“To Romans I set no boundary
In space or time. I have
Granted them dominion,
And it has no end.”
Virgil, The Aeneid
So what if it never ended?
I don’t know about you but I think about these things.
If you think about this type of stuff as well you may want to read the book Roma Eterna by Robert Silverberg.
He writes of an empire that does not die but changes, adapts, and clings to the pagan gods.
You know how I judge a good book? Well, for one thing its my second reading of it, and it was just as exciting as the first time I read it. What’s more I stayed up rather late to read the whole thing. If you can’t put it down…you know it’s good.
The only issues I have with the book is that it slightly opposes my view of what might actually happen if such a thing was possible.
Silverburg’s book in order to show the progression of Roman power and influence we have a continuous references to the emperor, to the consulship, to references to Roma, to names no matter what the century that reflects the Roman influence such as Apollinaris, Marcus Anatasius, Torgquatus, Laurelolus, and Rufus.
As the centuries passed, as time moved on, the names would be less and less Roman sounding.
I believe that names would begin to move away from latin roots over time, and Apollinaris would be most likely referred to as Pollo, or Laurelolus and Laurel. And even the emperor himself would be more executive sounding as possible turning from emperor to the ‘Imperial Chief Executive’ or something like that.
That’s just me.
And why not an alternate world where the Senate turned into a version of the United Nations?
It’s my believe that over time, the roman influence would be no more strange sounding to our ears as the fact of our own Senate, and Washington architecture that reflects the times of republican Rome.
In my version of events what if the Imperial Power was shared in almost the same way as the current power of the Pontiff in Rome? What if every twenty or 40 years a new emperor is chosen in a different part of the world? A truly power sharing organization, where the seat of government shifts, and one person become the ‘Imperial Chief Executive’ and commands unlimited power. Is this so much different that the Catholic Church and the College of Cardinals recent habit of choosing non-Italians to take the seat of pope?
What if the pressure of the barbarian press on its borders subsided? What if Atilla never pressed and the Goth’s did not seek asylum, and the chain reaction of people (the Alans, the Vandals, and the Bergundians) on the move did not take place? What if decisions to allow certain people settle within the borders of Rome were reversed?
I know this is in the area of fantasy…why even talk about it?
We’ll for one reason its fun.
What if Rome survived? I know…impossible. Every civilization that rises to flex itself and make itself felt in the world ebbs and eventually wanes.
Greece rose to power while looking in the face of the Persians.
Rome rose to dominate the Mediterranean world.
And various Assyrian, and Babylonians had their time to dominate the world, only to recede.
Look at China. At one time a huge ancient Empire – one of the oldest civilizations – a dominant ancient kingdom that fell from power, to be dominated by western powers (google boxer rebellion), attacked by Japanese Imperial Forces only to step recently onto the world stage and continues to grow and make its presence felt.
And what about us – the AMEERICANs (sic)?
I happen to have a more upbeat look to the future - believing firmly the American Golden Age is still on its way. We Americans have survived meeting Goliaths in the world before, and have always managed to guide that rock to the forehead when someone got in our way.
Anyway, we move faster!
Democracies have too!
Roma Eterna is for anyone that is a ‘What If” fan of science fiction and the fantasy genre.
What if Rome tried to conquer the New World?
What if a Roman armada that circumvents the globe bringing destruction on native island people?
And what if a world tired of an endless stream of emperors rises up to install a republic that takes over and ends the imperial line, only to have Roman power to remain?
What if a strange old man is found living in a German forest lodge, who strangely looks like the child of the final emperor?
And finally what if a Jewish sect decides another Exodus is needed and the only place left to follow the new Profit is the stars?
Give it a read.
Is it on the Ancient Rome Refocused bookshelf? Not yet, still looking for a copy to permanently place there, and the book that I took out of the library is way overdue.