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Old April 15th, 2017, 08:19 AM   #1

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Surviving Byzantium's relation with modern Europe.


Let's suppose the Byzantine empire survives to the present day. Not exactly as large as it was at its height under Justinian the Great, but let's say it survives eoncompassing the size and geography of modern-day Turkey. It assumes the role of Turkey throughout European history. ie., its had a mixed relations with Europe, even laying siege to Vienna at one time. Its lost a great deal of its Balkan territories to the HRE, but it still possesses Greece by 2017. Its ruled by a figure head monarchy still retaining the title of "Roman Emperor" and crowned by the Patriarch of Constantinople at Hagia Sophia. Its monarchy has ruled uninterrupted since Constantine, but by and large its a parliamentary democracy. It hosted the 2004 Olympics in Constantinople with the opening ceremony held at the Hippodrome. Assuming the rest of 20th century European history plays out the same way in otl, would it be a member of the EU today? Would it be more European oriented or be its own, pretty much like Russia?

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Old April 16th, 2017, 04:18 AM   #2

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Without doubt things are way complicated and differently to the day we live in compare with the Byzantine empire.

There are many issues that could not support the existence of an empire today. Maintaining an empire means that you should keep unwilling groups of people inside it. Especially in Europe this thing it is not at all favorable on these ages.

Till the end of of 18th century empires were a way of people's groups existed.
The french revolution came to give an end on this. Making every ethnicity having desire for rights and freedom.

Concluding with 54 countries I do not think Europe today would like to have or to collaborate with any empire.
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Old April 17th, 2017, 03:41 PM   #3

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Without doubt things are way complicated and differently to the day we live in compare with the Byzantine empire.

There are many issues that could not support the existence of an empire today. Maintaining an empire means that you should keep unwilling groups of people inside it. Especially in Europe this thing it is not at all favorable on these ages.

Till the end of of 18th century empires were a way of people's groups existed.
The french revolution came to give an end on this. Making every ethnicity having desire for rights and freedom.

Concluding with 54 countries I do not think Europe today would like to have or to collaborate with any empire.

A surviving Byzantium would not be a true empire. It would only be a title for cultural and historic reasons. But for all intents and purposes it would be known as the country of Byzantium encompassing the modern day Turkey of our time line. The absolute power of its emperor would have been lost a long time ago in favor of a parliamentaty democracy (Byzantine senate). The emperor is only a figure head like the British monarchy and its role is largely ceremonial.
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Old April 17th, 2017, 04:09 PM   #4

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The only way i could see a modern Byzantium existing would be as a Constantinople-only city-state, and even then it would bear little resemblance to what it was before 1453.
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Old April 17th, 2017, 04:10 PM   #5

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Before the invasions of the Turks the main language of the Byzantine Empire was Greek, which was displacing the various languages of the Asia Minor peoples. So a modern Byzantium would probably be a giant Greece.
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Old April 18th, 2017, 05:40 AM   #6

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To be more specific on this, the point of divergence is that the Byzantines scored a decisive victory at Manzikert in 1071 anihilating the Seljuks. The Turks after this no longer posed a credible threat (though they remained a nuisance for centuries to come). What's important is that Anatolia remains firmly in Byzantine hands. Romanos IV continues to rule. There would not have been a need to appeal to the west for military intervention, and that means no crusades, which in our tl resulted in the sacking of Constantinople and the period of the "Latin Emperors."

Fastforward to the 1500s, the Byzantines are once again on a brief military rebound engaging in a series of reconquest of lost Roman territories conquered by the "Frankish barbarians" over the last 800 years. A Byzantine emperor in this tl assumes the role of Suleiman the Magnificent of our tl. The Byzantines main western rivals are the Habsburgs and the Venetians. Byzantine reconquest gets them as far as the gates of Vienna to the west and north Africa and Egypt to the south. In Vienna they are defeated and they turn back to the Balkans. For the next 500 years Byzantium's development would be the same along the lines of Turkey, technologically and economically stagnating, eventually losing most of its Balkan territories to the Habsburgs. By the 20th century, what remains of the Byzantine empire is the city of Constantinople, Anatolia, Greece and it outying islands in the eastern mediterranean, Egypt and parts of North Africa.

The modern Republic of Byzantium is founded after its disastrous loss in World War 1. (It sided with Germany or whoever loses world war 1 in this timeline) A senatorial revolt, along with officers of the Byzantine Army stage a coup in 1917. It loses Egypt and North Africa to the Arab revolt (aided by the western allies) The Palaiologos Imperial family go into exile. A brief military junta is established by a strategos (let's name him Constantinos Diocletianos) who engages in a series of military, political and social reforms reminicent of the reforms of the 3rd century crisis. But slowly it develops into a Republican democracy. The power of the Byzantine Orthodox Church is also drastically curtailed in which a clear separation of Church and state is drawn. The Republic of Byzantium is to become a secular nation. Sometime in the 1920s the Palaiologos family is invited back to Constantinople to once again rule with the title of "Christ Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans) (figureheads only) and has remained that way ever since.

Last edited by seneschal; April 18th, 2017 at 06:25 AM.
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Old April 18th, 2017, 06:04 AM   #7

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Originally Posted by seneschal View Post
To be more specific on this, the point of divergence is that the Byzantines scored a decisive victory at Manzikert in 1071 anihilating the Seljuks. The Turks after this no longer posed a credible threat (though they remained a nuisance for centuries to come). What's important is that Anatolia remains firmly in Byzantine hands. Romanos IV continues to rule. There would not have been a need to appeal to the west for military intervention, and that means no crusades, which in our tl resulted in the sacking of Constantinople and the period of the "Latin Emperors."

Fastforward to the 1500s, the Byzantines are once again on a brief military rebound engaging in a series of reconquest of lost Roman territories conquered by the "Frankish barbarians" over the last 800 years. A Byzantine emperor in this tl assumes the role of Suleiman the Magnificent of our tl. The Byzantines main western rivals are the Habsburgs and the Venetians. Byzantine reconquest gets them as far as the gates of Vienna to the west and north Africa and Egypt to the south. In Vienna they are defeated and they turn back to the Balkans. For the next 500 years Byzantium's development would be the same along the lines of Turkey, technologically and economically stagnating, eventually losing most of its Balkan territories to the Habsburgs. By the 20th century, what remains of the Byzantine empire is the city of Constantinople, Anatolia, Greece and it outying islands in the eastern mediterranean, Egypt and parts of North Africa.

The modern Republic of Byzantium is founded after its disastrous loss in World War 1. (It sided with Germany or whoever loses world war 1 in this timeline) A senatorial revolt, along with officers of the Byzantine Army stage a coup in 1917. It loses Egypt and North Africa to the Arab revolt (aided by the western allies) The Palaiologos Imperial family go into exile. A brief military junta is established but slowly it develops into a Republican democracy. The power of the Byzantine Orthodox Church is also drastically curtailed in which a clear separation of Church and state is drawn. The Republic of Byzantium is to become a secular nation. Sometime in the 1920s the Palaiologos family is invited back to Constantinople to once again rule with the title of "Christ Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans) (figureheads only) and has remained that way ever since.
I think a more "realistic" speculation would be... what if the Turks converted en masse to Orthodox Christianity after Manzikert..
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Old April 18th, 2017, 08:48 AM   #8

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I think a more "realistic" speculation would be... what if the Turks converted en masse to Orthodox Christianity after Manzikert..
What would induce them to do that? Forced conversion after their defeat, or as relatively recent converts to Islam, they decide Allah is the weaker god and so decide to convert to Orthodox Christianity en-masse after their defeat at Manzikert? In that case, at some point we could get a Seljuk dynasty on the Byzantine throne. The rest of the Turks however would have to adopt and assimilate into Greek culture and language becoming fully absorbed into the "Roman" population.

Last edited by seneschal; April 18th, 2017 at 08:52 AM.
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Old April 18th, 2017, 02:00 PM   #9

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The Byzantine empire was huge and influential before 1204 and especially before manzikert, it's impossible to try to assume what they would be like in the modern day without making their alternate history into a sort of discount ottoman one, which is completely unrealistic. It's the equivalent of "what if al andalus survived into the modern day" but possibly with a larger butterfly effect. Spain is just too important to remove from world history and have little change, and a large Byzantine empire would be the exact same, especially if the Byzantine empire didn't technologically stagnate.

One thing that I can say is that it certainly wouldn't just be Greece with more territory. Greek history, and hence the path Greek culture took, is almost entirely defined by Byzantine interactions with the west, and their subjugation under the Turks. Greek identity in Byzantium itself, and hence modern Greek identity at all, was a direct product of anti-Latin animosity and 1204. Modern Greek culture is also the descendant of mostly Rural late Byzantine culture, much different than the urban culture of middle Byzantium, which alone would change the path of the culture.
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Old April 18th, 2017, 04:18 PM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanDukeofAlecon View Post
The Byzantine empire was huge and influential before 1204 and especially before manzikert, it's impossible to try to assume what they would be like in the modern day without making their alternate history into a sort of discount ottoman one, which is completely unrealistic. It's the equivalent of "what if al andalus survived into the modern day" but possibly with a larger butterfly effect. Spain is just too important to remove from world history and have little change, and a large Byzantine empire would be the exact same, especially if the Byzantine empire didn't technologically stagnate.
I think in military and political affairs, the relationship between an enduring Byzantine empire and Europe would have taken a convergent path with Ottoman relations with Europe of our timeline. Let's face it, Byzantine relations with western Europe was always one of mutual distrust. (Especially after Charlemagne was crowned "emperor of the Romans" and the Great Schism. In this timeline there was no disaster at Manzikert and the collapse of the Byzantine army in the 12th century was avoided altogether by some thorough military reforms. We get a resurgent Byantine Empire strong enough to challenge essentially a weak and divided western Europe. (The Islamic threat is neutralized with the total defeat of the Ottomans at Manzikert). By roughly the Renaissance era the Byzantine Empire will be at the peak of its resurgence.

I think the Byzantines would have eventually economically stagnated. That was invitable with the Columbian discovery and the opening of the Transatlantic trade route and alternate ocean passage to the Orient. The silk roads that helped made the empire wealthy like what happened in our timeline became obsolete. Tehcnologically, industrialization wasn't conducive to the area Byzantium occupied, so imo a surviving Byzantium would have stagnated along the lines of Ottoman Turkey.
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