A request made by HeliosMegistos for an ASB map of his making. In the year 1076 a great conflagration appeared far above a nondescript village in Byzantine Anatolia. It took the form of a ring of pulsing fire that shone electric blue, arcs of electricity shooting from it as it convulsed. It lasted barely a minute before imploding on itself and disappearing, leaving only scorched rocks and bursts of static electricity.
Two days later a young woman in tattered and unfamiliar clothes would stagger into the village, speaking a strange language. It would take only a few concerned words from the villagers for her to switch to Greek, albeit Greek with a strange accent and some unknown words and enunciation. She said her name was Persephone and that she was lost. She would be given clothes, a bed to sleep in and eventually, after several painstaking months of teaching her basic skills and a lot of complaining on her part, she would settle down to live with them and work a small vegetable plot outside an equally small house.
However as the years went by she accepted her predicament and began to ponder some possibilities. Persephone envisioned a new world where the things she believed were responsible for the ills of the world were gone. She left the village and went to other settlements and began to create a following. It did not take long for her to gain support and soon many thousands, from the lowest slave to the local lords, were regarding her as a divinely appointed leader.
Her rise to power was abnormal for Persephone was not of this world. She was in fact from the future, the year 2339 to be exact, as well as another reality altogether. Her home was a world that had been subjected to centuries of extended Cold War between the United States and their various British, Free European and Chinese allies and the Millennial Third Reich of Nazi Germany. She herself was an American citizen gifted with extensive psychic abilities and granted membership in the United States Department of Telepathic Regulation and Control. She found that she could use these abilities to her advantage in this new world. Her arrival in 1076 was the result of an accident involving an experimental rift generating engine that destroyed the space station she was assigned to and catapulted her through time and space. The escape pod she crashed in was set to self-destruct and she was left in the past with nothing but the remains of the clothes on her back.
By the beginning of 1078 she had a small army at her command that was growing with every settlement she visited. Her army grew exponentially as refugees from further east joined her, seeing safety from the encroaching Seljuk Turks in the zealous, inclusive and disciplined ranks of this strange young woman. It was then that she made a decision that would change the course of this world's history forever afterwards. She took her army and left the Turks to continue their advance, instead heading West to Constantinople. There she used her powers to sway many of the powerful nobility including Alexios Komnenos to her side. Those she could not persuade subtly she bluntly dominated with her power and soon she had the strength and support to overthrow Emperor Nikephoros III and seize his thrown. His own supporters were then purged and her supporters replaced them. More time would be devoted to consolidating her power and removing threats. By her command a lot of priests were also executed along with rebels.
By 1084, after reforming the Empire into a more efficient entity, putting down resistance, making demonstrations of her powers and rebuilding the army Persephone was ready to retake Anatolia. She led the army personally, armed with a vibroblade (based on a futuristic weapon but she was instead using her powers to strengthen and oscillate the blade) and marching under a banner depicting a sun. Persephone did not wish to introduce actual futuristic technology, engineering and the finer points of physics and chemistry were beyond her anyway, but instead used organisation and strategy to remodel her army into the finest in the Mediterranean whilst using her abilities to lend them further advantages. At one battle she would unleash so much of her power, bending the forces of nature to her will and suspending herself in the air, that she would appear as a vengeful god or demon. She was never able to achieve anything like that again but her skills as an organiser and strategist proved to be just as formidable. The Turks lost ground and this would begin the decline of Islam as a force in the world. Her ultimate victory in Anatolia in 1090 would also be the date her first daughter Adrasteia , fathered by one of her early followers who she had secretly made a consort upon her ascension to the throne.
After that the rest of Persephone's life would be spent reinforcing her rule and her empire. She would name her dynasty the Eosopoulou Family and have a second daughter named Amaltheia. Only invasion would ever rouse her to battle again. She died in 1113 at the age of 53 and left the throne to her oldest daughter, her final decree being the establishment of a matrilineal system of inheritance for the crown. This would lead to a lot of discomfort in the upper classes that took a long time to quell.
However the greatest legacy of Persephone was a small cult that had emerged during her early demonstrations of power and had grown as her reign continued. By the time of her death this cult was thousands strong and growing, especially when her daughters manifested their own power. Persephone was agnostic and anti-Christian, her reasons for despising the institution were her own but this influenced her rule over the Byzantines. To her followers she declared herself born of the Olympian pantheon, an idea originally conceived whilst on a power trip in Anatolia and influenced by a lifelong adoration of Classical Greek and Roman culture and religion. As a goddess she would usher in a new age of enlightenment and prosperity, or so she claimed and many believed her.
This cult would be taken by Adrasteia during her own reign and expanded into the official state religion, the Imperial Heliosian Church. Her sister Amaltheia would in turn write the Holy Books declaring their mother a living god and themselves as divine descendants of the pantheon. These codex would also provide the basis for the organisation of the Heliosian Church. The cult would then claim that Persephone's daughters were in fact divinely conceived and that Persephone was a virgin throughout her life. The fact that Persephone had kept her lover a secret and no-one ever knew who he was helped with this claim.
The Heliosians embarked on a crusade against the Christians within their borders. Something that Persephone herself had begun in the earliest days of her reign and institutionalised when she declared to her cult that Yahweh, the God of Abraham, was a god of deception, darkness and evil and that his son and all other prophets who preached his message and power were false prophets and deceivers themselves. The Heliosian Church took it new lengths with the active suppression and, in some cases, extermination of Christians, Muslims and Jews within the Byzantine Empire.
This would begin an age of endless religious warfare and strife between the growing Heliosian Church and Christendom. The divisions within Christianity and the strength of the Byzantines saved them from immediate destruction and prolonged the conflict.
The year is 2339, the year where, in another world engulfed by war, destruction and fear, a young woman was catapulted through reality and sent to a fresh world she set to enlighten and save.
By the 24th Century the Basileia Rhomaion is still a major power that dominates much of the Mediterranean and has influence throughout the Indian Ocean. To this day the system of female primary inheritance within the Eosopoulou dynasty has endured, regarding daughters, nieces, aunts and sisters as inheritors before any of the men in the family. What has also endured are their powers as well, justifying their divine rule even to this day. This has caused a number of problems, especially if any sons or cousins get disgruntled at the sheer impossibility of ever attaining the throne. Ironically the sheer uniqueness of the few male Eosopoulou Emperors and their desire to achieve something during their reigns has in fact made them the most iconic historical figures since Persephone. Come across the average Rhomaion on the street and they are far more likely to remember Emperor Apollonius than even Empress Adrasteia I.
The Heliosian Church is still the religion of state and the majority faith of the empire after centuries of conversion and the removal and suppression of other faiths. Surprisingly the Heliosian's are somewhat tolerant of other faiths except for any Abrahamic denominations which are still regarded as the faiths of the servants of evil.
The internal makeup of the Imperial Heliosian Church is very complex but has in fact simplified itself from the original Olympian pantheon it was based on. Amaltheia established the system of Matriarchs and Matrons that would administer the Church and lead sermons and deal with any spiritual issues in a given community. Amaltheia herself would take the title of Maiden of the Dawn, a position of supreme spiritual significance, think the Pope meets the Oracle of Delphi and the Vestal Virgins. From then on the second born daughter of the monarch would be given over to the Church so that she may take the position of Maiden of the Dawn.
The Church itself is polytheistic but the pantheon is very different from the old Olympiad. It is an interpreted evolution of various ancient deities and titans taken from the Classical Greek mythology. These gods watch over certain aspects and duties regarding life, the universe and the souls of humanity.
The religion has the ancient Greek titans Helios, Eos and Selene as it's elder gods and the triarchy leading the pantheon below them.
Helios is the sun god and king of the gods, his sister Eos is the dawn goddess, friend to mankind, champion of humanity and one of his two consorts while his other sister Selene is the dusk goddess, defier of Yahweh, protector of souls and his other consort. Below them are Apollo the god of Fire, day, spring and summer and Artemis the goddess of ice, night, autumn and winter, these two are twins and the off spring of Helios and Eos. Athena is the goddess of justice, law & order and is also the daughter of Helios and Eos.
Ares is the god of War, honour and valour, protector of mankind and battler of Yahweh and his sister Aphrodite is the goddess of love, lust and desire, fertility and childbirth and his consort and together they have produced two twins Demios the god of dread and despair and Phobos the god of fear and terror. Ares and Aphrodite are the offspring of Helios and Selene.
There is no afterlife for the Heliosians but they do have a system similar to the concept of karma that rewards the souls of the good and punishes those of the wicked when they are reincarnated. Good and evil are moral choices for the Heliosians but it is possible to be led aside to evil by Yahweh and his prophets. Nyxeris the Eternal Darkness, bringer of chaos, death, destruction & suffering is another deity of evil that the divine triarchy of the Elder Gods are tasked with keeping locked up forever in order to deter chaos and destruction. The Church believes that an imbalance of Chaos will lead to Nyxeris' release and the end of reality in a great cataclysm. Therefore it is their duty to fight against chaos and deter the efforts of false gods.
Rhomaion society is heavily influenced by the exploits of the Eosopoulou Dynasty and the Heliosian faith. The primogeniture in favour of women has led to some unusual developments. Though it took a very long time there was an eventual shift of political primacy away from sons towards daughters. Eventually, for better or worse, women became the primary holders of political power and position in society. This was especially true in the Heliosian Church which would receive daughters from noble and wealthy families for centuries. To this day the women of Rhomaion hold the majority of political and civil offices and dominate the Heliosian clergy. The military and various other professions involving hard labour are male dominated though women have been in the armed forces for a few centuries now, even if few commanders are willing to actually put female units in dangerous combat zones. Positions in government are decided by exams and open to citizens of all class and background. However corruption and cultural biases do still infect the political process making it difficult to gain power if you are male and virtually impossible if you are Christian, Muslim or Jewish. Officially there is also less issue with most forms of sexuality, considering such things as the decisions of Aphrodite and therefore nothing to be judged by humans. Of course this still doesn't stop political fringe movements from decrying certain sexulaities though it does deny giving them a religious angle to work with.
The Rhomaion economy is very restrictive, having been controlled by guilds for centuries. Even by the 24th Century the economic guilds and associations have dominated the economy alongside the aristocratic classes and the Eosopoulou Dynasty.
Those in Rhomaion that are still followers of an Abrahamic faith are discriminated against both legally and informally. Pogroms have been rather common in the past which has only led to more strife over the centuries. Restrictions are in place that keep them restricted from certain professions and segregated from portions of society. Many of the more compliant denominations are simply subjected to greater tax burdens not unlike the jizza taxes. Public worship is also forbidden outside of the specially sanctioned places of worship. Islam has received the worst of this discrimination due to centuries of violent resistance. This is what led to the destruction of the Holy Cities in the 17th Century which in turn led to more violent retaliation and so on. Unfortunately certain politicians have noticed that whilst the birthrate for Rhomaions has dropped below replacement levels, not counting assistance methods, the Christians and Muslims of Rhomaion have the highest birthrate in the entire empire.
Though the Eosopoulou still sit on the throne they have had a very turbulent history. From their ancient glory days of power they have declined in strength. Though all true born members of the family still possess power it is a fraction of what Empresses Persephone and Adrasteia could call upon. Most members of the dynasty can project their powers a total range of 9 metres. There have been periods of civil strife, often caused by disgruntled sons or daughters who wish the power of their older siblings and whilst these conflicts are often small they can be horrendously savage. In order to husband their telepathy the Eosopoulou have maintained a long standing tradition of arranged marriages, often to cousins and other relatives, in order to maintain their power and keep the hereditary abilities from diluting. Their position as divine monarchs has allowed them to not only preserve the practice of endogamy but has even been used as a justification for sibling incest. These practices have produced a number of historical monsters such as the infamously debauched and cruel Apollonia II.
The Basileia Rhomaion is not as extensive today as it has been but they have risen to prominence over an alliance of anti-Christian states. The League of Celestium. Most of it is formed from their old empire, much of which has gained independence. However they are still closely tied through their royal families or the economic hegemony of the Rhomaion guilds. The Heliosian Church is not as dominant in these lands and religious unrest is a lot worse. In fact some have been forced to grant religious autonomy to certain regions in order to maintain control. Others have cracked down even more than Rhomaion and established borderline police states and severe systems of segregation for Christians and Muslims in their territories. Without as many close relatives available the Eosopoulou of the colonial client states like Nubia and Orientaefrica have married other families and are substantially healthier but their powers vary far more on the telepathic spectrum.
The Kingdom of Rhubadi India is a Hindu state that was propped up as a puppet by the Rhomaions during their height as an imperial power. Hindus are tolerated and the kingdom adopted a lot of Heliosian rhetoric into the pantheon in order to assuage their colonial masters. The royal family is descended from a branch of the Eosopoulou and many members of the family do share their powers but after centuries of intermarriage with the local aristocracy they are hardly Rhomaion anymore. India has been industrialised under the Rhubadi and is somewhat of an economic giant. Muslims are treated harshly, legally regarded as second class citizens and still subjected to pogroms every now and then. Surprisingly Christians and Jews can be expected to be treated less harshly than in Rhomaion itself, the mistreatment of Muslims also mostly being a result of historical disputes than explicitly religious hatred. Rhubadi India dislikes Rhomaion for the institutional incest and even their local branch of the Eosopoulou have criticised them for it on several occasions.
China on the other hand has never been a colony of the Rhomaion and has seen little to no actual cultural influence by them as well. Their alliance with Rhomaion is one of convenience and strictly because of the actions of the HRE. The Chinese have had their share of humiliation throughout history especially when the Japanese were forcibly opened up to Christianity and European technology. After the, now evangelised, Japanese invasions they rallied in the interior under a new and more dynamic dynasty and reorganised their empire, largely for the purpose of revenge. China would enter into alliances with the Rhomaion as they were a historically anti-Chistian state and were a re-emergent power in Asia during the 17th and 18th Centuries (Rhomaion reached into Central Asia in the 15th Century but lost it and never reached there again). The new dynasty was receptive to Rhomaion overtures of friendship, especially the new technology they brought.
China is very different from the other members of the League. They are highly militant and far more stratified than the Rhomaion and their former colonial states. The Long Dynasty refused any offers of allowing the Eosopoulou Dynasty to intermarry with them. They have tried to keep Rhomaion influence as small as possible, aside from the technological exchange of course. They refuse to allow the Heliosian Church entry into their borders as well, however their edicts concerning the divinity of monarchy do make it a little palatable for them. The Rhomaion ideas concerning women do upset the people of Long China but their support of aristocratic dominance of the economy and general society is much more acceptable to the Long Dynasty. The anti-Abrahamic aspects of the Heliosian Church and the League in general has also allowed them to crack down on their Muslim population as well. China is also heavily industrialised, the Long Dynasty being enthusiastic industrialists and whilst society in general is conservative and supportive of the traditional class systems it does endorse innovation as long as it does not involve politics. Chinese industry eclipses even Rhubadi industry, making them invaluable to the League.
Basileia Rhomaion proved to be a terrible threat to Christendom. The centuries of war between Rhomaion and the Christian nations of the Mediterranean were incredibly destructive. The cultural and technological Renaissance took place in Germany, the Netherlands and France, primarily using material and artefacts that had been recovered or looted from Italy during the on and off warfare between Rhomaion and whatever Christian nations were involved there. With the Mediterranean a land of chaos and war the power base of Christianity shifted to the north.
The Empire of Germany was forged in the war with Rhomaion. There were no Crusades and the invasions by Rhomaion ravaged the Italian Peninsula and the Papal States, weakening Rome and the Papacy. The Holy Roman Emperor was able to rally the German States and turn them into a more consolidated and coherent state than ever before. The Germans would exclusively claim the title of Holy Roman Empire (which would annoy the Rhomaion, mostly for the Roman bit not the Holy one) until it came to encompass the vast Christian alliance system. It was the Hapsburg Family that finally won control of Germany and their overseas territories.
The German Empire is a unified state but the early German Emperors did still have to grant autonomy to some of the composite states. The states that have autonomy have changed over the centuries but there have always been a few. The Hapsburg monarchy are the third and latest dynasty to be permanent monarchs of Germany. Several members of the Eosopoulou family, usually disgruntled sons and daughters, losers of civil wars and coup d’etat and the relatives of the more despotic empresses, have fled Rhomaion and made their way into the nations of Christendom. Several married into the Hapsburg Family which later allowed the descendants of their union to develop the same powers as the Eosopoulou. The Hapsburgs today claim that these powers are in fact gifts from God not too dissimilar to the gifts that God bestowed onto his son and several of the saints. Officially it is believed that Empress Persephone of Rhomaion was granted these gifts and then turned away from God, perverting the powers she had been gifted. Those Eosopoulou that married into Christian families, converted and were able to have children with the same power are regarded as those who repented and redeemed themselves and their descendants. Like the Eosopoulou in the Rhomaion former colonies their power levels vary far more than the relatively consistent Rhomaion branch.
Whilst heavily stratified and conservative German society is actually more fluid than Rhomaion. Their own guilds were abolished centuries ago during the height of the colonial period, however they were replaced by Royal Companies instead which persisted until free trade was adopted. The Catholic Church is very powerful but ultimately subservient to the state. There are also significant populations of 'Protestants' and other non-conformist denominations as well as Jews. They are tolerated but not particularly endorsed. It was in Germany, after the advent of ATL Protestant movement and Reformation, that Christian solidarity began to emerge in the face of Heliosian hostility. Muslims have a harder time and there is a bit of a glass ceiling in most professions but the sheer scarcity of Muslims in Germany means there's little worry of them being a real threat. Agnosticism has been accepted for a couple of centuries now, so long as they don't get political about it but, even to this day. Atheism, on the other hand, is controversial at best and outright unacceptable at worst. Sexism and traditional gender roles for both men and women are still in place though women working from home or in family businesses are very common now. Contraceptives are forbidden and large families are preferred and endorsed which, along with the rather traditionalist social attitudes concerning family, means that population is growth is healthier than states like Rhomaion.
Without the Spanish' example early colonialism was more about cooperating with existing native power structures but after diseases ravaged the Amerindian populations the system of settler colonies was developed. Most German colonies have been integrated and converted to Christianity, their acceptance of other denominations has also made it easier to integrate those colonies that follow regional or non-conformist forms of Christianity. Sudafrika, however, instead of being integrated has been spun off as an independent state tied to German economically and dynastically. The Sudafrikans are more racially egalitarian as long as the local Africans speak good German and adopt some form of acceptable Christianity, even if only nominally.
Britain was eventually united under the Plantagenet Dynasty much earlier than OTL. Though France was devastated by centuries of war with the Rhomaion, like all states bordering the Mediterranean, they never fell to England either. It was the British, via Irish fishermen, that discovered the Americas and were the first to begin colonising them.
The initial Plantagent Dynasty were destroyed by a branch of the family that had married a member of the Eosopoulou family, another exile from Empress Apollonia II. They would establish a new dynasty with their power and take a new name. In keeping with the Eosopoulou's obsession with mythology they took the name Pendragon and weaved the Arthurian legend into their family history. The Eosopoulou that fled to England had even stolen Empress Persephone's old vibroblade and thus her descendants claimed it was the sword Excalibur.
Whilst undeniably Christian the Pendragon Dynasty is rather unorthodox, employing a fair degree of heavily reinterpreted Arthurian lore. Officially this led to the establishment of the Anglican Church which is fairly Catholic with the exception of the Arthurian features. Most orthodox Christian states consider the Anglican Church and the Pendragons in general as controversial at best and outright disgusting at worst. British royal endogamy is a long running tradition, influenced heavily by the Eosopoulou that had married into the family and still valued genetic purity. Thankfully it has only occasionally reached the stage of sibling incest which has caused an endless amount of problems for the dynasty in terms of their relations with other nations. The Pendragons have a history of incest but they rarely flaunt it for both the sake of decency and politics. It has still led to the birth of some unstable monarchs and caused a fair number of genetic disorders to emerge in the family. Thankfully this tends to cull the useless or insane Pendragons more often than let them survive to ascend the throne and if that fails they have been known to cull their own. The Pendragons are infamous for their competitiveness, achieving status within their family hierarchy through their actions and political accomplishments in a form of intrafamily Social Darwinism. Actual assassinations are seen as uncouth and a last resort.
The British Empire is a somewhat decentralised state that granted autonomy to, first it's settler colonies, then the rest of its territories in order to assuage them. Politically the entire system is rather unwieldy but the local aristocrats and parliaments handle their regional matters with some efficiency. British society is now rather cosmopolitan with the nobility integrating foreign elites and happy to hire foreign working classes as well. This has allowed for a degree of demographic mobility though there are racial supremacist groups of every colour that protest to this. Like Germany accepted forms of Christianity are preferred over Judaism, Islam or other faiths. However they do tolerate other Abrahamic faiths at the expense of other religions that seem too similar to the Heliosian Church. They abolished slavery in the 19th Century but it still took centuries for the former slave populations of some areas to make their way out of poverty.
The Social Darwinism of the royal family and some of the more powerful members of the upper class thankfully did not translate down to the other classes but the traditionalism of most of the Holy Roman Empire still keeps the old hierarchy firmly in place. The public at large also tend to ignore the historical incest of their monarchy. Even at their most insane the royal family have produced powerful leaders (the idiots are usually dominated by their smarter siblings) that they are taught to be proud of and ardent monarchism is a facet of culture across the entirety of Britain and their empire.
Japan was reached by the Germans in the 17th Century and picked up Christianity though they adapted it with some traditional beliefs. Japan is Catholic though they insist that the Emperor is descended from an Angel. Their unorthodox beliefs concerning their Emperor's lineage are very alarming,especially as it is similar to certain Heliosian edicts, but it is still considered acceptable. Japan used the technological boost it gained from trading with Europeans to build an empire in the Pacific, largely considering it a crusade to convert the rest of East Asia. They have engaged in on and off warfare with China for centuries but never succeeded in conquering them entirely and only drove them into the League's arms. Despite their Christianity, Japanese society is far more traditional than OTL. Their upper class is now dominated by industrialists with many noble families having spearheaded the industrialisation and mechanisation of their economy. Their proximity to China and the trouble they often have controlling their empire have made their society very militant. They still refuse to allow non-Japanese to settle on the Home Islands but they do not actively oppress their colonial subjects. Their settler colonies have in fact become rather diverse as a result of racial integration taking place within them.
Most of the rest of Christendom has been roped together into the Holy Roman Empire (sometimes forcibly and don't even think about trying to leave) which is now an immense decentralised alliance with some features of a superstate. The overall ruler is the Holy Roman Emperor and they are elected into the position of head of state of this gargantuan imperium. Their sheer size and corpulence now works to their disadvantage however and they have not been able to make any genuinely decisive action concerning their centuries long war with the Rhomaion. In fact the consolidation of the HRE and the formation of the League of Celestium were what made the Cold War a reality. There are also endless disputes that constantly threaten the solidarity of the HRE as well as rebellion against imperial rule, Catholic repression and other issues.
The powers of the Persephone were called telepathy, a series of metapsychic abilities that had been artificially induced in select portions of the human population by the Alliance and the Millennial Third Reich in her home timeline. Telepathy is a term that covers a number of metapsychic abilities that all telepaths possess to some degree or another. The average range for telepathic projection is 9 metres with stronger ones being able to project as far as 15 metres and weaker ones at a minimum of 3-6 metres. The mental suppression or coercion of other people's thought processes is the most basic ability even if it is rather difficult, especially on the strong willed. False memories and personality rewrites are possible but exhausting and too time consuming for most telepaths to achieve. Mental persuasion, on the other hand, is easier and less energy intensive however and has been used by the Eosopoulou since the earliest days of their rule. However using these powers on more than one person at a time is almost impossible for all but the strongest and only a few exceptional Eosopoulou like Persephone and her first daughters were able to do so with anything approaching relative ease. Another power all telepaths possess are the abilities of electrokinesis, pyrokinesis and cryokinesis, control over electricity, fire and ice respectively. Electrokinesis is the easiest whilst pyrokinesis and cryokinesis tend to vary on an individual basis, especially since the Eosopoulou married normal people. Such powers are very taxing however and extended use can be very dangerous for a telepaths mental and physical health. Persephone preserved several important lessons and educational techniques that taught her children and their descendants the means by which these powers can be safely controlled, trained and enhanced without causing neural overload.
Culturally this world is, on the whole, more traditionalist than ours. Religion is still vitally important to social cohesion and the adherence to hierarchy and old family values holds especial importance to people. Outside of Rhomaion and their former colonies, traditional gender roles are still followed very closely across the globe. Men are expected to be dutiful workers and husbands whilst women must be respectable wives and mothers. Culture and tolerance of course vary from nation to nation but globalisation has been going on for centuries now. Rhomaion is still seen as the centre for classic artistic creations with numerous masterpieces having been produced by them over the centuries. Museums spend inordinate amounts of money to temporarily exhibit Heliosian sculptures and Rhomaion paintings. Germany is the centre for radio shows, though they often have to be dubbed, as well as modern music with dozens of popular synthetic and electronically enhanced music selections produced every year. Forms of Chinese and Japanese literature have been international best-sellers that continue to be printed and bought to this day. This has led to a lot of translations, adaptations and hybridizations as these are distributed. Despite the traditional and conservative attitudes of this world and the attempts by religious and political extremists to ban the cultural imports this world is very cosmopolitan and multi-cultural on certain levels.
Politically this world is far more monarchical. The divine right of kings has a little more credibility when certain monarchs do in fact possess supernatural powers. There are still plenty of revolutionary and radical political groups that denounce the ruling powers. Many of them are anti-religious in order to denounce the abilities that the Eosopoulou and their relatives all exhibit.
There is one book that has been banned in the Basileia Rhomaion but is popular overseas and pirated in the League. It is an academic thesis that presents several sets of evidence pointing to possible fathers of Adristeia and Amaltheia. This completely contradicts the accepted doctrine of their divine conception and led to the books condemnation and a ban placed on its publishing and distribution. Needless to say the author was kicked out of her university and had to leave the country in order to find work and also escape the death threats from angry religious groups.
Whilst it is the 24th Century the technology level is actually somewhere around the level of the 22nd Century. The Eosopoulou and the various economic and academic guilds have often suppressed those who they detect have dangerous ideas. It has also been common in Christendom, especially when they got their own telepaths but science has inevitably trudged on. Nuclear weapons were discovered much later than OTL, not that it makes a difference by 2339, but it did mean mass conventional warfare was practised for much longer. Climate change also took place and whilst the results haven't been completely catastrophic, sea levels only rose a couple of metres, it has caused a great number of problems across the world, especially for weather dependent areas. Countermeasures have been explored since the 21st Century when this was first discovered. Practical nuclear fusion has only been available on a consumer scale for 40 years now and the construction and commissioning of fusion plants can take years, sometimes dissuading people even if the power yields are exponential. Clone meat and GM crops are only just beginning to become popular, the various religions trying to have the idea banned, especially in the HRE. The tendency in most yields to be flavourless also puts people off even if it is more convenient and environmentally friendly.
Space has had a human presence since the early 21st Century. The Space Race was far more tentative than OTL, many rather worried at the possibly blasphemous implications of entering the heavens, but still curiosity and international competition eventually demanded they leave the atmosphere. There are now copious numbers of satellites of all kinds in orbit and even a base on the Moon which is primarily League operated since the Rhomaion landed there first. The HRE have been setting up space stations and also considering an orbital habitat, mostly as a propaganda piece but also as a potential site for asteroid mining operations.
My money is on Rhomaion possibly winning if it's the defender but Solar Strife is more advanced and more ruthless plus Nazi's!
I've been trying to imagine a kind of Downfall of the Eosopoulou outcome and just can't see it happening, not when people who are living thought police and potential sources of effortless coercion exist.
Eg in addition to variations of each a different person or people could have arrived in the past instead of Persephone given that experimentation with FTL and exotic forces etc was rampant right before the Third Solar Strife was discreetly kicked off the rebelling Nazi A.I Yggdrasil (as of the latest revision).
Yggrasil itself isn't a typical evil A.I or malfunctioning A.I given it predicted two outcomes of a later war... Human extinction which was inacceptable and Nazi Victory which it wouldn't allow either. Leaving a pre-emptive Third Solar Strife the only option if it was to carry out it's ultimate goals to observe, learn, protect and guide Humanity (Nazi arrogance allowed it a lot of flexibility and leeway to interpret how to best apply these goals and it quickly wrote the Nazi's off as the insane scum they were and spend decades slowly preparing it's goals with the highest of secrecy and efficiency)
There is begins to wage a shadowy war to overthrow and destroy the cruel and blood thirsty gods that rule in a world where the Aztecs conquered much of the globe with a combination of their gods might and the powers granted by the vile blood magic enabled by mass sacrifice. It fights blood magic and the Aztec pantheon with it's own cybernetically enhanced army and powerful Telepaths that but even the best of the Reich and US to shame.
(Yggdrasil would have massed cloning facilities used to produce it's forces or as it calls them it's custodians and stewards who are dedicated to it's repair and upkeep etc and view it as a benevolent deity... much to it's chagrin.)
Hmm that could be a good premise for a follow up to the They Are Awake!. The Gods have narrowly survived the opening of the Pit and have somewhat recovered when Yggrasil arrives in Earth orbit to continue it's eternal crusade to free Humanity from the grip of tyrannical gods.
Leaving in the issues with Islam caused by historical tensions and the reign of Aurora the Ist (assuming her mother is still killed by Muslim rebels that is) Rhomaion not having problems with the Christians majority at the time and wasting resources picking on the Jews (Abrahamics and not just any but the first and in Heliosian eyes therefore the worst) I could see it achiving a great deal more especially since it could focus on conquest more, prehaps even Persephone's original aim or the United Roman Empires borders at it's height or at least taking the Justinian era Rhomaion borders + Spain and maybe southern France.
Without their specific faith I doubt that matrilineal inheritance would have been so openly accepted and incest would definitely have been condemned. They would have had to have worked through a system of puppet monarch husbands instead.
Rhomaion would probably foster stronger relationships with other Orthodox nations like the Russians as well.
If they were more successful in the Western Mediterranean then they would have changed things irreversibly. Taking Rome would have seen the Papacy kicked out of Rome as they would likely refuse to serve a non-Catholic lord/lady. Whoever ends up hosting the Pope would become the arbiter of Catholicism, likely leading to them dominating the Church. That alone could splinter Catholicism as a lot of nations would not accept a Pope who is under the blatant rule of another lord.
That been said the nature of Telepathic bonds and connections does make the chance of incest higher and more likely among bonded Telepaths that are related due to how it works (and Persephone not passing on that particular but of knowledge on how to lessen that risk or even outright eliminate it when Telepaths bond/connect, largely due to never been connected to anyone).
So I guess for the Orthodox Church the Eosopoulou would go for ceaseropapism even heavyer then otl ? and prehaps renewed Iconiclasm to prevent the church wasting wealth on icons and such ?.
Eosopoulou Orthodox Christianity would likely involve more ceasaropapism. However I never thought about the Iconiclasm. That sounds like a good point.
In reguards to the incest I guess if it still happens (which it would to like you said) then pulling a Cersei would be common enough to make some rulers and spouses paranoid about their offspring's parentage.
Ont he subject of a displaced papacy, do you fell that Catholicism would still fragment if the Isle of Man was set up as an independent papal island outside of foreign control in theory but controlled by their English/British protectors in practice ?
Granted that doesn't make for nice rulers, just ones who know how to survive and will at least be careful and calculating tyrants rather then vicious idiots like Joffrey Baratheon.
It's occurred to me that other then the titles I only have a very vague idea at best as to what each actually does which is to say nothing currently
Maidens would probably be analogous to parish priests and would probably be responsible for dealing with religious and spiritual matters in a given community.
Matrons would be much closer to bishops, handling the religious 'administration' of a region they have been made responsible for.
Matriarchs therefore would be like archbishops or cardinals, placed with supreme religious authority over an even larger area and often involved in political matters, even if only in a ceremonial sense.
Of course all of this is subordinate to the Empress who is the living god of this religion after all.
How does that sound? It means there is a relationship between the Heliosian faith and the old Christian faiths. Whilst Christianity is of course anathema to the Heliosians on a spiritual level, it makes sense to use their old organisational structure.
Eg the Heliosians to have rules/comandments that tell you not to steal or harm others unjustly etc basic moral rules and common sense but it's not jugemental over sexuality or race nore does it have a bunch of odd dietary rules or strange behavioural restrictions eg celibatcy "outside of the priestesshood" and is readily translated into other languages for different cultures and the standard issues holy books are available to all unlike the Bible and Qauran which were for priest only for a long time historically.
Plus it doesn't have eternal damnation for anything but the absolute worst of people with it's karma like stuff and reincarnation allowing people to fix their mistakes in the next life.
And most importantly it's blatant message to enjoy life and live it to it's fullest as long as it doesn't disadvantage others, damage the enviroment or cause undue harm which is essentially a message outright saying behedonistic and decadent within reason.
This is ignoring the fact that it can be Telepathically spread aswell.
These kinds of ideas are seen as acceptable in amodern secular society but in a more religious world they will be reprehensible.
However after a few generations the lower levels of restriction and lack of fear of eternal damnation will be more agreeable to the Heliosian population of Basileia Rhomaion.
Of course that doesn't mean that conversions to either side wouldn't happen but I don't see any mass abandonment of either faith taking place without the application of discriminatory laws or worse (and that would just radicalise the more devout anyway).
The muslims you can imagine where an absolute nightmare to convert even once the Holy Cities got torched although Persia was a rather interesting case once one of the bloodlines of Adrasteia's daughters was installed there, leading to it become by far the most conservative and devout part of the empire which is one of the roots of the political splintering of the empire into eastern and western half's at some point in the future. The most recognised cause was the disputes between the post Apollonian capital of Alexandria and Helleno-Egyptian/Nile Rhomaion population which recived most of the empires focus and the more politically neglected Mesopotamian and Persians mixed with strife caused by the unstable and promicious princess Aphrodisia who triggered civil war between several branches of the family with her sleeping habits.
On another note though. I don't see that many Muslims voluntarily converting after the Heliosians burn down the Holy Cities. Mecca and Medina have more significance to Islam than the Vatican has to Christianity. Any Muslim who hears of the Holy Cities destruction is likely to go mad. In the initial years after the destruction of Mecca and Medina you will probably see mass rebellion and migrations breaking out throughout the Muslim portions of the Basileia Rhomaion.
It is likely that the Rhomaion may go down in the histories of Islam as blasphemous pagan barbarians, barely better than demons, for what they did.
Apparently the technological level portrayed in this scenario is too advanced for what HeliosMegistos had in mind and they're two centuries behind what Persephone knew before she was sent back in time.
I'm genuinely having trouble seeing that since it is so out of this version of hers character. Taking into account that she is merely a powerful Telepath but not a demi-goddess or a goddess in general, her abilities only get her so far since she can't be everywhere at once and has a maximum Telepathic range of 30 meters at most. Even if she traveled all over the place, using her abilities on so many people all over the place takes time and effort she really is unlikely to want to be bothered with.
Then factor in she's cunning but not above average intelligence and doesn't know a great deal about 24th century technology or even 21st century technologies inner workings and her own biases and that takes out her been able to rapidly advance technology although she certainly could revolutionize military technology given she knows her strategy, tactics and organization (plus the natural advantage Telepathic and pyrokinesis and such grant in the ages before automatic rail-guns and drone warfare which they have at a disadvantage against) so it's not inconcivable that Rhomaion could be fielding firearm equipped armies supported by primitive gun powder artillery and later primitive airships/blimps and railways if her descendants can get people to invent them early based on Persephone's sketches and notes
Finally she knows her Greek and Roman history and customs but not so much that of other areas. Assuming she can get around these three issues and the natural logistical issues, how much do you think she could achive as a self proclaimed God-Empress or (if she goes Christian Friendly) blessed reformer etc.
Anyway that out of the way, what are your thoughts on her going even further back eg to Caesars Rome or the aftermath of his death of just before Alexanders Conquest or the wars after his death ?.
She might have an easier time of spreading Heliosianism. The chauvanism of Ancient Greece would probably have made it about as difficult as the original Dawnverse for her to establish a female primogeniture based system.
There wouldn't be a rival organised religion to oppose her though so Heliosianism would have psread even further and then probably undergo some kind of schism, probably perpetrated by figures similar to Apollonia II.
Potential rivals for Caesar's Rome: (Parthia, some kind of Germanic Confederation)
Potential rivals for just before Alexander's Conquests (Carthage, Mauryan Empire, some kind of Gaelic Confederation)
She cold reform traditional Greek ro Roman religion to make the gods more moral and less dickish however...
Also, good rival lists!
She wasn't a genius however and didn't understand a lot of the technical and scientific side of things just like most people are unlikely to in otl and and wasn't particularly interested either. What she did read in her spare time was history, particularly on the middle ages and ancient Greece and Rome...
She partially blamed technology for the hellhole her world was and partially blamed the various othet developments that came with it such as total war eg WWII which killed millions, massed industrialization which destroyed the environment and caused lots of human suffering, and things like rabid nationalism and unrestrained capitalism. She was generally apathetic towards religion but hated Christianity because of the anti-telepath stance many of them took in the US which was a big factor in how badly many of them got treated and the rights restrictions etc and for the decline and dissaperance of ancient Greece and Rome.
Her goals could be summe dup in three phases.
Phase 1) Stop any chance of the third reich ever forming and the hellhole that the world would potentially become.
Phase 2) A fusion of phase 1 and 3.
Phase 3) Protect Rhomaion, Protect Family, Protect My People.
As you can see once she realised she had already changed things just by trying to she gradually put her focus on her empire, her people and her family once she became a mother. Gradually her motives changed although she remained very conservative to her own standards eg promote monarchy, delay social and technological change and suppress christianity.
But she became heavily invested in Byzantium/Rhomaion and the people she ruled over to say nothing or her daughters. So she pushed further with some of the changes and reforms she made to secure their own rule and her legacy. Basicly her plans and goals changed quite alot over time as she grew into her rule as empress/basilissa and had a family.
She was a complicated person. She wasn't interested in ruling the world or advancing it so much changing it or rather preventing major change outside of that she intended. She aligned heavily towards monarchy and somewhat absolute but enlightened rule and was extremely disillusioned with democracy, she also happened to believe that Telepaths were the best people to be rulers so mak eof that what you will.
Long term it did work for them as the telepathic dynasties that ultimately trace back to them also delayed it somewhat. Even in Rhomaion it isn't outright anti-science rather they are just extremely conservative when it comes to change, they adopted guns around the same time as everyone else and some other tech, it's industrialisation that they got really iffy about.
In the main timeline I'm working on things world wide are technologically stagnant at a semi-Victorian semi-steampunkish level and the Rhomaion deities are an active force in the world along with a twisted version of the Christian god base don how Rhomaion perceives him. Weather they are actually gods is up for debate however...