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  • What if the Byzantine empire survived?

    What if one of the following scenario's occured.

    1. The Byzantine empire survives as the city state of constantinople, much like the vatican after the turks give up on it due to a disastrous siege that resulted in minimal casualties for the byzantines while costing the lives of over a hundred thousand turks.

    2. The Byzantine empire survives as a balkan empire after repelling the islamic invasion of europe and the fourth crusade.

    3. The Byzantine empire survives in it's form after Basil II's effective leadership thanks to a victory at manzikert, a lack of the fourth crusade, and a series of highly effective heirs.

    4. The Byzantine empire survives in it's initial state as the eastern half of the roman empire, Justinian does not seek to expand his borders and instead focuses on developing his existing territories and so do his heirs.

    5. The Byzantine empire survives in it's state under the apex of Justinian's reign, I don't know how this would be possible though.

    How would history change, how would the empire interact with the rest of the world, and what would the modern world look like?
    Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
    But who's to judge the right from wrong.
    When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
    That violence breeds violence.
    But in the end it has to be this way.

  • #2
    Originally posted by pditty881188
    Great thread!

    Well I don't think Russia would have became a European power by the time of Peter the Great, it probably would have took longer. Because once Constantinople fell Russia took the reigns of the Eagle symble and Orthodox Christian.

    The Austrian Empire would probably still be Spanish, and not so big, having gained Ottoman lands by the late 17th Century this would not be possible.

    The Christians having a blockade on the Black Sea, and the Venetians obtaining control of Mediterrean trade longer, the battle of Lepanto would probably never have happened. The Ottoman fleet would be smaller in the area but still large in the Arabian seas. Spain with Isabella and Ferdinand might have invaded North Africa.

    Venice being more wealthy might have kept the Spanish and French out of Italy, no battle of Pavia, and the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, originally Norman I think, would still hold southern Italy. The Unification of Italy prolonged, probably still divided today, north and south. I'm sure there is more but too much to type.

    Great thread again!
    Which of the five scenario's did you pick?
    Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
    But who's to judge the right from wrong.
    When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
    That violence breeds violence.
    But in the end it has to be this way.

    Comment


    • #3
      Massive thread . No Manzikerk disaster for the Byzantines means no Crusades as we know them. That changes the whole of Middle Eastern history .

      Could the Byzantines, if they had kept their cavalry recruiting grounds lost due to Manzikerk, have coped with the Mongols? If not, then perhaps todays politics would not be too different, some events just occuring later. If they did survive, given their naval power and Silk Road terminus, could even be a power today. A unified Balkan/Turkey state this century has so many ramifications that it would be impossible to produce a decent reply.
      How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
      Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by pditty881188
        Yes, and I think the Venetians and the Byzantines would of had alot of great, bloody, religious wars to read about today. Perhaps the Byzantines would control the Mediterrean keeping their secret of Greek fire still. Venice in trouble here? The Byzantines on the Italian penninsula instead, huge bloody battles there too.

        Could a unified Balkan/Turkish state effected Western Europes history enough? No Ferdinand and Isabella would be huge. No rise of the Hapsburgs could have a greater impact still. No 30 Years War could mean a delay in the formation of the nation-state, and even an eastern-orthodox rather than catholic dominated Christian religeon? My head hurts .

        Manzikert 1071 must be rated as one of those most pivotal battles in history. There is also no reason why a slightly smarter Emperor could not have won it.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Manzikert
        http://www.deremilitari.org/resource...es/markham.htm
        How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
        Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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        • #5
          Mantzikert itself was not a hard battle: indeed all the Turks demanded was Armenia. The ensuing civil war and stupidly power hungry nobles killed the Empire. No dynasty ever brought the nobles to heel. That's why even historians claim Byzantium was a creature unfit to survive. A Mantzikert was inevitable in the long run, that it came so quickly after Basil II was a fluke. But then again Greeks do this sorta stuff all the time. Why do you think their are no more Greeks in Anatolia? After Ankara the Greeks turned on each other, set on power in Athens rather than saving the Greek claim to Anatolia.
          How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
          275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Wolery View Post
            Mantzikert itself was not a hard battle: indeed all the Turks demanded was Armenia. The ensuing civil war and stupidly power hungry nobles killed the Empire. No dynasty ever brought the nobles to heel. That's why even historians claim Byzantium was a creature unfit to survive. A Mantzikert was inevitable in the long run, that it came so quickly after Basil II was a fluke. But then again Greeks do this sorta stuff all the time. Why do you think their are no more Greeks in Anatolia? After Ankara the Greeks turned on each other, set on power in Athens rather than saving the Greek claim to Anatolia.
            Would the turks and arabs be bold enough to attack an empire that stayed at it's height under Justinian (let's say that the plague of the same name never happened) and risk turning the Eastern Roman Empire's attention's to them instead of reclaiming the old territories of Rome? Then again, if that plague never happened and Belisarius wasn't pulled back, Justininian may have reclaimed all of the old Roman territories and more (Germania, Poland, Lithuania, part of or all of the sassanid empire, and the entirety of the British Isles perhaps?) The real test for such an ascendant empire would be the coming of the magyars and the vikings, both of whom helped knock the Holy roman empire from it's high perch under Charlemange. Islam may never form though..
            Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
            But who's to judge the right from wrong.
            When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
            That violence breeds violence.
            But in the end it has to be this way.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Czin View Post
              What if one of the following scenario's occured.

              1. The Byzantine empire survives as the city state of constantinople, much like the vatican after the turks give up on it due to a disastrous siege that resulted in minimal casualties for the byzantines while costing the lives of over a hundred thousand turks.

              2. The Byzantine empire survives as a balkan empire after repelling the islamic invasion of europe and the fourth crusade.

              3. The Byzantine empire survives in it's form after Basil II's effective leadership thanks to a victory at manzikert, a lack of the fourth crusade, and a series of highly effective heirs.

              4. The Byzantine empire survives in it's initial state as the eastern half of the roman empire, Justinian does not seek to expand his borders and instead focuses on developing his existing territories and so do his heirs.

              5. The Byzantine empire survives in it's state under the apex of Justinian's reign, I don't know how this would be possible though.

              How would history change, how would the empire interact with the rest of the world, and what would the modern world look like?
              1. I can't see Constantinople lasting much past 1453. While the Seige was a close run thing - if the Italian's hadn't fled after their leader was injured than the city may have held - it would just have been a matter of time before another Sultan took the city.

              2. I can't see option 2 being possible in the long term either - after Manzikert it was only a matter of time.

              3. On the other hand a victory at Manzikert could have meant survival. The Turks would be diverted to Arab ruled lands. Though of course the Turks could have attacked again, been succesful and histrory playing out much as it did.

              4. This could have lead to Byzantine survival to modern times. Instead of being most of the middle east being despirately poor torn by continuos war, it would be the richist place on earth. This senario would have depended on a Byzantine victory at Yamouk followed by the crushing of the nascant Islam.

              5. I can't see this happening due to overstretch.
              "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                2. I can't see option 2 being possible in the long term either - after Manzikert it was only a matter of time.
                I could not disagree with you more here. The failure of the state to crush the petty nobles was what killed the Empire, and that made it a matter of time. HOWEVER:

                Even as late as 1280, the Empire could have survived, maybe not reconquered everything, but certainly held it's own. Chief reason is that until the recapture of Constantinople, the Turks were largely confined to Anatolia, which while bad from a manpower point of view, the Turks couldn't exploit it either until the mass conversions began to reshape the nature of Anatolians from Greeks to Turks, about the time of the rise of the Ottomans.

                The Commenian dynstay could have driven the Turks from Anatolia under three of it's four Emperors. Alexius feared the recovered land would be used to further the agendas of the scheming nobility, and rend the empire again and again. John could have done it, but from what I understand of him, he was more interested in rebuilding the shattered Empire he inherited. And Manuel, who was no slouch in anything, thought Hungary was a more tempting target than the Turks. A bad call, but it saved the Rum Sultanate from the ass beating Manuel gave Hungary.

                Don't forget that by the time of the Commenia dynasty the theme structure was both abandoned and discredited. Re-establishing it would have meant the kind of civil wars Basil II went through without an existing freeholder class to support the state. There were very good reasons on the ground to not drive the Turks out. Whether anyone could have seen that without hindsight is a guess, but I never really got the improssion anybody did.
                How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

                Comment


                • #9
                  To be honest, the butterflies of the Byzantine Empire surviving in any form would make the world of 2010 so completely different than our own it would be impossible to compare them really. But, the biggest thing of course is a serious curtail on Russia's stance as "The Third Rome", and their status as the major Orthodox state. You may see the eventual reconciliation between the churches, leading to a unified major Christian church, and a very interesting Reformation. Military wise, Greek Fire will still be around, napalm at the Battle of Waterloo anyone?

                  Anyway, not to ramble, but if anyone is interested, here is a story chronicling a surviving Byzantine Empire under Isaac I Komenid, going from the 1140's all the way through it's current spot in 1750ish.
                  It's not that I should win, but that others should loose.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Legosim View Post
                    To be honest, the butterflies of the Byzantine Empire surviving in any form would make the world of 2010 so completely different than our own it would be impossible to compare them really. But, the biggest thing of course is a serious curtail on Russia's stance as "The Third Rome", and their status as the major Orthodox state. You may see the eventual reconciliation between the churches, leading to a unified major Christian church, and a very interesting Reformation. Military wise, Greek Fire will still be around, napalm at the Battle of Waterloo anyone?

                    Anyway, not to ramble, but if anyone is interested, here is a story chronicling a surviving Byzantine Empire under Isaac I Komenid, going from the 1140's all the way through it's current spot in 1750ish.
                    My thought also, Rome would have been more challenged during the Renaissance and Reformation than it actually was. Perhaps Rome would be sacked by the Byzantines? Because I think Venice would bring them onto the peninsula because of their trading competition in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Interesting!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If the world wars happen at all, with little else changed other than the Eastern Roman empire taking the Ottoman empire and Greece's place among a few other things (going by scenario four, though this would stretch credulity somewhat, WW1 would have probably gotten started as a territory dispute between Byzantium and Austria-hungary in this timeline) I wonder which side Byzantium would take. On one hand, historically the Byzantine empire had a very friendly relationship with the various duchies and states in Russia, a relationship further strengthened by the fact that they are both Orthodox christians, while on the other hand, Austria-hungary would be at the doorstep of the Eastern Roman empire. Also, if Byzantium takes the side of the Allies, it's entirely possible that Italy may have honored it's agreement with Austria and Germany and join the central powers just to contest the claim of the Byzantines and the Russians as the true heirs of Rome. In addition, the Qajarian/Persian empire may have taken the Central power's side in hopes of gaining territory from the Byzantines, and for fun, let's say Ethiopia takes the Central power's side.

                      Unfortunately for Persia, this would have meant that she would have had to fight a two front war against the Romans and the British Raj. The Romans would have had to fight a three war, a western/northern front against Germany, Italy, and Austria-hungary, a eastern front against the Qajarian Empire, and a African/Meditterranean front against Italy, Germany, Ethiopia and Austria Hungary. However, as the Byzantines are quite famous for their skill at defensive warfare and fortification building, I think trench warfare would come quite naturally to them.
                      Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
                      But who's to judge the right from wrong.
                      When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
                      That violence breeds violence.
                      But in the end it has to be this way.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well first we have to know the point of divergence. Having done and read a few counterfactuals, there's an intellectual consensus that weird crap would happen to spin at least the affected areas quickly away from history. It's called the butterfly effect. I don't enjoy those stories.

                        Still even if God is pushing the world in a similar direction as our own, it's not enough to simply replace titles like Ottoman Empire for Byzantine Empire. The facets of their cultures at the POD and beyond is critical. For instance in a POD I had the Vandal Kingdom survive both Islam and the Byzantines, but what I realized is that this kingdom even if it reconstitutes after Islamic conquest like Armenia did, they where going to be surrounded by Muslim powers and all the slave raiding they historically did. So this kingdom develops a very potent light dragoon system designed to counter slave raids at the village level, with the heavies directly under the King and mostly based in Carthage. It also means the Vandals have a genocidal hatred of Muslims slave raids are continuous and on all sides for the better part of a 1000 years.

                        In trying to immediately link the modern with the medieval, it can't be you pick a couple of things and run with it. You also need to look at how the societies around it responded to a state like that and how individuals rulers might have acted under these new circumstances. This is before trying to figure out if needed reforms (and oh God did the Byzantines need reform) could be done, when and how. It's a lot of fun, but you have to justify it well.
                        How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                        275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well one difference would be that Tamerlane would attack Byzantium, not the Ottomans, and Tamerlane was a muslim who made other muslims known for their brutality **** their pants in fear. (90,000 human head pyramid just for one city? Jesus Tap dancing Christ there's brutal and then there's omnicidal insanity! This guy was definitely one of the most terrifying men of all time, at least Genghis Khan had plenty of redeeming traits.) Would Tamerlane be swayed by gold like the mongols before him were? Or would he just ransack them any way to make the europeans scared to death of him? Or would the Byzantines manage to repel one of the most terrifying and murderous hordes Central Asia has ever spewed out? If the Byzantines win, they will bring their empire and Orthodox Christianity immeasurable amounts of glory, if they lose, Timur is going to be making a lot more human head pyramids.
                          Last edited by Czin; 21 May 10, 21:27.
                          Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
                          But who's to judge the right from wrong.
                          When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
                          That violence breeds violence.
                          But in the end it has to be this way.

                          Comment

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