The Scene on Gaia – more World Building.

This week I’ll return to some more observations on world building in speculative fiction. I mentioned the implied scenario of the Earth my Iskander group left behind in an earlier post – it’s entitled “Changing a World”. I’ll continue with the world they arrived on.

I deliberately used the name Gaia, that James Lovelock used in his exposition of a general system theory consideration of the interactions between the Earth and its inhabitants. The name is also Greek, which fits in with my picture of this world as having had no Roman Empire and the language of scholarship being Greek instead of Latin.

As someone interested in history’s what-ifs, it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch for me to speculate that with a bit more support from home (Carthage) instead of stubborn obstruction, Hannibal could well have conquered the Roman Empire during his twelve year campaign in Italy from 218 to 206 BCE. It would have taken a government friendly enough to the Barcas to build and maintain a fleet to support his armies – instead of sitting on their hands in animosity waiting for the brothers to fail. The Scipios made every use of this division of the Carthaginians.

However, in my Gaia, Hannibal did have a Carthaginian fleet to support him and they did defeat the Roman fleet that tried to prevent Hasdrubal, Hannibal’s brother (these guys really overused the name – it was also the father’s), from reinforcing his armies in 208. With the Roman confederacy broken up and the ailing Greek colonies in Sicily reinforced with Semitic colonists to take over the Roman cities, all traces of Roman power faded into insignificance.

As a result, the new masters of the Mediterranean (called the Central Ocean in my stories – what’s ‘middle of the Earth’ in Greek?) were a loose confederation of Greeks and Carthaginians, with the latter always more united and the Greeks always losing influence because of internal rivalries. The empire growing from this was more a trading and economic engine than the military one the Romans would have put together, and stretched from the gates of Kabul in the east to Spain in the west, and south across the deserts to sub-Saharan Africa.

The religion of the empire (and this is where we get controversial) would have been a synthesis of Greek and Carthaginian paganism with a strong spiritual input from the Zoroastrianism of ancient Persia (The religion still thrives among the Parsi of India.) and the Buddhism and Brahmanism of India. I suggest the Jews, Semitic brothers of the Carthaginians, would have readily integrated with these commercial overlords, as long as Abrahamic observances were protected, and the train of events that brought the religion of Jeshua son of Yosef into being would not have happened. (Apologies for mixing Aramaic and Hebrew names, I’m not a theologian.) The invocation of the common people in the European world on Gaia is therefore of the Holy Flame, a reference to the fire-worship of the Zoroastrians, but a spiritual synthesis that includes the Divine elements of all the religions thus incorporated.

This loose Imperial structure, more of a loose confederation than a centrally governed unity, lasted for about sixteen hundred years until the Trigons – another group of offworld starship castaways arrived and used the weaponry aboard their military star cruiser to conquer the existing power structures. That is a whole new situation which I’ll cover in another article.

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