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"Alternate history." Topic

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©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Paskal Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2018 8:26 a.m. PST

Hello everyone,

Alternate history, story of fictional events from a historical starting point.

The historical starting point here!

In 97 AD, Pan Ch'ao's planned invasion of the roman empire.

Pan Ch'ao was a Chinese military general, explorer and diplomat of the Eastern Han Dynasty.

He was born in Fufeng, now Xianyang, Shaanxi.

Three of his family members – father Ban Biao, elder brother Ban Gu, younger sister Ban Zhao – were well known historians who wrote the historical text Book of Han, which recorded the history of the Western Han Dynasty.

As a Han general and cavalry commander, Pan Chao was in charge of administrating the "Western Regions" (Central Asia) while he was in service.

He also led Han forces for over 30 years in the war against the Xiongnu and secured Han control over the Tarim Basin region.

He was awarded the title "Protector General of the Western Regions" by the Han government for his efforts in protecting and governing the regions.

By this time ,in 97 AD, Pan Ch'ao seemed to demonstrate that he was invincible.

Ansi (the Arsacid Parthe Empire) was defeated.

Now Han China stood ,the greatest land-owning empire possibly only second to Rome.

Pan Ch'ao ordered his second in command ,Kan Ying, to set forth across newly conquered Ansi, to "Ta -ts'in", the Chinese name for the Roman Empire.

As Pan Ch'ao only allocated a portion of the army to subdue this "additional Kingdom", it is obvious that to call this a " planned invasion"is stretching things a bit.

Kan Ying advanced across the middle-eastern expanses towards Antioch, thought to be the capitol of the Roman Empire.

Kan Ying was anxious to know of his enemy , so the Parthian began to tell him of the might and expanse of the Roman Empire.Upon gaining this new intelligence information ,Kan Ying that his force was not sufficient for the task, so he turned around and rejoined Pan Ch'ao.

In 116 AD., Trajan's advances into Parthia to Ctesiphon would be within one day march of Han Chinese border garrisons.

As side note,97 AD was the first year of the emperor Trajan's reign.

It is quite interesting to speculate on the consequences had Yan Ying pursued his objective and attacked Roman Antioch.

The story of fictional events must be written by you with your figurines !

Daithi the Black26 May 2018 9:49 a.m. PST

To me, these make for the best games ;)

T Labienus26 May 2018 10:33 a.m. PST

We campaigned this twenty years ago after reading John P Greer WRG Armies and Enemies of Ancient China ;-)
Kenavo, Loïc

Woollygooseuk26 May 2018 11:44 a.m. PST

We campaigned this twenty years ago after reading John P Greer WRG Armies and Enemies of Ancient China ;-)
Kenavo, Loïc

What was the outcome?

T Labienus26 May 2018 3:57 p.m. PST

A game between two regular armies, but witz a rule (Newbury Fast Play Ancient) giving a string advantage to the pilum. Vers intérêts tint encounters.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2018 11:36 p.m. PST

According to the book of the later Han, the year 166, Romans arrive in China by taking a sea route through the South and bring gifts to the Huandi Court, posing as ambassadors of the Roman Emperor Andun (安敦), ie Antoninus Pius.

It should be noted that historians Charles Hucker and Rafe de Crespigny believe that this Roman mission of 166 was conducted by Roman merchants daring enough to tempt the journey and not by real diplomats.

Archaeological research carried out at the Óc Eo site in the Mekong Delta, near Ho Chi Minh City, has uncovered goods of Mediterranean origin, such as Roman gold medallions made under the reigns of Antoninus the Pious and Marcus Aurelius.

At the time these objects arrive, this city is part of the Funan Kingdom, which borders the Chinese province of Jiaozhi.

Óc Eo is perhaps the port city of South-East Asia known by the geographer Ptolémée and the Romans under the name of Kattigara or Cattigara.

In the work of Ptolemy, Cattigara is a port where a Greek sailor named Alexandros would sail, having sailed through the north-east of the Golden Peninsula, which corresponds to the Malay Peninsula, to arrive in the Magnus Sinus , which corresponds to the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea.

Historical nations fighting imaginary wars, provided that they really failed to take place, so it is not so imaginary that, especially if Pan Ch'ao and later Trajan had wanted it, it would have occurred.

In the same vein, many people have been playing World War III fights taking place in northwestern Europe against the Warsaw pact.

By cons a Chinese invasion of Norway in 1458 is different, it's completely imaginary, because there was not a simple day of walking between Chinese outposts and a Norwegian army in 1458.

The point is that when you have never been interested in Ancient Chinese like me, you do not imagine them as close to the Roman Empire.

For me it's surprising.

Now for those who know the Chinese army of that time, what would have happened, who would have won in case of war ?

Bowman27 May 2018 5:54 a.m. PST

The Roman Empire was at its greatest expanse in 117 CE under Trajan. By this time the ailing Han were in retreat of their western protectorates. The closest time the Han and Romans came together was at about 1 BCE. At this point there was a very strong Parthian Empire that prevented Roman eastern expansion. The two empires were never a one day march from each other.

The problem with these "what if" invasion topics is the problem of supply and logistics through hostile enemy territory. My feeling is that the Romans could not (and did not) maintain appreciable territory in and beyond the Persian lands and neither did the Han with their western territories. They were never stable enough at their empires extremes to really contact each other.

Too much land, too many hostile people in between them, and there were always enemies to deal with at their other borders. Plus, court intrigues and political instability kept the capitals distracted. In fact, this was the main cause of the Han collapse.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP27 May 2018 7:53 a.m. PST

In case of war, the Han armies would have been superior to those of Rome?

Bowman28 May 2018 1:05 p.m. PST

I don't know. I'm saying the loser would be the one whose supply lines were the longest and which stretched across the most hostile territory. Both armies would have been terribly over extended.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 11:12 a.m. PST

Yes, but on the sub-tactical level, who were the most effective?

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP04 Jun 2018 11:28 p.m. PST

The Chinese ?

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