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Old September 21st, 2012, 02:59 AM
Velasco Velasco is offline
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Chapter LXIX: Rome In Crisis


Galatian soldiers
The departure of Philadelphus from Asia Minor did little to dissipate the spread of conflict throughout the eastern Empire. The tetrarch Artemidorus of the Trocmi, with the support of his father-in-law Amyntas of the Tectosagi, took the crown of Galatia for himself. Philadelphus’ men variously fled or made their submission; his lieutenants were all massacred, but the rest received pardon. At Drunemeton (‘sacred oak sanctuary’) Artemidorus and Amyntas punished what remained of the national assembly of the Galatian tribes - traditionally some 300 men, but significantly diminished during Philadelphus' reign - and put many to the sword. The few remaining partisans of Philadelphus escaped together with his wife, the abandoned queen Orodaltis, and her young children. They were taken in secrecy to Sinope, royal seat of King Polemon of Pontus and his wife Pythodorida. Despite Orodaltis' own pretensions to the Pontic throne[1] the King and Queen were honor-bound to assist her and her children: Polemon was a creature of Mark Antony and Pythodorida was Antony's granddaughter (and therefore niece of Philadelphus). Satisfied with his territorial gains, Artemidorus did not pursue Orodaltis and focused on expunging Galatia of his political rivals, primarily the leaders of the rival Tolistobogi tribe.

Encouraged by the departure of Philadelphus, the general Crassus Scythicus had left the rebellious Thracian Bessi to be finished off by Calpurnius Piso and crossed over into Asia Minor. Accompanied by Vipsanian, Crassus found a friendly ear in Marcus Livius Drusus Libo, the over-reaching president of the Council of Asia, who was alarmed by Vipsanian's report of Antyllus' true intent (namely, to make a grab for power) and concurred with them that Antyllus had over-stepped his jurisdiction. Drusus Libo moved quickly: the Council promptly condemned Antyllus' execution of King Archelaus of Cappadocia, his invasion of that kingdom and his war on King Mithridates of Commagene, on the grounds that both Kings were Roman citizens, allies of Rome and clients of the Emperor. As Antyllus would not stand down, the Council was impelled to force his submission. Vipsanian was packed off back to Athens while Drusus Libo and Crassus set out against Antyllus.


Grain from Queen Kleopatra Selene

News of the developments in Asia Minor and Egypt were heard with worry in Rome. A return to country-wide civil war and public anarchy was thought imminent and an air of despair filled the city. Not even the arrival of five ships heavy with foodstuffs from Alexandria – a peace offering from the newly crowned monarchs – could pacify the populace. Popular opinion of Antyllus decreased steadily as suspicions of his intentions grew; his brother the consul Iullus Antonius failed to secure any outright declaration of support from the Senate. He appealed to Messalinus, who attempted to use the young consul-designate Ptolemy Caesar as a figurehead around whom he could rally the mob and force the Senate’s hand. To young Ptolemy the tardiness of the Senate and Council of Asia in punishing Crassus amounted to an overt and complete challenge to his father’s authority, affronting the very name and honor of the Julio-Caesarian house.

Surprisingly, they found an immediate ally in Ptolemy's step-mother Livia Drusilla. Her marriage to Caesarion had been politically motivated and she was ever wary of causing him any undue upset, in case he divorced her and sought a younger bride. At her age she had little hope of remarrying, and separation risked jeopardizing her own status and the careers of her sons Tiberius and Drusus. The chaos of civil war allowed for unexpected results, sudden turns of fortune and the overturning of the status quo. Caesarion was far away and incapable of action, while Tiberius was not yet in position to succeed him as ruler of the Republic. She cared not a jot for the politics of the royals of Asia Minor, and was favorable to her son-in-law Antyllus, who had every right to claim command of a legion Caesarion had bestowed upon him. The situation was all the worse due to the identity of Antyllus' opponent - none other than Crassus, her former husband, with whom she had no wish to give Caesarion any cause for jealousy or suspicion. Caesarion had always shown great favor to Antyllus and there was no reason to suppose he would take the part of Crassus and Vipsanian against him.

They were opposed, however, by the party which gathered around her son Nero Claudius Drusus. Popular for his good looks, inimitable charm and military accomplishments, Drusus had governed Gaul and Germania with marked competence since 13BC. A general lack of men and provision temporarily limited his ability to hold land taken across the Rhine; it was only upon recruiting a new legion and auxiliary cohorts that he was finally able to hold on to the swathe of land between the Rhine and Weser. Advised by a vision of the goddess Germania, he did not proceed further. Returning home he assumed his third consulate (8BC)[2] and was voted a triumph by the Senate, with the prior approval of Caesarion (who had instructed the Senate to liberally vote a triumph for each of his step-sons if their military accomplishments warranted such great honor).

The young vir triumphalis readily provided the Senate with the charismatic leadership it presently lacked, successfully blocking the attempts of his Iullus Antonius to drum up support for Antyllus. Having expelled this brother-in-law from the city, he turned his attentions to Messallinus (incidentally his own wife's ex-husband), who was promptly removed as Curator Aquarum (a post Drusus took back). Drusus' efforts were met by impassioned pleas from the boy Ptolemy to both the Senate and mob, beseeching them to look to his father's interests and rid him of the ungrateful Drusus, who (by his reckoning) was opposing his benefactor (Caesarion) by opposing the latter's earnest ally and kinsman Antyllus. Exasperated and cornered, Drusus temporarily relented, but did not remove himself from Rome, so as to provide the enemies of Antyllus with his continued leadership in the Senate. Divided, the Senate neither approved nor condemned Antyllus' actions for the time being.


Livia Drusilla, Flaminica Isidis, wife of the Imperator

Livia Drusilla was indifferent to Drusus' protests and eager to keep Antyllus as her personal ally. To that effect she sent word to her other son Tiberius, bidding him to seek out Crassus and Libo (her brother), convince them to avoid outright confrontation and come to terms with Antyllus. Tiberius was then in Abdera, court of sister-in-law Demetria Caesaris and her husband, King Rhoemetakles I of Thrace; Nicaea, seat of his uncle Libo, was not far away. Tiberius was ultimately unable to convince either general and turned back as they pushed further into Asia Minor, fearing he might incur Caesarion's displeasure if he accompanied them. His mother was furious and went so far as to suggest Tiberius stage a coup within the Council of Asia itself. Unwilling to face her, he removed himself from the ongoing dramas of both Asia and Senate by withdrawing in secret to Rhodes. His young wife joined him from Abdera not long afterward.

In the East Antyllus held onto his position, amassing troops and gathering support. He initially legitimized his position on the grounds that he acted merely as Caesarion's lieutenant, exercising the imperium Caesarion had delegated to him. By the time of Tiberius' venture into Asia Minor, however, Antyllus had grown tired of the constant dithering of the Senate. The expulsion of his brother from Rome and the ascendancy of Drusus dashed his hopes of finding any significant support in Rome; he was left little option but to make his pretensions good by force. Spreading abroad rumors of Caesarion's death, he drew the line in the sand definitively. To the Greeks he presented himself as basileus tōn basilťōn, 'King of Kings', the traditional imperial title of the east, and to his troops as 'Imperator Augustus' - an invented title mirroring the elevated honors voted Caesarion by the Senate. His father's reign in the East was still fresh in the Hellenistic world's collective memory, and the name of Antony still held great weight in those parts. Queen Eupatra of Armenia, King Aspurgus of Bosporus and King Polemon of Pontus were all clients of the Antoniae; the child-king Archelaus Minor (placed by Antyllus on the throne of Cappadocia as his puppet) had no choice but to be. While the troublesome Galatians and various brigands of Asia Minor slowed Crassus and Libo's advance, Antyllus sought to crush Scaeva and Mithridates definitively and secure allegiance of the whole East to his standard.


Marcus Antonius Antyllus, self-styled Imp. Aug.

Antyllus' actions also gave added impetus to his sister Kleopatra Selene, whose position in Alexandria was increasingly untenable. Unable to assert her rťgime throughout the Kingdom, she feared upcoming Roman aggression. Seeking to win the support of the priesthood and Senate alike, she imprisoned the ineffective Philadelphus, blaming him for the death of her son and ordering him blinded and castrated. Thusly maimed, he was allowed to agonize for some time before being murdered, as a sacrifice, during the Arsinoeia (a yearly procession honoring the divine ArsinoŽ, dynastic matriarch and protectress of the Ptolemaic dynasty). Coincidentally, their infant daughter received the name ArsinoŽ, perhaps a sign of her mother’s dreadful premeditated actions, or a piece of propaganda highlighting Selene’s role as new dynastic matriarch. Thusly unfettered Kleopatra Selene married her adolescent nephew Marcus Antonius Crispus, certain that he would either bring her to pinnacle of power if his father Antyllus was victorious, or at the least spare her from the worst if defeat came. The young prince took the throne as Ptolemy XX Antony Philorhomaios (‘the Rome-loving’) and spent his days in anxious worry with his aunt, pacing the palace, drowning in wine, waiting, waiting, always waiting a word from either Rome or Asia to make or break them.

The president's worries publicly validated, the Council of Asia unanimously and issued a degree of proscription against Antyllus, commuting the accompanying death penalty to one of life imprisonment (unless Caesarion or, on occasion of his death, the Senate, decree otherwise).[3] Drusus Libo made peace with the Galatians, formally deposing Philadelphus (at that time still thought alive) and granting the crown to Artemidorus, who returned the favor by placing his men at Libo and Crassus' disposal. Kleopatra Selene was simultaneously condemned for usurping the Egyptian throne.


In Rome Messalinus was finally denounced openly as a traitor; when the young Ptolemy vainly attempted to speak in his favor, the mob inflamed itself against him and bewailed that so foolish a boy should ever have been elected to the consulate. Only the timely interference of a number of distinguished senators led by Drusus dissipated the crisis. The calm lasted only a few days, panic and despair spreading like wildfire as news arrived of Vipsanian's arrival in Brundisium in southern Italy. South Italy was the chief seat of Vipsanian's power: of the 60-70 legions he had inherited after Actium, he had disbanded over half, of which many thousands had been settled south of Rome. Like Octavian had done in times past, the recruitment of a private army was easily accomplished. Certainly, there would not be lacking men willing to fight for the name of Caesar.

Fear that Vipsanian's partisans and those of Drusus, Antyllus and Caesarion would fall upon each other in a return to the civil disorder of past decades gripped the capital and sent a wave of unrest and fear throughout the Empire. Illyria and Pannonia erupted in revolt almost immediately and there was further unrest in Judaea, where the prince Antipater attempted to usurp the throne from his aunt Salome (acting as regent for King Herod, still abroad in Thrace).

_______________________________________________
Notes:
[1] The mother of Orodaltis was Orsabaris, daughter of King Mithridates IV 'the Great' of Pontus. Orodaltis was ruler of Prusias-ad-mare, traditional center of the Mithridatid dynasty's power, and could rightfully be considered a Pontic queen, despite not holding the entirety of that kingdom.

[2] Drusus was consul for the first time in 12BC, alongside his brother Tiberius in 11BC and alongside Iullus Antonius in 8BC.

[3] For the first time Drusus Libo and the Council of Asia recognize the inherent superiority of the Senate.
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Last edited by Velasco; September 21st, 2012 at 03:14 AM..
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  #362  
Old September 21st, 2012, 06:08 AM
ImperatorAlexander ImperatorAlexander is offline
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Great Update! Who's side is Vipsanian entering on or is he entering this war as a third party, I imagine he still has enormous clout to be a legitimate contender, he is a Caesar after all.
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Old September 21st, 2012, 08:10 AM
Zireael Zireael is offline
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Oh wow, Kleopatra Selene is brilliant in this update! And I love the nickname Philorhomaios too!
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Old September 21st, 2012, 11:44 AM
Velasco Velasco is offline
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Great Update! Who's side is Vipsanian entering on or is he entering this war as a third party, I imagine he still has enormous clout to be a legitimate contender, he is a Caesar after all.
Thank you! Exactly, Caesarion messed up by not getting rid of him when he had the chance. He's still Caesar Augustus Vipsanian, still Rex Sacrorum and still pater familias of the Julii Caesares (and therefore, still patron of all of the senators who are clients of the family). He's also father-in-law of the young consul-designate Ptolemy. Vipsanian's being opportunistic and looking to his own interests, although he'll gladly befriend anyone who might serve as a stepping stone to his goals.

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Oh wow, Kleopatra Selene is brilliant in this update! And I love the nickname Philorhomaios too!
Glad you like Philorhomaios was actually quite common in the period and used by Kings of Cappadocia, Edessa, Syria, etc. Philokaisar (Philocaesar - "Caesar-loving") also became a quite popular way of flaunting one's friendship with the Caesar family
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 02:49 AM
Velasco Velasco is offline
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Chapter LXX: Bella Omnium

Arriving with his men in Petra, Caesarion was met by variously delegations sent there by the Senate and his allies throughout the Empire. He was now forty years old, conqueror of vast and exotic kingdoms, a living god. From the heartlands of Europe to the very limes of civilization itself, he had marched harder and farther than any of his contemporaries. Indeed, he was Alexander reborn and resurrected - Alexander, but wiser, stronger, far more fertile and far more talented. Whereas Alexander had been forced to turn back when his men mutitined, Caesarion could not, would not, suffer the same shame: a descendant, perhaps, but replica, never. He was the better man - the better god - and he would show the whole world.

In great haste Caesarion made his way along the road to Jerusalem, where his auctoritas alone was sufficient to restore order: the prince Antipater was delivered up to him and the regency of Salome restored (February 7BC). While his armies were tired from the long marches through the desert sands, there was no time for rest: the bulk was sent north to Damascus and Abilene while greater numbers were hurriedly levied in Judaea, Coele-Syria and Nabataea. From Jerusalem Caesarion took up command of Herod's army: 6,000 cavalry and 12,000 infantry, of which a good half were in actuality Roman troops garrisoned in Palestine. Salome and Herod's brother, the tetrarch Phreroras, was appointed their commander; Theudion[1] and Antipater Costabarou[2] were given secondary commands as a compliment to the Judaean regent's loyal service.

Queen Shaqilat left her children behind in Petra and rode at once to Damascus, which had become the main center of operations and Caesarion's forward base in the north. The general Faustus Cornelius Sulla promptly joined Shaqilat there with his recruits. The ever-loyal and highly talented King Juba of Numidia was sent by Caesarion to Pelusium, an important military center on the eastern extremity of the Delta; its strategic location straddled the roads from Alexandria and Memphis into the Negeb. In this way Caesarion intended to cut off Kleopatra Selene from Antyllus and lend support to his own mother, now entering Egypt.


Cleopatra VII presented as Isis

The Queen Cleopatra VII Nea-Isis had landed at the Red Sea port of Berenice Troglodytike, escorted by her young kinsman King Antigonus of Cyrene[3] and an Indo-Bactrian bodyguard lent her by Sapadbizes. She proceeded along the road to Philae, where she was rapturously received by the priesthood of the Temple of Isis as Pharaoh and Mistress of the Two Lands. Her position confirmed by both her subjects and the gods, she sailed down the Nile in her royal barge. Similarly warm receptions met her along the course, notably in the Thebaid. She had visited Thebes when she first became Queen and enjoyed great popularity there ever since - it had even provided her with a power base in her wars against her brother. In Memphis she was hailed as a temple sharing goddess of Ptah and assumed the post of Great Wife of Ptah[4]. Her image was set up in his temple and her cult entrusted to his priests and scribes.

Informed of her mother's arrival, Kleopatra Selene quit the increasingly hostile Alexandria and fled to Naukratis. From Naukratis she sent a delegation to her mother, in reality a set of hired assassins intended to take out the old Queen. When the plot failed and was uncovered, Selene fled again, this time to Boubastos. Selene's limitless treachery soon spawned a new plot: sending yet more entreaties of peace and reconciliation, Selene offered to Antigonus her hand in marriage and the throne in partnership. As proof of her goodwill she sent with the embassy poor Crispus (otherwise king Ptolemy Antony Philorhomaios). Ostensibly the adolescent - driven neurotic by the circumstances - was dispatched as a sign of Selene's good faith; in reality, it was intended that Antigonus rid Selene of both nephew-husband and mother in one go, paving the way for their own joint rule.

Betraying the plot to Cleopatra, Antigonus summoned Selene to join them in Memphis. Selene, by this time in Letopolis, was still confident of achieving reconciliation with her aging mother. The continued survival of Crispus especially gave her great hope. Cleopatra responded to her daughter’s entreaties with sweet words, agreeing that she and Crispus should either rule Egypt with her, or else have Cyprus for themselves. Thusly encouraged, Kleopatra Selene came to Memphis, where her mother received her and entertained her in great style. Wined and dined, Cleopatra stunned her court by forcing her daughter to drink from a poisoned chalice. It was reported that the mother chose a particularly painful means, so as to avenge the cruel murder of her son Philadelphus. When the poison did not entirely finish Selene off, Cleopatra, sitting beside her daughter in bed, introduced two asps into the silk sheets. Their poison paralyzed and terminated her while her mother watched on, peacefully triumphant. The unfortunate Crispus, grandson of the beloved Mark Antony, was forgiven, but made a prisoner – there was no profit in her angering the Romans by putting to death one of their beloved youths.

In Sais Cleopatra and her party were greeted by Harmose Meryese, who had hurriedly returned to Egypt in anticipation of civil war between Selene and her mother. Having assumed control of the royal palace in Alexandria, he had put to death the eunuch Paramonos and set about preparing for war. He brought to Sais the prince Antony and princesses Berenike and ArsinoŽ – the first a boy of eight, the second a girl of nine, the third a mere infant[5]. Finally undisputed sole ruler of Egypt, Cleopatra admitted King Juba and his men into the Delta, establishing direct lines of communication and supply with her son's partisans in Syria and Palestine. Ptolemy Antigonus returned in honor to Cyrenaica in Libya, laden with many rich gifts and the old Queen's lasting gratitude.

Along the Syrian frontier the situation had been shaken by the sudden death of the governor Scaeva. Antyllus had turned south and marched on Samosata, which was placed under siege. Needing time and space to maneuver, King Mithridates had removed himself from Zeugma (where he had set up shop) and fallen back towards Antioch, easier to supply and defend. Antyllus sent an embassy upon learning of Caesarion's arrival: in polite but equal terms, he requested a parley so that they might be reconciled. Not even thinly veiled threats towards Caesarion's son Isidorus - held hostage by Antyllus - could make Caesarion waver from the stern resolution he had undertaken: no reconciliation, no terms, no peace. He also knew Antyllus was not man enough to carry out such threats: all he wanted now was a pardon that allowed him to save face. This Caesarion might even have granted, had Antyllus' actions not plunged the entire Republic into disarray, and extended so far as to usurp Caesarion's own unique titular. No, there could not be peace, until either Antyllus or Caesarion made an example of the other.

As Cleopatra entered Alexandria, Caesarion boarded ship at Ptolemais for a conference with Tiberius on Rhodes.


The transportation of Vipsanian from Nicaea to Athens had been entrusted by Crassus Scythicus to his young son, the tribune Vipsanius Licinius Crassus. Unpredictably, the ambitious young soldier was easily won over by the artifices of his uncle. With no adult son of his own, Vipsanian could naturally be expected to advance his favourite nephew to the highest honors once restored to Imperial authority. Landing in Piraeus, the port city of Athens, Vipsanian's wife and personal effects were sent for before the party continued straight on to Italy.

From Brundisium Vipsanian rapidly set about raising a private army: adorned in the naval crown Octavian had awarded him in 36BC, he called the people to assist him in restoring order and ridding the Republic of its enemies. He was still legally Caesar Vipsanianus Augustus and he had every intention of making free use of that name.

Rome was left without a clear leader to help her weather the present storms. News of Caesarion's arrival in Petra only made its way to Rome after Vipsanian had already landed; either way, there was still Antyllus (or Crassus?) to deal with. Enemies of Caesarion and Livia, lead by the ridiculously wealthy Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus and Publius Quinctilius Varus, flocked to his side. These were the men who, together with Marcellus, had spear-headed the ill-fated conspiracy of 14BC.[6] He immediately sent word to Rhegium, where his supporters set free the imprisoned Julia Caesaris . Only daughter of Caesar Octavian, Julia had been married and divorced in turn by both Vipsanian and Caesarion. His legal sister, Julia's support gave added legitimacy to Vipsanian's claims. As pater familias of the Julii Caesares, Vipsanian was desirous - hell, compelled - to reassert his position as guardian and protector of the family. On his authority Julia crossed over to Sicily and, coming upon Caesarion's idyllic residence there, assumed custody of her two sons Aurelius and Gaius, as well as all of Caesarion's other children (both biological and fostered).

Raising some 20,000 troops in less than three months, Vipsanian headed straight for Rome, which he entered unarmed and accompanied by only a small bodyguard. His naval crown immediately and brazenly asserted his identity: the victor of the seas, the great general and commander of men, the true imperator. He seized the man Messalinus but graciously spared his life - he would not act extra-officially or on his own authority. Though opposed and denounced vehemently by Drusus, Vipsanian tactfully played on the mob's loyalty to the name of Caesar and used them to pressure the Senate. He shut away the boy Ptolemy, an effeminate prone to bouts of hysteria, and forced Livia Drusilla to admit him into his old residence.

The Senate could not decide whether or not to grant him the dictatorship; Caesarion's term was about to expire and Rome was bereft of a clear, unchallenged leader to steer the rudder of the ship through such troublesome waters. He proposed a triumvirate, composed of himself, Caesarion and Drusus, which of course he hoped would pave the way for his own sole rule shortly afterward; again, the Senate was divided. When a law to that effect was close to being passed, Drusus attempted to put him to death; failing, he was forced to flee the city and scramble back to Germania[7]. Livia and others were forced to follow him into exile. Messalinus was injured and cut his leg deep in his attempt, while Ptolemy broke both legs as he attempted to scuttle out the city. Messalinus was subsequently dragged to the forum and lynched by the mob for having destroyed Rome's princeps iuventutis - the charges ranged from having turned the boy's mind against his family to unabashedly cavorting with him to breaking his legs so that he might make a better catamite.

A semi-compromise was reached when Vipsanian was hastily admitted into the Senate as the new consul, replacing Iullus Antonius; he also took over the post of Curator Aquarum and oversight of Rome's grain supply. As young Ptolemy Caesar was now bed-ridden, he divorced him from his daughter and married her to his nephew, Vipsanius Licinius Crassus, ignoring the traditional waiting period. The first of many many honors for young Vipsanius, no doubt.

Roman religion, Vipsanian officiating as Rex Sacrorum
__________________________________________________ _______________
Notes:
[1] Theudion, a Greek, was the brother of King Herod's first wife Doris and husband of Salome's daughter Berenice.

[2] Antipater, son of Salome and her second husband Costabarus. Costabarus was an Edomite prince of the priestly line of the Koze. He served Herod as prefect of Idumaea for a time.

[3] Son of Ptolemy XVI Grammateus and Lysandra Thea, Vipsanian's creatures who briefly co-ruled Egypt together. Brother of the ill-fated Ptolemy XVII Philip, Kleopatra Selene's first husband.

[4] The previous incumbent, Paibast-Hersankh, having recently vacated the post. ArsinoŽ II, the divine Philadelphos and matriarch of the Ptolemaic dynasty, served as the model for all Ptolemaic queens aspiring at sole/senior rule. The divine Philadelphos was introduced to the Egyptian people in Memphis as a temple-sharing goddess of Ptah sometime during the 3rd century BC and took the place as Great Wife of Ptah. Cleopatra's iconography and personal cult drew heavily from the precedents set by ArsinoŽ II.

[5] The prince Antonius is the eldest son of Ptolemy Philadelphus and his wife Orodaltis of Comana. Berenike and ArsinoŽ are daughters of Kleopatra Selene.

[6] Ahenobarbus was the brother-in-law and Quinctilius Varus the half-nephew of Marcellus, leader of the conspiracy and himself nephew of Octavian Augustus (Vipsanian's adoptive father).

[7] As Drusus doesn't have the wherewithal to challenge the name and pull of Caesar Augustus in Rome, it makes sense for him to return to his natural power base - Gaul and his German legions.
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  #366  
Old September 22nd, 2012, 03:28 AM
ImperatorAlexander ImperatorAlexander is offline
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So much for Vipsanian being "a broken man, tired of politics, tired of war, tired of the East, even more tired of Rome", was he just playing dead this entire time?
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 03:35 AM
Velasco Velasco is offline
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So much for Vipsanian being "a broken man, tired of politics, tired of war, tired of the East, even more tired of Rome", was he just playing dead this entire time?
He's had eight-seven years of house arrest and isolation to rest, to meditate, to grow bitter. Broken men can do the most damage when the occasion suits them.
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 07:32 AM
Zireael Zireael is offline
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Love the latest update. Heck, Vipsanian sure did a lot!
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 12:52 PM
Jonathan Edelstein Jonathan Edelstein is offline
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When the poison did not entirely finish Selene off, Cleopatra, sitting beside her daughter in bed, introduced two asps into the silk sheets.
You had to, didn't you?

Great updates. Vipsanian is back and he has a lot of time to make up - it'll be interesting to see how Caesarion handles him once Antyllus is dealt with. Also, if I remember correctly from earlier episodes, don't the Antonines have a power base in Gaul and Iberia?
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 02:03 PM
Velasco Velasco is offline
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Love the latest update. Heck, Vipsanian sure did a lot!
Thanks! And yep, he's definitely not playing this time around

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You had to, didn't you?

Great updates. Vipsanian is back and he has a lot of time to make up - it'll be interesting to see how Caesarion handles him once Antyllus is dealt with. Also, if I remember correctly from earlier episodes, don't the Antonines have a power base in Gaul and Iberia?
I thought it'd make a nice touch

Glad you like Antyllus did rule the West for a period of time but Caesarion removed him before he could properly put down roots and build a solid power base. Drusus' success there and traditional loyalty of the legions and nobility to the name of Caesar trump Antyllus' years of service - ultimately the legions know their pay and retirement come from Caesar.
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 02:34 PM
Emperor Constantine Emperor Constantine is offline
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Good updates Very fitting endings for Kleo Selene and Ptolemy Philadelphus. I assume that there will be a poetic end for Antyllus and Vipsanian as well? Two questions: 1.Ptolemy Caesar permanently crippled or will he recover? 2. What is going to happen with Egypt? I mean with Kleo Selene and Serapion there's no incest born sons to rule Egypt with Berenice so will one of Ceasarion's roman sons be made Pharaoh or ....?
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 03:21 PM
Velasco Velasco is offline
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Good updates Very fitting endings for Kleo Selene and Ptolemy Philadelphus. I assume that there will be a poetic end for Antyllus and Vipsanian as well? Two questions: 1.Ptolemy Caesar permanently crippled or will he recover? 2. What is going to happen with Egypt? I mean with Kleo Selene and Serapion there's no incest born sons to rule Egypt with Berenice so will one of Ceasarion's roman sons be made Pharaoh or ....?
I'm not sure poisoned by your own mother or hacked apart by your sister-wife are particularly poetic ways to go () I don't want to give too much away but you can bet your bottom dollar Caesarion's back with a vengeance.

For now Cleopatra has Egypt, with Caesarion as her consort of sorts. Who Berenike will marry is uncertain, but for the mean time Cleopatra's likely to keep around young Antony Alexas (the son of Philadelphus). Not sure how keen Caesarion will be on any more Antonines hanging around though Incestuous parentage was part of the Ptolemies whole schtick, related to dynastic/racial purity and Greek and Egyptian mythology. However, children of other marriages could also succeed (see Cleopatra I, Berenice IV and her Seleucid husband, for example).
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  #373  
Old September 22nd, 2012, 04:24 PM
isabella isabella is offline
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Then Selene and Philadelphus meet their end...
Selene in the end was stupid: trying to become Alexander's chief wife would be much better for her and enough for her ambitions, specially because her twin would be glad to have her around...

About an husband for Berenike I don't know (maybe he can marry off Berenike giving her a King and another kingdom?), but little Arsinoe can be a safer choice as wife for a son of Caesarion and a thus match can be perfectly acceptable from the Romans and also from the Egyptians as their royal couple...

Last edited by isabella; September 22nd, 2012 at 04:57 PM..
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  #374  
Old September 22nd, 2012, 04:32 PM
Errnge Errnge is offline
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nice updates.

sorry for the lack of comments
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  #375  
Old September 22nd, 2012, 05:46 PM
TaylorS TaylorS is offline
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Looks like things are about to go pear-shaped.
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  #376  
Old September 22nd, 2012, 06:37 PM
Velasco Velasco is offline
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Originally Posted by isabella View Post
Then Selene and Philadelphus meet their end...
Selene in the end was stupid: trying to become Alexander's chief wife would be much better for her and enough for her ambitions, specially because her twin would be glad to have her around...

About an husband for Berenike I don't know (maybe he can marry off Berenike giving her a King and another kingdom?), but little Arsinoe can be a safer choice as wife for a son of Caesarion and a thus match can be perfectly acceptable from the Romans and also from the Egyptians as their royal couple...
Selene's fallacy is that she thought too highly of herself - all of her mother's ambition but none of her mother's talent. When Cleopatra (mother) became Queen IOTL, she was quite unpopular in Alexandria and driven out, but later came back with Theban and Roman support and became a very successful sovereign. I'm not sure Selene ever had it within her to really make lemonade from lemons; whatever good will or support people had for her she was certain to do away with.

Berenike was first presented as the posthumous daughter of Selene and Ptolemy XVII Philip, so Caesarion could probably get away with marrying her to one of his sons. Isidorus is the obvious choice but Caesarion needs to weigh up 1) the strategic importance of Egypt vs 2) the strategic importance of not alienating the Roman ťlite. It's one thing for his bastards to marry native, it's another for his legitimate Roman children to do so. Right now though everyone's in survival mode, so marriages and succession are best left unresolved until the chips have fallen where they may

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nice updates.

sorry for the lack of comments
No problem, and thanks!

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Looks like things are about to go pear-shaped.
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  #377  
Old September 22nd, 2012, 07:22 PM
King Henry King Henry is offline
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Personally I'm rooting for Vispanian to come out on top. If only because rome needs some burning
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On the one hand, I'm pessimistic about Ireland's prospects because it's fallen into the classic geohistorical trap of being Ireland.
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  #378  
Old September 22nd, 2012, 10:01 PM
isabella isabella is offline
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Selene's fallacy is that she thought too highly of herself - all of her mother's ambition but none of her mother's talent. When Cleopatra (mother) became Queen IOTL, she was quite unpopular in Alexandria and driven out, but later came back with Theban and Roman support and became a very successful sovereign. I'm not sure Selene ever had it within her to really make lemonade from lemons; whatever good will or support people had for her she was certain to do away with.

Berenike was first presented as the posthumous daughter of Selene and Ptolemy XVII Philip, so Caesarion could probably get away with marrying her to one of his sons. Isidorus is the obvious choice but Caesarion needs to weigh up 1) the strategic importance of Egypt vs 2) the strategic importance of not alienating the Roman ťlite. It's one thing for his bastards to marry native, it's another for his legitimate Roman children to do so. Right now though everyone's in survival mode, so marriages and succession are best left unresolved until the chips have fallen where they may


Yes, better do not say anything about the Egyptian succession for now, because now Caesarion know who if he want one of his sons on the throne he must marry him with Berenike or Arsinoe or the Egyptians will not accept him as King. Luckily for him both the girl have Roman blood being indisputably Mark Antony's granddaughters...
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  #379  
Old September 23rd, 2012, 10:40 PM
Velasco Velasco is offline
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Chapter LXXI: On Grain & Barbarians

The fervent reception of Vipsanian in Rome turned lukewarm rapidly. Excitement at his return as some sort of savior quickly abated when it became clear he intended to make himself more tyrannical and autocratic a prince than Caesarion had ever been. He was somewhat callous in his treatment of the Senate, at the same time showing himself unable of perfectly harnessing the mob's anxiety to his own ends. He was a novus homo, with an obscure pedigree which discredited him to the nobler families (patrician and plebeian alike); at least Caesarion, son of the patrician Julii Caesares, could boast an impeccably exalted, antique lineage. When Drusus went north, many senators followed him, in a move precipitating the kind of divisions caused by the civil wars of recent memory.

Vipsanian knew he had only a window of time before either/both Drusus and Caesarion showed up with the legions at his doorstep. He was therefore resolved to move quickly. His first point of order was to secure the grain supply. He sent messengers south to Misenum, in recent times the chief harbour of the Roman fleet in the Mediterranean. The praefectus classis praetoriae Misenensis was none other than C. Scribonius Curio. The step-son of Mark Antony and half-brother of Antyllus, Vipsanian had spared his life after Octavian's passing in Alexandria. Control of Misenum and the fleet there gave the ruler the opportunity to blockade and control Rome's supply of grain and communications abroad. Forever indebted to Vipsanian and eager to be of service to the cause of his half-brother, Curio gladly placed himself and the men in his service (some 10,000 men[1]) at Vipsanian's disposal. Vipsanian promptly set about arranging a blockade, so as to secure full control of all incoming and outgoing in Rome.

Though Egypt was widely lauded as the breadbasket of the Republic, it was far removed, shipping there was dangerous and could only take place at certain times of year. In the crucial opening months of 7BC, Vipsanian had little certainty of obtaining the usual provision from Egypt, whose own government was in crisis. His attention was therefore turned south-west, to the rich fields of Sicily and North Africa, easy to access and control with the help of the Misene fleet. Sicily and Carthage were easily secured, primarily thanks to the acquiescence of the proconsul M. Claudius Marcellus Aeserninus (consul 15BC), a rather unexceptional man. There remained, however, the Mauretanian kingdom, stretching across the North African seaboard from the vicinity of Carthage westward to the Atlantic Ocean.


Queen Pompeia Neptunia, portrayed as Dido

The Berber King Juba II was a long-standing friend of the Caesars, most notably Caesarion. He supplied Caesarion with funds and money various times and accompanied him on his south Arabian expedition (9BC). In 16BC he had married a Roman lady, Pompeia Magna, given to him after she was retrieved from exile in Parthia[2]. As Queen Pompeia proudly bore the royal name Neptunia in honor of the naval exploits of her father and grandfather. The royal capital was renamed Caesaria Neptunia in her and Caesarion's honor. She gave him two sons, Ptolemy and Pompey Massylius, named in turn for her husband's benefactor and her own house. She obtained for her son the hand of Cleopatra of Cyrene[4], so that their royal house might enjoy community with the lineage of their imperial benefactor.

In her husband's absence Neptunia governed the Mauretanian realm with a firm hand, fiercely serving the interests of her adopted country. Ever attentive to the goings-on in Rome and the world at large, she heard of Vipsanian's return with worry and made ready for war. When Aeserninus made his threats, she stood her ground; when he threatened war, she showed herself ready to fight for the Republic and for Caesar. Unwilling to starve the Roman people, but also desiring to avoid certain destruction at the hands of the Misene fleet, she entered into a league with Balbus Minor, governor of Hispania Tarraconensis and Gallia Transalpina. This Balbus had received Roman citizenship thanks to her grandfather and served under Caesar in the civil wars. On her advice he took pains to ensure the continued loyalty of the whole peninsula to Caesar and, more immediately, Drusus; most importantly he also seized control of the naval base at Forum Iulii and the fleet therein.


Nevertheless, while Neptunia could send grain over to Hispania, Rome remained blockaded. Her ships were still liable to capture or attack at Curio's hands. Deploying the fleet at Forum Iulii would likely result in a full blown, make-or-break confrontation with the superior Misene fleet. Neptunia convoked her subjects to a week-long festival in honor of Dea Roma, Fortuna and Neptune. Her votives soon paid off, with Scribonius Curio's fleet being dispersed at sea and then retreating in haste to Misenum.


Livia Drusilla, otherwise Livia Caesaris Augusti

Vipsanian's worst fears had materialized with wonderful rapacity. He was ignored by a former friend, Caius Popilius Laenas, governor of Raetia, who descended into the north of Italy with two legions and set about organizing the Caesarian Populares in Mediolanum. Disregarding Vipsanian's election, the supporters of Caesar denounced him as a tyrant and elected Laenas as consul in Iullus Antonius' stead. The Popular Senate then proceeded to decree a Senatus consultum ultimum ("final act"), giving the incumbent consuls - Drusus and Laenas - dictatorial powers to deal with the present crisis. Vipsanian attempted to counter-act them by moves he imagined popular: removing the odious statue of Cleopatra from its place, suppressing the cults of Isis and Serapis and revoking the legal privileges of the priesthood of Roma-Isis. Unfortunately, public reaction was mixed and even his own supporters denounced him for over-stepping his consular authority.

The Popular Senate's numbers were predictably bolstered by the arrival of King Cottius of Liguria and his men, as well as senators and other exiles from Rome switching allegiance.

As both Neptunia and Vipsanian had realized, control of the seas and above all of the grain of Africa was of immediate and crucial importance to one and all. While the Populares assembled in Mediolanum, Livia Drusilla had detoured to Classe, the port of Ravenna, recently edified and extended at her husband's expense. Initially commissioned by Vipsanian following Actium, the artificial port was constructed in a lagoon surrounded by impregnable marshland which provided an ideal natural defense to the 250 ship fleet housed there.[4] As fortune would have it, this port was then commanded by her kinsman Marcus Junius Silanus[5], who owed his political career and current position to the nepotism of Livia and Caesarion. Needless to say, Silanus had no second thoughts about which side to take.


A trireme, of the kind that constituted the Ravennan fleet

And thus confrontation and bloodshed seemed inevitable. Vipsanian was presently in the stronger position, possessing Rome, a larger fleet and a larger land force to boot. Livia had less men and less ships, but could reasonably expect reinforcements from her son's German legions. Popular opinion was also on her side. Neither side could secure grain supplies from North Africa without crushing the other's navy first; at the same time, neither side was willing to jeopardize their limited resources on a full-blown engagement of their respective fleets. The support of Pompeia Neptunia and Balbus Minor sandwiched Vipsanian between hostile neighbors, spurring Livia to act. She did do decisively, sailing at the head of the Ravennan fleet to Brundisium, which received her peacefully and without tumult. Possession of Brundisium secured the Adriatic Sea, allowing the Populares continued communication with Macedonia and the East. Isolated ships loyal to Vipsanian were all captured and their cargo seized.

If the matter of Antyllus had confused many, the sudden arrival of Vipsanian and departure of his opponents had confused matters yet further. The name of Caesar Augustus was freely thrown around in order to get support - against whom or what was unclear. Certainly many joined Vipsanian thinking themselves loyal to Caesarion; no doubt others (notably Curio) did the same from exactly opposition inclinations. Livia was therefore impelled to publicly denounce Vipsanian, seeking the defection of his troops to her side. So widespread was the confusion among the lower classes that even her uncle Aufidius Lurco, a Campanian knight and magistrate, had thrown his support behind Vipsanian.

Senatorial politics and the uneasy stalemate threatening Italy were soon put in perspective by events elsewhere. The Pannonians, Dalmatians and Illyrians had risen up in numbers never seen before, cutting down the local Roman forces and even civilian colonies. The German tribes were, naturally, encouraged by such good news and unanimously eager to exact revenge upon Drusus and his legions. All of these barbarians, and indeed some within the Empire (in places such as Vindelicia, Raetia and Noricum), were agitated by the growing power of Chatti and Marcomanni. In the East Antyllus had delved into Syria and marched upon Antioch, hoping to corner Mithridates of Commagene and catch Caesarion's forces unprepared. His men were also able to repel any initial advance against them by Crassus; Alan and other barbarian mercenaries accustomed to difficult terrain further harassing the Roman troops with constant hit-and-run attacks.

At Brundisium Livia received Publius Scythicus, the son of Crassus Scythicus and her former step-son. The teenager tribune brought word of the East and letters for both Vipsanian and herself from his father. Crassus was adamant that Drusus and Livia make peace with Vipsanian, lest they bathe the Republic in blood (yet again), tearing the Empire at its very seams (yet again), wasting good Italian blood while the barbarians feasted on Rome's carcass. Crassus was in desperate need of reinforcements; he also imagined the panic and hysteria that would set in as soon as the barbarians set upon Gaul and Italy. He insisted Livia make peace with Vipsanian, by any means, on whatever terms, so long as civil war in the west was prevented and reinforcements appropriately dispatched to the frontier. If only she could draw Vipsanian out of Rome, he would be easily undone at a future date.


Bust of Vipsanian
__________________________________________________ ___
Notes:
[1] In later times OTL Nero recruited its sailors for a whole new legion.

[2] Daughter of Sextus Pompeius Magnus Pius and his wife Scribonia. She accompanied her father on his flight east and OTL shows up on a list of slaves owned by the Parthian general Surena. She is the niece of M. Livius Drusus Libo, president of the Council of Asia.

[3] Daughter of Ptolemy Niger, made King of Cyrene by Vipsanian in the 20s. Therefore a cousin of Caesarion and the rest of his siblings.

[4] Vipsanian inherited ownership of some 700 ships following the deaths of Mark Antony and Octavian. Following Vipsanian's spell abroad, Caesarion had claimed these as his personal property as heir of Octavian and Cleopatra, their original owners.

[5] Grandson of her aunt Livia Drusa.

Last edited by Velasco; September 23rd, 2012 at 10:47 PM..
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  #380  
Old September 23rd, 2012, 11:22 PM
ImperatorAlexander ImperatorAlexander is offline
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So many updates, we're getting spoiled
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