The Glory of Rome [DONT POST]
This is just my Roman Timeline, without any of the discussions associated with it, to facilitate easy reading. Please, if you're not me (or Ian, I'll let ya post, since it's your board. ), don't post.
The Expansion of the Empire
This timeline diverges from ours in the winter of the year 47 BC. At that time, Julius Caesar, dictator of Rome, was fighting King Ptolemy XIII of Egypt. While in battle, Caesar's forces set fire to Ptolemy's fleet, anchored in the harbor of Alexandria. The fire soon spreads to the Museum of Alexandria and a dockside warehouse full of scrolls ready for export. The Museum
of Alexandria was actually more of a University and survived the fire fairly intact, except for the loss of its well known Library (which is more well known than the Museum now). If the wind was blowing in a different direction that day, the Library might very well have been saved.
The effects of this divergence might not be readily apparent and history would march on almost virtually identical to ours. After all, there is some dispute over whether or not the Library was actually destroyed at this time. So, it is safe to say that, for the most part, there would be no change to history for some time. Julius Caesar is still murdered on the Ides of March, 44 BC. The Civil Wars still continue until Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus defeats Marcus Antonius at the Battle of Actium and becomes the first Roman Emperor and assumes the name Augustus. His early reign proceeds as it did in our time, until the year 4 BC.
In 4 BC, the Legate of Syria was one Publius Quinctillius Varus, who was finishing up his administration there. Varus was related to Augustus by marriage and was a good friend of the Emperor. In our history, he would go on to command the legions in Germania, get ambushed by a Germanian warlord named Armenius, thus ruining any hope of Roman expansion into the area. However, in this timeline, he decides to take a trip to Egypt and check out the marvelous Library before returning to Rome. While in Egypt, he takes a tour of the Nile and drowns. This event, though less remarkable than the saving of the Library, is ultimately more momentous.
With Varus out of the picture, in AD 6, Augustus will appoint Tiberius Claudius Nero, currently next in line to become Emperor, to pacify Germania Magna. Tiberius' nephew and adopted son Germanicus Julius Caesar, who happens to be next in line after Tiberius to become Emperor. While in Germania, they are also charged with the task of conquering the Marcomanni tribe residing in Bohemia. Though there were some difficulties, such as when the supposedly pacified tribes rose up while the bulk of the Roman forces were fighting the Marcomannni, by the time Augustus dies in AD 14, the area is largely secured and a string of forts line the Albis (Elbe) river. Germania Magna would now be organized into the provinces of Marcomania to the south and Cheruscia to the north. Germanicus is left behind to crush the Quadi, a tribe allied to the Marcomanni, while Tiberius returns to Rome to become Emperor.
Tiberius Claudius Nero ruled the Empire from AD 14 to AD 24, when he died of illness. His reign was most notable for the campaigns against the Quadi (conducted by Germanicus) and a major revolt in Achaea (Greece) and Macedonia.
The campaign was a resounding success, resulting in the expansion of the Roman Empire to the Viadrus (Oder) river. Germanicus proved himself as a very capable and shrewd commander in the fall of AD 22. Several conquered tribes (most notably, the Suebi, Semnones, Chauci, and Boii), as well as some as yet unconquered tribes (such as the Teutones and Carpi) assaulted the main Roman force, at the small outpost of Verbonia, near the mouth of the Viadrus. The Legions only had the support of one tribe, ironically the Quadi, which they had been sent to conquer in the first place (one account states that Germanicus himself was saved in battle by the heroic efforts of one young Quadi warrior). Though the numbers and terrain were against him, Germanicus developed a clever strategy. He ordered his forces to not attack the Suebi or Chauci forces. As the battle wore on, the other tribes noticed this and grew suspicious. A few well placed spies later, and the coalition crumbled into attacking each other, making for an easy Roman victory. In fact, reports say that there were more coalition casualties from attacking each other than there were from the Romans.
Upon their surrender, all of the opposing tribes were essentially deported to the far reaches of the empire as slaves. The Quadi, meanwhile, were rewarded for their loyalty and many Quadi chieftains soon found themselves in important positions in the new province of Quadia (the southern region of the newly conquered territory). To their north would be Langobardia. Though the Langobardi were actually a tribe native to the west side of the Albis, many of them had joined the Legions in the Quadi campaign (though their absence during the battle of Verbonia is suspicious) and were now living in the area. Further to the north would soon be the client kingdom of the Angli (Denmark), Regnum Anglae. Though this region was still unconquered, Germanicus was preparing a punitive campaign against the Teutones and their Cimbri allies. This campaign would be largely complete by the time he was recalled to Rome in AD 24, mainly due to the fact that the bulk of the Teutones' forces had been destroyed at Verbonia and the assistance of the very compliant Angli tribe. Still, the region would not be completely pacified for a few more years.
Meanwhile, to the south, there were problems in Greece. The governor of Achaea, Tiberius Julius Magnus, was not very liked by the people. The main reason was that the taxes he imposed on the people were too high, though he had some personal traits that weren't very admirable either (one -almost certainly exaggerated- account states that he raped a hundred upper-class young ladies). Whatever the exact causes were, Julius Magnus soon found himself murdered by a mob in AD 19. Soon, all of Achaea, as well as much of Macedonia were in revolt. The revolt lasted for 4 years, finally being crushed in December of AD 22 when Thessalonica, the last rebel holdout, fell. The entire population was supposedly enslaved and replaced with people from Italia, though this is probably an exaggeration. Still, the city did become an enclave of Latin-speakers for awhile, in an almost universally Greek-speaking region. The revolt also kept any Legions in the area from assisting Germanicus at Verbonia. Other than that, the major significance of the revolt is that the Kingdom of Dacia to the north had supported the rebels. This would soon prove fatal for the Dacians.
However, before anything could be done, Tiberius died and Germanicus returned to Rome to become the third Emperor. Tiberius' reign was most noted for the actions of others (Germanicus of Julius Magnus), though he was a fairly competent ruler. However, he had the unfortunate fate to be emperor right after Augustus, arguable the greatest Rome ever saw. Had Tiberius ruled during later years, when the Empire was collapsing, he might have been more appreciated. As it was, he was regarded as an average, almost mediocre ruler. He left the Empire in the capable hands of Germanicus, who soon began plans to invade impetuous (and relatively wealthy) Kingdom of Dacia.
Germanicus Julius Caesar ruled from AD 24 until AD 51. His reign would see the conquest of Dacia and the restoration of the Kingdom of Judea. He spent most of his reign outside of Rome, usually campaigning, often accompanied by his eldest son, Drusus Julius Caesar, leaving the day to day affairs in the city to his younger brother, Claudius Nero Germanicus, and his son, Nero Julius Caesar.
The Dacian campaign began in the year AD 25 as Germanicus led his legions over the Danube river into Dacia. Supporting him was an army of Quadi auxiliaries and Carpi allies. Allied with Dacians were Metatiastae, Costoboci, and the Roxolani. The Quadi and Carpi mainly faced the Metatiastae and the Costoboci, while the Romans fought the Dacians and Roxolani. The Dacians surrendered in the year 29, and the main Roman force went to assist their allies, while the remainder continued to fight the Roxolani. The barbarians manage to hold down the main force long enough for the Dacians to rise up and attack the smaller Roman army left behind against the Roxolani, and wipe them out. The situation seemed dire, but the Costoboci and Metatiastae were nearly defeated by this point, and they don't hold out much longer. By the time the Dacians and Roxolani reach them, the Romans, Quadi and Carpi are ready and waiting. The campaign again turned in favor of the Romans and the Dacians again surrendered in 34, and the Roxolani in 37. The newly conquered territory was divided into the provinces of Dacia Superior and Inferior in the southern central region, Roxolania in the northeast, and Costobocia in the north-northwestern area, as well as the formalization of the Carpi lands into a client state (Regnum Carpae), which would later be formally annexed into the empire as the province of Carpia. Germanicus spent the next two years fortifying the new border along the Tyras (Dniester) river before returning to Rome. Germanicus would leave Rome in AD 41, to conduct of tour of the border provinces of the empire, starting in Anglia and ending in Syria in AD 48.
While Germanicus was away, Claudius was responsible for most of the administrative details of the empire. Nero died in 30, due to excessive drinking (he died much the same way as did Attila the Hun). A close friend of Claudius and Germanicus was Herod Agrippa, a member of the royal family of Judea, a former ally of Rome that had been absorbed into the Empire. Herod's lifelong ambition was the independence of Judea, with him as King. His loyalty and amiable relations with the Imperial family would prove to be the means to this end. in AD 34, by Imperial decree, the Kingdom of Judea would be restored as a client state of Rome, though this new kingdom didn't actually include the region of Judea. The usurper Herod Antipas would try to claim the throne in AD 39, though he ultimately failed. Agrippa sent him as a prisoner to Rome, where Germanicus, back from Dacia, exiled him to Macromania. To shore up the Kingdom, Germanicus added Peraea and Galilee, and later, in the year 48, added Judea and Samaria. This restored the totality of the Kingdom of Judea and created a staunchly allied client state out of what had been a troublesome and rebellious province.
Germanicus went down in history as one of Rome greatest military leaders, and a competent administrator, though the latter was mainly due to the actions of his brother, Claudius. His military exploits were on par with Julius Caesar himself, and Germanicus actually conquered more new territory for Rome than Caesar did. Germanicus left the empire to his son, Drusus Julius Caesar, whose reign would be cut tragically short.
Drusus Julius Caesar ruled Rome from late AD 51 to early AD 54. During his principate, King Herod would die, an agricultural revolution would be born in Cheruscia, and the Vandali would launch a major raid into Langobardia.
King Herod Agrippa died in AD 53. He saw to the restoration of the Kingdom and was loved by his people for it. His line would rule Judea for nearly 300 years, producing many good kings. Herod also persecuted the Christians in Judea with much vigor, as did many of his successors (often Christians were more persecuted by the Jews than they were by the Romans).
During AD 53, an Alexandrian by the name of Heron (or Hero) visited a friend in Cheruscia [just to note, nobody is sure when Heron actually lived. I've seen reports ranging from various times in the first century BC, to the second century AD. This timeframe is the most likely though]. Heron had recently invented the aeolipile, a primitive steam engine, and an overshot waterwheel (there is evidence that they existed previously, but Heron showed that overshot waterwheels were the most efficient). He also hoped to one day apply the aeolipile to the same use as a waterwheel, though he never did create a practical design (but filled the Library of Alexandria with various ingenious but flawed ideas and designs). Heron had been corresponding with his friend for some time and decided to visit him at his large villa. While there, Heron heard of his friend's troubles, which Heron, being the inventor he is, did his best to address them. Heron improved on the crop rotation method, has some waterwheels built on the villa, and invented the moldboard plow, to effectively work the soil. The failing villa becomes more and more productive, and within a few years, it was the most productive in the region. Slowly, other villas begin to adopt the methods and, by the year 100, populations in Europe were expanding rapidly.
Also during this time, the Vandali had been raiding the border provinces, which finally prompted action on the part of Drusus. Though the raiders are defeated and sent running back beyond the Viadrus, Drusus is hit in the left eye by a stray arrow and dies in battle, snuffing out his plans to invade the Vandali.
Drusus' reign was fairly uneventful until the end, so it is difficult to judge what his ability. The principate would pass to his uncle, Claudius, who proved to be a surprisingly apt ruler.
Claudius Nero Germanicus reigned from AD 54 to AD 65. While he ruled Rome, the Vandali were conquered and work was begun of the Claudian Amphitheater. Claudius also made several reforms to the government and enfranchised many provincials.
Claudius' decision to campaign against the Vandali is intriguing. On the one hand, he felt that Rome had expanded enough along that border and that his time would be better spent focusing on administrative details, or at least conquering Britannia, which he saw as more valuable. On the other hand, the Vandals did just kill the emperor, and many cried for revenge, plus the Vistula river would make a better border, as its source was close to that of the Tyras, providing an almost complete natural border. Claudius eventually did decide to attack, and in the year AD 55, the campaign had begun. The Romans only had the Carpi to the south as allies, while the Vandali had rallied the Lugii, Burgundiones, Lemovii, and Rugii to their cause. Just beyond the Vistula, the Gothones and Sciri had pledged not to interfere, but that was the extent of Roman support in the region. The early campaign focused mainly Lugii and the Burgundiones, to divide the Vandali from their allies, while the Carpi kept the Vandali from threatening the Roman thrust. This phase was finished by AD 57, at which point the Romans focused on the Rugii (defeated by 58), leaving the Lemovii completely surrounded by Romans. They held out until AD 60, and the Vandali were defeated later that year. Though the campaign was relatively quick (5 years compared to the Dacian campaign's 13), it was one of the bloodier wars fought by Rome against the barbarians (about 30% more casualties than the Dacian campaign), which is surprising when one considers how relatively lightly populated the area was. Because of this (and due to a nasty winter that Claudius experience while he was touring the forces), Claudius decreed that Rome should expand no further in this direction. The Legions agreed holeheartedly. The conquered territory was divided up into the provinces of Lemovia (in the north), Burgundia (in the center), and Vandalia (in the south).
Work was begun on the Claudian Amphitheater when Claudius returned from the campaign shortly in AD 58. It would not be completed until AD 72, and was the largest amphitheater in the Empire, capable of holding 80,000 spectators (compared to the 55,000 person capacity of OTL's Flavian Amphitheater).
While Empreor, Claudius reformed much of the empire, centralizing it while simultaneously increasing the standing of the provinces, by appointing several provincials to the senate, as well as granting citizenship to many loyal and romanized provincials. He also converted several client kingdoms into provinces, including Mauretania, Lycia, Noricum, Tracia, Carpia, and Anglia.
Claudius would eventualy die of old age in AD 65 (at 75 years old) and leave the empire to his son Tiberius Claudius Vandalius, named in honor of his father's conquests (OTL's Britannicus). Claudius would be remembered well by the provinces and lower classes, but not very well by the Senate and aristocracy.
Tiberius Claudius Vandalius ruled from AD 65 to AD 79. His reign would see the completion of the Claudian Amphitheater, the conquest of Britannia, and the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
Vandalius decided in AD 67 to conquer Britannia. A few fabricated tales of piracy and he was off to secure the region for the Roman Empire. With the support of the local Trinobantes, the legions conquered the coastal tribes of the Centii, Belgae, and Duranonii by AD 69. The Iceni fell in early 71 and the Silvres were conquered in 72. The only remaining opposition in the region were the Ordovices and Brigantes, who stood together under the leadership of the charismatic leader, Ariovistix. He proved to be a formidable opponent and it took the Romans until 75 to conquer the Ordovices. The Brigantes (who now included many of the Ordovices among their number) still stood defiantly and the Romans, decided to offer Ariovistix a peace treaty. He accepted, which ensured his people's independence for the time being. The conquered territory was organized into the province of Britannia and Vandalius returned to Rome a hero.
Upon his return, the Senate awarded him the title Brittanicus, which he also insisted be bestowed upon the general who was actually responsible for most of the success, Marcus Flavius Verus. Vandalius also adopts Verus as his son and heir, making him Tiberius Claudius Vandalius Flavianus Britannicus. Vandalius did this because he had no heirs of his own. He had only two children, one boy (who died a few years before), and a daughter (who he married to Britannicus to further cement the relation). Many historians have theorized that Vandalius was a homosexual, which would help to explain why he and his wife, Valeria Quinta, did not spend much time together (and why Vandalius had no objections to Valeria's frequent affairs).
The rest of Vandalius' reign would be mundane, until the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79, which buried the towns of Pompeii and Herculanium. Vandalius happened to be visting the area at the time and helped to organize the evacuation of Pompeii (though the Praetorian guard wanted to leave the area, for his safety and, of course, their own). Sadly, Vandalius would die within the week, almost certainly due to the eruption.
Vandalius was yet another Emperor who earned his fame by conquering new territory and, except for his dramatic death, does not stand out much. He was the last Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, though some consider Brittanicus and his son to be the last members, as he married into the family (though the son was actually born to a previous wife). Still, Vandalius was the last blood relative of Caesar and Augustus to rule the empire, and he ruled well enough.
Tiberius Claudius Vandalius Flavianus Britannicus was Emperor from AD 79 to AD 96. During his principate, the Brigantes would be defeated and Caledonia (Scotland) and Hibernia (Ireland) would be conquered.
In AD 81, Britannicus made an alliance with the Caledonii, a tribe which had been attacked frequently by the Brigantes and was on the verge of collapse. Britannicus, along with his son, Manius Flavius Verus, then campaigned against the Brigantes. Though the Brigantes put up a tough fight, they could not withstand the combined offensive and were crushed in AD 85. Ariovistix was sent back to Rome as a captive, and his people's territory was split up between the Roman province of Britannia and the Regnum Caledonae (Kingdom of Caledonia), the new client kingdom formed there.
Britannicus then established a few forts along the coast of Britannia and on the Hibernian coast, to defend against the Hibernian Brigantes, who held a grudge against the Romans for the conquest of their Britannic brethren. Britannicus then returned to Rome, leaving the Legions in Britannia under the command of his son. Verus, eager for glory of his own, decided to conquer Hibernia. He campaigned against the Brigantes and their allies, the Eblani, Hibernii, and Robogdii, in AD 90, claiming that they had raided one of the coastal forts. By AD 95, the entire island was under Roman control as the new province of Hibernia. For this, Verus was given the title Hibernicus.
In that same year, Britannicus died. His reign was almost totally marked by military matters. The Principate would then pass on to his son who was still in Hibernia.
Manius Flavius Verus Hibernicus ruled Rome from AD 96 to AD 98. Nothing particularly interesting happened during his reign, though Hibernicus himself is an interesting character.
Hibernicus devoted most of his reign to pleasure, leaving major administrative details unattended. He squandered much of the large surplus left by previous emperors, most of it spent on the large and lavish estate he built for himself in Rome (the palace would be torn down after his death and the grounds would be opened to the public as a large park/zoo). He also picked up the bizarre habit of wearing pants (perceived as feminine or barbaric clothing in ancient Rome) while living in the north, and he even once forced the entire Senate to wear pants for a session. He also humiliated the Senate by proclaiming his wife, Justina, consul (though she actually did a good job in that capacity, especially in contrast to her hedonistic husband).
Eventually, he alienated the Senate enough that they murdered him in late September of AD 98. Upon the assassination, the Senate briefly considered restoring the republic, but the praetorian guard was opposed to such an idea. Therefore, they proclaimed a popular Senator, Decimus Viridius Aurelius, as Emperor.
Hibernicus went down in history as a lazy hedonist, though he was an apt military commander. Perhaps if he had actually put his military talents to use during his principate, he would have been remembered in a better light. As it was, he has the dubious distinction of being the first Roman Emperor to be assassinated.
Decimus Viridius Aurelius reigned as Emperor of Rome from AD 98 to AD 115. His reign would be mostly uneventful, except for the reception of a envoy from the Han Empire of Serica (China), Gan Ying.
We must now take a brief interlude to examine events to the east. From AD 80 to AD 97, the Han General Ban Chao had campaigned along the silk road, so that the nations lying on it would be under the control of the Han. The campaign culminated with a crushing victory over the Hunni. Based on the shores of the Mare Caspium (Caspian Sea), Ban Chao sent out an envoy, Gan Ying, to make contact with the empire known to them as Da Qing; the Roman Empire. Gan eventually reached the Pontus Euxinus (Black Sea). He then decided to board a ship to reach his destination and was almost dissuaded by a local sailor who told him exaggerated stories of the dangers of the voyage. However, Gan was a man of duty and decided to continue on, though he went by land. He journeyed through Armenia, into Roman Anatolia, and on to Italia.
Gan Ying eventually reached the Eternal City in the year AD 99. He and his entourage created quite a stir in Rome. Rome impressed them equally, with its tall buildings, gardens, and gigantic public works. Gan Ying would tell stories of Han Serica, to the delight of his Roman hosts. It was soon realized that both empires would have much to offer each other. In fact, in a letter written by Gan to Ban Chao stated that Rome and Serica were "but opposite sides of the same coin".
Gan would eventually return home in AD 103, leaving some of his entourage behind, and taking some Roman envoys along. Over the course of Aurelius' reign, diplomatic missions would be sent back and forth, strengthening relations between the Han and Roman Empires, to the growing concern of the Parthians, who did not wish to be surrounded by an alliance of the two most powerful nations in the world.
Aurelius died a peaceful death in AD 115, after a peaceful and prosperous reign that gave Rome time to breathe after its many conquests to the north, and was succeeded by his adopted son Tiberius Quintus Cosmus, a popular politician. Though Aurelius was a firm supporter in the republic and actively made reforms to expand the power of the Senate (largely by making many Imperial provinces into Senatorial provinces), the military (and, to a lesser degree, the Roman people) wanted an emperor, and Aurelius had to adopt Cosmus, renaming the future emperor Decimus Viridius Aurelius Cosmianus.
Decimus Viridius Aurelius Cosmianus' principate lasted from AD 115 to AD 134. The majority of his reign would be consumed by the war with Parthia, lasting from AD 118 to AD 132.
The war came about for a variety of reasons, the most important of which were the Parthian's fear of losing control over the trade routes between Rome and Serica, and a dispute over the succession of the Armenian throne. As the Han and Roman Empires worked out various trade treaties, they began to look for ways to circumvent the Parthians, who had grown rich simply by being in between the two Empires. Cosmianus had been sending out exploratory fleets around Africa and Arabia, in the hopes of replacing the land route through Parthia with a sea route. He even considered sending ships west, and reach Serica that way, but that plan was eventually deemed unfeasible. Still, it was only a matter of time before the Parthians lost complete control of the silk trade. So Parthia wanted to ensure its safety from Rome, and Rome (and to a slightly lesser degree, the Han) wanted to eliminate Parthia from the silk trade.
Then, in Armenia, disaster struck. Armenia was the main buffer state between Rome and Parthia, sometimes siding with one, sometimes the other. In the year 116, the Armenian king Arsaces I died without an heir. The nation was under the influence of Parthia at the time, so a Parthian candidate,Tiridates, who happened to the nephew of the Parthian King, Osroes, became king. This was an intolerable situation for Rome, as it could lead to Armenia becoming integrated into the Parthian Empire. In AD 118, the Roman Empire thus went to war with the Parthians, and the fate of the world changed forever.
The Roman plan was to launch a two pronged attack into Parthian territory, one army attacking to the north, and the second army attacking to the south. The northern army, under the command of Quintus Domitius Nepos, was to secure Armenia, then march eastward through Media, towards the Parthian homeland. The southern army, under the command of Gaius Barrius Avitus, was to hold the border until the northern army had most of the Parthian military after it, at which point they would invade Mesopotamia and head along the Persian coast, securing the prosperous Parthian subkingdoms of Elymais and Persis. The Parthian strategy was to take Judea and Egypt, thus preventing Rome from trading with the Han by sea. Losing Armenia would be an acceptable setback, if it came to that.
[to have an idea of what's going on, you might want to check out these pages.
In the first year, Nepos marched uncontested into Armenia, where his and his legions were relatively well received. He then continued into the subkingdom of Atropatene in Media. There, he face some stiff resistance. Meanwhile, the Parthians marched into Judea, meeting the determined Jewish forces first at Tyre, where they managed to force the Jews back. The Parthian army pursued them, leaving part of their forces behind to lay siege to Tyre. The two armies clashed again at Caesarea, where the Parthians won a narrow victory again. However, as they lay siege to the city, the Jewish forces regrouped and attacked. The two sides would fall into stalemate for a time, though the Parthians outnumbered the Jewish army and would eventually win.
However, at that time, Avitus' legions began to march south, to meet the Parthians, who had split again, one group marching towards Eqypt, while the other went for Jerusalem, in order to secure a Jewish surrender. This allowed Avitus to meet up with the Jewish army (which was still in good order after Caesarea) and defeat the Parthians outside of Jersulam in the summer of AD 119. Avitus then turned north to Mesopotamia and laid siege to Arbela, the capital of the subkingdom of Adiabene, near the beginning of AD 120. The Jewish forces consolidated their positions and bled a large portion of the other Parthian group as it marched back to meet Avitus.
Arbela fell to the Romans just days before the Parthians reached the city. Neither side could gain a significant advantage and the situation turned into a stalemate. The situation was the same to the north, where Nepos' legions had made little progress. The war would continue in this way for until the fall of 123, with the Romans making gradual headway into Parthian territory, but having a hard time of it.
In that year, the impressive citadel of Hatra, to the southwest of Arbela, fell to Avitus' forces, and Nepos finished off the conquest of Atropatene. Meanwhile, back in Rome, Cosmianus was beginning to consider ending the campaign, after seeing how costly the early phase of the war was. However, before he could decide on this course of action, news came from Han messengers.
The Han had been eying the subkingdom of Saka (who's king was also a member of the Parthian Suren family), on the very eastern edge of the Parthian empire, hoping to collect tribute from them. The king of Saka, Gotarzes, seeing that the majority of the Parthian army was tied up in the east, decided to revolt and, hopefully, expand his kingdom (and, if things went very well, become the king of Parthia himself). He sent envoys to the Han saying that he would accept the Han Emperor as suzerain, if they would sent assistance to him. His offer was accepted and, in September of AD 123, a new front was opened in the Parthian war. When Cosmianus heard of this, his hope for the war was restored, and he ordered his commanders to renew the offensive.
As some of the Parthian forces withdrew to attack the Saka, Avitus managed to break through and march down the Tigris-Euphrates, reaching the city of Seleucia by January. Seleucia was a predominately Greek city which was dissatisfied with the Parthians and, therfore, welcomed Avitus. However, Ctesiphon, a major Parthian city which lay just across the Tigris, was not as welcoming and his forces were tied down for some time assaulting the city. Meanwhile, Nepos, who now had to deal with the majority of the western Parthian forces (who were worried about the northern Roman force linking up with the Saka) had won a string of small victories and was assaulting Rhagae.
When Ctesiphon fell, Avitus sent out envoys to the Subkingdoms of Elymais, Characene, and Persis, proposing that they become client states allied to Rome. Only Persis refused, though Characene only accepted to avoid being invaded by the much larger Elymais. Avitus then marched towards Susa and lay siege to the city. Nepos, meanwhile, found himself again in a stalemate, facing the Parthian armies outside of the Caspian gates.
Meanwhile, to the east, the Parthians were battlying the Saka outside of Asaak, to the northeast of Hecatompylos, the Parthian capital. The Parthians pushed back the Saka offensive and persued them through Nisa, Dara, and Merv. By AD 125, the Saka city of Bactra was under seige and Persian forces were attacking the south, hoping to gain territory from the rebellious subkingdom.
Despite all of these losses, the Parthians were holding their own valiantly well against increasingly bad odds. Though they only had one major subkingdom still loyal to the Parthian king, they held their own, inflicting significant losses on the Romans. Granted, most of the battles against the Romans were losses for the Parthians, but in the majority, the Roman forces suffered more casualties. In the east, the Parthians were slowly grinding away at the Saka, while they had all but completely halted the Roman forces.
Susa would not fall until 126 and Avitus would then attack Tabae, which would hold out until 128. Nepos had not gained any ground, though he inflicted more losses on the Parthians. Meanwhile, the Saka had lost Bactra and were on their last legs, even though the Han were pouring more and more support into them, and were being squeezed between the Parthians in the north and the Persians to the south. The Parthians had finally found a commander that could lead them to victory, General Sanabares, and they were optimistic that the course of the war would soon turn.
The war did turn, though it was not to turn in the Parthian's favor. An epidemic suddenly swept through the Parthian's horses, devastating the predominately calvary armies. This disaster enabled Nepos to break through the Caspian Gates and march towards Hecatompylos. Meanwhile, the Saka began to push the Parthians out of their territory, not a difficult task, considering the Parthians were rushing to defend Hecatompylos. To the southeast, Avitus was marching on Persepolis, causing the Persian armies (which were not as dependent on calvary) to also vacate Saka territory.
The year 129 would see both Persepolis and Hecatompylos under seige and the Saka expanding along all of their borders, taking Merv and Dara to the north, and pushing back the Persians to the straits of Hormuz. Sanabares reached Hecatompylos in late 129 and attacked the Romans, forcing them to abandon the siege. Sanabares began to push Nepos' legions back and would have crushed the Romans. However, while retreating, Nepos split his forces into 3 groups. The main group would continue to retreat, while the other two groups would split off to the north and south and would circle around the Parthians.
Sanabares, seeing the size of Nepos' main force, thought that the Romans must have suffered serious casualties and his army surged forward, allowing the two other groups to slip behind them and attack them just as the Parthians began to attack Nepos. Sanabares, realizing that he had been tricked, turned his troops around and charged at the rear attackers. The Parthians managed to break through and head back to Hecatompylos.
To the south, the Persians had managed to push back the Saka to their former borders again, while trying to lift the siege of Persepolis. Persepolis would ultimately fall in 130, allowing Avitus to attack the Persian forces, which, in turn, allowed the Saka to force the Persians back again, crushing the last Persian resistance by late 130.
Meanwhile, Nepos and Sanabares were going back and forth at each other. Nepos would besiege Hecatompylos, Sanabares would attack and break up the Roman forces, which would regroup and drive the Parthians off and besiege the city again, at which point the Parthians would regroup and attack. Avitus sent up half of his forces to assist Nepos, allowing him to hold the siege while attacking the Parthians. It would take until the summer of AD 132 before the city fell, at which point Osroes commited suicide, rather than be captured by the Romans. Upon hearing this, Sanabares met Nepos and surrendered his forces to the mercy of the Roman Empire. The Parthian War was over.
Armenia would become a client kingdom of Rome, as would the neutral Osroene, and the former subkingdoms of Characene and Elymais. The Tigris-Euphrates region would be divided up into the the provinces of Adiabene, just east of Osroene, then Assyria to the south, and then Mesopotamia, further to the south, bordering Characene and Elymais. To the east of Adiabene was the province of Media Inferior. East of that was Media Superior. South of Media Superior and north of Elymais was the province of Susiana. East of Elymais and Susiana lay Persia Superior, and then Persia Inferior, both along the Persian Gulf. East of Media Superior, along the Caspian coast was Hypercania. After that lay Parthia Superior and then Parthia Inferior to the south. South of Parthia Inferior and north of Persia Inferior lay the province of Carmania. East of Parthia Superior was Margiana, with Aria to the south of that. The rest of Parthian territory was now the the Regnum Sakae (kingdom of Saka). Saka was bound by treaty to pay tribute to the Han, as well as promising not to interfere in anyway with trade between its neighbors.
Avitus and Nepos would return to Rome as heros and participated in the greatest triumph Rome had ever seen. In recognition of their achievements, the Senate gave Nepos and Avitus the titles of Parthicus and Persicus, respectively. Cosmianus now had to choose one of the generals as his successor or he would certainly face the wrath of the army. He decided to choose Avitus, as Nepos was too hotheaded and blatantly ambitious, while Avitus was methodical and softspoken, and well liked by the Senate. Cosmianus would rule Rome for another 2 years and then die of old age, leaving the principate to Decimus Viridius Aurelius Avitianus Persicus.
The Decline of the Empire
Decimus Viridius Aurelius Avitianus Persicus would rule Rome between AD 134 and AD 138. He was a moderate man, though somewhat of an idealist. His reign was most noted for vast public works projects and trade expeditions.
Persicus' building projects in the city of Rome were so grand that the city of Rome was almost unrecognizable to many. When a fire broke out shortly after the beginning of his reign, he responded by rebuilding the area in a more orderly (grid) fashion and instituting stricter building codes to lessen the chance of such infernos. He also had several of the poorer sections renovated in the same way, with wider streets and public gardens. He bolstered the defenses of the city and built several public buildings, such as the Avitian Baths, Avitian Forum, and Avitian Theater.
Persicus also built such projects across the empire, though mainly in the less populated west. He established an unprecedented number of colonies, to increase the population of the European provinces, to balance out the Asian provinces larger populations. He had several new roads built, greatly increasing the overall level of commerce.
Though Persicus was tired of war and did not wish to extend the empire's borders anymore, he did expand the empire's influence. He sent out expeditions to create trading posts in various regions beyond the empire. Several posts were established along the coasts of eastern Africa and Arabia, as well as western Africa and the Prosperian Islands (Canary). Roman ships continued to carry out expeditions along the coasts, though they did not achieve Persicus' dream of circumnavigating the continent. Under his reign, the Nabatene became a client state of Rome.
In the north, the Sciri, and Aestii, and Gothones had been united into one kingdom, the Regnum Gothonia, under the charismatic chieften, Atreu. Persicus forged a defensive alliance with the young kingdom, mainly to avoid the hassle of having to go to war.
Persicus' death in AD 138 was most likely due to poisoning. His death was mourned by almost the entire empire, and his reign was marked by peace and prosperity. Around the time of his death, Parthicus happened to be visiting family in Rome, after being the governor of Mesopotamia. He also happened to have connected with the legions who had been under his command in the war, who were stationed in Africa at the time. While the Senate was debating what to do about the death of Persicus, Parthicus issued an ultimatum. Either the Senate would peacefully name him emperor, or his legions, which were now in Italy, would march into the city and he would forcefully become emperor. The Senate conceded, and Parthicus become the new Emperor of Rome.
Quintus Domitius Nepos Parthicus ruled the Roman Empire from AD 138 to AD 142. Though a brutal leader, he was also a capable administrator, who managed the empire quite well.
When Parthicus assumed power, the population of the city of Rome was around 1.5 million people. Through forced emigration, he brought the population down to 1 million, settling many of the displaced people in the European provinces, some of which were beginning to be as populated as the eastern provinces.
He also enfranchised many people in the Empire, giving them Roman citizenship, if they could speak Latin fluently and pay a fee. This action upset many in the Senate, who saw it as selling Roman citizenship. When they protested, Parthicus have many of them killed to silence their opposition.
However, Parthicus did continue many of Persicus' policies regarding the provinces and sent out trading expeditions of his own. He also had the legions start using wheelbarrows, an invention brought over by the Han, in their construction projects. During his reign, Indian numerals began to see use in the eastern provinces. These numerals were much easier to use than the Roman numerals and became very popular, at least in the east.
Late in his reign, Parthicus decided that the best way to salvage his failing popularity was to start a military campaign. To him, the best option was to campaign against the Venedae, the historic enemies of the empire's new Gothonian allies. However, this idea was very unpopular. The senate saw no need to waste Roman lives for that region, the merchants didn't want trade disrupted, the people of Rome were sick of the emperor's lack of interest with the city, and the Gothonians didn't want to risk getting invaded.
Parthicus was assassinated by the Praetorian Guard, who were prompted by Senator Quintus Trebatius Armenius, who had, ironically enough, been elevated to his position by Parthicus himself. Armenius, popular with both the Senate and the Praetorian Guard, became the next emperor.
Quintus Trebatius Armenius was emperor from AD 142 to AD 156. His reign would see much unrest and rebellion in the empire, though he managed to keep things together.
Early on, in late 142, he faced a rebellion in the eastern provinces, specifically Media Superior and Susiana. He went with the legions to quell the rebellion, conducting the effort from Seleucia Magna (formed when the Ctesiphon was incorporated into Seleucia). The revolt was crushed in 144, just as another was forming in Persia Inferior, Carmania, and Parthia Inferior. Armenius moved his base of operations to Persepolis and went about attacking the rebels. In 145, Persia Inferior fell to the Imperial forces while Aria fell to the rebels. The other rebellious provinces would capitulate in AD 148.
Just as Armenius returned to Rome in AD 149, word came of yet another rebellion in the east, this time in the client state of Elymais, which had just undergone a revolution and refused to pay tribute to Rome. Armenius would go to lead the legions against the rebels, defeating them in AD 152, and incorporating Elymais as a province.
For the next 2 years, Armenius would spend his time in Persepolis and Seleucia Magna. He would then return to Rome, where he would continue out the rest of his reign to his death in AD 156. His adopted son and successor was a general named Gaius Oranius Lysippus, who, upon his adoption became Quintus Trebatius Armenius Lysippianus.
Armenius was a exceptionally able ruler who managed both to keep the city of Rome happy (even though he spent less than half of his reign in the city) and to keep the provinces in line, though it was beginning to prove difficult. His successors would not prove to be as able.
Quintus Trebatius Armenius Lysippianus reigned from AD 156 to AD 159. While he was emperor, Roman galleys would finally circumnavigate Africa, and the east would again rebel.
Ever since Persicus was emperor, there had been sporadic Roman expeditions along the African coasts. It was only in AD 156 that they finally managed to sail around the entire continent, which was much much larger than anyone had thought. However, most of the continent was either unsuitable for habitation or too far away to be worth the effort, so the Roman presence was restricted to coastal outposts. Still, the Romans had significant influence in the region, due to their domination of trade.
Meanwhile, there was sporadic unrest in the east, requiring Lysippianus to conduct his reign from Persepolis for most of it. He skillfully commanded the legions and seemed to be able to crush revolts before they even started. Yet, the seeds of his downfall were sown in Rome, as his spent very little time, money, or attention on the Eternal city, while spending much on Persepolis.
Lysippianus eventually crushed the last of the revolts and returned to Rome in AD 159. He expected to be greeted as a hero, but instead faced an unruly and rebellious city. Within days of returning, he was found dead, murdered in his sleep. The emperor chosen by the Senate to replace him was Senator Marcus Claudius Malchus. However, Malchus was unpopular with the much of the army, who supported Titus Secundius Silvanus.
Malchus and the Senate refused the Legions' demands and civil war soon broke out. Malchus generally had the support of the legions in Europe, while Silvanus had the support of the eastern legions.
The civil war would be a short affair, though the year 160 was pretty much a stalemate. Malchus would win the battles of Byzantium and Ephesus, while Silvanus would claim victory at Antioch and Miletus. 161 saw Malchus winning at Apulum. Just when it looked as though Malchus would win, the Gothonians threw their support behind Silvanus (who promised them land in various provinces). At the battle of Aquilea, Malchus was defeated by the combined forces of Silvanus and Atreus II. Malchus then commited suicide, leaving Silvanus to become the next Emperor of Rome.
Titus Secundius Silvanus would rule Rome from AD 161 to AD 170. He was a brutally effective emperor who crushed those who opposed him and ruled the Empire with an Iron fist.
The least unpleasant aspect of his rule was the handling of the Gothonian allies. Silvanus was no fool and knew that there could be trouble if there were mass Gothonian settlements inside the Empire's borders. So, he offered them land, but only in relatively small plots, capable of supporting a few families. These plots were spread out across Europe, though most were east of the Albis. Atreus II and the other Gothonians weren't quite pleased with this, and Silvanus sent engineers to Gothonia to help the Gothonians build up their state, which placated Atreus. All in all, about 1/3 of the Gothonian people settled in the Roman Empire.
In the east, Silvanus faced the usual unrest, which had been simmering during the civil war. He spent much of his reign crushing the revolts and making examples of the rebels. Any rebellious city was totally depopulated upon capture. The population would be dispersed across the Empire. In most cases, families were broken up and settled vast distances away from each other. For some cities that did not resist too much, Silvanus showed a degree of mercy and allowed families to stay together. For the cities that resisted fiercely, anyone who wasn't crucified upon the capture was enslaved. Records indicated that populations of Anatolia and Achaea (where the majority of the rebellions occured) decreased by almost 20% during Silvanus' reign.
However, in the city of Rome itself, Silvanus was well liked and respected. Even the Senate that opposed his ascension thought well of him. However, Silvanus would ultimately die, fighting rebels in Adiabene. His death would plunge Rome into its second civil war in a decade.
On one side was Gaius Cornelius Homullus, who was popular with the Senate and the central regions of the Empire, such as Italy, Greece, Anatolia, Syria, and Egypt. Opposing him was Secundus Amaticus Darius, who was popular with the eastern areas, such as Persia (his birthplace) and Mesopotamia, as well as in Gaul and Britannia. This civil war would drag out for much longer than the previous war, as neither side could gain an advantage over the other.
AD 170 would see Homullus winning at the battle of Lutetia. In 171, Darius would claim victory at Mediolanum, while Homullus would win at Lugdunum and Sirmium. During 172, Darius would win pyrrhic victories at Thessalonica, Ancryra,and Palmrya.
In that same year, the Parthian provinces would rebel, creating a pocket empire out of Parthia Superior and Inferior, Margiana, and Aria. Meanwhile, the Venedae began to raid into Carpia, Costobocia, and Roxolania. Both Darius and Homullus were too focused on defeating each other to give any time to either of these threats.
173 would see no major battles, except for a naval engagement at Alexandria, which both sides claimed as a victory (Darius destroyed almost all of Homullus' navy, but was prevented from making a landing and was turned away). The Parthians were sending diplomatic feelers to see if they could profit from allying with either general, though this lead to nothing. The Venedae continued to raid unchallenged into Roman territory, until the Gothonians stepped in.
Seeing an opportunity to expand, Atreus II attacked the Venedae, forcing them on the defensive. Though the incursions into Roman territory would continue into 174, this gave the neutral Roman garrisons time to recover and put up some semblance of defense.
The civil war would continue on through 175, with engagements at Cyrene, Seleucia Magna, Ecbatana, and Carthago. The Gothonians continued to press the Venedae and had already defeated most of the northern tribes.
The war finally ended in AD 176 when Homullus died of malaria. His forces, who were weary of the fighting, surrendered to Darius soon after, leaving him to become Emperor.
Secundus Amaticus Darius was emperor from AD 176 to AD 187. He would re-conquer Parthia, while restoring some stability to the Empire and expanding Roman influence.
As soon as he was proclaimed emperor, Darius quickly moved to crush the Parthian revolt. His campaign was well executed, and Hecatompylos fell in AD 181. With it fell the last of the resistance. As an example of what happened to those who opposed Roman rule (and as an example of what happened when you named your capital something annoying to type), Darius had Hecatompylos razed and the ground sowed with salt. Many of the rebellious Parthians were crucified, while the lucky ones were sold into slavery. Those that didn't openly revolt were dispersed throughout the Empire. According to the records, the rebellious provinces lost about 70-80% of their population. Darius then repopulated the region with settlers primarily from Italia, Hispania, and Gaul (the most Romanized reigions of the Empire). Not surprisingly, there weren't many revolts for the rest of Darius' reign.
Darius then returned to Persepolis to govern the Empire. He decided not to govern from Rome mainly because Persepolis was much closer to the hot spots of the Empire that needed his attention, though the fact that his was born there likely played a factor in his decision. He still had many public works built in Rome and spent lavishly on the Eternal City. Still, he did do much to glorify Persepolis as well, building the Forum of Darius and the Amatican Amphitheater.
Meanwhile, the Gothonians had defeated the Venedae in a great battle, forcing the Venedae chieftens to pay tribute to Atreus II. Atreus then demanded that the Romans provide some sort of payment to the Gothonians, for defending the Empire while it was weak. Darius, who felt honor bound to do so (and didn't really want to have to deal with a hostile Gothonian kingdom), agreed. He allowed more Gothonians to settle in the Empire (most of whom settled in Lemovia and Burgundia) and married his daughter to Atreus' grandson.
Darius put new emphasis on the colonial trading posts, many of which had been abandoned during the civil wars. However, Darius' greatest project was the Canalis Aegyptum (Egyptian Canal), begun in AD 184. It would cross the Sinai, connecting the Mare Internum (Mediterranean Sea) and the Mare Rostrum (Red Sea). The Canal was definitely the grandest of Darius' projects, and possibly the greatest feat of Roman engineering to this time, though it would be delayed several times over the period of its construction.
Unfortunately, Darius died in a riding accident in the spring of AD 187, leaving the Empire to his son, Marcus Amaticus Darius. He left the Empire much more stable and secure than he found it and was remembered fondly by the Roman people.
Marcus Amaticus Darius was the Roman Emperor from AD 187 to AD 193. His early reign would be marked mainly by military campaigns, while the rest of his reign was noted for corruption and decadence.
Soon after ascending to the throne, Marcus Amaticus had to deal with the Alani who were raiding into the Caucasian states of Colchis and Iberia, both Roman client states. He made short work of the Alani, crushing them by AD 188. He then moved against the Hunni to the north and defeated them in several battles. Having dramatically weakened the two most troublesome tribes in the area, Marcus Amaticus returned to Persepolis in AD 190.
Seeking to ingratiate himself with the populace, he built several public works in the city, much more so than his father, who had focused most of his projects on Rome. Marcus, however, almost completely ignored the city of Rome. He also stopped construction on the Canalis Aegyptum. Most of the money saved by these actions went to his grand palace, the Domus Aureum (Golden House), which further angered the people of Rome.
Still, he was popular in the East, and none dared to challenge him as, despite his extravagance, Marcus was one of the most skilled generals Rome had ever seen (in every battle against the Alani and Hunni, he was outnumbered by a significant margin, and he only lost one battle). However, the Senate did have enough confidence to request that he at least continue construction on the Canal and that he use some of the Imperial funds to help repair Rome after a recent fire.
Marcus Amaticus then went to assess the situation in Rome. He received a relatively cold reception from the populace, though the Senate, eager to have their agenda addressed, did welcome him graciously. Marcus, however, annoyed with having to go to Rome in the first place, was not pleased in the least. He rounded up several upper class women, many wives or daughters of Senators, and returned to Persepolis. Upon his return, he opened up a brothel, staffed by the kidnapped women.
The people would take no more. In the winter of 193, Marcus Amaticus' brother, Titus Amaticus Darius, and his sister, Amatica Daria (with whom Marcus is supposed to have had an incestuous relationship) assassinated Marcus. Titus would now become the next emperor.
Titus Amaticus Darius reigned from AD 193 until AD 203. While he was a capable politician and administrator, he was nowhere near the general his brother was. Unfortunately, Titus also had to deal with many more military problems than Marcus had.
In Mauretania, the Gaetuli tribes were launching major raids into Roman territory. The Navari and Bastarnae were also raiding Roxolania and Costobocia. In the Caucasus, the Aorsi tribe was causing trouble, now that the Alani were out of the way. Most troublesome was that, in the east, the Kushan Empire was attacking Rome's Saka ally, the vital link between the Roman and Han empires.
Titus decided to delegate the problem of handling the barbarians to his brother's most trusted commander, Quintus Flavius Severus, while focusing his efforts on defending the Saka.
Severus first focused on the Navari and Bastarnae, defeating them by AD 194. He then went after the Aorsi, who were crushed in 196. The Gaetuli would submit in 199, though the Navari were attacking Roxolania again, forcing Severus to battle them again, achieving victory in AD 202.
Titus' campaign in the Saka Kingdom was long and drawn out, as he crisscrossed the state in a game of cat and mouse with the Kushan armies. Eventually, in the climactic battle of Maracanda in AD 197, Titus defeated the Kushans, forcing them to abandon their conquest of the Saka.
Titus didn't devote his reign solely to military matters, however. He restarted construction on the Canalis Aegyptum in AD 194, finishing it in AD 200. The canal opened with great celebration and fanfare, as ships from various parts of the world paraded through it. Titus also spent considerable effort on Rome, restoring the ailing Claudian Amphitheater and expanding the port at Ostia. Still, he prefered to govern from Persepolis.
The rest of Titus' reign would be mostly uneventful and peaceful (though Severus was busy battling barbarians) and he would die in his sleep in AD 203. His appointed successor was Appius Claudius Vincentius, a prominent and respected politician. However, Severus, who felt that Vincentius was not up to the task of defending the empire, had other plans.
Quintus Flavius Severus, upon hearing that Vincentius had ascended the throne, addressed the Senate, saying that it was time that Rome was again ruled by true Romans, not Persians with Roman names. With the support of the Senate, Severus assembled an army and was preparing to march east when Vincentius himself arrived in Rome. Vincentius proposed an alternative to a bloody civil war. Vincentius would rule the eastern parts of the Empire while Severus would rule the western parts.
Severus agreed to discuss the idea and the two went to work at dividing the Empire. The Western Roman Empire would consist of Europe and Africa, while the Eastern Roman Empire would control the Asian provinces. The only land border would be the Canalis Aegyptum, with the Western Empire reserving the right to collect northbound tolls, and the Eastern Empire collecting southbound tolls. The various islands would be go to whichever Empire they were closer to (so Crete would go to the West, while Cyprus would go to the East). The Western Empire would be governed from Rome, the Eastern Empire, from Persepolis. The two empires would also had to pledge a defensive alliance for as long as they stood. The only point of contention was the Vincentius insisted that the Eastern Emperor be first among the two (kinda like the Pope and Patriarch). However, Vincentius was able to convince Severus to agree to this eventually.
The agreement worked out, Vincentius returned to Persepolis to govern his Empire, while Severus began his reign in Rome. All around the empire, the people hailed the agreement, as they were tired of the instability and civil wars of recent years. However, their hopes for peace and quiet, at least in the west, were soon dashed by the upcoming events.
The Fall of the West
Quintus Flavius Severus would be the Western Roman Emperor from AD 204 until AD 225. Severus would be an effective emperor, though he was one of the most autocratic Rome ever saw.
Severus was a diehard Roman, who mistrusted those he viewed as barbarians, including the Gothonians (who were quite Romanized by this time), the Heruli, and even the provincials in the distant reaches of the Western Empire. This mistrust was shown clearly by his policies as emperor. He made citizenship harder to attain, increased the tax burdens of the provinces, and increased the size of the army, to quell any unrest.
These policies did not earn him any favor in the provinces, or in the city of Rome itself, which also suffered from high taxes. All in all, there were 7 official attempts on his life, each of which failed and only succeeded in making him more paranoid.
Starting in the year AD 225, Severus began to campaign against the Gothonians, a longtime ally of Rome. Severus made no attempt to hide his disdain for these longtime allies and saw them only as a powerful threat. This would be Severus' most unpopular action as emperor, and was most hated by the soldiers he was commanding, who didn't want to risk their lives fighting a longtime ally and friend. Vincentius sent several letters to Severus to try to dissuade him, but to no avail.
The first battle of the campaign was fought outside of Sciripolis, a Gothonian town on the mouth of the Vistula river. The battle began in the Romans' favor, mainly due to the fact that they outnumbered the Gothonians. However, Severus, not satisfied with his soldiers performance, rode up to the front lines, to rally his troops. At this point, his horse was hit with several arrows and collapsed. Severus fell off and was crushed under the weight.
As news of his death raced through the Roman lines, chaos overcame the Legionaries. Some commanders ordered their troops to retreat, some continued to fight, and some even surrendered to the Gothonians.
Severus would be succeeded by Gaius Julius Varus, one of his commanders. He lacked the skill of Severus, and the Legions did not have the same mixture of fear, awe, and respect of him as they had of Severus. Large portions of the invasion force deserted, some even defected, and Varus had to order a general retreat.
Gaius Julius Varus would rule the Western Roman Empire from AD 225 to AD 233. His reign would see the beginning of the disintegration of the Empire.
By the time Varus was able to restore order to the legions, things were looking grim. Over half of the readily available forces were gone, and the remainder were demoralized after losing their commander in a battle against an ally. The Gothonians had considerable momentum and were invading Roman territory across the Vistula.
In the second battle of the Gothonian War, at Colonia Neposia, Varus' legions were defeated by the Gothonian army under the command of King Visimaris. After another defeat at Castra Aurelia, Varus came to the conclusion that he couldn't win. He negotiated a treaty with Visimaris that gave the Gothonians the provinces of Lemovia, Burgundia, and Vandalia, effectively pushing the Roman frontier back to the Viadrus.
Varus then returned to Rome to address the governance of the Empire. He faced an unruly military that didn't respect him and an overtaxed populace. The only way he could see to placate the military was to raise their funding, which meant higher taxes. This, of course, proved very unpopular, and Varus was assassanited by several Senators in AD 233. Upon Varus' death, the Senate proclaimed that the Republic was restored. The situation would not work out exactly as the Senate had hoped.
In AD 233, the Roman Republic was restored with the assassination of Emperor Gaius Julius Varus. The Senate and the People of Rome would again rule.
Well, that was the idea, at least. However, there was trouble from the start. The Senate only had the loyalty of a fraction of the legions. To make matters worse, there were several charismatic and ambitious commanders in the military, just jumping at the chance to become the next Caesar.
The first general to rebel was Decius Crispus Agricola, who had the support of the African and Egyptian Legions. Meanwhile, in Hispania, the Legions supported Numerius Sidonius Trajanus. The Senate might have been able to quell these usurpers, had Trajanus been more ambitious. However, he was content to rule just Hispania and made an alliance with Agricola, preventing the Republic from playing the two commanders against each other. In addition, this treaty also prompted another general Oppius Helvetius Catus, who was supported by the legions in Germania (rougly between the Rhenus and Viadrus). Catus soon joined the new alliance, opening up yet another front on the civil war.
Still, there was hope for the Republic in the Eastern Roman Empire. They were, after all, bound by treaty to defend the Western Roman Empire. However, the Emperor of the East, Appius Claudius Diodorus, supported yet another general, Decius Tadius Balbus, popular in Thracia, Pannonia, and Dacia.
Assaulted on all sides, the Roman Republic lost battle after battle. By AD 235, Gallia was under the control of the rebels, cutting off Britannia from Italia. Cut off from Republican authority and support, the Britannic Isles became more and more autonomous, eventually declaring its own independence in AD 238.
However, the Roman Republic would be save from extinction by an unlikely ally, the Gothonian King Visimaris. With the Gothonians in the war, the war stabilized. On one side, there were the rebels, Agricola, Trajanus, and Catus. Then there was Balbus, with the backing of the eastern empire. Last, but not least, were the Roman and Britannic Republics, allied with the Regnum Gothonia.
The Civil War would drag on for another 5 years, without much change on any front of the war. It was at this time that the so called "Imperatoris Pacum" (Generals of Peace) arose. These commanders arose by appealing to the people's hopes for independence and an end to the war . The first country to rebel was Aegyptus, followed Gallia. The rebels' position seemed to be weakening, with revolts in their respective core regions. Balbus was about to press his advantage when he faced similar revolts in Pannonia and Dacia.
The Imperatoris Pacum quickly made peace with the Republicans. Those in rebel land made peace with Balbus, those in Balbus' land made peace with the rebels. The rest of the war was simply a winding down as various factions stopped fighting. The official end came in AD 247, when Aegyptus made peace with Agricola's African Empire. As the dust settled, the map of Europe was now divided into several new states.
From east to west, there was the African Empire, Hispanian Empire, Britannic Republic, Gallic Kingdom, Germanian Empire, Roman Republic (composed of Italia, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Greece, and Crete), Pannonian Kingdom, Gothonian Kingdom, Dacian Kingdom, Thracian Empire, and the Egyptian Kingdom. The Western Roman Empire was, to put it mildly, dead (though the Roman Republic would claim to be the successor, as would the Thracian Empire).
Culture and Technology, circa the Fall of the West
The varying cultures of Eurasia were intermingling, creating a diverse environment. Zoroastrian, Hindu, and Buddhist temples could be found in Europe. Christian churches and Jewish synagogues could be found in China. One could discuss Stoicism and Neoplatonism in Lo-yang, and Confucianism and Taoism in Alexandria.
In the successor states, the so-called "Latin Renaissance" (there doesn't seem to be any word in Latin to do justice to the phrase, so I'll leave it in English) began. As the states tired of war, they began to turn their attentions internally, while their populations recovered. It was a time of great monuments and public works, as the various rulers tried to legitimize and consolidate support for their rule.
A predominant theme was an increase in education, as the rulers tried to enforce proper Latin on the populace (except in Gothonia, which was forming its own language, though heavily influenced by the latin speaking population of Gothonia). They would be largely effective in this matter, though they would've been better off focusing on other subjects as well. Still, the efforts to homogenize the spoken language would help in matters such as trade and administration. Unfortunately, several languages and dialects died out during this period.
Also, by the 260s, persecution of Christians had almost completely died out in states, as the governments began to appreciate the skills of the Conlegian monks. Equally important was the shortage of manpower in Europe, and nobody really felt like killing off men simply due to religion. Even in Judea, Christians were officially tolerated during this time, though they were prohibited from proselytizing or marrying Jews. Only Egypt (and, of course, the Eastern Empire) still persecuted Christians.
The various sects of Christianity were beginning to drift somewhat. In the western regions, such as Hispania, Africa, and parts of Gaul, a Monophysite doctrine was dominant, which held Jesus was solely divine. In Germania, Britannia, and Gothonia, as well as northern Gaul, Carisianism was popular. Carisianism (similar to OTL's Pelagianism) emphasized the importance of the individual and downplayed the idea of original sin. In Anatolia, the dominant doctrine was simply known the Anatolianism (similar to OTL's Donatism). It was very harsh on anyone who did not stand by their beliefs. It also revered saints and martyrs to a much greater degree than the other doctrines. Dacia and Pannonia were predominately Clarian (similar to Arianism). Clarianism held that Jesus was not equal to God and was only the greatest created being. In Italia and Greece (though to a lesser degree in Greece), the dominate doctrine was Athanasianism (coincidentally, the same as OTL's Athanasianism), which held that Jesus was both human and divine. The Greeks, being good stereotypical Greeks, were content to debate the matter constantly, rather than try to actually proselytize. The Italian Christians were concerned with having a unified Christian Church, and many of the early ecumenical councils were sponsored by Italians.
In the Eastern Empire, a vast multitude of varying groups were intermingling, sometimes peacefully, sometimes not. There were Greeks, Romans, Persians, Turkic Steppe peoples, Arabs, Armenians, Indians, among others. The dominant languages were Latin, Greek, Persian, and Aramaic, in no particular order. It was said that the administrators spoke Latin, the merchants spoke Greek, and everyone else spoke Persian or Aramaic. Most people were, of course, at least bilingual, and many were trilingual or better.
The largest religion was Zoroastrianism, though there was a decent Christian minority, primarily centered around Armenia. There were other minor sects, but, besides the standard state religion (which was little more than a formality), none were of any large importance.
The Kushan Empire was catching its breath at this time, assimilating its conquests, as well as assimilating into the populations. They ruled the north of India and the regions to the northwest, including parts of classical Bactria. The culture of the Empire was primarily Indian, with some steppe culture and a sprinkling of Greek culture. The dominant religion was Hinduism, though the Kushans themselves were fairly ambivalent about religions.
In the far east, the three states risen from the ashes of the Han Empire (Wei, Shu, and Wu), were at almost constant war. Though vehemently opposed to each other, they were very similar, culturally. Thats not to say that China wasn't diverse. There were dozens of different ethnic groups in China Proper, and several more in the areas of recent conquest.
There had been efforts to homogenize the population by the Han Emperors, which were moderately successful, in part due to the political unity they provided, and due to the fact that most shared the same written language, even if the spoken languages were different. The Three Kingdoms would continue this practice, though each would do it slightly differently, resulting in minor differences between their populaces. Warfare was a constant fact of life and the drama of this era would later be immortalized in the screenplay The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
The technology of the world was slightly ahead of OTL. Agricultural technology was progressing at a steady pace, as was medical technology, and various useful innovations came around on a regular basis.
The agricultural technology of the third century was ahead of OTL mainly due to the common use of the heavy plow. This allowed the soils of Europe to be far more productive than they otherwise would have been. Also of great use were the almost ubiquitous waterwheels. It would have been hard to find a farmer who did not have one or at least was on good terms with someone who did. Except in the Eastern Roman Empire, which relied on wind power instead of water power. The effect was the same, however.
In AD 232, a new monastic order was formed in Egypt, after a local famine. Called the Order of St. Georgios, they devoted themselves to learning the best ways to farm the land, and to teach these ways to the locals. They would be the first of the Conlegian Brotherhoods (Guild Brotherhoods, for their specialization in a particular trade or science). As Christians, they found themselves unwelcome in Egypt, though the northern states were more welcoming, especially Anatolia, which, being a Christian state, actively supported them. They primarily focused on various crop rotation methods, though they also dabbled in breeding various breeds of animals. Their first notable success was the Anglian breed of cattle, the first breed of dairy cattle, raised primarily to produce milk.
Medical technology was also doing well for itself. Various philosphers and doctors had improved on the science over the years, most notably Herophilus, Galen, and Philip. Herophilus and Galen revolutionized surgery and the understanding of anatomy, while Philip (a creation of my own), who lived in the late second century to early third century, codified and organized knowledge on various cures and remedies, helping to discredit many folk remedies that were useless at best, and fatal at worst. Though he was probably not a Christian, he would later be canonized (the Church decided that he was a closet Christian) and would become the namesake of the Order of St. Philip, founded in AD 279.
In the east, acupuncture was becoming more and more refined. The preeminent expert was Huangfu Sheng, who lived around AD 243 to AD 289. His treatise on acupuncture and Moxibustion would become the standard on the subject. His fame even spread to the west, where one of his students was employed in the service of the Eastern Emperor Marcus Claudius Anicetus.
Heliographs also came into use in Anatolia. These were relay systems with towers equipped with mirrors (for daytime signaling), and torches (for nighttime). Using these, a message could be sent from one end of the peninsula to the other in about one hour. They became very popular in the successor states, though the Eastern Empire did not make as much use of them, due to its size (though regional command posts did use them sporadically).
Other inventions also made their appearance at this time. Paper was invented in China in the first century, though it remained a Chinese secret until the third century. Other inventions made their way across Eurasia, such as the Romans' hypocausts (central heating systems), and the Chinese' silk methods (secretly brought to the Eastern Emperor Sextus Claudius Sophus in AD 253), as well as many others. Metallurgy progressed on a steady course, and the earliest evidence of gunpowder dates to this era (though its military application would not be appreciated for some time).
The Dawn of the East
Appius Claudius Vincentius would rule the Eastern Roman empire from AD 204 to AD 228. His 24 years as emperor were relatively peaceful, virtually nothing eventful happening.
Vincentius did try to stop Severus from invading Gothonian territory, but was unsuccessful. While he bound by treaty to defend the western empire against its enemies, Vincentius did not send any assistance, as Severus was clearly the aggressor.
Vincentius would die of old age in AD 228, after a long and uneventful reign. He would be succeeded by his son, Appius Claudius Diodorus.
Appius Claudius Diodorus would also rule for a long time, from AD 228 to AD 249. It was during his reign that the Western Civil War occured and organized persecution of Christians began.
When the war broke out, Diodorus was torn, as he did not support the Republic, seeing it as an unstable institution. He also didn't support Agricola, simply because the two did not get along at all. So, Diodorus found a commander who he felt he could control, Balbus. By supporting Balbus, Diodorus effectively eliminated any chance that the civil war would end quickly.
Diodorus had planned assisting Balbus in the war, but the Kushans to the east were again causing trouble, forcing him to downscale the support he could provide. The end of the war was a disappointment to Diodorus, though he was comforted by the fact that none of the opposing sides really won.
The other noteworthy aspect of Diodorus' reign was his unprecedented persecution of Christians. There were major Christian sects in Anatolia and Syria, as well as smaller ones in Armenia and Mesopotamia. Diodorus was suspicious of them and began massive persecutions against the Christians. While the number of executions is often exaggerated, it is known that Josephus IV, king of Judea (which had long persecuted Christians as heretics), was appalled and provided refuge to some.
The persecutions drove many Christians out of the Empire, though some simply went to Anatolia, where Christians were actually becoming a sizable minority (estimates run to about 30-40%). By the time of Diodorus' death, Anatolia was in open revolt.
Diodorus died in AD 249, leaving the Eastern Empire to his son, Sextus Claudius Sophus.
Sextus Claudius Sophus would reign from AD 249 to AD 265. He would continue the persecution of Christians, and would lose both Anatolia and Syria.
Sophus sent troops to Anatolia to quell the revolt in the region, under the command of Publius Julius Flaminius. However, Flaminius, a native of nearby Syria, was actually a Christian and was torn between his duty to the emperor and his Christian beliefs. He finally decided to side with the Christians, as did his loyal army.
Flaminius quickly marched into Syria, securing the region for the Anatolian forces. After the battle of Antioch, Sophus accepted the independence of the Kingdom of Anatolia, under King Octavius Plato, though he required them to sign a treaty stating that they would come to the Empire's defense, should they be needed.
Sophus died of a heart attack in AD 265. His son, Marcus Claudius Anicetus, would ascend the principate of the East, which he would rule until his death in AD 283.
The Eastern Empire during the reign of Marcus Claudius Anicetus (AD 265-283), as well as during the reign of Secundus Livius Baramus (AD 283- 307), was primarily concerned with building up its trade dominance. Both emperors sent out trading expeditions, reestablishing many of the old Roman trading posts in Africa, as well as establishing new ones, the furthest on the eastern coast of India (well south of the Kushan Empire).
Baramus did attempt an invasion of Egypt in 286, to secure the Canalis Aegyptum for the Empire, but was beat back by Egypt, and reinforcements from the Republic and the Greek Confederation (who distrusted the Empire more than each other). In 288, Egypt agreed to give Imperial ships a slight discount on the Canal's northbound tolls (the Empire controlled southbound shipping) and a small indemnity. Egypt also gave the Republic and Confederation a discount on shipping, actually larger than the discount for the Empire. This was due, in part to their assistance, as well as to keep the Empire from dominating the Canal trade.
Baramus did better in his war with the Kushan Empire from 295 to 302, securing some trading rights for the Saka and the Empire and an indemnity from the Kushans. However, Baramus' mistake was to continue in his martial pursuits by attacking Anatolia in AD 305.
The Kingdom of Anatolia was ruled in a manner similar to Ostrogothic Italy. It was nominally part of the Roman Empire, ruled by a King on behalf of the Emperor. It also was required to aid the Empire in case of attack. Baramus was of the opinion that, since the Kushans attacked the Saka, the war was technically a defensive war (even though it was primarily fought in Kushan territory), so Anatolia was required to send troops.
King Micaelis (Michael) Plato, however, disagreed. This gave Baramus a good excuse to take back Syria, which he felt was far too valuable to leave in the hands of the Anatolians. Initial resistance was very strong. Very few of the Chrisitan inhabitants (who were the vast majority by this time) wanted to be part of an Empire that persecuted them. Baramus' plan was to simply kick the Christians out, sending them to Anatolia proper, not much better in the Christians' eyes.
After the Imperial forces broke through the initial resistance and seized a few cities, things went well for awhile, until Christian volunteers from all over Europe came to defend their brethren (think miniature Crusade). Barumus would die at the siege of Antioch (the Anatolian captial), leaving the Empire to his son Maximus Livius Berus, who would end up dying shortly after he joined the army at the frontlines in AD 308.
His successor, Tiberius Julius Acacius, decided that enough was enough, and sued for peace. The treaty would basically leave the status quo untouched, with the Anatolians being released from defensive obligations to the Empire.
The Battles of the West
Europe would be largely at peace for most of the rest of the third century. Memories of the Third Imperial Civil War turned many off from the idea of renewing any warfare. The more bloodthirsty were limited simply by the lack of available manpower. There would, however, be two notable exceptions to this. The first was the Thracian-Dacian War. The second would be the Greek Revolution.
Thracia invaded Dacia in the spring of AD 273. Dacia had been busy fighting against Venadian raiders, and Herius Asinius Caspar, Emperor of Thracia, decided to take advantage of this apparent weakness. The early phases of the war went well for Thracia, winning battles at Colonia Appia and Claudiople. However, Aulus Isauricus, king of Dacia, secured a treaty with Tuldila, king of the Huns, to attack the Venadians. The Huns swept into Venadian lands and actually completely conquered them by AD 280 (likely earlier, but exact dates are hard to come by now). The Dacians were able to focus their forces to the south and forced the war into a stalemate. Peace would be declared in AD 276, with the Dacians paying a moderate annual tribute to the Thracians.
Meanwhile, the Greek cities were chafing under the centralized rule of the Roman Republic. They rose in open revolt after a series of harsh taxes were passed in AD 274. The early phases of the revolt were stymied by the Republic's inability to land a sizable force in Greece. However, once they did in AD 276, the tide of the war quickly turned against the Greeks, until several northern Italian cities (most notablye, Aquilea) also rose in revolt. The Senate soon realized that while it theoretically could defeat both revolts, the cost of doing so would leave the Republic open to invasion by an outside power. It had to chose between letting the Italians or the Greeks go. The Italian cities were more important to the Republic's territorial integrity, and so the Greeks were granted their independence in AD 279. The revolting cities would be brought to heel later that year.
The Greeks organized their nation as a loose confederation of the cities, which were, in turn, republics or classical pure democracies. Meanwhile, the Republic began to allow for the other cities to have official representation in the Senate, though it was still dominated by Roman Senators.
The next major war in Europe would start in AD 294, when Gaul invade Britannia over a dispute on piracy and a recent assassination of a Gaulic prince, which the Gauls blamed on the British. The Gallic invasion force made a successful landing early in 295, and managed to occupy the capital of Deva (Chester) by 298. However, the Britons soon forced them out of the city and began to push them out of the country. At the anticlimactic battle of Londinium in 300, neither side could claim clear victory. The Gauls had to abandon their position, but the British lost too many men to pursue their victory. A peace treaty was signed shortly afterward, when it appeared that the Roman Republic might actually come to the aid of their Britannic allies, whereby the Britannic Republic had to pay a large indemnity and was forced to assume responsibility for the assassination and, therefore, the war.
The treaty was incredibly unpopular with the people of Britain, who were unhappy with the policies of the Senate anyway. Open revolt began in 304, when Julius Petronius, the commander of the Britannic Fleet, declared himself King of Hibernia, robbing the Republic of the vast majority of its Navy. Petronius was soon followed by Joannes (John) Filibrennus, the commander of the Caledonian Legions, declaring himself King. He marched down to Deva and executed the Senate. This caused even further unrest among the people, leading to no less than 7 separate pocket kingdoms forming in the southern half of the island.
However, one Senator, Ezekius Quindracus, managed to escape Joannes' purge and fled to his home in Cambria (Wales). Joannes' troops were in hot pursuit, and shot Ezekius as he was riding into his estate. His 12 year old son, Arcturus, saw this and was enraged. Being the impetuous youth that he was, he drew his father's sword and attacked the assassins. They just laughed and knocked him unconscious. They threw him into the main house and burnt it to the ground, though he managed to escape undetected.
Arcturus eventually ended up in Hibernia, where he joined Petronius' fleet as a marine at 16 (AD 309). He proved to be a skilled soldier, and his captain decided he'd do better for himself in the Legions. So, Arcturus did, and rose through the ranks quickly, gaining much fame. He eventually became one of the chief commanders of King Julius' forces. When he was 21, a rival commander slew Petronius. When he asked for Arcturus' support, Arcturus knocked him out and brought him before the people, asking what they wanted him to do with the assassin. They demanded his head, and Arcturus gave it to them. They then demanded he take the crown, and he did, becoming the King of Hibernia.
In AD 315, less than a year after becoming king, Arcturus invaded Britain. He won the support of some of the southern states, attracted to his promise to restore the Senate. The rest he simply conquered, finishing off the last in 321. He then marched against Joannes. His homeland of Cambria fell in 324. At the battle of Ebuacum (York) in 325, Arcturus personally slew Joannes in combat, ending his reign and restoring unity to the Britannic Islands.
Arcturus Quindracus was crowned king of the Islands by the Senate in Deva on Easter of 326. He made many reforms that made him popular with the people. He also make Christianity the State Religion, though there was official tolerance (to varying degrees) of other religions, mainly Judaism. He did, of course, limit the role of the Senate to little more than an advisory role, but this came as a surprise to none, and few objected, as he was extremely popular with just about everyone.
Meanwhile, on the continent, other wars were being waged. The Gallic Kingdom invaded Hispania in AD 306 over a border dispute. The war initially went poorly for the Gauls, who were overconfident in their abilities. Once reality sank in, however, they did very well for themselves, winning a string of major victories through 308 and 310. Peace came in 311 when the Hispanians were forced to accept the loss of everything beyond the Iberus (Ebro) river.
To the east, the Thracian Empire had invaded Pannonia in AD 309, hoping to push their border to the Adriatic. At the battle of Naissus, the Thracians won a major victory, smashing through the Pannonian lines. It was at this point that the Dacians, afraid of a Thracian victory, concluded an alliance with Pannonia, entering the war on their side. This would drag out the war for 5 more years, until a combined Dacian-Pannonian force defeated the Thracians at Scopium in 314. The peace treaty that was signed stripped away some Thracian holdings along both borders, though none of any major importance (simply a symbolic gesture, to show that the Thracians had indeed been defeated).
The year AD 314 also saw a major increase in Heruli raids. The Heruli tribes of Scandinavia had been raiding coastal cities sporadically for a little over 50 years now. However, for the most part, they were almost completely disorganized and generally easily repulsed when the navies came around. However, by 314, the Heruli shipbuilding techniques had reached an apex and their ships were the equal of none. Also, the population had been increasing as the various tribes had been prospering from the trade with the Roman states.
The raiders' started in Germania and Gothonia. They were still not a very organized affair, but enough tribes would band together for a raid that they proved to be a formidable force. The raids soon spread to Gaul, Britannia, and Hispania. They raided down rivers, attacking inland river cities. Their ships were faster than anything the Romans had, enabling them to outmanuver their foes. Heruli raiding parties were generally not a match for a disciplined Legion, but they rarely stuck around to face the Legions themselves. The Heruli also regularly portaged between rivers, enabling them to raid even further. By the 320s, it was not unheard of to sight Heruli raiding parties in the Mediterranean or Euxine (Black) Seas.
The Heruli weren't interested solely in raiding. They also were interested in trade and settlement. The more astute of the Roman leaders took advantage of this, allowing Heruli settlements to be founded (this happened anyway, they just made it legitimate) on their territory in exchange for ending the raiding on their people. Of course, these settlements (and their Roman rulers) had no problems with raiding those in other Roman states. Some governments hired them as outright mercenaries and privateers. By the end of the century, most Heruli raids actually originated from within Roman territory. The raids would continue well into the 5th century, but the worst would be over, and, by the dawn of the 6th century, they would be but a memory.
Hispania and Africa would go to war in AD 318 over control of the Strait of Hercules. Hispania was weakened after the war with Gaul and eventually had to concede to Africa, ending the war in 321 with the loss of the strait.
Gaul had come to dominate both Britannia and Hispania and was the most powerful nation in Europe at this time. However, Queen Justinia had given birth to twins in 319. She had died soon after childbirth, and there were no witnesses to the birth, so nobody was certain which was the elder child. As with most societies, the eldest son was the designated heir, so, this caused problems. The situation got much worse when King Andreas died in 329. Soon after, the powerful men of Gaul began to side against each other. The powerful land owners and regional governors tended to support Prince Marcus, while the merchants and the navy supported Prince Antonius, with the legions being fairly evenly split. The first skirmishes occurred within a few weeks of the king's death, though it would be a few months before the first battle took place.
The Gemini War started in April of AD 330, with the battle of Lutetia (Paris), the capital at the time (Lutetia had been preceeded by Genabum to the south-southwest, which had been preceded by Augustodunum, further to the south-southwest). Both princes were being held in the King's Palace by the Marcine faction and the forces of the Antonine faction marched on the city to rescue Antonius and, if possible, seize Marcus and as much of the opposing leadership as possible. An advance force was sent out to extricate Antonius before the battle started, to be safe. The plan went well, though it tipped off the Marcine leaders to the coming battle, and most of them fled with Prince Marcus in tow. The main Antonine force, which had greatly outnumbered the Marcines in the city anyway, would meet only a token force and would take the city quickly. Though this first battle was quick and fairly bloodless, the war would be neither.