The Last Gasp of the Diadochi.

X: The Strangest of Wars

Antioch, September 15th, 29BC​

In the palace of a local aristocrat who'd graciously given up his home for the week, Gaius Julius Caesar sat with Vonones, eldest son to the king of the Parthians. The mood was guarded to say the least, the table the two sat at on opposing sides was long, and both men were flanked by heavily armored guards, their swords ready. The two empires had been at war before, each time initiated by ambitious Romans. For an uncomfortable minute, neither side spoke, Caesar locking eyes with his guest, the Parthian reclining in his seat, awaiting a responce. Neither realm thought much of the other, at least not much in the way of positives.

Finally Vonones broke the awkward silence "Well" he gestured "You called me quite a ways to parley, out with it Roman." Caesar didn't blink "You are aware that Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra have made their home in the court of an Indian king." The Parthian grinned "You wasted that much of my fucking time to tell me something I already knew, how lovely." Caesar still didn't blink "I have a favor to request of your father." "And if I refuse to hear it?" The Roman turned his head "I think the past year has shown your kingdom is by no means inpregnable." "And I have a gold crusted skull in my office that shows your wars with us don't turn out so well." The Parthian prince laughed "Let's just cut out the subtle innuendos, I don't share the Roman obsession with them.

Caesar nodded, then spoke "I want their heads. Antonius and Cleopatra especially, and as many of their children as you can get." Vonones stared at Caesar like he was an idiot "In exchange for...?" he asked "Whatever territory they and their new master have aquired, you can keep." The Parthian laughed out loud "We don't want India, you scrawny moron." One of Caesar's guards drew his sword, but with a wave he halted him. Vonones contnlinued "India is a mess. You have to climb off the edge of the world to get there, then they conjure these massive army's out of the mist. Besides, you're not gonna take it, dumbass." Caesar pursed his lips, he couldn't believe the guile of this wannabe Greek

"Take this message to your father, Parthian." He said sternly "I will reduce Ctesiphon to ashes. I will extinguish his dynasty. I will damn the memory of his people. Unless You. Do. As. I. Say. Are we clear?" The prince shot his typical smile "Very. And I look forward to telling my father what a shit eating cocksucker you are. I'm sure he'll turn you down. Good day." With an exaggerated bow, he stood and strolled out of the room with his guards. "Bloody cunt." Centurion Pullo mused once they were out of earshot "Quite right." Caesar agreed "Typical Greek, doesn't care about whatever doesn't...Benefit them." Caesar suddenly had an idea

Meanwhile in Sagala​

The city on the edge of the world was unrecognizable from how it'd been a year ago. Sprawling streets had replaced poorly planned jumbles of houses and roads, temples and even bathouses were popping up in the city center. And in Castra Roma, an army was being born. Men marched ruts into the roads, the sounds of shouted orders and tubas and clashing swords were constant. The city was alive, more so than it had ever been. Amidst this controlled chaos, Marcus Antonius sat, jug of wine in his lap, watching. Caesarion came up beside him, and also sat, impressed by one Indian's skill with the blade.

"That one's rather good." He said pointing at him as he kept pushing back the decanus sparring with him. Antonius nodded "Mmm, he'll be good in a fight, these Indians know how to handle themselves, I'll give them that." Caesarion seemed puzzled at that "Father, you always seem to look down on anyone who isn't a Roman. Tell me, does that include mother?" Antonius cracked a wey smile at that "Caesarion, your mother is Greek, not to mention a queen, and a fucking smart one at that. She's civilized, if nothing else." Caesarion thought about that a long moment "And me? Am I just some barely civilized prince of another future province? Is that all I am to you?" Antonius turned to the boy, and there were tears in his eyes "Oh. No, not for a moment. You're the son of a great man, you'll be a great man before long. I'm proud of you boy." The two shared a brief embrace "Which reminds me. It took far too much debate to convince your mother, but if you'd like to join me in the campaign in spring, I'd love to have you fight at my side."

Caesarion's face lit up "Really!? I'd love that father, thank you!" Antonius laughed "Just try to get your new wife of yours plumped up if you get what I mean." He nudged him on the shoulder "A pregnant widow is a happy one after all" He chided "I'm working on that, but Alexandra is a tough one." Antonius laughed even harder "That, my boy, is something I can teach you..."
XI: Punjab Campaign, Part 1

Sagala, March 15, 28BC​

The Punjab city was bustling, as wagons, horses and men marched through cheering crowds. The day that so many had anticipated was here, the war for Taxila had begun. Cleopatra had used some of her remaining gold to hold three days of celebration in the city, and now the sufficiently hungover and satisfied troops were mustering at the docks. The Legionaires were inpeccably turned out, their new Greek and Indian soldiers had been drilled into proper Roman soldiers, and could scarcely be told apart from those who'd trained them. The Greeks and Egyptians with their spears and sarissa looked ready to cross the Hellespont with Alexander. On a stage facing the crowds and army, Antonius, Cleopatra, and the king himself stood. With a wave the king quieted the mob, and gestured to Antonius, who stepped forward to speak

"This land has fallen far, and that's such a pity given the lions I have found here. This city, this kingdom is not worthy of you, and we shall set this right. Across that river, in his own city, that filthy Scythian dog sits on his throne, squandering these fields and hills. He doesn't deserve his land, his subjects don't deserve their farms and their shop, as they've been content to be ruled by a barbarian. We will go to Taxila! We will take their walls, their lands, their women! Each and every one of you will live like kings, you'll have so many slaves you won't have to wipe your own ass! Let's go! Let's see! Let's conquer!" The soldiers and civilians went wild, as Apollophanes rolled his eyes. "Did you really need to piss on my kingdom like that?" He said to Antonius irritated, the roar of the crowd making sure no one else hear "Have a better kingdom then jackass."

"Children, children..." Cleopatra chided "Save it for the Scythians." "Says the women who'll be napping on her sofa while we're fighting for our lives, what, are you pregnant again?" "I really fucking hope not, I'm tired of that crap. Anyway you'll need someone to make sure nobody burns the city down while you're gone." "Eh, fair enough." Antonius said "If you'd stayed home at Actium I'd be dictator and your son would be consul right now." "Oh get over that." "I won't, and I'm declaring him consul anyway as soon as we take Taxila anyway." "Marcus we're in India, you can't just say Caesarion is consul and expect anything to happen." "I won't say it I'll declare it." He clapped back.

After Apollophanes finished his own speech, the figured stepped off the stage and to their various units. Finding Caesarion, he clapped him on the soldier "Ready to slay some Scythians?" He asked exitedly "Anytime father." "Well then you better go see to your cohort, centurion." The young man's eyes lit up "You mean it father!?" "Hey, I'm your commanding general now, it's master." "Yes master!" he quickly said "Good lad, now go see to your cohort, and fucking listen to the junior centurions. Off you go now."

Caesarion ran off, to find his unit, but was stopped by his mother "Son, a word." She said in Egyptian "Listen to me very carefully. I got a message from the Parthians, there's something you need to do..."
Will Cleopatra try to convert univercity of Taxila into a second Alexandria?

Current Pakistan contains three of Ancient Shakti Peeths which are Shivaharkaray or Karavipur, Hinglaj Mata mandir and Sharada Peeth. Will Various Egyptian, Greek and Roman female Deities assimilated and subsumed under Indo-Greek Rule? Maybe they will also include Buddhist influence similarly like Japanese Kami in canon timeline.
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I think there is a chance of Shiva Assimilating Aspects of Orisis and Dionysus. Orisis Myth similar to Sati Myth particularly the way his body parts where scattered and they became centre of Worship. According to Myth Isis recovered all the parts of Osiris' body, except the phallus. Maybe Priests can assume it was buried in india and Shiva actually indian version of Same God. After all there is Jyotirlinga concept in Hinduism. Dionysus also have similar portfolios as well. So a synthesis is quite possible. For more info read Divine play, sacred laughter, and spiritual understanding by Patrick Laude.(Chapter 3 Dionysus, Shiva, Osiris)
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Hinglaj can be equivalent to cave mother or mountain mother aspect like Cybale and Gaia while Shivaharkaray as Warrior Goddess like Diana or Warrior aspects of Venus and Incase of Sharada Hestia and Minerva are closest substitute.
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What an intresting timeline I realy like how you write and Give "your" characters personalities ! Thrusting these very well knowned historical figures in such a strange place as the indo-greek world is very original i'm interested to see where this plot is going. !

I'm not knowledgable on India's antiquity but their is an interesting aspect of Cleopathra and Antonius army that could add something to your timeline : the gauls (or celts) !
The eastern mediterranean was a hotspot for mercenary celtic activity since the time of Alexander the great (the french historian Luc Barray shows in his works how important this phenomenon was to the diadochi) and this increased even further with the creation by gallic conquerors of the galatian tetrarchy in central anatolia.
The Ptolemy where good clients for these galatians as much as by the time of cleopathra they constituted her loyal royal guard ! Historically these guards with her death found an other famous employer : Herod the great. I can imagine in your story that the pharaoe of egypt would have brought with her these elite warriors to guard her in Sagala. From what we know they fought in the gallic fashion with la téne longswords Spears and javelin on foot or on horses and armored in chainmail (with some greek elements here and there) and the celtic oval shield (widely adopted by geeks and roman alike at the time). With her wealth she could have brought even more galatian mercenaries to bring to India !
As for Marcus Antonius one need to remember that he was the leader of the gallic alied cavalry (not mercenaries) during the gallic war and important squadron of these excellent riders followed him during the civil war. Most of them were aristocrats from noble and wealthy familles from people like the arverni or the aedui and even though Augustus would have most of them (has he control gaul after all) maybe some of these cavalry men acompanied Antoniu's legions in India ?

Well that's all I had to say ! Hope this could Give some interesting informations. Hyped to see what's comming next in your story keep up the good work !
Punjab Campaign, Part 2
The nominally Indo-Greek army left Sagala in mid March, using the remaining Egyptian warships to ferry them across the Hydroatis into Taxilan territory. While the opposing armies were nominally the same size, Antonius was concerned with the Scythian mounted archers, cautious to avoid the fate of Crassus at Carrhae a generation earlier. As such, he led the main body of the army in a cautious advance, slowly working his way across the Punjab. While Antonius took his legions and the archers on this main route, King Apollophanes personally led 5,000 spearmen and 3,000 cavalry, which were embarked on the warships. Sailing rapidly down the Hydraotis and then up the Hydaspes, these troops landed near the old Greek city of Nicaea.

The king's forces weren't intended to threaten Taxila directly. Rather, their mission was to burn farms and villages, raid supply lines, and force the Scythians to divert units from the Sagalan border. As Apollophanes landed in early April, Antonius and the main body of the army were still working their way to the Acesines, with no sign of the enemy apart from scattered scouts. Without a substantial scouting force, Antonius was all but blind in the unfamiliar country, and with little to go on from the locals. The king meanwhile faced little opposition as he rampaged throughout the countryside, it was as if the enemy had simply packed up and left.

When Antonius reached the Acesines on April 8th, he still saw no sign of the enemy on the far bank. Spending four days to have the legions throw together boats, the army crossed the river the night of the 12th. The army set up a basic camp that night, and prepared to continue the march in the morning. However, as dawn came and the morning fog lifted, the Sagalan army found itself in an terrible predicament. Surrounding the camp on three sides, the Scythians had arrived. With their backs to the river and nowhere to retreat, Antonius and the army would have to win, or die where they stood...
Punjab Campaign, Part 3
Marcus Antonius was stunned, the Scythians had him perfectly boxed in. In a horseshoe around his camp the Scythian infantry formed a wall from riverbank to river bank. In the center in front of the infantry, the scythed chariots and cavalry were waiting to pounce, and behind them the massive elephants could be seen, archers and skirmishers atop them. "Master?" Primus pilum Vorenus asked "Your orders?" Antonius eyed the situation closely. His camp was in no shape to withstand an attack, there hadn't been time nor sufficient trees to finish it the night before. The men would be jumbled up and crushed like their ancestors had been by Hannibal. "I want a three sided square around the camp, archers at the front. Tell Strato to take the center, you're on the right, I'll take the left." "Understood master, and the cavalry?" "We only have a few hundred, keep them in camp for now."

The Scythians didn't move as the Romans and Greeks formed up for battle, a phalanx flanked by a legion on either side. After a long silent moment, the Scythian cavalry changed, bows ready. The horseman galloped rapidly up and down the line, skillfully unloadimg arrow after arrow at the Indian archers. While the Indians weren't as skilled or experienced as the Scythians, they made smaller targets without their horses, and so the cavalry was forced to duel them rather then pelt the infantry with arrows. When the horsemen attempted a charge, the legions and hoplites swooped in to defend them and hurl javelins.

Seeing this, the Scythian king changed strategy. He ordered his spearmen to attack the Roman flanks, while his elephantts and chariots would try and break the greeks. Seeing this deployment from atop his horse near the center, Antonius swiftly reacted "Archers are to withdraw behind infantry!" He shouted "Prepare for chariots!" Sure enough the chariots outpaced the elephants, and just as the spearmen crashed into the Romans, the Scythed chariots tore into the Greek phalanx. The drivers turned as the line held firm, riding parallel with the phalax, the blades of the chriot tore through men and spears who got too close. Antonius saw his men holding the flanks solidly, while the bloodied greeks also held firm. More spearmen arrived in the center, trying to coax the greeks to charge "Elephants!" someone shouted

In the chaos of battle the huge beasts had been momentarily forgotten, and now advanced on where the left flank and center intersected. "Archers!" Antonius gestured to the elephants, as a wave of arrows tore into the creatures. Some pulled away as their riders were killed or failed to control them, others pressed forward. Some spearmen were trampled as the elephants came up from behind, and slammed into the Romans and Greeks. Both knew what to do, as javelin and arrow pelted the elephants, but some pressed on. Spears did little, as men were gored by tusks, crushed underfoot, or throw by massive trunks. Antonius watched as one beast went beserk, and before it was killed tore into the read of his line, Scythian infantry and cavalry close behind.

"5th and 6th Cohorts!" He roared "With me!" Rushing into the fray, Antonius and his guards made contact with the spearmen. One made a thrust that bounded off his shoulder, before he shoved the spear aside and piered him through the stomach. Another followed, but Antonius' sword cleaved the flimsy shield of its owner, and he put the blade through his throat. These men had a helmet at best, their bodies exposed made short work for the legions "Good bloody fun!" He spat "These ain't the fucking Gaul-" He felt the wind get knocked out of him as his shield was smashed into him, with enough force that it knocked him off the ground. The soldier, clearly a high ranking one, had a long bronze-tipped mace. He was a head and a half taller than Antonius, and twice as wide, protected by a broze helmet and leather chestpiece.

Leaping to his feet, Antonius moved to dodge another strike, this time though he was too slow. With one swing the Scythian batted his shield away, for the next, Antonius perried with his gladius, but it to was flung away. Antonius drew his dagger and rushed the warrior, but was struck on the head. Even with his helmet, his head rang like a bell, and he couldn't rise. The Scythian readied his mace for another strike, but suddenly felt a blade slash through his armored back "Master!" Caesarion yelled The Scythian had just enough time to turn and see the gladius connecting with his neck, as his head was lopped clean off. Adrenaline surging, other legionaries soon arrived to cover him. Finding his nerve, he commanded "Take him to camp! I want this gap shored up." Wordlessly the soldiers complied, and the enemy spearmen were forced back.

About an hour later, With the Greek phalanx advancing and the sarissa pikes at its center tearing through men, the Scythian army was hard pressed on all sides. Many of the cavalry had been killed, and with losses mounting, the king ordered a withdrawl. The Romans pursued, and their fresh cavalry alone killed several thousand enemy. The entire Indo-Roman-Greek army suffered around 2,000 men killed, while the Scythians lost 15,000, including their king. The army surrendered soon after, its soldiers granted amnesty, but were disarmed. Two weeks later, the city of Taxila, defenseless and abandoned, surrendered to Apollophanes.

Antonius, who recovered from his wounds around this time, wasn't satisfied, and marched to Taxila. His soldiers entered through the open gates, and sacked the city against the orders of the king. Thousands were killed, thousands more enslaved and sent back to work in Castra Roma. The incident would greatly sour Indo-Roman relations for the coming years. Taxila and the rest of Punjab however, was sucessfully brought under Sagalan rule, and the slave farmers allowed huge amounts of farmland to be bought up by the state. While Cleopatras wealth was spent (Save a 'small' personal reserve) the kingdom would reap huge revenue. This now call "Third Triumvirate" between Antonius Cleopatra and Apollopahanes, however, was fraying.
XII: Overstaying Their Welcome
While the Punjab campaign had been an unmitigated success, bringing the entire region under Sagalan control, Antonius had likely made more enemies than friends. The sack of Taxila, which was only stopped when Apollophanes threatened to attack the Romans, had needlessly antagonized the local people, and damaged the city and its vital western trade routes. Rebuilding began immediately, but the damage had been done. It didn't help that back in Sagala, the Romans weren't exactly good houseguests, something that Antonius did little to curb.

In Castra Roma, the 900 or so remaining Romans established an odd exclave of their homeland. While they were severeoy outnumbered by the new recruits to the legions, as well as others who'd settled in the district, they made their presense known. Antonius forbade any business or official ceremony from taking place in any language besides Greek or Latin, which drove away many locals. Between the large bribes they'd been paid to come to India, and the plunder from Taxila, the average legionary had hige amounts of disposable income. Much of this was spent on luxurious homes and slaves in Sagala, while others moved to the countryside and set up huge estates, also run largely by slaves.

Cleopatra on the contrary, was quite popular in the city. Between the large public works and massive contributions she'd given to the state and people, many held her personally responsible for the blossoming of Sagala. She also showed a great respect for the culture of India, learning to read Sanskrit and speak Pali, and even participating in several Hindu and Buddhist ceremonies, and wearing Indian clothing. Her children's marriages and betrothals were also helpful in integrating with the Sagalan elite, Caesarions marriage with princess Ambrosia was by all accounts a happy one, and in the Summer of 28BC she even became pregnant with Cleopatra's first grandchild.

Sagala itself had become one of the largest and most prosperous cities in India, its population swelling to nearly 100,000 in total. The city also started to develop Greco-Roman infrastructure, new sewer systems and public facilities were completed. The small but well built library of Sagala, modeled after the library of Alexandria, attracted many Greek and Indian thinkers and philosophers. While word from Rome had been non-existant thus far, that would take a sudden change over the summer...
XIII: Time for a Talk

Castra Roma, September 12th, 28BC​

It was a typically balmy night in the Roman citadel, and Marcus Antonius had settled into an uncomfortable sleep. Beside him a local Greek women, he couldn't remember her name, also slept, a bit more comfortably. Suddenly the peace was shattered as a mass came barreling through the window of Antonius' bedroom. The Greek screamed as Antonius lept out of bed, now seeing the mass to be a short man "Fucking traitor!" The man yelled in Latin as he lunged at him with a dagger. Throwing off his grogginess, Antonius screamed out "Guards!" As he wrestled the dagger away with one hand, and with the other wound up a punch that put the man on the floor.

Moments later Antonius' two Indian bodyguards arrived, armed with nothing but wooden sticks. Without a word the were upon the would-be assassin, laying into him with strike after strike. The Centurion in charge of guarding his his arrived just behind them "The children!" He said as he went for his own sword "Get them safe in the tablinum!" He'd finally been able to heckle Cleopatra into letting them stay with him a week, so they could practice their Latin and Alexander could see the legions, of all the weeks this was when the assassin had to strike. Before he left the room he turned to his body guards "Good work lads, I want him alive, but feel free to tenderize him a bit." the men nodded and continued pummeling the man.


"You're a real prick Antonius, you know that right?" Cleopatra asked him, clearly furious under her calm demeanor "So you've told me" He nodded "I still don't understand how you can blame me for this." The queen tsked "Really? Have you seen this little slum you call a Roman fortress, it's a disaster!" "Oh here we go.." "You've got popinas on every street, whores conducting business out in the open, common fucking soldiers with more gold than brains! You wanted a little Rome, then fucking manage it!" Antonius rolled his eyes "You just don't appreciate Roman culture, those Egyptians and Indians have rubbed off-" "Roman culture my ass!" She said, openly furious "I'm taking the children home tonight, I'm not letting them back in this pigsty." Antonius turned furious "Oh really? On what fucking grounds?"

One of her Galatian swordsmen drew his blade "The fact that she has more of us that you, sir." Antonius backed away, still fuming "If you do want to see the children Marcus, you're welcome at the king's palace in two weeks. The whole family will be there, we have a special guest." Antonius raised an eyebrow "And that would be?" "The prince of Parthia, we might be able to work out a deal to get us home. So promise to BE. FUCKING. SOBER. And behave yourself, you're not exactly friendly with those folks." Antonius opened his mouth to speak, then thought better of it. "Right, well I'll see you there, my queen." He kissed her on the cheek, and walked off before she could say anything.

As he walked the streets of Castra Roma, Antonius thought about what the Pharoah had said. The men did miss home, and many of them hadn't been too well behaved no that there was little to do, maybe cleaning things up could do them some good. He turned a corner and was furious to see the temple of Caesar, one of its columns had ROMANES EUNT DOMUS sprawed across it in red ink. When I find the illiterate snot who did that, Antonius thought. I'm really beginning to loathe this place.
Is Buddhist Canon already compiled?

Any changes in Indian Art style other than Creation of vaious Buddhist sculptures?

What is the situation of caste system in indo greek kingdoms?
had ROMANES EUNT DOMUS sprawed across it in red ink.
Lol a hilarious scene off life of Brian.

I wonder if by morning it'll be painted all over the fortress.

Wars have been fought over less than an assassination attempt at a diplomatic mission. I wonder why the Parthians want to open a conflict on their Eastern front as well?
Lol a hilarious scene off life of Brian.

I wonder if by morning it'll be painted all over the fortress.

Wars have been fought over less than an assassination attempt at a diplomatic mission. I wonder why the Parthians want to open a conflict on their Eastern front as well?
To be fair, I never said who sent the assassin...