From Exile to Triumph: a Western Roman Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Flavius Iulius Nepos, Jun 7, 2018.

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  1. umbrieus New Member

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    Oct 6, 2015
    I'm really enjoying this thread. Thanks for putting in all the work for it!

    A few comments now that I've caught up. (I apologise for the length)

    I'm unsure why Hypatius would keep Justinian alive without blinding or other disfigurement to invalidate him as an imperial candidate. And also without forcing him, and Theodora into the church. It strikes me as a very dangerous move. Especially as Justinian is a rather capable leader and unless killed would always seek to return to the throne ala Nepos' example.

    Which could be exciting reading...

    Also I've been thinking over the Arab /Islam issue. I'm in agreement with the majority here that considering TTL changes, Islam is likely not breaking out of the peninsula and maybe not existing.

    However, it seems likely that Islam or an analogous movement would emerge in TTL. Maybe it is Miaphysite, or Nestorian, but it could actually be Judaism, considering it's prevailance in the peninsula at this time. Basically that is what islam is. A Jewish sect with an Arab prophet focused on Arab cultural touchstones. But Arab culture could have coalesced around ascendant Miaphysite Ghassanids, or Nestorian Lakhmids, both followed Christian sects.

    Perhaps if stopped from expanding north, but still having momentum, Arabs might instead expand west accross the Red Sea into the horn of Africa, or maybe even into india.

    Another aspect to consider is that the Lakhmids and Ghassanids are the two competing and largest tribes under the suzerinity of the Persians and Romans respectively. They defended the southern boarder for both empires preventing other Arabs from raiding. However during the last Persian/Roman war the Lakhmids were destroyed by the Persians themselves. The Romans similarly weakened the Ghassanids through removing several consecutive Ghassanid leaders due to religious differences, which included battles iirc. This breakdown in the patronage of allied Arabs is what allowed the Muslim conquest of the region as the two main states no longer existed to act as a center of gravity for, or barrier against other Arabs.

    That said apparently the Ghassanids were quite integrated into the Roman culture and system. Their leaders were Patricians and ultimately even a dynasty of Emperors (Nikephoros I Phokas) not only claimed decent from, but headship over the Ghassanid tribe.

    All that leads me to suggest that maintaining the Ghassanid relationship is of paramount importance. It might be even possible to bring the Lakhmids over as Allies by supporting them vs the Persian attempt to annex under Kosroe. And considering how integrated the Ghassanids were even prior to the POD. It might be possible to extend the empire into the peninsula through integrating an Arab Ally.

    This is kinda the opposite of the path that the western Foederati have taken with the possible exclusion of the Goths. I believe it also represents the best path forward for the empire, by diplomatically and/or forcefully integrating the Romano Barb kingdoms of the Goths and Arabs (and Vandals). And by integration perhaps reinvigorate both halves with new blood. Not dissimilar to the Illirian, Spanish, Armenian and African and Greek integrations which saw ascendancy of those respective areas with rulers from those respective cultures.

    The big reality pill to swallow for us is that the Romans of this era are not the inclusive and integrating type. But that was due to a number of factors that saw the empire splinter and the scope of romaness shrink. Factors that may have been butterflied away.

    Finally, I wanted to mention a counter point OTL example of this not happening with Bulgaria. This was a Romano Barb kingdom. That the ERE failed to integrate even when it conquered the area. Even when converting the people to Orthodoxy. This was due to a few specific items. The primary one is that the ERE allowed the creation of a Bulgar church independent from Constantinople. The second is that when they sent priests and advisors to educate the Bulgars they created the Cyrillic script for the Bulgar language instead of using Greek. So instead of creating incentives for the aristocracy and people to be Roman, they were treated always as an "other" lesser people. This perspective persisted even when there was an opportunity to have a Bulgar imperial ascendancy and union through marriage and adoption of the Bulgar line into the ruling dynasty. The ERE aristocracy resisted and so it was unsuccessful. As an aside this was repeated later with the Hungarians.

    Thanks again for producing this TL!
     
  2. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Im glad you are enjoying this timeline.
    Just a personal choice. Usually i don’t like to be too cruel with the characters of this story (even with defeated ones), obviosly a late roman timeline require its share of mutilations and assassination but this time I wanted to be “merciful”. Beside OTL there wasn’t any grudge between Justinian and Anastasius’s nephew so I thought it would be plausible to see Hypatius spare the life of his predecessor. There are some important difference between Nepos and Justinian: Nepos had an army and control over Dalmatia while Justinian is a prisoner in his own palace. He could be a threat but no more than Olybrius, Pompeius, Probus and Hypatius were to Justin who didn’t kill them. Not only but Hypatius and Probus were allowed to serve in the army during Justin’s reign.
    I had something in mind for Theodora but the incoming years are already going to be pretty dense of events so I simply decided to forget about this idea.
    As I said above the Arabs won’t be stopped from expanding north, obviously this expansion is going to happen under different circumstances, leaders and with different results (politically and religiously) but it’s going to happen.
    The Lakhmids and the Ghassanids are going to be part of this process of take over of neighbouring provinces. Of course they are not going to be alone and obviously their history before the invasioni is going to be different (especially for the lakhmids considering the changes that I’ve in mind for the sassanids).
    Maybe this would be the right thing to do but we all know that emperors don’t always follow the right path. Besides if a start writing a timeline were the romans expand into the peninsula and kick the Persians where would be the fun?
    In the future we will see a case of peaceful annexation of a romano-barbarian kingdom, however war and intrigue are always going to prevail over diplomacy.
    The process of creation of provincial loyalties (both in the west and in the east) stronger than the loyalty toward the centre of the empire is something already established and that’s not going to disappear (at least for the time being). This process will reach its peak in the next centuries and its probably going to represent the final challenge to the unity of the roman empire before the end of this timeline.
    Thank you for reading it.


    And now finally a map of the meditteranean in 532 AC. Its not great but I’m going to improve it when covering single regions. Dont worry about the territories beyond the Danube, they are going to have their own update relatively soon.


    Blank_Roman_Empire (1).png
     
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  3. Wolttaire Kicked

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    could we get a key too
     
  4. EternalDawn Dictator

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    Jul 2, 2017
    I think:

    Red = Western Rome
    Blue = Eastern Rome
    Dark Red = Burgundians
    Dark Blue = Franks
    Orange = Visigoths
    Yellow = Ostrogoths
    Green = Suevi
    Purple = Persia
    Light Brown = Vandals
     
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  5. Wolttaire Kicked

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    what grey?
     
  6. crazyself00 Well-Known Member

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    May 9, 2014
    Thanks for the map.
     
  7. EternalDawn Dictator

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    Jul 2, 2017
    No idea :p

    That area is typical for minor barbarians (Armoricans in Brittany, Celt Tribes in Ireland/Scotland, Vascones in Iberia)... in Britannia, I think Romano-Breton Petty Kingdoms and/or Anglo-Saxons (which the existence of WRE may butterfly them back to Denmark too, a failed invasion of Britain is a possible consequence of TTL divergence).

    I'm not really sure, I've not a lot of time to read these days so I have forgotten a lot of things from my followed TLs.
     
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  8. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Grey doesn't represent anything. Sincerely I don't even remember why I used that color in the previous map (and therefore now)
    You're welcome.
     
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  9. Threadmarks: Chapter XXXVI: The rise of Agila, Rex Visigothorum

    Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Chapter XXXVI

    Gesalec’s death at Salamantica marked the beginning of a new phase of the gothic history in Hispania. Queen Amalafrida was left with a weakened kingdom and two son unable to rule. Furthermore the kingdom was divided between two factions: a pro Roman faction and an anti Roman faction. The members of the former sought to restore order and peace inside the kingdom while seeking an alliance with the emperor in Rome and an agreement with the Roman Nicene population of Hispania, while the members of the latter sought to restore Gothic hegemony outside Hispania through the use of war and without resorting to any agreement with the Romans while privileging the Gothic Arian element of the kingdom. After Vouille and Salamantica a strong and capable leader was necessary, forcing queen Amalafrida to seek the support of one of the two factions. In 515 AC, she would marry the leader of the Roman faction, Agila, in an attempt to stabilize her right to rule. Agila was a Gothic noble who had distinguished himself at Caesaraugusta and Carthago Nova and quickly rose to be the most prominent supporter of a policy of pacification of the kingdom and reconciliation with its Roman population. His political enemies called him a Nicene and a traitor of the Goths and after the marriage even the queen received a similar treatment. Yet his subsequent successes allowed him to rule as regent of the kingdom without facing any serious obstacle. Yet with the birth of a son during the second year of his regency, Athalaric, the fate of the two young Balti, Alaric and Theodoricus, appeared even more darker. King Agila, during his first year as regent, quickly sought the the friendship of the Western Roman Emperor Marcianus, who in turn realized the opportunity to extend his influence over Hispania. After Clovis’s death in 511, the frankish kingdom in Gaul was left divided among his four heirs and even though each single king didn’t represent a threat to Roman Gaul, the fear of a united Frankish menace prompted Marcianus to accept the offer of mutual help from Agila. In 517 king Agila was therefore elevated to the rank Comes, a military title that was gradually disappearing from the hierarchy of the roman army, which legitimized his right to rule, while giving to everyone in his kingdom a clear sign of how close the new king was to the emperor.

    [​IMG]

    The friendship between Agila and Marcianus would immediately bring its fruits two years later, when the Gothic king resumed the conflict with the Suebi, in an attempt to remove the stain of Salamantica. 3000 roman soldiers were sent from Gaul by Marcianus, to support the king’s effort to recover the territory lost by Gesalec against what he perceived as a kingdom unlawfully established over roman territory. From Toletum, the new Gothic capital, Agila would march north against the eastern border of the Suebic kingdom. Once again the two armies clashed near Salamantica, with the Suebi ready to repeat their previous success while the Goths were eager to avenge their defeat. This time however the Suebi, overconfident over their strength, were routed by Agila who personally slew the Suebic commander. Unable to take the city, Agila started to devastate its territory before moving further west where he would reach the Atlantic shore near Portus Cale. During its march, the Gothic army didn’t spare any village or Suebic garrison, with the population of the former deported to the Gothic kingdom while the latter were given the opportunity to serve the new king or die. What was left was destroyed by fire. During the second year of the campaign, Agila moved against the core of the Suebic kingdom, where he captured and destroyed the city of Asturica, once again deporting its population. His siege of Legio failed in capturing the city, however he was able to deliver another blow against the Suebi with the foundation of a new fortified city, where the Douro river start marking the limit of the Lusitanian province, called Agilapolis. After two disastrous years of military campaign, the young Suebic king Ricimer, Veremund’s son, opted for peace with the resurgent Gothic power: all territories conquered by his father, including Salamantica, would be returned to the Goths, while the Suebi would be forced to provide military help when required and pay and yearly tribute of 12000 Solidi.

    [​IMG]

    The recent victory against the Suebi allowed Agila to further cement his control over Hispania. The next step was represented by the replenishment of the Gothic treasury and the improvement of current administrative system. He therefore resorted to the help of a wealthy and influential roman citizen of senatorial origin, Flavius Rusticus Caesarius Candidus, who slowly took control of the entire administration of the Gothic kingdom. With the entire administration under his control, Roman citizens all over the kingdom gained prominence, especially the Roman clergy which saw its juridical responsibilities in the cities increased. Public infrastructure, both inside and outside the cities, were repaired while the excess and corruption of certain regional governors was fought with the appointment in each city of the kingdom of a representative yearly elected among the Curiales, with the right of access to Caesarius or the king himself while on the economic field, Caesarius implemented the same beneficial laws recently enacted by the emperors Anastasius and Marcianus. These and other measures allowed Agila to increase his treasury while strengthening the kingdom with the support of his Roman subjects.

    [​IMG]

    In 523 he would also repay the help he had received by Marcianus during the war, by supporting the emperor’s interest in Gaul. Here the Frankish kings were threatening the existence of the Burgundian kingdom, whose king, the recently converted Sigismundus, was a close ally of emperor Marcianus. Small raids against the Burgundian territory were led by the Frankish brothers, however the intervention of the old former Magister Militum Avitus and his personal troops, forced them to interrupt their attack. After the temporary end of the conflict, Avitus demanded the Franks to end their aggression against an ally of Rome. The reply was less than satisfactory: their were avenging the death of king Chilpericus II, a former ally of Rome, therefore they were fighting for what they perceived as a right cause and demanded Rome neutrality in the conflict as they didn’t have any intention to end the conflict. Knowing that he was not ready for a conflict against the Franks, Marcianus demanded Agila’s support in Gaul, who in turn was eager to reinforce his ties with Rome while extending his influence north of the Pyrenees. Unable to resist the diplomatic and military pressure of the Romans, the Burgundians and now even the Goths, who just started their own raid against Aquitania, the Franks wisely opted for peace. Even though the brief conflict didn’t bring any meaningful change, both Agila and Marcianus perceived it as a success. During that same year, king Agila further improved his position in the eyes of the Romans by spending 3 weeks in the capital of the empire where, as a reward for his services, he was appointed Consul for the incoming year. Here the population of Rome would enjoy the games that Agila would offer for the occasion, while he would be granted the privilege of assisting the races with the emperor and his family in the imperial Kathisma. This episode would leave a lasting positive memory of him among the Romans while leaving him even more convinced about the rightness of his choices.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
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  10. Augustine Sedira Service, Family and Wisdom Banned

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    Another great update as well as art. Do you find the photos from anywhere specific or is it just a google search?
     
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  11. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    No specific site, I just keep scrolling until I find a good image. However I noticed that most of the time when I check the source of the image its Pinterest.
     
  12. Augustine Sedira Service, Family and Wisdom Banned

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    Thanks
     
  13. free115 Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm.... must really be confusing state of affairs in Western Europe right now. Germanic kings ruling over Roman populations while also being in communion with the Emperor in Rome.
     
  14. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Basically what happened OTL. This time however we have a western roman emperor who took the role of hegemon in Western Europe that in our timeline belonged to Theodoric.
     
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  15. Droman الفينيقي

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    May 21, 2014
    Plus it's not like the Roman Empire exclusively comprised of good solid Roman-Roman stock. Universal citizenship meant a Lusitanian tribesman was as Roman as an Aramean goatherder was as Roman as an Italian patrician.
     
  16. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Yay it's back!

    Ahem, returning back into business: interesting switch of the relations between Rome and Toletum, and the Visigoths sensing reason to work again with the WRE. A Visigothic-Roman convergence would surely lead to many important consequences in the West: a more easier and early embrace towards Christianity in Hispania, a Western Mediterranean more stable (to the chagrin of the Vandals) and a Frank power curtailed for now: albeit this may lead the kingdoms of Gallia to fight against each other or search agreements to reunify the realm. Maybe this may push the Franks to reform their succession laws when realizing in a civilized land splitting lands among all brothers won't work. The Visigoths meanwhile would proceed their harmonization with Roman culture - I admit the concession of the consular title for the West surprised me pleasantly but was a very wise move to Marcianus - nothing better than a Roman Barbarian king to be honored like that to feel him trustworthy towards the Empire.

    But is also an ulterior step in affirming in a fractured Europe the supremacy of the Empire towards the barbarian realms. I am guessing Suebia would start to seek legitimacy from Rome now after the defeat - or come with terms with Rome or facing progressive conquest from the Visigoths. Brittany was ruled by petty rulers so would be out of the count for a long time still, I wonder how would affect in the future Britannia and Germania (believing the latter at least would fall into Frank control soon later so receiving Roman influence by osmosis through Francia)...
     
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  17. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    It was really a luck for Marcianus to find a friend in Agila: a conflict alone against the Franks would have probably weakened his position in Gaul while leaving him vulnerable to the Ostrogoths and the possible return of Oreste ( I didn't forget about him)
    You probably mean Nicene Christianity. Agila and Amalafrida are very supportive of the Nicene creed but for political reasons they can't yet convert to Orthodoxy: not only the opposition would grow even stronger but even their supporters ( who seek an agreement with the Nicene but still refuse to give up Arianism) would turn against them. A second update about Agila is obviously due.
    Text update will cover the history of the Vandals and their relation with Rome, from Hilderic to Gelimer: You already know what to expect here, but the consequences are going to be even more interesting than OTL
    Not sure if this would be possible now, so I'm going to ask to anyone who knows more about Frankish history if this would be plausible and how.
    Nepos and Marcianus are going to be remembered as great emperors. Probably someone could call them ASB, as I basically wrote the history of two emperors where everything went great for them. Soon however I will resume the more traditional alternation between good and incompetent emperors.
    Despite the fact that the empire only control Italy and the provinces around it, the Nepotians were able to restore the prestige and the authority of Rome: a great result even though not so epic...
    In the future, maybe after unexpected events took place in Hispania...
    Not sure about Britannia, but Germania along with the Carpathian region deserve their own update: better be prepared for the Gepids, Lombards, Huns, Avars, Bulgars and Slavs (to be honest I'm still trying to figure the exact role of the Slavs in this timeline, while Lombards, Gepids, Avars and Bulgars are almost ready to make their entry).
     
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  18. Archangel Battery-powered Bureaucrat

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    Does this update means that the Visigoths will be assimilated faster into the Ibero-Roman population, and become a late-Roman splinter state of the WRE?
     
  19. Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Its better if I don't spoil too much, however keep in mind that there is still a faction which oppose Agila and his alliance with the Romans. Add to this the fact that Alaric and Theodoric, Gesalec's son, are still alive...
     
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  20. Threadmarks: Chapter XXXVII: The Vandalic War

    Flavius Iulius Nepos Emperor with the support of the East

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    Chapter XXXVII

    In 523 AC king Thrasamund was succeeded by king Hilderic, Genseric’s grandson. His mother was Eudocia, the daughter of the the Western Roman emperor Valentinianus III, who was captured by the Vandals during the second sack of Rome and brought to Carthago. Here, according to her father’s will, she was forced to marry Genseric’s son and successor, Huneric. While she was held captive by the Vandals she witnessed the steady decline of the Western empire and she was allowed to leave the kingdom only when her physical condition worsened. She didn’t live long enough to become queen of the Vandals or even to see her sister Placidia becoming empress of the West, however she would leave a lasting mark in the kingdom through her son Hilderic. Hilderic was the product of the contact between the empire and the new Romano-Barbarian kingdoms. He was not the first man to claim to be related to both the imperial family and one the local Barbarian dynasty (Ataulf’s son, Teodosius, represent an illustrious precedent), however he was the first Romano-Barbarian prince to effectively rule over one of these kingdoms.

    His reign marked the beginning of a period of good relations with the imperial courts of Rome and Constantinople and the Visigothic king Agila. Thanks to his mother’s influence, Hilderic was loyal to the Nicene creed despite the opposition of the nobles of the kingdom. His position was similar to that of Agila but with some important differences: King Agila was an able commander and almost a necessity after his kingdom was left, with Gesalec’s death, without alternatives, while Hilderic lacked any skill. His open support of the Nicene clergy and his inability to repeal the Berbers would cost him the throne after seven years of reign, following another defeat. His successor, the Arian Gelimer, would therefore win the loyalty of the Vandal nobility but would find himself isolated on the diplomatic stage. The Goths would turn hostile to the new king while Iustinianus even demanded the return of the previous king to the throne. Marcianus instead would adopt a more cautious approach: he strongly disapproved the recent development but he couldn’t afford the enmity of the Vandals while Iustinianus sat of the eastern throne. But with Iustinianus deposed by the people of Constantinople, he could finally return to focus on the Vandals. Theodoricus’s death during that same year would leave the Goths in Pannonia relatively busy with the question of succession, giving the Romans the respite they needed.

    533 AC: The expedition against the Vandals was a project that Marcianus had considered since he ascended the throne, 26 years ago. Many emperors before him had attempted to recover the strategic Diocese of Africa to the empire and failed: Maiorianus with his own resources and his grandfather Procopius Anthemius with the support of Leo I. Now it was his turn, his occasion to succeed where great man failed. Or die in the attempt, since he know that another defeat would undo all his and his’s father accomplishments. During the previous year resources were massed for the preparations of the expedition, while men were recalled from Gaul, Illyricum and even beyond the Danube as the imperial army was for the occasion reinforced by additional Germanic troops. The whole expedition was financed with what was left of the Gothic treasure of Tolosa. Emperor Marcianus was also able to win the military support of his eastern colleague Hypatius, thanks to his brother’s influence at the imperial court of Constantinople. This support amounted to 7000 soldiers and the fleet necessary to transport them led by Magister Militum Belisarius. Emperor Hypatius couldn’t afford a bigger expedition, as his rule wasn’t entirely stable, yet this campaign represented for him the opportunity to get rid of supporters of the previous regime including Belisarius, the skilled general who couldn’t be entirely trusted.

    The joint expedition would depart from Syracuse at the end of May, with their first target the city of Lilybaeum. It was a bless for the Romans the fact that at the time the Vandal army was in Sardinia dealing with the rebel commander Godas. The capture of the city was only a matter of days and with its fall the Romans could now focus on the next phase of the war. From Lilybaeum the army sailed for Africa, crossing the sea without encountering any resistance from the enemy fleet and landing near the city of Hadrumentum/Hunericopolis renamed by the emperor Marcianopolis. From here he would move with his army against Carthago. Meanwhile king Gelimer hastily assembled an army in order to oppose the advance of the Romans while ordering the return of his brother Tzazo from Sardinia. His intent was to avoid any battle with the Romans until the arrival of Tzazo with his army, however with the emperor quickly approaching the capital he couldn’t delay the battle any longer. The two armies met near Carthago in a place where Gelimer hoped to encircle the Roman army with his numerically superior army and the reinforces coming from south. Unfortunately for him the reinforces would never attack the imperials as they engaged a Roman detachment composed by 2000 Scholares and led by Marcianus Valens, who would earn enough time for the emperor to deal with Gelimer before turning south against the reinforces. While Gelimer was able to retreat with what was left of the main army, the second army was completely destroyed by the Romans, who were now free to move against Carthago unopposed. Marcianus would enter the city on the last day of August, greeted by the Carthaginians as a liberator while Gelimer fled west. Even though Carthago was once again in Roman hands the war was not over yet, as the conflict against the Vandals was only the beginning of something that would have unexpected consequences outside Africa.
     
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