are pretty substantial, and I think any chieftain under pressure would recognize that fact.

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The introduction of Roman trade and organization may have allowed to people native to the region to repulse the Bantu migration, preserving the ancient cultures and the ancient peoples that were destroyed by the Bantu-speaking people. It would have been much different than the region in our world.
I definitely agree about that last bit. However, I think the outcome would likely be more complex. I see a fair-size smattering of wealthy, independent city-states -- some Bantu, some Cushitic -- with traditional rivalries based on a history of conflict.

That's a more dramatic setting, too. :)

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I disagree about Islam not evolving. If Rome holds Mecca, then Islam spreads through the same trade networks that Christianity did, meaning that it spreads throughout the Romans Empire, just like Christianity did. Or perhaps that change in the timeline prevents the spread of Christianity which, in turn, prevents the emergence of Islam.
Either one could be the case. I think the hearth of Christianity is far enough away that it would likely still develop, but massive changes to the hearth of Islam might prevent the development of that faith.

Still, it could happen for some of the same reasons it did in actual history. The Byzantine Empire enjoyed a series of successes against the increasingly stressed Persian Sassanids and forced them into decline. Islam rose as a nascent form of Arabic national consciousness that unified a vigorous people who expanded rapidly to take advantage of a power-vacuum.

I think it's more likely that some (possibly heretical) form of Christianity rises, instead, though, and that unifies the Arabs enough to take out the Sassanid Persians. Even minor religious differences can motivate people to fight, though, so the Arabs could still pose a threat to Byzantium -- although, the foundations of reconciliation could be much stronger, over the long term.

Alternatively, if Zoroastrianism spreads down that same trading network, then Sassanid Persia could flip Arabia Felix and wind up with some vigorous allies. So, make the Abyssinian coast allied with the Byzantine Empire, and Arabia allied with the Sassanids, and "Yo ho, aweigh-ho, a pirate's life for me/as monsoon winds fill black sails upon the Crimson Sea!"

Meanwhile, the Romano-African city-states further south always sell to both sides, sometimes prey on both sides, and generally benefit from increased trade as merchants from across the Indian Ocean decide they'd rather not brave the narrow waters off the Horn.

One of those city-states that prospers the most is the stubbornly Romano-Cush city of Petrarxus with its fine harbor, on the island of Unguja, off the coast of Southeast Africa.
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Old 07-11-2018, 03:20 PM   #3419
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If Rome holds Mecca centuries before Muhammad is born, it's pretty unlikely he is born, let alone that he has the same life path. And I would credit him with quite a lot of innovation in the creation of Islam. It's *not* an inevitable development from the pre-Islamic faith(s) of Arabia, there's a definite imprint of the founder in there.

This is actually a rather underexplored feature of alternate timeline stories, probably because SF authors are not a strongly religious bunch, but most of them rather seriously undermine the basis of revealed religions, in that they usually vanish from altered timelines.

If they *don't*, say Islam does appear in this line anyway, then they support it instead - God forces the same thing to happen, or provides revelation to somebody else appropriate. Indeed if Islam is a genuinely true revealed religion, you probably ought to be turning up timelines where a similar monotheistic religion appears in 3rd century China, or half the suras of the Koran are present in the oral traditions of the Neolithic villagers of the Danube valley.

Either way there really should be significant influences on (un)believers at home who have to make "sense" of whichever of those they find out in the multiverse.
Of course, Islam doesn't need to be the only "True Revealed Religion." There could be half a dozen or more "True Revealed Religions" in this multiverse.
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Old 07-11-2018, 03:24 PM   #3420
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If Rome holds Mecca centuries before Muhammad is born, it's pretty unlikely he is born,
Not in the Infinite Worlds setting which have plenty of people with cross-time counterparts regardless of the differing histories.

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.p...sedCarSalesman

What's it called? Ontological inertia?

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