Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Maps of Twilight Histories

With the permission of Sam McDonald and Jordan Harbour, the voice behind Twilight Histories, I present these three maps and descriptions made by Sam. They are inspired by episodes of Twilight Histories, which I will link to. Enjoy!

Persia conquered Greece, but this did not lead to the collapse of Greek civilization (although Athens was burned to the ground). As long as the Greeks pay tribute and acknowledge the emperor as their ruler the Persians leave them alone. The Greek colonies in Italy and elsewhere, however, managed to avoid the Persian conquest. These colonies, along with the Etruscan and Latin cultures, gave rise to Rome. Like in our world Rome went from Kingdom, to Republic to Empire. Rome, however, managed to subdue Germania and Scandinavia, while Persia expanded into Eastern Europe. 

Rome still mainly follows the traditional gods, though in a bit more of an organized religion akin to Hinduism. Due to the greater influence of the Etruscans on their culture, the Romans have a somewhat more gender equal society. Persia, on the other hand, mainly practices Zoroastrianism, but Buddhism is becoming increasingly popular both there and in Rome. Due to the differing cultural conditions, Christianity and Islam were never formed. Buddhism has filled the niche and due to its flexible nature and willingness to incorporate local gods and customs, Buddhists don't face persecution like Christians did.

In China, the An Lushan rebellion never happened due to An Lushan's plot being discovered by imperial officials and reforms being put in place to prevent similar rebellions. China has also managed to subdue northern barbarians such as the Mongols and the Jurchens due to a combination of more research being put into gunpowder and mechanical weapons sparking an industrial revolution.

This has spread to India, Persia and Rome (in that order). Persia and India lead the way in developing the scientific method. China was a bit stubborn at first, but eventually conceded that the scientific method was the way to go. Rome still hasn't quite come around, seeing it as Eastern rubbish. Most of their innovations tend to be copied from the other powers (not that they ever admit this) or discovered by accident.

The minor powers of Axum and Srivijaya haven't industrialized yet, but they are in the process. Srivijaya has discovered Australia, but there isn't much there to interest them yet. They have also made voyages to East Africa and Madagascar and sailed around the Cape of Good Hope.

Rome and China have both made voyages to the Americas and have begun the process of colonization. This has lead to disease breaking out among the native population, but because of the slower rate of colonization (compared to our world) the native population have a chance to recover and build up immunity.

The Mayans are still on good relations with the Romans, but they are keenly aware that it might only be a matter of time before they're conquered. They have united into a somewhat loose confederation of city-states akin to the Delian League. In fact the Delian League, which they learned of via the Romans, was their inspiration (though many have pointed out how things didn't quite workout for the Greeks in their resistance to the Persians).

An Aztec-ish culture is forming in the central valley of Mexico while the Incas are building their empire in the Andes, but European diseases have set back their progress a bit. Japan is still independent, but due to China being stronger, they're very much a vassal state to the Chinese. Things aren't exactly helped by the fact that they can't industrialize without raising China's suspicions.

The Byzantine Empire fell in the 8th century rather than the 15th century. Without a powerful Christian buffer state to oppose it, Islam quickly spread throughout Eastern Europe. Constantinople became both the capital of the Umayyads and a major pilgrimage site that rivaled even Mecca and Medina.

The Abbasids, feeling the Umayyads had grown too decadent and forgetful of the teachings of Islam (and angered over how much money Mecca and Medina were losing to Constantinople) would go on to overthrow the Umayyads as they did in our world.

The Frankish emperor Charlemagne converted to Islam, both due to having several Muslim tutors in his youth and seeing that Islam would most likely become the next major religion. Charlemagne went on to declare Jihad against the Umayyads and anyone he perceived to be an enemy of Islam. After helping establish Abbasid power in the Middle East he went on to conquer the Italian Peninsula.

The Abbasids, realizing they'd inadvertently created a monster, had Charlemagne poisoned. The noble families of Rome, lacking a clear leader, established something similar to the senate of their ancestors. This led to the establishment of an Islamic Roman Empire stretching from the Pillars of Hercules to the River Ganges. Several Romans unwilling to convert to Islam, including the Pope, and several Umayyads, fled to Ireland. The Umayyads converted to Christianity and became the new ruling class of the island nation.

The Mongol Empire managed to last considerably longer than in our world due to the greater emphasis on central government. Although Tengrism is still the dominate religion, Buddhism is winning more coverts by the day. Missionaries from Ireland have ensured that Christians are also a small but growing presence in the empire.

The Mongols were able to successfully conquer Japan. Several Japanese fled prior to the invasion in hopes of establish a new Japanese homeland free of Mongol rule. They arrived in Mexico and quickly conquered several native peoples and establish a new empire combining Japanese and native culture and traditions.

Northern Europe (the parts not under Roman rule) is still pagan. The no alcohol aspect of Islam is somewhat hard to sell. This has prompted many Imans within the empire to reinterpret the rule that "no Muslim shall drink alcohol" to be "no Muslim shall drink alcohol to excess" to encourage the conversion of those territories. This has created considerable controversy within the empire.

Russia was established by Viking princes as in our world, and has served as a (somewhat redundant) buffer state between the Romans and Mongols after many years of passing back and forth between the two empires.

Britain has been balkanized (the in-universe term is "anglicized") between Rome, Ireland, Scotland and the Danish. The Midlands is more of less neutral territory and is the site of much cultural blending. Scotland is a mixture of Christians and pagans due to the work of Irish missionaries.

Several nations have experienced Industrial Revolutions including Rome, the Mongols, Mali and India. Srivijaya and Ireland are currently in the process of industrializing. Mali has remained strong and continues to expand. Though Rome initially wanted to conquer Mali they are now more than happy to have a fellow Islamic empire as an ally.

Srivijaya has become a major power in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean. Their empire has expanded and their trading fleets are found in ports in all corners of the world. The fact that they are primarily Hindu and Buddhist has caused some issues when trading with Rome and has lead to their alliance with Hindu India. They are also the primary trading partner (besides Japan-in-exile) with the Inca Empire.

Several powers are beginning to colonize the New World. The Vikings are expanding there colonies along the northeast coast of what would be North America. The Irish established a colony just in case Rome ever conquers them and to spread Christianity to the natives. They originally intended to settle around Massachusetts, but after discovering the Vikings were already there moved to Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay. Rome has also established a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi with its capital at New Alexandria (roughly where New Orleans in OTL).

The Kaiser’s Assassin and Operation Wotan
Germany won World War I, or the Imperial War as it is known in this world. The war lasted from 1914-1915 just as many had hoped it would in our world. After the war Germany allowed the conquered nations to keep their own autonomous governments. In practice, however, these were mostly puppet governments with the real power residing with the Kaiser. Berlin and London are the financial and cultural hearts of the world. The many scientists, artists, musicians and architects who would have died in World War I have transformed German cities. Berlin has numerous Neo-Gothic and Romantic skyscrapers that are taller than those in New York.

All of Russia west of the Urals came under German occupation, but everything east remained nominally independent. The Czar still rules the puppet government of German occupied Russia. Free Russia, or the Republic of Siberia as some call it, briefly dabbled in communism, but a few failed crops later and the revolutionary government was replaced by a democracy.

The German Empire's runaway success took everyone by surprise, but especially the United States. Many Americans had hoped their nation would establish colonies to compete with the other Imperial powers. Germany's post-war success motivated the desire the spread a little bit of America throughout the world. Eventually, war was declared on Mexico, albeit on some very suspect reasons. The United States also invaded several nations in the Caribbean and Central America, but in those cases claimed they did so out of a desire to protect those nations from Britain and Germany.

The Austria-Hungary has successfully become more federated and is now known as the United States of Austria and Hungry. Austria-Hungry bought Italy's former colonies from Germany following the war. The colonies were supposed to be a stepping stone towards a greater overseas empire, but managing colonies turned out to be more difficult than Austria-Hungry had originally considered.

The Ottomans have also reformed themselves and have spent the last couple decades reversing their sick man status. The empire has embraced its multicultural nature thanks to the calls for reform and is far more diverse than in our world. As a result the empire protects the rights of all minorities within its borders.

China has once again become an empire under the Zhang Dynasty following a coup against the republican government by opportunistic politicians. The resorted Chinese Empire has also spent the last few decades reversing its decline and has quickly become something of a regional power.

Japan is also a rising power. Following the war Germany sold them Indochina and several islands of Indonesia. They have further expanded their empire by invading Thailand. Japan has recently been inching closer to war with the United States over disputed claims to Borneo and the Philippines. Foreign policy experts concur America could reasonably form an alliance with China, while Japan might be able to convince Germany or Britain to come to their aid. Either a cold war is forming or else this may become another flash point for a future war.

Although Britain stayed out of the Imperial War, several French resistance/terrorist groups were funded by members of the British government hoping to regain the economic benefits of an independent France. Ironically, when the Kaiser was killed at the Imperial Musical Gala it was by members of his own government eager for a war with Britain. The two nations went to war, but fortunately it didn't last any longer than the Imperial War had. There were still loses and those killed in the Anglo-Germanic War included JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and Ernest Hemingway.

Culturally, the world is somewhat more conservative than our world. Without the horrors of the First World War the Romantic era never really ended in Europe. Jazz is very popular in America, but has only recently found an audience across the Atlantic. Jews are still viewed rather unfavorably and face discrimination, but nowhere near what they would have under the Nazis.

Speaking of which, Hitler is currently working at a coat hanger factory after having flunked out of art school. Meanwhile, Joseph Jugashvili is a priest of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

Editor's Note: Did you like what you saw? Would you like to see more Twilight Histories inspired maps? Let us know in the comments.

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Sam McDonald is a college student from Shreveport, LA.  When not involved with his studies he can be found making and posting maps across the web and working on short stories that he hopes to have published in magazines such as Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, and the Escape Artists Podcasts. 


  1. I would love to read more of the world of The Kaiser's Assassin. I feel like timelines involving a Great War victorious Germany are few and far between and that they create some interesting worlds. Can anyone suggest any other good books/storylines that involve such?

    1. Actually I just remembered I did a whole article on alternate histories where Germany won:

      I really should go back and finish that series before the year is out. I still have all the old research.


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