On Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 7:40 AM, Puey McCleary <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hmmm ... I wonder whether Rome ever could have crossed the Impassable
> Desert and colonized Oz.  How would "Oz the Great and Powerful" sound in
> such a descendant language?

It's plausible that a few Roman soldiers could have been transported
across the Deadly Desert by one of those bizarre accidents that seem
to happen so often.  It's less plausible that the Roman Empire could
keep up a regular supply line across the Deadly Desert.

Once you've got a few Roman soldiers in Oz, they might conquer it, or
a respectable chunk of it.  But with so vast a disproportion between
the population of the conquered and conquerors, I don't think language
substitution is likely.  Some transfer of customs, sure, and probably
some borrowing of Latin loanwords for Roman weapons, military ranks,
tactics, customs and institutions.

If the Roman conquerors of Oz are to report to the rest of the empire
about it and bring in reinforcements, etc., they'd need to find some
magic strong enough to let large numbers of people cross the Desert
efficiently.  None of the magic used for crossing the Desert in the Oz
books would fit the bill, to the best of my recollection -- it's been
a few years since I read most of them, but I think Ozma's magic carpet
or Johnny Fixit's sandboat wouldn't work for a whole army.  The Magic
Belt, maybe, could teleport whole armies as easily as small groups.  I
think it had been the property of the Nome Kings for a long time
before Ozma acquired it, so suppose the Romans conquered the Nome
Kingdom as well -- possibly after the Nomes attacked a
Roman-controlled Oz -- and the leader of the Romans acquired the Magic
Belt... at that point you might have a way for them to bring more
Romans in large numbers, at which point linguistic substitution
becomes plausible.

Jim Henry