After Actium: Two Caesars Are Not Enough

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Velasco, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Jonathan Edelstein Rooted Cosmopolitan

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    Lepidus ending up in the Tiber is a bit too pat (all right, more than a bit), and I doubt it's something that either Isidorus or Caesarion would ignore. It seems that the Claudiani are panicking - rather than waiting another year or else undermining Lepidus with some discreet scandal, they've committed a murder that's likely to backfire on them. Hmm, maybe Livia's losing patience in her old age.
     
  2. Bmao Sorcerous Firelizard

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    I've got to agree. There is no way that neither Isidorus or Caesarion would ignore the fact that the person they preferred ends up dead in the Tiber right after he gets nominated. In terms of Caesarion, it now places him in an unenviable position as having to choose between his son and his wife, and he's more than smart enough to put two and two together and realize that Livia is plotting against Isidorus and the entire line of Julius, similar to how his half-siblings Kleopatra Selene and Philadelphus plotted against him when he was younger, and similarly how his former best friend Antyllus betrayed him. Also, it alienates the Senate and it also becomes fairly obvious exactly who was the perpetrator of the death of Lepidus. When it comes down to it, they're going to side with Caesarion rather than Livia, despite all the connections she has.

    Such an blatant action also puts men like Tiberius at risk, as it puts them in bad graces with the Emperor, and it may cause them to distance themselves from Livia.
     
  3. B_Munro Member

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    I foresee hijinks, of the intestine-spilling variety...
     
  4. Velasco As High as Honour

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    Chapter CIII: Anno Domini, Pt. IV: A Light Put Out

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    The focus of the Parthian Empire had shifted westward with the loss of Hyrcania and Gedrosia. The Gedrosian desert provided a much-needed buffer from Bactrian incursion, protecting the more fertile regions still left to the King of Kings: Media, Elymais, Susiana and Persia. These provinces were in turn hemmed in by the Zagros mountains and Armenia, which - despite serving as a base for enemy tribes who were prone to carry out irksome raids - protected Parthia-Persia from the legions of Caesar. The King ruled primarily from Persepolis, amalgamating Persian and Hellenistic into what he had managed to salvage of the Parthian monarchy. Persia was now more the Imperial heartland than Parthia, a far-flung province; the Great King and King of Kings Alexander Helios had less need to stress his Parthian connections now.

    The Imperial titulature had become something of a farce, as the Pact of Babylon (14BC) had left the crown no client-kingdoms: Caesarion had delivered the formerly autonomous realms of Elymais and Atropatene into Alexander's hands and there they had stayed. The King of Kings was thus, in reality, but the King of a drastically diminished realm. He attempted to rectify this sorry state of affairs by bringing his two eldest surviving sons - the Matistes Alexander Seleukos and Artemidorus - to Pasargadae in Persia and investing them both with kingship in the traditional Achaemenid manner. The elevation did not please Seleukos, who as crown prince had already been allowed a crown and many quasi-regal prerogatives, prerogatives which he had now to share with his junior Artemidorus.

    In keeping with Parthian practice, the elder brother was treated more brutally and raised among allied tribesmen who took him on as a foster: he was dispatched to Parthia and given authority over the eastern march. The younger remained at his father's side, nominally receiving Media Atropatene to govern. When Alexander decided to marry Artemidorus to Iotapa II, one of the royal daughters, Seleukos was incensed. Iotapa was the daughter of Iotapa I, sister of Darius, the last independent king of Atropatene; Alexander probably intended no more than to consolidate his younger son's position in the appanage he would in time hold as Seleukos' vassal. Iotape I and her only son, Antiochus-Vazrakes, had been killed at Alexander's command: she had not been his chief queen, and her daughter ranked below the daughter of his first queen Cassandane - Agathokleia - who had been peacefully married off to Combolomarix, principal of the Galatians who were deported by the Romans to Babylon and then expelled into Alexander's realm[1]. Most importantly Alexander had already devised the marriage of Seleukos to his own aunt Laodike, a daughter of Phraates IV[2], at the same time he had executed the previous crown prince and elevated Seleukos to that honour.

    Seleukos was nevertheless unsatisfied and gathered to him the tribesmen and those at court who were disaffected with his father's rule. Alexander Helios had for some time been amassing a great army, with which he hoped to conquer Mesopotamia: at the least, he would take Babylon and catch the Romans unawares in the favorable terrain of Armenia. First he resolved to quell the tribes which inhabited the Zagros: beat them into submission or sell them into slavery: and for that purpose he set out, with his army and Artemidorus, from Ectabana, where he had been residing. Seleukos at once set out for Persepolis, where he wed Iotapa himself and seized the reins of government with the help of the Parthians.

    Hearing of his son's treachery Alexander Helios collapsed and, after some hours raving and bewailing the ill-fortune of the Antonian race, perished in desperation and exhaustion. Poison was more likely the cause of his demise than emotion, though ultimately the blame for either was to be laid at Seleukos' door. Artemidorus received the obeisance of the army generals but was coaxed back to Persia by his elder brother, who put him to death.

    The second Alexander adopted at once the same royal style as his father. The priests of the Irano-Buddhist royal cult acclaimed him as the King of the Dharma, the incarnate Vajrapani (the protector of the Buddha) and as Theos Phosphorus, "the light-bringing god". 'Phosphorus' ('Lucifer' in Latin) had been used by Alexander Helios in his brief tenure as crown prince in Commagene: it was an epithet of Dionysus (the divinely-sired ruler of all Asia) which also bore close associations with the figure of the Morning Star and the goddess Venus (the divine mother); in the hybrid new state religion of Alexandrian Parthia the divine parentage of the ruler (and his equally divine consort) was a crucial point. He chose for Shahbanu the girl Iotape, passing over his wife and the previous Shahbanu - his aunt and step-mother Parmys, whom he also married.

    [​IMG]

    [1] Combolomarix and Luterix, chiefs of the Galatians, seized Agathokleia and forcibly wed her (it being unclear which had taken her to wife, the Romans imagined they shared her), separating her from King Philip of Babylon, her intended spouse. The infuriated Romans expelled him into Parthia, where he was received by Alexander Helios as vassal and son-in-law (Luterix disappearing in the meanwhile).
    [2] Phraates IV had adopted Alexander Helios as his heir and married him to his daughter, Cassandane. Alexander later married a second sister, Parmys, at the same time his son by Cassandane - Seleukos - married a third sister, Laodike.
     
  5. Emperor Constantine 21st century Monarchist

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    Yeah gotta agree that Livia is gonna be felling the heat. What she did is something out of the Borgia playbook, and considering she risks angering her husband, the supreme ruler of the Empire, I feel that she's overplayed her hand. Hopefully she'll be eliminated before causing any more damage.
     
  6. St. Just Angel of Death

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    Very interesting... the fall of Alexander Helios to Alexander Seleukos. Sets an interesting possible precedent- and interesting to see the further development of the Antonian state cult. Hope to see the Mideast Galatians go somewhere interesting.

    Any more parts to Anno Domini? Excellent group of updates.
     
  7. Emperor Constantine 21st century Monarchist

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    And so Alexander Helios passes with a whimper. A fitting end for such a man. Looking forward to seeing what type of ruler his son ends up being.
     
  8. Velasco As High as Honour

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    Thank you for the feedback, I'm refraining from more thoughtful response to as to not give too much away, but please, keep 'em coming!

    More on Livia, the Lepidus situ, Alexander 'Lucifer' Seleukos and the dawn of the Christian age is coming up shortly, so probably 2-3 more 'Anno Domini' posts and then we move on chronologically :D
     
  9. Cuāuhtemōc Twitter fiend

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    Alexander Helios' down and sleeping with the fishes and his son Lucifer is ruler of Persia. And with Yeshua coming in the mix , things will get really exciting in the years to come in the Near East.

    Great update!
     
  10. Soverihn Kanye 2020

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    Well that was unexpected.
     
  11. Velasco As High as Honour

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    Chapter CIV: Anno Domini, Pt. V: Landicosa versus Lactucinus

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    "So you will do it..just as I say?"

    "Yes, domina, without a second thought."

    "Oh, splendid! You are a good girl, I am glad to not have misplaced my trust in you. Come, drink up now, we must be off at once".

    *​

    Through the streets the Imperial litter raced, abruptly halting as it entered the confines of Queen Cleopatra's villa, conveniently located in the vicinity of the Domus Augusta. The Emperor was not in a good mood and the slaves knew better than to drag their feet. Caesar Isidorus was said to have quit the city and as news spread an air of suspicion and foreboding loomed in all quarters. At the Emperor's command the Senate was already assembling, uncooperative senators being physically dragged from their beds and hastened to the Senate house.

    *​

    The bewildered Aemilia studied the two faces before her, anxiously cradling her infant son on her lap. She flinched as Livia placed a single, wrinkled hand on her leg, but listened intently as the woman spoke.

    "Oh my dear...I know it is tough, but now is not the time for tears. I see now how horribly neglectful I have been in my dealing with you, and not been the guide...the mother..I ought to have been. You have lost a brother - a dear, dear brother, so young and strong....it is not so long ago I lost a son, not different in youth and just as stronger, maybe stronger! But..." and here she paused, bowing her head and lowering her tone, "my dear, you cannot let yourself go so. You are the wife of a Caesar, and we wives of Caesars have a duty! to our Senate and to our people, to the Roman state. You cannot be overcome by the madness of grief, not now. You will grieve later, but now...it is now that you serve the State and show the people why you deserve the lofty station you occupy."

    The young lady's chin quivered;

    "But how..how can I possibly serve the Senate, being but a woman, and in such a state?"

    "Oh my dear, do you not know? Do you not see? You will follow me in my station, and it will not be long."

    "You are yet strong...my lady will yet live many-"

    "Oh, no no no...my dear, you mistake me for the Egyptian Queen! The eternally youthful Sospita Cleopatra, ha! No my dear, I am old. And I am a matron of Rome, raised in the Roman ways that are all I know, so I have no need of flatteries of 'young' or 'strong'...I am an old lady, and my time approaches. My son Tiberius will not live long, the portents have foretold it and the astrologers agree, and then Isidorus will rule the world. The world, my child. And who will be at his side?"

    "..Me..?"

    "Yes my dove, you! If I have anything to do with it, it shall be you who shall be as a mother to all Rome. You see with this little one, how much trouble they are...I tell you now, it is not easy having the State for a child! My darling listen to what I say and listen close: you cannot give him the granaries of Egypt. You cannot give him all the gold in Asia, or the frankincense and myrrh brought on camel back from distant lands inhabited by wild men..no my dear, you are no queen, and you are destined to compete all the days of your life with Oriental queens for the affections of the man you hold dearest above all. There is but one thing you can give him, but one dowry which is more precious than all the others: Rome. Give him Rome - invincible, all-conquering Rome, the key by which all other treasures might be unlocked."

    "How can I give him Rome?"

    "My child you must take it by force, make it yours and then entrust it to his care. Your brother has died, by villainy and treachery.. it is unfortunate, it is ugly...but what will your husband do? What will he say? Our Caesars are hot-headed, short-tempered and near-sighted, Greek as Greek can be...one word from their lips can stain the sea red with the blood of nations, one command stop government in its tracks and shake the Republic to its very core. My dear, one day they shall call you goddess - not in Asia, but here in Rome. And today is the day you show them why."

    *​

    Tiberius stood motionless, abruptly silenced by the words the freedman had whispered into his ear. Madwoman! Landicosa! Virago! He turned to the freedman but words did not present themselves: silent fury quelled all the agitation that had been so desperately working conferring with this and that senator seconds before. With a slight but stiff nod he acknowledged the man's request before collapsing into his seat.

    *​

    Caesarion sat in his chair, adorned in the regalia and garb of a triumphator, as was his prerogative as Imperator Augustus. He was flanked by Isidorus, Gaius and Aurelius Maecenas, his three legitimate biological sons, and behind him a poorly disguised screen housed none other than his mother, the (in)famous Cleopatra. A reluctant Tiberius arose from his seat and took up his post at the Emperor's side, ignoring the glares of the younger Caesars. The Emperor had not yet begun the session, awaiting the arrival of missing senators. The celebrity and outrageous nature of the crime committed indicated a need for a special Senatorial committee to investigate it to the very end: this in turn required the sanction of the people. The powers of Caesarion were perhaps sufficient to trump this last formality, but none were certain how to proceed in a case potentially involving the Domus Augusta itself.

    The uncomfortable silence was broken by Vipsanius, who burst in the door onto the Senate floor and addressed a startled Emperor and Senate:

    "Conscript fathers, I beg permission to speak!"

    None dared speak, 'til the Emperor himself thundered:

    "Well what is it boy?"

    "The lady Livia stands outside and begs the Senate and Emperor leave to enter and address this august body, on the matter of the murder of the consular candidate Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. The Queen of Cyrene is with her."

    Livia Drusilla and Cleopatra of Cyrene were already standing in the open doors of the Curia, accompanied by a lictor each. Caesarion eyed Tiberius, nervous and silent, a corpse, perfectly useless. He turned to face his wife once more and through a clenched jaw brought the Senate into session, each word he spoke seeming to taste to him bitterer than the one before it.

    "Quod bonum.. faustum.. felix.. fortunatumque sit."- "May it be good, lucky, happy, and blessed".

    "Oh Caesar! Oh conscript fathers! A terrible evil I have brought upon the State, a viper I have laced into your very bosom great Caesar! The Queen has revealed it to me: with many tears and lamentations she has told me the horrible, vexatious truth! Let her speak Caesar, and let justice be done!"

    The Queen had been somewhat thrown off by Livia's dramatic display: she stepped to a side, and hesitated - only a muttered Speak, child which ran up her spine and chilled her bones bade her spin her tale.

    "Fathers, Augustus, Caesars, it is true, and I would give all my kingdom to see this matter carried through and justice done. On the Kalends of the past month Pompeius who was once husband came to me, raving like a madman, calling me whore and our children bastards, vowing to slay Lepidus if I would not forever forego his company. This I could not do, for Lepidus was the relation of Caesar who is my kinsman and protector, and furthermore by his many good offices and famous name I supposed him soon to attain the consulate, whereby I imagined to serve better the Senate and people of Rome, whose friend and socia I am, by also befriending the next year's consul, as has always been my practice.

    Now, my husband Pompeius has these past years been in miserable exile, which was itself a mercy of his father King Juba when he took up the sword and usurped the throne. For this he is much sore, at his father and at Caesar, at myself and at Rome...I fear he has long awaited the chance to injure us all. The grace of my lady brought him to Rome, to be reconciled with his father, who is ailing in health, and with Caesar, to observe the Secular Games and perhaps even to reassume the royal dignity he had so callously mishandled in past times. With Caesar as my witness I received him honorably and grace, as one who had formerly been my consort and who was the father of my children, and he dined with me and many others, including many present, under the roof of Augustus and my lady Livia. The flames of his madness and hatred I inadvertently fanned by my amicitia with Lepidus, so that before fair Aemilius could serve as consul he waylaid and assassinated him."


    A wry smile from Livia: the Queen of Cyrene fancied she could hear a telepathic go on, my dear as she paused.

    "Lepidus himself had come to suspect retribution from Pompeius, who he feared would slay me for adultery, though I knew the amours of Lepidus only as I am now, a woman unmarried and without tutor, in accordance with the laws of the Republic...And this the lady Aemilia his sister can confirm, for she was privy to her brother's worries and such amours as passed between us."

    "Oh Caesar! Dawn had but broken and I was poisoned with this morbid news: Lepidus, our in-law, cousin to Gaius and Aurelius and brother of our dear Aemilia, slain by the foul Pompeius, thrown in the Tiber! The truth was revealed to me by the Queen, who rushed to me when the terrible gossip was confirmed...let this Pompeius be crushed and thrown into the sea! Let him be made an example to all who would so...so..so disgustingly proceed! Oh Caesar, and let not the name of Lepidus be absent from the Fasti...no, let the coming year be named after him, as well as the consuls who are elected, and let the Senate vote him the ornamenta consularia, so that his epitaph may honour him so."

    Exceptional! Yes! Hear, hear! - the senators were enthusiastic; the Emperor stunned and silent. Not a word from Cleopatra when he turned to face her. Livia was encouraged; emboldened, she pressed on.

    "And Caesar, if it be according to your will, I would that I and our son Tiberius be permitted to erect in the Forum statues of Castor and Pollux, in the form and in the name of Lepidus and Isidorus, to be set up as shining examples of the vigor and virtue of the perfect Roman youth."

    "My Livia...oh, you speak such sense. It is greatly to my liking, and will be to all a clear sign of the united purpose and animus of the Domus Augusta. Yes, let the traitorous cur Pompeius be tried at once and punished for his evil, and let Lepidus receive the honour he was so cruelly deprived of."

    "But father, the Senate is not in sess-"

    "Oh shut up Tiberius, you silly fool. The Queen of Cyrene has spoken with candour befitting a Roman matron, so that I can do nothing else but vouch for her testimony, beyond which she invokes Aemilia for witness, which she would not do if speaking untruly, things being as they were..."

    "It is...true, Aemilia sent me a message not long ago".

    Isidorus parsed each word, as if uncertain of their meaning.

    "See, Tiberius? There we have it, and what a relief that the truth be so readily presented...and what poor fortune for our friend Juba, what consolation shall he have now, in his old age? Come, I will humour you and put the matter to vote: let the Senate be presumed in session, numbers notwithstanding, and the words of Livia and Cyrena recorded for posterity, and let permission be granted that you and Livia might erect the statues in honour of Isidorus and Lepidus, and let Lepidus receive the consular insignia Pompeius sought to deprive him of-"

    "Oh! and Caesar, if I may intercede one last time on behalf of poor fallen Lepidus: let it be put to vote whether the Senate ought to organize, on this date, a yearly appeasing of the river-god Tiber, and grant as an extraordinary honour the additional cognomen Consularius to the children of Lepidus, so that the treachery of Pompeius will be seen to have amounted to nothing more than greater fame and fortune for the Aemilian race."

    The Senators did not wait for the Emperor's reply: they flocked to her side, milling about as bees around a queen. The consular Paullus, brother of Lepidus, she embraced with motherly tenderness. A wry smile and a quick bow saw her and Cyrena take their leave of the Senate and return by litter to the Domus Augusta. The nauseated Cleopatra did not await her son and made a speedy exit back to her villa: that afternoon she would refuse to receive Caesarion altogether.

    *​

    "What on earth was that? What have you done? A woman address the Senate? A statue for Lepidus...what?!"

    "Oh Tiberius you fool. You are worse than a blind man - you see, but as in a constant haze and blur. Say not "woman"...but wife of the Divine Augustus. One day a goddess too, I trust you will see to that. A statue for Lepidus...erected at the expense of Livia Drusilla, uxor Augusti, in accordance with the law proposed by her to the Senate of Rome. Ha! Do you even fathom the meaning of such words? And Cyrena, oh, she played her part beautifully! What a spectacle! What a day - we are not only saved, but we are made!"

    "And Isidorus? Who said nothing, questioned nothing?"

    "Aemilia is mine now. She cares greatly, you know, for the family. Or the State...I can't remember which. All she wants is for us to get along, Claudiani and Juliani..and of course I made her see that was all mother dearest here wanted too."

    "And..?"

    "Well, I may have promised her some province or other...Spain, was it?"

    "Spain!"

    "Well we need to let the boy rule something! No good keeping him under the boot always moping and complaining, asking too many questions, lamenting old Lepidus now. Better something right under our nose where we can observe and counter every move he makes...Yes, I promised her you'd give him Spain and Africa in the spring, with legions, which he needs to go off conquering somewhere and she wants in order to remain in Rome, and er.."

    "What mother?"

    "Oh I don't know! I promised her something silly...you'd be a more natural brother...loving, etcetera etcetera...just play nice and smile - if he asks you anything just nod and say that by Isis! it is all the same: we of the Roman race are descended from the Greeks too. He'll be delighted, you'll see."

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Jonathan Edelstein Rooted Cosmopolitan

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    What an ambush! I can't imagine Caesarion actually believed all that, but to act on his disbelief, he'd have to disown his wife in public with all attendant loss of prestige. I assume he's now plotting revenge?
     
  13. St. Just Angel of Death

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    #DisposeOfLivia
     
  14. jkarr Well-Known Member

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    and...im lost o.o

    no idea what just happened, but so hoping Livia gets something done to her
     
  15. Emperor Constantine 21st century Monarchist

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    OK did NOT see that coming. Livia sure knows how to work an audience, though I imagine that she's now made enemies of her husband and, more importantly her mother-in-law. Now that's a cat fight for the ages.
     
  16. SlyDessertFox Literally Natalie Portman Donor

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    Part of me just believes that Caesarion is forcing himself to believe it, as unbelievable as it is, just because he doesnt want such chaos to engulf his family and by extension the government as a result from the fallout of his wife being involved in such a heinous crime.
     
  17. Velasco As High as Honour

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    Clarification: Caesarion wasn't particularly bothered about the elections. Lepidus was likely to win, and Caesarion would probably have supported him as his son's friend/brother-in-law, but ultimately it was whatever to him.

    To summarize what happened:

    • Livia brought Pompeius, the disgraced son of King Juba of Mauretania, to Rome for the Secular Games.
    • (Lepidus turned up dead)
    • Livia met with Queen Cleopatra of Cyrene, who agreed to "confess" to a love affair with Lepidus and blame Pompeius for his death. Remember Cyrena is well liked by the Senate and anything Cleopatra/Isidorus say against her will look like anger over them not getting her kingdom
    • Caesarion summoned the Senate and rushed to Cleopatra's for his mother's advice, purposely avoiding his wife (and giving her the time she needed)
    • Livia met with Aemilia, wife of Isidorus and sister of Lepidus. It's not clear whether Aemilia's acting out of naivety, fear, self-preservation, ambition...but she agrees to back up Cyrena's story. Livia is kind/motherly/welcoming/attentive for the first time and promises to give Isidorus Spain and Africa, as if being the bigger person and merciful (even though Caesarion would likely give Isidorus the East)
    • Aemilia sends a message to Isidorus pointing the blame at Pompeius and singing Livia's praises and informing him Livia wants to reconcile, give him Spain and Africa etc
    • Livia shows up at the Senate, lets Tiberius know she wants to speak to the Senate
    • Tiberius is inert so Livia has to send in Vipsanius. Takes Caesarion and senators by surprise with her show and uses the breech given her to do the unprecedented: make a proposal to the Senate which they vote on (positively) and which will become law, making her the first woman in Roman history to play a serious legislative role in the Senate (versus using public or private forums to plead with Senators to act on her behalf)
    • Isidorus is suspicious and confused - but Lepidus is already dead and he's going to get legions, so...
    • Caesarion is suspicious and confused too - but without protest from Isidorus and an easy way out being offered to a sticky/bothersome business he wants nothing to do with - and Livia seemingly being very reasonable toward both Lepidus and Isidorus - he's more than happy to go along with it
    • Cleopatra isn't fooled, not for one minute, one second

    The post was intended to read in a way that enhanced the whirlwind that were the day's events but if there's anything that hasn't been explained well just let me know. Other than that...surprised no one's mentioned the dynamics between Tiberius and both of his parents..
     
  18. Jonathan Edelstein Rooted Cosmopolitan

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    Not to mention that if he publicly opposes Livia and accuses her of cooking up a story to cover up her involvement, he'll be shown up as a husband who can't control his wife, which would probably damage him in Roman eyes more than any number of scandals. It was a damned good ambush. But something tells me that Cleo, who doesn't face Caesarion's constraints, is about to take care of a little family business.
     
  19. Velasco As High as Honour

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    Oh, no doubt. Here everyone wins (well..Lepidus is already dead, Pompeius is a non-factor). Putting Livia on trial, divorcing her, putting her to death, breaking with Tiberius would be one hell of a headache - to say the very very least - and Caesarion is in a mood to not be troubled with such things. Remember Cleopatra finished off Cleopatra Selene, who herself had taken care of Philadelphus...Caesarion would dash Isidorus' brains out if he thought his own position was in danger. So we won't be seeing him go to war over some Roman aristocrat who got murdered. As for Cleo, she sees right through Livia, but she's picking her battles more carefully with age...
     
  20. Velasco As High as Honour

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    Chapter CV: Anno Domini, Pt. VI: Homonoia

    [​IMG]
    King Juba II of Numidia and Mauretania, the scholar-king

    A special Senatorial commission was immediately established to investigate the murder of the would-be consul Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. The consuls-elect Caesar Isidorus and Vipsanius were put at its head, but the accused prince Pompeius committed suicide (perhaps a final mercy afforded him by those who knew better). Keener minds readily perceived that the prince was unlikely to have committed the crime, unless consumed by extreme passion: having only recently left exile, he was unlikely to have thrown away a chance at regaining his freedom and place in the succession for a wife that had been foisted upon him. Nor could the other crimes attributed to him (the blinding of his brother, the usurpation of the throne of his father King Juba II) be considered anything more than the acts of court figures who had used the boy-prince as a pawn.

    King Juba's feelings were no doubt mixed: Pompeius had been both his chief rival and his one universally acceptable heir. The prince's demise hastened his father's return to Africa, where the lack of a present monarch had left the Berber and Punic elite listless. The tribal chiefs were eager to break away from centralized rule: the native elite wanted a strong King of the royal line: worst of all the Romanophile court faction (the ones who had risen up against him when it seemed he would replace his legitimate half-Roman heir Pompeius with the bastard of a native woman) wanted to see the kingdom annexed to Rome, a project best achieved by the disinheritance of Juba's three remaning children (the bastards Syphax and Juba Abacintus and the princess Julia).

    Juba's help had been indispensable to Caesarion in previous years and the Emperor was happy to oblige him now. Roman citizenship had already been conferred on his two bastard sons, who were among the foreign royalty present at the Ludi Saeculares and Vincennalia celebrations. Now Caesarion gave Juba permission to name either or both as his successor, or even to leave part or all of his kingdom to his daughter.

    Caesarion took the step of recommending Syphax and Julia to the Senate, proposing the two marry and share the throne. The girl's maternal cousins, the consulars Faustus Cornelius Sulla and Gnaeus Cornelius Cinna Magnus were offended enough to risk Imperial displeasure, opposing such a "foreign" marriage for the granddaughter of Sextus Pompey and arguing admirably against such incest between two Roman citizens. Political considerations eventually outweighed personal preference and Juba opted to endorse Syphax as sole heir, as the only capable adult male among his children, with military experience and political connections of his own. Syphax had been raised alongside the Emperor's children: he was enrolled alongside Caesar Isidorus in the ephebi of Alexandria (5BC) and was continuing his studies in Athens when called to serve the latter as a tribune during his eastern progress (3BC). The Senate applauded the choice and enrolled Juba in their number, giving him the ornamenta praetoria.

    The Emperor also approved and furnished Syphax with a young wife from the Domus Augusta - his own niece Antonia Laodice[1]. Associated with his father on the throne, Syphax was to succeed as sole ruler upon Juba's death the coming year (2AD). As a sign of Imperial esteem Caesarion also granted the insignia of royalty to Syphax's siblings and arranged Julia's betrothal to Ptolemaeus Commagenus[2], another nephew and the son of Juba's friend King Mithridates. He also encouraged Syphax's deification of Juba.

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    Whether real or imagined, the affair of Queen Cleopatra of Cyrene (otherwise Cyrena) and Lepidus caused very real anxiety to both the Emperor and Senate. It brought to the fore the unfortunate precedent of Crispus - a grandson of Mark Antony who was very briefly set up as Pharaoh with the name of Ptolemaios Antonios Philorhomaios - the first Roman citizen to attain royal dignity through marriage, a precedent which was not lost on the new generation of adventurers who were attaining maturity under the aegis of the Graeco-Roman Caesars. Both the Emperor and Senate were therefore mindful that the young Queen be married to a safe, suitable candidate: a Hellenistic prince of equal rank and certain loyalty.

    It was thought to consult the Emperor's mother, who with her encyclopaedic knowledge of eastern royalty would be best suited to propose candidates from among trustworthy, allied houses. The Queen however advanced the candidatures of Antiochus, brother and regent of Philip Fortunatus in Cilicia Trachea, and Antonios Alexas, son of Ptolemy Philadelphus and her own grandson. The Emperor vetoed both proposals, both of which were clearly ploys to gain a foothold in Cyrene and pave the way for its return to Egyptian rule. On the one hand it was well known Cyrena and Fortunatus were sworn enemies - Antiochus as King would serve as a foothold through which Fortunatus, Isidorus and Cleopatra could disrupt Cyrena's rule. On the other it was well known Cleopatra intended Alexas for the Egyptian throne; it wasn't hard to imagine Cyrena being disposed of and Alexas, now sole King of Cyrene, being invited to Alexandria to wed the Egyptian basilissa Berenice Caesaris[3].

    The Emperor therefore selected an obscure princeling from among his own retinue: Ptolemy Philopator, an alleged half-brother of the previous King of Cyrene[4], perhaps out of a desire to not bolster the prestige of the Cyrenean monarchy overmuch. Eager to shore up his title to the crown, Philopator assumed his brother's cognomen Antigonus, becoming King Antigonus II Philorhomaios.

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    In Rome there was peace between the Juliani and Claudiani, brought on by the approximation of Livia Drusilla and her step-daughter-in-law, Aemilia Paulla. Aemilia had requested Spain be given to her husband: the moment seemed ripe for a general redistribution of the provinces, Tiberius having fulfilled the charge given him five years prior (the pacification of Germania). Livia was always glad at a chance to further her own designs and the Emperor was happy to oblige now that all about him seemed united in perfect amity and purpose.

    Tiberius accordingly resigned as Vicarius Augusti Pro Imperatore et Praeses Comitati Occidentalis[5] and handed back Spain, Gaul and Germania to the Emperor. Tiberius received Pannonia, Illyricum, Moesia, Dacia, Macedonia, Epirus, Bithynia and Asia as his province, to which the Senate added Achaea. He and his wife could thus retire comfortably to Greece, from where he could emerge if there was trouble anywhere, and where he would be within easy reach of the capital. Since Isidorus was not yet trusted enough to take over all of Tiberius' provincia, he was made Vicarius in Spain alone, to which the Senate added Africa Proconsularis. In Tarraco Isidorus and his wife would be just as accessible and comfortable as his sister and her husband in Athens.

    The Emperor kept the direct control of rich and pacified Gaul for himself, bestowing the chief command of Germania on Fabius Maximus, a nobleman and in-law of the Imperial house: his wife Marcia was a great-niece of Julius Caesar[6] and a close friend of Livia Drusilla's. To the Romans a paternal first cousin was almost as close as a sister: marriage to the soror patruelis Augusti marked Maximus out as one of the greatest men in the Empire. Maximus was a cousin of the Aemilii but ties were cemented with the marriage of his daughter, Fabia Philippina, with Lucius Paullus, brother of Aemilia.

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    There remained the question of the East. The absence of a strong Imperial representative and dissension between generals and legates threatened the Pax Augusta. The general Cornelius Balbus had died. Plautius Silvanus was busy punishing the wild and largely autonomous residents of Isauria, Galatia and Paphlagonia for their frequent incursions into neighbouring districts. His colleague Furius Camillus (president of the Council of Asia) made it as far as Petra, where he enjoyed the delights of Hellenized Nabataea before regressing to Antioch. Camillus' envy prevented the more experienced Sulpicius Quirinius from taking any legions into Arabia, where Goiasos had taken over the short-lived Roman provinces along the southern coast-line and caused constant trouble to the Nabataean outposts in Saba. Herod's sons combined were proving not half as competent as their father: the Essenes, Boethusians, Sadduccees and Pharisees were but the most prominent of the many sects fomenting agitation throughout Palaestina. Relations with Meroe (Kush) had been broken since they had rejected Caesar's nominated heirs to Candace and several of the client-kings were proving relapse in their duties to Rome.

    Caesarion therefore dispatched eastward his third son, the eighteen year old Caesar Gaius. Gaius was to place a new King upon the throne of Armenia and acquaint himself with the kings and politics of the Orient. Like Isidorus before him, he went forth surrounded by a retinue of advisors and hardened military men. Volusius Saturninus, kinsman of Tiberius, was chosen as his tutor. Camillus was recalled and arraigned before the Senate for corruption. Livia's creature Plautius took over as president of the Council of Asia and Lucius Paullus was named proconsul of Syria - an appointment approved of by all. Cleopatra was confirmed as suzerain of Meroe and Nabataea - problem areas neither Emperor nor Senate wished to deal with - and entrusted with outfitting her appointed lieutenants (she chose her friends Dolabella and Fortunatus) with what they needed to restore order therein.

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    Gaius Caesar sets out East, at the end of AD1

    Notes:
    [1] The daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus, King of Paphlagonia and Galatia, and Orodaltis of Comana.
    [2] The son of Mithridates III, King of Commagene, and Cleopatra Selene, sometime Queen of Egypt. Called Commagenos ("the Commagene") to differentiate him from various other relatives and eastern royals with the praenomen Ptolomaeus. As Caesarion gave Roman citizenship to many of the eastern houses, tradition dictates that they would adopt his first two names (for this purpose 'Ptolemaeus Julius' and not 'Imperator Caesar') to which they might affix a Latinized version of their original name. Hence a bevy of princelings named Ptolemy.
    [3] Berenice Caesaris (Berenike Kaisaris), daughter of Cleopatra Selene by either Ptolemy Philip (officially) or Caesarion (biologically and adoptive). As the Ptolemaic heir with purest breeding she was named basilissa and junior co-ruler by her double grandmother Cleopatra.
    [4] Ptolemy Antigonus was the son of Ptolemy Grammateus ("the Librarian") and Lysandra, bastard Ptolemies who were briefly set atop Egypt's throne by Vipsanian. Grammateus presented Philopator as his son, but was opposed by Lysandra and soon died.
    [5] Vicar (or Deputy) of Augustus with Imperial powers and president of the western comes - "associates" - the title given to lieutenants who ruled sub-divisions of his assigned territory on his behalf. The primary precedent is the 13BC Comitatus in which Caesarion (as Imperator Augustus) presided over Tiberius, Drusus and Antyllus who ruled assigned territories as his "comes". Proconsuls and propraetors are still appointed by both Emperor and Senate in the provincia assigned to them.
    [6] Daughter of Lucius Marcius Philippus (suffect consul 38BC) and Atia Tertia, niece of Julius Caesar.