Tangents Of Terror
Current Division: Historical
Superspace Co-ordinates: -2.501. -7.136
Superspace Cluster: Egyptian Ascendency
Original Division: Historical
Current Year: 51 BCE
Progress Level: 1
Law Level: Aegyptian Empire 4
GRAPH ratings: Baseline standard
Dominant Languages: Koine Greek (language of state and commerce); ancient Egyptian
Confirmed Baseline Bleed Point(s): Giza Plateau, Egypt; catacombs of modern Alexandria, Egypt
Overview: Ptolemaic Egypt rules an empire stretching from Morocco to Mesopotamia, manipulating its client states of Carthage, Rome and Macedonia while fending off Parthian intrusions from its northeastern flank. In Rome, the conservative Senate elite backs Alexandria’s interests and flaunts Aegyptian fashions, while a new populist faction advocates greater resistance to Aegyptian hegemony.
Point of Divergence: A Ptolemaic victory at the Battle of Cos (ca. 261 BCE) allowed Ptolemaic Egypt to maintain its control of the Aegean Islands. This, in turn, put Ptolemy III on a much stronger footing for the subsequent Third Syrian War than he had in real history, giving his forces a victory at the Battle of Andros (ca. 245 BCE) and letting the kingdom keep control of the Cyclades (which they lost in RL). At the same time, the stronger supply lines allowed Ptolemy III’s siege of Babylon to become a full-fledged conquest, and the Ptolemies become the new rulers of Mesopotamia in 245 BCE.
Years later, Rome’s simultaneous Second Punic War with Carthage and First Macedonian War against Philip V gave Ptolemy IV an opportunity to rid the Mediterranean world of ascending Aegyptos’s biggest long-term threat. A triple alliance between the Carthaginians under Hannibal, the Macedonians under Philip V and the Aegyptians/Seleucids under Ptolemy IV ultimately crippled the Roman Republic beyond repair, while rallying the Hellenistic world under Aegyptos’s banner.
But Ptolemy IV and his ministers were crafty. They provided only enough aid to their allies to ensure Rome’s defeat; the war severely weakened both Carthage and Macedon, allowing Egypt to expand its sphere of influence into both their realms through mutual protection treaties that heavily favored Aegyptian interests. This gave Ptolemaic Aegypt effective control of the entire Hellenistic world and of the Carthaginian trade empire.
Over the remaining centuries, the Aegyptians continued to play Macedon against the Greek city-states and Carthage against Rome, and all of them against each other, keeping them all comparatively weak, while securing their own borders, consolidating their influence and power in the former Seleucid kingdom and spreading Ptolemy III’s “Aegyptification” across the rest of the Hellenistic world.
Current Sketch: Rome, Carthage, Greece and Babylon lie quiescent under the heel of 18-year-old Cleopatra VII Philopater, who has just become sole Pharoah after the death of her father Ptolemy XII Auletes. The empire is ruled from her capital at Alexandria, but divided up into many administrative districts governed by Aegyptified local magistrates. Roman populists have become more outspoken in arguing that the ascension of the impetuous young queen may be the right time to revolt, but a majority of the Senate still backs Alexandria.