The Weighted Scales: The World of an Aborted Rome
The Weighted Scales Discussion Thread
The Weighted Scales: The World of an Aborted Rome
Prologue: A Blip In History
Part One: The Rise of the Rasna
Precious little is known about the Rasna  in their early times. Most modern archaeologists agree that they were the descendants of Anatolian colonizers, possibly escaping Greek expansion. They were closely related to the Rhaetians to the northeast, who are believed to have branched off as they moved further inland towards the Alps. Both seem to be related to, if not directly descended from, the Villanovan Culture of central Italia.
But surely, by the 7th Century B.E.  the Rasna had not only become unique from the Villanovans, but dominant over their entire domain. Contact with Greek merchants led to the Rasna adopting and eventually creating their own alphabet. The early Rasna, judging by the sophisticated and elaborate burials of their aristocracy, developed a city-state structure similar to the Greeks, but unlike the Greeks in their worship and deification of each city’s respective ruler.
During the 6th Century B.E. the Rasna expanded both north and south. With the adoption of Greek-style hoplite soldiers, they were able to gain considerable clout, and brought under their direct control everything between the Padus  and the Tiber. The breadth of their influence grew beyond the Apennine Mountains to the North, and Campania to the South. In Campania, the Rasna subjugated the Oscans present there. The Oscans, an Italic group caught between the Rasna north of them and the Greeks in the South, could do little but pay homage to the might of the Rasna.
The Rasna attributed much of their wealth to mining. Within their lands were vast veins of iron and copper, extremely valuable minerals, which they mined, refined, crafted into anything from pottery to weaponry, and sold. They built rich cities, solidifying the king-worship already present, and allowing said kings to maintain order within their domains. Cities such as Cisra , Veii, Perusia, Fufluna, Velch , Parma, Mantua, Adria, and Roma, among others, grew and prospered with either Rasna foundation, or Rasna rule. The cities ruled by Rasna formed a loose organization or confederacy very similar to those of the Greeks and other archaic groups in the East.
But the growing Rasna monopoly over trade in the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas led to direct conflict with the Greeks settled in the South of Italia, as well as Liguria and southern Gaul, and the Eastern coast of Iberia. The Phoceans, Ionian Greek colonizers (founders of cities like Massalia, Neapolis, Cumae, Alalia, Rhegion, Siris, and Leontani, amongst others) became a stalwart enemy of the Rasna. Skirmishes and small naval conflicts followed.
At this time, another group, whose ancestry also resided in the East, the Punics of Carthage, were growing in influence. The Carthaginians had for a long time been rivals with the Greeks, desiring control of maritime commerce for themselves. And as the old saying goes: My enemy’s enemy is my friend.
So the Carthaginians formed an alliance with the Rasna, and together they fought the Greeks. These were commercial wars, fought solely for the sake of wealth and control over trade routes.
At the Battle of Allalia in 533 B.E. (540 B.C.) off the coast of Corsica, the joint Carthaginian-Rasna alliance confronted the Phoceans. The Greek fleet consisted of sixty pentekonters (ships with forty-eight oars and two rudders). The allied armada was twice as large, also comprised of pentekonters. The Greek fleet was able to drive off the aggressors, but lost over two thirds of their force, and all surviving ships were severely damaged. The Greeks, realizing that should their aggressors attack again that they would be powerless to stop them, evacuated Corsica and sought refuge in Rhegion.
Corsica came under the influence of the Rasna, while Sardinia fell into Carthaginian hands. This would be the height of the Rasna’s influence and control over Italia. They continued to assault Greek ships, and pushed for more control further south. But they could not hold that which they had gained.
It was the beginning of the end for the Rasna.
 Rasna- What the Ancient Etruscans referred to themselves as.
 The Dor Immanu’el calendar correlates to seven years earlier than our own. Example: OTL 7 B.C. (B.C.E.) is equal to ATL 1 A.E.
 The Po River
 The Etruscan name for Caere
 The Etruscan name for Vulci
Prologue: A Blip In History
Part Two: Down From the Mountains
During this age, there was but one group that defeated the Rasna. While the exact dates remain unclear, it is believed that around 600 B.E. a massive wave of Celts crossed the Alps and settled in Northern Italia under the leadership of a Gallic prince named Bellovesus. Much of what is described about how or why this horde of men came to Italia is veiled in legend, myth, and lore. But as it goes:
A great king named Ambicatus once ruled Gaul, centered around the Bituriges, but in confederacy with the Arverni, Senones, Aedui, Ambarri, Carnutes, and Aulerci. Under his reign, the people of Gaul grew strong and prosperous. But the rich lands of Gaul were so fertile, that the great masses of men proved increasingly difficult to reign over. So, the king took his sister’s sons, Sigovesus and Bellovesus, and had them take as many men as they wanted from any tribe so that no people could resist their advance. The brothers drew lots to determine which will go where, believing these omens of the gods. The omens declared that Sigovesus was to take his men to the Hercynian Forest across the Rhine, and Bellovesus was to take his men across the mountains to Italia.
Bellovesus nearly lead his men to their deaths, but received help from the Greeks who settled in Massalia  around the same time. After receiving an omen from the gods, Bellovesus then led his men through the pass in the Alps inhabited by the Taurini, a Celtic-Ligurian group who occupied the upper valley of the Padus River. Once he and his Gauls arrived in Italia, they defeated the Rasna at the Ticino River and settled in Northern Italia. Bellovesus then founded the city of Medhlan .
However, the presence of the Celtic Insubres suggests that Celts had occupied Northern Italia for at least a century before Bellovesus cross the Alps.
Regardless, the Celts were an extremely powerful and influential group in the north of the peninsula. The most powerful Celtic tribes included the Salassi, Leponzi, Taurini, Insubri, Cenomani, Boii, and Lingoni settled in the Padus River valley, and the Carni settled to the north of the Adriatic Sea, bordering the Venetians.
The Celts were fierce to behold. One of the main reasons for their success against the many Italic groups was their method of warfare. The Celts had no professional army, nor did they adopt any specific standard formation like the Greek phalanx.
The typical Celtic warrior was male, though on occasion women would join in battle. Basic equipment consisted of one to four spears depending on the wealth of the man. One spear would be nearly as tall as a man with a huge leaf-shaped head called a “lancea”. The others would be shorter and used for throwing called “gaesum”. They would also carry a large wooden shield covered in leather with a metal boss, decorated with paintings and, if the owner was especially wealthy, with metal ornamentation. With this, the average Celtic warrior would wear his everyday working cloths (trousers, shirt, belt, and cloak). Some warriors preferred to rush into battle completely naked, foregoing any possible protection for mobility. However, there is scientific evidence that suggests that this may have been beneficial to the Celtic warrior, as a wound will heal faster and be less likely to get infected if cloth does not enter the wound, especially dirty, and bloody sweaty cloth. This is also one of many examples of Celtic shock-warfare, where the Celts would intimidate and scare their opponents before engaging them in battle.
Celtic nobles on the other hand were adorned quite differently. All Celtic nobles wore a metal torc around his neck, which he believed was magical and would protect him from harm. While this is obviously untrue, one cannot discredit the success of the Celtic war-machine, and not understand how a correlation in tribal society might be made. Celtic nobles armed themselves with long-swords, varying in size from three feet long to the length of a man. Earlier swords had defined points at the end, allowing for piercing as well as slashing, but later models had blunted tips, which meant the focus was placed more on slashing attacks. Occasionally, such swords had artistic handles, such as a pommel crafted to resemble a human head or in the shape of a horse. Celtic nobles wore armor, usually made from leather, while the richer nobles would wear ornate helmets made from either bronze or iron with crests and horns and inlays of gold or coral. Chainmail, a Celtic invention, was worn by the wealthiest of nobles. A chainmail suite would cover a man from his knees to his neck, and would allow greater mobility of the arms.
Also typical of Celtic warfare is the battle chariot. A Celtic chariot typically was a lightweight, two wheeled cart led by two yoked war-horses. Most of the chariot would be made from wood, except for the iron tires and iron fittings to strengthen the hubs of said chariot. Sometimes, metal rings were used to strengthen the joints of a chariot. Though the Celtic chariot may sound and look primitive at face value, especially when compared to the chariots used further east by the great empires of old, they were quite innovative. Unlike most chariots in other parts of the world which had the platform directly attached to the axel, Celtic chariots were unique in that they suspended the platform that a man stood on by ropes, in no way attached to the axel. This suspension not only made the ride more comfortable but also was easier to fight from because the as the chariot wheels would bump, the platform a man stood upon would not. Celtic chariots would be manned in pairs: the charioteer, who stood in the front directing the horses, and the warrior, who would throw his spears from the chariot, and eventually jump off the chariot to fight on foot. The charioteer would then drive away and return to pick up the warrior, whether the warrior is victorious, wounded, or dead.
Celtic warriors rarely fought in formation. While anywhere from one hundred to one hundred thousand warriors might participate in any given Celtic battle, they almost never used formation. Instead, they trusted their brute strength and individual capability on the battlefield to overrun their enemy, surging over them like a tidal wave of shouting, painted, and often-naked men. Any form of military organization used by Celts in battle was more influenced by where the warrior(s) were from and what kind of weapons they carried. Charioteers and cavalry were usually grouped together, but those using horses were different than those with swords, axes, or spears, and those were different than archers or slingers.
More important than formation and tactics to the Celts was psychological warfare. Being able to instill fear into their enemy was of great importance. Before charging into battle, the Celts would shout and trash-talk their enemy, all while banging their weapons against their shields. Horns called carnyx were blown before battle, and huge low drums were beat to create a hellish sound as the army approached. This combined with many of such men being naked and tattooed was a fierce sight to behold. Adding to this, many put lemon juice in their hair, which would make it spike up and turn gold in color. Gauls in particular are noted for dying their hair platinum blonde and for growing long mustaches as a sign of manhood, similar to a lion’s mane.
And the Celts were not easy to defeat. Honor was based on a man’s feats performed in battle, and if you retreated or surrendered in battle, you had no honor. Celtic warriors would likely have fought to the last man. Many warriors would commit suicide, and even kill their close relatives and loved ones, rather than be captured and sold into slavery.
 Modern day OTL Marseille; Mασσαλια
Prologue: A Blip In History
Part Three: The Rise of The Latins
In 502 B.E. (509 B.C.) the Latins, an Italic group living along the southern banks of the Tiber River, threw off direct Rasna rule. The city of Roma in particular came to the forefront, throwing out their Rasna King Tarquin the Proud and founded an Oligarchic Republic. These Latins, many of whom called themselves Romans, became the bane of the Rasna. These Romans quickly began waging wars with their neighbors as well as founding alliances, and proving worth as soldiers as well as diplomats.
Tarquin, however, was not going to let his thrown simply go. Gathering support from the Rasna cities of Tarquinii and Veii, he met the Romans at the Battle of the Arsian Forest. The battle concluded with the Veientes’ line breaking to the Romans, exposing the right flank of Tarquin’s army. The Rasna were forced to retreat, and the Romans claimed victory.
But still, Tarquin would not give up. He then went to the city of Cevsin , a very powerful Rasna city, and sought aid from the King Pursenas . King Pursenas led his army to Roma, and the Romans feared him at his approach. It is said that the Romans went so far as to destroy bridges their own men fought upon to halt the Rasna surge across the river. Pursenas then determined that the best course of action would be to blockade the city. He sent raiding parties to the surrounding countryside, and blocked all river commerce. An assassination attempt by the Romans was made upon Pursenas in the night, but instead the king’s secretary was slain. Pursenas grew to admire the Romans’ bravery, and eventually offered peace. His request to restore Tarquin onto his thrown was denied, but the Romans returned the lands they took from the city of Veii.
The Romans made war with the Aequi and the Volsci under the leadership of a man named Cincinnatus. This expanded their influence along the Tiber River.
War with the Rasna ignited again and again between the two forces. The disunified Rasna usually were unable to work together in an effort to defeat the Romans, but on occasion they would, and the Romans feared such unified armies, for on several occasions Roman armies had been shattered by unified Rasna forces. The Rasna city of Veii, closest in proximity and a competitor for control of the Tiber, became Roma’s nemesis. The Rasna of Veii would raid almost constantly, but refuse open battle with Roman legions. The Romans now fought on two fronts, with Veii in the North, and the Aequi and Volsci in the East.
The Roman Fabii tribe attempted to rebuff the raids made by Veii. Three hundred and six Fabii with their clients made camp along the River Cremera near Veii. The Fabii initially were successful in halting Veientes raids, and won several battles against them. A truce was made between Roma and Veii, but the Fabii broke the truce. The Veientes continued to raid, but were time and again defeated, so much so, that Fabii began to raid the countryside around Veii. The Veientes, frustrated with these hoplites, laid a trap, scattering a herd as bait. The Fabii took the bait, and chased after the herd, but soon were surrounded by Rasna. The Fabii formed into a wedge and were able to push through and regrouped on a nearby hill, where they were able to repulse the Rasna, until hoplites from Veii came at them from behind, and slaughtered them. No Roman survived the Battle of Cremera.
While the Romans slowly expanded through Latin lands, the Rasna remained the dominant force in the region. But everything changed in 467 B.E. (474 B.C.) in the bay of Neapolis.
 The Etruscan name for Clusium
 Known by the Romans as Lars Porsena
Prologue: A Blip In History
Part Four: The Fall of the Rasna
Historians generally agree that the undeniable turning point in Rasna hegemony in Northern Italia occurred in 467 B.E. (474 B.C.) at the Battle of Cumae.
The Rasna had for centuries been locked in a struggle with the Greeks to the South. This struggle came to a head when the Rasna sent a fleet to attack the Euboan Greek city of Cumae near the city of Neapolis . Aristodemus, the tyrant ruler of Cumae, allied with Heiro I of Syracuse met the Rasna fleet in the bay of Neapolis and defeated them. This battle brought to an end all southern expansion by the Rasna, and ultimately brought about their demise. The Rasna monopoly over the Ligurian Sea and Tyrrhenian Sea trade routes ended, but worse was still to come for the Rasna.
In 428 B.E. (435 B.C.) the Romans took the town of Fidenes from the Rasna at Veii. They then colonized the town, and Latinized it.
In 389 B.E. (396 B.C.) the city of Veii fell to the Romans and was sacked by them under their dictator Camillus. The Latins had been laying siege to the city for ten years, but to no avail. Finally, they dug a tunnel beneath the city. When the moment was right, the Romans camped outside the city assaulted the walls, seemingly recklessly. At that moment, the Romans in the tunnel beneath the city emerged, apparently from beneath the Temple of Juno, and overran the city. Camillus offered to spare all who surrendered their arms, and so the city of Veii fell prostrate to the Latins. But, unfortunately for Camillus, this act of generosity earned him disfavor with the oligarchy in Roma, and he was exiled shortly thereafter.
Alas, the Rasna still lingered on, and remained powerful enough to be considered a threat to the Romans regardless. But pressure was applied on their proverbial spine from another wave of invading Gauls called Senones around the year 393 B.E. (400 B.C.) when they migrated into Italia, through Rasna lands, and finally settled along the Adriatic coast of Italia, ousting the Umbrians living there as they did so. They made a small village known as Sena , and made it their capital. Indeed, when it broke in 384 B.E. (391 B.C.) and the Senones laid siege to the Rasna city of Clevsin, they had no one to turn to for help but the Romans.
 Naples. Means literally in Greek “New City”
 Known today OTL as Senigallia
The Weighted Scales: A World of an Aborted Rome
Apparently it's the best Ancient TL of 2011. Oh Baby!
The Weighted Scales: The World of an Aborted Rome
Chapter One: The Reign of the Senones
Part One: Roman Tension
In 384 B.E. (391 B.C.) Brennos led the Senones to lay siege to the mighty Rasna city of Clevsin, intending to negotiate land rights. The king of Clevsin, desperate and fearing the Senones, called for Roman intervention. So the Romans sent three men from the Fabii  clan to help negotiate peace.
But negotiations broke down, and the Rasna sent out their army to oust the Senones from their lands. The Roman ambassadors took up arms with the Rasna, and broke their neutrality in the affair. In the following battle, one of the Roman ambassadors killed a Senone chieftain. Upon realizing that the ambassadors’ neutrality had been broken, the Senones retreated and discussed their next course of action.
In response to the death of a chieftain by Roman hands, the Senones sent ambassadors to Roma, demanding that the Fabii ambassadors be handed over and have justice dealt upon them for their treachery. In response, the Romans promoted the ambassadors to the highest position attainable in their Republic, military tribunes and consuls. The Senones obviously did not take this well. Insulted, the ambassadors returned to Brennos at Clevsin to inform him of the disrespect brought upon them by the Romans.
Brennos, enraged at the Romans, took his army, and marched them south toward Roma. Surprisingly, however, the Senones did not attack or raid a single village or farm along the road to Roma. In fact, they shouted along the way:
“We are marching on Roma, and declare war only on the Romans, but you are our friends!”
Upon hearing news of the Senone horde marching on their cities, the Romans gathered their forces under a general named Quintus Sulpicius. Quintus Sulpicius lead twenty-four thousand men in phalanx to check the Senones’ advance.
And so, along a creak named Allia, Brennos met the Romans in battle.
 Clearly not descended from one of the 306 Fabii who were massacred by the Etruscans.
Chapter One: Reign of the Senones
Part Two: Vae Victis
It was the fourth to last day of the Karkinos  in 380 B.E. (387 B.C.) when the Romans met the Senones just North of the city of Roma at a small tributary into the River Tiber called Allia. The Romans, under Quintus Silpicius with approximately 24,000 men in phalanx formation, were expecting to completely destroy the Senones who approached their city with only half the number.
It is uncertain exactly how the Celts lead by Brennos managed to not only come out of the battle victorious, but came out victorious after slaughtering the Roman army and sustaining only minimal casualties. One popular theory is that the Senone army comprised of veterans who had mostly been fighting their entire life, and who were larger, stronger, and completely superior to the Romans in every way imaginable, instilled so much fear in the Romans upon their charge, that the phalanx broke and the Senones tore the Roman army apart then and there. But this is inconsistent with fact. The Romans army, too, was largely comprised of veterans who had fought not only the Rasna to the north, but other Italic and Latin tribes to the east. The Romans also were no cowards. One can assume based off their previous encounters with the Senones in the mediation between the city of Clevsin and Brennos that the Romans had some idea of what to expect.
What is more likely to be the reason for the wholesale Celtic victory can be found upon examination of most Italic battle formations. The phalanx adopted by the Italic tribes and the Rasna certainly was not perfect. Its main flaw was that the soldiers that comprised of it were not uniform. Most Italic armies that used the phalanx (and the Romans were no different) required that each man be supplied with his own weapons. The wealthier, more heavily armored and well-armed hoplites made up the center, while the poorer and more poorly armed men made up the flanks. While this formation works well against others of its kind, it falls apart when matched against a more mobile army. What is most likely to have happened is that the Senones rushed into the battle like any other Celtic army of the time, but paid close attention to the weak points of the Roman formation—the flanks. The Senones likely fell upon the Roman flanks like a hammer, beating them to the ground in pools of blood, and then surrounded the heavy hoplite center, where the wealthier Romans were encircled and butchered.
Unfortunately for the Romans, most of their leaders and heads of their city would be found within the center, and so much of the Roman leadership would be gone. This left the city practically defenseless.
Those who managed to escape were all from the flanks. Those on the left ran for Veii, while those on the right fled for Roma.
And the Senones followed.
Upon arriving at the city, the Senones ransacked everything. What was left of the Roman military and leadership barricaded themselves in their acropolis . Brennos laid siege to the city, now in a state of despair. The oligarchy met in the acropolis to discuss what to do. They decided to send a messenger to their former dictator Marcus Furius Camillus, who had been in exile in a town over twenty miles away. The messenger climbed a cliff that the Senones had neglected, and almost escaped with the message, but was caught just outside the city by a group of band of Senones gathering a herd of Roman cattle. The unnamed messenger was promptly killed, and his head brought to Brennos with the note he bore .
Later, the Senones discovered the cliff by which the man had climbed, and made a charge up it to the acropolis. The city was plundered, and brought to its knees. All but the Capitol Hill had been looted and sacked.
But both sides needed the siege to end. While the Romans were obviously being sacked and looted, the Senones were having their own problems. Not having buried the bodies in the streets, many of the Senones began to come down with sickness and disease. Also, Brennos seems to be aware of the fact that his army was not fully prepared for siege, and could not sustain on much longer.
So, both sides met to negotiate the terms of Roman defeat. The Romans agreed to pay one thousand pounds in gold to Brennos and his Celts as ransom for their city. But when the transaction was made, the Romans objected, claiming that Brennos’ scales were weighed and not set to standard . At this, Brennos took his sword, and placed it upon the scale, snarling: “Woe to the defeated!” 
Brennos demanded that the Romans bring more gold, but they refused. One of the Roman tribunes placed his sword on the scale and claimed: “Not gold, but steel!” 
Battle soon broke out in the streets. The Senones, outnumbering the few armed Romans left alive, overcame their adversaries, chasing them up the acropolis, until every man was slain, and every woman was handed out. Only after taking all the wealth within the city did the Senones leave Roma, burning as a sign of fortunes to come for Italia.
 The fourth to last day of Cancer: July 18
 “The hilled city” or as we would know it, Capitoline Hill
 Here is the POD. OTL, the messenger managed to sneak passed the Senones, and inform Camillus that he was assigned dictator of Rom. Camillus then rallied an army, and drove the Senones out of Latium after paying the ransom for the city.
 So THAT’S where the name of this TL came from!
 “Vae Victis!” This might very well have been the first recorded instance of sarcasm in the Western Mediterranean.
 Camillus was reported to have said this upon his arrival to oust Brennos from Latium. However, ITTL, some other fool says it, and it gets him killed.
Chapter One: Reign of the Senones
Part Three: The Foundations of Sena
Located on the Adriatic, the town the Senones settled, which would later become a city to be known as Sena  had humble beginnings. Originally the war encampment of Brennos’ Senone horde on the mouth of the River Misa, it would later become a major political center of Italia in later decades.
When Brennos returned from his war with the Romans, he came back to Sena with all the riches of the burnt city. The women of the city were taken by the Celtic soldiers and distributed as wives or servants. It is estimated that after the burning of Roma, and the consequent rape of Roman women, the Senone population boomed into the next generation. Roman workers and slaves had two options: enslavement under the Senones, or sacrifice to the Celtic gods. Most chose slavery, and carried much of the rubble of Roma across the Apennines to Sena to help build the city.
While Brennos by no means had any plans of a grand city, he was pragmatic. From the stones of Roman buildings, a defensive wall was built around Sena. Like many Celtic cities of the period, Sena was shaped in a fort-like foundation with the wealthiest parts of the city found at the center. But the city certainly had an Italian flair with stone walls, and houses, though of Celtic architecture, built from materials used in Italian houses.
In 378 B.E. (385 B.C.) Brennos officially declared himself the King of the Sena. Though the decision would seem obvious, several Senone nobles challenged Brennos for the right to the throne. Two prominent contenders included the chieftains Catugaesum and Tarvos . Rallying their men, the three chieftains quickly resorted to violence to validate their claim to the throne.
Catugaesum’s faction met Brennos in battle that summer outside Sena. The two forces, relatively small compared to the force sent to sack Clevsin and Roma, probably comprised of one thousand men on each side.
Catugaesum stood out in front of his army dressed in full Celtic noble armor. His long mustache flowed in the wind as he shouted insults at Brennos, called him a coward, the son of a swine and a whore, and insulted his masculinity. Brennos responded by shouting back that Catugaesum was the coward, not he, and that Catugaesum could not pleasure a woman without having the shaft of a spear to assist him in penetrating . Both sides beat their shields and blew their war-horns like wolves howling in the wind.
Battle quickly ensued. In the fray, Brennos met Catugaesum and the two fought. In the end, Brennos came out victorious, hewing Catagaesum in half with his sword. As was tradition, Brennos claimed his enemy’s head and hung it from around the neck of his horse.
While Catugaesum’s doom is well documented, little is known about the fate of Brennos’ other rival for the throne, Tarvos. Sources are contradictory, as some claim that Brennos defeated him in a duel before both of their armies, while other sources claim that Tarvos surrendered his claim to the throne in exchange for gold and land.
Regardless, it is certain that by the end of 377 B.E. (384 B.C.) the Senone chieftain Brennos claimed the title of Senonirix , King of Sena.
 Likely derived from the tribal name Senone by other Italic tribes
 Names mean “Battle-Spear” and “Bull” respectively. I must admit that both of these men are fictional, because so little is known about the Senones of this period.
 Not exactly classy or heroic, but the Celts definitely knew how to make someone feel like shit before killing them.
 Literally means king of the Senones. At this period, the name the Senones gave their city is unknown. The city would only later be known as Sena.
Chapter One: Reign of the Senones
Part Four: Senonirix’s War
After centralizing his command and officially claiming the title of Senonirix Brennos, the King Brennos seemed to have recalled his reasons for settling down in Italia to begin with. Indeed, with the last major military power in northern Italia laid low and out of the way, it appeared that the land was ripe for the taking. In the summer of 376 B.E. (383 B.C.) the Senone army marched into mexl Rasnal  and laid siege to Perusia, a Rasna city near the head of the Tiber River.
Senonirix Brennos demanded that Perusia pay him tribute and give the Senones its rich farmlands, or else see its doom. Initially, the king of Perusia refused, and attempted to fight off the Senones. He led the Rasna elite hoplites out to meet the Senones, their armor glistening in the summer sun. The Senones yelled and cried intimidating.
Senonirix Brennos lead the charge, riding a chariot adorned with the heads of his fallen enemies. They bumped and pounded, dried hair twirling like flags of death, against the sides of his chariot. His long mustache blew in the wind as his driver brought him closer to the phalanx line. His grey eyes  narrowed as he grabbed his javelin, and at just the last second, he launched the weapon into the Rasna line. Just as his chariot turned, he saw the spear meat its mark. Behind him, two thousand champions on chariots did likewise, riding forward at full speed, and launching their javelins just at the last moment before pulling back. With the line weakened, the footmen, far behind the swift charioteers, cut through the Perusians like a blade through tender flesh. The Rasna were slow, cumbersome, and rigid. The Senones were fast, agile, and fluid. Like a tidal wave, the men painted blue bore down, rushing through the golden fields and pastures.
Said fields and pastures soon turned scarlet from the rage of battle borne.
When the Senone footmen broke through the Perusian line, tearing through the phalanx like wolves amongst the flock, the Senone champions dismounted from their chariots and rushed to join them. Glory in war, amongst all things, was what the Senones wanted. Indeed, the rich lands and the wealthy city were excellent boons for such a war, but the average man who not only ran, but made a mad dash in nothing but his skin, hair standing on end in rigid lemon-dried spikes, body painted blue, heart pounding like the deep drums and voice shouting like the battle-horns in the distance—yes, it was all for glory that they ran into the fray and carnage. 
The Perusian center crumbled, the phalanx falling in on itself like a demolished building. Rasna fought as best as they could, but with their long spears, they could not fight effectively in such close combat. Many men dropped their spears entirely in preference for knives as weapons. Some Perusians did without their arms entirely, and fought the Senones with nothing more than their fists for weapons. However, nothing they could do would hold back the waves of Senones, crashing down harder and harder.
The Rasna quickly fled back into the walls of their city and barricaded the gates. The Senones camped outside Perusia for a month until the Perusian king conceded and paid the Senones seven hundred pounds of gold, a hundred cows, and three hundred sheep, and that was merely the compensation for the lost Senone warriors. The farmlands around the city were handed over to Senonirix Brennos, and Perusian itself was forced to pay an annual tribute of two hundred pounds of gold and four hundred pounds of silver, or else forfeit its sovereignty.
The next year, Senonirix Brennos launched yet another campaign into Rasna lands, this time for his old target of Clevsin. The city was laid under siege once again, reminiscent of its ordeal with the Senones in 384 B.E. (391 B.C.). However, nine years later in 375 B.E. (382 B.C.) the city had no Romans to save it from its grim fate.
The next spring, Clevsin fell, and the Senones not only sacked it, pouring through the gates and ransacking the city, but set it ablaze when they were done. It is unknown how or why. In fact, it seems counter-productive to the Senones who had initially wished to make Clevsin their new home and to replace Sena as the capital of Brennos’ new kingdom. There are several stories about how the Burning of Clevsin occurred.
The first, and most famous, is that the Rasna king of Clevsin Lauxum  insulted Senonirix Brennos by spitting in his face as Brennos broke into his palace. Brennos then took off Lauxum’s head, claiming it as a trophy, and said:
“Let his body be set afire with the rest of his palace, so that all shall know that Senonirix has slain Lauxum at last.”
However, when his servants set the palace on fire, a wind came in from the north, and blew the flames into the city. The Senones quickly escaped while the fire grew out of control and devoured the city.
Another story is that Lauxum himself set his palace on fire as Brennos and his men approached. A Rasna source claims he grabbed a lamp filled with oil and shouted to the gods:
“No barbarian shall have me or my city! Clevsin will burn before being in the hands of outsiders! But my city will rise again from ash like the phoenix, and rain down justice upon the Senones!” 
And with that, Lauxum poured the oil onto his skin, and set himself, his family, and his servants on fire, sacrificing his city to spite Senonirix Brennos.
Both stories hold credence, but both resulted in the same end. Clevsin burned to the ground, and the Senones returned to Sena with all the riches of the city in tow. It was the beginning of a new age for Italia, one that would lead to more war, more bloodshed, and perhaps more myth than truth in the shadowy depths of the past.
 What the Etruscans called Etruria.
 According to later historians, Senonirix Brennos was described as having grey eyes, although it is unknown if this is true. Some historians debate if this was little flair added by the Greeks who later settled Italia as a nod to Athena and her legendary grey eyes.
 While realistically this image does not hold as true as the poets of old would like, there is some merit to it. The Senones, and Celtic warriors in general, were very driven by personal honor as well as the greed that drives all men to war.
 Probably not his real name. Lauxum is Etruscan for king or prince, so it is likely that this was documented as his name when in fact it was his title.
 The story is discredited by most modern historians because of this phrase. It was just a tad to prophetic for most historians to take seriously. While the possibility that the city was set on fire by the king is just as possible that Brennos did it, this quote is thought to have been added to the story later.
Chapter One: Reign of the Senones
Part Five: The Rotting Corpse
Historians note the lack of Rasna literature and documentation during this time period. Almost all of what is known comes either from the Greeks to the far south, or from histories written a century later by the Latin peoples who would later don the name of the Etruscans . While in previous centuries, Rasna documentation was uncommonly complete, even during their spat with the Latin Romans , but suddenly with the rise of the Senones to their direct East, and increasingly powerful hand in the affairs of mexl Rasnal, the mysteriously Rasna suddenly stopped writing.
The most commonly accepted theory is that during this time where Rasna cities were sacked (and in the case of Clevsin, burned) almost yearly by this new and hyper-militant enemy, the educated classes of Rasna suffered. Either their fortunes were lost and less people could afford to buy or make materials to write with, or the Senones slaughtered them upon reaching the more affluent parts of whichever city they sacked that year.
The Senones were not keen on burning script. In most Celtic cultures, script was holy and only the Druids could write (both by law and ability). It seems unlikely that the Senones would intentionally burn any literature they found. This appears obvious when one looks at the historical record of events before the rise of Sena as a power in Italia left intact.
But with the death of Rasna literature, so it seemed the language itself was declining at a quickening speed. Make no mistake; it is easy for history books to discount the destructive force a raiding army can have upon a city and a civilization at large. It is estimated that the Senones managed to cut Rasna populations in half, while their population remained constant, if not increasing along the coast of the Adriatic. The city of Veii was already mostly Latinized by the time the Senones sacked and destroyed Roma. In fact, after Roma was left a burning rubble along the Tiber, most of the survivors fled and settled in Veii. This marked a growing trend of Latins moving north into the devastated Rasna cities and settling them.
By 358 B.E. (365 B.C.) it is believed that the population of native Rasna speakers had dwindled down to as little as a quarter of what it once had in its heartland along the Tiber with the continued Senone military presence in the region and the Latin population moving in. However, in the Rasna cities further North, like Mantua, Felsina, Spica, Atria, and further West, like Fufluna, Felathri, and Vetluna, Rasna remained the majority language and ethnicity, mostly untouched by the Senones and Latins.
But on a political level, indeed, the Rasna could no longer be considered a formidable force. During the twenty-seven year long period of Senone invasion and subjugation of Rasna territories, starting with Brennos’ first assault on Clevsin in 383 B.E. (390 B.C.) and the final fall of Fufluna in 355 B.E. (363 B.C.) as the last independent city in the Rasna Confederation  to Senonirix Cingetocintus .
 Will be explained in time. Just recall that the Latins were the ones who referred to the Rasna as Etrusci or Tusci
 OTL almost all Etruscan documents and literature were burned and destroyed by Roman invasions
 Not to be confused with Etruscan civilization. The Etruscan League only consisted of twelve cities in the Etruscan heart-land
 Gaulish name for First Warrior
Chapter One: Reign of the Senones
Part Six: The Battle of Arretium
In 372 B.E. (379 B.C.) the Rasna lands between the Tiber and the Arno the Rasna had not seen a Senone raid in three years. The Rasna city of Perusia continued to pay tribute to the Senonirix, the Latins continued to trickle into the depopulated Rasna cities, and the island of Corsica, which was supposedly under Rasna sphere of influence after the Battle of Alalia, had fallen to their once Carthaginian allies. But Brennos had not launched a campaign into their lands for three years.
The city of Arretium  had taken this reprieve to fortify itself. Caught in the corridor between the Tiber and the Arno, Arretium was the lone Rasna fortress that kept the Senones from overrunning the entire region. It was the dam holding back the flood, metaphorically speaking. If Brennos took control of this city, his warriors could pass in and out of mexl Rasnal without an utterance of contestation. The fortress stood at the top of a hill with two fortified stone walls surrounding it. The outer wall surrounded the city as well as the necropolis on Usilpes , a hill adjacent to the city. The inner wall surrounded the acropolis, where the palace and public-square were. On the eastern side, the wall gave way to a steep cliff. Outside the city, Rasna farmers and peasants scurried about in their fields.
Senonirix Brennos stood in his chariot, eyes fixed on the glimmering city in the distance. The Sun had just come up behind him and his army. This would be the last massive battle his people would need to secure their territory in central Italia. If Arretium fell, the rest would crumble like dust. The Senones would wash over the countryside like a great flood. Behind him, he had assembled every man capable of bearing arms within his territory. Senones, Umbrii, Piceni, and even some Rasna filled his ranks, armed with whatever they had. He had hired five thousand Insubre mercenaries, and two thousand Latin hoplites. In all, the Senonirix had mustered almost fifty thousand men, with a strong twenty thousand Senone core. He thought to himself that any enemy would be a fool to dare contest such a horde.
The Senonirix placed his horned helmet atop his head. His body was draped in a coat of chainmail, and he was armed to the teeth. Brennos said to his chariot driver:
“Delgu marusego Senoni pa dunum. Eimu!” 
The chariot driver nodded, and brought the horses to a run. Brennos lifted his spear and let out a terrifying roar as his dyed hair whipped in the wind and his long mustache pulled back over his face. The heads of his enemies clanged against each other as the hung on the necks of his horses and the sides of his chariot. His war cry was followed by the booming sound of an entire army’s voices. The war-horns wailed balefully, and the low drums pounded, almost as loud as the thunderous pounding of hooves against the earth.
The Rasna peasants outside Arretium, as if by instinct, dropped whatever they were doing, and made a mad dash for the city gates. Some vainly attempted to hustle their herds of sheep and cattle into the city before the Senones came down on them.
Brennos’ chariot tore through the golden fields of wheat. Without much thought, he lobbed off the head of peasant. The city of Arretium would not have time to let in all of the farmers before the horde reached the gate. The gate shut closed, abandoning hundreds of Rasna peasants outside. But Brennos was clever like a hawk. Instead of slaughtering the peasants, he had them rounded up and sold as slaves. The Senone army began to ransack the countryside, burned down their houses, and took anything of value.
Brennos addressed the city of Arretium, and gave them the choice to surrender to his mighty host, or fall beneath the feet of the mighty Senone warriors.
The siege took months. The Senones cut off the water supply to Arretium, and began to starve them out. By the fourth month of siege, the city smelled like sickness. If the wind blew the right way, the Senone army could smell the dying inside the city, a death trap.
By the seventh month of siege, the Rasna force finally came out in an attempt to fight off the Senone horde. The hoplites marched out of the gate in phalanx formation. The wealthy, upper class soldiers made the center, and the poorer, less equipped made the flanks. The Rasna, short in comparison to the mighty Senones, made themselves look taller by mounting huge crests of horsehair on their helmets.
The invading army quickly rallied, and made a line. They beat their shields as the war drums boomed behind them and the war horns howled in the wind. The Senones began to shout and roar. Brennos came to the front and began to insult the Rasna as was custom. He called them weaklings and cowards who hid behind walls, and fools for challenging his army. But the Rasna continued to march closer.
Tired of the theatrics, and apparently just as ready for battle as the Rasna, the Senonirix took his spear, and bellowed as he launched it at the defending army. He saw one man fall, pinned to the ground, but the formation kept moving closer. Brennos roared, and the Senone army charged.
The battle was so bloody, the fields of gold were said to have turned scarlet. The fields are still known today as Rudolana . The entire Rasna army was completely slaughtered, but it took a heavy toll on the Senone horde. While the exact number is unknown, it is estimated that as many as ten thousand were killed or wounded in the fray. Among the dead was the Senonirix Brennos.
Only after the Senones rushed into Arretium and seized control over it did the chieftains realize that their kings was dead. The Senone chieftains agreed to hold off the contest for succession until they returned to Sena and had secured the area around Arretium.
 Modern day OTL Arezzo
 Etruscan, closest translation means Hill of the Sun
 “I hold a great victory for the Senones over this fort. We go!”
 Derived from the Gaulish words Roudo Landa, which mean “Red Field”
Chapter One: Reign of the Senones
Part Seven: The Act of Succession
Senonirix Brennos’ body was found by his charioteer and dragged off the battlefield, but only after the gates of Arretium were stormed and the city was filled with the cries of women being raped and men being put to death. Senonirix had suffered a great many wounds in the battle outside the city, but what slew him was a rock, slung by a Rasna slinger, that went straight through Brennos’ throat, blocking his windpipe, and breaking his neck all at once.
Senonirix Brennos’ body was brought back to Sena by his fellow tribal leaders, where he was buried in a huge mound with riches that included his sword and armor, piles of gold and silver coins from all over, a fine linen cloak, baskets filled with bread and fruit, two dogs, a horse, a shield made of gold, a ceremonial chariot decorated with bronze, silver, and gold, a necklace made from pearls, and all of the heads Brennos had claimed in his lifetime. 
It is said that the Senones mourned for a month. Accounts by their neighbors the Latins claim that a mass human sacrifice took place in which one thousand Rasna prisoners of war were burned in wicker men. However, this claim has been disputed not only by historians, but also by archaeological evidence.
But nonetheless, in 372 B.E. (379 B.C.) the Senone chieftains were left with their king dead, and no clear successor. Brennos’ son Belartos claimed the title of Senonirix, but he claimed it to not much support. Belartos, still young and not battle tested, was barely considered a man, and was a bastard at that, conceived by a slave girl. The other chieftains were not keen on answering to his kind. Before long, at least five claimed the title of Senonirix.
Belartos, Brennos’ bastard son, was the first. He was Brennos’ only known son, and so had hereditary claims to the kingship, but was not the mighty warrior that his father was. It is estimated that he was only twelve when his father died.
Marucingetos, another contender, was one of Brennos’ most high ranking warriors, and had been present in the Senone invasion of Italia from the beginning. Though old, he had proved his worth on the battlefield time and time again. He himself claimed the head of the Roman leader who had dared challenge Brennos and the Senones to battle in the streets of the forgotten city of Roma.
The chieftain of one of the largest Senone clans, Uros claimed the title of Senonirix as well. Having been the head of one of the clans, he already had a large body of support. On top of this, he was a noted warrior who had been at the head of the ram that broke the city gates of Clevsin.
Glastus, a relatively young contender, though not nearly as young as Belartos, he was only a boy when the Senones settled in Italia and carved out a kingdom there. But after the death of his father in the Battle of Perusia, he was elevated to the head of his clan. Over the years, he proved his mettle on the battlefield, like all but one of his rivals, and had gained the respect of his people after having reportedly been shot three times with Rasna arrows in a raid into mexl Rasnal, and still claiming the heads of each man who shot him while returning home with the boons of victory.
And the last contender for the title of Senonirix was Cingetocintus, Brennos’ second-in-command and the leader of the Senone cavalry. Although Celtic armies usually divided their troops based on where they were from as opposed to how well they were armed or what they were armed with, they always made a distinction for cavalry and charioteers. In fact, the cavalry, those who rode on horseback, were always distinct even from the charioteers, who were usually infantry riding in cart. This fact gave Cingetocintus distinction not only as a warrior of note, but a man who already knew how to command warriors and lead a charge. It is he who is quoted as saying:
“There can only be one Senonirix, else we loose all we have gained.”
And so the five chieftains rallied their supporters and went about preparing for the trials they would have to undergo next spring when battle-season began. And when it began, only one man would remain who dared name himself Senonirix.
The year was 371 B.E. (378 B.C.)
When the equinox came and the year began anew , each contender assembled their supporters and mustered their armies, except one. Marucingetos, the eldest of those hoping for the title of King, grew ill over the winter and died from sickness. His support was split, but many lent their allegiance to Cingetocintus, who had been a comrade and friend of Marucingetos.
Belartos and Uros met in a pitched battle about a league inland from Sena. Uros, before the battle, challenged Belartos, Senonirix Brennos’ only son, to a duel, a battle of champions to spare the bloodshed of their own men. Uros, who already had the larger army, saw reason in containing the bloodshed so that the Senones could continue to hold a firm military grip in the region. He also knew that Belartos had never seen combat, and that the barely-man pretender would hardly be a challenge in a duel. Uros would maintain his honor, while keeping the bloodshed to a minimum. But Belartos knew this as well, and refused to meet Uros alone. He shouted that he did not have faith in the might of his own army, and that the war god Segomo would favor the son of the Senonirix.
Unfortunately for Belartos, he was sorely mistaken. His army was crushed under foot, and Belartos himself was slain by Uros, who claimed his rival’s head.
When Cingetocintus and Glastus met, however, an unlikely event occurred. Instead of breaking into battle, as was expected, Glastus marched casually across the battlefield to Cingetocintus, dropped his sword and shield before him, and exclaimed:
“A raven foretold your favor by the gods of war. I shall not displease the gods, and present to you my men, who will follow you to victory.” 
The young Glastus would later become a trusted friend of Cingetocintus, whose army was now doubled. The final confrontation would be between him and Uros, the chieftain who claimed Belartos’ head.
Cingetocintus dismounted his chariot, and strode to the field between the two armies. The two Senone warriors were equally well equipped; both wore chain mail, both wore helmets with horns and crests, both held mighty shields, both bore spears, swords, axes, clubs, and knives, any weapon they could use to kill the other.
Uros made the first move, and charged with his spear, which Cingetocintus deflected expertly with his own. Cingetocintus made a jab with his spear, which Uros blocked with his shield and thrust his own at his adversary’s neck. The spear hit Cingetocintus’ shield head on, bending the leaf-shaped blade and breaking splintering the shaft. Uros did not have time to even drop his useless weapon before he was beat over the head with the blunt power of a Celtic shield. Uros went wheeling, but Cingetocintus grabbed him by the torque around his neck  and threw his enemy to the ground. He placed a booted foot down on Uros’ back and brought his spear down, staking his rival to the earth.
Both armies roared and cheered:
Cingetocintus pulled his axe from his belt, and dispatched Uros’ head, his prize, his gift that gave him power. He took the head and held it up, blood and gore pouring out and running down the new Senonirix’s arm. The armies shouted even louder than before, and beat their shields.
They were his now.
Cingocintus become the Senonirix.
 Validated by an archaeological expedition on a hill outside Sena purported to be the legendary king’s grave.
 The ancients started the new-year with the first day of spring, around March 21st
 The Celts were extremely religious, and if there was one thing that would stop them from possibly gaining another victory to bolster their glory, it was an omen from the gods. Ravens were often used as omens. Also, could not find enough Gaulish words to say that in their language, sorry
 All Gaulish warriors wore a golden ring called a torque around their neck that supposedly protected them from harm in battle.
Chapter One: Reign of the Senones
Part Eight: The First Warrior
Cingetocintus is a figure of history shrouded in myth. We know he existed, he is well attested as a great military leader by the Greeks in the south. His victories over the city-states in Northern Italia were of considerable note. But modern historians are quite critical of the man who would finish what Brennos started.
Cingetocintus was certainly a brash and arrogant man, even compared to the stereotypical Celtic warrior. When he moved in on Curtun, the Rasna city-state south of Arretium, Cingetocintus did not threaten the city, shouting and howling like a wild animal about how glorious his army was, but instead he approached the gate, and simply claimed the city as under the rule of the Senonirix. The lands ruled by Curtun were already completely surrounded by lands ruled over and slowly being settled by the Senones . Small raiding bands of Senones had harassed their countryside for years already, stealing cattle and sheep, as well as ravaging the small villages that dotted the area. Curtun was weak, and apparently it knew it. So the tale goes, Cingetocintus simply stood in front of the gates of Curtun with his army at his back for the rest of the day, until finally, as the Sun began to set, and the people within the city opened the gates and threw out their king, like a lamb to sate the hunger of a pride of lions.
The king shouted and protested as his own personal guard dragged him through the gate, and threw him to the ground before Cingetocintus’ booted feet. The Rasna king looked up, quivering in his robes. His brown, curled hair fell over his eyes in a mess. Clearly he had been quite pristine before his scuffle with his own people. Cingetocintus could smell the perfume on him. Dust and mud tainted the tails of his linen robes, and clotted the man’s beard. The Senonirix drew his sword and brought it down, severing the King of Curtun’s head from his body. Cingetocintus casually picked up the bloody prize and handed it to his chariot-driver. The guards who had delivered the Rasna king stepped aside, allowing the Senones to enter their city peacefully, and exclaimed that the Senonirix was indeed their king.
The year was 369 B.E. (376 B.C.)
Two years later, Senonirix Cengetocintus pulled the same maneuver in Perusia. Perusia had been reduced to little more than a vassal city with almost no land left for its people to farm, and even less fodder left to feed its own people after their annual tribute. The people of Perusia grew increasingly unhappy with their king, who they blamed for their current disparity. The Etruscan historian Octabion  wrote that a Perusian princess purportedly wrote a letter to the Senonirix and asked for her to take her and the kingship of her city, claiming her brother was an evil man who squandered the wealth of their city and left their people to starve in the streets. So, when Cingetocintus arrived at the gates of Perusia, so the story goes, and simply said that the he was the King of Perusia, he was let in and the actual Perusian king delivered to him to be decapitated, his head added to Cingetocintus’ increasing collection of royal craniums.
But this is not to assume Cingetocintus, the great warrior who wont he title of Senonirix had a peaceful reign. While two cities (and apparently one princess) gave into him without so much as a struggle, the same was not entirely true for the rest of the lands that would come under his yoke.
Having fully secured the head of the River Tiber, the Senonirix went about subjugating the Piceni peoples directly south of Sena, when he happened upon a fledgling Greek colony Ancona.
Ancona was founded in 380 B.E. (387 B.C.) by a group of settlers from Syracuse. They named their new colony so for the Greek word, meaning elbow, to describe the way the land pointed out into the sea where they settled, protecting the harbor. Here, these Greeks built a Tyrian purple dye factory. This wealthy and growing Greek colony without doubt caught the eye of the Senones living just to the north.
In 364 B.E. Cingetocintus amassed a horde of men measuring around forty-thousand men, many of whom were of Rasna and Latin origin as well as Senone, and sacked the city of its gold, took the dye and sold it, massacred the population, and enslaved what was left. Cingetocintus left the city standing only because on of his Rasna advisors  informed him of its strategic location on the Adriatic Sea. The hollowed skeleton of Ancona was settled with Senones as well as any Rasna or Latin man who served in his horde and wished to relocate there. The city would prove very prosperous in years to come, as well as very important in the history of the Senones.
Year after year, the Senone war-machine had humiliated and defeated the Rasna confederacy, and finally the city-states remaining had decided they had had enough. In the old days, when need was great, the cities of mexl Rasnal would work together and form a mighty army to defeat a foe. For a long time, they had been a squabbling and decaying mess, but with the increasing pressure from the Senones in the East, a ravenous wolf slowly eating away at their body, they decided to finally do something about it as a single force.
This would be the great battle that would send Senonirix Cingetocintus into the legendary pantheon of mighty military leaders of antiquity, like Alexandros Megas, Hasdrubal Barca, Burebista, and many more.
The two armies met in the spring of 362 B.E. (369 B.C.) in a field by a small Rasna hill-town called Saina . The Rasna forces consisted of an estimated 30,000 men marching in phalanx formation. Against them, an army of equal size approached in standard Celtic regalia, horns blaring, drums beating, and men shouting—singing even—about the glory and imminent victory of the Senones.
The battle was bloody, harsh, and costly for both sides. But as per usual, the Rasna phalanx formation could not stand against the waves of Celtic onslaught.
But this is not the reason why this battle was remembered as the peak of Cingetocintus’ military might. When, his enemies broke into a retreat, Senonirix Cingetocintus moved to the head of his army, and bid them halt (a task nigh impossible in the face of thousands of blood thirsty Senones). He regrouped his horde, and quickly followed through with his plan. He split his army between his cavalry and his infantry. The Senonirix took personal command of the cavalry, and he had his former rival Glastus take command of the footmen.
The men on foot were to continue following the retreating Rasna and keep them on the run, while the cavalry were to harry their foes, like a shepherd dog directing the sheep by nipping at their heels to wherever they so desired.
Unaware of the trap they were being cajoled into, the Rasna army, still rather formidable in size, was chased into a forest, where suddenly the Senones disappeared. The Rasna took it as good luck, and continued their way into the woods, hoping that they could make it home alive. The Rasna army made camp in the forest for the night, but just as the Sun began to go down, they heard a cry in the brush.
“Vers!” came the cry, and they understood it. 
Suddenly, balls of fire came at them from their flanks, and burned through the Rasna army. Scared and disoriented, they were unsure if the men attacking them were Rasna or Senone. They were darker than the Senones, and shouted words they could understand, but many had mustaches and spiked hair like the Senones. Their weapons were both Rasna and Celtic, and their entire army was slaughtered before they even could put together that they were being killed by their own kind, Rasna ruled under Senones who had apparently adopted some of Senone traditions to assimilate.
Some of the Rasna who were being cut to pieces made a run for the fields, which lay a half-days march away back from where they had come, only to be met by the rest of the Senonirix’s force, and dispatched.
Mexl Rasnal suffered a major defeat, and was now ripe for the taking.
 You didn’t think they were just going to hole up in their crappy old city on the Adriatic and just tax the hell out of the lands the conquered, did you? No, the main reason why the Senones invaded Italia in the first place was because they needed and wanted fertile lands for their exploding population.
 A name that bares an uncanny resemblance to the Latin name Octavian, don’t you think.
 While the hierarchy of the Senones’ growing kingdom was made up of a strong Senone core, much of the population in their lands was still Etruscan and Latin. Etruscan and Latin men of value, especially those from cities that had surrendered peacefully to the Senonirix, had a chance to become quite important in their own right.
 Would later OTL be known as Siena
 “Vers” is the Etruscan word for red fire.
Chapter One: Reign of the Senones
Part Nine: The Final Days of the Rasna
While the recent wars waged by the Senones had wrought much destruction across Northern Italia, the city of Sena surely profited. Influxes of gold and loot filled its coffers with every raid, and almost every tribe along Senone borders paid annual tribute.
It is still unknown why Cingetocintus continued to keep Sena as his center of operations. He had taken cities much larger with more ancient foundations that were surrounded by better land no less, but the Senonirix continued to house himself in Sena. But at least once a year, the Senonirix was required to visit and house in one of the other cities he claimed kingship over. Interestingly enough, Cingetocintus did not only claim the title of Senonirix, but also Corturix (King of Curtun) and Parosirix (King of Perusia). This not only implied that Cingetocintus was the ruler of the Senones, but the ruler of Rasna as well, an act of politics that the Greeks would admire, take note of, and one day adopt.
So, when Cingetocintus called upon his chieftains and advisors in the autumn of 360 B.E. (367 B.C.), two years after the Battle of Saina where he had completely broken the back of mexl Rasnal, one can imagine quite the motley assortment of men gathered around his table. Senones, of course, made the upper echelons and likely the majority in Cingetocintus’ court. But there were also Rasna, Latins, and even a few Greeks present to offer their intellect and wisdom.
The plan was made, and the next year, Cingetocintus would finally secure his people a place in Italia that no outside force could remove from their grasp.
In the spring of 359 B.E. (366 B.C.) Cingetocintus’ army rendezvoused at Perusia, which was to be the staging point for his last invasion of mexl Rasnal. They marched down the Tiber, overwhelming Velzna, and then seizing Veii without much of a fight.
Interestingly enough, and as evidence for an ongoing trend in mexl Rasnal, especially further south, Rasna translators in Veii proved to be practically useless upon securing the city, and instead Latin translators were used. Some of Cingetocintus’ advisors suggested crossing the Tiber and taking the region known as Latium, the home of the Latins, but Cingetocintus replied that they needed to finish one war before they started another, or else victory would be prolonged .
The Senonirix’s army continued to march down the Tiber, until they finally reached the Tyrrhenian Sea. Along the way, Cingetocintus had only minimal casualties, and the going seemed easy. But there were six Rasna city-states that remained, half of the old confederacy. And they had been using the last two years to build up their defenses for just this occasion.
The Senone army moved north, following the coastline until they reached the Rasna city of Cisra.
Though heavily populated by Latins, the city was by no means as Latinized as Veii. It was surrounded by two rivers, and controlled a major port, which brought the city great wealth. The city was known to trade with the Carthaginians, Greeks, fellow Rasna, as well as the Celts . But, like the rest of mexl Rasnal, it was in fast decline.
Cingetocintus demanded that the city of Cisra surrender, else suffer a terrible defeat. The king of Cisra declined the Senonirix’s offer, and instead ordered his men to shoot down at their enemies from their walls. One arrow nearly killed Cingetocintus, striking him in the chest, just bellow his heart. Perhaps had the arrow struck Cingetocintus in the neck, he wouldn’t have been shouting threats and damnations upon the city of Cisra as he was dragged back to camp, where the druids patched him up, and eventually brought him back to health.
The Senones quickly took action, and dammed up the two rivers, cutting of Cisra’s water supply. They went about ravaging the farmlands and beheading any Rasna who claimed allegiance to Cisra outside the city walls. As was the Senonirix’s order, they took each head, and stuck them on a stake in view of the city. Each day, the number of heads presented increased, until (according to Octabion) a ring of heads was made around the city.
Starving and dying of thirst, disease broke out within the city. Those who attempted to escape the city were decapitated, and joined the ring of heads.
Then, the Senones took the port, completely cutting off the city from the outside. After that, it was only a matter of weeks before the city fell, and a very vengeful (and at this point still injured) Senonirix brought down the entire wrath he could upon Cisra. Women were raped, men were slaughtered, and every child old enough to speak ill of Cingetocintus was thrown into the ocean to drown. Cingetocintus personally slew the king of Cisra. He had the king tied to a post outside the gates of his city, and shot him twelve times, until finally ending his life with a well-aimed arrow to the heart.
Again, it was Cingetocintus’ advisors who reminded him of the strategic importance of the city, and the wealth it could give, thus preventing him from tearing the city down brick by brick. The Senones wintered inside Cisra, and prepared for another year of conquest when 358 B.E. (365 B.C.) came around.
They continued to march north, until they reached Tarchna . The inhabitants of Tarchna had heard the horrible stories of the fate of Cisra, but the king refused to yield. Cingetocintus, in a stroke of genius, promised safety for themselves and their families and even rewards for anyone who renounced the king of Tarchna and swore fealty to the Senonirix. One would have expected the people of Tarchna to throw open the gates and hailed their new king with open arms after such an offer, but unlike Perusia and Curtun, Tarchna had been relatively unaffected by Senone incursions into mexl Rasnal, so the Rasna within that city were not nearly as impoverished. Added to this was the ancient tradition of god-kings in Rasna society, where the reigning monarch was believed to be a deity, or at least connected to the gods, and maintained order.
So, within Tarchna, there was mixed sentiments about Cingetocintus’ offer. But that was all he needed. When the king of Tarchna prepared for the siege to come, Cingetocintus apparently caught a break. A man from inside the city waved a flag at the army one night, and offered to help them enter the city. In one week, he was to gather those who had chosen the Senonirix, and throw down ropes to help them scale the walls. In the meantime, their families were to place a bushel of wheat over their doorway.
Finally, when the day came, a group of men came to the wall and threw down ropes. A group of Senones quietly scaled the walls, killed the sentries, and opened the gates. True to his word, Cingetocintus did not harm anyone within the houses with a bushel of wheat above their doorways. Tarchna was taken.
By the end of the year, they had seized Velch and Vetluna as well without much struggle. It seemed even after three years, the great Rasna cities could not muster any force strong enough to challenge the Senone horde.
357 B.E. (364 B.C.) proved to be a harder year. Cingetocintus’ forces marched to Fufluna only to find a huge wall blocking their way. Fufluna was a major port city, located on a small peninsula jutting out from mexl Rasnal. The Rasna living there, it seemed, had built this wall across the peninsula, halting the Senone advance from even coming near their city. The Senones attempted to breach the wall, but were unable to. Though they had conquered many walled cities, siege had never been one of their strong points, the Senones preferred open battle, which Fufluna was actively denying them.
So, Cingetocintus decided to bypass Fufluna for now, and attacked Felathri to the north. Felathri too proved difficult. The Senones, after wintering outside the city, finally resorted to scaling the walls in 356 B.E. (363 B.C.), a risky and rash decision which led to a fair amount of Senone casualties by arrow and slingshot, but the city was taken nonetheless, and came under the control of the Senonirix.
All that was left was Fufluna, walled up on its peninsula, and healthy as ever thanks to its continued trade with the outside world. It would take all of Cingetocintus’ cunning to bring that city under his clutch.
Luckily for Cingetocintus, he had made some friends along the way to his rise to power. One such friend were the Ligurians, the people who lived to the north of mexl Rasnal along the coast and in the interior of the island of Corsica. Some of these people, particularly those living directly north of Felathri, had for a long time been under Rasna control. When Felathri fell, this liberated a fair number of Ligurians who were more than happy to assist the Senones in anyway possible.
Well, one way possible was to use their maritime skills to harass the city of Fufluna.
In the autumn of that year, Ligurian ships began attacking any ship that came into or out of Fufluna. The Ligurian pirates were well prepared for this, as they could attack a ship, board it, steal all the wealth they could carry, sink said ship, and be gone before help could arrive.
When 355 B.E. arrived, the Senones used Ligurian ships to get around the wall, and to the king of Fufluna’s surprise, there was an army some 20,000 men strong standing outside his city, beating war drums, blowing horns, and shouting for blood.
Senonirix Corturix Parosirix Cingetocintus demanded that the city surrender all its lands as well as its king. To resist would result in the city’s destruction and the death of all who lived within it.
Unfortunately for Fufluna, the chose the wrong decision, and resisted. The Senones, and the Ligurians as well, strangled the city for five moons, cutting off trade, water supply, and food, until the city was rotting from within with disease and starvation. A fire broke out from within the city, and the gates flew open as the people from within attempted to escape. Instead they ran right into the wolf’s jaws, and were slaughtered. The Senones and the Ligurians entered the city and tore it apart.
When the city was finally taken, and there was not a soul left within who had resisted the Senones, the Senones put out the fire, and allowed the Ligurian pirates to live within the city as long as they swore fealty to the Senonirix. They agreed.
And so came to an end mexl Rasnal.
 Notice how he does not deny that the Senones would achieve victory, only that it would take longer if they waged another war. This was quite the common mentality of the Senones.
 This is separate from other Celtic groups. We would know them as the Gauls, a name that was given to them by the Romans. The Gauls referred to themselves as Celtos.
Chapter One: Reign of the Senones
Part Ten: Examining Impact
With the fall of Fufluna in 355 B.E. (362 B.C.), the Rasna were no longer the dominant cultural force in Northern Italia. In fact, the recent wars and pillaging are estimated to have cut the Rasna population in half, and that is a conservative estimate. After almost thirty years of raiding, pillaging, and conquest, the Senones had not only completely slaughtered the entire population of four major cities, but had burned two more to the ground entirely. The only centers that remained predominantly Rasna after the conquests of Brennos and Cingetocintus were Perusia and Curtun within Senone dominion, and Felsina, Mantua, Spica, and Atria .
This caused huge demographic changes. It is estimated only 24 out of a hundred native residents of what was once mexl Rasnal have a bloodline descended from the Rasna. Another 32 out of a hundred are traced to Celtic or Senone ancestry, and another 35 from Latin lineage. Indeed, the most unexpected change from the Senone conquest of mexl Rasnal was that the Latins, not the Senones, became the majority in the region.
The Senones are attributed to introducing soap (sepa) to the Italian peninsula. Made from lye, ash, and tallow, Celtic soap was considered to be of great quality . This greatly improved the wellbeing and health of the region in the long run, and was a contributing factor in the population explosion that would occur a century later.
To this day, there remains a Celtic-speaking minority along the Adriatic coast. They speak a language called Senias. While the language has a great many influences from the other Italian languages and even Greek, the tongues of the Italian peninsula, too, have a great many of their words derived from Celtic origins.
The Senones catalyzed the introduction of the god Cernunnos, the Antlered God, to the Italian pantheon, which previously had been almost all consisted of Greek gods. The Cult of Cernunnos would later possess great power in the region, rivaling the Cult of Isis and the Followers of Immanu’el. The Cult of Cernunnos later gained particular prevalence in Perusia and the surrounding area.
The Senones also are attributed to introducing the now common tradition of tattooing among the common man and aristocracy. Previous to the Senone invasions, tattooing was something reserved for marking slaves and convicts. But with the rise of a Senone aristocracy in northern Italia, the art of tattooing became acceptable, and actually became a mark of wealth and power, completely reversing the previous trend in the region . Mustaches and long hair also became popularized and acceptable in the region for much the same reason. There are documented cases of ambitious Latin and Rasna under Senone dominion dying their hair lighter and putting lemon juice in their mustaches in an attempt to look more Celtic. 
Ironically, however, the Senones also gave the region their first military heroes. Brennos and Cingetocintus are both venerated as heroes who brought peace and stability to the region (again, the irony) plagued by the squabbling of local city-states. This is made especially ironic given the future of the region and the events leading to the break-up of the Senonirix’s kingdom.
 The Etruscan cities that were not involved in the Etruscan League and stood further North along the Po River.
 OTL soap was not used by the Romans until 300 B.C. and only then it was greatly restricted to washing clothes. To use soap was considered effeminate and also had a connotation of being a Gallic and Germanic thing to do. The Romans greatly criticized Gallic men for supposedly using soap more than their women.
 The Latin word stigma means tattoo or brand. No wonder how we got the modern understanding of the word.
 Precedent for such stylistic changes happened plenty of times OTL where a new culture or aristocracy became dominant. The Romans made short hair and clean-shaven faces popular throughout their empire. The Anglo-Saxons later made long hair popular again in Britain during the Middle Ages. The Manchurians made long braids popular in China.
Chapter One: Reign of the Senones
Part Eleven: The Old Hand
When finally Senonirix Cingetocintus had brought all of mexl Rasnal beneath his hegemony he was already an old man. It had been twenty-eight years since the first assault on Clevsin under Brennos, and Cingetocintus himself had reigned as Senonirix for almost twenty years. He had seen his people grow from a fledgling tribe of outcasts sent out of their homeland in Gaul due to overpopulation to the founders of a mighty kingdom. Cingetocintus was revered as a god in some places  and was beloved by his people. He had not only secured a home for the Senones, but had granted them power.
The many clans and families of the Senones had spread over their new lands, populating it and bringing life where they had previously brought so much death. Many Senones had taken Rasna wives during their conquests, and were producing more and more children with every year.
But Cingetocintus was nearing sixty years of age, and his beard had long ago turned white. His wounds from the Battle of Cisra where a Rasna arrow had pierced his armor and struck him in the chest, almost killing him, had never really healed. Since then, his breathing had always been shallow, and if he laughed too heartily he was in pain.
The Senonirix was indeed an old man. Of his three sons, all had produced sons of their own. Cingetocintus’ eldest grandson, in fact, was to be wed soon .
So you can imagine how his bones ached when word reached his ear that a small Latin army had crossed the Tiber and was laying siege to Veii in the spring of 352 B.E. (359 B.C.).
The small army of Latins, estimated to have been some 8,000 strong, is believed to have been the cause of overpopulation in Latium. Unlike mexl Rasnal, Latium was relatively untouched by the Senones, with the notable exception of the Burning of Roma in 380 B.E. (387 B.C.). The Latins were purportedly from the city of Ardea, and had migrated North like many Latins to fill the vacuum left by the now decimated Rasna. But unlike most of the other Latin migrants who had come peacefully and without any organization further than familiar bonds, but these Ardeans were more interested in expanding their influence in Latium and along the River Tiber.
Senonirix Cingetocintus quickly mustered a grand army, the first time he had done so since the taking of Fufluna three years earlier. Since then, Glastus, Cingetocintus’ former rival for the title of Senonirix, and his most trusted general, had been eagerly attempting to convince the Senonirix to invade Latium and expand the Senone lands further. However, Cingetocintus was older than Glastus, and was tired of war. But when war with the Latins did come, Glastus was the first to gather his men and prepared for battle.
By the cycle of Karkinos  that year the Senonirix arrived to relieve Veii from the Ardeans. With an army of near 20,000 men (and that was not even half of what the Senonirix was capable of mustering), the Ardeans were quickly routed, and fled back across the Tiber.
“This is our chance,” Glastus said, riding up to Cingetocintus’ side. “We can show the Latins our might so that they will never again invade our lands.”
Tired as Cingetocintus was, he was not about to disappoint his men who were already thirsting for blood. The Senones crossed the Tiber once again, passing through the ruins of Roma, and marched straight for Ardea. The Senones had a very stern point to make in Latium that seemed to have been forgotten since last time they had been there. The message was simple yet powerful: If you spill Senone blood, justice will be dealt.
However, more than half of his army had never set foot on the southern shores of the Tiber, and Latium was a foreign land. Many years had passed indeed.
It took only a few weeks to march the Senone horde to Ardea, as medium sized city nestled between the fork where two small rivers met and flowed into the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Ardeans were the descendants of the Rutuli, an ancient Latin tribe that was defeated by the Romans under the reign of their last king. Ironically, however, a sizeable amount of the Ardeans’ population was made up of Romans (called Romi in the city) who had escaped their doom twenty-eight years earlier. So when once again they saw a Senone horde outside their city, they had good reason to panic.
The Senonirix demanded that those responsible for the attempted siege on Veii be handed over, and if they were not, the city would fall. But when the gates opened, and the Ardeans handed over the men responsible, something unexpected happened.
Excited by the prospect of plunder, many of Cingetocintus’ warriors charged, slaughtering the hostages (who would have died anyway), and leaving the city open for the sacking. There was little the Senonirix could do to stop his horde from rushing into Ardea, and there was probably little he wanted to do to stop it. Ardea was sacked. Women were taken, men were enslaved, and loot was divvied out.
But on the way back, Cingetocintus fell ill. His breathing became hard, and his inner circle feared the worst.
 Etruscans had a long-standing tradition of king worship.
 Mind you, he was probably fourteen.
 This would not be the first time the Senones had to fight a Latin host during the constellation of Cancer.
Chapter One: Reign of the Senones
Part Twelve: The Sailors of Fufluna
Entelakwa  narrowed his eyes and scoured the blue horizon. One of his rowers babbled on in Celt-Ligure pidgin excitedly, pointing towards the dark shape moving across the horizon, but Entelakwa hardly listened. The dark shape was barely visible, but to Entelakwa’s keen vision, he knew exactly what it was: a ship.
The Ligure waved his hand, and his rower shut up, and went back to work, twice as fast as before. The Ligure captain licked his lips, and prayed to the gods that whatever hapless men sailed on the horizon were foreign.
Entelakwa had left Fufluna three weeks ago with a crew dead-set on raiding the small Ligurian settlements to the North, but a strange wind was blowing, and their direme was forced south. Though the storm was unfortunate, he partially blamed the Senones on board. While they were not the majority on his ship, they were all incompetent enough to make a trip against the wind impossible. So, he planned to make a large circle in the Tyrrhenian Sea and hopefully wait out the foul winds. With only one ship, Entelakwa knew it would be impossible to raid anything larger than a small coastal town, or perhaps prey upon a lone merchant ship. Fortunately for him, as they neared the island of the Shardi  there seemed to be plenty of lone merchant ships for the taking.
Meanwhile, Baalhanno had no clue a Ligure-Senone ship was stalking him. He had just made vast profits off a small raid himself off the Greek colonies near the Rhone, and was sailing back to Carthage to get a profit off the slaves he had collected, not to mention the silver, gold, salt, and other such valuables. He sat quite contentedly in his small quarters, feasting on roasted mutton and grass-tea .
He thought about the riches he would earn selling all that was on his ship, how he might even sacrifice a few captors to appease Ba’al. He hoped to use this money to gain an early retirement, let his sons take over their father’s trade, and perhaps buy his way into the Council of Elders. Yes, that would have been nice.
That was when he heard screaming on deck.
Baalhanno quickly grabbed his whip and cutlass. No mutiny would go unpunished on his ship. But just as he opened the door, an arrow plunged through his neck, and jets of blood painted his doorway crimson.
All was chaos on the Carthaginian deck. Strange men had boarded their ship without even making a sound until it was too late. The Senones and Ligures were swift, and had made battle over the open seas before the Carthaginians could even grab their weapons.
Entelakwa drew his cutlass and lopped off the head of a Punic rower. A large man ran at him with a knife drawn, but the Ligure captain needed only to plunge his blade into the man’s unprotected chest. Arrows whistled overhead from the other ship, and many of them met their marks. The deck was cleared of Carthaginians. The fight had now moved to the ladders, where the men below had had enough time to gather their weapons and arm themselves.
The fighting on the ladders was bloody, heated, and messy, and it was only then that Entelakwa remembered why he had brought so many Senones. The large men howled the names of their fathers as they struck down Carthaginian after Carthaginian with their massive swords and axes.
Once the fighting reached the deck below, there was no way the Carthaginians could succeed, and they knew it. Many dropped their weapons and hoped for captivity only to be fiercely cut down. Only when Entelakwa demanded they stop the fighting did they. He ordered that they take the survivors as prisoners and tie them up, while the Ligures went about gathering all the goods stored in the hull.
Oh yes, he thought, he would certainly make a profit off of this venture. Horses, cattle, sheep, exotic birds, slaves, silver, copper, gold, Carthaginian coins, dye, spices, it seemed as if anything that could possibly be sold was on board.
Entelakwa smiled. He would have to prey on Carthaginian ships more often…
 Ligurian name meaning “Between Water”
 Possible ancient name for pre-Roman Sardinians
 Marijuana has been found within sunken Carthaginian ships, and they were known to make a mild tea-like beverage from it.
The Weighted Scales: A World of an Aborted Rome
Apparently it's the best Ancient TL of 2011. Oh Baby!
The Weighted Scales: The World of an Aborted Rome
Chapter Two: The Wars of Succession
Part One: Those Who Followed
Even as the Senonirix, breathing (but barely), laid on his bed in the other room at his palace in Sena, his sons, generals, and chieftains argued riotously. They had all been forced to leave their weapons at the palace gates, something they had all agreed upon so that no one would be killed during this parlay, but with tensions running as high as they were in the room, weapons might not have been necessary. Twenty or so men, all standing, and all shouting in angry Celtic  were gathered around a small oak table. They were, of course, debating who would succeed Cingetocintus as the Senonirix. No decision could be made (obviously), but a few forerunners seemed to be established in the struggle for power whose seeds were already being sown before even the Senonirix was dead.
Glastus, who had once before vied for the title, threw his fist down on the table, and stated that no other man deserved to succeed Cingetocintus more than he did. He had the support of much of the Senone elite, and the loyalty of many soldiers. He had fought countless victories, and many would surely follow during his reign.
Marumarka, Cingetocintus’ eldest son, begged to differ. Senonirix blood ran through his veins, and the gods would favor his rule as they had favored his father. His brother Segovéco agreed, having always been content to live in his brother’s shadow with no personal ambition of his own. But the youngest of the Senonirix’s sons, Dubiepos made his own stand for power, claiming he was his father’s favorite anyway.
Three Senone chieftains, Adiat, Gutus, and Uxellosirom, who had settle their each sizeable clans in various parts of the kingdom, and claimed that since their clans were the greatest, they should be the Senonirix. Of course, they then began to squabble about whose clan was greater.
Meanwhile, in the other room, Senonirix Cingetocintus clung to his woolen blankets and coughed. The druids around him were making herbal teas and medicines to ease the great king’s sickness. Cingetocintus coughed again, this time into his blankets. When he pulled them away, there was blood upon them. The old man looked pleadingly at the nearest druid, and said solemnly:
“There can only be one. Or else all our people have worked for, have fought and died for shall fall apart and become like many rocks chipped away from a great stone.”
Senonirix Cingetocintus died on an unknown day in the winter of 351 B.E. (358 B.C.).
When spring came, the Senone elites who each claimed the title of Senonirix gathered their forces and began consolidating their power. Civil war broke out, and many peoples found themselves watching with anticipation.
The Carthaginians and Greeks, whose ships were being pirated with increasing frequency these past few years, especially took interest in the war that was breaking out in Northern Italia, and each would back their own claimant to further their own interests.
And so began the Senone Wars of Succession, as they would be called later.
 Gaulish or Gallic. The Gauls referred to themselves as Celtos (singular) or Celti (plural), so their language would be referred to as Celtic. This particular dialect would later be known as Old Celtic as the ages passed.
Chapter Two: The Wars of Succession
Part Two: The Dawn of Blood
Let no one forget how brutal the world was in those long past ages. Even the toughest of men now would not last a minute in the world people lived in over two thousand years ago. It is estimated that the average lifespan in 300 B.E. was around 50. Only the wealthy and well off could manage to scrounge a living beyond those years, and to attain such an age was to be considered ancient, belonging to a dead age that passed with the decaying flesh of the slain.
In what would be the bloodiest chapter in the Italian Wars  until Pyrros of Epieros’  famous invasion, the recently consolidated Senone Kingdom in the North broke asunder into several factions claiming kingship gave the Carthaginians and the Greeks yet another opportunity to wrestle for control the western Mediterranean Sea. It all started with the death of the Senonirix Cingetocintus who had led the Senones in a conquest over the Rasna city-states in the region. With his death, it seemed every warlord and chieftain with an ounce of ambition had gathered an army and was ready to fight for the title.
The newly birthed Senone state fractured like a windowpane once hit with a rock. The main contenders for the thrown, Glastus, Marumarka, Dubiepos, Adiat, Gutus, Uxellosirom, each took stronghold where they were most supported.
Glastus, the late Senonirix’s second-in-command, quickly gathered the forces loyal to him and secured Veii and the lower Tiber.
Marumarka, Cingetocintus’ eldest son, made Sena his base of operations, retaining control over the port city Ancona to the South. Dubiepos, his brother, who had always been popular in the city of Perusia, declared himself Senonirix as well as Parosirix, in reminiscence of his father.
Adiat, a chieftain in the countryside secured a region in central mexl Rasnal where his clan had settled. Gutus seized quick control of Fufluna, gaining the allegiance of the Ligures who lived there, as well as taking control of Felathri, and Uxellosirom, having been of a clan with close ties to the Boii along the Padus River took control of the lands in the North, making Curtun his base of operations. In the meantime, several other chieftains and warlords took control of small swaths of land.
Glastus of Veii
Experienced in the ways of war, arguably more than any of his rivals, Glastus did not consider which part of the kingdom was most symbolic. He would let the others squabble over Sena, Perusia, and Curtun. In the meantime, he made sure to gather those loyal to him (a large number, especially the cavalry) and secure the lower Tiber. From there he could not only defend, but attack with ease. The River Tiber was in many ways an open door to the inland. With the mountains running down the spine of the kingdom, the Tiber River was the only waterway that ran through them. If he could control the river, he was sure he would control the kingdom, as was his right!
Veii greeted him with open arms. The diverse population of Latins, Rasna, and Senones hailed: “Glastus Senonirix! Glastus Veorix!” . A great celebration was made, and the finest bull in the city was sacrificed to Cernunnos.
But once the celebration was over, he wasted no time. If he was to win this war, he was going to need to make friends, and fast. Messengers were sent to Neapolis and Syracuse for aid. In return, the Senones under Glastus would send men to assist in the war against Carthage in Sicily.
In the meantime, he sent his generals to the coast, where they would ensure the loyalty of the towns there. A brief skirmish occurred at Ostia, a Latin town at the mouth of the Tiber River that had not been under the Senonirix’s control, but the Senones quickly overtook it, and Glastus insured that nothing would go in or out of the Tiber River without his say-so.
Marumarka of Sena
Everything seemed to be going wrong. Not realizing Sena was a shit-heap in comparison to the Rasna cities his father had conquered, Marumarka had set himself up for disaster. Even his own younger brother Dubiepos had betrayed him, and was vying for the same title as he. However, his other brother, Segovéco remained loyal, and for this Marumarka granted him control over the port of Ancona (only as long as he remained loyal; Marumarka could trust no one).
From there, Marumarka attempted to retain control over the Adriatic coast of his father’s now fragmented kingdom. Attempted was the key word. Sabines and Samnites continually raided from the South, sensing this moment of weakness. Not to mention that his rivals for the thrown were pressing in with forces much larger than his own.
Dubiepos of Perusia
“Parosirix! Senonirix! Parosirix! Senonirix!”
So shouted Dubiepos’ forces as they marched down the Misa River. Once he controlled this river, he would march upon Sena itself at the mouth of the river, and remove his brother Marumarka from the contest. Dubiepos controlled a strong army of 5000 Senones and 6000 Rasna from Perusia and Velzna.
Finally, two days away from Sena, he met his brother’s army. It was puny, ragtag, and clearly following the wrong man. Dubiepos shouted from the head of his grand army:
“The man you follow is a liar, an imposter! The gods clearly do not show him favor; I only need to look at this army in shambles to tell that. I challenge my brother Marumarka to the fight, for the title of our father!”
Marumarka, not willing to look like a coward before his army, resolved to fight his brother. With the howl of his charioteer’s horn, he accepted the challenge.
Dubiepos put his iron helmet on his head and smiled. He drew his sword. The fatal weapon shown like the fury of the gods, and he approached the battlefield where he would surely slay his brother. Marumarka yelled and shouted as he rushed toward Dubiepos, a massive war hammer held in his hands. He looked fierce enough, but the calm with which Dubiepos approached unnerved him. The younger son could see as much by the way Marumarka could not bring himself to look Dubiepos in the eye.
Finally, Dubiepos broke into a trot. He remembered being a boy, how Marumarka and he would spar. Marumarka always won, he was bigger, older, and more experienced. But a lot had changed since those days. Dubiepos had proved himself in battle, had killed many men, and he was in his prime, a fit and powerful adversary. Marumarka, by contrast, was growing old. While still strong, his years had taken away the swiftness of his feet, the power of his arms, and the sharpness of his mind.
Marumarka brought his war-hammer down, allowing the weapon’s weight to do its job. Dubiepos sidestepped his brother, and allowed the heavy weapon to make a small crater in the ground. Dubiepos struck with his sword, but his brother blocked reflexively with the shaft of his war-hammer. Dubiepos managed to pull loose his sword from the hardwood shaft only in time to duck. He felt the top of his helmet meet the hammer-strike. Dubiepos’ helmet went flying from his head, but Dubiepos himself remained unharmed.
Now was the moment.
With the swiftness of a raven’s wing, Dubiepos lunged forward, and brought his sword up. Marumarka was too slow to react, and his eyes could not relay to his head what he saw until it was too late, and Dubiepos’ blade had stuck him. The sword ran straight through Marumarka’s head, entering from the soft place below the jaw, and puncturing the skull from its base.
Marumarka was dead instantaneously. Dubiepos removed his bloodied sword, glistening with flecks of brain and bone, from his rival’s cadaver, as both armies shouted:
Adiat the Bagaudas 
Without any great cities to make his base of operation, Adiat and his supporters were left to raid the countryside. While he carved out a decent sized swath of land for himself in the center of the kingdom, it was weak, and sparsely populated without any cities.
For the time being, no one bothered to invade the lands held by his clan, so he went about raiding and skirmishing. But, as his followers grew unruly and annoyed with his lack of progress, small towns began breaking off and governing themselves autonomously.
Gutus of Fufluna
Gutus of Fufluna found himself in a very precarious situation. His Ligurian pirates allowed him naval superiority over his rivals, but as we all know, history does not happen in a vacuum, and now that Cingetocintus was gone, Fufluna was not only eyed by other chieftains with hopes of gaining the title of Senonirix.
In the spring 354 B.E. (361 B.C.) the Carthaginians sent an armada to Fufluna to quell the center of piracy. A wall of ships surrounded the harbor, each bearing the Punic Horse on their sails. The expedition, led by none other than Hanno I of Carthage (also known as Hanno I the Great) who had six years earlier defended Lilybaeum, a Carthaginian held city in Sicily, from Dionysius I of Syracuse. And everything was made worse by the fact that Uxellosirom of Curtun was marching his army west along the Arno River to stake his claims there.
He needed help, and he needed it fast.
One night, under the cover of darkness, he sent a small ship out to seek assistance from the Greeks. Gutus prayed to the gods and sacrificed his own finest ram for some help. He needed it, and he needed it soon.
Uxellosirom of Curtun
Uxellosirom was surprised with how quickly the Carthaginians were able to assess the situation after Cingetocintus’ death.
“We promise assistance,” the translator spoke for the Punic emissary, “In return for fealty to Carthage, and that no Senone ship will again attack one bearing the Punic Horse on its sails.”
Uxellosirom considered this. Surely there were enough seas in the ocean that the Senone pirates could afford to do without attacking the Carthaginians. So he said:
“I will be making my claims known along the Arno River come spring. Gutus has taken Fufluna, and he too will be attempting to take the lands there.”
The emissary smiled a long, thin grin once the message was relayed to him.
“Nihna xamm ken mniih xazar itta malhammit Pomplon.”
“My people will be happy to help you fight Fufuluna.” 
 The Sicilian Wars of OTL between Carthage and the Greeks would spread further north into Italia, and so the term Italian Wars became an umbrella term for any conflict between Carthage and the Greeks either in Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, or Italia.
 Pyrrhus of Epirus as he will be known ITTL. Don’t worry; we will get to him later.
 “Glastus, King of the Senones! Glastus, King of Veii!”
 Gaulish for “Guerilla Fighter” or “Brigand”
 A rough translation, which does much to explain why poor Gutus is getting the shaft.
Chapter Two: The Wars of Succession
Part Three: The Pale Man
The city of Veii had spent the winter preparing for a war that came surprisingly late for it. Glastus had anticipated invasion as soon as the snow melted, perhaps even earlier. If his rivals for the throne would not invade, then surely the embittered Latin tribes to the south, or the Sabines to the east would. But no such invasion came. Glastus had taken firm control over the mouth of the River Tiber, had even seized lands not previously under Senone control.
Aggression and attack were where Glastus excelled. But, against his nature, Glastus and his forces were still. They patrolled the Tiber and the surrounding area under the control of Glastus (Senonirix! Veorix!), or they trained and prepared for battle: battle they were begrudgingly ordered not to seek, not yet at least.
But now Glastus waited, watching from the hilltop of his walled city. Two Greek barges approached up river, slowly, flanked by Senone escorts on each bank of the river. All the actors were in place to make the grand performance necessary to divert the Syracusian and Neapolitans of Glastus’ worth.
Glastus needed the Greeks to see the might of the Senones in battle. This would convince them that Glastus and his men were a worthy ally, and with the Syracusians’ and Neapolitans’ assistance Glastus would reign undisputedly as Senonirix.
That was the plan, at least.
Glastus rode down to the harbor to meat the emissaries as they arrived and were unloaded from their barges. Unlike others of his rank, Glastus was not one for the ostentatious attire put on by high-ranking Senones. He was a man of action, and looked as much. He wore no jewels, but only a gold band around his brow, and his golden torque around his neck. His ring-mail shirt clinked with each gallop of his war-horse, and on his leather belt hung a long sword in its sheath. He met the Greeks, dressed in fine linens and gold jewelry, just as they set their sandaled feet onto Senone soil. They did not look so different than the Rasna and Latins who were unloading their goods from the barge, only clearly richer.
Glastus called a translator, and said to the Greeks:
“You came just in time, my friends. The Latini of Gabii  have sent an army to attack us. You will be able to see firsthand the might of my men!”
What the Syracusian and Neapolitan emissaries did not know what that Glastus, though seemingly simple, never left anything up to chance. Only two weeks ago, he had sent a small force of Senone elites under his son Tarvinos into Latium. Glastus’ orders were simple: go to the town of Gabii, and demand that they submit to the Senonirix Glastus. When they do not, take the city, and round up all of the men, and separate them from the women and children. Kill as few as possible.
Now Tarvinos waited in the hills on the other side of the Tiber with his small army of Senone elites. Stripped of armor, and given blunt weapons, were what was left of the Latins of Gabii. Tarvinos had managed to capture about five thousand of them with a force of less than one thousand. He was proud of that, and thought that it proved him a good commander. With the favor of the gods, he would one day become Senonirix after his father.
“Now,” Tarvinos reminded his captives in their tongue, “remember that if you do not run when we tell you to, we will kill your women and children without a single thought.”
He could feel the anger in his captives. It came off them like a heat. That was good, it would make their cries more convincing to Greek ears.
Akakios watched in awe. He had never seen battle fought in such a way. Indeed, a man from Syracuse, he had seen many battles between the Greeks of Syracuse and the Carthaginians, and even other Greeks from other cities in the region, but this kind of frenzied fighting that he now witnessed outside the gates of Veii was, for lack of a better word, amazing.
The king of the city, Glastus, had insisted that he and the emissary from Neapolis, Simonides, watch from the safety of the city walls, where should the unlikely event that the Senones fail in battle occur, the emissaries would be safe. For all his barbaric pride, the Senone king struck Akakios as cunning, much like Odysseus of old. But on the battlefield, the man turned into Achilleus .
He watched as the Latins came from behind the hills, screaming and shouting with all manner of barbarism. They wore no armor, but they marched in a host of thousands with weapons glimmering in the sunlight. Then Glastus, barbarian yet civilized, rode from the gates of the city on a mighty war-horse and led his army to meat his enemy. The Senones blared their horns and pounded drums as they approached closer and closer to their enemies, before finally breaking into a frenzied charge.
The Senones cut through the Latins with ferocious ease, breaking their wicker shields just as easily as they broke their bones. Akakios watched with particular amazement as Glastus singlehandedly leveled three men with one swing of his great sword.
The battle was quickly won by the Senones, and Akakios murmured to his fellow Greek:
“After we exchange gifts, I am certain that out cities will make allies with this king.”
 Latins from a town called Gabii in Latium that was once under Roman control.
 Achilles (non-Latinized)
Chapter Two: The Wars of Succession
Part Four: The Man of Great Rage
Segovéco was not a natural leader. Since he was young, he had always been in the shadow of greater men in his family: his father Cingetocintus, his older brother Marumarka, and even his younger brother Dubiepos had proved a more formidable man. It was not that he wasn’t fierce in battle; Segovéco was feared for his prowess with the sword. It was not that he was dim of wit; he had gone under the same learning as his brothers. And it was not that he was small of stature; he towered over most men. The reason why Segovéco was never handed a position of power, why he was never proclaimed a leader, was something a bit darker. The man was apparently mad.
Something about the look of his eye always had given his father fright, and he had done his best to reserve the boy’s insanity for the battlefield, where it might do some good. But beyond the many wars the Senones had conducted, Cingetocintus had held his second son back intentionally.
But now, the only kith and kin to hold him back set clearly in opposition, the madness of Segovéco was set loose.
Segovéco, having been granted control of Ancona by his late brother, would not submit to his younger sibling.
This much was evident by his swift sacking of Sena from the sea only two weeks after Dubiepos took the city. His pirate fleet, accompanied by Liburnians , quickly stormed the city, seized its wealth, and made for their ships and returned to Ancona. Segovéco earned a lot of flack from his supporters for not taking the city when he had the chance, so Segovéco challenged any who disagreed with him to a fight to the death… at once.
Segovéco reportedly fought seven of his own men at the same time, slaying all of them. He, however, did not escape unscathed. In the fray, his left hand was severed from his arm. Segovéco then took his hand, and threw it in the face of his adversary, stunning his enemy in time to behead him. He then invited his Liburnian allies into his city, tipping the proverbial scales to his favor within Ancona.
At this time, Dubiepos retaliated, and launched an assault on Ancona. At the siege, Segovéco stood up on the walls of his city, and began urinating on the aggressors below. He did not seem to take any worry to the arrows flying up at him, and when he was finished excreting, he turned around and walked away, unharmed.
With continued help from the Liburnians, bringing in supplies from the sea and harassing any ship in alliance of friendship with Dubiepos, the only way Ancona would be taken would be if the walls were breached and the city stormed. To this end, Segovéco seemed to show no care. Five months into the siege, he opened the gate to the city, and, standing in the threshold, proclaimed himself the God of Destruction, and challenged all of Dubiepos’ army to fight him.
Stunned, no man approached, so Segovéco ran screaming at the assembled army, and began killing men. Eventually he received the resistance he desired, but no man could manage to kill him. He lost his right eye, however, and received an arrow to the left buttock, but Segovéco still managed to kill twelve men, and return the Ancona alive.
Demoralized, Dubiepos decided that his psychotic brother would be a thorn in his side to pluck another day.
Segovéco, the Senone King of Ancona, also known as Segovéco the Mad, would continue to reign in his port city, and with his newly found allies across the Adriatic, would become a scourge.
 An Illyrian tribe located in what is now Croatia, used to be the most powerful hegemony in the Adriatic until 384 B.C. when Dionysius the Elder of Syracuse defeated them and began founding Syracusian colonies along the Adriatic (including Ancona, which was later taken by the Senones ITTL, oh the irony).
Chapter Two: The War of Succession
Part Five: The Black Horse
“What can we do?” Dubiepos asked himself in his chamber. “That bastard in Ancona set the city of our people alight, and now he invites men from across the sea  onto our shores.”
He slammed his fist down, making his thrown shake. He now lodged in Perusia, the city that had first embraced him as Senonirix. With Sena burned, it was the only other royal city under his domain. Work had already begun on rebuilding Sena, slaves had been taken, and Dubiepos’ coffers were almost empty. But there were other matters to attend to, particularly the state of civil war that consumed his father’s kingdom. Dubiepos needed to secure more territory, else his claim to the thrown would wither and die just as swiftly as his slain brother Marumarka’s had.
The closest royal city was Curtun, which currently held allegiance to Uxellosirom, who was occupied launching a massive siege on Fufluna in the west with the help of the Carthaginians. Dubiepos, both cunning and brave, saw an excellent opportunity to boost his people’s confidence in him. After the humiliating defeat at Ancona, Dubiepos certainly needed it.
In the spring of 353 B.E. (340 B.C.), Dubiepos launched a fresh campaign. His army amasses, refreshed after a winter of rest, and marched for the scarcely defended Curtun. Uxellosirom was a fool for devoting so much of his force to a siege so far from his city.
What little resistance there was, Dubiepos’ chariots quickly ran over, trampled beneath the hard hooves of the Parosirix, the true Senonirix! Curtun fell before Uxellosirom even heard word that his city was being assaulted while he piddled his forces away on a siege that was taking him all of a year to even make progress. Dubiepos took Curtun in a week.
The gods favored the Black Horse . This much was certain.
 The Adriatic Sea, to be precise.
 In case you hadn’t noticed, the past few update names are the English translations of the Senonirix rivals’ names. Dubiepos means Black Horse.
Chapter Two: The Wars of Succession
Part Six: The Second Year
In 353 B.E. (360 B.C.) the War of Senone Succession was breaking out into a massive bloodbath. It seemed every power in the Mediterranean Sea who had invested in Italia had some involvement. While the Senone contenders fought amongst themselves, the Carthaginians backed Uxellosirom of Curtun, the Syracusians and Neapolitans backed Glastus of Veii, the Liburnians were re-colonizing the Adriatic with the help of the Mad King of Ancona, and that was only within the first year of the conflict.
Taras, a Greek city-state in Magna Graecia, threw in its lot with Dubiepos of Perusia after his assault on Curtun. They hoped to hinder Syracuse’s influence in the Adriatic, as well as pissing off the Carthaginians, who were pushing to further their influence in the region.
Fufluna, which had been assaulted by the Curtun-Carthage alliance made it out just by luck. When Dubiepos took Curtun, Uxellosirom quickly forewent his siege on the port-city, turned his army around, and attempted to take back his city. Unfortunately for him, he ran into a certain Adiat Baguadas along the way, and they met in battle. Uxellosirom defeated his rival, who escaped into the hills, but the skirmish was enough to weaken his army just enough to loose against Dubiepos. He managed to escape to Felathri with a diminished force, but his claim to Senonirix was effectively castrated.
However, his Carthaginian allies continued to blockade Fufluna, disregarding the needs of their ally. It became apparent that the Carthaginians had motives of their own other than putting Uxellosirom up as the Senonirix. Gutus of Fufluna, however, was fortunate enough to now only have one enemy assaulting his city.
In the summer of that year, a band of Sabines moved into Senone territory, raiding along the Tiber until they were stopped by Glastus of Veii.
Gutus of Fufluna barely managed to get a ship through the Hanno The Great III’s mighty Carthaginian blockade in search of aid. Such aid was found in Massalia. A small fleet of fifty biremes and twenty pentakonters was sent, which, while initially ineffective, was enough to reprieve the city.
With the help of Neapolis and Syracuse, Glastus of Veii took control of the coastline, including the cities of Caisra, Tarchna, Velch, and Vetluna, all of which had been ruled by local governors until someone took control. Glastus was glad to oblige. His Greek allies, meanwhile, began flooding these port cities with merchant vessels eager to sell and trade, a luxury that had been denied to them with the outbreak of such a violent war. This rapid expansion, however, was quickly checked by a Samnite  into his territory that winter. Glastus just managed to rebuff the invasion outside Veii, but at the price of his and his allies’ men.
All eyes were on the former Senone Kingdoms. And soon, the Wars of Senone Succession would lead to international conflict beyond the small backwater borders of their Italian region. 
 Oh, we will be seeing a lot of these old boys
 Remember, Italy, while of some importance, was not all that.
Chapter Two: The Wars of Succession
Part Seven: Stale Mate And A Glimpse of the Future
“Okay, so what have we learned so far about early Itiloian History ?” Master Merko asked to his flock of pupils sitting in the grass outside the Akadamio do Faio . Birds chirped sweetly and the wind brushed through the olive trees that flanked them, giving shade. His pupils, a motley group of some fifteen men and women who had all been sent by their families to gain a classical education, looked up at their teacher blankly. “Come now, the fresh air is good for your minds. Surely the summer Sun can warm the ice off your brains!”
Master Merko sighed, and took off his turban-like hat and ran a hand through his blonde hair.
“Well,” Paxitie, a local aristocrat’s snoody daughter, said, “The Senoians  came in and conquered Itiloia.”
“An over-simplification, Paxitie, that would skew all of history. The Senoians only conquered and settled Tuscoia and Senoia,” Master Merko said. “Imagine a world where they had swept over all of Itiloia! Everything would have changed! Imagine, no Quartoian Wars , no Tuscoian revolts, no Sapinmoian  expansion!”
His pupils returned his ramblings on alternate histories with more bank stares.
Master Merko rolled his eyes.
“Anyway, can anyone answer my question more fully? Ah, Aedono, you haven’t said a thing today. Tell us about the rise and fall of the Senoian Kingdom.”
Aedono looked up, shocked to be called upon so abruptly. His curly black hair and dark skin gave him away as an Ellenean , but, lucky for him, he had inherited that famous Ellenean logic which had earned him some acclaim amongst the teachers. Usually he was always answering questions, but today he was oddly quiet.
“Well?” Master Merko prodded.
The entire class looked at Aedono, waiting for his answer.
“Well, the Senoian king Brennos and his successor Cingetocintus conquered the regions of Tuscoia and Senoia, defeating and destroying the ancient Tuscoians. But after Cingetocintus died, the kingdom broke up into three smaller kingdoms because of a war over who should be king. The Quartoians and Elleneans got involved. We still don’t know exactly what ended the war, but the Senoian kingdom was never united again.”
“Good, then what happened?”
“Isn’t that when the Sapinmoian Wars began?”
“About a decades later, yes. Very good Aedono.”
 Italian, as known by the Tuscions of 1452 A.D. (1459 P.E.), wherein this lecture takes place. Who are the Tuscions? Take a guess.
 Academy of Veii
 Carthaginian Wars…You can tell I’m having fun with these names
 Samnite, from the Samnite endonym Safinim
 Greek, from the term Greek endonym Hellenes
The Weighted Scales: A World of an Aborted Rome
Apparently it's the best Ancient TL of 2011. Oh Baby!
Last edited by Errnge; July 31st, 2012 at 06:56 PM..
The Weighted Scales: The World of an Aborted Rome
Chapter Three: The Age of Shepherds
Part One: The Safineis
Archaeological evidence suggests that the Italic tribes who would later become the Oscan branch of the Italic language family became distinct from other groups during the 1st millennium B.E. They lived in the Southern Apennines as nomads and shepherds. This group was closely related to the Umbrian-speaking branch, which lived further north and included tribes such as the Sabines and Marsi.
Sometime during the 9th century B.E. members of the Oscan language family superimposed themselves over the previous Italic groups (presumed to be Proto-Latin) living in the area that would later be known as Capeva . However, with the age of Greek colonization on the peninsula between the 7th and 5th centuries B.E. these Oscan groups were either subjugated or expelled by the Greeks, and later the Rasna. In this region, the Greeks founded cities such as Cumae, Cyme, Dikaiarcheia, and Neapolis and densely populated the region. Around the year 600 B.E. the Rasna founded Capeva, expanding their influence and culture further south.
In the year 517 B.E. (524 B.C.) the Greeks of Cumae defeated a coalition of Rasna from Capeva and Aurunci, an Oscan tribe living in southern Latium. In 467 B.E. (474 B.C.) the Battle of Cumae raged between the Rasna against an allied force of Greeks from Syracuse, Cumae, and Neapolis, in which the Greeks achieved victory. Little did they know that this battle would mark the beginning of the end for both cultures in the region. Only a few decades later, Capeva was overrun by the Osci (the tribe for which the Oscan language branch is named) who swept into the region from the hills and retook the region for their people. In 416 B.E. the Osci breached the walls of Cumae, and ousted the Greeks from the region except for the city of Neapolis, which remained strong against them.
But after these conquests, the Osci civilized and settled down from their pastoral ways. They quickly adopted the Greek notion of polis, and formed the Capevan League .
While the Senones were dismantling the Rasna civilization further north, another nomadic group was causing trouble on the peninsula. A warlike tribe of shepherds closely related to the Osci of Capeva, the Samnites, or Safineis in their tongue, were pressing down on their relatives from the hills.
The Samnites were a people who occupied south-central Italia composed of four tribes. The strongest tribe, the Pentri, ruled from the city of Bovaiamom , the Caraceni who were centered in the city of Cluviae, the Caudini of Caudium, and the Hirpini, who ruled from Maloenton . While these cities were nothing compared to the grandeur and wealth of the coastal cities, they were well populated and easily defensible, housing massive Samnite populations. Their federal league, was centered around the Pentri capital.
Indeed, the Samnites were something more than the rustic bumpkins their Osci kin liked to portray. Samnite raids into the unstable north after the collapse of the Senone Kingdom successfully checked Glastus of Veii from invading further inland as well as Dubiepos. The amazing thing is, these were merely expeditionary forces by ambitious Samnite warriors looking for loot. The Samnite war-machine was something to be feared indeed. Their unique battle formation situated their legions in small square phalanxes arranged in a checker-board pattern. This innovation allowed for incredible maneuverability in the rough hills of central and southern Italia, as well as maintaining the structure and strength of a phalanx.
So, in 337 B.E. (344 B.C.), when the Samnites poured into the Capevan plains demanding the grasslands for their herds, there was little that could be done. The Greeks on the coast appealed to Philip II of Makedonia, but he was two busy expanding his kingdom, and to Epirus, who was too busy keeping the Illyrians to their north in check. The Capevans called on help from the Senones in Veii under their new king Tarvos, but they were too busy suppressing Latin and Faliscan revolts within their kingdom.
In 336 B.E. the Samnites poured into the city of Capeva, taking it for themselves and effectively absorbing the Capevan League into their own.
Little is known about the Samnites before this period of expansion, but the warrior shepherds would prove to be an extremely important and influential group in the southern half of Italia, and whose wars would inadvertently shape the politics and wars of the Mediterranean world.
 Campania (or Capua), which, if you recall, was founded by the Etruscans
 Capuan League as we would know it
 Modern Day OTL Bojano
 Modern Day OTL Benevento
Chapter Three: The Age of Shepherds
Part Two: The Springtime Cult
With the expansion of the Samnites in Southern Italia came the expansion of their culture. The Samnites, a warlike culture centered around their sheep herds, had intertwined much of their religion with their livelihood. This religion, known as the Cult of Springtime, or the Holy Springtime, was based in large part around the migrations of shepherds through Samnite territory.
With ancient roots that certainly hold the intrigue of archaeology, the practice seemed to have started as a way for the ancient Italic peoples to cope with overpopulation, famine, and plague. To prevent the death of their people, tribes would force members of their tribe into a migration (not unlike what the ancient Celts did, which, if you remember, lead to their settlement in Northern Italia). The Samnites, who were very much isolated in the limestone mountains of the interior of Southern Italia.
The Cult carried many traits of this ancient heritage. With every spring, any firstborn birthed during the spring months was sacrificed to the god Mamerte, the God of War . The peoples of each Samnite village would predestine who would one day migrate and form a new village. The migrant Samnites would choose an animal that pleased the gods (a bull, a wolf, or an deer usually), and would search for a place to settle until they found one that would please such an animal blessed by the Gods. Only shepherd-warriors would attend this migration. Migrants were considered sacred, and would lead their herds along the central roads through the Apennines. Along these roads, dotting the landscape, were temples dedicated to the Samnite gods. This ritual, related to the following of the herd, would as the Samnite population continued to boom be the direct cause of much conflict in the region once they started to pour outside of the mountains.
The Samnites did not believe in a concept of land ownership. Instead, they believed that all land was to be used by the group mutually to feed their herd of sheep.
The shepherd-warriors, however, needed an outlet to prove their valor and strength. So, on the Spring Equinox, to celebrate the end of winter and the coming of a new year to feed their herds, men would partake in wrestling matches and other war-like games to showcase their strength and prowess as a warrior. 
When the Samnites moved into Campeva, their religion took on some Greek influence, and it was not long before the Greeks associated analogous gods of the Samnites with their own. Mamerte, for example, was quickly associated with Ares, and Castor with Apollo. However, the Greeks were not the only ones to influence Samnite religion as it left the periphery and joined the rest on the world-stage. The Celts to the north made special influence on Samnite religion with their custom of Druidic rites of sacrificing people and animals together. The Samnites took on the Celtic custom of building their centers of prayer, circular temples made from stone, away from populated areas.
 A clear throwback to a time of overpopulation and/or famine.
 Interestingly, when the Romans annexed Samnium, this tradition was the basis of the Roman Gladiatorial games, in which they added weapons and animals for entertainment.
Chapter Three: The Age of Shepherds
Part Three: Expansion of the League
The swift Samnite takeover of Campeva was by no means the last time neighboring tribes would have conflict with the Samnites. With the Rasna thoroughly destroyed by the Senones, who were now dealing with internal issues of their own (some theorize these internal issues to be a directly caused by Samnite expansion to the south), no one was strong enough to check their growing influence. In 335 B.E. (342 B.C.) the Samnites made a swift takeover of their neighbors to their Northwest, the Ausones, the Volsci, and Latins.
The Ausones, a tribe very close in relation to the Samnites, as well as being the closest in proximity to the Samnites, was also the strongest of the three, but their rigid phalanx formations were not flexible enough to out maneuver the checkerboard formation of the Samnite hoplites. At an unknown site, the Samnites defeated them . The Ausones, sensing where the tide was going, then switched sides, and joined the Samnite confederation.
The Samnites then marched into Latium, where they met a combined Volsci and Latin force.
The Volsci and the Latins were traditional enemies. The Volsci spoke their own language, which was closely related to Oscan, the language the Samnites, Ausones, and Campevan Oscans all spoke. They often warred with the Latin League over the region of Latium, and had actually a considerable amount of influence over the Southern and Eastern parts of the region. They quite often allied with the Aequi, while the Latins usually allied with the Hernici. But of late, with increasing Latin migration north of the Tiber, the remaining Latin tribes and city-states found themselves weak in the face of the Samnite war-machine.
After a brief battle, both the Volsci and the Latins were forced to flee the field. The Samnites had already taken the Volsci cities of Atina, Arpinum, and Sora before the Volsci and Latins finally called for aid from the Aequi and Hernici.
Another battle occurred with all four peoples against the Samnites, believed to have taken place along the Trerus River, near the Tiber. This time, in the middle of the battle, the Aequi suddenly switched sides, and began fighting along side the Samnites. It is believed the Aequi turned against their allies in hopes of reaping some revenge upon the Hernici. The Samnite forces then crushed what remained of their enemies.
No force stood in their way to stop their expansion into Latium. They raided and sacked the Latin city of Ardea, and outright destroyed the barely recovering city of Gabii . It is believed that this caused a massive influx of Latin refugees North of the Tiber, however there is no definitive proof, and Latins had already been trickling North to fill the emptied lands the Senones had violently occupied.
By 334 B.E. (341 B.C.) the entire region was overrun. The Hernici were forced to fight off the Aequi, but they lost significant territory to both the Aequi and the Samnites, and were reduced to little more than a footnote in the area.
During this period of expansion, the Samnites made many friends and enemies. Many of the tribes living in the mountainous regions of Italia, who shared similar shepherd cultures and languages, allied themselves with the emerging power to the South. Such tribes included the Marsi, Aequi, Peligni, and Sabines. These tribes would rely heavily on Samnite support as chaos was (once again) beginning to erupt in the areas North of their borders . Over time, the Samnites would slowly absorb some of these tribes, while others would retain autonomy for quite some time.
But, on the other hand, the Samnites made enemies with the coastal city-states, who were very threatened by these barbarians from the hills and mountains inland. Most of these city-states were Greek, but some were Rasna residuals, or Hellenized tribes along the coastline.
In the coming years, their fears would prove to be quite founded.
 This will be explained, no worries.
 The Greeks who usually recorded the goings-ons in the peninsula were a tad preoccupied at the moment with troubles of their own. The Samnite takeover of the Ausones is barely a side note in most of their records.
 If you recall, this was the city Glastus had sacked in order to force its inhabitants to fight against him to convince the Greeks to fund him.
 This, too, will be explained!
Chapter Three: The Age of Shepherds
Part Four: Meanwhile in the Senone Kingdoms
Veorix Tarvos and what remained of his men looked back at the beach as they sailed away. On the beach, he could hear the cheers and applause of the rebels as they watched him flee. Corpses bled out on the beach, turning the white sand red, and eventually being pulled out to sea by the tide.
The rebels threw their hands into the air, some of them lobbing their helmets into the sky.
“Libertas!” They shouted, “Libertas Etrusci! Libertas Veo!”
Tarvos spat into the ocean and leered. The ocean wind now blew in the sails of his ship, and in his face. It tasted bitter.
How did this happen? He thought to himself. I had it all. How did this happen?
Veorix Glastus’ reign was relatively peaceful once he secured his power along the Tiber. As was promised, Glastus sent Senone warriors to fight for Syracuse in their war against Carthage on Sicily. The Senone Kingdom of Veii and Syracuse maintained good relations, and trade between the two cities flourished.
Veii grew as a city with every year, the areas of the city that had been largely emptied (a cost of the many wars fought in the region over the past few decades) were starting to refill with not only Senones and Rasna, but also Latins and Greeks from the South, many of whom began to refer to themselves as Etrusci, the term they once used to denote the Rasna. In fact, because of the larger Rasna population in his kingdom, most people actually referred to the Senone Kingdom of Veii (or Veo, as the Senones called it) as a successor-state not to the Kingdom of the Senonirix, but to mexl Rasnal.
Inside the city, neighborhoods that were in earlier years divided between Senone, Rasna, Greek, and Latin, the lines of ethnicity began to blur. Pidgin languages were commonly spoken throughout Glastus’ realm.
By the time of Glastus’ death in 345 B.E. (352 B.C.), the cities he ruled were not only busy, but bustling! Merchants sold goods from far off lands: Amber from the lost regions of the far north, salt and gold from Carthage, silver from Iberia, fine wool from Celtica , purple dye from Tyre. In the palaces of ancient Veii, archaeologist have, indeed, found goods from lands as far away as India.
The countryside, which had taken the heaviest toll during the Senone Wars, was replenished and settled by Senones and Latins. Vineyards, fields of wheat and rye, and orchards returned to the once black and ashen fields of mexl Rasnal into the beautiful, lush green lands that they once were.
Though there was the occasional border skirmishing between the other Senone kings, the Kingdom of Veo was relatively peaceful in his time. To avoid further fracturing of Senone territory, Glastus established a formal line of succession to the thrown which would be passed to the eldest male member of the royal family . This gave a real sense of stability in the kingdom, which previously had been waiting with anticipation and worry with every year Glastus grew older for a new war to break out.
In the court of Veo, Glastus took the provided historians with the first accounts of the Senone Wars from the Senone perspective when he mandated that the histories be written down in Greek, and also (to the great chagrin of the druid priests) that it be written in Celtic, using the Greek alphabet. This was the first known instance of Old Celtic being written down, providing valuable information about ancient Celtic culture and history.
Apparently, Glastus was quite the trend-setter amongst the Senone Kings, because the new Senone alphabet was adopted in Sena and Fufluna quite quickly, who then went about writing their own versions of Senone histories (of course each account is littered with propaganda).
In 345 B.E. (352 B.C.) Glastus was succeeded by his eldest son Tarvinos. Tarvinos’ reign was relatively peaceful as well. There was some expansion into the Kingdom of Fufluna, and the occasional raid into surrounding territories, but nothing too exciting.
Meanwhile, the city of Sena was finally finished being rebuilt by Dubiepos in 341 B.E. (348 B.C.) after its destruction at the hands of his mad brother. The city was planned with a traditional Celtic circular pattern, but gained the building structure and style of other Italian cities, making it quite unique in the region at that time. Dubiepos gained the upper-hand in a brief war with the Celtic Lingoni tribe to the North, achieving special rights of trade with the cities along the mouth of the Padus River where its water flowed into the Adriatic. Unfortunately, Senone ships, which were not particularly sophisticated, made perfect prey for the Liburnians who had been becoming an ever-larger thorn in his side (again, thanks to his mad-man of an older brother).
In 340 B.E. (347 B.C.) Tarvinos died, suddenly, from cancer. His brother, Bekos, took the thrown, but died only three months later. The scribes at the time document that Veorix Bekos’ unexpected death was very suspect, and some accounts claim he was poisoned. Bekos’ son, Tarvos then took to thrown of Veo. But, fearing that his own son would not gain the thrown, he exiled Tarvinos’ son, Leux, who was only twelve years of age, to live in the countryside, away from the royal courts.
Leux along the way to the home where Leux was to stay, the caravan was ambushed. Leux managed to escape, but only with his life and the golden torque around his neck which had once been worn by his father. Leux was taken in by a Latin family, and was treated as one of their own on the farm. He married one of their daughters, and was officially one of their family.
But while Tarvos believed his line to be secure and his cousin to be dead, he proved to be an extremely poor leader. Out of touch with his people, the Senone aristocracy called him decadent, more Greek than Senone! But Tarvos silenced his enemies with a harsh hand. On the road entering Veo, political adversaries and dissidents were crucified.
Tarvos raised heavy taxes on his people, and demanded tribute from the Latin tribes on the Southern coast of the Tiber.
In 337 B.E. (344 B.C.), the same year Campeva asked for Senone aid against the Samnites, a rebellion broke out in the countryside. Tarvos managed to subdue it, but it was only a warning of things to come: a warning Veorix Tarvos did not heed.
Tarvos had every rebel slaughtered, their carcasses thrown into a massive pyre. He then increased the taxes already laid upon his people.
Two years later in 335 B.E. (341 B.C.), the motley inhabitants of Tarvos’ kingdom rose up. At first, Tarvos tried to deal with this rebellion like the one he had but a couple of years earlier, and sent a Senone army out to destroy the rabble.
But instead of news of resounding victory, Tarvos heard back something very different.
A letter was given to him from his commanders, which read:
Leux Rex Etrusci
Leux Rex Senoni”
The note was written in both Celtic and Latin.
Apparently, this new rebellion was headed by Tarvos’ supposedly dead cousin. When the Senone army, which was actually composed of mostly Latins and Rasna with a Senone core, Leux revealed himself, showing the torque of his father Veorix Tarvinos, and the army quickly joined him.
Tarvos gathered as large of an army as he could muster, but the kingdom was torn. While many joined the Veorix, more joined Leux. Leux did something interesting, however. To appeal to the majority in the region, he proclaimed himself the King of the Rasna, or the Etrusci (remember, many Latins had begun to call themselves Etrusci) as well as king of the Senones. Leux was not fighting to gain the thrown of the Senones in Veo, he was aiming to start an entirely new kingdom.
That summer, Tarvos met Leux in battle near Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber. There, he was crushed. His men were outnumbered two to one, and some even defected to Leux’s side in the middle of the fray.
Fearing for his life, Tarvos fled to the port city of Ostia, where he and what was left of his army escaped by sea. They found refuge in Syracuse.
Lo and behold, what would become known as the Kingdom of Etruscana was born with the rise of the Leuxid Dynasty.
 Gaul. The Gauls referred to themselves as Celtos, so their region shall be known to us as Celtica and their language as Celtic. I will try to make this as clear as possible so as to avoid confusion later on.
 Note that it is not from father to son.
 “Leux, King of the Estrusci, Leux, King of the Senones”
Chapter Three: The Age of Shepherds
Part Five: Samnites, Lucanians, and Bruttians—OH MY!
By 336 B.E. (343 B.C.), the Greek colonies in the south of Italia were in a heap of trouble. Weakened by war with each other and with Carthage, the leaders of these city-states looked to the north with increasing anticipation and worry. With each passing day, the tribes consolidated their power and pressed in on their borders, and it was not only the Samnites who were giving them a headache.
Enter the Lucanians and Bruttians: two very large tribal confederations who shared the Oscan language with the Samnites (and appeared to be allied with them), as well as their warlike culture. For the past few decades, these native tribes had been pressing in on Greek colonial borders from the hilly inland.
The Lucanians were settled to the direct South of the Samnite League, occupying the mountainous territory to the interior of what was the heart of Magna Graecia, southern Italia. They are believed to have originated as either a splinter group of an earlier Oscan tribe further north, or to be one of the oldest peoples in the region, and that the other Oscan-related tribes originated and splintered off from them. The former is more likely, considering the Oscan languages’ closeness to the languages spoken further north (such as Umbric and Sabellic).The Bruttians lived farther South still, in the “toe” of Italia. Their origins were a little less unsure than those of the Lucanians. Their very name “Brutti” came from the Oscan word for “rebel”. So, it is believed, and this was the legend the Bruttians and Lucanians even used to describe their own origins: that the Bruttians originated from a slave rebellion against the Lucanians, and settled further South.
But, old blood aside, the two proved to be a formidable force against the Greek colonists, and with the added help of their relatives, the Samnites, they transcended to a force to be reckoned with. Taras and the cities under her influence were the prime targets. Situated keenly at the center of all trade routes from the Aegean to the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas, Taras was the jewel of Magna Graecia at its height in the 360’s and 350’s B.E. Under the rule of the mathematician, scientist, philosopher, strategist, commander-in-chief, and statesmen Archytas, Taras reached its peak, gaining the largest army and fleet of any Greek colony at the time, racking in more wealth and trade than any other, and made significant advances against the Messapian  tribes along the “heel” of Italia. He even gave his support to the Kingdom of Sena during the collapse of the Senone Kingdom, but did not officially lend any troops. It is largely believed the threat of Taras’ involvement prompted the opposing sides to vie for peace, however unstable that peace was.
But in 340 B.E. (347 B.C.) Archytas died. Though Taras was still strong, it would be a fast decline for the city, whose opulence had appeared to bring about its own downfall. In 336 B.E. the Tarantines called upon their mother-city, Sparta, for assistance against the first in many wars to come against the Bruttians and Lucanians. What prompted this conflict is unclear, but one theory suggests that the Italic tribes were used by the Tarantines as mercenaries, and that they were either unsatisfied with their pay, or that they simply desired more than just a slice of the metaphoric pie. A year later, King Archidamus III of Sparta arrived to aid Taras with a Spartan army and fleet to combat these “barbarians”, these lesser babbling people. But these lesser peoples would have the best of the Greeks. After a long, four-year campaign to subdue the Lucanians and Bruttians, he was slain outside the walls of one of Taras’ satellite cities, a city called Manduria, and the Tarantine-Spartan alliance was defeated.
Five years later, in 326 B.E. (333 B.C.), Taras called for assistance again against the Bruttians, Lucanians, and Samnites, but this time, they called on Epiros, currently ruled by Alexandros I Molossos, uncle to Alexandros III of Makedonia. Alexandros I made several successes against the tribes. He defeated the Samnites and Lucanians near Poseidonia , a Greek colony near Campeva, which had been conquered by the Lucanians sometime earlier in the 4th century B.E. At Heraclea, a Tarantine colony, he defeated the Lucanians again, and retook the city of Terina from the Bruttians, who had taken the city in 358 B.E.
In 324 B.E. (331 B.C.) Alexandros received aid from his Makedonian nephew of the same name, and was reinforced with some Makedonian hoplites. He used this refreshed army, and made his way to once and for all subdue the troublesome Italic tribes. He marched his phalanxes deep into Lucania, where he met the Samnite, Lucanian, and Bruttian armies near a town called Pandosia. The Battle of Pandosia was an absolute slaughter for the Greeks, and King Alexandros I Molossos of Epiros himself was killed by Lucanian warriors.
The Battle of Pandosia is considered to be a huge turning point in the history of ancient southern Italia, because it marked the end of Greek colonization in the region. Though there would continue to be a Greek presence in the area, and certainly more Greek invasions, and even political influence in the area; no more Greek colonies were ever founded after this date. Though little is known about the actual details of the battle, this much was for sure: the key to the Italic success was their battle formation, which was far more maneuverable, and could easily outflank the rigid Greek phalanx. The Italic tribes were armed with short swords and small shields, and their checker-board pattern formations allowed considerably more movement in the hilly terrain which was unsuitable for phalanx.
Though left relatively defenseless, the city of Taras was spared when the Samnites were forced to avert their attention northwards. In 320 B.E. hostilities again broke out in the Campevan plain, when the Samnites captured and garrisoned the city of Neapolis, asserting full dominance in the region. Here is where the first Samnite leader was ever recorded, a man named Gavius Pontius, Meddix  of the Samnites. He, reportedly, commanded an army of nine thousand men, including one thousand cavalry. The Greeks of Neapolis were overrun, and forced to cede independence to the Samnite League. They documented with more than minor interest this cunning man who would prove to be an integral part of Samnite expansion.
And as the Greeks squabbled and fractured to the South, the Samnites consolidated, and strengthened their alliances.
However, little did anyone know, a freak accident across the sea would mean huge reverberations for all of them, and would change the face of the world.
 A conglomeration of tribes believed to be descendant from Illyrian colonists, they were an old enemy to the Greek colonists in the region.
 A position similar to the Roman Consul
Chapter Three: The Age of Shepherds
Part Six: What Was In the Paper
Aedono  read like his life depended on it, his eyes pouring over the printed script. He sat on a bench on a street corner near the Academy. Carts drove by, steam puffing out from the backs of those now drawn by horse. The city of Faio was hustling and bustling in the early summer afternoon. All the pretty girls were out, and children ran through the streets, laughing loudly. But Aedono was immersed in the pages he held in his hands. In huge black letters above the article, announced to every glancing eye, were the words:
LACYEDONIAN REBELS TAKE ATENA! ELLENEANS LEND SUPPORT! 
Each page brought on mounting excitement and anxiety. He could feel the pit in his neck. Being an Ellenean himself, Aedono could feel pride for his people swelling in his chest, but at the same time, he doubted that the rebels could hold out against the Royal Gouthanian  Army in open battle. Aedono feared the day the papers would inform him of another slaughter of his people.
“What do you have there, Grico?” Suddenly the paper was snatched up from his hands. Standing above him was Favion, a local student surrounded by his cronies. “Well, would you look at that, boys; the Grico is pretending to read. Isn’t that cute?”
“Give that back!” Aedono stood up, his dark, curly hair falling in front of his eyes momentarily. “Please, Favion, I’m not in the mood.”
“Who the fuck do you think you are, talking to me like that?” Favion pushed Aedono. “Fucking Grico!”
“Don’t call me that!”
“Or what?” Favion pushed Aedono again, “What are you going to do? Rape my father’s goat? Oh yeah, that’ll show me.”
His comrades chuckled at that one.
“Just give me the fucking paper, Favion.”
“My father says he gives these Grico idiots in Gouthania a month before they all get themselves killed.” Favion pretended to show interest in the paper, poking it and beating it with the back of his hand while he talked, “I mean, what are a bunch of Grico farmers and peasants going to do against the Rict , huh? They don’t have any fire-bombs, no blast-engines… Ha! I’d be surprised if any of these fools will be left to be crucified after the Rict blows them to hell with his blast-engines!”
“I heard they were fighting with nothing but swords and spears they stole,” one of Favion’s friends chimed in.
“What is this, the fucking Bronze Age?” Favion went on. “Lacyedonians? I thought they were all put in their place after their last rebellion.”
“I know it doesn’t mean anything to you, but most people don’t like being kept down by an oppressive ruler,” Aedono said. “Now will you please give me back my paper?”
“Fuck you, Griko, and fuck your pretty fucking mother!”
“FAVION GEIO IGNIATIÉ!” Master Merko approached them swiftly, his blue eyes piercing.
“Master Merko!” For a moment, Aedono saw fear in Favion’s eyes. But he quickly reverted to his persona of the confident leader, and put on a broad smile. He put a thick arm around Aedono, “I was just sharing my paper with my friend Aedono, here. It’s about the rebels in Gauthania, because, you know, Aedono is an Ellenean, and you know—“
“I know full-damn-well what you were doing Mr. Igniatié,” Master Merko spoke sternly. “If I ever see you harass Mr. Cocanes again, I will see to it that you are given charge of cleaning the chamber pots in the university for the rest of the year. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, Master Merko.” Favion said, humbled.
“Return Mr. Cocanes’ paper now.”
Favion pretty much shoved the paper into Aedono’s hands, crinkling it in the process, but the article was safe in Aedono’s hand once again.
They did as he said.
“Thank you,” Aedono said.
“Not a problem,” Master Merko said. “But you were not present for my lecture today on ancient Macatonoia . That is very unlike you.”
“It’s just, all this stuff going on in the world,” Aedono said. “My father keeps sending me letters from Seiracusa  about how our neighbor’s sons just went on a ship to help the rebels, and everyone back home is getting all excited, and then I saw that they were selling an article about it, and well, I guess I just got caught up in it is all.”
“I suppose you often think of how things could have turned out differently for your people, hm?”
“Well, studying history almost requires me to think such things.”
“Well,” Master Merko laughed, “that is certainly one way to look at it.”
“Can’t help but wonder what might have been, right?”
“Oh, the infinite worlds that might exist beyond our own mundane history,” Master Merko put a hand over Aedono’s shoulder. “I believe there is a writer somewhere in the north writing a book of such kind about the unification of Celtica. They are calling it an ‘Alternate History’. What an intriguing idea, don’t you think?”
 Remember this character? Our boy from the year 1453 A.D. (or 1460 A.E. ITTL). Yeah, I think I’m going to make it convention to have a little future narrative with the end of every chapter.
 In case you forgot, the Elleneans are the Greeks, a name derived from Hellenes. As you also might have guessed, “Grico” is a very derogatory term for such people. And as for who the Lacyadonians are, I almost want to leave it as a surprise. Take a guess.
 Hmmmm… sounds strangely like something about the Goth’s, doesn’t it?
 From the Germanic “ric” a word that meant “king”.
 Syracuse, one of the last remaining places on earth with a Greek-speaking majority.
The Weighted Scales: A World of an Aborted Rome
Apparently it's the best Ancient TL of 2011. Oh Baby!
Last edited by Errnge; July 31st, 2012 at 06:58 PM..
The Weighted Scales: The World of An Aborted Rome
Chapter Four: The Early Hellenistic Period
Part One: The Man Who Would Have Been Great
Alexandros was hot with the blood of his enemies. His ornate armor gleamed crimson as he slew Persian after Persian. The field was littered with corpses. It was certainly a good day for the vultures. The battle was almost won, and with the taking of this small town in the south of Anatolia (Issos, he thought it was called), the Makedonians, and more importantly Alexandros, would gain access to the wealth of the Orient.
Alexandros could see the cowardly Persian Emperor fleeing. Alexandros almost had his glory, his chance to be immortal and slay the effeminate king of kings, but his mercenaries were in trouble. He turned his horse around and—what in Olympius?!
He saw a blur of a man, a barbarian no doubt, clothed in not but his skin, colored in blue, rush past his horse, but tripped over a Persian carcass. Alexandros’ horse reared up, startled.
Alexandros barked, ready to slay the fool who got in his way, but was cut short. He could not speak, but felt an intense burning pain in his throat. Suddenly, blood filled his mouth, his vision blurred, and Alexandros fell off his steed with an arrow through the neck.
Though greatly successful , the First Makedonian-Persian War ended in disaster for the Makedonians. Their king, Alexandros III who had shown great prowess on the battlefield and much potential as a leader, was shot by a stray arrow and killed at the Battle of Issos in 326 B.E. (333 B.C.) near the end of the battle.
His body was quickly dragged off the field and valiantly protected by his soldiers. The battle had resulted in heavy Persian casualties, and the Makedonians managed to route them before word spread that their fearless leader was dead. Parmenion, Alexandros’ highest ranking general on the field, managed to keep control of the army, and secured the victory swiftly.
It is said that when the battle was over, and the men were morning over the loss of Alexandros, some twenty Celtic mercenaries were brought before Parmenion in chains. Their leader, a man named Tarvos  had been hired with his men by Alexandros to fight for him against the Persians, but it seemed that this turned out to be Alexandros’ ultimate undoing. The blame was laid on the Celtic mercenaries for startling the king’s horse, which put Alexandros in the way of the arrow that killed him.
Parmenion had them all killed, beheaded, and their skins lined the inside of the Makedonian kings sarcophagus.
Once the battle was through, Parmenion was forced to withdraw his army from Anatolia, knowing that a succession crisis was well underway. Alexandros III’s had no children, and the next in line for the throne was his mentally ill brother Philip III. Though Persia was spared from further destruction to be wrought by the superior Makedonian army, this was the beginning of the end for the Achaemenid Empire. Furthermore, Persia’s own internal issues prevented Darius III from retaking much of the land in Anatolia he had lost to Alexandros III of Makedonia.
When Parmenion returned to Pellas with Alexandros’ body, his brother Philip III had already been crowned the new king of Makedonia. A massive funeral was conducted, and the Makedonian king was buried in Pellas with such ostentation, it gained some criticism from the Hellenes to the South, calling it an “Asian funeral” rather than a proper Greek funeral. Regardless, Alexandros was buried, and many within his kingdom mourned his short reign.
Soon thereafter, Olympias, Alexandros III’s mother (and Alexandros I of Epiros’ sister) at first tried tried to have Philip killed (once again, her first failed poisoning was the reason for his feeble-mindedness). Unfortunately for Olympias, one of her servants informed Antipater (who had been given military control of the European army of Makedonia) of her treachery, and she was arrested and imprisoned.
Three years later, in 323 B.E. (330 B.C.) she was murdered.
Antipater and Parmenion decided to continue the status quo, and Parmenion took de facto control of all Asian territories acquired through the war with Persia, while Anitpater took de facto control of all European territories. Philip III then affectively became Antipater’s puppet.
 Greatly successful according to TTL
 So that’s where the last king of Senone Veii ended up.
Chapter Four: The Early Hellenistic Period
Part Two: With A Whimper, So Do the Ancients Die
To ensure stability within the Makedonian Empire, Antipater arranged for Philip III to marry in 324 B.E. (331 B.C.) Drypetis, Darius III’s daughter, creating a tentative peace with the Persians.
Zopyrion, a Makedonian general who had been made governor of Thrace by Alexandros III, realized that year that if he continued to sit on his butt in Thrace and not contribute the glory of Makedonia like the many other far more competent generals of the Empire, he would be “stigmatized as indolent”. He gathered a force of 30,000 men, and marched up the coast of the Inhospitable Sea  to take Olbia, a Greek colony of Miletus (which had been conquered three years earlier by Alexandros during his invasion of Anatolia). Zopyrion arrived with a superior force, and laid siege upon the city of Olbia, as well as attempting a blockade with the Makedonian navy, however, a massive tempest devastated the navy, allowing the city to continue to gather supplied by sea. This would only be the beginning of a series of tragedies that befell Zopyrion during his excursion. The Olbians realized that they lacked the numbers to defeat the Makedonian army, even if their navy had been rendered useless. So, they set free all of the slaves within the city and granted them citizenship to fight the invaders. The siege went on, but the Olbians were able to hold out long enough to establish an alliance with the Scythians in the nearby steppes to the north. Only then did Zopyrion realize that he did not have the resources to continue this siege, which he initially had thought would be a relatively easy excursion. He retreated, but his army was constantly harassed by Scythian cavalry, who whittled away at the Makedonians until only a fraction of the army was left when they reached the Istros River . Zopyrion surely thought he was safe within subdued territory once he crossed the river, but his army was then ambushed and slaughtered by Getae and Triballi, who saw this as an opportunity to gain revenge upon the Makedonians, who had ravaged their lands four years earlier under Alexandros III. Zopyrion himself was killed, and Thrace went up in the fires of rebellion now that the local tribes smelled weakness within the Empire.
That same year, a large rebellion broke out in Hellas when the Corinthian League refused to acknowledge Philip III as Hegemon. The city of Athens, under the military leadership of their statesman Leosthenes, headed the rebellion, with their allies from Aetolia, Locris, Thessaly, and Phocis. Leosthenes, arrived in Hellas shortly after the death of Alexandros III with a group of anti-Makedonian mercenaries who had fought with the Persians against Makedonia. He quickly stirred up rebellion, which the Boetians opposed, hoping to stop the Athenians from meeting up with their allies to the north. However Leosthenes’ forces utterly defeated the Boetians, and the rebellion was in full force. The Hellenes lead their army, some 25,000 strong, into Thessaly. Antipater quickly gathered his troops, many already garrisoned within the League of Corinth, to crush the uprising. Agis III of Sparta saw this as the perfect opportunity to wage war against Makedonia, an opportunity he had been awaiting his entire reign.
Agis III, through his reign of Sparta, seemed to be hell-bent on the destruction of Makedonian control in the Aegean. During the reign of Alexandros III, Agis had made plans with the Persians to ally with them against Makedonia. However, when the Persians were soundly defeated at Issus, Agis took time to think. Alexandros was dead, and the Makedonians surely were not as stable as before. So, in 326 B.E. (333 B.C.), he sent his brother Agesilaus to Crete to secure the island for Sparta.
Then, with the revolt in Thrace, Agis saw the perfect opportunity to make his move. In league with the other anti-Makedonian city-states, Agis III declared war against Makedonia.
The Spartans, with the help of 8000 Greek mercenaries who had actually fought against Alexandros at Issus, defeated the Makedonian army under Korrhagus garrisoned in Corinth. After this battle, he was joined by other city-states, including Elis, Achaea, and Arcadia, and Agis laid siege to the city of Megalopolis. After taking the city, Agis received a plea for help from the Hellenes rebelling to the north.
After some initial success, the Hellenes were pushed back by Antipater, and were currently holed up Myonia. Agis quickly sent his army to relieve his fellow Hellenes.
At the Battle of Myonia in the spring of 323 B.E. (330 B.C.), the Spartans met with their fellow Hellenes against the Makedonians. The combined Spartan-Athenian army created a massive army of 50,000, whereas Antipater’s army was only 40,000 men strong. The battle was bloody, and the Makedonian line actually broke. Antipater was forced to retreat from Thessaly.
A new, very loose league was formed between the Athenians and Spartans, which came to be known as the Hellenic League. Agis III would continue to be a very nasty thorn in the side of Makedonia for the rest of his life .
323 B.E. (330 B.C.) brought about more turmoil in Makedonia, however, when Parmenion invaded Cyprus. This should, and would, have been a good thing for Makedonia, if not for Antipater’s continuing distrust and jealousy of Parmenion, who had actually been Alexandros’ favored general. Antipater, through Philip III, declared that Parmenion’s invasion of Cyprus was done without authorization by the King, and was an act of insubordination. As punishment, Parmenion would be forced to give half of his wealth (including all lands and estates) to the King. Parmenion, in his classic fashion of rash and daring actions , responded by sending half of a spear, and a letter, which read:
“Hear is half of my wealth, to Basileus Philip III.”
It was followed by a passage which basically equated to Antipater could take it and shove it up his ass, to which the Greeks were apt, but the insult was felt nonetheless.
Antipater made plans to invade Anatolia, but, at least as the legend goes, was dissuaded by Queen Drypetis, who sought a stable kingdom that would not spend its life fighting itself. She personally accompanied an envoy to meet Parmenion to defuse some of the tension between the two strongmen of Makedonia. Parmenion was, apparently, quite impressed with her diplomatic abilities, and sent a very formal apology back with her to Philip III and to Antipater. Civil war was averted… for now.
The next year, in 322 (329 B.C.) Parmenion died at eighty-one years of age. Though many said that he simply died of old age, rumors abounded that an agent of Antipater poisoned him. The mystery of his death would never be definitively solved. Parmenion’s son Philotas quickly ascended to his father’s position. Though not as daring as his father, Philotas was a very capable and ambitious commander. Making sure to get the blessing of Philip III, Philotas led an invasion of Syria, taking the precarious Persian controlled region with little resistance. He quickly seized Damascus for Makedonia, something his father had been planning to do before he died, and took the Persian forces garrisoned there completely by surprise, having expected his army to attack Byblos or Tyre first. Philotas then turned his army around, and took Byblos, where a larger Persian force had awaited him, but surrendered without a fight. Philotas then moved to take Tyre, but was unable to successfully lay siege to the city. Realizing this, he moved around Tyre, and invaded Palestine, taking Jerusalem in 320 B.E. (327 B.C.).
Philotas was making plans to move north and invade Armenia, when word reached him that Antipater had died of an illness at the age of seventy-seven. Philotas made sure to firmly secure Syria and Palestine for Makedonia, garrisoning Damascus, Sidon, and Gaza before returning to Anatolia.
The next year, Philip III of Makedonia died from unknown causes.
And he died without an heir.
This was how the Argead Dynasty, who had ruled the Makedonians for over four hundred years, ended.
 The Black Sea, as the Greeks knew it.
 The Danube River
 IOTL, Agis III was severely wounded in this battle, and opted to stay behind and hold of the Macedonians himself to buy his men time to escape. It is said that, on his knees, he killed several Macedonians before being felled by a javelin. Pretty badass guy. Leosthenes, on the other hand, launched what was known as the Hellenic War in 323 B.C. after Alexander’s death, and was defeated by Antipater.
 IOTL, Parmenion is often portrayed as being a cautious man in contrast to the daring Alexander. However, one can discern this as poetic license when one takes into account the deeds Parmenion accomplished OTL.
Chapter Four: The Early Hellenistic Period
Part Three: The Theatre of War
Antipatros’ son, he claimed the throne almost immediately after the death of Philip III died. There is considerable rumor that he personally killed the Makedonian king, however there is no considerable evidence for this. Maintaining his father’s resentment for the Argeads, he lacked his father’s restraint and subtlety about it. Well educated and ambitious, he was taught by Aristoteles, who had also taught Alexandros III of Makedonia. Not wasting time in the wake of Philip III’s death, Kassandros hastily took Queen Drypetis as his wife, forcing her into the marriage by sword-point. From there, he went about systematically securing (usually by violent means) the throne for himself. To top it all off, he made sure to acquire the body of Philip III, and bury it himself, as was tradition for a Makedonian king to do for his predecessor.
Kynane of Makedonia:
One of the last members of the Argead Royal Family, she was the both the daughter of Philip II of Makedonia through the marriage of Philip II to the Illyrian princess Audata, and the half-sister of both of the previous rulers (Alexandros III and Philip III). Her claim to power was perhaps the most legitimate of those vying for control of Makedonia. She was trained in the Illyrian practices of martial combat and riding (which she taught her daughter, Euridike). She was famous in Makedonia for her military prowess. She was recorded as one of the only women in Hellenic history to actually lead an army into battle, recalling images of Athena to the Greek poets. In an engagement with the Illyrians in 337 B.E. (344 B.C.), she led a Makedonian army, actually riding ahead of them, and killed the Illyrian Queen Caeria. Thus, she was much respected by the Makedonian military, and gained the support of several generals in her effort for the throne, including (but not limited to) Philotas, Perdikkas, and Seleukos.
The son of Parmenion, Alexandros III’s premier general in Asia, he was the de facto overlord of the Asian territories taken from the Persians. At first he did not intend to take the throne of Makedonia for himself, but instead simply opposed Kassandros. He quickly lent his support to Kynane of Makedonia. Later he would use his craft to associate himself with the Argead line, convince Kynane to marry him to her daughter Euridike, and made plans to take Makedon for himself.
Also one of the seven former bodyguards of Alexandros III and Philip III, he was a very vocal supporter of Philotas. However, due to his location in Pella, he was quickly arrested and executed by Kassandros.
Kleopatra of Epiros:
Another of the few remaining Argeads, she was the Queen of Epiros after the death of her husband Alexander I of Epiros (who was also her uncle) in Italia and the execution of her mother Olympias. As was the Epirote custom, she became the head of the household after her husband’s death while her sons were too young to take his place (rather than what was done in the rest of Greece, where the sons would take the place of the father regardless of age). Generally, she was much liked in Hellas and Makedonia, especially after a shortage of wheat in 327 B.E. (334 B.C.) during which she ordered a massive shipment of grain from Kyrene, a massive Greek colony in Libya, and had the surplus hereto sent to Corinth. Upon the death of her husband in battle against the Samnites and Lucanians, an embassy was sent from Athens to give their condolences. She was the official welcomer of Epiros, which allowed her to keep a close eye on the goings-ons in Greece. She was the only full-blooded sibling to Alexandros III of Makedonia, and many wanted her to claim the throne of Makedonia, affectively uniting Epiros and Makedonia, however, she refused, fearing for the safety of her family after witnessing the violence that broke out for the Makedonian throne.
A close friend of Alexandros III of Makedonia, and a bodyguard of Philip III, as well as a high ranking general, he quickly sided with Kassandros. In many of the rumors about Philip’s death, Ptolemaios is mentioned as an accomplice, however, it is more likely that even if Philip III was murdered, any implication of Ptolemaios would be purely fictional considering his previous devout loyalty to the dynasty beforehand.
A Makedonian nobleman of Thessalian origins, he rose to prominence during the reign of Alexandros III, wherein he was appointed as one of the seven official bodyguards of the Basileus, a position which he maintained during the reign of Philip III. In the succession crisis following the death of Philip III, he joined the side of Kassandros, seeing him as the best candidate to maintain the strength and stability of Makedonian hegemony over the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Chosen to command the Companion Cavalry by Perdikkas, he became one of the leading generals in the ensuing war on the side of Kynane of Makedonia.
Another former bodyguard of the Basileus’ appointed by Alexandros III, who also sided with Kassandros, but only for his own personal gains. Peithon desired Makedonian expansion into the wealthy lands of Egypt, where he would (if he had gotten his way) would be given control of the land, answering only to Kassandros in faraway Pella. But, as Peithon was recorded as saying: “How can one man in Pella possibly order another man in Memphis?” It was not long after he said this that someone ratted him out, and Kassandros had him quickly arrested and killed.
A Makedonian nobleman and infantry commander, he was present at the Battle of Issos in which Alexandros III was killed. At first he was a supporter of Philotas, but after Kassandros proposed he marry his sister Phila, Krateros jumped ship. He was one of the main adversaries against the pro-Kynane camp in Asia, and made the stakes all the more dangerous by inviting the newly independent Babylonians to join the fight on his side.
The brother to Philotas, he was a distinguished officer during the Makedonian wars in Asia. He fought as the leader of Philotas’ infantry, and is given credit for the defeat and conquest of Kappadokia, and the repulsion of the Babylonian army from Makedonian-occupied Syria.
Appointed the satrap of Cilicia after the Battle of Issos, he swore his loyalty to Philotas after the death of Philip III, and would later prove an influential and powerful general against the forces of Kassandros in Asia. In 319 B.E. (326 B.C.) he invaded Bithynia to secure access to Europe.
One of Alexandros III’s greater generals who was distinguished for his valor at the Battle of Thebes in 328 B.E. (335 B.C.) in which he was severely wounded. He lent his support to Kynane of Makedonia, and hoped to use her as a tool for his own political endeavors. However, his fate at the Battle of Byzantion in 317 B.E. (324 B.C.) would cut them short.
Perdikkas’ younger brother, and in many ways his dog, essentially went with whatever his brother did and said. He, like his brother, lent his support to Kynane of Makedonia, but attempted to murder her (as part of his brother’s plan to take the reigns of Makedonia) just previous to the Battle of Byzantion as a reaction to the proposed marriage between Euridike and Philotas. He, too, would meet his end within the walls of Byzantion, side by side with his brother Perdikkas.
Eumenes of Kardia:
A supporter of Kynane of Makedonia, he was a general of Thracian origin. He was the private secretary of Philip II and Alexandros III, and was firmly loyal to the Argead House. He initially insisted that Kleopatra of Epiros take the crown, but after she refused both the Makedonian throne and his hand in marriage, Eumenes sought to fight for Kynane’s right to rule. Interestingly, at the Battle of Byzantion, not far from his home in Kardia, he managed to narrowly escape death and escaped thanks to the help of the Thracians living nearby. He would return to fight again on the behalf of Kynane of Makedonia and Philotas.
Formerly one of the bodyguards of Alexandros III: upon the death of that Basileus, Parmenion gave him governorship of Paphlagonia. He would side with Parmenion’s son Philotas against Kassandros. He mustered an army of 15,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry for a planned invasion of Thrace, where he gained the support of the Getae doubling the size of his army. He won several victories in Thrace against Lysimachos, but died from an unknown illness during his march to Pella. Subsequently, the Getae announced independence from Makedonia.
A Makedonian general who had served under both Alexandros III and Philip III, he both supported Kynane and opposed Perdikkas. It was under his command that Perdikkas was defeated at the Battle of Byzantion with the help of Eumenes after Perdikkas attempted to have Kynane killed. Unfortunately, though, his valor and loyalty proved to be his own downfall. Kassandros, smelling the weakness of Eumenes’ forces in the bloody aftermath of Byzantion, defeated him at the Battle of Oisyme in 316 B.E. (323 B.C.), where Eumenes was captured and sentenced to death by crucifixion on the battle site. It was from there that Kassandros gathered his generals, and made a final attempt to defeat his adversaries. He sent a massive fleet across the Aegean, where he met his ally Krateros at Smyrna.
A close friend of Philotas, he was one of Alexandros III’s bodyguards at his death in 324 B.E. (333 B.C.) at Issos. He, naturally, supported Philotas, and fought valiantly at the Battle of Smyrna in 315 B.E. (322 B.C.), which would be the final battle of the war. He was present at the signing of the Treaty of Lesbos, which finally brought peace within the Kingdom.
The air was hot and smelled like death and shit. Demetrios’ arms were weary from holding the pike in his hand for so long, watching as man after man was skewered and fell to the ground dead in front of him. Kassandros’ forces were beginning to flee to their ships. Perhaps victory was possible, perhaps these men would live to fight another day.
The sandy beaches were red with blood, bodies were being washed out to sea. At the head of the army, riding her black stallion, Kynane was almost singing. In many ways, she reminded Demetrios of her half brother Alexandros: brave to the point of insanity, yet admirable to the point of godliness.
Demetrios let out a cry of jubilation when he saw the dust cloud rising from the inland. It was Philotas. His cavalry had successfully flanked the enemy and were driving them back.
He was not sure, but he thought he saw the Makedonian standard held by Kassandros rush onto a ship. Kassandros himself was the first to turn and run, the first to flee.
The enemy was repulsed; Kassandros was defeated.
“What now, sir?” One of Demetrios’ men asked him.
“Now, we chase them to Europa.”
“And fight more?”
“Hey, what’s that?!” A voice in the army cried out.
All eyes went to the sea. While Kassandros’ forces were beginning to take to the water, green sails were seen on the horizon. They were fast approaching, and with every passing minute, they became more and more numerous. Cleary headed this way, it became apparent that they were the green sails of a fleet of triremes.
“Ships from Epiros!” A man shouted. “The Epirotes are coming.”
Demetrios took off his helmet and gawked. He was not alone. On the shoreline, Kynane atop her steed stared, her open mouth turning into a smile.
The Epirote ships quickly cut off Kassandros’ escape, rounding them up like wolves to the flock.
“The love of the gods be with Kleopatra,” Demetrios whispered.
A Makedonian nobleman and general, one of Alexandros III’s bodyguards (as well as his lover), he fought very personally against Kassandros, who was well known to despise the Argeads, particularly Philip II and Alexandros III. Hephaistion, who was a much better diplomat than a general, is attributed as the author of the Treaty of Lesbos, which affectively ended the conflict for the Makedonian throne in 315 B.E. (322 B.C.).
Hephaistion could not help but smirk. Former friends and present enemies sat humbled at a table. Hephaistion put the treaty before them.
“I think we all know what happens if you refuse to sign,” Seleukos said, his hand on his sheathed sword.
Ptolemaios, Lysimachos, and Krateros all sat with hunched heads. All of them were bruised and beaten, enduring the trials of imprisonment. Kassandros was not present, however. Hephaistion, having been the diplomat who had actually convinced Kleopatra to assist, (professing his great love for her brother, telling her that if Kassandros continued hold power in Makedonia that she too would be in danger because of her lineage, and of course promising assistance in later years against the Illyrians all finally swayed her) was among the Epirote soldiers who boarded Kassandros’ ship. There, they found him, and all of his guards, dead, their wrists slit.
“Submit to the rule of Kynane as Basilissa of Makedonia and Asia,” Philotas said, “And Philotas as regent and heir to the throne, turn over all your armies and all powers you hold over them, and you will be given a swift death.”
They each signed their name. Hephaistion was very pleased indeed.
Chapter Four: The Early Hellenistic Period
Part Four: The Kassandrian War
Almost immediately after the death of Philip III in 319 B.E. (326 B.C.), Kassandros claimed the title of Basileus ton Basileion, King of Kings, the official title of the ruler of Makedonia. The army loyal to him burst into the halls of Pella, seized the body, and Kassandros himself, sword drawn, approached Philip III’s widow Drypetis and informed her that she would be tortured and killed if she did not marry him immediately after the funeral and announce Kassandros’ rule of Makedonia as king. The poor girl was left with little choice.
Kassandros saw personally to Philip’s funeral and married Drypetis within the same day. He made quick alliances with several of Makedonia’s top generals, including Ptolemaios and Lysimachos. But Kassandros was not through yet. He soon went about killing dissenters and political rivals in Pella, including Aristonous, one of Philip III’s former bodyguards and a friend of Philotas, and several of the remaining Argeads, including Thessalonike , and attempted to have Kynane and her daughter Euridike assassinated as well. Fortunately for them, these plans were intercepted. Kynane and her daughter escaped the wrath of Kassandros, and found refuge in Lydia, where they were met by the one person just as upset by all of this trouble in Pella as Kynane: Philotas.
Upon hearing the news of Kassandros’ ascent to the throne, Philotas quickly made it known that he would not support a usurper and a murderer (thus sparking the rumors that Kassandros played a hand in the death of Philip III). Now that a political rival was safely under his protection in Makedonian held Anatolia, Philotas contested that Kassandros was a false ruler and that Kynane was the rightful ruler of Makedonia. Several generals flocked beneath her banner, many of whom had been friends with Philotas beforehand and had fought with him and his father in Syria, but Kynane also gained the support of the very influential general Perdikkas.
Perdikkas was perhaps Kynane’s strongest ally in Europe at the time. He wasted no time to assemble an army and challenge the young and very ambitious Kassandros. However, Kassandros’ forces simply outnumbered those that Perdikkas was able to muster in Europe. When the two armies met at the Battle of Aegae (the former capital of Makedonia), Perdikkas was forced to retreat. However, there was a ray of light for Perdikkas during the battle. A talented cavalry commander by the name of Seleukos distinguished himself, saving the entire left flank with his quick thinking. Perdikkas promoted him to the Commander of the Companion Cavalry with just enough time to spare to escape into Thrace, where the army made its way to the sea, and cross over to Anatolia to join Philotas.
Kassandros wasted no time while the momentum was still his. In the fall of 319 B.E. (326 B.C.) he split his army in four. Lysimachos was to stay and consolidate Europe, making sure the Thracian tribes were well under the Makedonian foot. Peithon was sent with an army of 20,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry, and 6,000 Celtic mercenaries to invade Syria. He also sent an army under Ptolemaios to cross the Aegean Sea. Ptolemaios landed in Rhodes with an army of 25,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry, and 5,000 Dardanian mercenaries. Then Kassandros himself crossed the Aegean with an army of 35,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, and 2,000 Illyrian mercenaries. Kassandros landed his army in Ephesos. His plan was to use this three-pronged attack to quickly and affectively defeat his opponents.
Peithon was very successful. Landing in Byblos, Peithon worked his way down the coast in a not dissimilar was to Philotas, taking city after city for Kassandros. He actually managed to take the city of Tyre for Makedonia after a long siege in 318 B.E. (325 B.C.). He was doing so well, in fact, that he was confident that he could invade Egypt (which had just secured independence from the Persians) in the name of Makedonia. However, his motives were clearly not selfless. Apparently, Peithon planned to make himself the de facto ruler of Egypt as a satrap, but doubted that Kassandros would be able to exert much control over Peithon from far away Pella. Word reached Kassandros of this treachery, and fearing Peithon’s success as well as his ambition, had him assassinated early in 317 B.E. (324 B.C.). His army was subsequently handed over to Krateros who Kassandros had convinced to join him after marrying him to his sister Phila the previous year.
Ptolemaios and Kassandros, however, had much more trouble in their fighting. After taking Rhodes, Ptolemaios invaded Lycia and made his way to the Greek city of Side. There Perdikkas met him with a reinvigorated and rejuvenated army supported by Meleagros’ army. Ptolemaios was beat back and forced to retreat. However, they were unable to capture Ptolemaios, and he managed to sail back with the bulk of what was left of his army to Rhodes, and then to Ephesos where he was able to meat back up with Kassandros.
Kassandros took Ephesos, and then worked his way down the coast, taking Miletos and Halicarnassos before being pushed back to Ephesos by Philotas, who used his military experience and prowess to out maneuver Kassandros with ease. However, after reuniting with Ptolemaios, Kassandros was able to defeat Philotas at Sardis and pushed inland along the old Persian Royal Road. It is believed that this is around the time that he convinced Krateros to jump ship.
Krateros wasted no time, and made fast allies with the newly independent Babylonians, offering them control of Kappadokia and Pontos (both areas the Makedonians didn’t control at that time) for their assistance. The Babylonians, eager to revive their ancient glory, obliged, and in 318 B.E. (325 B.C.) sent an army under their new king Ekurzakir I into eastern Anatolia where they laid siege to Tarsos. The city was relieved the next year by an army under the leadership of Philotas’ younger brother Nikanor. The Babylonians were repelled, but they soon met up with Krateros in Phoenicia (after Peithon had been assassinated).
In the meantime, Kassandros and Ptolemaios fought Philotas and Kynane in Phrygia. Philotas was this time able to defeat them, and had the usurper on the run back to the sea. Kassandros’ army found refuge in Bithynia, and crossed back over to Europe by the beginning of 317 B.E. (324 B.E.) where he was able to reinforce his troops.
After ousting Kassandros (though not all of his allies) from Anatolia, Philotas proposed to Kynane’s beautiful young daughter Euridike. The proposal was accepted, but much to the dismay of Perdikkas. He would wait for the right moment to make his move. In the following months, Kynane’s supporters made plans to invade Europe and cross the Hellespont. This, however, was not the first time this occurred.
On the onset of the war, in early 318 B.E. (325 B.C.) Leonnatos, the governor of Paphlagonia, mustered an army of 15,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry to invade Thrace. There he gained the support of the Getae and doubled the size of his army. He defeated Lysimachos as Odessos, and worked his way through Thrace, pushing Lysimachos into a corner. But Lysimachos got very lucky when Leonnatos fell suddenly ill on their march to Pella, and died. The Getae disbanded from his army, claiming independence, and Lysimachos soon defeated what was left of Leonnatos’ army.
However, the plans for Kynane to cross the Hellespont were definitely more well supplied, well timed, and well planned than that of Leonnatos. She, accompanied by Perdikkas, his brother Alketas and their army. They crossed into Europe in the summer of 317 B.E. (324 B.C.), and it was there and then that Perdikkas’ plan unfolded. Pedikkas, upset over Philotas marriage to Euridike, claimed that Kynane had been corrupted, and was no longer suitable to rule Makedonia. He had his brother Alketas attempt to murder her. However, Kynane, skilled in the ways of combat, was able to escape with the forces loyal to her (including the young leader of the Companion Cavalry, Seleukos) into the nearby city of Byzantion. Perdikkas promptly laid siege to the city.
Upon hearing of Perdikkas’ treachery, Kynane’s supporters in Anatolia were livid. Another army, under Meleagros crossed the Hellespont to relieve Kynane and defeat Perdikkas. The Battle of Byzantion proved extremely bloody on both sides, lasting three days and completely decimating both armies, but eventually Perdikkas was defeated. Meleagros then insisted that Kynane return to Miletos to inform Philotas of what had happened and to save herself from further danger. She did this, escorted by Seleukos, who had gained her favor for his loyalty and bravery during the battle.
It was not long after the battle that Kassandros, drawn to the smell of blood like a shark, led his army against what was left of Meleagros’ forces, and defeated him at the Battle of Oisyme in the spring of 316 B.E. (323 B.C.) Meleagros was captured during the battle, and when it was over, was crucified by Kassandros on the spot. Kassandros, weary of this struggle, made plans for a final invasion of Anatolia.
It was around this time that finally the Babylonians were defeated. Nikanor received assistance from his brother Philotas, and the two brothers were able to drive them out, and pin Krateros down at the port city of Biruta  after a crushing defeat near Byblos in 316 B.E. (323 B.C.).
However, in the dead of night, Krateros withdrew his army, and they escaped by sea to reunite with Kassandros one last time.
Spies quickly informed Kynane of what was going on in Pella, of Kassandros’ plans to send on massive fleet across the Aegean and crush his adversaries. Kynane quickly called all of her generals, and met a very surprised Kassandros in the spring of 315 B.E. (322 B.C.) outside the port city of Smyrna. Kassandros had not expected to find a unified army assembled against him so soon. He had surely expected to secure the Ionian coastline before finding any real resistance. But, against his luck, there was every soldier who had fought against him for the past four years assembled on the beaches where his troops were landing.
The Battle of Smyrna was a crushing defeat for Kassandros. He attempted to escape with his army, when the Epirote fleet led by the Makedonian diplomat Hephaistion arrived just in time to cut them off and route them. Kassandros, rather than be captured and forced into humiliating terms, killed himself. The rest of the army was captured, and forced to surrender on the island of Lesbos, which finally established Kynane I as Bassilissa of Makedonia and Philotas as her heir and regent.
 Ironic when you consider that OTL she married Cassander
Chapter Four: The Early Hellenistic Period
Part Five: Free At Last, Free At Last
Historians still argue what would have happened to the Persians had Alexandros III not died at Issos. While some fringe historians argue that the Makedonians could very well have absorbed the entire Persian Empire, most agree that he could have expanded Makedonian control further into Mesopotamia, but it would be hugely unlikely to ask of anything more. Regardless, the First Makedonian War was devastating to Persia. Not only had they lost control of all of their Anatolian holdings, but the Empire had now seen just how incompetent their King of Kings truly was. In a desperate attempt to create some kind of peace with the Makedonian barbarians, Darius wed his daughter Drypetis to their new king Philip III. Darius III was walking on thin ice; a glassy veneer over a lake of magma… and the ice was melting beneath him.
The Second Makedonian War in 322 B.E. (329 B.C.), only a four years later, only made the matter worse when Philotas took Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine without even a response from Darius III. The satrapies were finding out very fast that they could not depend on Darius to protect them.
Egypt was the first to officially break bonds with Persia in 321 B.E. (329 B.C.). After seeing the Makedonian army under Philotas march through and conquer Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine in little more than a year, the Egyptians had good reason to think that they were next. The satrap of Egypt Mazaces declared himself Pharaoh of Egypt, and established the short-lived 32nd Dynasty of Egypt. He rallied the Egyptian army and was ready to fight off a Makedonian invasion that never came.
Babylonia and Armenia both broke off from Persia two years later in 319 B.E. (326 B.C.), but in very different ways. Armenia took the more traditional route of the local satrap simply declaring himself king, and not paying taxes or tribute to the King of Kings in Parsa . Orontes III made Armenia independent without much bloodshed.
But along the River Purattu , the banks and beaches of the God-River were red with blood. A rebellion broke out in Babylon in which the city declared itself independent under the leadership of a nobleman named Sin-Nasir, who would later be crowned Ekurzakir I. Swiftly, he gathered an army, and marched on the satrapy of Assyria, killing the satrap in Assur and any imperial troops who would not surrender. Made bold by the dream of restoring Babylonia to its ancient glory, Ekurzakir I became an ally of Kassandros during the Makedonian civil war, hoping to acquire lands in Kappadokia and Syria. His men fought fiercely by all accounts, but were defeated in 316 B.E. (323 B.C.) and ousted from Makedonian held lands. The war was not a complete loss for Ekurzakir however. What Syrian lands that had not been taken by the Makedonians now were under Babylonian control, and with a little propaganda, the Third Babylonian Kingdom was born into the favor of the gods and achieved victory wherever they fought!
Medes under the tribal Cadusii (317 B.E), Parthia under Phrataphernes (317 B.E.), and Bactria under Bessus (315 B.E.) all broke off and created their own kingdoms, and left the once mighty and strong Persian Empire a weak and pathetic shell of its former self.
Darius III was murdered in 320 B.E. (327 B.C.), and Ehran itself was thrown into turmoil as to who would rule. His brother Oxyathres took control of what was left of the once mighty kingdom.
 Persepolis, as it was known by the ancient Persians
 The Euphrates River’s name in Akkadian
Chapter Four: The Early Hellenistic Period
Part Six: Pirates and Corsairs
With the fall of the Argead Dynasty and the rise of the Philotid Dynasty in Makedonia came many changes in the world, not the least notable of which being the sudden increase of the “barbaros” and their ships in the Adriatic. Earlier in that century, Syracuse had affectively snuffed out much of the Liburnian power in the region, but the chaos and turmoil that followed the Senone invasion of Northern Italia had drastically upset the balance.
It would be naïve to say that piracy had disappeared in the Adriatic because of Syracuse, but it was certainly lessened enough that when piracy suddenly made a comeback, it was worth writing about. What’s worse, these pirates weren’t just petty Illyrians: the Senones had taken to the sea. Swarming the Adriatic were Lembos ships, a style of ship native to Illyria that had no sails and a single bank of oars. These small, light ships were fast and maneuverable, capable of carrying fifty men in addition to rowers. They were low to the sea, thus, difficult to detect, adept at quickly approaching prey, then swiftly disappearing into shallow inlets where they could not be followed . The Senones, who over the past few decades, through both peace and war with the Liburnians, had learned the ways of navigation, adopted the ships. There is tell of the occasional Veneti and Lingoni pirates.
The Greeks, who for centuries had traversed the Adriatic, holding a monopoly on trade with the tribes there, were suddenly in danger. By 300 B.E. (307 B.C.), it was said that no honest merchant dared enter that sea without the protection of an army. While the description seems somewhat melodramatic, it isn’t entirely inaccurate. It should be noted that whenever a large Greek army crossed the Adriatic into Italia, or moved north into Illyria (both of which would happen on multiple occasions in the coming centuries), merchants would be on their heels.
But the Greeks weren’t the only ones suffering a sudden increase of piracy in the once relatively calm seas. Carthaginian ships were again targeted in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Ligures, the Latino-Senone Etrusci, Celts from the north, and even the occasional Greek ship (which were becoming more and more rare in Italia, with more and more Greek settlements falling to Samnite control every year) made sailing in the western Mediterranean treacherous. However, the problem evolved to the next stage of violence in 309 B.E. (316 B.C.), when a small fleet of Etrusci raided and sacked Olbia, a Carthaginian port-city in northern Sardinia.
Some historians hypothesize that the increasingly dangerous sailing in the Mediterranean contributed to Cathage’s increased centralization in coming years. The need for stability and strength soon became an asset that Carthage saw could lend them access to further trade and influence, a fact which the Carthaginians surely saw proven by the relatively peaceful Aegean Sea, which was firmly under the centralized control of Makedonia.
It’s the seemingly unimportant events of history, after all, that really do change everything.
 Think of a giant canoe filled with iron-age barbarians
Chapter Four: The Early Hellenistic Period
Part Seven: My Friends Call Me M.P. For Short
The battlefield smelled just as bad as the last, and Gavius Pontius could already see squawking buzzards descending on the glistening corpses (both from the sheen of their armor and the brightness of their blood). In the distance he could see a cloud of dust, the retreating Tarantine army. Pontius had, again, lost a small fraction of his Samnite army, crushing the Hellenes, and forcing, battle after bloody battle, closer to the walls of their city.
“If not for the rotting Greek corpses, I could almost smell the salt of the sea in the air,” Lamponius, the Lucanian Meddix, grunted as he approached, and took off his feathered helmet. “We are so close to the city.”
Pontius’ brown eyes scoured the field, and his nose curled with the stench. No matter how familiar the smell after a battle was, an unholy mix of rotting flesh, shit, sweat, and urine, and blood, he never did really get used to it. He gripped the pommel of his sword, knowing full-well that he would likely make the same scowl he donned now many more times before the end.
“We’ve been this close before,” Pontius said. “The Greeks are a clever folk, we should not wait for them to call on their friends across the sea.”
“But the men are tired.”
“It was my father’s advice that we run them down while we can,” Pontius gave Lamponius a scathing look, “And it is his advice that I will take.” 
The Lucanian Meddix nodded. He knew very well to agree with Pontius, the greatest military man in all of Italia. The man fell back, and gave the order. The Samnite, Lucanian, and Bruttian armies made ready to march. Trumpets sounded, drums pounded, and a deep, earth-shaking chorus of male voices—they were in pursuit.
Pontius knelt down to the ground, and picked up a small stone. It was black and smooth, likely a river-stone shot by a slinger. He took out his knife, and quickly carved a small passage onto it:
“Here at Mateola was fought a great battle. Victory to the Safineis led by M.P.”
An Example of Oscan Writing
When word reached Taras of their defeat at Mateola in 312 B.E. (319 B.C.), only a days march from their city, the city was in chaos, utter chaos. There was little in the way of defense, and after a brief siege, the Samnites under Meddix Gavius Pontius took the city, affectively ending Greek political control of southern Italia.
The ramifications of this loss to the Greek world were deeply felt in almost every way: economically, emotionally, psychologically, and politically.
Since the death of Alexandros I of Epiros, the Samnites had carved out a strong foothold in central Italia, pacifying and absorbing several of the tribes to their north, including the Sabines, Marci, and Hernici. Only a few small tribes were left (some as buffers, some were simply lucky) between the growing Samnite Federation and the Senone Kingdoms to the North. Through increasingly intimate political bonds, the Lucanians and Bruttians, though independent, became even more influenced by the Samnites to the point that they seemed to be simply an extension of the Samnite body. And now the Samnite body had its eyes set on the remaining Greek city-states to the South, those that still existed.
While the Makedonians warred over who would be their ruler, the Samnites and Lucanians moved in on the Messappian tribes in the Southeast. They were quickly subdued, and in 314 B.E. (321 B.C.) they moved in on the now surrounded city-states of Magna Graecia.
Metapontion asked for immediate aid from their neighbor, Taras, which, upon further inspection, was not the wisest of decisions because of Taras’ current frailty. But Taras responded with an army of mercenaries and hoplites ready to do battle with the invading tribes. One humiliating defeat later, and a massive army of Samnites, Lucanians, and Bruttians were outside the city of Taras, and this time, there would be no turning back.
The swift, more mobile Italian armies caught up to the retreating Greeks, and as the Greeks pushed their way through the gates of Taras, desperately trying to escape their certain demise. The city was forced to close its gates on its own army, leaving hundreds, perhaps thousands of men to be slaughtered. As mentioned earlier, the siege was brief, and Meddix Gavius Pontius personally lead the charge into the city, sweeping through the streets like a flood.
It was around this point that the Greek world went absolutely ape-shit. The oligarchy in Syracuse quickly took firm control over Rhegion in an attempt to ensure a halt to the swelling Samnite menace and to prevent a possible invasion of Sicily (a very real fear). The Tarantines, particularly a merchant and aristocrat named Dionysius, in exile pleaded to the Makedonian Queen Kynane and Regent Philotas to send aid and relieve their city from the clutched of these barbarians.
The Makedonians willingly agreed, but due to another war with Sparta, led by Agis III, they were unable to send their entire force. Instead, one of the Queen’s favored generals, Seleukos, was sent with an army of 30,000 men and 2,000 cavalry to oust the Samnites and to place Dionysius as the new king of Taras.
Seleukos arrived in Italia in 311 B.E. (318 B.C.) at Heraclea, which at the time was barely managing to keep its head above water (metaphorically of course).
It was a show down the likes of which had not been seen in Italia. Meddix Gavius Pontius, hero of the Samnite Federation, versus Seleukos, one of the greatest generals of Makedonia. Indeed, the bards would sing of this tale for ages to come.
 In OTL during the 2nd Samnite War, Pontius reportedly asked his father for advice about the fate of a Roman Army he had captured. His father said either to kill the entire army, thus destroying the enemy, or to give them back their weapons and make friends with the Romans. Pontius did neither, choosing to disarm the Roman Army, thus humiliating them, and force them to march back to Rome in shame. This resulted in an angered Rome with all the same manpower. ITTL Pontius heeds the advice of his father with more enthusiasm.
Chapter Four: The Early Hellenistic Period
Part Eight: You Can’t Win ‘Em All
Seleukos landed with his army of thirty thousand in the spring of 311 B.E. (318 B.C.) in the still independent city of Heraklea. Seleukos wasted no time and minced no words. Heraklea was now under the protection of Makedonia under the rule of the Basilissa Kynane and her regent Philotas. There was little protest, the victimized Greek colonies were simply eager for an ounce of protection against the native tribes.
Seleukos’ invasion of Magna Graecia was largely successful. With superior siege weapons and the support of the Greeks living within each city he liberated, ousting his enemies from the coastal cities wasn’t altogether a difficult feat. Thurii, Siris, Metapontion, Croton, and Taras were all abandoned by the Lucani-Brutti-Samnite alliance by the end of the year, and without a fight.
Seleukos, perhaps, became overly confident due to this lack of resistance. He is quoted as having said, “With [Italia] inhabited so thickly with cowards, it’s a wonder that so many Greeks have died upon it.”
In 310 B.E. (317 B.C.) Seleukos, having firmly secured the lands around the Gulf of Taras moved to directly remove the Italian threat. He marched his army, with the addition of some 10,000 Greek colonists, into Bruttium. The mountainous interior proved difficult for the Makedonian phalanx to maneuver through, and when they finally met the Bruttian army near Cosentia, they took heavy losses, but still managed to overwhelm the enemy. Seleukos spent the next few months pacifying the small area, which proved to almost be more trouble than it was worth. Just when he thought he had finally put the Bruttians beneath his boot, another army would appear from the hills, with increasing help from the Lucanians and Samnites.
It was not until the Scorpion had risen in the night sky that he actually met the full barbarian force he was supposed to be fighting. Apparently, upon hearing news of the massive Greek army, a certain Meddix Pontius had spent the past year rallying the support of all the tribes under Samnite rule and influence. Of course the Lucanians and Bruttians were game (they had the most to lose, after all), but it took some convincing to make (for example) the Sabines or the Ausones to march an army South to fight off the Makedonians.
Seleukos was unaware of the movements of the tribes to his North, however, and marched to capture the Greek colony of Pixunte, deep within Lucanian territory. Near the head of the Siris River, Seleukos could hear the approach of war-drums. Deep and earth shaking, they were accompanied by the howls of trumpets. The ensuing battle was a bloody one. The Samnite battle-formation, especially designed for the steep hills and mountains of the region, easily out maneuvered Seleukos, but the Makedonian still had numbers on his side, with an army almost double the size of his adversary. After loosing a reported 2,000 men (a conservative estimate), the Makedonians managed to push the Italians into a retreat. The army disappeared into the hills just as swiftly as they had appeared.
Seleukos must have known that he was not chasing them, but rather, that they were chasing him, because he ordered that his veterans take the rear of the column as they made their way towards Pixunte.
Upon reaching the colony, the shouts and screams of dying men rose from the rear of the Greek column. Seleukos, the talented general that he was, managed to take control in the chaos and rallied the Greeks into phalanx formation. But by the time this was achieved, Gavius Pontius and the armies under his command had slipped away yet again.
Contemporary Samnite literature does not speak much on the strategy and tactics of Meddix Pontius, but later sources claim that Pontius, cunning as he was, knew that the “Burnt Men” were too many, and that meeting them outright in battle would not lead to victory, so instead he intended to harry and whittle away the Makedonian force until it was small and weak enough to be crushed in battle.
Regardless, Seleukos garrisoned the colony, and continued along, this time to retake Poseidonia.
The year was 309 B.E. (316 B.C.), two years since Seleukos landed in Heraklea, and it appeared he had finally struck a nerve. Poseidonia had been conquered by the Lucanians generations ago, and it is known that within the city the Lucanians and Greeks were able to coexist quite well. According to Samnite sources, one of the Lucanian general’s family lived within the city. In the dead of night, he took his men and abandoned the rest of the army to defend the city from Seleukos.
The result was slaughter for the Lucanians. Seleukos could now say he had a solid victory beneath his belt in Italia, and now Gavius Pontius was suddenly a few thousand men short. Demanding revenge, Pontius was unable to resist his generals and allies. Much to Pontius’ chagrin, he met Seleukos in battle. Outside the Lucanian town of Tegianum, the Italians and the Greeks fought. Little is known about the details of the battle. What is known is that Seleukos took heavy losses, but was ultimately able to overwhelm the Italian tribes. He surrounded the Lucanian body, capturing their Meddix. The entire Bruttian force was killed save for sixteen men who escaped with the majority of the Samnite army.
In the aftermath, Seleukos ensured the surrender of the Lucanians and the Bruttians. However, he had not defeated the Samnites, nor would he ever. For another three months, his army chased after a ghost army that would attack at night and disappear into the shadows, an army that was simultaneously being chased and was on the chase. 
Tired of it, Seleukos turned his attention the Messappia, a strip of coastline along the eastern side of the “heel” of Italia. A few Samnite settlements were in the region, and the Messappian tribes (believed to be descended from Illyrian colonists) were weak. By the end of the year, he had secured most of Magna Graecia… but there was still that whole Samnite issue.
Well, it seams that the Samnites were willing to solve that one for him. In 308 B.E. (315 B.C.) a peace envoy reached Seleukos. The terms were simple: no more war. There would be no transfer of wealth, no transfer of land, no hostages, nothing. While it was unorthodox, there had been no clear victor between the Makedonians and Samnites, and Seleukos didn’t exactly plan on spending the rest of his days patrolling the frontier to keep out Samnite armies. A treaty was signed, and the war was over.
To commemorate the military expedition, Seleukos had the colony of Callipolis renamed Seleukia. Kynane, pleased with the success he had with pacifying the region, named him viceroy of Magna Graecia.
 The first possibly recorded instance of a slur against the Greeks, the Samnites called them Burnt Men. Why is unknown, but theories range from the Sun being the emblem of Makedonia, to that the Greeks were slightly darker than the Samnites, and thus looked like they were burned.
 Judging by his exploits in the Second Samnite War, it is fair to say that Pontius had some amount of capability in guerilla warfare.
Chapter Four: The Early Hellenistic Period
Part Nine: The Critic
The hall of Pellas fell silent, and all eyes landed on Philotas, who stared with the kind of look that would make a wise man shrink away, perhaps into the shadow of on of the high marble columns that flanked the hall. The laughter and merry conversation of the court cut off and was replaced by a heavy quiet. The nobles clenched their robes and took quiet breaths. The air turned tense, but Basilissa Kynane seemed not to mind much as she continued to eat her dinner. She brushed her curled silver hair from her face and cheerily popped an olive into her mouth before taking a sip from Dionysus’ drink.
“I named him viceroy of Magna Graecia,” she said, licking wine from her lips. Her Illyrian accent made her speech guttural and swift, yet she still had the grace to speak Koine with ease. 
“And why would you do that?” Philotas growled.
“We now control the Italiote cities, we hold monopoly over all shipping in the Ionian Sea, and it is all thanks to Seleukos,” She said fondly. “If anyone deserves the position, it is him. He fought many a-battle to win that territory, and I trust him to govern it well.”
“With all due respect, Queen of Queens,” Philotas gritted his teeth, “Your brother, whom I served under against the Persians, conquered five times that much territory in just as much time. We are at war with the Hellenes to our South, pirates and corsairs lurk in every corner of Poseidon’s realm, barbarians are at our doorstep, and you have rewarded Seleukos for his squandering of men and incapable leadership?!”
Though Kynane certainly had aged since taking the thrown, she was still younger than her son-in-law. His beard had turned white, and his skin had begun to look like leather as he surpassed his sixtieth summer. His face shook when he spoke, and something about him came off like he thought he was something grand. Though Kynane was fond of her son-in-law (he had always been a loyal ally), Philotas was never made of quite the right stuff to be a part of courtly life, and, what’s more, she thought he knew it. Why else would he try so desperately to make it seem like he did.
“I hardly think that is fair,” Kynane looked up sternly. “My brother-in-law, Alexandros Basileus of Epiros was killed fighting the very people Seleukos has conquered, and he did so with an army just as large and just as competent.”
“If I may,” Euridike spoke up, her voice quiet yet strong. She cradled her pregnant belly, and stepped forward. This would be the third child she was expecting, and something about motherhood had made her wiser, more eager to play a part in the politics of Makedonia.  “I have to agree with my husband. Seleukos was sitting like a swine at the wallow for two years trying to subdue a single tribe whose territory is no greater than Attica.”
“And how long have we been trying to subdue Attica, Euridike?” Kynane shot back.
Euridike bowed her head, and kept silent.
“Seleukos is viceroy of our Italiote holdings, and that is that,” Kynane said with finality.
Begrudgingly, Philotas held his tongue, but he also held his opinion.
 While we do not know exactly why Illyrians would have sounded like, from what we do know, the language seemed to be quite guttural. If Albanian is the supposed descendant of such languages, that would be only a hint as to how the Illyrians would have sounded.
 Eurydice and Philotas have had a son and a daughter by now. The son, who is six years old, is named Orestes, and the daughter is named Europa. She is four years old. They are expecting another child in two months, who will be another boy. They will name him Pausanias.
Chapter Four: The Early Hellenistic Period
Part Ten: A Very Busy Time
The Leuxid Dynasty of Etruscana was had a very busy thirty years. Upon word that the former King of Veo, Tarvos, had been killed at the Battle of Issos, the Seno-Etruscans no longer had any possible political rivals… except for those bastards to the North who still claimed to be the one true Senonirix.
Dubiepos, who had ruled Sena and Perusia for decades finally died in 327 B.E. (334 B.C.), which left much of his territory vulnerable. Leux I quickly gathered his army and marched up the Tiber, even taking Perusia. He then moved West, and defeated the Senone Kingdom of Fufluna in battle. He then proceeded to take Fufluna. Leux’s so-called Etruscans had finally taken all of the land once known as mexl Rasnal.
Dubiepos’ successor, Isarnogutus  was forced to abdicate his power in Perusia to Leux, but managed to make a treaty allowing him to retain control of Sena and the Senone territories held along the Adriatic. This, along with continued influence from the Liburnians and other Illyrian tribes across the waters, is perhaps what Isarnogutus made an official policy of piracy in the Adriatic, and began building ships based off the Illyrian model.
Celtic culture continued to flourish in the region, however written histories are scarce. No major political shifts seemed to have occurred after this until the end of the century.
With tensions running high on Sicily as Syracuse and Carthage continue to vie for control of the island (as they had for hundreds of years, now), the Syracusian polis elected a Corinthian man named Acestorides in 313 B.E. (320 B.C.) and was able to banish the tyrant Agathocles. This was the second time Agathocles was exiled from the city, and it was the second time the Oligarchy was restored.
A year later, Acestorides left, and was replaced by Sostratus. Sostratus, it seamed, was not nearly so strong a leader, and in 310 B.E. he was unable to resist the return of Agathocles, who arrived in Syracuse with a huge army of mercenaries. Agathocles stormed Syracuse, displacing some ten thousand people (either through slaughter or exile). When Agathocles returned, however, he swore to follow the democratic constitution of Syracuse which had been set up for governance of the city.
Over the following five years, Agathocles consolidated his hold over Syracuse and remade the Syracusian army and navy into a force to be reckoned with. He subdued most of the island of Sicily. Using fear to drive his political power, Agathocles continuously warned of the forces looking to seize Syracusian control of Sicily: Carthage, Makedonia, and Safinim, each looking to take away the democratic life that the Greeks of Syracuse enjoyed .
But Agathocles’ expansion and conquest of Sicily, the western tip of which was firmly under Carthaginian control, could not continue to go unchecked. Syracuse declared war on Carthage in 304 B.E. (311 B.C.) when Agathocles attacked and laid siege to the Carthage-controlled city of Akragas, officially breaching the treaty after the Second Sicilian War. In response, the Carthaginian Council of Elders sent Hamilcar, son of Gisco to lead the counter-offensive with an army of 40,000 infantry, 1,000 slingers, and 5,000 cavalrymen to defeat Agathocles. So started the Third Sicilian War.
Hamilcar, son of Gisco, quickly relieved the city of Akragas, and forced Agathocles’ forces to retreat. The Carthaginians soon had the Syracusians on the ropes, defeating Agathocles at the Battle of Himera, and a year later in 303 B.E. (310 B.C.), Hamilcar had seized control of almost the entire island and laid siege to Syracuse itself, with a distraught Agathocles stuck inside.
But Agathocles would not be captured, nor would his city. He had a plan: a wild, insane plan. It was a gamble, but if the gods were on his side, it would work.
Hellas and Makedonia:
War broke out again between Makedonia and the Hellenes in 313 B.E. (320 B.C.) when Sparta, under the leadership of Agis III sent an armada to “liberate” the island of Rhodes. Other Hellenic cities quickly joined the band-wagon, and began sending armies and fleets to take nearby Makedonian held territory that they clamed did not belong to Makedonia (that land of barbarians ruled by their Illyrian queen!!!), but to their polis instead. Athens was quick to seize Euboea, and the Cyclades. The Aetolian League built a fleet with the purpose of taking the Ionian Islands (specifically Ithaka, Lefkada, Kefallonia, and Zakynthos) from the Makedonians. In the meantime, Thessalians, Phocians, and Locrians all sent armies north to push back the Makedonian border.
The War that followed was long and bloody. Makedonia was still recovering from its civil war, and with so many enemies at its farthest frontiers, the kingdom could only really gather troops from Makedonia, Thrace, and the Aegean. An army led by the Makedonian general Demetrios was sent South to relieve the Makedonian city of Phila from the Thessalian army laying siege to it. His army, some 30,000 strong, managed to push back the Thessalians, but Demetrios himself was killed in the battle.
The Makedonians could do almost nothing about losing their holdings in the Ionian Islands. Having lost their holdings along the Adriatic to Illyrians during their civil war (what seemed like a minor detail in the grander scheme of things), they were unable to send a fleet to retake the islands.
What fleets they did have to spare were entangled in naval battles throughout the Aegean. With Athenian and Spartan ships lurking behind every island, the Makedonians could hardly do anything. Sparta held firm control over Crete, and now that Athens controlled Euboea and the Cyclades, the Makedonian navy, under the leadership of Eumenes, was in disarray. Finally, in 311 B.E (318 B.C.), the Spartans and Athenians defeated the Makedonian navy at the Battle of Astypalaia, between the Cyclades and Rhodes.
Agis III annexed the island of Rhodes to the growing Spartan Hegemony the following year. At this point, the Makedonians decided that enough was enough. Philotas, Belakros, and Nikanor (Makedonia’s best generals at the time) each raised massive armies with the intent of finally subduing the Hellene thorn in Makedonia’s side. Nikanor and Belakros marched down the east and west coasts of Hellas respectively. They planned to meet each other and Philotas in Corinth, that is, after Philotas retook Rhodes and dealt a crippling defeat to the Spartan military. However, due to intense tempests, Philotas was forced to delay his expedition. But when he left, the Makedonian navy, in all its grandeur set out to squash its southern enemies.
The three pronged attack had initial success. Thessaly was subdued, and Nikanor was able to defeat the Aetolian League in battle. Philotas was able to oust the Spartans from Rhodes. Philotas then made way to seize Crete, where he was resoundingly defeated. Nikanor was defeated in Doris by a combined army from Aetolia and Locris, and Belakros’s advance into Phocis was gruelingly slow. In 309 B.E. (316 B.C.), little progress had been made. Balakros managed to push through into Attica, where he met stiff resistance and would be holed up for another year. Philotas, his armada crushed, was forced to consolidate in Rhodes, and then return to Pella. Nikanor, likewise, was forced to retreat to Thessaly.
Perhaps jealousy drove Philotas to be so disdainful of Seleukos when he heard of the general’s success in Italia the following year. Regardless of his reasons, however, he made new resolve, and in 308 B.E. (315 B.C.) made a last ditch effort to relieve Belakros’ forces in Attica. Some might say they won the battle, but they certainly lost the war. The combined forced of Belakros and Philotas were able to defeat the Athenian army at Chalcis, but such heavy losses they took, that they were forced to sign a treaty with Athens allowing them control of Euboea and the Cyclades, so long as they paid five year’s tribute in return.
However, the war with Sparta was far from over. In 306 B.E. (313 B.C.) Basilissa Kynane died suddenly in her sleep. Blame was immediately put upon the Spartans, who denied all accusations. Two months later, Agis III died. He was succeeded by his son Ariston II. The two Spartan kings at the time, Cleomenes II and Ariston II both blamed Agis III’s demise on Makedonian assassins. The newly crowned Basileus Philotas was most shocked when he caught word that Spartan ships were raiding his holdings in Palestine, particularly Gaza and Azotus.
The Makedonian governor managed to rebuff the Spartan attacks, but these raids proved only to be the beginning of a long, arduous series of wars between the two nations which would mostly be fought over the seas.
In the meantime, relations with Seleukos and Philotas withered into death. Philotas, claiming that Seleukos was negligent in his duties, tried to replace him with his brother Nikanor. And so, when Seleukos refused to step down, Nikanor was sent over with an army in 304 B.E. (311 B.C.), causing Seleukos to title himself Basileus of Italion. That same year, Nikanor was defeated, captured, and executed.
A year later, in 303 B.E. (310 B.C.) Philotas died of old age. His brief, though eventful reign came to an end, and he was succeeded by his son, Orestes II of Makedonia. Eurydike would serve as regent for the next few years until her son matured to the age of a man. A treaty was signed between Orestes II and Seleukos I, which solidified his control of the Italiote Kingdom.
Pharaoh Mazaces I was, should we say, quite distraught when he heard that a series of rebellions had popped up across Egypt, and, what’s worse, they had crowned a new Pharaoh: some man from Upper Egypt by the name of Nectanebo.
The year was 315 B.E. (322 B.C.), and Mazaces had ruled Egypt in some peace for a decade or so. Well, at least he thought it was peaceful. On the contrary, Libyan barbarians had been raiding from the west, and this Nectanebo fellow , who claimed to be the son of Nectanebo II, the last Egyptian Pharaoh from, well, you know, Egypt, had been gaining some real support in Nubia and Upper Egypt. So what if he was actually able to defend the Egyptian people from Libyan raiders! Mazaces could do that! Couldn’t he?
There was a light rapping on his door.
“Come in,” Mazaces burped.
It was then that the door busted open. Men covered in strange armor stormed into the room, Mazaces’ servant dragged at the head of them, terror scrawled across his face.
“What is this?” Mazaces squealed.
“They’re Greeks, your holiness, your brilliance, your—“ One of the soldiers dispatched the servant with a swift thrust of his spear.
The Greek leader, such a gallant fellow, Mazaces thought, spoke in accented Persian:
“In the name of Nectanebo, Son of the Sun and holder of Both Lands, we claim the city of Memphis.”
“Well, that’s nice,” Mazaces said stupidly just before being thrown out the window.
And so, with the help of a few Greek mercenaries, the 33rd Dynasty came to power, and Nectanebo III began his reign.
One could only imagine what Hamilcar must have thought when he saw the Syracusian ships cutting through the water at full speed towards his blockade. Surely, Agathocles had gone completely mad! The Carthaginian ships outnumbered and out-manned anything that the Tyrant of Syracuse could possibly muster. Now, the real question is: could one even attempt to imagine what Hamilcar must have thought when Agathocles’ ships broke the blockade and continued their route South? Madness, indeed.
Agathoclese landed in Libya  in 303 B.E. (310 B.C.) with an army of some 14,000 men. It was a small army, but a small army that would prove tough for the Carthaginians to defeat. Hamilcar was forced to end his siege of Syracuse and send back most of his army to Libya in order to defend his homeland, which was scrambling to figure out how to deal with this assault. Hamilcar and his army arrived, and with the help of two other Carthaginian generals, Hanno and Hamilcar’s brother Bomilcar, marched to oust Agathocles from their homeland.
Little is known of the details of the battle that followed, but somehow Agathocles’ forces managed to completely overwhelm the Carthaginians. Hanno was slain in the fray, and Hamilcar was captured. Seeing that his fellow commanders were dead and captured respectively, Bomilcar called for a retreat to Carthage.
Agathocles’ army followed, and was soon in front of the high stone walls of Carthage. Try as he might, Agathocles could not break into the city.
On a hot summer day, trumpets sounded, and an ostentatious presentation made its way to the walls of Carthage. The guards and sentries atop the ramparts averted their eyes, and prayed to Ba’al when they saw who Agathocles had dragged in chains in front of the city. Bomilcar himself was quickly called to see his brother.
Beaten, naked, and bound, Hamilcar, son of Gisco, could barely stand. The Greeks had shaved off his beard and had flayed much of the skin off his back. Burns glistened in the hot sun, and the sand in the wind undoubtedly caused a great deal off pain to his already painful wounds. Agathocles prowled around his prisoner like a fat lion, his silver mane billowing in the wind. He shouted up to the ramparts that Carthage needed to learn humility, that the city had grown too big and that it needed to understand that Agathocles, and Agathocles alone would rule Syracuse. As he said this, he took a flail from one of his entourage and began to beat Hamilcar with it. Hamilcar took the beating silently at first, but soon his pride gave out, and he began to scream in agony, agony that, according to legend, was heard even in by the Council of Elders that day, who did nothing in their capitol. Agathocles continued to torture Hamilcar in front of the Carthaginians. He took a knife and began cutting off Hamilcar’s fingers and toes, and then he castrated Hamilcar and threw his bloody testicles into the dust with a demonic howl of anger. He gouged out Hamilcar’s eyes with his bare hands, slashed his knife across Hamilcar’s face. After an entire day of torture, Hamilcar was barely alive when Agathocles gave the command, and a burly Greek stepped forward with a club and smashed Hamilcar’s skull.
Agathocles may have meant to intimidate the Carthaginians with this display, but it only stiffened the city’s resolve, and Agathocles was unable to take the city. Instead, his forces continued North, and seized control of the territories along the coast. For two years, Agathocles harassed Punic forces and raided the Carthaginian coastline.
Bomilcar, the last surviving Carthaginian commander, was elected Malik by the Council of Elders, but was, however, still subservient to them. Piracy, particularly Greek piracy, made it difficult for reinforcements to arrive from Sicily or I-Shfania . It was in this turmoil that Bomilcar, with the assistance of 500 citizens and an army of mercenaries marched on the capitol, planning to re-establish the Carthaginian Malikdom, and forced the Council of Elders to swear fealty to Bomilcar (the opposite of the current relationship).
In the night, they marched with torches and shimmering blades. The Council of Elders gathered a small army, themselves, and attempted to convince Bomilcar’s allies to jump ship, that if they gave up Bomilcar, they would be pardoned. This almost worked, but one citizen of Carthage, Mago, son of Hanno, was quick to point out that it was Bomilcar who fought Agathocles, who saw his comrades die at the hands of the Greeks, not the Council of Elders. Fighting soon broke out and the city streets were filled with the sounds of battle. For hours, the fighting was caught in a brutal stalemate, but as the inhabitants of Carthage came out on the streets to join Bomilcar, who had their support as the lone savior of Carthage, the tide began to turn against the Council of Elders. Bomilcar, atop a grey horse, rode up the capitol and began lopping off the heads of any Elder who would not bow before him.
In the morning, the aristocratic Council of Elders were either dead or groveling at the feet of Bomilcar I, Malik and Judge of Carthage.
A year later, in 300 B.E. (307 B.C.) after consolidating and ensuring his control over Carthage and all Carthage-held lands, Bomilcar I gathered a force to finally oust Agathocles from Libya. Bomilcar crushed Agathocles, who fled back to Syracuse with his tale between his legs. Defeated, Agathocles barely managed to negotiate peace and retained control of the city of Syracuse; however, he lost almost all political control of Sicily to Carthage.
 Gaulish for “Voice of Iron”
 This is complete bullshit considering the fact that Agathocles was a Tyrant, and that Carthage and Safinim both at this time practiced government resembling Republican Democracy.
 The same name of the last Pharaoh of the 30th Dynasty, the last native dynasty, which was deposed by the Persians about twenty years ago.
 The continent of Africa in general was referred to as Libya.
 Spain: Punic for Land of the Hare or possibly Land of the Hyrax
 The Carthaginians were famous for the quality of their horses.
 Suffet, the position often held by Carthaginian military leaders, meant Judge. This is a very similar position to the Biblical Judges of the Israelites.
Chapter Four: The Early Hellenistic Period
Part Eleven: The Part That Takes Place Later, Silly
Aedono sighed as he turned yet another page. The air in the library was dusty and smelled like mold, and as much as he loved the place, he really didn’t want to be there right now. But what else was he going to do, he had to study for, you guessed it, history. But at this point, all of the names and dates were beginning to blurr together. There was something about a Makedonian king getting his head cut off. At least that much stood out.
“Ugh,” he grunted, and slammed his forehead onto the oak desk. He then recoiled, which tends to happen when you slam your face onto a hard surface, with a hiss of pain.
It was then that he heard it. A soft giggling danced into his ears. Aedono looked up, and saw her: a beautiful girl with raven-black hair. She was looking up at him from a book entitled: The Culinary Traditions of Winedovrikag . Aedono smiled back at her, but them—Oh no… OH NO!
She was walking towards him.
Aedono went about making sure his breath didn’t smell bad, that his hair had been washed, that… Oh no, he forgot to put on cologne! Fuck, she is going to think he is such a loser…
“What’re you reading there?” She asked. She had an accent Aedono could not quite place, but he was halfway certain she was Isevanyan , and if that were true, Aedono was either the luckiest or most unfortunate man on the face of the earth.
“I’m just studying for a class I’m taking on Antiquity,” Aedono managed to say.
“That sounds interesting,” she said, her tongue rolling off the tip of her lips every time she made a lambda sound. 
“Only after the first few hours of it.”
That made her laugh, and what a laugh it was. If sound could produce light, Aedono was almost positive her laugh could:
“Well I was just studying some, er, exotic cooking practices,” She said, tapping the cover to the book now resting in her arms. “My name is Naomiash.”
She placed her well-manicured fingers delicately on Aedono’s wrist.
“Aedono,” He said, reciprocating the action.
“That name,” Naomiash said, “That is not a Tuscoian name, is it?”
“No,” Aedono said. He could feel his heart rate move faster. It was moments like this when he would silently curse the land of his fathers for birthing him.
“Oh,” She said, delighted, “So you, too, are a student from afar.”
Damn, it was cute to watch her struggle with the language, he couldn’t help but think.
“But you have no accent! Your Tuscoian is beautiful!”
“Thanks,” he blushed a little bit.
“Well, er, I have to go, but it was nice meeting you,” Naomiash said. “I would like to see you again.”
“Yeah, me too.”
She began to walk away. Aedono couldn’t help but stare at her, the way her purple and blue cotton dress flowed over her body, the way if he imagined just right, you could see her figure unveiled and the shape of her plump… Oh what the hell!
“Hey,” Aedono said. She turned around, her black hair wafting the scent of her perfume his way. Not fair, he thought. “I have to finish my studies, but you want to have dinner tonight?”
She smiled in a crooked way that made her look a little mischievous, the smile one might see on a nymph. “Alright, sure. I am staying at the inn down the street, meet me there.”
“Great,” Aedono said, with maybe a bit too much of a sigh. His nerves were getting the best of him.
“I’ll see you tonight.”
Then she was gone. Aedono looked down. It was a damn good thing he had a desk in front of him the whole time…
 A girl reading a cookbook about a far off cuisine no one here could guess is from!?!? What is this tomfoolery! (By the way, Winedovrikag is a place located in what is OTL Maine and is inhabited by a people who are known as the Winedo, which sounds like Veneti. BUT WHICH VENETI?!?!?!)
 Derived from the Punic Ishfania, which was their name for Hispania.
 Lambda, for those who don’t know, is the Greek letter L, and also, for those who noticed that she has yet to make that sound, remember, they aren’t really speaking English.
The Weighted Scales: A World of an Aborted Rome
Apparently it's the best Ancient TL of 2011. Oh Baby!
Last edited by Errnge; July 31st, 2012 at 06:59 PM..
The Weighted Scales: The World of an Aborted Rome
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part One: The Not-Makedonian Greeks
Though things might have looked bad for Agathocles and his realm in Syracuse after his long and drawn out war with Carthage, things actually weren’t that bad, all things considered. Because of his daring and violent invasion of the Carthaginian coast, he had not only caused political tumult across the sea, but he had also shown the world that he, Agathocles, who now took on the title of King of Sicily (although he ruled only a small area of the island) was a man with whom to be reckoned. Though times proved to be tough, Agathocles was a respected ruler. The two sons he had from his first wife, Archagathus and Agathocles, were murdered in 300 B.E. (307 B.C.). From his second wife, he had a single daughter named Lanassa, his only surviving child . Looking for allies, and as well as an heir to his throne, he married her to into the royal family of Sicily’s closest Greek neighbor, the Seleukid Dynasty of Italion in 287 B.E. (294 B.C.).
Seleukus’ son and heir, Antiochos  was a strong military man born of Makedonian stock. He was respected in his father’s kingdom for repelling multiple attacks from the barbarian Samnites to the north. Some speculate that it was by his behest that Agathocles was poisoned four years later, while others insist it happened from a fever in 283 B.E (290 B.C.). These rumors sparked a brief resistance to Antiochos’ rule there. For a few months, Syracusian democracy was restored, but with the help of his father’s army, Antiochos was able to enforce his rule of Syracuse, officially joining the territories of Syracuse with that of the Basileus ton Italion. Antiochos was the King of Sicily (as styled by Agathocles before him), and would inherit the kingdom of Italion after his father died.
Meanwhile, across the Adriatic in the Kingdom of Epiros, the past thirty years had been relatively stable after the death of their great king Alexandros I. For years, his wife Kleopatra ruled as Queen Regent until their son Neoptolemos came to age. But though Epiros was stable, it was not without its complications during this period. While Kleopatra ruled, she was in constant worry about the exiled King Arybbas of Epiros, who had co-ruled with her late husband until 336 B.E. (343 B.C.) when Philip II of Makedonia exiled him and made Alexandros I the sole ruler. In the meantime, Arybbas had been living in Hellas. After Alexandros I was slain in battle with the Italian barbarians, to ease the dynastic tensions, the co-kingship was re-established, and Arybbas’ son Aiakides ruled (presumably alongside Neoptolemos and Kleopatra). Kleopatra was integral in bringing about the Epirote assistance of Kynane I of Makedonia’s claim to the throne during the Makedonian civil war.
Aiakides bore an heir named Pyrros in 312 B.E. (319 B.C.) . Pyrros has actually been a potential husband to Agathocles’ daughter Larassa . The looming threat with Arybbas was again completely snuffed out when Arybbas got himself killed while fighting against the Makedonians the First Hellenic War in which he had been a commander in the Thessalian army.
Speaking of the Hellenes, the Spartan king Ariston II sent a fleet to Kyrene in 285 B.E. (292 B.C.) after receiving a plead for assistance from the Kryenian Republic against an Egyptian invasion ordered by the newly crowned Nectanebo III. Well, upon his arrival, he did repel a somewhat small invasive force from Egypt, but then asserted that Kyrene was officially under the protection of Sparta, and thus all but nominally made the region part of the revived Spartan power. Back in Hellas, there was growing concern, even amongst Sparta’s allies about this sudden upswing in Spartan influence, but they dared not turn on their Laconic brethren and expose a possible weakness for Basileus ton Basilion Orestes II of Makedonia to exploit… well, that is, while he still had the power to do so.
 OTL, Agathocles had two more children from a third wife, who was of the Ptolemy dynasty. With no such dynasty, there was no such marriage, and no such children.
 Not the Antiochus from OTL. Antiochus of OTL had a Persian mother, whereas this one has a Macedonian mother (Seleucus was never in Persia ITTL). He would likely retain the same name because Antiochus was, in turn, the name of Seleucus’ father.
 Without Cassander’s meddling in the nation, Epirote dynastic succession is significantly less confusing that OTL. Aeacides isn’t driven out with his baby boy Pyrrhus, who was also banished during his reign by Cassander, during which time Neoptolemus II of Epirus ruled as a Macedonian puppet for five years until Pyrrhus had him murdered. All the while, OTL, random members of the Molossian clan seem to have taken power, and have power taken away from them, only to show back up with an army and retake power again… Yeah, all of that was avoided with an earlier death of Cassander and even more so by an earlier death of Alexander.
 OTL, the two were actually briefly married. The Greek political world just seems like such a small place sometimes.
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Two: The Sons of War
As we all should know, history does not occur in a vacuum. Every cause has an affect, and with the rise and fall of King Agathocles of Sicily came a wildcard to the game being played over the island of Sicily.
Hired as mercenaries by Agathocles to fight against the Carthaginians, a group of Campevan Samnite  warriors sailed south to a new land filled with opportunity. These Italian warriors, after having fought loyally in Agathocles’ war against Carthage, were distinguished for their courage and ruthlessness in battle. When the war was over, like many of Agathocles’ mercenaries, they were recalled to Sicily, where they opted to stay, as opposed to returning home. It seems they found something very appealing about staying on a new, warm, beautiful island filled with adventure and opportunity. It almost sounds novel-esque.
Well, after the war, Carthage had gained control of most of the island, including the valuable port city of Messana. Sicily seemed at peace, and the Sicilian peoples were certainly very welcoming to the mercenaries. Messana opened their gates to the mercenaries, who were aloud to live there peacefully in the houses of the city’s inhabitants. Of course, for men who lived by the sword, this simply wasn’t enough.
It was a warm night in 281 B.E. (288 B.C.) when the mercenaries’ plan unfolded. They all waited for their hosts to quietly fall to sleep in their beds, and killed them in their slumber. Surely the screams and cries of women in the night alerted those men of the city still alive of the treachery within their walls. But by that point, the Italians had taken to the streets, and set out killing every Greek man they laid eyes on. Bathing in the blood of men who had supposed their friendship, this rag-tag band of Campevan Samnite warriors named themselves the Mamertines: the Sons of Mamers .
Securing the city, the Mamertines then divided up the loot, land, and women between them. Those men left alive were driven from the city. How the Mamertines governed the city under their first generation of dominion, but whatever they did, they managed to transform the once peaceful merchant town into a haven for piracy.
The Mamertines scourged the island of Sicily, raiding surrounding cities, and exacting tribute from cities as far away as Gela on the other side of Sicily. They came to directly control a dominion along the northern coastline, seizing several Greek cities by 273 B.E. (280 B.C.) when a group of related Italian mercenaries revolted in Rhegion. Antiochus I of Syracuse, Basileus of Sicily and Italion, had quite enough, and attempted to quell these pesky Italian mercenaries who were causing a particular amount of trouble for him (much of the lands they raided were his dominions in either Sicily or Magna Graecia). He sent an army to squash them, like the spiders he doubtlessly saw them as, but twice his armies were defeated, first at Naxos by the Mamertines, and again outside Rhegion. Thus, the Strait of Messana, once the most prosperous trade route in the West Mediterranean became the most dangerous stretch of water in the Hellenic world. Something needed to be done, that much was for sure—But things were only going to get worse over the next few years.
In the past, Sicily had mostly been a struggle between Syracuse and her Greek allies against Carthage and the cities allied to her, but now in the North of Sicily, a pirate nation had carved itself out in one of the most travelled trade routes in the ancient world.
Hard times, hard times…
 Samnites who haled from their territory in Campania. They were likely just a group of native Oscan Campanians, similar to OTL, but with Samnite domination of the region having been secured for about 50 years, they would likely have identified somewhat with the Samnites, and surely some of their numbers were authentic Samnites.
 The Oscan version of the god Mars, god of war in the Italian pantheon.
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Three: The Last Achaemenid
Parsa: 292 B.E. (299 B.C.)
Xerxes III slammed his fist on the arm of his throne. His fingers were curled so tight, he could feel the skin in his palm give way, and red droplets of blood began to trickle from his hands. His brow was knit and his face was grim.
“King of kings!” His body guard, a man named Ezrezraspa said, “You must leave! They are at our gates. If you do not leave, they will mount your head on a spike!”
“I will not run from these rebels,” Xerxes III snarled. “I am the King of Kings, descended from Ahura Mazda. I am the one true ruler of the world!”
Ezrezraspa looked at his liege disbelievingly, “My lord—“
The bodyguard fell silent. He could hear the shouts and screams grow closer as the invading army came closer towards the palace. These were no rebels as Xerxes so blindly believed; these were an invading army of Medians, come to reclaim their ancient claim to power. Ezrezraspa scratched his beard nervously.
“Bring me my arms,” Xerxes growled. “I will show them my glory and power.”
“Do not dare question me!” Xerxes shouted so loudly, Ezrezraspa almost couldn’t hear the approaching Medians. “Bring me my sword.”
It took Ezrezraspa a moment to regain his composure. Surely the King of Kings had gone mad! But he did as he was told nonetheless. He brought a curved sword that had been hanging on the wall, and presented it to Xerxes. Its hilt was golden and covered in jewels, wrought in the shape of a lion’s head, the steel blade projected from its mouth like a tongue.
The drums beat louder with each moment, and soon Ezrezraspa could distinguish individual voices from the mob. The palace shook when they broke in. The trophies and riches hanging upon the walls made a clatter, some of them even fell from their hanging places.
“Today, my friend, we will die together with honor and glory!” Xerxes stood up, his sword held in his bloodied hands and walked past the dumbfounded bodyguard. “They will sing songs of us, of how many of the enemy we brought low! With the sheen of our steel, we will remind them of the divine power of the Line of Achaemenes!”
Ezrezraspa gulped down the spit accumulating in his mouth. As poetic as all that sounded, he was not exactly a fan of dying.
Down the hall he could hear his comrades. Some charged futilly before howling in agony as they were slaughtered. Others could be heard screaming in fear, their footsteps echoing ever so louder as they ran before being felled like a fleeing gazelle from the hunter.
Xerxes looked back at his bodyguard, his green eyes shimmering. He was actually happy to be standing by his friend in his last moments. Xerxes was young, but he felt at that moment that he had lived enough, that this would be a good death.
That was when the door began to shutter, and hoots and hollars could be heard on the other side. The Medians were breaking down the door.
Ezrezraspa really didn’t want to die: No, not today.
He drew his sword.
“That’s right,” Xerxes said, “Join me in battle once more, Ezrezraspa.”
“You’ve never seen a real day of battle in your life.”
“What! We both know that isn’t true.”
“Maybe if you had, we wouldn’t be caught like a trapped fox while the hounds close in on us.”
“You dare to—“
The door began to creak. They would break in any moment now.
“Yes, I dare.”
Xerxes could hardly react before Ezrezraspa had pushed him to the floor and kicked his disgustingly ornate excuse for a weapon out of his hands. Ezrezraspa pointed his blade at Xerxes’ neck, and said:
“One of us will survive this day.”
Xerxes kicked out, and heard a crisp snap from his bodyguards ankle. He let out a yelp of pain. Xerxes stood up quickly, and landed an elbow to his bodyguard’s nose. Ezrezraspa dropped his sword, and grabbed his face in recoil. Xerxes was quick to retrieve the weapon. He grabbed Ezrezraspa by his collar, and threw the man to the ground. Xerxes placed a foot over Ezrezraspa’s chest and replied:
“If that is your wish.”
With that, he swept his blade across Ezrezraspa’s neck, leaving a massive crevace which soon welled up with blood, and spilt out onto the marble floor like a spring. The blood came out in pulses, some even shot up and splattered the king’s face with his own fluids, but with each moment, less and less jetted out. Ezrezraspa’s eyes glazed over, and he died choking on his own blood.
The door burst open, and Median spearmen flooded into the room, shouting and covered in gore, but they all halted at the sight before them. A Median man dressed in fine steel armor stepped forward, and took off his helmet. His armor gave away his rank as an officer and as nobility, contrasting with the simple tunics most of his men wore.
“My name is Ezrezraspa,” Xerxes said. “The King of Kings is dead.”
Medes just took over Persia. TAKE THAT!
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Four: The King of Kings, And the Son of the Gods
Men-nefer: 291 B.E. (298 B.C.) 
There were a lot of things Basileus ton Basilion Orestes II did not like how things were panning out in the world at large. He could feel it in his bones. Though he was still young (only 24 years of age), he was a competent leader, and his people respected him, which was more than could be said of his father. After receiving the throne, his mother Eurydike managed to keep the peace, but things were beginning to get messy, and it was about time Makedonia had a strong ruler again. Orestes managed to placate, and even curb some of the power of the “satraps” in Anatolia and Syria by dividing up their lands into smaller administrative regions, but also by placing more garrisons on the frontier. He undid at least some of the damage his father did with the Italiotes, still ruled by Seleukus, and even won over a few of the Hellene city-states through simple diplomacy no less. As it would turn out, trade agreements were often times more affective than battle. But things weren’t as great as they would seem. Yes, Orestes II had managed to undo some of the damage done by his incompetent father, but there were some things well out of his control. That was why he had arrived in person to speak with the Pharaoh of Kemet Nectanebo III.
Kemet  was indeed as wondrous as all the stories made it out to be, but there were some unnerving things about it. No, not the culture: Orestes was well aware that exotic places did exotic things. What disturbed him, rather, were the more familiar things about Kemet, specifically the members of the Pharaoh’s guard who were sent to receive him.
Orestes II was not the only one who was shocked at their arrival. His own guards stuttered in confusion, and Orestes’ younger brother Pausanias blurted stupidly, “Those aren’t Libyans at all!”
Indeed, they weren’t. The six men sent to receive Orestes II and his entourage arrived bedecked in the finest Hellenic armor seen outside Makedonia, each man bearing massive round shields made of bronze and high-crested Corinthian helmets. They were old-fashioned, yes, (something Orestes’ grandfather would have worn, perhaps) but of superb quality. But these were no mere costumes, for the men who wore them had fairer complexions that the people of Kemet, wore thick beards, and spoke perfect, unaccented Koine. These men were Hellenes.
While Pausanias blathered on about how great he thought it was that even the Pharaoh could recognize the skill and worth of the Hellenes, Orestes II was disturbed. What was Nectanebo doing by seemingly exclusively placing Hellenic men in his personal guard? How did they get hear, and in what number? Something strange was afoot.
From the ship, they stepped onto the dock on the shores of the Nile. They were escorted through, no doubt, the finest and most beautiful monuments of Memphis. Huge pillars rose into the sky with mysterious symbols engraved onto their faces. Statues of gods towered over them with heads, both animal and human, larger than even some of the ships that sailed past along the river. Bright, exotic trees lumbered over them. It took quite some effort for Orestes to keep himself from continuously gazing upward. He was the King of Kings, after all, and needed to act like it. While impressive, these ancient monuments could not intimidate him.
In the halls of the Pharaoh, incense and perfume filled the air sweetly. Dark-skinned musicians played in the corner upon some strange stringed instrument and drums made from goatskins. The Pharaoh sat upon his throne, watching them march closer. He was dressed in fine white linens, gold plates, and covered in jewels. Some kind of pigment was put on his face to cover any imperfections, and a black past put around his eyes. It made him look how he wanted to look, like a god. Orestes II knew there would be some ritual accompanied by their approach, but he had to be patient. His meeting with Nectanebo III was of the utmost importance.
As Orestes predicted, there was indeed a ritual. Oil was placed over the heads of the Pharaoh’s visitors, the servants and priests sang some chant in their language, and still there was more. Hours passed before Orestes was aloud to approach Nectanebo III.
Finally, Orestes was aloud to speak to the Pharaoh.
“Son of the Sun and Holder of Both Lands, Pharaoh Nectanebo, third of that name, I, Basileus ton Basilion Orestes, second of that name, come to you from my home across the sea in peace to hold some converse with you. The peoples of this world are moving around us, and it is we, the holders of the light of civilization, who must be sure to keep peace.”
One of Nectanebo’s guards translated flawlessly.
Nectanebo looked to be serene as his translator spoke, but something flashed in his eyes, and Orestes knew it was concern. He knew of what Orestes spoke. The Pharaoh then spoke, and the guard translated it back to Koine:
“May we withdraw to a more private enclosure of the Pharaoh? His Brilliance understands that this is a subject as sensitive as the surface of the water, and there are many ears about that might betray this conversation.”
Orestes gave his approval, and they withdrew to a room behind the hall.
As soon as they left the hall, Nectanebo let out a sigh of exasperation, and handed his scepter to his guard, chattering something in his tongue. His guard nodded, and left the room, only to return shortly thereafter with some wine. Nectanebo chirped something, and the guard poored the wine into some chalices wrought from gold. He sipped from each cup before handing one to the Pharaoh and another to the Basileus.
Nectanebo, after taking a gulp of wine, wiped his mouth, and looked at Orestes as if seeing him truly for the first time. He began to speek, and his guard translated:
“Word has reached our ears of the end of Xerxes III, how his bodyguard betrayed him only just before the barbarians of Medes burst into his chambers. While this does mean the end of an ancient enemy for the both of us, we fear this could be the birth of another.”
“Medes concerns me as well,” Orestes said, “But not so much as what has been going on in Babylon. Their king has just died, and his son, their new king Eiran , the first of his name, has begun to expand his realm already. His armies have been seen moving into Armenia and Arabia as well as Elam. But more than this, barbarians have been on the move lately. To the north, Keltoi have begun to raid further and further south towards our realm, and Scythians have been seen amassing huge armies north of Media.”
“The barbarians south of our land have, too, been restless of late. We fear an invasion from all sides.”
“I have a sister named Europa,” Orestes said. “She may be yours to marry, or marry one of your sons if you agree to my proposal. That should either of us face invasion or attack, that we shall receive the aid of 10,000 soldiers and a formal alliance of Kemet and Makedonia.”
Nectanebo thought, but Orestes knew he would agree. If the Babylonians or Medians invaded Makedonian held Palestine, they would waste no time to invade Egypt. But though Orestes feared them, he didn’t expect their attack so much as he did from the shadowy cold wastelands to the north.
And that was why he needed Nectanebo III to help him.
 Memphis was called Men-nefer in this period, a name that means “enduring and beautiful”. The city was also known as Hut-ka-Ptah, which means “Enclosure of Ptah’s Soul” or “Enclosure of the ka of Ptah”. The Greeks corrupted both into Memphis and Aigyptos respectively.
 Kemet is what the Egyptians referred to their own land as.
 An Aramaic name, the common language of Babylonia, means “vigilant”.
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Five: On The Edge of the World
Little is known of the ancient history of India . We know that the region had very complex civilizations, traditions, and cultures. We know that they once had a massive chronicle of their ancient past which is now lost to us, likely destroyed in the great burnings of the Great Nomad Invasions. However, some lucky pieces have been discovered, surviving in caves and in the ruins of ancient fortresses. What can be gathered, before Persian and Hellene sources began commenting on the happenings of the region, comes from the histories of Tamilgam  to the South. What we know is that the massive region has a history of being divided and warlike, rich and ostentatious, and a great meeting place of cultures. The Persians under Darius I managed to conquer the Indos River Valley, however, they lost control of it before their downfall. From the eastern banks of the Ganges River in a region called Magadha rose the first empire the region would see under the leadership of the Nanda dynasty. The Nanda Empire spread from the Bay of Bengal in the East to the Indos River in the West, encompassing almost all of India  by 322 B.E. (329B.C.).
The Nanda Empire, sometimes called the Magadha Empire, ruled with a massive army, the likes of which could not be mustered by any kingdom in the West. Persian and Median chroniclers claim that at full force, the Nanda could gather a force of over 200,000 men, with some claiming 100,000 more. The Nandas ruled for almost a century and a half before their massive kingdom crumbled beneath them.
And how this happened was of great interest to the commentators to the West.
When the Persian Empire crumbled after the Makedonian War, a cruel king named Dhana Nanda ruled the Magadha Empire from 322 B.E. (329 B.C.) to 309 B.E. (316 B.C.). During his reign, several rebellions were put down brutally, especially in the western parts of his realm. Taxation was heavy, and it was not uncommon under his rule for entire regions to suffer famine despite being prosperous and lush. When he finally died, the people of India gasped a sigh of relief, and hoped that his successor would prove kinder. Unfortunately, his son Dashanaka Nanda was even worse. Uprising after uprising was put down viciously, often with entire villages slaughtered and killed down to the last infant.
In 295 B.E. (302 B.C.), Dashanaka Nanda made a move to expand his realm further west into the Land of Five Waters , which resulted in a long, drawn-out, and bloody war. Dashanaka managed to make some advances, but despite his superior forces, he was unable to conquer the entire region. Among the peoples and kingdoms holding out against the Nanda advance were the kingdoms of Mourya, Taksasila, Paurava, and the Asvakas. The war seemed to be caught in a stalemate, and then in 290 B.E. (297 B.C.), a man from the West arrived in the court of the old king Ambhik in Taksasila  with a host of Asvaka horsemen. He was a Persian, and he called himself Xerxes.
It would turn out that the former King of Kings, after his escape from the Medians, made his way East to the rich lands there at the edge of what used to be the great country ruled by his ancestors. Word spread like wildfire of his escape and journey, how he lied to the Medians as they broke into his chambers that he was but a guard, and had killed his guard to convince the Medians that the king was dead, how he snuck out of the country in the night disguised as a merchant, and travelled through the rich lands of Vaktrianistan  and crossed the mountains into India and made friends with the chieftains of the Asvakas. He was thus given 100 Asvaka horsemen to accompany him even further east. To prove his royalty, he presented his ring, which had upon it the seal of the Achaemenids, the standard of Cyrus the Great. He was thus received into the court of Taksasila with open arms and as a guest.
Xerxes became an important figure in the resistance against the Nanda, becoming a high-ranking general, and became friends with the Mourya king Chandragupta. The coalition of resisting kingdoms, however, was led by the king of Paurava, Parveteshwara , who was the oldest and wisest of the kings, as well as the leader of the largest army. But it was Xerxes, apparently, who convinced Parveteshwara to make this defensive war offensive, noting the poor moral and willingness to retreat that plagued the Nanda armies. If they moved across the Beas River, surely the Nanda interior would crumble. It turned out Xerxes was speaking from some experience, and he was correct.
In 288 B.E. (295 B.C.), Parveteshwara and his coalition of kings along the Indos River marched into Nanda territory, and effectively defeated the Nanda army (after a Nanda mutiny) at the Battle of Avanti after the native king defected from the Nanda and swore fealty to Parveteshwara. It was after this battle that Dashaka Nanda was assassinated by his general Bhadrasala, who then usurped the throne, and became the ruler of what was left of the Magadha Empire, founding a new Dynasty after himself. It seemed that victory was in grasp for Parveteshwara and his allies when it all fell apart.
Ambhi, who was almost as old as Parveteshwara, made an attempt on his life. His ambitions are vague, and it is known that the two kings had an old rivalry from their youth, but little else is known as to why Ambhi tried to kill his ally. Regardless, Ambhi’s assassination attempt backfired, and he was captured and killed. Parveteshwara grew paranoid after this, and sent armies to invade not only Taksasila, but also Mourya, and tried to arrest Xerxes, who he believed to be in conspiracy with Ambhi. After all, it was Ambhi who had introduced the Persian to them all.
Chandragupta, a deeply religious king, knew Paurava would overrun his small kingdom of Mourya; so, he instead offered exile in exchange for the safety and wellbeing of his people. Mourya was thusly integrated into Paurava, and Chandragupta went south to live the rest of his days as a Buddhist monk, where he disappeared into obscurity. But obscurity was not for Xerxes.
He and his one-hundred Asvakas cavalrymen made for their homeland amongst the Kamboja to the West, or at least that was their intention, but they were surrounded by Parveteshwara’s forces on the west bank of the Indos River, and a brief skirmish broke out. Xerxes and seven of his horsemen escaped, while the rest fought to the last man to save their leader. Xerxes returned to the mountainous homeland of his men in Kamboja, just south of Vaktrianistan in 287 B.E. (394 B.C.).
But this was not the last the world would hear of Xerxes III, the last king of Persia. This was ensured when he and his men joined a caravan of merchants on their way to the Mediterranean where their Eastern goods were in high demand. Xerxes was on his was to Makedonia, the land that had ultimately brought about the demise of his lineage.
 OTL, we actually know a lot about Ancient India.
 As explained later, Northern and Southern India never unified ITTL, so the Tamil Dynasties remained independent and uninfluenced by the peoples of Northern India. ITTL, the region they live in is known as Tamilgam, derived from Tamilakam (Tamil Home-Country).
 India ITTL is only what we know as northern India, or the area encompassing and between the Indus and Ganges Rivers. Without the Mauryan Empire to unify the whole sub-continent, there is a massive cultural divide between the Dravidian south and the Indian north, thus, what we know as southern India is not considered to be a part of India. This also resulted in the South never adopting Buddhism.
 The Punjab
 Taxiles, one of the Indian kings who allied himself with Alexander the Great on his conquest of the Punjab.
 We know this king in the West as Porus
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Six: Playing Catch-Up
War broke out between the Kingdom of Medes and the remnants of the Persian Empire in 293 B.E. (300 B.C.) when the Median King Cyaxares II (the head of the Cadusii tribe, the elite clan of Medes who had actually led the revolt of the Median Satrapy) moved his armies south towards Elam with the intention of seizing the ancient city of Susa. The Median elites specialized as light spearmen, and had previously proved integral to Persian military campaigns. However, without them, the fractured and corrupt Persian military could do little to hold back the invaders.
Xerxes III himself fought in battle against the Medes, who held superior numbers and superior leadership. Even some Persians defected to fight alongside the Median horde, and it took only a year for the Medians to move into Persia proper and lay siege to the capital of Parsa. It is widely believed that Xerxes III lost his empire mainly due to his youth and inexperience at the time. Most historians site a marked difference in his tactical ability in the annals discussing the fall of Persia and Xerxes’ later campaigns.
While war was erupting in India, tensions grew in the Eastern Mediterranean. While the surprisingly capable Orestes II of Makedonia was able to ease some of the simering anger between states, he was only forestalling the inevitable. Breaking tradition, he personally led an envoy to Egypt to solidify an alliance with the Pharaoh. This brought some security to the Makedonian held Levant, which the Babylonians were eying hungrily.
Meanwhile, in the Peloponese, the dual kings of Sparta, Ariston II (Eurypontid) and Areus I (Agiad) were continuing to make matters difficult for Makedonia. Areus I led 2000 men across the Aegean to, again, attempt to seize Rhodes in 294 B.E (301 B.C.). In the meantime, Ariston II began rallying his fellow Hellenic states (those that were still left, that is) for another pan-Hellenic War against the barbarian Makedonians who still had their foot placed over the neck of Hellas! Makedonians were even in control of Italion and Syracuse, surely this could not stand.
It seemed another war was about to erupt in Greece, but Orestes II managed to diffuse even this. After the Satrap of Lydia repelled Areus from Rhodes, Orestes set on a campaign to win over the Hellenes through gifts, marriages, treatises, and a little propaganda, portraying the Babylonians as the true barbarians, who wish to attack Greeks settled in the Levant, to rape their women and enslave their children. Orestes wisely forgot to mention that the Levant was one of the least colonized areas of the Makedonian realm with only a few thousand Greeks living there. Most Hellenization had occurred further North in Anatolia, where only in the hinterlands and mountainous inlands did people still speak Phrygian, and possibly some remnants of the Hittite languages.
But Orestes II used a much harder hand on his relatives in Epiros. The dual kings there, Neoptolemos and Pyrros had been waging a series of wars with the Illyrians to their north, expanding their realm. Orestes II, disliking the prospect of bringing war to the region insisted (and by insisted, I mean threatened to destroy their kingdom) that the Epirotes cease their northward expansion. Begrudgingly, they obliged. It is believed to be around this time that Pyrros began buying elephants from Syria and Egypt, bred them, and adding them into his army, becoming the first European nation to use elephants in its military. 
Across the sea, on the Carthaginian coastline, Malik Bomilcar I had made the wise decision to win over the allegiance of the Numidian tribes at his back. The relationship thusfar between the Numidians and the Carthaginians had been mutually beneficial with Carthage receiving some of the finest cavalry the world had seen, and the Numidians becoming part of a very lucrative trade system in the Western Mediterrnean in which the Carthaginian were central. However, Bomilcar needed to be sure that they would recognize him, and not any senatorial sympathizers, as allies.
In Italia, Leux II, King of the Kingdom of Senonia (not to be confused with Sena along the Adriatic) began to feel the heat from the tribes to his north. The Celts living in the Padus River Valley  had grown restless, and with the leadership of the large Boii and Insubres, they began to raid the frontiers of the Seno-Etruscan heartland. It seems Leux II was able to hold them off with the help of some Ligurian allies. Little else is known about their war.
However, the Samnites began to undergo some internal changes. With the infiltration of more and more Greek influence, the Samnites began to build cities along their coastlines. Prominent among these was Hurz Maimas , which they built along the Campevan coastline, not far away from Neapolis, and Leiguss Amvianud , which started out as a fortress in near the border with the Italiotes, but due to its location in an important mountain pass in the Appenines, became a thriving little city in the mountains. Their current Meddix Pomptis Egnatius began making preliminary raids from Leiguss Amvianud in 290 B.E. (297 B.C.) into Italiote lands, but there were no major conquests… yet. Seleukos, growing tired of the increasingly powerful Samnites to his north, sent an army of 10,000 to face them. They marched into the Appenines, aiming to capture the Samnite capital of Beneventum. Three months later, ten Greek slaves returned to Taras. Their backs were riddled with wounds from whips and flogs, but what they pulled in carts behind each of them was more horrifying. In each cart were one-hundred heads, their beards cut off and their eyes and tongues cut out. The slaves told a horrible story of an ambush, how all of the Greeks and Makedonians slaughtered, and that they were told to return to Taras with a message that was clear as day: Do not risk war with the Samnites.
It was in the midst of all of this, in 286 B.E. (293 B.C.) that a man arrived in Pellas seeking refuge in Makedonia. He was accompanied by a small contingent of exotic bodyguards, and clothed in riches from the orient, telling wild tales of his travels. He called himself Xerxes, and he wished to hold audience with Orestes II.
 At the time, the only Mediterranean power known to have used elephants in warfare was the Persian Empire. Presumably, there were some in the Macedonian Empire ITTL, but there is little evidence for it before this time. Carthage did not adopt war-elephants until after 280 B.C. OTL.
 The Po River Valley
 Oscan for “Largest Fenced in Land”
 Oscan for “Border Legion”
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Seven: Important People
The cities of Makedonia were grand, indeed, fattened by the wealth of the Eastern Mediterranean. Xerxes and what was left of his bodyguard were by no means as impressed by them as they were by the massive wealth of India, but impressed they were nonetheless. The land, the people, and the cities: they were all too different to really compare.
“The people here dress very strangely,” Leippada, the captain of the Asvaka, said, noting the vanity of the Makedonians, how the men and women of great fitness wore next to nothing.
“They likely think the same thing about us, Leippada.” Xerxes had to tread carefully here. In the court of Pellas, with its riches and ostentation, was only a veneer of civilization. Every guard, lined across the walls, had a sharp eye peering beneath the shade of their Phrygian helmets on Xerxes and his company. Their hands were held firmly on their spears, and Xerxes knew that one false move would result in an untimely death.
At the head of the hall, sat Basileus Orestes II, drinking wine and speaking loudly for all to hear. Before him stood a woman with golden hair and bright eyes, something extremely rare in even this part of the world, and a cloaked man of slight stature. The woman, beneath her golden locks, wore a golden torque around her snow-white neck. The man, bearded and grey, had a bronze ring placed on his brow and around his head. They were accompanied by a small company of huge men that towered over even the greatest of Orestes’ guard wearing breaches and had blue markings tattooed onto their skin. They were barbarians, Xerxes knew, from the North, but he had only heard tell of men like this.
“My friends, Iouinaballa and Pennodocos, I understand your plight, but the Basileus ton Basileon does not bow to the threats of barbarians!”  Orestes, though young, exuded a kind of power that forced his listeners to respect him. Xerxes could see just by how the barbarians shifted their weight that it angered them. A capable statesman, apparently, was not what they were expecting. “Now, please, accept my gifts of wine and feast. We will discuss this further another time. I have other guests here who desire my attention.”
There was a moment of tension. The barbarians murmured between each other in low growls. Finally, the woman, Iouinaballa spoke in a thickly accented attempt at Koine:
“You believe yourself a man of greatness, and your wine and men would suggest this is truth. But I… I sense a silent tumult. When next I walk upon this land, we will see your greatness.”
She then turned on her heel, her golden hair twirling like a scourge, and the barbarians followed her out of the hall. Her blue eyes could have turned red; they burned so angrily. Amidst the murmurs and gasps of the surrounding Makedonian nobility, the barbarians exited, led by the blond woman. Xerxes had only known women like that in one place, and that was in Kamboja, the home of his Asvaka guards. He was unsurprised to see that their eyes followed her as she left, filled with both respect and lust.
Xerxes turned his attention back to Orestes, who was whispering something in the ear of a man close to his age. The man nodded, Orestes smiled, and the man left. Orestes’ gaze lingered on the man as he left longer than Xerxes would expect, but then he remembered the kinds of men who inhabited this land. Finally, the young Basileus turned his attention to Xerxes:
“Ah, Xerxes, fellow King of Kings, it makes me glad to see you here, safe in my halls. The air is absolutely abuzz with stories of the escaped King of Persia and his adventures in far off barbarian lands. Cyaxares and Eiran will be distraught to learn that you are now housed by Makedonia!”
There was some laughter in the hall, as if Xerxes wasn’t the most accomplished military man in the room.
“But I embrace you as a friend! Have some wine, have some women, and celebrate the Bromian revelry!”
Xerxes gave his thanks, accepted a skin of wine, and reveled and made merry. But in his heart, he knew as he watched Orestes gargle the juice of the vine that this would be the last night the Basileus would.
In the chambers allowed to Xerxes, he sharpened his blade, contemplating his plan. His men would die to the last to ensure his escape, but Xerxes clearly would prefer for their survival. Leippada had kept them awake, so that they would be ready to escape when the moment was right. Xerxes stared at his sword long and hard, and finally collected his resolve. He stood up, and made for the door.
It was then that, to Xerxes’ great surprise, the door burst open. Xerxes made ready to kill anyone in his path, and brought his blade down, but it was stopped with the clang of steel, and a swift parry. Xerxes stepped back, assessing his opponent, who stood in the doorway, and… was he smiling?
“I almost didn’t believe them when they told me that Xerxes, the third of his name, former King of the Persians was under my cousin’s roof. Your reputation for the sword was not exaggerated.”
The man sheathed his sword, a leaf-shaped blade with a gold and ivory hilt: this was a man of great wealth.
“This sword is not meant for you,” Xerxes said, trying to get past the man, but a muscular arm blocked his way.
“Ah, so you and I have similar interests I see.”
“Get out of my way.”
“There are much more affective ways of assassination, my friend,” the man whispered. “That I can assure you.”
Xerxes froze. Perhaps his sudden rigidity betrayed him. The man used the opportunity to close the door.
“My name is Pyrros, Basileus of Epiros.” The man said, “And by morning, I will have already accomplished what you seem to have come this far to do.”
“What do you mean.”
“Orestes has been throwing his weight around, trying to wrestle my people into doing his will. I suppose slaying Illyrian barbarians is not his will, which is why it was in the best interests of both myself and my kingdom that Orestes be romoved from his position of power. The man can’t very well be dethroned, his people love him, so it seems you resolved to the same end that I did.”
“You’ve killed him?” Xerxes managed to garble out.
“He’d dying as we speek, at least if the poison does its work,” Pyrros said. “I thought I would visit you before I leave. Don’t want to be present when his body is found. I don’t recommend you be hear either.”
Xerxes stared at this Pyrros. He was clearly a military man. He looked to be near forty years old, had a round face, a nose that looked like it had been broken before, and an almost constant sneer upon his face.
“I should thank you for doing the work for me,” Xerxes said.
“Orestes was a bastard anyway. I highly doubt at old Philotas’ age he would have really have been able to sire so many children.”
“An interesting theory.”
“Hardly seems to matter now anyway, does it?” Pyrros smiled. “They will suspect you of killing him.”
“My men are ready to escape into the night.”
“As are mine. You should join me in Passaron . I could use a man like you.”
Xerxes looked Basileus Pyrros in the eye, and with a smile, he agreed.
 Celts in Macedon?!?! What on earth could this mean? I’d remember those names if I were you.
 This was the original capital of Epirus, and ITTL remained so because Ambracia was never given to Epirus by Cassander. It still remains under Makedonian rule.
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Eight: Fallout
286 B.E. (293 B.C.) saw the sudden death of Orestes III of Makedonia. How he died is to this day uncertain, but contemporaries of the late Basileus claim that he was poisoned, and died in his sleep. The finger was pointed at almost every political figure of the day: Agents of Nectanebo III of Egypt, Eiran I of Babylon, Antiochos I of Italion, Pyrros of Epiros, Xerxes III, Ariston II of Sparta, Tectosages emissaries, and not to mention a whole list of Makedonian nobility. Ultimately, however, no one knew: There were just too many people who wanted to see Orestes dead.
Apparently, Xerxes Indikos , who had newly arrived in the courting Pellas thought it unsafe to remain after Orestes’ death, and he found refuge in Epiros under Pyrros, who made him one of his generals. There, Xerxes proved very useful for his already extensive experience with war elephants, and he became a close friend of Pyrros. At the same time, Neoptolemos II, the co-king of Epiros, saw Xerxes as a threat, and claimed that he was Orestes III’s assassin, offering him to the Makedonians.
Orestes III died with no children, so the crown moved to his younger brother, Pausanias II buried his brother, legitimizing his right to rule . When agents of Neoptolemos arrived in Pellas to offer over Xerxes Indikos, Pausanias jumped at the opportunity. But, as it turned out, Xerxes was lucky to find a friend in Pyrros, who saw to Neoptolemos II’s death, thus eliminating the co-king and becoming the sole ruler of Epiros . In response, Pausanias demanded that Pyrros hand over Xerxes, else risk an invasion by Makedonia.
While Pyrros prepared for war with Makedonia (not only in defense of his new general, but possibly his own), Pausanias II set about crucifying anyone suspected of assassinating his brother, including members of his own court, thus ostracizing much of the Makedonian nobility.
When war broke out between Makedonia and Epiros in 284 B.E. (291 B.C.), Pyrros assembled an army of 30,000 men, half the size of the Makedonian army. Pausanias II himself led the attack, meeting Pyrros near Orraon in Molossia, the home territory of the Epirote royal family. In the ensuing battle, Pyrros masterfully out-maneuvered Pausanias, flanking the Makedonian line. Pyrros’ 15 war elephants present at the battle caused disarray in the Makedonian line, and by the end of the day, Pausanias had lost more than half of his army, while Pyrros’ casualties were at a minimum, only an estimated 1,500. None other than Xerxes Indikos and his Asvaka horsemen captured Pausanias himself. Reportedly, Xerxes forced Pausanias to surrender at sword-point, humiliating the young king.
Considering how crushing the victory was, the terms Pyrros set forth were relatively lenient. Epiros was given freedom to wage war with its Illyrian neighbors to the north without protest from Makedonia; Makedonia ceded the city of Passaron to Epirote control, and Pausanias’ sister Europa was to be married to Pyrros, further connecting the two royal families. Perhaps Pyrros thought that by making the terms of Makedonia’s defeat so slight, that he could achieve some kind of friendship between himself and the nobility, presenting himself as the forgiving (and capable) leader, thus undermining Pausanias’ power. Regardless, when Pausanias II returned to Makedonia, it was clear that the age of strongmen like Philip II, Alexandros III, and Philotas was long gone.
Sensing Makedonia’s weakness, King Eiran I of Babylonia marched on the Makedonian frontier, overrunning Phoenicia and the Levant in 279 B.E. (286 B.C.). The Makedonian satraps in Cilicia managed to turn the Babylonians away from Anatolia at Issos, bolstered by the promised troops sent by Nectanebo III from Egypt. While Nectanebo’s contribution without doubt saved much Makedonian territory from Babylonian expansion, the fact that Egyptians saved the day did not have exactly great results in the court in Pellas. People were outraged, claiming that Makedonia was becoming a puppet to Nectanebo III and that the Egyptians were calling the shots.
Rebellions broke out throughout Pausanias’ territory, the most violent of which was in the Ionian Islands. These rebels were, unsurprisingly, backed by the Hellenes of Sparta and Athens. The rebellion was violently put down, with thousands slaughtered.
Basileus Pausanias II, though incompetent, was learning quickly what it required to maintain his power, and he began to put down any sign of dissent within his realm, assassinating and replacing viceroys, satraps, generals, and nobility with people loyal to him, regardless of their merit.
 After his campaigns in India, Xerxes III is often referred to as “Indikos”.
 Macedonian tradition held that a succeeding king was required to burry his predecessor.
 OTL Pyrrhus had Neoptolemus II assassinated because he was merely a puppet of the Seleucids. The result is similar to TTL.
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Nine: The Third Babylonian Empire
Eiran I, otherwise known as Eiran the Scourge, may have been one of the greatest military minds of the Fertile Crescent since the fall of Assyria. He succeeded his father to become the second ruler of the new Babylonian kingdom, which propelled the fledgling successor-state into a multi-cultural powerhouse.
He began this transformation by modernizing the Babylonian army. The Babylonian military had previously been almost identical to that of the fallen Persian Empire, and needed a new edge to combat the growing pressures around it. Medes rose in the East, Makedonia loomed in the West, and barbarians lived in the deserts to the South and the mountains to the North. It took a very different breed of man to hold up an independent nation amidst all of that, and Eiran I was of that breed.
Firstly, Eiran’s own name sounded the coming of reform, for he was the first ruler of Babylonia to take on a name of the common tongue: Aramaic. Aramaic became the language of his court, replacing the old tongues no longer spoken that had hung over Babylonian politics during their Second Empire  two and a half centuries earlier.
Eiran took began his rule in 291 B.E. (298 B.C.), and as a first order of introducing aspects of the Makedonian heavy phalanx into his own army, creating a core of heavily armed pike men that greatly resembled those of the West. In 285 B.E. (292 B.C.) he hired Scythian horsemen, which became a permanent part of his army known as the D’Shiadoa Suosyoa, or “Horse-Demons”.
With plans of grandeur and the rallying cry of a return to Babylonian power, Eiran I led an invasion of Armenia in the first year of his reign, which resulted in a swift and crushing victory. Eiran annexed the cities of Musasir and Van and the kingdom of Sophene. Eiran the Scourge exacted tribute from what was left of Armenia, making the present ruler, King Orontes III, a sub-king who swore fealty to Babylonia.
Directly following Eiran’s affective victory, shudders rippled through the rest of the world as each nation tensed. Basileus Orestes II met with Nectanebo III in Egypt to discuss the repercussions of a war with Babylonia, making an alliance with the Pharaoh and promised his sister Europa to him (a marriage that never happened, as she was later married to Pyrros of Epiros. Why Nectanebo seemed to make no mind is unknown.)
Eiran I spent the next decade subduing the various tribes to his south in Arabia, vassalizing the Qedarites, and exerted control over the copper mines in Maqan and established a garrison in Omana , as well as annexing the island of Tilmun . These acts of aggression caused friction with the Medians, who had just subsumed the last remnants of Achaemenid Persia and had nominal “claim” to the area. Regardless, this fortified Babylonia’s position in the Mesopotamia- India trade system, which had previously been controlled by the Persians.
In 279 B.E. (286 B.C.), Eiran I rightly sensed Makedonia’s growing weakness, and moved to take control of Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine. His army, some 30,000 strong, overran the region that had been poorly garrisoned by the Makedonians, and was in no shortage of what we might call “Helleno-phobes”. Marching down the coastline, The Scourge sent one of his generals, a man named Bar-Talmai, to move into Anatolia, hoping to deliver a crippling blow to the Makedonians in Asia.
This was not meant to be.
Pharaoh Nectanebo III, following through with his agreement with the Makedonian crown, sent some 15,000 infantry (well more than what had been promised to Orestes II). They arrived by sea and with their help, the satrap of Cilicia was able to repel the Babylonians as Issos and keep them from entering Anatolia.
Enraged, Eiran I marched his troops further down the coast, past Gaza, and into the Sinai Peninsula. It was clear that his retribution for Egyptian interference would be swift and brutal. Nectanebo III, however, had not seized Egypt from the Persian without his own military know-how. But the Egyptian military was not as well equipped as the Babylonians, though equally as numerous.
But the Pharaoh had a plan.
It didn’t work.
Nectanebo III intended to make a stand near the Sea of Reeds , inspired by the tales of his Hellenic personal guard of Thermopylae. With his army there, he hoped to hold off the Babylonians long enough for reinforcements. But, Nectanebo forgot to take something into account: unlike Thermopylae, the Sea of Reeds was very easy to get around. Before he knew what had happened, his army was surrounded, slaughtered, and Nectanebo III met his end.
Eiran I continued to march onward into Egypt, having only taken minimal casualties as the Sea of Reeds. Nectanebo III’s eldest living son (three had been killed at the Battle of the Reed Sea), Bakare Necho took up the position of Pharaoh, and took the name Necho III. He only had a few days to prepare before Eiran would reach the Delta.
Eiran I set about a rampage in Egypt, burning villages, desecrating shrines, and causing general chaos in the countryside. Necho III’s army of 10,000 marched north from Memphis, but when he met the Babylonians in battle, it was his own Greek mercenaries who turned against him. Apparently, Eiran I had made a deal with them in the night:
They surrender Necho III over to him, and their leader, Isidoros would be crowned Pharaoh with the backing of the Babylonian army. It was a sweet deal, and only a fool wouldn’t accept. Isidoros turned Necho III over without a second thought, and the land of Egypt was ripe for the taking.
Eiran I instilled Isidoros in Memphis as the Pharaoh, but only after slaughtering the entire royal family, deposing most of the nobility and replacing them with members of the Greek cohort.
In the Autumn of 277 B.E. (284 B.C.), the 34th Dynasty (also known as the Mercenary Dynasty) of Egypt rose under the firm hand of the Third Babylonian Empire, and the Scourge earned his name.
 The Neo-Babylonian Empire, which lasted 626- 539 B.C. is referred to ITTL as the Second Babylonian Empire. The Neo-Babylonian Empire was pretty conservative, and used they dying Akkadian language as its official language, although even then, Aramaic was the langua franca.
 Magan or Makan was the ancient Sumerian name for Oman, and Omana was the reported name of ancient Sohar.
 A swamp near the Red Sea and the Sinai Peninsula
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Ten: “Pyrro”-mania
After his brief war with Makedonia, Pyrros felt assured that his realm was safe from the outside meddlings of what he (and everyone else) perceived as a nation on its deathbed. This allowed him to do what he had intended to do from the beginning: invade and pacify Illyria. Pyrros’ army marched north, subduing the coastal Hellenistic cities of Apollonia and Epidamnus with ease. He defeated the Bryges, Taulanti, and Parthini in battled, thereafter laying siege to the Parthini capital of Parthos in 280 B.E. (287 B.C.), and absorbed their land into Epiros, settling Parthos with Epirotes, and also setting up another small colony which he called Pyria (after himself, clearly) a year later at the mouth of the Parthos River , just north of Apollonia. This victory, while expanding Epiros’ territory, also managed to cull some of the piracy that plagued the Adriatic Sea. The Illyrians were well known as pirates and raiders along the Adriatic. The Epirote king had just dealt a serious blow to such brigands by taking over two of their greatest pirate cities. Pyrros exacted tribute from the Greek colony of Lissos, to the north, as well as the Illyrian cities of Uscana, Bassania, and Epicaria, other Illyrian centers of piracy now put in line.
But these were only small victories, and Pyrros dreamed of victory on a mythological scale, victories for which he would become famous. Pyrros seemed to have drawn up a planned invasion of Makedonia and Thessaly, plans that surely would have worked, when another opportunity arose that promised an ounce more excitement.
While Pyrros had been securing his Adriatic border, someone else had been doing the same on the other side: the Samnites. War broke out again between Seluekid Italion and the Samnite League in 277 B.E. (284 B.C.) when the latter instigated a rebellion in Lucania. Meddix Pomptis Egnatius took quick advantage of the anarchy, and marched his army of 30,000 men down the Messappian coastline, sacking and pillaging as he went with little resistance. Basileus Seleukos was old, and his son still governed in Syracuse, dealing with an unruly bunch of mercenary rebels and pirates known as the Mamertines  along the northeast coast of Sicily. Seleukos was forced to meet the Samnites head-on near Kallipolis. Seleukos expected a swift victory. He had hired a large army of mercenaries to bolster his Italiote Greeks, thus leading an army of approximately 40,000 men, outnumbering the Samnites. However, Seleukos’ scouts gave an incorrect location as to the Samnite encampment. It was no mistake, as the scouts were Bruttians, former allies of the Samnites, and while the Italiote army moved south along the Tarantine coastline, they were ambushed, and Seleukos was forced to retreat, abandoning Kallipolis, Seleukia, and all of the cities to the south of Taras.
A year later, as the walls seemed to be closing in around him, Seleukos asked for help from Pyrros of Epiros, the up and coming military strongman. Epiros already had a history of fighting in Italia at the behest of Magna Graecia. Seleukos offered to pay tribute to Epiros for Pyrros’ help, and in 276 B.E. (283 B.C.) Pyrros of Epiros arrived in Taras with an army of 25,000 infantry (many of whom were mercenaries), 3,000 cavalry, and 20 elephants.
With Pyrros’ help, the Italiotes were able to subdue the ongoing Lucanian rebellion. Meanwhile, Pyrros managed to cut off the Samnite line of supply by sending his army north into Apulia and Messappia instead of South to face off against the Samnite army there. Later that year, the Samnites marched north to face this new adversary, where they were defeated.
The Samnite army was completely unused to the kind of army Pyrros led. They had never even seen elephants before, let alone in battle, and the state-of-the-art Epirote forces were more heavily armed than their Italiote counterparts. That isn’t to say that the Samnites didn’t take a heavy toll on the Epirote army, but by the end of the day the Samnite army was scattered to the winds and forced to retreat to their homeland. Meddix Egnatius and his army regrouped in the north, and made for the mountains. Pyrros followed them, and defeated them again at the Samnite fortress of Amvianud in 275 B.E. (282 B.C.), but he took heavy casualties. The mountainous terrain surrounding the fortress made travel for Pyrros’ war elephants all but a liability, and his slowly approaching army was cumbersome on the uneven ground. While the victory kept the Samnites at bay, Pyrros reluctantly retreated only after his premier general Xerxes Indikos convinced him that to continue the invasion north would mean certain defeat.
Pyrros, upon his return to Taras, learned that Seleukos had died suddenly a few days earlier, probably from a heart attack . Rulership of Italion passed to Seleukos’ son, Antiochos I of Syracuse. Antiochos paid Pyrros tribute upon his coronation, and asked for his help in Sicily to oust the Carthaginians. Pyrros did this, but left Xerxes Indikos in Italion with an army of 10,000 should the Samnites invade, or, more sinisterly, should the new king become a nuisance to Pyrros’ plans.
Which he did.
It only took Pyrros two years to oust the Carthaginians from almost the whole of Sicily, and in that time Antiochos had failed to quell a mercenary rebellion in Rhegion  as well as failed to defeat the Mamertines at Nexos. While Pyrros was making plans for his final siege of Lilybaeum, Antiochos was affectively screwing everything up by not only being able to quell a gang of pirates, but by blocking Pyrros’ success in his campaign against the Carthaginians. When asked for ships to blockade Lilybaeum, Antiochos refused, saying his kingdom was under enough strain already.
Pyrros gave the orders, and Xerxes Indikos used his army to launch a coup against Antiochos, killing the Basileus in 273 B.E. (280 B. C.), and declared Pyrros as the new Basileus of Italion and of Sicily. With this position of power, Pyrros was able to get the ships he needed, and completed his siege of Lilybaeum in 272 B.E. (279 B.C.), becoming the first non-Punic invader to take the fortress. Pyrros made plans for his newly acquired kingdoms to pass to his only son Alexandros  should Pyrros die.
Peace negotiations between Malik Bomilcar and Pyrros fell through, and Pyrros made clear his intent to invade the Carthaginian homeland when he ordered the construction of an even larger fleet and began to conscript soldiers from Italion and Sicily.
Pyrros’ prepared to set sail to Carthage from Syracuse with his fleet of twenty penteres (quinquerems), sixty tetreres (quadreremes), and one hundred trireres (triremes), and one hepteres (septireme) as the flagship. Each ship had green sails with the many symbols of Epirus sewn on: the bull, the horseman, Pegasus, the winged woman, and the warrior. As legend has it, he was boarding onto the flagship when one of his generals, a man named Perdikkas, came shouting for the King.
Pyrros stopped what he was doing, and listened as his general relayed a message. Perdikkas was sweating like rain, and panting like a dog, but he managed to gasp out the news.
Pyrros was needed in the East.
“A darkness christened in blood has befallen the homeland. A barbarism without name…”
 The Shkumbin River in Albania
 See Part 2 of this Chapter “The Sons of War” for more details on the Mamertines
 OTL Seleucus was assassinated a year later, however, the stress of ruling a precarious nation on the edge of the “civilized” world undoubtedly had its toll on his health.
 Also mentioned in Part 2 of this Chapter “The Sons of War”
 OTL, Pyrros had two sons named Helenus and Ptolemy from two different wives. Lanassa, who ITTL was married to Antiochos, and Antigone, who was of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. ITTL Pyrrhus is married to Europa of Macedon.
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Eleven: Barbarians At The Gates (Depending On Who You Ask)
Where to begin any conversation about the Celtic Invasions of 275 B.E. (282 B.C.) is always a difficult task . Historical bias has clouded much of the truth from historians for over two thousand years, and even if that were not enough, the ethnic tensions in the region, which continue to this very day, (and could arguably have some roots in the events following the invasion) electrify the issue.
The following is an attempt to relate the events during, and leading up to the Celtic Invasions.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the region of Pannonia was integrated into the Celto-sphere around the same time that Celtic tribes migrated into the Padus River Valley in Northern Italia. By the 3rd century B.E. the area was almost completely Celticized with many of the native Illyrian tribes, weakened by almost constant warring with the Greeks, adopting Celtic language, culture, and custom, even more of them being ruled by increasingly powerful Celto-centric confederacies. The Scordisci who seem to have come into existence some time before 303 B.E. (310 B.C.), led by a general named Molistomos, invaded and absorbed some of the Illyrian tribes further south such as the Autariatae and vassalized some tribes such as the Dardanians, Triballi, and Paeonians. 
Further north, however, in Noricum and Pannonia, the two dominant tribal entities were the Wolcae , near the head of the Istros  and the Boii to their east. The Wolcae and the Boii each appear to have been large confederacies of several smaller tribes, prime examples being the Tectosages (Wolcae) and the Tolistobogii (Boii). The Wolcae and Boii seemed to have been allies, considering the coordination the two tribes exhibited in their invasion southward.
Sources vary as to why the Wolcae and Boii moved south. Suggestions include over-population, economic incentive (the region was rich in metals, slaves, and trade), and the rise of the Warrior Cult. Tension between the Hellenic world and the Keltoi to their north was relatively new, but still existent. In 328 B.E. (335 B.C.), an envoy of representatives from several Celtic tribes in the north were sent under the pretense of paying homage to the then ruler of Makedonia, Alexandros III. This just so happened to occur during Alexandros’ invasion of Thrace, the region previously buffering the two cultures, which both eyed hungrily. It is almost certain that these representatives were sent with the true purpose of assessing the military might of the Makedonians and the prowess of their young king. Apparently, they were impressed enough to cease their southward push during his reign. But when he died at the Battle of Issos two years later, the migration continued unabated.
The relationship between the Makedonians and their neighbors to the north had never been a great one, with almost constant small-scale raiding into Thrace by Celtic tribes. During the reign of Philip III, the Celtic tribes supported rebellions in Thrace and Moesia. During the Makedonian Civil War, or Kassandrian War, raids intensified, with brief moments of Celtic occupation of Makedonian lands that were often repelled. Kynane managed to placate some of the tribes during her reign, using her connections with the Illyrian tribes. But relations continued to spiral out of control during Philotas’ and Orestes II’s reign. But it was only after Orestes II was assassinated, and his brother Pausanias II came to power did the tribes see their golden opportunity.
Pausanias II’s reputation as a feeble ruler was well known after his embarrassing defeat at the hands of Pyrros of Epiros and his incompetence in the wake of the Babylonian invasion of Syria. Add in the fact that the Wolcae Tectosages had a real grudge against the Makedonian Basileus after Orestes II publicly insulted an envoy sent by them to Pellas (the night before his assassination, interestingly enough): an envoy which was led by the Tectosages princess Iouinaballa and a druid.
A preliminary invasion led by Cambaules was the spark that ignited the war. Cambaules led an army of some 20,000 men into Thrace, and captured a large area, defeating a small Makedonian army, but ousted by Pausanias II’s army. Cambaules returned to his home among the Boii, affirming that more warriors were necessary.
And if there was one thing the Celts had, it was warriors.
The following year, a massive multi-pronged invasion marched down along the Istros River and into Makedonian held Thrace. In all, over 250,000 warriors invaded , possibly the largest army to ever march on the Hellenistic world since the Persian Wars of the 5th century B.E.
Cambaules headed this massive army, but he was by no means the only military leader present in the army. Leading the Prausi, a tribe of the Wolcae confederation, was Brennos. Leading the Tectosages was Acichorios. Bolgios lead the men from the Tocri and Tolistobogii from the Boii confederation. And Cerenthios led an army of Taurisci. It was between these generals that the army was divided when the Celtic invaders decided to “plunder the multitudes of nations,” and the top nation on their hit list was Makedonia. 
Cerenthios moved eastward into the heart of Thrace, massacring any tribe that refused to submit with an army of 20,000. Brennos and Acichorios were initially supposed to take their armies and invade Paeonia in northwestern Thrace while Bolgios would take his army into Makedonia, but at the urging of Acichorios’ daughter, a woman already familiar with the area, the two armies stuck together and marched first against the Paeonians, and then, after a swift victory, into Makedonia. Of course, Acichorios’ daughter was the diplomat Orestes II turned away a few years earlier, Iouinaballa.
Hearing of the invasion (it would have been hard not to), Pausanias II mustered as many troops as he could, sparing those on the eastern border with Babylonia. His army numbered about 60,000 infantry and 20,000 cavalry. He bought twenty Syrian elephants, and even rode one to meet the Keltoi, hoping to impress them or scare them off with this show of power. Other aristocrats braced themselves for the coming invasion by raising smaller, local armies to fend off raiders.
When the Celtic and Makedonian armies met, a Celtic envoy went to meet Pausanias II, advising that he surrender and pay the Wolcae and Boii off to prevent slaughter. Iouinaballa herself was present, only to be insulted twice by a Makedonian Basileus. Pausanias not only refused the “barbarian’s” offer, but countered with his own: that the Wolcae and Boii pay him homage, hand over their arms, and return to their homeland in the north with their tails between their legs.
“The son’s of men who fought under the likes of Alexandros and Parmenion who defeated the hordes of Persia are like gods in war.”
Pausanias then went on to claim that the Celtic invaders sought peace because they were cowards and feared for their lives before his Makedonian army.  When Pausanias’ response reached the ears of Bolgios, Brennos, and Acichorios, they responded:
“Only a fool would believe we seek peace for our safety and not his own.”
The ensuing battle was a complete massacre of the Makedonian forces. The Makedonian phalanx was ripped to shreds and completely out maneuvered by the fluid Celtic tactics. Pausanias’ elephants caused some initial disruption in the Celtic line, but one should never underestimate the hero-complex of the Celtic warrior. Soon, men wearing nothing but their breaches, covered in blue tattoos, were climbing up onto the elephants, killing the rider and the elephant. Pausanias himself was captured in such a way; being dragged kicking and screaming from his felled elephant.
Upon his capture, he was presented to the generals and chieftains of the Celtic army. It was Iouinaballa who was given the great honor of beheading Pausanias II, Basileus ton Basileon of Makedonia. She held the head up in the air, blood gushing everywhere, and let out such a cry that the surviving Makedonians had never been so terrified by a woman before, and paraded it among the Celtic army by chariot.
Many consider this moment to be the final nail in the coffin for the Kingdom of Makedonia.
It did not take long for the anarchy to spread. With the main Makedonian army destroyed, there was nothing in the way of the Keltoi.
 These Celtic Invasions occurred 2-4 years earlier than those of OTL.
 There are conflicting theories about the origins of the Scordisci. One theory, that I obviously don’t favor, suggests that the Scordisci came into existence due to the failure of OTL’s Celtic Invasion of Greece. I, however, agree with the theory that they existed some time earlier (though not that much earlier, clearly) as a result of the steady southward movement of Celtic tribes down the Danube and Sava Rivers.
 The letter V did not make the same sound it does in the English language when Romans used it. V actually made the sound of a U or W, so the Volcae would have been the Wolcae. Usually, I don’t bother, but the Wolcae could be the source of the Germanic use of “Walkos” as a name for foreigner, such as Wales, Wallonia, Wallachia, and Gaul.
 The Danube
 Numbers vary on the actual number of the Celtic invading army, but the contemporary historian Pausanias (obviously not my fictional Macedonian King) and the Roman historian Strabo claimed that the army led by Brennus into Greece (a.k.a. 1/3 of the army) comprised of more than 150,000 infantry and over 60,000 horsemen. My estimation is actually low-balling the Gallic invasion. Recall that it was just a splinter group from this army that became the nations of Tyle and Galatia. It is likely, however, that numbers were inflated because these were not simply armies, but migrations with women and children in tow.
 I bullshitted a little here. We don’t know which tribes many of these men hailed from. In fact, Brennus is the only one we know for certain. I tried to make my best guess from what tribes settled where and when, but I think it is important that this information be presented because with a Celtic victory, such information would have been documented.
 Very similar comments were made by Ptolemy Keraunos to Bolgios’ army.
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Twelve: The Birth of Ouolkike
The following is a passage from The History of Ouolkike: Volume 2 by Catuandros—
“With the head of the Mapedonnirix  at the head of their army, the Ouolki moved onward with new strength. The Gods truly were on their side, and this new land delivered to them was fertile and warm. The war-horns and drums announced their arrival to each new city, and each new city paid tribute to the Ouolki. The cities the Mapedonni called Idomenai, Ioron, Bragylai, Morrylos, Europos, Klitai, Ichnai, Herakleia, Allante, Tyrissa, Gendetros, and Kyrrhos all opened their gates to the Ouolki upon their arrival and showered them with the riches their city had to offer. They swore fealty to the Ouolki and forsook their former loyalty to the Mapedonnirix, whose head was possessed by Iouinaballa Acichorignos.
Since the Mapedonnirix had no sons or daughters, there was no one to take his place as king in the Mapedonni tradition. Mapedonni generals began calling themselves kings in far off lands ruled by the Mapedonnirix. Fearing the coming might of the Ouolki, the Mapedonni living in the city they called Pellas began to flee by way of the ocean, while others set to panic and began to riot within the walls of the city. When the Ouolki arrived, half of the city was empty, and those who remained opened the gates to the Ouolki without a struggle. The city paid the greatest tribute of all, and many of the houses left abandoned were filled with the wandering families of the Ouolki.
The Ouolki then sent out two armies from Pellas. One was led by Brennos, and went west to defeat the Botti and the Paeoni, while another led by Acichoros went east and exacted tribute and fealty from the cities there as far as Philippi and the island of Thasos. Ouolki began to settle these cities and farm the lands abandoned by the craven Mapedonni.”
From the ashes of the destructive end of the Makedonian Empire, the Wolkae, or Ouolkoi as the Greeks later called them, began to settle and took quick control of the region. They ravaged the tribes along the Strymonas River, decimating the Maedi. They then cut east, and moved down the Bardarios River, assaulting Paeonian and Thracian cities such as Stobi, Dober, and so on, until they marched into the heart of Makedonia. The coming arrival of the Celtic migration had caused such fear that many cities simply surrendered to the oncoming army, not even risking the violence. Many of the Makedonian nobles fled the city of Pellas to Anatolia; however, for those who could not escape, it seemed that death drew nearer with everyday.
All accounts agree that a few days before the Wolkae arrived, a riot broke out in Pellas. The remaining nobility in the city insisted that the city man a defense, and hope that they could survive a siege long enough for reinforcements from Anatolia. But the fear within the city was too great, and the people within the city determined that if they gave up the city, their lives would be spared. Chaos held over the city for two days as the opposing sides vied for control of the city gates, until finally the last of the nobility were had either been captured, died, or fled the city. The gates of Pellas opened to the Wolkae without a fight on the ninth day of Scorpio, 274 B.E. (281 B.C.). The Wolkae determined to make Pellas their new base of operations, settling the rest of their families there. Brennos and Acichoros each set out with armies of approximately 60,000 men and began securing the surrounding area.
In Anatolia, the satraps and viceroys established independence, seeing that they could no longer rely on Makedonia for protection.
Meanwhile, the Boii, who had broken off from the Wolkae army, set about ravaging Thrace. They defeated and exacted tribute from the tribes along the Hebros River, including the Bessi, Sapaei, and Odrysians. Here they settled the Thracian city of Aenus, or Poltyobria, and set up a kingdom that the Wolkae called Bojikika. The Boii attempted to take Byzantion, but were turned back by an army from Bithynia. The Bithynian satrap pushed the Boii advance long enough to secure the surrounding area, but was defeated near Salmydessus by the Boii under Bolgios with the help of the Asti, a Thracian ally.
To the South, the Hellenes braced themselves for the coming onslaught of the Galatoi. And they had good reason to. Word soon spread that the Wolkae chieftain Brennos was leading an army of 100,000 men south. Almost half of this army was made of cavalry that used the trimarchisia system, where one cavalry man would be fighting in battle, while two others waited to retrieve his body, replace his horse, or replace him in battle.
Now, here is where historical bias becomes almost unbearable on both sides, because it is hard to discern the true motives of Brennos as he moved south. The Hellenes insist that his intention was to sack Delphi and desecrate the gods; but the histories written by the Ouolki insist that he intended to make the peoples located there into vassals and tributaries. It is likely that both are partially true. The Wolkae were doing a good job of securing the region of Makedonia, and the Greeks to the south remained unconquered. But then again, gold is always a great incentive for a raiding party, though Delphi may not have been his main target.
Regardless, by the spring of the next year, Thessaly had fallen. Brennos’ army met little resistance until Thermopylae, where a pan-Hellenic force had assembled to hold off the barbarian Galatoi. The majority of the army was made up of Aetolians, however a sizeable number of Athenians, Argives, Corinthians, and Spartans were assembled. Their army totaled 10,000.
Both sides agree on one thing: Thermopylae was a mistake for the Wolkae. They fought for two days, taking heavy casualties. Estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000 fallen Wolkae, while the Hellenes had only taken minimal damage. Frustrated, Brennos had his second-in-command, Iccauos  take 20,000 men west to raid Aetolia, hoping it would draw the Aetolians to their homeland and weaken the Hellenic forces at Thermopylae. Brennos had made a gamble, but it worked.
Iccauos’ army arrived in Aetolia and wrought such carnage, that the Aetolians left at Thermopylae were forced to leave to defend their homeland. This halved the army assembled at Thermopylae, which was soon overrun. In Aetolia, Iccauos slaughtered the Aetolian army when it arrived. The Aetolian defense was so vicious, that:
“The woman and children took up arms to defend not only their homeland, but their very existence. Such was the disparity of their situation.”
When Iccauos’ army had finished, Aetolia was devastated. His army took loot, and marched to regroup with Brennos as Delphi. When they met at Delphi, the Wolkae looted the temple and raped the Oracle. As they left, they saw a small Spartan and Athenian contingency of about 1000 men marching towards them. With the higher ground atop Delphi, the Wolkae cavalry passed over the Spartans like a great wave, leaving none alive. 
The Wolkae continued to raid and loot Hellas for another month until they drew back north to Pellas with all of the riches of the Greeks in tow. However, along the way, a disagreement broke out over the how to divide the spoils. The Hellenic historians simply say the Galatoi had such a lust for gold that they broke into squabbling over it. More specifically, the Ouolki say there was a disagreement over the rights and distribution of the plunder. Brennos wished to keep most of the loot for himself and the men of his tribe, but his generals insisted that the loot be divided equally through all the tribes assembled within the army. The disagreement led to infighting, and a brief battle broke out in Thessaly that the Ouolki call Briga Dibu e Debu, or the Hill of the Gods and Goddesses. It is likely that this is Mount Olympus, near where the Wolkae occupied lands began. In the end of the dispute, Brennos was exiled, and he took the some 20,000 men of his tribe left back north into Illyria, where he fell into historical oblivion.
The Celtic Invasions would leave a massive mark on the history of the region, and would directly shape the culture and political climate of the Aegean.
 My take on the Gallicization of the word Macedonians with the suffix –rix, denoting royalty. “King of the Macedonians”
 OTL, Acichoros was Brennos’ 2nd in command at Thermopylae, but ITTL, he is in Pellas securing Macedonia. This is a fictional man fulfilling a similar purpose.
 OTL, this happened a year later, so there weather was very different. A storm had caused chaos in the Celtic ranks, and forced the Celts to retreat at Delphi without actually sacking it.
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Thirteen: The Great Wrestling Grounds
“How did all of this happen without my knowing?” Pyrros snarled. “Half of the countryside razed, the other half trembling in fear! For a year! And none of you informed me?”
The nobles at court in Passaron averted their eyes. Many began to toil with their robes nervously.
“I asked a question.” Pyrros said sternly. By his side were his two highest-ranking generals, Xerxes Indikos and Perdikkas, both dressed in full armor. Pyrros had been force to take the bulk of his army back to Epiros leaving only a fraction of his force back in Italion and Sicily to garrison his newly acquired territory. It was something he had not done happily. “Why was I not informed earlier of the barbarians’ invasion?”
“They only raided our frontier, and that was when we informed you.” Tharypos, the Basileus’ treasurer in Passaron spoke up timidly, “Previously the Keltoi had busied themselves with the other polities around us.”
“Polities including Makedonia?” Pyrros gritted his teeth. “Were you unaware that with Pausanias’ death, I have claim to the throne of Makedonia, Tharypos?”
“Basileus, we did not think—“
Blood splattered the marbled floor. Tharypos fell to the ground, a massive gash where his throat once was. Pyrros flicked the blood from his sword with disdain as he said:
“This is what happens to men who don’t think.”
The nobility did not gasp: all of them had seen blood and carnage. Epiros was a violent frontier of the Hellenic world after all. Pyrros began wiping the blood from his blade, and looked to his generals.
“We march for Dodona tomorrow. If the Ouolkoi have already sacked Delphi, Dodona might be next. Blood of Aspetos! It is a surprise they haven’t already. Molossians, Chaonians, and Thesprotians—Epirotes! Nigh is our hour of greatness!” 
In 272 B.E. (279 B.C.) Pyrros returned to Epiros with the majority of his mercenary army he had intended to use for an invasion of Carthage. Finding that Greece was in complete and utter chaos, he first moved to secure his frontier, and sent an army to protect the temple at Dodona. It did not take long for the remaining Hellenic polities to call for his help. Makedonia was shattered, the Aetolian League was left to dust, and Thessaly was not only demolished, but was being settled by Wolcae. Further south, Athens and Sparta were beginning to break under the pressure, and Argos and Corinth were on the brink as well. Epiros was, it turned out, the only force left with enough strength to ward off the Celts.
The first thing Pyrros did was expressed his claim to the Makedonian throne. The Argead and Aeacid lineages were rather intertwined, and Pyrros was the second cousin of Alexandros III, his aunt was Kleopatra of Epiros, and he was married to Pausanias’ sister Europa. It turned out, the only other person with any claim to the vacant Makedonian throne was the chieftain of the Dardanians (related to Pausanias through his grandmother Kynane), but the Dardanians were all but shattered by the Celtic invasion, and now paid tribute to the Wolcae.
Pyrros split his army into three prongs, hoping to regain as much ground as possible against the Wolcae as possible. Xerxes Indikos was to take 10,000 men north to rally the Illyrian tribes and flank the Wolcae from the Northwest. Perdikkas was to move south with 7000 infantry and secure Acarnania before moving north through Locris and to march up the Aegean coast once he reached it. Pyrros would move east through Thessaly, intending to meat up with Perdikkas at Pagasae. From there they would meat up with Xerxes at Pellas. At least that was the plan.
Xerxes Indikos gathered 5000 men from the Illyrians north of Epiros, including the vassalized Parthini and Bryges before moving north into the land of the Dardanians, who had allied with the Wolcae after being spurned by the Makedonians. He defeated them in battle, and continued to march north through their land, where he ran into a brief battle with the Scordisci who had moved south and absorbed the Autariatae about forty years earlier. The former Persian King was able to rebuff them before turning his attention southward. Xerxes actually refused to commit to a staged battle with any Wolcae war bands he encountered, preferring to harass them and goad them into ambush. One such ambush was at the Battle of Axios where he drew a Wolcae army of 20,000 into a valley and rushed them from the hillside. The tactic worked, leaving the shocked Celtic army in disarray with the river at their backs and nowhere to run. The battle gained Xerxes a reputation amongst the Wolcae as a courageous leader, a man to be respected and feared.
Everything seemed to go to plan with Perdikkas. His army of 7000 infantry, and some 200 cavalry quickly seized control of Acarnania, and even absorbed shattered Aetolia, where the remnants of their famous cavalry joined his own. Most Greeks in the region saw the Epirote army as a sign of security and safety, giving him little resistance as he passed through and swung north through Locris and Thessaly.
Pyrros had, perhaps knowingly, given himself the most difficult task. The land he marched his army through, the Pindhos Mountains, was largely tribal and difficult to pass through. It was made all the harder by the settling of Celts in the region. Unlike Perdikkas, who ran into no real resistance, and Xerxes who used cunning and some amount of trickery to defeat the enemies he ran into, Pyrros did not shy from pitched battle in the least. With him were his best soldiers, veterans from across the Adriatic some 15,000 strong. Pyrros met a Wolcae war band at Tricca and again at Pharsalus where he defeated them both. In both battles, Pyrros used his cavalry to protect his flanks and broke the Celtic center. While he achieved victory in both encounters, he took heavy casualties to his infantry. He was glad, indeed, to receive the reinforcements from Perdikkas at Pagasae before sweeping north through Thessaly.
Pyrros rightly assumed that if he could take Larissa, the largest city in Thessaly, the rest of the region would bow to him. His movement north toward the city was largely undisturbed by Celtic war bands with only a rare skirmish here and there. Larissa opened its gates to Pyrros as a liberator and offered to him 1000 of their finest horsemen, who were famed as some of the best in all of Greece. They named him Tagus, or King, of Thessaly, and swore fealty to Pyrros. Makedonia was only a short march north from Larissa, and Pellas was within his grasp…
“It’s almost too easy,” Xerxes whispered to himself.
Time and again, the Ouolkoi not only announced their coming, bashing their drums loudly and braying like wolves as they sang into battle, but they were consistent as well. Xerxes had yet to witness the full might of the Galatoi horde, but it shocked him in a way that such a kingdom as Makedonia could have crumbled so quickly to them. And here he was, again, riding quietly on his horse through the wooded backcountry, marching around the main Ouolkoi force that seemed to know nothing in the way of stealth. Even their scouts were loud and foolish, usually drunk even. At the tail of his army, twenty scouts were tied and gagged by the supply wagons, their eyes cut out and their ears chopped off.
“They are fierce warriors, nonetheless,” Leippada, the leader of his Asvaka guard reminded. “Overly confident, yes, but fierce, too.”
“I just don’t understand,” Xerxes stroked the short black hairs on his face. “Everything I have heard of their conquest of Makedonia would imply that they are cunning as well as powerful—they would need be! How else could they have so swiftly brought this country to its knees? It was flawless. But these war bands we’ve run into, these formless rabble that stalk the countryside, they’re hardly a challenge.”
Not far away, a grouse called out in the brush. The pine forest was quiet except for the sound of marching soldiers, and the distant noises of the Ouolkoi raiding party.
“When we make it past them, we turn around and approach from their rear,” Xerxes said. “Put all of their heads on spikes and burn the bodies like the rest when we are through. Inform the captains.”
Leippada nodded, and turned his horse around. Xerxes sighed and prodded his horse forward when he heard an all too familiar hiss and saw an arrow burry into the trunk of a tree not but a hair away from his face. He flinched backwards, and his horse reared up in terror.
Suddenly, the air was filled with the sound of arrows. Xerxes looked back and saw Leippada dying on the forest floor with an arrow sticking out of his neck. Shouts rose up from his army as they realized they were under attack, taken by surprise, and as the Ouolkoi appeared from the shadows of the forest and fell upon them like a hammer.
Xerxes cursed when he saw that he was beat by his own trick.
 Several things to note right now: Dodona is the home of an oracle and a huge center of Hellenic religious affairs. It was second only to Delphi. Aspetos was what the Epirotes called Achilles, who they worshipped as a diety. Also, the Molossians, Caonians, and Thesprotians are the three tribes that make up the Kingdom of Epirus, which is currently dominated by the Molossians.
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Fourteen: Shards of Glass
With the fall of the Makedonian Empire in 274 B.E. (281 B.C.) to the Wolcae and the Boii, the immediate response to what was left of Pausanias II’s realm did what any self-respecting Makedonian government official would do: made himself king! Like a glass windowpane struck by a stone, the realm broke into a series of much smaller kingdoms.
Lydia: In northwestern Anatolia, Lydia was centered around the ancient city of Sardis. The former satrap Philip, a Makedonian, founded the Kingdom. The satrapy had an ancient history, once being an empire in its own right before the Persians invaded. The last Persian satrap of Lydia was Spithradates, who was killed at the battle of Granicus in 327 B.E. (334 B.C.). Once the satrapy was taken over by Alexandros III, Makedonians were put in place of the Persian dynasty there. From said dynasty did Philip I of Lydia descend. Philip’s realm not only included Lydia proper, but also Mysia, Troad, and Aeolis. He took great care during his rule to ensure that the Greek city-states along his coastline in Aeolis did not revolt or declare independence. To secure the cities, he moved native Lydians as well as Persian colonists into the Aeolian Dodecapolis (Kyme, Larissae, Neonteichnos, Temnus, Cilla, Notion, Aegiroessa, Pitane, Aegae, Myrina, Gryneion, and Smyrna).
Bithynia: A small kingdom whose rulers descended from the Makedonian general Balakros (who invaded it during the Kassandrian War). The satrap who became King of Bithynia was also named Balakros. He, however, did not have his ancestors pension for gaining ground, and in fact lost it when the city of Heraklea successfully revolted and established independence on the Euxeinos Pontos .
Byzantion: The last piece of former Makedonian land in Europe not overrun by barbarians, the city-state barely escaped a sacking from the Boii during their invasion of Thrace.
Heraklea: An independent democracy that rebelled against the Bithynians early on. The city is located along the Euxeinos Pontos.
Paphlagonia: To the East of Bithynia, Paphlagonia was one of the least Hellenized of Makedonia’s holdings (however a few Greek colonies dot the coastline). Isolated and already all but independent before Pausanias’ death, it is perfectly possible that the Paphlagonian prince wasn’t even aware that he wasn’t already the sole ruler of his mountainous land. The people of this land were ancient, attested by Homer as well as the Hittites. They seemed to have been related linguistically to the Kappadokians, who spoke an Anatolian language (related to Luwain, Lydian, Lycian, and Karian). All rulers of Paphlagonia took up the name Pylaimenes.
Phrygia: The vastest of the former satrapies, sitting in the center of Anatolia. It’s capital, Gordium, was once the seat of a large kingdom during the early Iron Age, but was defeated by the invading Cimmerians. Alexandros III famously passed through the city, cutting through the legendary Gordian Knot, and claimed Rulership of all Asia. A native satrap named Bagaios ruled Phrygia, a strategic location along the Old Persian Royal Road. The Phrygians spoke a language more closely related to Greek than the surrounding Anatolian Languages, however some argue it is more closely related to Armenian. It is also perfectly likely that Phrygian is the link between the Hellenic languages and Armenian.
Kappadokia: Independent only for a brief time, the nameless satrap who declared kingship was quickly defeated in a battle with the satrap of Cilicia, and Kappadokia was absorbed.
Cilicia: The second largest successor state to the Makedonian Empire, Cilicia stretches along the southern coast of Anatolia. Its population was a mix of Greek and native Anatolians descended from the Ancient Hittites, as well as some Persians and Semitic groups from the East. The satrap of Cilicia, another Makedonian descended from the general Belakros (who himself was the satrap of Cilicia during the Kassandrian War) had already proved himself in battle against the Babylonians when Pausanias found he could not defend his own frontier against them. After declaring kingship, he styled himself as Basileus Ptolemaios I of Cilicia.
Cyprus: The island nation was heavily colonized by the Greeks centuries before. Currently it is almost completely Greek. An unknown king ruled it for a time before it became a Babylonian vassal ten years later.
Karia: South of Lydia, Karia actually took some ground from Lydia by seizing Ionia. Karia, like many of the Anatolian provinces of former Makedonia is an ethnically mixed place, with many Greeks (Dorian and Ionian) as well as the native Anatolian Karians. Ruled by the descendants of Ada of Caria, a queen who helped Alexandros III in his conquest of Anatolia, she had actually made Alexandros her heir to her throne. However, he died before her, so the title passed on to her daughter. Her granddaughter, also named Ada, currently rules from the city of Halicarnassus. In her brief campaign north to take control of Ionia, she actually lost control of Rhodes, and it’s nearby coastline.
Rhodes: Declaring itself an independent oligarchy in 273 B.E. (280 B.C.), the Rhodes adapted many of its merchant ships in order to seize the nearby Anatolian coastline, bringing under their thumb several Dorian Greek cities there.
Not only did the political lines on the map change after the fall of Makedonia, but also the demographics of the Eastern Mediterranean shifted. After Brennos’ raid into Hellas, and the subsequent Wolcae settlement in Northern Thessaly, Hellenes fled by the thousands to Anatolia, but also to Syracuse, and Egypt. Isidoros I of Egypt, a Greek himself, openly invited Greeks fleeing the Galatoi, setting up colonies along the coast and in the Nile Delta. Cities like Neathene, Isipolis, and Pella on the Nile  became three of the largest new centers of Greek culture in Egypt. Not only did the increasing Greek population of Egypt strengthen his hold on the country, but also it by extension legitimized the Mercenary Dynasty to the Hellenic world.
 The Black Sea, or “Hospitable Sea”
 All of these cities were built by Isidoros, and are fictional OTL.
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Fifteen: The Tarnished Age of Epiros
Pyrros of Epiros, sometimes called Pyrros the Great by contemporary scholars, is a figure both revered and reviled, a bright flame that leaves a dark shadow in the annals of history. His memoirs and his books on war  are considered classic masterpieces and to this day are read in military academies. His philosophies on tactics and strategy influenced great military minds for generations to come. During his lifetime, Pyrros was considered the greatest military mind on the face of the earth.
But military glory can only take you so far. Back home in Epiros, the treasury was empty, and the kingdom bankrupt. The costly wars Pyrros waged and the mercenaries he used to bolster his armies sapped away at the coffers until there was nothing left. Morale was low, and what’s worse, Pyrros seemed to have ignored these facts to achieve his ends. The destruction of the Northern branch of his army in Wolcae occupied Paeonia was a crushing blow to his over arching strategy, and when word finally reached him and his men, morale plummeted all the more. But as Pyrros says in his own memoir titled The Struggle for Makedon:
“We marched north from Thessaly nonetheless, without hindrance. With the troops levied from my newest realm, I discerned I could make up for those lost with Xerxes Indikos, who I had come to love as a brother. Though I mourned his loss, as should a great leader of men and a king such as he be mourned, I determined that the need of Hellas was great in this hour of barbaric invasion. The [Ouolkoi] had emptied the great city of Pellas amongst others and settled it with their own. Tales spread through out the camp of how the Galatoi had dispatched my cousin. As we neared the territory occupied by the Ouolkoi, there was some discontent in the troops, but the mutineers were quickly put down. We marched north still, to claim my throne in Makedon and the house of Herakles!” 
Indeed, the mutiny Pyrros blithely mentions in his memoir would not be his last, or his worst. Regardless, when Pyrros marched into Ouolkike he had at his back some 23,000 men and cavalry as well as 13 elephants.
They met little to no resistance for a time, but upon the crossing of the Haliakmon, the river that marked where Ouolkike began and Hellas ended, Pyrros describes something interesting:
“We began to cross the [Haliakmon] when a scout approached with news that all of the Greeks beyond that river had been exterminated by the Keltoi, and that a great host of Ouolkoi as well as some lesser Galatoi tribes were approaching. No later had he told me this did an arrow pierce his throat, and the cries of a hundred thousand Galatoi filled the air.”
-The Struggle for Makedon Vol. 5
Pyrros was caught in a tight spot. His army was preparing to cross the river, only to see that the Wolcae were waiting for him on the other side. In the woods, men wearing nothing but their skin could be seen howling maniacally. It is believed that these were the early semblances of the Order of Kernunos (known as Cernunnos in the West), who would play a huge role in the ancient history of Ouolkike. Pyrros describes the assembled barbarian horde as massive, not only including Wolcae, but also Boii, Dardanians, Serdi, Paeonians, and Thracians as well.
On the far bank of the river, the Ouolkoi princess Iouinaballa, who paraded the head of Pausanias around the neck of her black horse, rode out with twenty men in chains dragging behind her. They were the captains and commanders of Pyrros’ northern branch, and at their head was none other than Xerxes Indikos. She forced them down onto their knees, water rushing up between their legs. Iouinaballa shouted out across the river to Pyrros. Pyrros says simply: “She spat insults in her barbaric tongue.”
However, later accounts written by the Wolcae (who refer to themselves as the Ouolki) give a much more eloquent and poetic account. They say that Iouinaballa sang a long poem telling the story of the Wolcae, and how they were forced from their homeland due to over population and famine, how they were repeatedly insulted by the Greeks who were cowards that won wars not by courage and strength, but by deceit and trickery. While most of the poem is inconsequential, the ending was made famous by its inscription upon a monument built centuries later over Iouinaballa’s tomb, and by its inclusion in the opera Makedonia’s climax:
“A sore day! A red day!
Where the sun rises!
Death! Death! Death!” 
The Wolcae began to shout and howl. Pyrros’ remaining scouts were nowhere to be found, but he didn’t need them for him to know that he was out numbered. Iouinaballa drew a sword as tall as she, and lifted it into the air, her voice joining the chorus of Celts. She inspired such fear and awe that even some of the Greeks in Pyrros’ army said she was no mere woman, but Athena! One by one, the Wolcae princess set about lopping off the heads of her prisoners, saving Xerxes Indikos for last. When she finally reached him, she bid him stand. Xerxes did so. She told Xerxes to return to his king, and to make him turn around and never come back. At this, his face turned sickly white, for, apparently, it was the first time someone had called Pyrros Xerxes’ king. Instead of doing as she bid him, Xerxes III Indikos of Persia threw himself into the river, and let the chains drag him to the depths.
Following this dramatic event, the Battle of the Halkiakmon River broke out. The Greeks made camp and waited for the Wolcae to cross. Pyrros predicted correctly that the Celts would be too impatient to simply wait for their victory. They crossed in rafts, which the Greek army was able to pick off one by one for a good time at first, but soon the southern shore was overrun. Pyrros’ army pulled back to gain the high ground, and formed ranks. The Epirote army rebuffed the first wave of attack, but the flanks were taking heavy casualties. The Epirote-Thessalian cavalry drove the Celtic cavalry west along the river, away from the main fighting, and eventually pinned the Celtic cavalry against the river where they made slaughter. The elephants devastated the Celtic line at first, but the enemy soon learned how to avoid their charge.
“It was the second wave of Galatoi that gave the hardest fighting, I was surprised to discover. They pushed the farthest up the hill, and managed to drive us back slightly before they grew weary from the uphill climb and we were able to drive them back.”
The third wave of Wolcae attack was easily rebuffed, and the Celtic army retreated beyond the river. Pyrros records over 20,000 Celtic dead, while 10,000 of his own died.
“Though it was a great victory, we lacked the manpower and the strength to drive them from Makedonia. We returned to Thessaly, where we would winter and regroup.”
 Pyrrhus of Epirus did write memoirs and books about the art of war, but it is lost to us. Apparently it was of very high quality, because it influenced people like Hannibal Barca and Cicero OTL.
 The Argeads claimed descent from Heracles
 Couldn’t resist
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Sixteen: Epirote Hegemony
Though Pyrros failed to retake Makedonia from the Wolcae in 271 B.E. (278 B.C.), he was the undisputed Hegemon of Hellas. Epiros proper expanded under his reign to include Acarnania and Aetolia. Pyrros colonized both areas with Epirotes (both regions had been largely depopulated by the Great Wolcae Raid of 273 B.E.), as well as adding Orestis, traditionally a Makedonian territory, to the Epirote frontier. His rule of Thessaly was styled much in the same way that he ruled Sicily and Italion. They were separate kingdoms ruled by the same king: a Pyrric Empire.
But this would only be the start of Pyrros’ consolidation of power in Hellas. With only a menagerie of crippled city-states to oppose him, Pyrros slowly gnawed away at the lands to his south, adding one region to his empire at a time. Sometimes he would simply vassalize a city-state, like he did with Corinth, Megara, and Argos. Other times, he would wage war, looting and pillaging as he went to pay for his costly mercenary army, and outright annex territory: examples being Elis, Locris, Euboea, and Achaea. He instigated a massive Helot revolt in Messenia, which further crippled Sparta. In 264 B.E. (271 B.C.) he waged a costly war against Sparta with the intention of deposing the current kings (Areus I and Archidamus IV) in favor of one of his generals named Agesilaus who claimed to be descended from Agis III. Both Spartan kings were old, but Archidamus IV was only recently given kingship. His cousin, Ariston II, had died a year earlier. Naturally, Pyrros backed his general’s (likely false) claim to the throne, and so he marched on Laconia.
Though the Spartans were dealing with a serious population crisis (it is estimated that only a few thousand Spartans were still alive at the time), they put up a stiff resistance that Pyrros evidently did not expect. The Spartans took up guerilla warfare in the hillside, attacking Epirote camps in the dead of night, and disappearing without a trace. When finally Pyrros arrived at Sparta with an army of some 20,000, he found trenches dug, barricades built, and not only men, but also women and children armed to the teeth.
The Siege of Sparta lasted three months, when finally Pyrros called for parlay. His terms were generous: give over the Eurypontid king Archidamus IV, place Agesilaus on the throne, and allow Pyrros’ son Alexandros to learn the art of war from the Spartans. The offer was refused, and the siege continued for another month, when Pyrros was forced to call of the siege due to mutiny in his ranks.
Sparta remained. And Sparta saw, perhaps truly for the first time, that it needed to adapt to the changing world around it.
In 262 B.E. (269 B.C.) word reached Hellas that the Wolcae princess Iouinaballa was with child. Pyrros quickly gathered his forces, and made plans to march once again on the Wolcae. But when his army reached Pieria, something unexpected happened.
The flames licked the night sky like glowing tongues. Pyrros cursed beneath his breath. It was those bastard mercenaries again, he knew. He could hear them shouting and screaming like fools.
“I’m getting too old for this,” Pyrros thought out loud. Indeed, Pyrros had just turned fifty this year. Maybe it was time to retire to Syracuse perhaps and live in the lap of luxury with serving girls feeding him olives as they danced, bear breasted and youthful. It was a nice thought. Perhaps this could be his last war, after he rooted up that bitch and cut the vermin from her womb himself. “Agapos, get me my armor.”
There was no response.
With a grunt and a curse, Pyrros went into his tent, ready to abuse the stupid serving boy. But when he entered through the tent flaps, Agapos was dead on the floor. Blood glistened in the firelight, and standing over the corpse with sword in hand was—No! It couldn’t be!
“Thought you were rid of me, didn’t you,” Xerxes snarled.
In those forsaken woods where the screams of thousands of Greek soldiers filled the mountain air, Xerxes remembered a lesson he had almost forgotten: survive at any cost.
His Asvaka guardsmen were first to take action. They drew their single-edged swords, and rode like madmen into the fray. The gallant charge only made a minor dent in the oncoming wave of Ouolkoi, and in a matter of minutes, they were pulled from their horses, and tattooed men wielding heavy long swords hacked off their heads. The Greeks were less valiant. Many made a run for it, scurrying downhill while their compatriots tried to form ranks. After the phalanx was broken, which happened with astonishing ease, the Ouolkoi footmen unleashed their hounds. Huge dogs, larger than any Xerxes had ever seen, galloped after the retreating Hellenes and bore down on their prey like wolves.  Men screamed in terror, but were cut off when the beasts’ massive jaws clamped down upon their unprotected necks. Those that made it to the river tried to swim across. Most drowned from the weight of their armor, but some were wise enough to throw off some of their armor before taking to the water. However, this left them exposed long enough to be run down by the Celtic cavalry, who thundered out of the shadows of the forest and lopped off the heads of any man in reach.
With all of this going on around him, Xerxes could hardly think straight. He drew his sword, a single edged curved blade similar to those used by the Asvakas. He kicked his horse, and made a run for it, running not back towards the river, but forward, along the path.
Arrows flew overhead, many hitting only trees. For a moment, Xerxes thought he actually had a chance of escape, but that was before the world fell out from under him.
His horse, struck by an arrow, flung itself onto the forest floor, and launched Xerxes clear off its back. All he remembered was seeing the ground move closer and closer towards his face—then darkness.
When he finally came to, all Xerxes could feel was an intense pain in his head. He opened his eyes, slowly. It took him a while to realize what was going on, and where he was, but it sank in not after too long. He was laying, stripped of all cloths, on a thin bed of straw next to what was left of his army. He was glad to see that there were at least a few hundred still alive, but he knew that it wasn’t much to be glad for. If they weren’t killed outright, they would be sold into slavery. They were all chained by the neck, and bound.
“He’s awake! He’s awake!” The survivor next to him said. “Someone get him some water!”
There were some murmurs throughout the army, or what was left of it. They were sitting outside in a field. Ouolkoi on horses patrolled the mob. They had those monstrous hounds with them on leashes just long enough to nip at the corralled prisoners. To the south was the main encampment. It didn’t look all that different from a Greek encampment from afar.
“Here, Indikos,” one man gasped as he handed Xerxes a small bowl filled with water. “Drink.”
“We were worried you were going to die,” another whispered.
Xerxes took the water and drank it slowly. It tasted foul, and he was certain that there was something solid in there, but it was better than nothing. Xerxes looked around at his men. They were all chained, all stripped naked. The man who sat next to him was so covered in bruises he looked like he was from India—he was one of the luckier ones. Many men were clutching where their manhood used to be, while others tenderly nursed their hands, still burning from the brand.
“What do we do?” yet another prisoner asked, clutching at Xerxes’ feet like he was a god. “What can we do?”
It didn’t take much longer for the Ouolkoi to hear that Xerxes was awake and alive. Later that night, there was a commotion on the outskirts of the prisoner mob. Three armed Ouolkoi callously beat men out of their way, those who were not wise or strong enough to move. The sheer size of the Ouolkoi never ceased to impress Xerxes, even when they pulled him up by his neck like a pup, and dragged him off. There was some dessent amongst the prisoners, but Xerxes reminded them before any more of them got killed to survive.
Xerxes was dragged through the Ouolkoi camp in chains. He knew that he was being heckled and laughed at, though he didn’t understand the Ouolkoi language. Xerxes reflected quietly about how remarkable it was that despite the superficial differences between people of different cultures and lands, they were all essentially the same. A harsh tug at his neck made him stumble. That gave his captors a good laugh. They seemed to be repeating the same word over and over: “Maruvassorix”. 
Xerxes had no idea what it meant specifically, but he knew that they were calling him it.
With another tug, a shove, and one last muttered, “Maruvassorix,” he was forced into a massive tent and brought to his knees. His captors forced him to stare at the floor. He did so, but they hit him anyway.
An argument broke out. He couldn’t see who was saying what, let alone listen to what they were saying, but he could tell that the three men who brought him here were getting angry. Somewhere before him were the voices of two elderly men, and a woman. The argument was getting heated. A sword was drawn. Xerxes could feel the cold steal pressed against the back of his neck.
“Sistat!” He heard the woman command.
Xerxes closed his eyes, and waited for the blade to fall upon his neck, but it never came. The sword was sheethed, and with what sounded like some very nasty words, the three men left the tent. Xerxes waited for something to happen.
“You may stand,” the woman said in thickly accented Koine. “It is not fit for a king to be brought so low.”
Xerxes stood, and looked up. The tent was lavishly decorated. A fire burned in its center, where some of those massive dogs laid. The ground was covered in skins: bear, wolf, deer, beever, and sheep. Standing before him was the princess he had seen all those years ago in Pellas. She was still as bright and fierce as he remembered her. Behind her were two older men. They were frail, and had thick bronze bands placed above their brows. 
“I am Iouinaballa, the daughter of Acichorios who is king of the Ouolki.”
“I know who you are,” Xerxes croaked. The shackles around his neck made speech somewhat difficult. “I was there the day Orestes Basileus of Makedonia was murdered.”
“We did not murder him,” one of the men behind her intoned.
“I know,” Xerxes said.
“Those men who brought you to me,” Iouinaballa said, “They wanted the honor of presenting your head to me. But there is no honor in taking the head of a naked man who rules over a rabble of captured slaves. I know, too, who you are. You are the one they call Kwerkez. You once ruled a land in the far east.”
Xerxes ignored the fact that she couldn’t pronounce his name. He probably couldn’t pronounce hers either.
“I am he.”
“Uinom,” she said over her shoulder. A moment later, a servant appeared carrying two chalices filled with wine. “Drink. It is good.”
Xerxes did drink, and it was indeed quite good.
“The king whose other army you led,” Iouinaballa spoke slowly, as if she was taking great care to say the right words. “Perosh, he is marching from the south.”
“Pyrros leads an army from the south, yes.”
“He does not come to save you, though,” She said. “He knows of your defeat, but he does not come to save you.”
“He comes for Makedonia.”
“He comes for his own pride.”
“Perhaps,” Xerxes agreed. Pyrros was somewhat egotistical. “But if he knew that I lived, he would come for my recovery.”
“No, he won’t.” Iouinaballa said. “And I will prove it to you.”
The water was freezing cold. It felt like needles were stabbing at every inch of his skin. He hoped this would work. He squirmed and shifted as the river pulled him under. Then he felt it; the chains slipped off. Iouinaballa had kept her word and spared his life, but let’s see if Pyrros held up his end of the bargain.
Desperate, Xerxes swam downriver with the current. The violence was raging all around. Everytime he came up for air, all he heard was battle, and all he saw was carnage… but no dispatches from the Hellenic forces ever came after him. Indeed, he saw the cavalry run right by the rivers edge, but they were giving chase, and not one of the horsemen stopped to search for Xerxes.
Hours later, when Xerxes finally gave up, he pulled himself onto a pebbled bank. He was shivering violently with the cold. He was well outside the battle, but he could smell the death in the water as human remains began to flow downstream.
He heard soft footsteps, and a warm hand on his shoulder. “I am sorry,” Iouinaballa whispered. “I truly am.”
“Thought I was dead, didn’t you,” Xerxes snarled. “Thought you’d never have to worry about ordering a King of Kings again, did you?”
“Xerxes, calm down,” Pyrros said.
“Pick up your sword,” Xerxes said. “If there is anything I have learned in my time with the Ouolkoi, it is that a king deserves at least that much before he dies.”
“They saw me,” Xerxes said. “And now your fears have been realized, haven’t they?”
“I don’t know what—“
“PICK UP YOUR SWORD!”
 Julius Caesar described Gallic hounds as something similar to what we would identify as an Irish Wolfhound. Since there seems to be some evidence for the Volcae having bred large hounds, I figured they would probably be of similar stock.
 Roughly, “High King of the Slaves”
 Druids, contrary to modern imaginations, wore crowns instead of cloaks.
Chapter Five: To Live And Die By Fire
Part Seventeen: The Barfight
“So, long story short, we don’t know exactly how Pyrros died,” Aedono said between sips of wine. “I mean, it seems pretty likely that he was just killed by the mob in that last mutiny, but who knows!”
“I thought Xerxes Indikos killed him?” Naomiash said. In the dim light of the bar, her face still looked intently interested. In the rear of the establishment, a crew of traveling musicians from Muskokia blasted loud and excited rythms. The bar was filled with people who had come to see them, but also to drink and smoke. Aedono was, frankly, really fucking surprised that he and his exotic date were even able to hold a conversation in this place, let alone one about ancient history.
“That’s just an old legend.” Aedono didn’t want to sound condescending, but he knew somehow, someway, he was going to end up sounding like it. “About a hundred years after his death, some historian wrote that the army had mutinied because the ghost of Xerxes was seen walking through the camp, and that he has murdered Pyrros out of some twisted kind of revenge for not saving him, or something. But, the historian also said that the Ouolki prince born about a year later was Xerxes’ son, and… come on! I mean it’s really cool sounding, and it makes for awesome books and drama and stuff, but…”
“I know what you are saying,” Naomiash said.
At that moment, one of the musicians stepped forward, and began to strum a strange stringed instrument slowly. It was a hard, yet lazy tune that repeated twice. Then suddenly, as if out of no where, a fast, excited, beautiful roll of notes played, and suddenly quite possibly the best song Aedono had ever heard began at full blast. The musicians fingers slid and plucked and moved up and down the neck of his intstument with a grace unseen by any in the venue before. The singer came forward, and with a drawling, lazy accent sang:
“Clean as a whistle,
Smelling like a rose.
She got no dirty little fingers,
Blood shot eyes are gone!
Tell me I’m wrong!
Twice as hard,
As it was the first time
I said goodbye!
And no one ever want to know,
Love ain’t funny.
Crime in the wink of an eye!” 
“I really like these musicians!” She said excitedly. “Where are they from again?”
“I think they said they were from Muskokia,” Aedono said, transfixed. “That… that’s amazing. I’ve never heard anything like it!”
The band really was something different. The drummer was a massive man with skin the color of clay, his hair long and black. Blue tattoos swirled up and down his muscled arms that beat drums with thin wooden sticks at a fast, excited pace. There were three men playing stringed instruments. One was clearly of Libyan origin , and plucked at an instrument with three fingers. The other two must have been of Celtican heritage, because they, like the drummer, had the blue tattoos swirling along their skin. The singer Aedono couldn’t put his finger on where he was from, however; he had the coloration of one of his Celtican bandmates, but he lacked the tattoos and sang with a strange accent that drawled and dropped certain letters while drawing out others for no particular reason. His hair was long and wavy, and around his neck hung a gold necklace.
When the song ended, the bar fell silent for a moment, but a moment only. Then a roar of applause filled the room, and Aedono was sure to join it.
“THAT WAS AWESOME!” Aedono shouted above the applause.
The night went on, and more and more Aedono felt like he and Naomiash were connecting somehow. He wasn’t used to having a girl like her pay so much attention to him, but he by no means complained. He made his way over to the bar to get another round of drinks for them: this time he was thinking Qanabos Tea . He was feeling good, pretty damn buzzed, but all that went out the window when he heard the voice behind him:
“Fuck, what’s the Grico doing here?”
Favion Ignatié. That jackass.
Aedono felt someone grab his shoulder, and sure enough, it was Favion. “What the fuck are you doing here, Grico?”
Maybe it was the drinking, maybe it was the music, maybe it was the fact that Aedono was almost positive he was going to fuck the hottest woman he’d ever seen tonight, but somehow Aedono said something he never thought he’d say:
“Fuck off, Favion, and let me drink!”
The fist came faster than he’d expected it to. He was reeling, he could see stars.
“THE FUCK DID YOU JUST STAY, GRICO!”
Favion was on him fast. Aedono was too busy getting beat up that he didn’t notice that the music stopped. He looked up, and saw someone grab Favion’s arm. It was the singer, towering over Favion.
“You don’t like Gricos?”
“Fuck, who does?” Favion said, drunk.
“My wife’s a Grico,” the singer said. “And as a matter of fact, my mother was one, too.”
And for the first time, Aedono saw Favion actually look scared. Before Aedono could even blink, the bar was a riot of violence. He couldn’t help but smile through his busted lip as he saw Favion and some of his friends who had come to support him get their asses handed to them by the musicians. Aedono rushed back to Naomiash at their table.
“What is going on? Ymanyel Meziach! What happened to your lip?”
“We need to get out of here now,” Aedono said, smiling despite the gravity of the situation. “The City Guard will be here soon.”
“My place?” She said, taking his hand.
 I refuse to believe that a universe can possibly exist where some genius did not write the song “Twice As Hard”. It is simply impossible, it’s so damn good. Here's the song
 African, that is. Before the Roman general Africanus took over Africa, it was known as Libya. Essentially, this guy is black.
 Marijuana tea, which was actually a drink favored by the Carthaginians
The Weighted Scales: A World of an Aborted Rome
Apparently it's the best Ancient TL of 2011. Oh Baby!