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Old 02-11-2019, 02:23 PM   #206
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Default Earth analogues or not

Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
That prompts other questions: are the other world Earth-analogues? If so, what are their night skies and stars like? Somebody will need to do some basic star mapping, in preparation for long-distance navigation.
Only Germania Hyperborea, out of all worlds ASNs have found, resembles Earth in any meaningful fashion. That is, the physical geography of Eurasia, at least those parts they've visited, seems pretty close. There are even astrological similarities, but annoyingly, those are broad and superficial and seem to fall apart upon closer analysis.

The few ASNs who know some astronomy want to classify Germania Hyperborea as some kind of magical land which has no connection to Earth except in so far as there are some cultures that show similarities. The night skies might be close enough to find some of the same astrological symbols, but the actual astronomy is not even close enough to be able to determine any particular era of on an 'alternate Earth'.

It's just wrong. It seems to be a planet, they guess, but even if it is broadly similar to planet Earth and the conditions which affect it are mostly similar, the stars are just wrong.

Geologists among the ASNs, ironically, tend not to have this problem. They have no problem declaring Germania Hyperborea an Earth with a somewhat altered history, perhaps, but a refreshingly sound geology. I don't know how precisely geologists at early TL7 can date things, but I expect that they are no more precise than a few thousand years here or there, if they don't have reliable archaeological touchstones to help.

ASN historians and archaeologists are divided when it comes to their views on whether Germania Hyperborea is some version of Earth or not. If it is, they can't agree on any one change point. There are camps arguing for a local year of anywhere from -22,500 BCE to 500 CE, though if you ignore the more colorful amateurs from the fringes of the völkisch movements, you can maybe narrow it down to -1,000 BCE to 0 CE.

The problem with dating things according to history is that there is no single date of which the ASNs are aware at which the historical conditions match the observed evidence. First of all, there are quite sophisticated versions of some Iron Age tribes of pre-Roman contact in the terrain analogous to Central and Northern Europe, which would ordinarily narrow things down to no earlier than -800 BCE or so. But while the local Germanic tribes might not be that different from what archaeologists might expect before Roman influence, the Celt analogues range from being not very different from their Germanic neighbors to far more advanced material civilizations.

Some of the pseudo-Celtic civilizations and their neighbors have examples of technology, art, animal husbandry and other things that we use to classify TL in GURPS terms that would put them at TL3, which makes them at least equal to late La Téne cultures and in some ways superior. What they lack to be clearly post-Roman medieval peoples is that they seem to be rather decentralized politically and their religions are much more wild and pagan than the ASNs would expect from medieval people.

If we were to accept that TL3 is not only medieval, but actually applies to the Hellenic and Roman world before a 'fall' that broke down the widespread Mediterranean trade and effective infrastructure that linked much of the known world, and that the Hellenic and later Roman world was actually much more advanced than the Iron Age cultures of the Hittites, Assyrians, early Thraco-Dacians, early Aegeans, early Italics, early Hallstatt culture or wild tribal Germanics, that could fix a lot of our dating problems.

We could say that Germania Hyperborea was a version of Earth at a point after the Hellenic era began and before the Western Roman Empire fell. Obviously before there were Romans in Westphalia or even in in Gallia Transalpina, so before Caesar's time. Doing that could put our best guess for a local year at anywhere from -700 BCE to -60 BCE, going by the cultures nearest the ASNs, but the problem with that is that there is a distinct lack of empires and cultures elsewhere in the world which ought to be there if that were the actual date.

For example, there is no apparent Mycenaean Greece, not even as a fallen land of ruins and legends, and there is certainly no flowering of Ancient Greece, whether that would be Archaic Greece or Classical Greece.

There are people speaking Hellenic languages and cultures of various ethnicities clearly heavily influenced by the speakers of something linguistically related to something vaguely proto-Grecian, but it's not anything remotely close to Ancient Greek. There seems to have been a colonizing power of merchants and educated elites who might have spoken proto-Hellenic languages and spread widely around the Mediterranean analogue and even around the Black Sea, but they did not worship Olympian deities or espouse any recognizable version of the culture of Homer's Greeks.

Instead, the elite among these colonizers and traders were possibly Minoan and,there are several cultures still around that are dominated by religious beliefs and an elite class of priestesses and magic-users that may derive from Crete and/or from pre-Hellenic cultures in similar locations. Crete itself, however, is no longer any kind of important polity, but it seems to be held in some regard by cultures around it as a sacred place, destroyed by a great catastrophe.

So, the closest thing to a unified 'Aegean' culture are Minoan-influenced colonies, but many 'Minoan'-influenced cultures do not speak Hellenic languages, but languages that are probably Thraco-Dacian, Illyrian, Celtic and several languages that the ASNs have not classified yet. Indeed, some ASN philologists insist that the substrate of common influence is Pelasgian, not Minoan at all.

There's no Assyrian Empire, no Achaemenid Empire and, well, no Roman Kingdom or Republic emerging into any kind of world power. There are peoples who speak languages similar or related to all of these language groups, but they control a few city-states at most, no great empires.

The Romans don't seem to exist at all. Where Rome should be is a polity ruled by powerful magical overlords, where the elite isn't speaking any kind of Italic language at all, but some of the slaves and lower classes do speak a number of related languages, which seem to be mostly Italic (but include some Celtic languages among the slaves and a few disputed ones that may be pidgins or Creoles).

This possibly pseudo-Tyrrhenian polity might be a threat to the ASNs in the future, but its lack of expansionist fervor and distance from any gates that the ASNs use heavily has so far made it more sensible to trade with them in a limited fashion and otherwise ignore them.

There was a Semitic-speaking culture with a lot of ocean-going trade going on around the Mediterranean analogue, but they weren't recognizably Carthaginians and probably not Punic, either. And, in any case, they only had city-states and mostly just traded peacefully in lands claimed by other cultures. They were not a unified polity, just a widespread trading culture that shared similar languages or dialects, beliefs and values, but each city seems to have been independent of the others.

Speakers of one of the Semitic languages* were growing into a regional power in the western Med analogue, but during a war with the local population of some islands, the ASNs intervened on the side of the non-Semitic, racially 'Mediterranean' natives (who speak a language, or even languages, that the ASNs can't classify.**

The ASNs 'destroyed' the Semitic polity on the islands and shattered the Semitic trading culture. At least the ASNs caused their trading network so much damage, by attacking shipping and burning their ports on the northern shores of the Mediterranean analogue, that the Semitic-speaking culture are temporarily knocked out as as any kind of global or supra-regional contender, anyway.

*As far as the ASN philologists can tell, it is probably West Semitic, but it is not Akkadian, Aramaic, Assyrian, Hebrew, Phoenician or Punic. It may be a close relative of extinct Amorite languages, perhaps even a descendant of Ugaritic, but if so, it's not as if the ASNs could confirm that, not having any Ugaritic speakers. Hell, most of their amateur philologists and even some of their professionals could believe in H.S. Chamberlain's and Rosenberg's theory that the Amorites were fierce and proud Aryan warriors!
**As, indeed, a lot of natives seem to do. Some of it reflects the difference between our late TL8 historical linguistics, archaeology and related disciplines and the politically influenced early TL7 philology and prehistory of 1940s Germans, especially considering that this branch of ASN 'science' was dominated by the Anhnenerbe. Some of it, though, is the fact that plenty of archaeological cultures in pre-Hellenic and pre-Roman Europe spoke languages that we can't classify very well either and may not be closely related to any languages that survived in written sources that we have access to.
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Last edited by Icelander; 02-11-2019 at 09:29 PM.
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