A Brave New World
The Roman Empire
The Roman Empire has been through some ups and down, especially in the last millinium or so. In 1230 AUC, AD 477, the Western and Eastern parts of the Roman Empire split for good. The Eastern section eventually becomes the Byzantine Empire, but the Western section maintains its Roman roots. Though the split cut the Empire in half, the size of the Roman empire covered most of the European Peninsula, Brittany, and Northern Africa. This began to change in 1466 AUC, when the clans of the Brittanic Islands began destroying Roman outposts and military holdings. When the Empire sent a centuria (a group of 100 soldiers) across the strait from Gaul, cannon fire ripped apart the ships and declared war on Rome. War lasted nearly a decade before holding the islands became more inconvenient than profitable. In the spring of 1475 AUC, Brittany was wrenched away from the hands of Rome. A mere half century later, in 1522 AUC, Charlemagne and a horde of Frankish and Germanic clans sought to follow the British example. It took nearly fifteen years of war to make the Romans let go of Gaul.
Today, the Roman Empire is smaller and more manageable. They have control of the Italian and Iberian peninsulas, much of the northern coast of Africa, as well as several islands in the Mediterranean. They have colonies developing in China and Korea, as well as a new colony on the southern Atlantic coastline of the New World.
They are currently in a long running war, or something, with the Moorish influences in Africa. For the past hundred years, the southern points of Spain and some of northern Africa have seen a swap of ruler, from Muslim to Roman and back again. This has brought the Romans a huge influx of slaves, including the Orcs and Goblinoids that inhabit the vast plains and rainforests of inland Africa.
Women and Class System
The Roman Empire, being on of the oldest in the world and the oldest on the European peninsula, has become more laissez faire during the beginnings of this Industrial Age. Women enjoy an astounding amount of freedoms that were acquired through decades of Feminist protests. Eventually the Emperor’s very own mother and wife became involved, tipping the balance. Emperor Varius II granted women the right to own property, and the current Emperor, his son Decadus I, has encouraged women to higher education and holding official positions. This kind of freedom is still mostly only available to the wealthier families, however exceptional women of all classes have managed to use this freedom to their advantage.
This loosening of women’s confines has also begun to open up the class system to more mobility. More interactions are happening among the lower 90% of the social scale, alliances and marriages between the lower classes and middle class becoming more common. It is only the very rich that still seal themselves away in their palaces and utilize slaves to interact with the lower peoples.
That being said, there is one group that has not gained anything from this loosening of Roman class distinctions: Slaves. Slaves are, and have always been, a huge market in Rome. Whole families have been enslaved since Rome conquered their homeland centuries ago, and new slaves arrive from Northern Africa all the time. Servants are practically non-existent in the Empire. Serving in another’s home is demeaning, and slaves are purchased for that purpose. Even highly educated slaves are available for child-care, the running of the household, and entertainment.
The Roman Empire is the most religiously diverse power in Europe. When Valens separated from the Eastern Empire, he also instated a law of religious tolerance in the Empire. He stated that the old gods, Jewish, and Christian faiths were allowed to erect temples to their faiths. The state faith was mostly Christian, though the alters to Victory,the Vestal Virgins and ancestor worship remained an intricate part of the Roman faith. This differs greatly from the Byzantine Empire that became solely Christian and continues to this day to persecute other religions in its borders.
Recently, due to the influx of Muslim and African slaves, Islam and Voodoo has gained some recognition. The Muslims are readily recognized and a few mosques exist in Iberia. Voodoo is mostly followed by the Orcs and Goblinoids of deep Africa, and is often distrusted due to these origins. Asiatic colonial religions such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism have become a minor obsession for philosophers, but has had very little impact.