Allies win the Italian Social War TL - Request for feedback

(Disclaimer: there's an overall difference in this alternate Social War, not just contrasting military fortune. The Romans historically proved themselves extremely firm in war, not giving in to enemy goals. This particular conflict isn't going to be an exception, that's why they're going to lose. I'd add my perception about it that they only decreed enfranchisements after scoring victories – apparently wanting to present them in a way that looks like they're just honoring the faithful communities. Plainly speaking, the answer to the Italian demand for rights is “come and take them”. That's the fundament of this timeline leading to many exciting outcomes. You’re reading my first contribution to this website though, and I’m not even a native English speaker, so I’d be happy to see your feedback!)

Advanced polities in 86 BC

Advanced polities in 86 BC

(Introduction: this is a world of free nations. Still, this world is closed and not flourishing as it could be. The judicative and protecting wings of “The Senate and People of Rome” were injured. The concept of a global order, a Civilization of peace and unity is forgotten… because everyone was freed. Traders and legionaries don’t roam the huge continent. Mars says that if the peoples of Europe resisted enslavement at the hands of his soldiers, they shall not prosper!)

Background (91, 90 BC)
Secret talks start between the socii communities about a united uprising. The wealthy are motivated by their frustration of getting rejected a career, and the poor by their hateful sentiment towards the unfair and exploitative Roman suzerainty; nevertheless, they unite. The upper class gives the financial background to the effort, while the lower class takes up arms. They establish their capital and five-hundred-men senate at Corfinium, electing Quintus Poppaedius Silo and Gaius Papius Mutilus as the first consuls, for the year 90 BC. Everyone knows there can be no compromise now.

First phase of the war (90 BC)
The Italian consuls manage the uprising's north and south theatres, respectively. They and their Roman “colleagues” levy enormous forces.
At the start, Lucius Julius Caesar and his legates try to contain the uprising, but suffer four defeats, humiliating the consul. Grumentum and Venafrum fall quickly, while the distinguished Italian general Titus Vettius Scato besieges Aesernia.
Still, of these early advances, Mutilus’s Campanian one brings the most fruits. While not deterred from the use of treachery, he takes Nola, Herculaneum and Salernum, and even plunders the vicinity of Nuceria before turning north. There, L. Caesar holds him down before the city of Acerrae. He almost lost his life two times getting here, but not his confidence.
Meanwhile the Romans pulled themselves together enough to start their own large-scale offensive. It takes place on the northern front with the aim of devastating the Marsi, the most important tribe operating the uprising.
The first attack is led by Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo, but it’s intercepted by Titus Afranius and Gaius Judacilius, two good soldiers. While the former encircles him around Firmum, the latter liberates most of Apulia, including Canusium.
Next, the other consul, Publius Rutilius Lupus throws himself into the “game”, to be – on his way – ambushed and killed by Scato. His most renowned legate, Gaius Marius
arrives to the scene late, but nevertheless makes Scato withdraw. The city of Rome breaks out in such a panic when seeing the number of fallen that the Senate orders soldiers’ burial to be done on the battlefield. For the remainder of the year, L. Caesar acts as the sole consul and Lupus’s army is commanded jointly by Marius and Quintus Servilius Caepio, who don’t get along well. This renders them weaker than the opposing force. Silo is quick to make use of the situation and sets up an ambush. Pretending to have deserted, he flees to Caepio and urges him to start an assault his army. Caepio’s hunger for appreciation, however, drags him in the opposite direction. He rejects the request and keeps the leader. Soon, the deceptions come to light and Silo is put in prison. In his absence, Scato – who just capitulated Aesernia – is selected to take command and he does the job well, thwarting any further breakthrough attempts while inflicting heavy casualties. Behind them, the regions of Umbria and Etruria require ever more attention and policing. At least the Latins are loyal.

Second phase (90-88 BC)
When Afranius hears of the approach of a new army under Sextus Julius Caesar, he turns his back to Firmum. Sex. Caesar and Strabo coerce him into blockading himself at Asculum, but they didn’t expect the tides to turn with the arrival of Judacilius. Their army was attacked from two sides and overwhelmed, compelling them to evacuate the region. Meanwhile Lucius Cornelius Sulla is sent to save Aesernia, but he’s unable to prevent its capitulation.
In the wake of the latest election, L. Caesar travels to Rome, allowing Mutilus to finally take Acerrae. Throughout his campaign, the leader practiced mercy on surrendered pro-Roman combatants but frightened the townships to follow his orders.
In 89 BC, he’s confirmed in his position with Scato. They face Strabo and Lucius Porcius Cato, respectively. These are the men who gain the highest magistracy on the opposing side. Scato leads a breakthrough when the climate is confused by Marius’s handover of the army. Cato, an unlucky commander is killed in battle while trying to prevent Scato from delivering support to the Umbrians and Etruscans. In reaction, able men from most regional tribes willingly enlist in the uprising. The eagle standards spectate beating after beating. Even Silo is freed from captivity to resume command at a lower rank.
After this, Strabo tries to keep the northern front together, earning some smaller victories, and Sulla is invested with the authority of a consul to reverse Mutilus’s gains. Under him, the soldiers see more success. They encounter Lucius Cluentius, who they defeat and besiege at Nola. Pompeii is successfully sieged, while Herculaneum, Stabiae and Aeclanum give up easily. However, they aren’t capable of taking Nola, which means – given that there’s a considerable army inside – the campaign can’t go further. Bad news come from the Greek world: anti-Roman sentiment flames up as Mithridates invades the Republic's dominions in Asia Minor. Some Greek port cities in Magna Graecia declare independence as a result.
Sulla’s successes ensure his admission to the office of consul next year. His friend, Quintus Pompeius Rufus also stands. Strabo has the same ambition. For him and all populares, the victory of the first two would be equal to total failure. They have to achieve the enfranchisement of the Italians in order to remain with supporters. So, Strabo puts forward a law giving full citizenship to all residents of Italy without conditions and incorporating them into the thirty-five tribes. The proposal is obviously heavily objected by the optimates, but the populares really want to push it through. This leads to infighting, during which he is stripped of his mandate and summoned to trial. Sulla and Rufus are chosen to be suffect consuls. The cornered Strabo turns a traitor and leaves the front empty. He enters the capital, kills Rufus and invites the armies of Italia. In this, not even his allies are supportive. Worse, he gets no response. Conquest isn’t the aim of the socii, they just want freedom.
Sulla sends envoys asking for peace, knowing that in this miserable situation Rome can’t continue the fight. As he isn’t in a place to refuse claims, the conclusion is reached quickly: 1. all Italian communities unengaged in the uprising stay part of the Roman Republic 2. all Italian communities engaged in the uprising can decide whether to stay part of the Roman Republic (which offers them citizenship if they do so), become part of the Italian Republic, or become independent 3. all prisoners of war are returned to their residences. The processes aren't entirely fair. The Roman nobility intervenes extensively, securing hubs important for their enterprises by bribing, while the returning soldiers enforce their will in some places. Less than half of Etruria declares for Italia, and some old city-states get reestablished. Most of Umbria and Apulia joins the new country. The same is true with Samnium and Lucania, but there the remaining tribes become independent. Many Greek townships on the southern coast also. Calabria and Campania choose not to secede.

Liberation of the Greeks (90-86 BC)
Under the scorching of the Social War, Rome also has to deal with the eastern crisis. In 90 BC, Manius Aquillius is entrusted with negotiating a return of Nicomedes IV of Bithynia and Ariobarzanes I of Cappadocia to their royal seats. On pressure, Mithridates and his ally Tigranes back down and recall their troops from these countries. In a fatal miscalculation, the Roman embassy convinces Nicomedes and Ariobarzanes to raid Pontic territory. The infuriated Mithridates dethrones them again in 89 BC. News come around the end of the year, but by this time the military situation in the heartland doesn’t allow dispatching forces so far away. Thus, the new consul Sulla denounces taking action. This only emboldens Mithridates who starts to act extremely aggressive, invading Roman provinces. This wrings out a declaration of war from the other side, but the attitude doesn’t change. Governors evacuate their legions to deploy them against the socii. The Latin speaking colonists pick up their things and abandon their villas and estates. The king lets them do so because he wants to make the Romans relinquish their lands here.
His best general Archelaus soon gains dominance over the Aegean Sea. Archelaus installs Athens' ambassador to Pontus, Aristion as tyrant of the city, whose regime is of the cruelest character. The Pontic armies can advance less easily in mainland Greece: a meaningful garrison is still present, so multiple strategically important sites like Thebes don't switch sides and have to be sieged. Gaius Sentius, proconsul of Macedonia and his commanders organize the defense alone. Although they're somewhat successful in conducting harassing attacks, the invading army eventually reaches the north where the terrain is more open. Thereafter, the province crumbles in the clenching of the Greeks and the Thracians, who ally with the one having the advantage. The goal is achieved: Mithridates elevated his people from slavery and became the hegemon of Hellas.

New empires in the Fertile Crescent (91-69 BC)
The collapse of Roman power in the Eastern Mediterranean removes a danger to the Ptolemaic dynasty, which gets out of internal conflicts shortly after. In 88 BC, Ptolemy X dies fighting Ptolemy IX in Cyprus, so the latter takes back the throne. He dies in 81 BC and is succeeded by his daughter and heir Berenice III, who’s popular among the people. The country perks up after decades of economic and political crises. Egypt produces a large navy and expands into Africa. As its old potency comes back, maritime and land disputes with the Pontic-Armenian coalition arise. When Berenice passes away, her daughter Cleopatra V inherits the pharaonic jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, in Parthia, a Dark Age holds sway with kings and antikings replacing each other on the throne. It culminates in the takeover of another branch of the royal family. The first ruler of this new line is Sinatruces, followed by his son Phraates III. They succeed in consolidating the empire's remaining territories, but have no chance of destroying the western neighbor, so instead they put a good face on their diplomacy to avoid confrontation.
This is because following Mithridates, Tigranes also starts to build an empire. Upon the death of his overlord Mithridates II of Parthia in 91 BC, he shakes off Persian superiority and assumes the equal title "King of Kings". Over the course of the new decade, he subjugates Sophene, Atropatene, Gordyene and Osrhoene. In 83 BC, Philip of Syria dies and the locals invite him to be their new ruler. Tigranes accepts the offer and annexes the remnant of the once mighty Seleucid Empire. This land acquisition even allows him to project his sovereignty over Judea. Many conquered families are sent to the new metropolis, Tigranocerta, built in Hellenic-style architecture. The occidental and oriental cultures unify.

Eviction of the Romans from their vacation spots (88 BC-)
While the Roman hold over North Africa didn’t fully diminish after the disaster, it seriously weakened. This gives way for increased self-governance and for local chiefs, land-grabbing. A new Punic civilization rises from the ashes, assimilating the Latin colonists and landlords. The demolished legendary metropolis is a cut-off root, the Neo-Carthaginian identity lives in dislocated municipalities. The politically distant region is a safe place for the discriminated public figures, mainly those held responsible for the outbreak of Italian rebellion. Their inflow shifts the common opinion’s balance against the mainstream agenda and further sets the province of Africa apart from Rome. Numidia, even though it was formerly a client state of the Republic and is now an unsteady country, counts as the biggest external factor taking advantage of the status quo. It’s ruled by King Gauda. His death in 88 BC and the country’s subsequent halving by his two sons minimize their later gains. Nevertheless, the Numidians manage to annex a considerable amount of land.
In contrast, the conquest of Hispania didn’t shatter its indigenous society which continuously protested against Roman rule. The most recent example was a widespread disloyalty firing in 98 BC. The vengeance delivered by Titus Didius was particularly bloody: entire communes, even faithful ones, were wiped out. This fuels an even bigger discontent and outrage that the next governor can’t blow away. He’s able to suppress the initial mutinies separately until 87 BC, then it becomes countrywide. To avoid getting crushed, the Roman legions pull out. Except for some coastal cities that have proper defenses, the Hispanic provinces are completely occupied by the united army of the Celtiberians. The conquered peoples throw off Romulus’s yoke in all cultural regions together, not just in Hispania. The traditional power system is from now based on solidarity between the tribes, not on their independence. The face of Europe is reshaping: there’s Italy, Greece, Spain and Gaul, but we can ever more hardly speak of a connected Mediterranean zone. Antiquity is coming to an end.

The brewing barbarian world (88 BC-)
It soon becomes apparent that the Cimbric conflict wasn’t the last dangerous population shift in the Barbaricum. Analogous incidents continue to occur. In these times, more is heard of the bestial and excessively bellicose Germanic people. Coming from the icy north, they drive the Celts away from their ancestral homeland, the giant and mighty Gaul; something the politically fractured Italy can’t stand against. It’s like the reduction of the Republic brought it back 300 years. Shielding against the repeating waves of Gallic migrations, survival is at stake. The urban leadership can be thankful that they have strong walls and a layer of veteran families who don’t surrender without a fight. The Illyrian territories don’t have such a self-formed defense system and are lost. Still, the Republic’s days are counted.

A new kingdom
Inside Illyria’s neighbor, the distant and wooded region called Hercynia by wise men, the known entities perish one by one. While for those in Rome, the answer is unknown, the Greeks just have to look in a history book. The Dacians, or the Getae have been causing problems to even Alexander the Great! They’ve found their strength again, their tribes uniting and overthrowing Celtic control. Brigades come together and incur into Greek property, where they hold razzias and return with the booty.
This latest tendency contributes to the sinking of the Pontic king’s prestige. The publicans went away a long time ago, and the city-states aspire for greater self-determination, starting to see Mithridates as a new Persian overlord. When the old but tough despot dies in 54 BC, the barbarians leave their huts over the Danube. This time Burebista wants to add some poleis to his kingdom and extend his influence over the left coast of the Black Sea. Surprisingly, many cities willingly bow before him, refusing to nourish an oppressive empire anymore. The new Pontic ruler, Pharnaces II welcomes and grants favors to every community asking for protection. A long and protracted war unfolds where Greek naval supremacy tips the balance on the side of Pharnaces, aborting the Dacians’ attempts at capturing the port cities. His dynasty’s “savior” image is solidified by this victory, although the huge costs of it burdening the subject states further irritate their loyalty. Burebista returns home dissatisfied. Later, he’s assassinated in a conspiracy by unruly clans who don’t like his absolutist exercise of power. Even the gods are unsure whether to divide the Hellenes or not.

(Additions: eventually the Germans conquer Gaul. The Celts take possession of the Italian Peninsula in steps and form barbarian kingdoms on the advanced territory. All Roman holdings outside of it are taken back. While forced to allow some tribes to settle, Hispania subsists thanks to its cohesion. North Africa becomes rich again. The polis system is wiped out by the monarchs’ efforts to establish despotisms. A new wave of eastern nomads – the Sarmatians – sweep Pontus’ northern colonies away. After the death of both Tigranes and Mithridates, the friendship of their countries is forgotten. The Egyptians and Persians regain their glory by breaking up the young empire of Armenia. The Thracians and Illyrians form their unitary monarchies.)
 
Great TL, are you continuing it?
First, thank you for reading. I don't plan to break away "too much" from the OTL by going so far. It's impossible to keep the story accurate and realistic without an already paved path to serve as a reference point. That's why I put down a summary of the continuation.
 
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