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No Gothic War?

Circle of Willis

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Ostrogothic Italy was an interesting place. After conquering the peninsula from the probably-Scirian warlord Odoacer at the behest of Eastern Emperor Zeno, the Ostrogoths took to Romanitas or 'Roman-ness' like a fish to water: Theodoric the Great and his immediate heirs cultivated close ties to the Pope and Senate despite remaining Arian themselves, sustained the Roman legal system, were famously religiously tolerant toward both Chalcedonian Christians (the majority of their subjects) and Jews, restored Roman architecture, temporarily united with the Iberian-based Visigoths and nominally remained vassals of the Eastern (and by then, only remaining) Roman Empire. This all came to a crashing halt when Theodoric's similarly pro-Roman daughter Amalasuintha was overthrown and murdered by her cousin Theodahad, who had the backing of anti-Roman members of the Ostrogoth military aristocracy, and Justinian took the usurpation as an excuse to invade.

In the end the Eastern Romans prevailed after two decades of bitter fighting, but at the cost of pretty much destroying not just the Ostrogoths but Italy itself. Most of its cities were left ruined, the populace was devastated & impoverished not only by the back-and-forth fighting but by the Plague of Justinian, the original Roman Senate which Theodoric had so carefully tended to and worked with stopped existing altogether not long after the Ostrogoth defeat, and to top it all off the Romans only got to savor their victory for a pitifully short time - the more barbaric Lombards hit Italy's burnt-out husk like a speeding train ~15 years later, quickly ended Byzantine authority there outside of a handful of tenuously connected cities, and further reduced their presence over the course of next century.

So, what if all of the above is averted? For the POD, perhaps Amalasuintha's son (Theodoric's grandson and initial successor) Athalaric has a better upbringing and doesn't drink himself into an early grave, or Amalasuintha herself outmaneuvers Theodahad. Among other questions, the first that come to mind are: how long can the Ostrogoth kingdom survive? Given enough time, could they abandon Arianism in favor of Chalcedonian Christianity and (even more) fully assimilate into the ranks of their subjects, as their Visigothic cousins in Iberia eventually did? And how would Italy surviving as a unified political entity with a non-totally-ruined economy and Roman institutions like the Senate still around affect the later portions of the Middle Ages?
 

Navarro

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So, what if all of the above is averted? For the POD, perhaps Amalasuintha's son (Theodoric's grandson and initial successor) Athalaric has a better upbringing and doesn't drink himself into an early grave, or Amalasuintha herself outmaneuvers Theodahad. Among other questions, the first that come to mind are: how long can the Ostrogoth kingdom survive? Given enough time, could they abandon Arianism in favor of Chalcedonian Christianity and (even more) fully assimilate into the ranks of their subjects, as their Visigothic cousins in Iberia eventually did? And how would Italy surviving as a unified political entity with a non-totally-ruined economy and Roman institutions like the Senate still around affect the later portions of the Middle Ages?
I can see the Ostrogoths easily moving towards Chalcedonian Christianity. As for the cultural after-effects, I can see an "Italian" identity never forming and the OTL Italians retaining a sense of "Roman-ness" into modern times.
 

stevep

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I can see the Ostrogoths easily moving towards Chalcedonian Christianity. As for the cultural after-effects, I can see an "Italian" identity never forming and the OTL Italians retaining a sense of "Roman-ness" into modern times.
Its possible but the Visigoths clung on to Arianism for a couple of centuries and it was a significant part in their fragility. Possibly, because Iberia had less prestige than Italy they were more inclined to maintain their Germanic/Arian identity to display their 'superiority' as a ruling elite and the Ostrogoths might have been more willing to change in Italy but I don't know what the drivers would be.

Have read that the only two of the Germanic invaders who established lasting national states were the Franks and the Anglo-Saxons and that them being pagan and hence more easily moving to adopt Catholic Christianity helped in giving their states secure foundations in the local populations whereas other Germanic groups seem to have clung to Arianism and hence ended up being supplanted.
 

Navarro

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The Visigoths had been Chalcedonian for over a century when they fell, so that really can't be taken as a factor.
 
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stevep

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The Visigoths had been Catholic for a century when they fell, so that really can't be taken as a factor.
Checking your quite correct. Thanks. I thought the division had lasted until virtually to the end of the dynasty.

In that case please ignore my previous comments as the sole bit of evidence about the Goths points the other way, that a successful conversion was possible.

Their still going to have problems with the Eastern empire at some time or another especially once they convert and become a 'Roman' kingdom as that will prompt fears in Constantinople that they will gain validity as a rival empire. However depends on what happens in the eastern empire.
 

Circle of Willis

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I'd agree with that the Ostrogoths would almost certainly abandon Arianism sooner or later, and probably sooner than the Visigoths did given their closer proximity to the Pope, the Emperor & traditional Roman institutions in Italy. Interesting point re: their relationship with the ERE - given the precedent of Odoacer and their own war with Justinian, it does seem possible to probable that that relationship would break down at some point as well, unless the East remains consistently distracted (whether by plague, the Persians, Slavs and Avars, etc.)

I think something that'd definitely force a confrontation, regardless of what trouble the East might be having, is if a later Ostrogoth ruler repeats Theodoric's success in uniting both branches of the Goths (I'm sure there's plenty of opportunities to do that, the Visigoth kingdom was notoriously unstable even after they dropped Arianism). A Romano-Gothic state spanning Italy, southern Gaul and Iberia with a Chalcedonian king that could get the Pope & Senate to confirm his ascent to emperorhood poses a challenge to the Eastern Emperor's claim to be the sole Roman Emperor that none can ignore, and would be in a good position to demand or fight for the Western imperial regalia sent to Constantinople by Odoacer.

If the Romano-Goths survive, perhaps this could lead to an earlier Great Schism between East and West?
 

Buba

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I wonder about the formation of an Italian identity. There is Rome on the spot, inside the same political entity. This greatly complicates things.
 

Navarro

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A Romano-Gothic state spanning Italy, southern Gaul and Iberia with a Chalcedonian king that could get the Pope & Senate to confirm his ascent to emperorhood poses a challenge to the Eastern Emperor's claim to be the sole Roman Emperor that none can ignore, and would be in a good position to demand or fight for the Western imperial regalia sent to Constantinople by Odoacer.
We're probably going to see a restoration of the Western Empire in the late 500s or early 600s - now the Arab conquests might take all of Hispania from it as OTL, but that's doubtful as they'd be facing larger, better organised and equipped forces and would be at the end of their logistical tether. So at most the Arabs will take modern Andalusia, which they might lose shortly afterwards (it would likely eventually be reconquered)

Given the conditions, the Franks will also be negatively affected by this - "France" will not hold any of OTL Southern France, which might cause it to spread a bit further north and east. An analogue to Charlemagne will still pop up - but he'll have no opportunity for a HRE. This might actually cause Germany to unify more than it did IRL - by the late medieval we may have a relatively united 'Kingdom of Germany' alongside France, England et al.

Lacking the constant pressure that OTL Byzantium faced, the neo-WRE is in a prime position to discover America and reap the benefits of such in the late 15th century and to conquer/colonise northern Africa. It can potentially support the ERE, but more likely will be in conflict with it over the western Balkans.

Ultimately it may even potentially survive up to our modern day, though most likely its non-Italian components would break from it during the late 18th and 19th centuries with the rise of nationalism and such (Hispania, which benefits the most from American resources, would be the first to likely break off, perhaps with the American colonies).

I wonder about the formation of an Italian identity. There is Rome on the spot, inside the same political entity. This greatly complicates things.
Most likely what we see instead is a continuation of the Roman identity, though the language may be perhaps similar to Italian (but would also be shared with Southern France and Spain, and might even keep on calling itself Latin).

Edit: Actually, if we assume no successful Arab conquest of all Hispania, Latin continues to exist as a living language:

Despite dialectal variation, which is found in any widespread language, the languages of Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy retained a remarkable unity in phonological forms and developments, bolstered by the stabilising influence of their common Christian (Roman Catholic) culture. It was not until the Moorish conquest of Spain in 711, cutting off communications between the major Romance regions, that the languages began to diverge seriously.
Now I can certainly see the Franks having a different language with more Germanic influences.
 
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Circle of Willis

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We're probably going to see a restoration of the Western Empire in the late 500s or early 600s - now the Arab conquests might take all of Hispania from it as OTL, but that's doubtful as they'd be facing larger, better organised and equipped forces and would be at the end of their logistical tether. So at most the Arabs will take modern Andalusia, which they might lose shortly afterwards (it would likely eventually be reconquered)

Given the conditions, the Franks will also be negatively affected by this - "France" will not hold any of OTL Southern France, which might cause it to spread a bit further north and east. An analogue to Charlemagne will still pop up - but he'll have no opportunity for a HRE. This might actually cause Germany to unify more than it did IRL - by the late medieval we may have a relatively united 'Kingdom of Germany' alongside France, England et al.

Lacking the constant pressure that OTL Byzantium faced, the neo-WRE is in a prime position to discover America and reap the benefits of such in the late 15th century and to conquer/colonise northern Africa. It can potentially support the ERE, but more likely will be in conflict with it over the western Balkans.

Ultimately it may even potentially survive up to our modern day, though most likely its non-Italian components would break from it during the late 18th and 19th centuries with the rise of nationalism and such (Hispania, which benefits the most from American resources, would be the first to likely break off, perhaps with the American colonies).
Speaking of a reduced Islamic conquest in the west, I wonder if a neo-WRE wouldn't be able to stop the Arabs in northern Africa. There was enough of a Christian, Romanized Moorish (Mauri/Berber) population there to successfully resist the Umayyad advance even after the Byzantines' hold collapsed, after all. Rulers such as Kusaila and Dihya kept the fight going until the late 7th century and even scored a number of significant successes over the Arabs before finally being defeated; their language is also thought to have survived for some time after the Arab conquest. If it's avoided the cycle of coups & civil wars chronic to Visigothic Iberia and is overall not feeling too poorly, I'd imagine the Romano-Gothic emperors would be quite interested in recovering Africa and holding the line against the Arabs past Carthage with the help of the Afro-Romans.

An enduring Christian Maghreb would also mean it's the Chalcedonian neo-WRE that gets to most easily access, trade with & convert sub-Saharan Western Africa. Which I'm sure would have massive ramifications, both in the short to medium term (a Catholic Mansa Musa accidentally wrecking the imperial economy while on a pilgrimage to Rome?) and in the long term (an early Christian West Africa would likely mean that part of the world's off-limits for slave-gathering as we move into the age of colonialism, being plugged into the Mediterranean trade network might facilitate the development of longer-lasting states in the region, etc.)
 

Buba

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The idea of North Africa propped up by the Gothalics :) and fending off the Arab assault around 700 AD and then prosyletising across the Sahara made me think ... why no Patriarchate - or at least an Autokephalic Archbishopric (like Cyprus) at Carthage?
 

Circle of Willis

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The idea of North Africa propped up by the Gothalics :) and fending off the Arab assault around 700 AD and then prosyletising across the Sahara made me think ... why no Patriarchate - or at least an Autokephalic Archbishopric (like Cyprus) at Carthage?
Good question. I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable to answer whether (and how) the Carthaginian archbishopric can be elevated to Patriarchal status, but I think it's reasonable to expect that they'd enjoy a degree of autonomy from Rome given the strength and prestige of the Church in Africa before the Muslims ground it down: it was after all the home of early Christian intellectual juggernauts such as Tertullian & Augustine.

Africa was also the home of one of the most enduring early heresies - the notoriously unforgiving Donatists - which could make for interesting religious conflict if the 'Gothalics' manage to secure it. The Donatists were past their prime by 700, having been repeatedly thrashed and driven into the Maghrebi countryside by both the Vandals and Byzantines as well as African Catholics, but apparently still managed to survive a ways into Islamic times. Perhaps they could recover some of their old prominence & become a flashpoint of resistance for those Mauri who resent the restoration of rule and religious orthodoxy from Italy, as they had been back when the ERE first reconquered Africa from the Vandals.
 

stevep

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Guys

I could see such a Gothic state, assuming it fought off challenges from the ERE and the Franks very likely wanting to regain Carthage. Both for its agricultural potential and status as well as getting rid of the Vandals - assuming here that Belisarius 's war against them is also butterflied. Provided they could get a decent foundation there and was able to concentrate resources competently that is very likely to block Muslim military expansion along the N African coast.

I'm less confident about the idea of Carthage being raised to patriarchal status. This would make it a rival to the Papacy which was seeking to establish its primacy over the other eastern patriarchs. As well as making it a more powerful local religious centre that would be attractive to any movement seeking to break away from either 'Gothic' political or Papal 'religious' influence. Possibly if a Gothic monarch was clashing with the Papacy, as the HRE rulers often did they might want to provide an alternative source of religious influence to the Papacy but I can't see the popes really likely any increase in Carthage's status.

Steve
 

ATP

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No HRE - probably stronger Denmark.In OTL they have allies in western slavic states,which get conqered by germans till..955AD, i think.
Now,those states and Denmark could form knd of Confederacy which later become one state facing german state.
Hungary,Czech,Poland - probably nothing change.
Well,Poland would get less Baltic then OTL.
 
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