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The first and the greatest of Rome's emperors, Julius Caesar, had conquered vast swaths of territory for the empire, making it rich beyond measure and extending its reach across various continents, including Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia. However, this success brought with it the traditional problems that comes with running an overextended empire in the ancient world. With the Roman empire spanning multiple continents, it has become cumbersome and difficult to manage. Messages and orders can take weeks or months to reach their intended destination, preventing leaders from making decisions quickly in real time. Large beaurcracies are needed to simply make the empire function, with realpolitik and infighting taking up much resources. This has also led to rebellions in parts of the empire, as the central government finds it difficult to enforce its will over its numerous territories. If left unchecked, this can lead to the collapse of Rome, making everything Caesar has worked towards fall to nothing. Some advisors and generals to the emperor have suggested splitting Rome in two, with the Eastern and Western parts governed by two co-emperors who would manage their side but work together for the glory of the whole. However, this may inevitably lead to one side succeeding at the other's expense. After executing these advisors for their idiotic stupidity, Caesar set about finding an alternate solution for saving Rome.

Enter Morgan Le Fey, a powerful witch vested in the dark arts who seeks to serve the glory of Rome. Her solution put to the emperor was to build a series of magical portals designated in specific areas. This would connect the empire through an interlocking network, making hard to reach places more accessible. It would allow for instant communication of messages, and transport of much needed goods and services, increasing trade. It would also allow for the quick movement of soldiers to troubled spots, putting down rebellions before they grew to a significant size. Although construction and retaining the service of the witch would be expensive, Caesar considered it a small price to pay for saving his kingdom. He immediately hired Morgan as head of the project and set about building the system of portals, which were eventually completed.

My ingenious system was designed to keep the Roman Empire as one cohesive empire without needing to split it apart due to its massive size, which prevents a scenario in which the East does well while the Western side falls into disrepair. This would eliminate the need for the Byzantines, which would come later. What would make this system fail as a solution?

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    $\begingroup$ It looks like you're wanting us to do your brainstorming and idea generation for you by asking an open ended question with many valid answers. Such questions are too broad and too opinion based to be a good fit for this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 18, 2022 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ How many portals are there? Where are they? What is their traffic capacity? Can the network be extended if the empire extends further or is it set in stone as of Julius Caesar's time? Do all roads (portals) lead to Rome or does Rome connect to a smaller number of regional centres only which are the centre of subsidiary networks? There are some obvious secondary effects to having a portal network (eg maintaining roads becomes low priority) with follow-on tertiary effects, but need more information to assess these. $\endgroup$ Apr 19, 2022 at 3:11
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    $\begingroup$ I think you need to look into the fall of the roman empire because portals will not address the majority of the factors, including lack of land to pay retiring soldiers, the concertation of farmland in the hands of wealthy due to cheap slave labor, the collapse of currency and the middle class, the breakdown of the political system because most of the controls on politicians were custom and not law, numerous civil wars, ect. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Apr 19, 2022 at 3:14

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Yersinia pestis (Black Death, the Justinian Plague etc., pneumonic, septicemic, and bubonic.)

A bacterial infection, carried by a type of flea that infests a certain type of rat, this set of strains of deadly disease have resulted in the most soul destroying pandemics, the greatest loss of life in history (on a number of occasions).

Less of a concern since the invention of antibiotics, at times in history, they'd slowly work their way around the globe by trade-routes leaving death in their wake. The only protection at the time was to isolate cities, whole areas of the country or countries themselves.

With instant portal-travel, no such protection is afforded, no warning given - as soon as the plague hits one part of the Empire, the whole Empire is doomed.

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Space Time Lesions

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It turns out there is no such thing as a free lunch. The portal lets you save time going from one space to another. In other words you have the same time but much less space to cover. The world does not like this conversion and always strives to retain the balance.

Morgana knew this but was defamed ad executed as a traitor once the portal system because self-sustaining. Witches know about this sort of thing but Romans have no time for it. No water nearby? Just build an aqueduct easy peasy!

Responding to an insurrection in the Eastern Territory, Caesar marched two legions through the portal. None of them reached the other side.

The sudden conversion of space into time was too much for the world to handle. It violently reasserted itself, creating SpaceTime Fissures that stretch from Asia Minor to the Black sea. It is now impossible to reach Byzantium by foot.

Reports from our scouts who went the long way through Gibraltar, over the Sahara, and past Egypt, are pereplexing. It took them five years to make the journey. We now believe the fissures extend through time as well as space. Constantinople isn't there anymore.

But it's not a matter of where -- it's a matter of when.

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    $\begingroup$ Gosh this may be the best answer I have ever done. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Apr 18, 2022 at 17:18
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Gates HELP ambitious generals march on Rome and HELP barbarians pass frontiers

The Western Empire's main political problems were 1) Waves of barbarian migration from the East, 2) Ambitious generals turning their legions on Rome (Caesar was the great pioneer of this),and 3) The Praetorian Guard assassinating emperors.

The gates help barbarians migrate, and help them bypass fortified Roman lines and strike the Empire's heartlands.

They help ambitious generals who turn ambitious eyes towards Rome (although in fairness, they help Rome supervise or at least monitor them).

They don't make any difference at all to the Praetorian Guard.

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Bury the gate

The sure-fire means to become Emperor is (1) bribe the Praetorian Guards, (2) kill the existing 'emperor', and (3) bury the gate to keep any other would-be Roman Emperors from horning in on your action. The rest progresses as if the gates had never been built, aside from the occasional snicker of the guards whenever a =thunk= noise sounds from somewhere under the capstones.

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The greatest threat to Rome is internal

It doesn’t matter how quickly you can traverse the empire, one man cannot rule an entire empire. You can delegate, but eventually the people you delegate to will have enough power to challenge you. However, normally these forces must travel the great distance to the emperor’s capital, with time to raise an army or prepare. Portals, however, make this kind of attack faster and harder to foresee. The Byzantines will eventually rebel, and Rome will lose its empire.

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