A Light in the East - Archived Text Copy Version
NOTE: All text below the following line is copyright (C) of Rafi Issoghlian.
301 AD - Trdat III, the Great, accepts Christianity after he is healed by Grigor Partev, a Parthian evangelist. Grigor is rechristed Grigor the Illuminator and becomes the first Catholicos of the Armenian Church. The Sassanid Persian Empire looks down upon the replacement of Zoroastrianism in the small kingdom. Grigor is the son of the Parthian prince who engineered the assassination of Trdat's father, and Trdat put to death all members of Grigor's family during the Parthian's youth, from which Grigor himself escaped.
Thus, Grigor has a personal vendetta against the Armenians of whom he is now spiritual ruler. He thus begins to attack all traditions of the Armenians, claiming that they are pagan, and forbids the use of the Armenian alphabet.
303 AD - Diecletian Caesar issues edicts designed to destroy the Christian faith in the Empire. Christians in Roman Asia Minor flee to Armenia.
313 AD - Constantine the Great, having reunited the Roman Empire, issues the Edict of Milan, proclaiming Christianity as the sovereign and official religion within the Roman Empire. Relations with Christian Armenia improve dramatically, and Trdat III is given royal banquets in Rome.
325 AD - Constantine the Great decides to move the Capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to the East, following his belief that the Empire has become too wide to be governed from the ancient city. The city, called Byzantium, is rechristened Constantinople, Greek for City of Constantine, in honor of the occasion.
325 AD - Pope Sylvester, fearing that the withdrawal of the Capital to the East will have a dramatic and negative effect on the prestige of the See of Rome, declares that the Throne of Peter shall also move East, closer to the Holy Land, and shall remain in the new Capital of the Empire at Constantinople. Constantine Caesar, overjoyed at this news, begins construction of a vast cathedral and decides to build a palace directly across from it, to both show that the Emperor is equal to the Pope and to symbolize his devotion as living so near to holy ground.
Many Roman Catholics, however, are greatly disturbed by this move, and fear that with the withdrawal of both the Emperor and the Pope to the East, that they will be swallowed by the barbarian hordes.
326 AD - The legions in many European frontier regions, including Britannia, are recalled to ensure “the safety of Roman Italy”. Roman citizens panic in the regions now deprived of military force, and begin to persecute any and all pagan followers to show their devotion to God and to gain divine assistance. In Britannia, the Romans begin a steady retreat into the safety of the South, primarily the city of Londonium. A few Romans begin to call for new fortifications of the peninsula.
327 AD - Constantine Caesar issues the Edict of Constantinople, which states that the heartland of the Empire is to be the Anatolian plains. Constantine promises, however, that the European Empire will not be sacrificed. The Roman Senate, outraged at the repeated insults to the honor of Mother Rome and the stripping of prestige, proclaim Constantine as a false Caesar who came to power through treachery and force (despite the fact that most Caesars came to power through such means). The Senate declares that the Empire shall revert once again, after three hundred years, to a Republic. Many of the Western legions agree with this, as they too are infuriated at the lack of appreciation by the Emperor, and prepare to defend Rome.
Constantine dismisses the Senate and begins to mobilize his army to re-establish his hold over the West. Pope Sylvester, wishing to show that the Pope also has power, condemns Rome and calls on all Italian Christians to support the Emperor. This, however, adds fuel to the fire, as the Italians now feel completely betrayed, having fallen in a few short years from the most secure and wealthy region and capital of the Empire to a border region condemned and about to be invaded.
The various barbarians of Europe, overjoyed at the turn of events, begin to gather strength and cast off their newlyfound faith in Christianity. The Germanic gods begin to resurface in many areas of northern Europe.
328 AD - Constantine's army, consisting of seven legions of infantry and three thousand cavalry, invades from Greece into the city of Ancona, on the western coast of Roman Italy, intent on a straight march to the city of Rome. The Italians, or True Romans, as they call themselves, have other ideas. In the Sabines, the army of the Emperor is ambushed by three legions. The battle is a disaster for Constantine, and only a scant two thousand troops are able to escape back to Ancona. Rome celebrates the “Miracle of Sabines”, as they call it, and the Senators themselves decide to elect a new Pope, Lucius Andronicus, a politician, who is named Pope Michael.
This is immediately condemned by Sylvester and Constantine. Pope Michael, however, finds himself without the Throne of Peter nor any of the sacred relics of the Church. Furthermore, he is subordinate to the Senate, filling the old role of the Pontifex Maximus.
While Constantine is busy maintaining his Empire, Sassanid Persia decides to move on Armenia. The newly independent kingdom is attacked by the Shahanshah. In Armenia itself, the Parthian Catholicos Grigor the Illuminator and King Trdat III, who displays some signs of senility and depends wholly on Grigor, have declared virtual war on the pagan nobles and priests of the nation. After the pagans were finished, Grigor attempts to wrest power from the nobles (known as Nakharars) and replace the Armenian culture with a more Hellenic one. The use of the Armenian alphabet is forbidden, and Greek becomes the official language. Many loyal Christian Armenians, including the Mamigonian family, rebel.
Thus, the Persians find a foe divided and weak after decades of destruction. At the Battle of Van, the Armenian forces of the King are crushed by the Persians, and Grigor and Trdat are captured and executed for their crimes against the Shah and the light of Ahura Mazda. The Mamigonian family, who have produced a military leader in every generation, flee to Constantinople, taking with them the sacred relics and the Throne of Thaddeus. The Holy City of Echmiadzin is occupied by the Persians, but they decide to not destroy the city, choosing instead to convert it to a Zoroastrian temple. This act enflames the Armenians.
The fall of Armenia and the encroachment of Persia to the East convinces Constantine to abandon the West for now. “Let those fools deal with the barbarians a while,” he declares. “By the time I've dealt with those sun-worshippers, they will be begging to have me sit on their throne again.”
329 AD - Britannic Romans, realizing they are cut off from all aid, build a series of fortifications defending Londonium. When they send an ambassador to enlist aid from the Visigoths, they are told that “the trappings and fineries of the old days are passing. The marble of Rome threatens to turn to dust. What need have we to help you against the savages of Scotsland when Rome beckons?” As if on cue, the Scots begin to harass the garrisons that still remain at Hadrian's Wall.
In Rome itself, Pope Michael has become frustrated with the Senate's involvement in all of his affairs. He begins to inflate the importance of the role, calling himself the “natural successor to the Caesars of Old”, and begins mentioning that “Julius Caesar himself was Pontifex Maximus”. This does not sit well with the Senate. They proclaim that the Pope has power over the spiritual world, but that his power does not extend into the government.
330 AD - The Senate dispatches several legions into the eastern coast of Iberia and along the southern coast of Europe, retaking portions of the Empire. Their troops also land in Roman Africa, claiming it for the Senate and People of Rome. Pope Michael praises the Senate for “striving to return to power the might of this, the Holy Roman Empire.” The Senate, alarmed at Michael's use of religious and imperial terms to describe the nation, declares that the name of the Empire shall be the New Republic of Rome.
Constantine begins to strengthen his troops and prepares to march east. Armenian Nakharars, including the Mamigonians, are given Constantine's word that Armenia shall be restored as a sovereign kingdom, and pledge their support in his attack on Persia. Pope Sylvester, having usurped the power and prestige of the Patriarch of Constantinople, declares that Christianity has finally found a unified Church with an Empire that is devoted to God. He pleas with the Christians of Europe to have them come to the safety of the East, and proclaims the Eastern Empire as the Holy Roman Empire. The name is approved by Constantine. Thousands of European Christians, on the edge of barbarian territory and terrified of the possible outcomes, move to Constantinople.
Many followers of other sects of Christianity, however, as well as other minor religions, begin to move into the New Republic of Rome. The Senate passes the Law of Unity, proclaiming that all citizens of the Empire are equal Romans, without any regards to religion (gaining the status of “citizen”, however, is not made any easier).
Much of the area of the former Roman Empire is left in a power vacuum, as the New Roman Republic cannot afford to expend troops needlessly and the Holy Roman Empire is too far and too busy. Many of these areas are under the threat of German domination. As such, many of those who do not leave towards one of the two Christian nations convert to the Germanic religion.
331 AD - The Goths, divided into Western Goths (Visigoths) and Eastern Goths (Ostrogoths), agree to split Europe between them “now that the Roman eagle is smashing its own eggs.” The Visigoths decide to take Western Europe, while the Ostrogoths settle for Eastern Europe. News of this “partition” spreads, and many towns are emptied across the continent as the townspeople flee in terror.
In Northern Iberia (Spanish peninsula), the Basque people have succeeded in establishing their own kingdom. When news of the Visigoths intent reaches them, the Basques respond by declaring that “the Iberian peninsula shall be forever independent of all foreign yolk, be civilized or barbarian.” Many Iberian towns, enjoying independence from Rome but fearing the Visigoth onslaught, join with the Basque kingdom in creating the Confederation of Iberia. Because of the union and might of the Basque people, however, many other nations simply refer to this confederation as “Basque.”
The New Roman Republic Senate, fearing Visigothic encroachment, decrees that all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 40 shall be trained immediately for military service. Taxes are increased throughout the Republic, and funds are cut from Pontifex Maximus Michael's Roman Church, and Michael declares that “sorry is the state of things indeed when proud Rome must steal from the coffers of the poor Church.” The “poor Church,” however, is found to be one of the wealthiest institutions in the Republic, apparently due to Michael's rather illegal dealings. The Senate strips even more money from the Church.
332 AD - The Visigoths begin their westward movement, cutting through Southern Germania and the territory directly north of the New Republic. In response, the Republican Romans and Basques strengthen their fortifications and prepare their armies for war. The Visigoths decide to first consolidate territory before taking on a major nation.
Pontifex Maximus Michael declares that “the thieves and sinners damning this nation must be cast out from the Senate. Rome must turn to the light of God for salvation, not to the pocketbooks of the wealthy.” Many people, hit hard by the new taxes and military drafts, begin to speak out against the Senate and call for Michael to lead them. The Senate, alarmed by these actions, prepares the legions for war. A Senator is reported to have said, “perhaps Constantine was right about these Romans!”
Constantine, having gathered his forces for an attack on Persia, is forced to send troops to his western borders to stem the Ostrogoth threat. Constantine underestimates the barbarians, however, sending only two legions to protect the Balkans, and Constantinople itself, from the menace of the Goths. The Caesar's eye is fixed on Ctesiphon, the capital of the Sassanid Persian Empire.
333 AD - The Germans, having been dormant through the entire time of change, suddenly burst forth from their borders. The Visigothic forces in Germania are crushed and dozens of towns bordering the barbarian lands are razed. Hundreds of human bodies are hung from trees as sacrifices, grizzly proof that Odin's faithful followers have asserted themselves.
The Visigoths, unprepared for the sudden German attacks, decide to ignore the powerful tribes and concentrate on Western Europe. All of Gaul is proclaimed as Visigothia, the new homeland of the Goths of the West. Visigothic forces that enter Basque territory are quickly smashed.
Pontifex Maximus Michael proclaims that “God has sent a vision, and in this vision, the true Vicar of Christ on Earth leads an empire that has no bounds and knows no limits.” Pope Sylvester in Constantinople is heard to say, “and so I shall.”
The Persian Empire, weary of Armenian guerilla fighters, grant the conquered nation a Marzban of Armenian descent, giving it semi-autonomy. Constantine realized that he must move soon before the Persians are able to placate the rebellious Armenians.
334 AD - The first clashes in Britannia begin. The Scots, long harassed by the mighty Roman Empire, burst through Hadrian's Wall and slaughter the scant garrisons the Roman Britannians have placed. All remaining military troops retreat the Southern Britannia, and especially to the fortified city of Londonium. The Celts of Hibernia vow to aid their Gaelic brethren and begin amassing a great army, while the Picts decide to mobilize for war and “bury the hatchet” by forgiving any and all past problems with the Scots in a new alliance against “the Invaders.”
Constantine Caesar the Great, along with Khosrov II, newly crowned King of Armenia-in-exile, and the mighty Armenian general, Vatche Mamigonian, re-enter Armenia. In the Battle of Mush, the Persian army is defeated and Shahanshah Shapur II is executed by the Armenian King. Constantine, as per his agreement, grants Khosrov the Armenian Throne and all Armenian lands, but not before he makes Khosrov agree that the Armenians shall never ally against the Holy Roman Empire, nor shall they provide succor to enemies of the Empire. Furthermore, Khosrov pledges his support to any and all Roman action against the Persian Empire, and allows Constantine to build several bases near the border between Armenia and Persia, both for protection and to provide a springboard from which to invade. The Holy City of Echmiadzin is restored to the Armenian Apostolic Church, and Catholicos Vartan, successor to Grigor, is finally able to sit on the Throne of Thaddeus.
The Senate of the New Republic of Rome applauds “the actions of our noble cousins the Armenians, who have retaken their land from the foul hands of the sun worshipper” and offers an alliance with the new kingdom. Khosrov II, quite tactfully, declines the offer, commenting “the younger brother wishes me to side against the older while the heathen gathers outside his home. Do these Romans take me for an idiot?” The Senate, enraged, immediately offers the same treaty to “the sun worshipper.” Shapur II agrees readily. However, not only does this remind Constantine that he has an errant Empire to the west, but also infuriates the Pontifex Maximus. Michael immediately condemns the Senate and calls for the people to rise up and throw off the shackles of “the money-loving sinners” who would dare to ally with heathens who murder Christians. The Republican Civil War begins, with the Pontifex Maximus and the peasants and devout Christians on one side, and the Senate and those of other religions (and much of the military) on the other.
The Ostrogoths begin to conquer the lands North of the Black Sea. Their position, with no powerful enemies on any border, is far superior to the Visigoth's position, surrounded as it is by Germania and the Basque Confederation. Unable to expand thus, the Visigoths look south to warring Rome and begin to mobilize their troops.
335 AD - The Saxon Germans and the Alemanii Germans begin a war against one another. However, as they are located withing the central regions of the area known as Germania, no foreigners can get involved, and the other German tribes decide to allow the two to “duke it out.” The Alemanii have far greater numbers than the Saxons.
The Religious faction is chased out of Rome, and Northern Italy and most of Central Italy is firmly in Republican hands, as are most of the islands. Southern Italy and Sicily, however, declare for the Pontifex Maximus. Many believe that the war shall be over within the end of the year, with a solid Republican government. The Visigoths, however, have other plans.
A Visigothic army numbering 150,000 pours across the Alps while the bulk of the Roman armies are fighting one another in Campania. The city of Volaterra is razed to the ground, and thousands of inhabitants are slaughtered. Defenseless Rome panics, and immediately orders all available legions to the defense of the Capital while having the legions down south retreat. The courier arrives within days. While speaking, however, the Religious faction attacks, and he is shot with an arrow in the midst of the combat. His body is taken by a supporter of the Pontifex Maximus, and when the general of the Religious army reads what is happening up North, he creates a false document, places it with the courier's body, and places it on the battlefield. The Republican army soon finds the couriers body, and the papers he was supposedly carrying. The news is shocking: “Rome has fallen to the Visigoths. All of Northern Italy in blazes. Etruria is held by the barbarians.” When word spreads to the army, there is mass panic. Thousands of troops desert, fleeing to their hometowns or to see if any of their relatives yet survive in the “war zones.” Thousands more join the Religious faction, deciding that any Rome is better than barbarian rule.
Rome, believing that an army numbering in the vicinity of eight legions is marching towards its defense, launches several strikes at the Visigoths. The Visigoths, however, have gotten word from captured deserters that the entire army has dissolved. For the first time since the days of Hannibal, the city of Rome is besieged. The Senate still believes that an army shall arrive shortly and scoffs at the Visigothic King's offer of peaceful surrender. From the walls of Rome, a Senator proclaims, “the Gothic dog shall never step one paw into sacred Rome!” The Visigoths, enraged, decide to do more than step into the city. After a fierce battle, Rome is sacked and all of the Senators are beheaded. The Visigothic King feeds the head of the insulting Senator to his dogs, who are the first to step foot onto the streets of Rome. The Visigoths (Western Goths) begin to refer to themselves as the Romaigoths (Roman Goths), and name their new Kingdom (spanning Central and Southern Gaul to Northern and most of Central Italy) as the Romaigothic Empire.
Constantine Caesar, alarmed at the dismantling of what he still refers to as his Western Empire, launches an invasion into Bruttium, the “toe” of the Italian boot. At the same time, the Visigothic army marches South. The Holy Empire of Rome, as Pontifex Maximus Michael referred to the Religious faction, sees his apparent victory at the destruction of the Republic turn into a horrible pincer movement as he is trapped between two hostile forces. As Constantine's army marches into the Religious capital of Tarentum, Pontifex Maximus Michael takes his own life by stabbing himself in the heart. Constantine orders his body to be hung from the walls of the town until it rots, and then to be separated and flung into the sea without consecration.
An army of Scots is repelled from Londonium, which drives home the fact that the Gaelic barbarians must unite in order to drive out the Britannic Romans. The Scots finally accept the Picts' offers of alliance, and begin to speak with the Hibernian Celts, whose forces are prepared to cross into the mainland.
At the end of the year, on December 31, Pope Sylvester dies in Constantinople. The Great Cathedral is finished a week after his death, and is named the Cathedral of Divine Wisdom of Saint Sylvester the Imperial. Pope Julius Cornelius is seated upon the Throne of Peter. Constantine builds mausoleum for the Pope who supported him throughout his endeavours, and weeps for days. The mausoleum will eventually be one of the most glorious sites in Constantinople, housing the bodies of all the Popes to come.
336 AD - The Romaigoths begin to rebuild the city of Rome, which had been badly damaged during the siege and conquest. It is proclaimed as the new Capital of the Empire. The Basques, quick to establish their hold, take all of Roman Iberia. North Iberia all falls under the rule of the Kingdom of Basque, and the Iberian Confederation controls much of Iberia. People begin to refer to the Basques as the “New Romans,” since Rome began as a minor kingdom which grew in power while allied with its neighboring, weaker cities.
The Holy Roman Empire, with its forces in the East near Persia and in Southern Italy, is attacked on its Western border by an Ostrogothic army. Constantine is forced to withdraw much of his army from Italy to counter the Gothic menace, which he severely underestimated. The initial Gothic victories eventually become a stalemate, and Constantinople agrees to pay the Ostrogoths a man's weight in gold in exchange for the fixing of the border at the Danube. Constantine falls ill during the sea voyage to Constantinople, and realizes his own mortality. He thus decides to remain in his palace rather than go out again onto the field.
The Picts and the Scots invite the King of the Celts to the mainland. An army of some 80,000 warriors come with the Hibernian King. The Gaelic sect of Christianity is powerful in Hibernia, but the Celts have no problem with taking the sword to the Romans. The Scots and the Picts promise 1/3 of the wealth of the conquest shall go to the Celts, and that their religious beliefs shall not be harassed. During the meetings, the Celtic and Scottish Kings befriend one another, and the religious Celt begins to convert the Scot to Christianity.
The Alemanii crush utterly the combined might of the Saxon army at Teutoberger Wald, where, some three centuries earlier, Hermann the Cheruscan (Arminius) defeated three Roman legions and broke the back of the Roman strength in Germania. The Saxons, fearing complete destruction, begin an exodus to the west, led by one of the last remaining chieftains who is proclaimed King of the Saxons.
337 AD - The start of what historians would call “the Decade of Peace.”
The Germanic tribes acknowledge the Alemanii victory and accept the Saxon decision to “move to the vast West to find a new homeland.” The Saxons propose attacking the “myriad islands to the West,” and due to their heroism in the war against the Alemanii, thousands of other tribesmen join the Saxons.
Constantine Caesar the Great recovers from his illness. Experts tell him that had he not returned immediately to the warmth and care of Constantinople, the illness would have likely felled him. Constantine schedules his baptismal to coincide with the day his son Constans will lead his armies into the Persian Empire. As Constantine says, “I suddenly developed the greatest fear of dying a heathen.”
King Khosrov II reorganizes the Armenian government on a model more based on the Holy Roman Empire than the Persian Empire. Rather than allowing the Nakharars almost complete autonomy in their own regions, the King curbs much of their power. The nobles, weak after years of warfare against the Persians, do little more than raise a fuss. Those who attempt to raise armies against the King realize that the popularity of the liberating King and the Church have far more sway on the people than loyalty to their regional noble. The Council of Nobles is created, on the advice of Vatche Mamigonian, to allow the Nobles to have a say in the actions of the government.
338 AD - Constans, son of Constantine Caesar the Great, marches out of Constantinople with a massive army. Rather than marching straight to Persia, Constantine decides to have the army “tour” all of Christendom, both gaining strength in numbers and showing to the faithful that the Holy Roman Empire is the defender of the faith, before entering Armenia and then attacking Persia. The first stop is Roman Italy, the southern tip of the peninsula that is still in Roman hands. Pope Julius Cornelius deems this “the Holy Army on its way to save the souls of men from the heathen sun and its flame worshippers. May all who are able to lift a blade take up this great crusade.” Little heed is paid to the Pope's speech, as more and more people look to the Emperor as the symbol of Christ.
The first Celtic missionaries appear in Scotsland. Celtic monks devote themselves wholeheartedly to converting the Scots. The Gaelic Union, the alliance of Picts, Scots, and Celts, declares that religion is an individual decision and shall not be forced on any man (largely due to the concerns of pagan Picts and Scots who fear being forced to turn to Christ). The Britannic Romans, having believed that religious difference would prevent a union of foes, abandons its position as “the last bastion of Roman Catholicism.” It had hoped that the New Roman Republic would eventually save them from their enemies. With the victory of the Goths, theBritannic Romans declare for Constantinople and beg Constantine to retake the island. The Holy Roman Empire accepts and officially annexes Britannia, but is unable to send any troops to Britannia, as the Mediterranean is no longer a safe Roman lake and that the Holy Roman troops are hard pressed as it is defending Roman Italy and the Western Border of the Empire, not to mention preparing to take Persia. Constantine is said to cry, “Those poor wretches! While the Goth lay dormant they rejected the Light! Must they be martyred who have so recently rejoined the Flock?”
339 AD - The Saxons, under the leadership of Woden, son of Frithowald, King of the Saxons, begin their Great Journey. The chieftains of all the German tribes, including the Alemanii, gather to bid good journey and friendship to the Saxons. The Saxons and Alemanii swear to end their hatred of one another, and the Alemanii swear to aid the Saxons once their new homeland is secure. With a force of 300,000 warriors and more than a million men, women, and children, the Saxons and their fief tribes, the Chauci and the Angrivarii, depart from Germania and travel West. The Romanigoths, still busy securing Italy, wisely decide to allow the Saxons to travel through, as they have made public their desire to create a new homeland in the Western Islands.
The new Armenian capital of Dvin is finished and King Khosrov II finally sits on the Armenian Throne. The Nakharars have been cut from almost all their power. The King now has the power to raise a national army, directly tax all lands, and appoint and dismiss governors. The Nakharars are allowed to propose taxes and receive a percentage of all taxes taken from their fiefdoms, and are exempt from paying any taxes. The Council of Nobles is also allowed to vote on matters of importance, such as declarations of war. Most importantly, however, the Council of Nobles is given the right to choose a successor to the Throne in moments of emergency when the King and his chosen successor are dead and more than one man can claim the Crown. Khosrov hardly has time to reside in the city when a sudden illness fells him. Although he has a son, Tiran, the King had not directly appointed the boy as his successor. Tiran, who did not favor Christianity, was not supported by Catholicos Vartan, nor the Mamigonian family. The Council of Nobles, using their new-found right, declare that the Throne is vacant and elect Vatche Mamigonian to the Crown. Tiran, enraged, attempts to raise an army, but overestimates his own popularity and flees to Persia. The Mamigonian Dynasty begins.
The Iberian Confederation begins to expand southwards, very rarely having to use arms to convince the populations to join. The capital of the Confederation is moved from Euskadi (Basque Country) to an ancient and tiny village that is in the center of the peninsula. The foundations of the new capital of the Iberian Confederation, Iberiana, are set.
340 AD - Woden, son of Frithowald, declares that his ancestor, a son of Thor, came to him in a dream and showed him that the true homeland of the Saxons is in the West, nexto to Asgard. “Saxony,” he declares, “lies on the doorstep to Asgard. The Saxons shall finally return home.” Since the Germans accept the validity of Woden's ancestor, Geat, as a true son of Thor, many believe that the Saxons are indeed going to reside in the realm of the Gods. “We have been slain in battle, and the Valkyries' call now leads us to Saxony on the plains of Asgard, just as Valhalla is within Asgard,” Woden explains.
The Iberian Confederation takes all of the former Roman territories on their coastline. The Romanigothic Emperor declares that all of the old Roman Empire, including Iberia (and, for that matter, the Holy Roman Empire) is now part of the Romanigothic Empire, Rome's successor. The Confederation proclaims that they are independent of all things Roman and any force that wishes to gain Iberia will pay dearly for the territory. Constantine, amused, sends an ambassador to Rome to explain to the “new Caesar” that, were the Holy Army to stand shoulder to shoulder, they could form a wall around Rome thicker than the actual walls. The ambassador also reminds the Emperor that the Army exists to fight the enemies of Christ, His Vicar, and His Empire, be those enemies East or West. The ambassador returns to Constantinople laden with gifts from Rome to Constantine as a symbol of good faith, as well as a letter from the Emperor “proclaiming that the Eastern sections of the Empire shall belong to Constantine.”
341 AD - The Holy Army leaves Southern Italy and enters the African territories. Constantine declares that any and all who join the Army shall immediately become Citizens of the Holy Roman Empire, and they and their descendants shall enjoy full rights. Furthermore, the Great Caesar proclaims that all who die in the service of Christ will immediately gain entry into Heaven and will be saved. Pope Julius Cornelius at first opposes Constantine's usurption of Papal authority, but when public opinion almost entirely backs the Caesar, the Pope grudgingly gives his support to Constantine's claims. In response to the decrees, thousands of Africans, eager to become citizens of the Empire, convert to Christianity and “take up the blade,” as it is known, and swell the Army's size.
The Celtic forces begin to plan for the strike on Londonium. As they are the strongest naval forces of the Union, they propose to sail to Southern Britannia and take the weakly defended territories there. With the Romanigoth's backing down in the face of Constantinople, they know that the “Holy Roman Imperial” territory of Britannia will not be attacked by the Goths. Thus, they know that they must strike fast before Roman support can begin to show. The Picts and the Scots begin to prepare for a final assault, and claymores are made by the thousands.
341 AD (Cont.) - Pope Julius Cornelius, having lost his “tug of war” with Constantine, decides to show that he still has powerful influence with the people. Julius declares that “all faithful Christians must strive to ensure that this Holy Empire truly becomes a mirror of the Paradise that we once lost. Those who are not able to take up the blade to fight for Christ must use those skills that God gave them for the betterment of His faithful! Let the farmer farm, let the wise invent, let the smith create!” Many philosophers and learned men who were divided between their love of the natural world and their devotion to Christ see this as a blessing to continue their researches. Constantine, realizing the possibilities of this “rebirth” of knowledge and not wishing to seem contrary to the Pope, pledges to give Imperial funding to those who are able to aid the Empire either military or socially through their works, and creates the Ministry of Sciences to decide which projects are worthy of funding and which would be a waste of preciouis Imperial coin.
342 AD - Vatche I tightens the central authority of Armenia. A student of history, he realizes the mistake of previous Armenian kingdoms and creates a solid bueracracy. The dozens of regions previously held by the Nakharars are combined into seven states: Mush, Van, Erzerum, Vannad (Kars), Nakhichevan, Artsakh, and the capital of Dvin. Each state is appointed a royal governor, who collects taxes and enforces the law. Vatche ensures that governorships are not hereditary, thus removing the dynastic tendencies of the Nakharars. Vatche also combines the Red-Blue-Orange banner of Armenia's ancient First Dynasty with the modern eagle.
The Saxons declare that they will resupply and prepare for their journey while in Gaul. The Romanigothic Emperor extends his welcome to the Saxons, and gains their promise not to loot any towns. The Saxons have no wish to settle in this land, as their destined homeland lies further west.
The Celts, Scots, and Picts agree that each tribe will be independent in internal matters, but will not be able to make any wars or alliances with other nations individually. Daffyd, High Chieftain of the Celts, proclaims that “long has division defeated the Gaelic people where no power could. We paid for our lack of unity with the Caesars' conquests. We will not squander this new opportunity to gain vengeance and retake our homes!” The Gaelic Union is thus formed.
343 AD - Many Holy Roman scientists begin to look back in time for inspiration and help in their many projects. The works of the Greeks especially are researched in the hopes of gleaming ancient knowledge. A particularly brilliant scientist in Syracuse named Lucius Brutus researches the works of the famed Archimedes and begins to toy with the idea of using light to create flame. Brutus receives Imperial funding for his project, thus solving his problems with poverty. Meanwhile, in Constantinople, Gaius Fironicus, a cripple who was saved from brigands by Constantine himself in 339 AD and has therefore dedicated himself to increasing the glory of Constantine's reign, begins to study the works of the Greek inventor Hero; a particular machine that runs on steam interested the crippled genius greatly.
344 AD - The Ostrogoths continue their advancement eastward, most tribes giving little to no resistance to the overwhelming might of the barbarians. The Ostrogoth King jokes that “The Visigoths are wedged between enemies while I have the vast spaces open to me.” The Ostrogoths wisely avoid going too far west or south to avoid the ire of the Germanians or the vengeful retaliation of Constantine.
Shapur III, who took the throne of Persia upon the death of his father on the plains of Mush, proclaims the Tiran, son of Khosrov II and of the line of Trdat, is the rightful heir to the Throne of Armenia and proclaims the youth the King of Armenia. Tiran converts to Zoroastrianism, and promises to make Armenia a vassal kingdom to Persia in return for Persian aid in retaking the nation from “the foul hands of the Christians.” Shapur agrees and begins to raise an army “to aid our noble cousin the King of Armenia in reclaiming his rightful lands.” Vatche I, ruling from Dvin, declares that “the Persian has no place in our sacred homeland, and neither do those who deny the Light of Christ and would sell us to the Sun.” Catholicos Vartan begins the Restoration, converting the old temples of the nation to Christian rather than destroying them. The Royal Army is formed, with the entire army owing alliegance to the King (as the Mamigonians are the dynastic generals of Armenia) rather than several smaller armies each following a Nakharar. The army is trained in traditional Armenian tactics, which including heavy cataphracts.
Constantine Caesar the Great and Pope Julius Cornelius discuss over the symbol that should represent Christianity. Constantine was a loyal follower of Mithras in his youth and still has not fully given up the old religion of the Roman Army. Although much of the Empire has become Christian and it is the official religion of the state, Mithras still has a strong following in the core of the army. The two finally come to an agreement: the X and the P, which had been Constantine's emblem and his means of uniting Christianity and Mithraism, are accepted as the symbol of Christianity with a few minor alterations, such as the replacing of the P with a crucifix. In the Council of Constantinople, the Armenian Catholicos rejects this symbol, and decides to retain the crucifix alone as the emblem of the Armenian Church. Although Constantine is grieved by this separation, he is unable to change the mind of the Catholicos.
In Southern Italy, the majority of the people, completely disallusioned with religion, have followed the teachings of nature. Although the druidic beliefs are too foreign for them, the understanding of the Greek philosophers, who sought natural, rather than supernatural, explanations to events, begins to spread across the peninsula and even into the Romanigothic territories. Logic becomes the de facto religion of the Italians, and within a few decades the proverb “wise as an Italian” will be in use in much of civilized world.
345 AD – Gaius Fironicus, deeply enamored with the writings of Hero, begins to experiment with the source of movements in the Greek inventor’s machines. Hero used heated air as his expanding fluid. Gaius, replacing the air with other resources, tries out something that Constantinople has much of: water. The result is an incredible success; the “steam engine” moves much faster and much quicker than the “air engine,” and Gaius is thrilled. He hobbles to the Ministry of Sciences and requests an immediate audience with Constantine Caesar. Constantine accepts, and is awed by the display of a machine that seems to move on its own. Gaius explains that, using the ancient writings of Hero, he can make the city of Constantinople into a city of legend, with fountains that run with the rays of the sun and temples whose doors open with the lighting of fire at an altar. Constantine agrees, but his mind focuses on one thing: chariots.
The Romanigothic Imperial Palace is constructed in Rome, built into the old Senate Forum. The Emperor’s Throne is placed within the Senate Forum, so that he may gaze onto his city (much of the openings of the building are also blocked to prevent easy access for assassins). The Romanigothic Emperor takes as the Imperial emblem the old Roman eagle, now facing ever west, signifying the old Visigothic heritage. Taking the warning of Constantine to heart, the Emperor begins to strengthen his army, adding more heavy infantry after the style of the old Roman legions instead of having a mainly cavalry army. Many citizens begin to refer to the Emperor as “the Foreign Roman,” due to his ability to speak fluent Latin and his noble airs. The Emperor, however, takes no Roman name, and decrees that the House of Balthigg is the Imperial House. Upon the completion of the palace, he officially declares himself Keiser (Caesar) Fritigern I, Emperor of the Gothic Empire of Gaul and Rome. Gothic German becomes the “official” tongue of the Empire; Latin, however, is still the language of everyday use, and remains also the international language.
346 AD - On the plains of Anatolia, in an isolated location, Gaius Fironicus, Constantine, his son Constans, and a select few trusted guards, witness the fruit of Fironicus' labors: the Roman Chariot. Constantine, quick in mind even in his old age, quickly realized that a machine that can move objects without any creature pulling them would be invaluable in the battlefield. Two steam-engines, which basically make whatever is attached to the top of the engine spin rather fast, are attached to the axels of wheels. The result is a wheel that moves on its own. Combining the old Roman legion strategies, Constantine creates the Roman Chariot divisions: massive, self-propelled chariots with large shield walls on all four sides. The mini-fortresses are stocked with 3-5 archers each, and some larger ones have catapults installed on them (with one of the walls removed). Upon the advice of Constans, who fought in Armenia and realized the incredible value of cavalry when he saw the Armenian cataphracts and Persian Immortals, a hundred smaller chariots are designed with far less protection, but greater speed. Constantine, excited to the point of frenzy when one of his larger ones, already nicknamed the “Fortress” Chariot, is able to knock down and roll over a medium-sized tree. Five hundred Chariots in all are demanded by Constantine for the coming war, and building projects around Constantinople cease as craftsmen are recruited for a “secret project.”
The Holy Army travels East from Egypt into Arabia. While neither the Romans nor the Persians own the Arabian peninsula, Holy Roman priests have for several years tried to convert the Arabic people. The desert dwellers, respecting strength, begin to believe that Christianity is a weak religion that emphasizes foolish values. The arrival of the massive and glorious Holy Army quickly shatters that belief. Tribes that convert are quickly trained in Roman arts of warfare and made ready for the battle against the Persians. When word begins to spread that this massive army bearing the almost Mithraist symbol of Christ is preparing to attack the Persians, long-time enemies of the Arabs, conversions occur by the thousand. Within several months, the Holy Army has swelled into one of the the largest army in the history of the ancient world, with almost 400,000 people fighting for Christ and His Empire. Almost half of these warriors are hastily (and in most cases, poorly) equipped and trained Arabs, most of whom fight in their own style of warfare and sometimes even under their own banners. Constans, traveling south from the Chariot tests, reassures his men that the destruction of Persia is guarenteed.
Shapur III, Shahanshah of the Sassanid Persian Empire, sends an ultimatum to Constantinople demanding that Tiran, the “true” King of Armenia, be reinstated in the Throne of Armenia, and that the Holy Army be disbanded. Constantinople sends back the head of the courier sent by the Shah in a pool of steaming water, along with a note that reads “oh ye who grovel before the sun, know soon that even thine own god shall betray thee, for nothing can stand before the chariots of the Lord”. Constantine does not share the humor with the Persian Shah, who prepares his forces for war, and all 10,000 Immortals are mobilized. Tiran, fighting at the head of a mercenary army, proclaims that “the throne of my father shall be won back from these traitorious Christians and returned to its rightful owner!”
Vatche I, realizing that war shall soon erupt and perhaps spill over into his nation, makes an emotional plea to the public, asking that all men of able body join the army and prepare for war. After years of devastation under the Persians, the Armenian people, having long trusted the Mamigonian dynasty as friends of the people, respond, and the Armenian army swells to massive proportions. More people join than even Vatche was prepared for, and many are armored in old Roman or even Persian armor, with hastily added Armenian banners affixed to the helms and breastplates. Vatche appointed his son Vassak as his heir, and requested that the youth not stay in the nation, trying instead to send him to safety in Constantinople. Vassak declined, stating that “if my country is to go up in flames, then I shall fight to the last to prevent that fire from defiling the Holy Mountain (Ararat).”
In Southern Italy, Lucius Brutus realizes that it would take a population far greater than that of Syracuse to be able to position polished shields great enough to burn down ships. However, the years of study have enlightened Brutus to a new idea: pure reflections. Highly polished mirrors, Brutus notices, can reflect light far more effectively. Furthermore, if such reflected light can be focused on a sheet of glass of the correct width, the light is then focused on a single point and can quickly ignite the object. Brutus, overjoyed as he is with his breakthrough, realizes that he must first make the discovery into a meaningful invention before he can present it to the Emperor. Knowing that war is not far off and that the device takes too long to set up and far too long to focus light to be used as a long-range weapon, Brutus attempts to use it for many different purposes. As he is about to give up and simply offer the discovery itself to the Science Ministry, he hears some patrolling soldiers speak of the thick walls of Ctesiphon. He rushes home and, within a month, is headed for Constantinople to show the Emperor his plans for an artillery weapon: the Light of God.
With the conquest of the territories beginning to settle, Fritigern I begins to cast an eye on the Iberian peninsula. He realizes, however, that he must win the people over first before he can pledge himself to further conquests, as he wishes to create a stable Empire, not simply a chain of conquered lands. He thus issues the Law of Rome, which states that any and all who swear fealty to the Emperor and prove themselves loyal, either through military service or some other feat deemed worthy by the Emperor, shall gain full rights of citizens of his Empire. Although a devout follower of the Germanic gods, Fritigern realizes that it was religion that tore Rome apart, and he does not wish to tempt the bull. He therefore makes no mention of religion as a prerequisite for citizenship. This does not go unnoticed by the masses. Many Italians, tired of religion already, begin to feel that “the Foreign Roman” is a more apt name than previously thought, and public support begins to swell for the tolerant Emperor. Many take up the banner of the Empire and begin to call for the lost Iberian peninsula to “rejoin the new Empire of Rome.”
The Iberian Confederation, enjoying its independence, does not quite desire rejoining Rome. The Basque Kingdom informs the Confederation leadership that it will be unable to bear the brunt of a Romanigothic attack on its own, and requests that all other Confederation member-states immediately begin a general call to arms in response to Romanigothic mobilization. Some southern states which do not wish to aid in the fighting are frowned upon, and the Basque Kingdom declares that “any who do not wish to aid this alliance in maintaining its independence is to be considered an enemy of this alliance.” With the Basque nation comprising of the majority of military and economic strength within the Confederation, the hesitant states quickly send in troops to assist with any possible battles. The Basque threat, however, is not as easily forgiven, and many begin to murmur that the Basque Kingdom truly is becoming the new Rome of the world.
The Britannic Romans, believing their southlands secure, fortify a heavy line of defenses stretching from Londonium to the sea, both East and West. The city itself is heavily defended, with over 40,000 troops within the walls itself. These troops are all well armored and well trained, and many begin to plan for the planned expansions of next summer, and the slogan “Drive the Scot into the Sea!” becomes incredibly popular among soldier and civilian alike. The Gaelic Union, though not as well armed as the Romans, number in the vicinity of almost 200,000 troops. Knowing that they will not be able to take the South in a steady drive, the Celtic Chieftain Daffyd proposes that he withdraw all of his troops to his ships and sail them south. By almost “hugging” the coast (except for the areas that are well watched and defended), Daffyd claims that he can stealthily land all of his troops behind Londonium, and then the city's forces can be caught in a pincer and the city itself besieged from all sides. The Picts and Scots agree, and the Celts set out two months before the new year.
The Saxons, realizing that southern Britannia is very heavily fortified, decided to sail north and then west, then come south into Celtic Hibernia. The smaller island is said to be completely empty of troops, and the Saxons have enough resources with them already to last them almost two full years. Thousands of sailing vessels are constructed by the sea-faring Saxons, who know of the harsh conditions of the waters around the islands and do not wish to lose any supplies or men (or women, since the entire tribe and its vassals are invading). The Armada will be the largest in history, and will travel in close, tight-knit formation and land upon the north-western shores of Hibernia. With an invading force greater than the population of the island, the Saxons expect that they will have the strange land subdued and defended before the Gaels can begin to respond.
In Germania, the Alemanii annex several smaller tribes in the south-east. The Alemanii, counting vassal tribes and conquests, are now the largest Germanic tribe, both in size and in territory. The remaining Germanic tribes, comprehending that the fate of the Saxons, which had been the second most powerful tribe in Germania, might befall all of them. And so, the Vandals, Lombards, Cheruscians, and Cimbrii agree to come to one another's aid in case of attack by any other tribe or nation. While clearly aimed against Alemanii expansion, the alliance sends shockwaves throughout Germania, as most tribes had a policy of leaving warfare to participating tribes unless one was involved personally. With this taboo now broken, smaller tribes look nervously between the threatening but traditional Alemanii, and the powerful but “radical” alliance of tribes.
In the East, the Ostrogothic King Wigbart II of the Amaligg Royal Clan grows jealous at the failures-turned-successes of the Visigoths, as he still refers to them. He had never imagined that they would conquer the Roman Empire so soon, and become such a powerful (and wealthy) nation. Wigbart begins to desire his own capital city, and decides to make it on warmer waters. He finally settles on the small, former Greek colony of Crimea on the north of the Black Sea. The Ostrogothic King believes it will be the height of irony to build his capital directly across from Constantinople.
On December 16th, an army of almost 390,000 troops marches into the nation of Armenia, meeting the 66,000 Armenian troops waiting there. This massive army turns towards Persia, which has itself gathered some 370,000 well trained and heavily armed troops, as well as 80,000 mercenary troops under the . Hundreds of horses carry strange, massive objects to Dvin, where the troops are currently stationed, along with a single, very long series of mirrors. On December 19th, Fritigern I marches at the head of an army 190,000 strong, begins to march west to retake the Iberian peninsula. When word of this arrives three days later, the Iberian Confederation fully mobilizes its 110,000 man multi-city army and fortifies its borders. On December 23rd, the Celtic forces land in southern Britannia and begin marching northwards, capturing or killing all Roman witnesses to their coming. Some two days earlier, the Picts and Scots, together comprising 145,000 men, began their march south to Londonium, hoping beyond hope that their ally made a safe landing. In Germania, the Alemanii begin to muster their full strength at the union made simply to check their growing might, and some 200,000 wild axemen and horsemen begin to pound their chests and swarm west. At the same time, the allied tribes are sending an army of 136,000 warriors to the east, hoping to launch a surprise attack and remove the threat of the Alemanii. And in the northwest, the Saxons set sail, with only their skill and their faith in the gods to send them to their new homeland.
347 AD - The end of the Decade of Peace
On the morning of January 6th, the birthdate of Jesus Christ, the combined Holy Roman and Armenian armies attack the Sassanid Persian Empire. The Roman Chariots are not yet revealed, and are instead carried along with the camp of Constans, son of Constantine and Commander of the Holy Army. The Armenian King and General, Vatche I, marches with his Armenian forces under the double-headed eagle perched on a sheep, the Mamigonian family standard. Constans carries the standard of the old Roman eagle, with the Imperial Cross (as the Mithraic cross of Christ adopted by the Holy Roman Church is called) behind it. Shapur III, Shahanshah (King of Kings) of the Iranian Empire, immediately departs from Ctesiphon to meet the combined might of Christendom, with his troops marching under the traditional flag of the Sassanids, the drafsh i Kavyan, embroidered in gold, silver, and gems and was placed on crossed timbers, protected always by an elite cadre of spearmen and archers. Tiran, self proclaimed King of Armenia, marches with a mercenary army under the banner of the circle and cross of the Persian Marzbanate. Constantine Caesar the Great, in Constantinople, is baptised that morning in the Church of St. Sylvester the Imperial by Pope Julius Cornelius, who proclaims that God's blessing is upon the battle and that divine power shall move the Romans into Ctesiphon. Constantine, not as resolute in his faith, orders another 100 Chariots to be built in case the conquest is not wholly successful.
Ostrogothic and Persian messengers bring word to Wigbart II, King of the Ostrogoths, that the vast majority of Roman troops are marching into Persia. The King immediately gathers his standing forces and splits them into two armies: The larger army, under the command of his son, Egfroth, is sent to cover the flank and attack the Roman border at the Danube. The second are led by Wigbart himself to conquer the Crimean peninsula. Wigbart tactfully refuses the offer of the Persian messengers to ally with the Persians, saying “grabbing border territory is one thing; attacking the City of Constantine is another! These Romans have a long memory, and I don't need their eyes drifting north.”
In northern Gaul, the Saxons set sail. The ships, bound together by yards of rope, number in the thousands, and comprise the largest navy in history, although most are civilian ships. They round the north of Britannia; as they change course for the Hibernian isle, however, a Storm hits the fleet. Hundreds of ships, not designed to withstand the tumult, are sunk or ground ashore. The remaining majority are forced to the west for several long days. Woden and his son Wecta are drowned, and his grandson Witta is lost at sea. Wihtgils, son of Witta, becomes the chieftain of the Saxons despite the fact that he is still in his teens. With thousands dead and much of their supplies sunk, Wihtgils realizes that any designs on Hibernia are now an impossiblity, and will result in the wholesale massacre of the Saxon people. Thus, Wihtgils claims that the storm was a punishment from Thor for choosing Hibernia rather than True West. The ships gather once more and limp in the direction of the setting sun. After months of hardship, starvation, and death, land is finally sighted and the Saxons are re-invigorated. The long ships of the Germans finally land on the green beaches of Asgard, and the foundations for a grand town are quickly laid out on the large island. Within weeks, however, woodsmen begin to speak of strange people in the forests. In July, the Saxons are startled by a band of six dark-haired, red-skinned warriors show up at their building village. The warriors wear animal skins and wear their hair in fearsome, tall crests, and are obviously arrayed for war. Many of the Saxons are apprehensive and prepare for battle, but Wihtgils warns caution, claiming that these are the fearsome warriors of Valhalla. The chieftain offers a gift of sheep and axes to the strange red-skins, who accept and vanish. Several days later, they reappear with some one hundred more warriors. The most elaborately dressed warrior, whom Wihtgils presumes is their chieftain, offers strange gifts to the Saxons, with an odd yellow long fruit being the most popular. The warriors also present dozens of dark-haired scalps to Saxons, who appreciate now the strength of these strange combatants. The Saxons prepare a feast, and withness the skill of the red-skins on the hunt, although they seem to have inferior weapons and no horses. The winter is harsh, but nothing that the hardy Saxons are unused to, and the warriors, who call themselves the Kahniankehaka, assist the blonde, tall Germans. Saxonburg is completed in December, and the Kahniankehaka are invited to the celebration. Only a few come, however, and the Saxons learn that those who they had met were only a large war party, and that they are currently in the lands of the enemy of the Haudenosaunee, the nation to whom the red-skins collectively belong. The old red-skinned Chieftain, Atonwa, and his daughter, Anen, show up to the feast, and Wihtgils marries Anen as a symbol of friendship and alliance between the two peoples.
The Romanigoth Keiser, Fritigern I, collides with the armies of the Iberian Confederation. The majority of the Basque troops, however, had been guarding the Basque border, and are thus not anywhere near the battle, which is fought nearer the eastern coast. The legion-style infantry of the Italians, combined with traditional Gothic cavalry and shock-troops, is devastating, and the Iberian forces retreat west after a crushing defeat. The Keiser orders his troops to move south and threaten the Iberian cities, but his son and heir, Gunthabalth, rashly leads the cavalry in a chase after the Iberians. The cavalry soon catches up to the Iberians, who have met up with the advancing Basques, and is cut to pieces by the Basque troops. Gunthabalth escapes the massacre, and without a commander, many horse are killed. When a retreat is finally organized, some eight hundred horsemen leave the fiasco, compared to the thirty-odd thousand who entered. The retreating cavalry reach the safety of Fritigern, who had been hurrying after his insolent son, and who now finds his mobile troops smashed. The sends an emissary to the Iberians, offerring to withdraw in return for the weight in gold of a hundred men. The Basques refuse vehemenently and call for a final attack on the Goths and an invasion of Italy. The remaining Iberians, however, having lost many in the first battle (from which the Basques were absent) and fearful and suspicious of growing Basque power and influence, vote to pay the tribute, and decide that each city-state will pay a percentage in direct relation to their population. The Basque Kingdom, whose population is highest among all Iberian Kingdoms, views this as a direct economic attack from the Iberians. The Iberians demand assurance that the Romanigoths shall leave, and Fritigern responds by flaying his headstrong son, who led the disastrous and insubordinate charge which destroyed his horse and the entire war effort, and sending his body to the Iberians, who recognize him as their pursuer. Fritigern leaves Iberia far wealthier, but weaker in men and heirless. The Basques, hurting over the lost gold, begin to speak of leaving the Confederation which they formed, while a minority call for conquest of the other city-states.
In southern Germania, the Alemanii and Allied tribes unexpectantly ecounter one another. The Alemanii troops are larger in number than the Alliance armies, and thus are spread out far more. The Alliance cavalry score several minor victories against pockets of infantry. The Alemanii soon regroup, however, and launch a ferocious attack. Axemen and horsemen collide, and the battle rages for hours. The battle-hardeneed and numerically superior Alemanii begin to drive the allied German tribes farther and farther back. As the battle seems to draw upon its final hour, horns sound to the north, and thousands of horsemen, flying banners of numerous minor tribes, ride against the imperialistic Alemanii. The flanking stroke proves to be fatal, and much of the Alemanii are destroyed. Although such alliances are highly unorthodox, the union has succeeded in maintaining the independence of the German tribes. Many conquered tribes begin to rebel against the weakened Alemanii, whose territory quickly shrinks from across Germania to primarily in the East.
In Britannia, the Picts and Scots batter like the sea onto the Britannian defenses. The Britannians, heavily fortified, field their armies in superior positions, facing downhill behind thousands of trenches, barricades, and horsetraps. Much of the Picttish and Scottish armies, unaware of the Celtic plan, believe that the Hibernians deserted them, and when captured reveal this information to the Britannians, who relax their guard. As the sun sets, however, the glow of distant blazes appear behind the walls. The Celtic army storms the fortifications from the more tenable rear positions, and the retreating Britannians are wiped out almost to the man. Much of the south has felt the wrath of the Celts, and many villages lay razed and smoking. The Siege of Londonium ends almost before it begins, as it is attacked from three different directions without most of its defenders present. All who resist within the city are slaughtered, and all Roman emblems are burned. The vine, axe, and claymore emblem of the Gaelic Union is raised over the city of Londonium, and the Britannian Isles are liberated at last, after a two month-long campaign. Most of the Picttish and Scottish forces are killed on the plains of the Siege, but few weep for the fallen, as the joy of liberation is abundant in all of the Gaelic peoples.
The few forces in Crimea are quickly and decisively crushed when the Ostrogoths suddenly attack. Wigbart II decides to create his own city, rather than build on the ruins of another, and lays the foundations for the City of Wigbarta. In the west, Egfroth is victorious in combat, and conquers down almost to Constantinople. Soon, however, he receives a message from his father: “Gather as many troops as you can and flee to the north. The Romans have gained power as we have never seen, and we must not remind them that we exist to the north.”
Near the ancient Assyrian city of Ashur, the Holy Roman and Armenian armies prepare to battle the might of the Persian Empire. Several thousand local Assyrian Christians raise their own banner and march to the Armenian King, as the Catholicos of all Armenians, Vartan, has offerred to protect the rights and religious individualities of the Assyrians. The battle begins with Constans calling on the Persians to cast down the worship of the sun and to accept the light of Christ. Shapur III responds by setting ablaze an Imperial Cross, thus proving that the fire and might of the Sun can conquer even Christ. The Christian armies begin to march. The Chariots are prepared and kept behind the front lines, with the engineer-soldiers who have trained with them for the past many months waiting for the signal horn. The Persians deploy their spearment, which collide with the steadily advancing Holy Roman heavy infantry. The Armenian archers and swordsmen hold the right flank against Tiran's mercenary troops. When the flank seems to be in danger of buckling, Vatche orders the pride of the Armenian army, the elite heavy cataphracts, against the troops of Tiran. The Armenian King rides out with the knights, and the thunderous roar of the hooves of the Armenian cavalry breaks the resolve of the sellswords under Tiran's employ. Many of the mercenaries begin to flee, and Tiran is captured by cataphracts and returned in chains to the Armenian camp. With the loss of much of their flanks, the Shahanshah sends forth the Ten Thousand Immortals. The famed Persian heavy cavalry charge into the left flank of the Romans, which are guarded by weaker Roman and Scythian cavalry. Simultaneously, Shapur deploys the dreaded elephant cavalry, which plow through infantry ranks. The Roman left flank collapses, and the front threatens to follow it. The Armenians surround Vatche and fight in a circle formation, with the archers almost exclusively targetting elephants. At this moment, a powerful horn blows from the Roman camp. The Roman Chariots burst forth, the faster Chariots heading for the Immortals while the larger, slower Fortress Chariots targetting the elephants. These invincible, self-moving steel boxes cause panic in both Roman and Persian ranks. The unearthly noise and speed of the Chariots cause fear in the horses, and the Immortals, for the first time in history, break ranks and retreat. The Elephants are forced against the Fortresses, from which arrow after arrow fly at the giant beasts. Although the elephants are able to destroy quite a few of the monstrosities, the fear that they cause is too much and many of the elephant troops retreat. The Persian armies are broken and Shapur flees with the remainder of his troops back to Ctesiphon. The Battle of Ashur is over.
348 AD - The Holy Army of Constantinople and the army of the Kingdom of Armenia rode victoriously back to Dvin in early February of 347. The Romans sufferred heavy losses, particularly their Arab flank, and over a hundred thousand men did not return from battle. The Armenians did not come through unscathed either: nearly a third of their troops were martyred in their battle for their independence and faith. In Dvin, they prepared almost immediately for their attack on Ctesiphon. Word soon came, however, that the Ostrogoths had been busy, and an army of some ten legions were marched back towards Constantinople. By the start of 348, these legions returned, having discovered that the Ostrogoths had already fled. For the remainder of the year, and into the beginning of 348, they concentrated on training and equipping their troops (including the Arabs, who sufferred the worst in the Battle of Ashur). The Light of God is prepared on order of Constans, who knows that the siege will be long and hard without some sort of aid. The walls of Ctesiphon are the thickest and longest in the world.
Wihtgils, King of Saxonburg and all of Saxony, proclaims that the enemies of their friends the red-skins are none other than the offspring of the Frost Giants. The Saxon smiths forge for weeks on end, creating new stores of weapons and armor for the Germans. Horses and steel weapons are also given to the Kahniankehaka, who are shocked by the strength of the new weapons and the power of the beasts which their blonde allies ride upon. The Saxons pledge that they shall bring war to this land that will not be seen again until the Ragnarok.
In Germania, the last army of the Alemanii is successful is halting and routing the armies of several tribes in the East. After more than a year of warfare, the borders are finally agreed upon, with the Alemanii having the East, and the free tribes of Germania living in most of Germania. The Alemanii, realizing that they do not have the power now to face the combined might of the tribes, begin to look ever eastwards, at the wayward Goths who have mostly forgotten of their cousins to the West.
Old Fritigern I becomes 65. The remainder of his children are daughters, and he personally slew his only heir. Many begin to eye the Keiser's throne, and Fritigern realizes this. He thus walks barefoot, dressed as a barbarian warrior rather than an Emperor, into the heart of Rome, and proclaims that his eldest daughter, Gudeliva, shall rule after him. The Keiser says that any who do not agree with his proclamation are those who would wish to take the throne for themselves, and challenges them to step forward and take the throne as a warrior, rather than wait as a vulture and strip him upon his deathbed. Several relatives suspiciously eye the old man, sizing up their chances, but the citizens of the city, who have come to love “the Foreign Roman,” cry out that they shall have as Keiser none save Fritigern and his heirs of the Balthigg clan.
Shapur III, reeling from his defeat, begins to gather up all his troops in Ctesiphon. Arab slave revolts are surging throughout the Empire, and nobles who sent only a tithe of their forces now realize that their way of life is indeed threatened. The walls of Ctesiphon almost burst when hundreds of thousands of soldiers march to the aid of the Shahanshah. Shapur bitterly comments, “had these fools sent their aid while my banner flew in Ashur, then we would be feasting in Constantinople this night.”
The Basque Kingdom begins to withdraw its troops from border positions back to the borders of the kingdom itself. When the Iberian Council, the ruling body of the Confederation, cries out at this, the Basque king Benat I replies “you take our gold, do not heed us in war, and expect us to guard you? If our councils are not heeded in the battlefield, then who are we to ensure the safety of your borders!”
In Britannia, the Gaels begin the process of rebuilding the nation. Northern Britannia is renamed Scotsland, the western parts are Pictland, and the Hibernian isle remains the Celtish home of Hibernia. The central and eastern parts of the isle are made neutral, as well as the city of Londonium, where the Council of Chieftains now convene. The Council are given the right to fully govern the neutral regions, as well as all foreign affairs. Each individual tribe rules their own nations, but can make no foreign actions without the permission of the Council.
Wigbart II sends a gift of gold and melted snow to Constantine, hoping to “make ammends” and soothe the Emperor over the loss of the Crimea. The old Caesar, now 74, is still an apt politician, and realizes that the Holy Roman Empire cannot afford to combat both the distant and vicious Ostrogoths and the weakened but still deadly Persians. He chooses to concentrate on the latter, saying “in time, all of the world shall bend knee to Constantinople and the light of Christ.”
348 AD (Cont.) - The Holy Army and the Armenian army, with a combined might of some 350,000, march out once again from Dvin. The extra 100 Chariots ordered by Constantine are brought with the current ones to make up for the losses sufferred in the battle, but Constans notes that the new Chariots are only of the “Fortress,” design, not the “Cavalry” design which performed so excellently against the Immortals. The Light of God is brought in tow with the army. Shapur, in a panic, gathers his troops and strikes out against the Roman forces once again, this time outnumbering them heavily, with more than half a million troops at his command. The Roman and Armenian forces, now accustomed to the movement and noise of the Chariots, hold their ground against the cavalry baits of the Persians. Constans decides to deploy a new tactic of using the Chariots with the regulars, rather than as a “last resort.” Realizing also that the psychological aspect of the Chariots are also important, Constans had ordered Imperial Crosses to be affixed on the massive weapons, as well as having equipped the engineers and archers within with horns, thus allowing an even more unearthly noise to issue forth from the machines.
On November 6th, the Shahanshah attacks in full strength. Elephants and Immortals are not held back at the start, as they were in the Battle of Ashur. Before the walls of Ctesiphon, the combined might of the Sassanid Persian Empire gathers to smash Christendom. The massive Fortress Chariots begin to rumble forward, and the heavy infantry are told to march steadily alongside the machines, thus ensuring that they cannot be encircled. Along the flanks, Armenian heavy cataphracts and the speedy, if now less numerous Cavalry Chariots stave off Persian cavalry elements. As in the previous battle, archers concentrate on the elephants, who begin to charge at the infantry. The noise and majesty of the Fortresses, however, frighten many of the towering beasts into a panicked rage, and in several parts of the battle the elephanteers lose control of their beasts, who plow back into the Persian lines. The Cavalry Chariots target the Immortals, who make a massive wedged assault into the flank of the Roman infantry. Those horses who do not panic and flee at the sight (and sound) of the Chariots are collided into, and the force of the collision is almost always enough to break the legs of the equine. As the battle unfurls, the Christian troops, filled with resolve at the sight of the power of God moving the Chariots, march steadily forward. The Chariots perform marvelously, and even those whose engines break down become centers of fear, as the archers within ensure that no Persians are able to come near the machines. Repeated cavalry charges by the Persians are beaten back by cataphract and Chariot, both of which are ordered to maintain their positions on the flanks rather than charge gloriously into the thick of the Persian army. Shapur, filled with fear at the machines which defeated him previously, orders a full charge of all his forces, hoping that the weight in numbers shall bring the victory home. As the horns sound, the Persians rush forwards.
The slaughter is retold a thousand times in generations to come. The steady Roman infantry, fighting with centuries of knowledge of legion tactics, is in its element fighting a rabble rather than an organized army. Fortress Chariots roll over Persian infantry, and soon are able to rout enemy drives by their mere presence. The Armenians, unable to contain their fury, charge the flanks of the enemy, and the cataphracts enjoy the wholesale slaughter of the enemy infantry. The Immortals, routed and decimated by the Cavalry Chariots, formed a protective ring around the Shahanshah, who retreats into Ctesiphon. Several Fortress drivers have the same idea, and begin to plow towards the banner of the Shah, with its elite troops surrounding them. The spearmen and archers are unable to make so much as a dent in the heavily armored monsters, and a Roman archer sets his arrow to fire and ignites the Flag of the King of Kings, the drafsh i Kavyan. The Persian troops, dismayed at the retreat of their King and the loss of their rallying point, break ranks and flee. Few bother to aim their retreat towards the city. The Battle of Ctesiphon is a disaster for the Persians, and the city lies nearly defenseless. Shapur, however, notes that the Romans have brought little provisions with them, and begins to ramble that Ctesiphon can survive a thousand years of siege, and that the power of the sun shall never desert the King of Kings.
Constans and King Vatche I ride out to the gates of Ctesiphon with an escort of cataphracts and Chariots (the few Chariots which are still servicable after the long battle). They call for the immediate surrender of the Persians and Shapur's acceptance of Christianity. Shapur laughs at his conquerors, and proclaims, once again, that the power of the sun shall always defend the Shah of Shahs. Constans bellows, “even the sun is but a servant to God and His Son, Christ. Ctesiphon shall feel the Light of God and shall burn, knowing the truth.”
In the Roman camp, Lucius Brutus, having ridden in the safety of Constans' camp by the order of Constantine, assembles the Light of God with a troop of engineers. The enigmatic genius calibrates the massive and complex array of mirrors and glass, and Constans orders that the Temple of the Sun, the highest point of the city, to be targetted and set aflame first. The field, noisy with the cheers and laughter of the victorious Christians, suddenly becomes quiet as the Light of God is wheeled into position. The sunny day, taken at first by Shapur as a sign of his own victory, provides all the power that the weapon needs. The mirrors reflect and focus the power of the sun, and the invisible flame shoots out towards the city. The metallic symbols of the Temple begin to melt as the roof bursts into flame. The Persians, having murmured at the sight of the “new deviltry” of the Romans, suddenly panic, and Shapur immediately loses all control. In the chaos, the flame begins to spread to other, even less durable buildings, and within minutes Ctesiphon is ablaze. Constans orders his troops forward and tells Lucius to “burn! burn the gates down! Let us show those mongrels who made a fool of Valerian the might of Roman wrath!” The gates are ablaze before the Christian troops begin their steady march, and by the time the first Armenian cataphracts and Roman Chariots reach the walls, the gates are ash.
In the aftermatch of the Destruction of Ctesiphon, it is discovered that Shapur was killed by a Persian blade, most likely his son Yazdigert, who fled and proclaimed himself Shahanshah. Out of the 400,000 civilian population and some 80,000 military population of Ctesiphon, some 100,000 survived to be enslaved. Much of the city burned to the ground, and only the walls remained fully intact. The Imperial Cross was planted firmly in the center of the city, which angered the Armenians, who forced Constans to place it side by side with the Armenian Cross. Constans ordered that none of the city was to be doused, but that “the Wrath of God should be allowed to burn until His anger is quenched.”
Constantine, receiving word of the total victory, orders that a new city shall be built on the ruins of Ctesiphon, and names it Christosople, City of Christ, in honor of the Lord which brought him such victory. With the destruction of Ctesiphon, the Persian Empire has been knocked from its perch as a world power, and the Holy Roman Empire reigns supreme as the unchallenged power of the earth.
Err… Change all of “348 AD” to “347 AD.” Sorry about that, lol, but it would be foolish by all accounts to give the Persians more than a full year after their defeat to finish the conquest. On Jan 6th the Holy Army marched out, Jan 8th they fought the Persians, Jan 9th they beat the Persians, they returned to Dvin to await new Chariots and to heal the wounded, troops sent out against the Ostrogoths, Dec 15th they marched out again, Dec 20th they fought the Battle of Ctesiphon, Dec 21st they won the battle, Dec 23rd they used the Light of God, Dec 25th the sacking of Ctesiphon was complete. Sorry about that. Now continue with your reading pleasure .
348 AD - On January 6th, 348, C. Flavius Valerius Constantinus, Constantine the Great, Caesar of the Holy Roman Empire and protector of the Christian faith, dies peacefully in his sleep at the age of 75. His sons, Constantius, Constantine, and the youngest, Constans, are given the Holy Roman Empire to divide into three in between them. Constans, however, is still in Dvin. Constantius and Constantine use their brother's inability to show as “lack of respect for our beloved father, and lack of respect for the Commandments of God,” and divide the Empire in two. They immediately begin to raise an army, as they realize that Constans is still at the head of the Holy Army. They know nothing, however, of the Chariots nor of the Light of God, as the late Constantine kept the weapons an absolute secret.
On February 2nd, Constans receives word of his brothers' treachery. He makes an impassioned plea to his troops, crying, “My friends! I have led you well in our battles against the sun-worshippers under the guidance of God! I fought with you in the name of our Lord and for His Glory! Now, my brothers seize the crown of my beloved father as vultures over a dead man! I cannot force any of you to assist me, and I shall fight alone against all the forces of the world if I must to preserve my father's legacy! Who will join me?” The Holy Army unanimously agrees to join their beloved Commander, who led them to victories unlike any seen before, in his quest to gain what is rightfully his. Many soldiers feel insulted by the two brothers, who try to “gain the spoils while we fought to ensure there would be spoils to gain!”
Vatche I of Armenia pledges his support for Constans, who, in return, grants the Armenians the Assyrian lands up to and including Ashur. The new state of Assyria joins the Armenian Kingdom, and Assyrians are given full rights as citizens and are allowed to practice their own faith while accepting the Armenian Catholicos as head of their church. Vatche sends an Armenian contingent of some 20,000 troops, as well as 3,000 Assyrian archers, under his son Vassak to aid Constans. The Commander of the Holy Army of Constantinople begins to march west, and his popularity is so immense that many towns join his cause simply because a messenger from the Commander rides into their borders.
In Asgard, as the new land is called, the Saxons prepare for war. Horses are bred in the thousands, and the Germanic warriors are armored and prepared. On the 12th of March, using Kahniankehaka reconaissance, the Saxons discover the locations of the Manhattan tribe villages. The next day, the red-skins are awakened by the sound of thunderous hooves and screaming warriors. The Saxons lose no more than a dozen men in the onslaught, and drive the Manhattan in fear and panic before them to the coasts of the island, where many are slain and the remainder are enslaved. The Kahniankehaka are shocked and delighted to see their enemies defeated in such a finalistic manner, and begin to adopt the Saxon use of horse and iron in their attacks. All of the island is claimed by Wihtgils as Saxonburg, and the entire nation of the enemy red-skins is claimed as Saxony, the long-awaited homeland of the Saxon people. The Saxons begin to ready themselves for a long and brutal war against a numerous people.
The Iberian Council votes (with the dissenting vote being the Basque representative) to tax each city-state according to their population, as a show of power to remind the kingdom that it does not rule the peninsula. Benat I, King of the Basques, is outraged, and declares that “the Iberian Confederation shall no longer have the Basques to protect them!” Despite protests from the remaining city-states and promises of reversing the tax vote, the Basque nation withdraws from the Confederation of Iberia. The kingdom's demands that its gold be returned, however, are denied, and are kept at the capital of Iberiana. The Basque kingdom begins to prepare for war once again.
349 AD - Constantine and Constantius prepare to meet the Holy Army of Constans at the town of Nicaea, a few miles outside of Constantinople. Their cousin Hannibalianus, husband of their sister Constantina and king of Persia according to Constantine's will, is murdered by the two brothers, who have begun to systematically purge all relatives in an effort to minimize any possible claimants to the throne. Constantina, devastated by the loss and overwhelmed with grief and hatred, flees to Roman Italy and escapes to Rome, where she spent her childhood, and begs Keiser Fritigern to accept her as a refugee. The Keiser, moved by the young girl's beauty and regal manner, and realizing that she is an heir to Constantine the Great, not only gives her a villa in Rome, but adopts her as his daughter. He insists, however, that Gudeliva shall still rule after him. Many of the Roman citizens are divided, as some wish to be ruled by Constantine's daughter, and others, who still remember Constantine's abandonment of the city, wish to exile her. Constantina calms the city by announcing that she wishes to live in peace, and does not wish any throne.
Constans, upon hearing of the death of his cousin (whom he also did not like) and the fleeing of his sister, takes the moral high ground once again and claims that his brothers have slain their own kin and are thus heretics. He calls on the old Pope, Julius Cornelius, who is looked to as the de facto leader during the civil war, to denounce the kinslayers. Julius, at first, attempts to remain neutral, as the protection of Constans is far away. Public opinion, however, forces the Pope to reluctantly excommunicate the two brothers, although he insists that “if they confess their crimes before God and ask forgiveness, all shall be forgiven.” The brothers, not caring to confess before any, immediately order the arrest and execution of the Pope. When many of the soldiers balk at such an order, Constantius enters the Church of St. Sylvester the Imperial, where the Throne of Peter resides, and, drawing his decorated blade, runs the old Pontiff through the heart, declaring him an enemy of the state. The blade goes completely through the old man, and emerges from the other end of the Throne, pinning the body of Pope to the seat. The scene is captured centuries later in Papakostas' famous painting, “The Martyring of St. Julius the Last.”
The whole of the Holy Roman Empire explodes after the killing of the Pope. The brothers, having overestimated their good standing among the populace and the ability to use their father's legendary name, and underestimating the popularity of their brother and the love of the Pope, are attacked by a mob when word of the murder spreads through the city. Their personal guard abandon them and join the crowds, and Constantine is ripped limb from limb by the ravenous people of Constantinople. Constantius, the murderer, flees from the city and returns to his army at Nicaea, which has not yet heard of the murders. Constantius orders that all messages to the army immediately be confiscated, and orders complete silence, fearing that the news of the Pope's slaying will turn his army against him. Within days, scouts report that the Holy Army of Constans has arrived, and, according to the scout, “is numberless and grim, with banners flying the Cross and the Eagle, and wagons carrying chariots and glass.” Constantius scoffs at these reports, saying “has my brother become as the barbarians of Europe and begun to use chariots? Roman steel has conquered a chariot before!”
In Germania, dozens of minor skirmishes are fought along the Germanian-Alemanii border. After several months, a long border is finally decided on, finalizing what the battles already established. The Alemanii receive the East, while the free tribes remain in the rest of Germania. The Germanians also agree to unite against the Alemanii again should the tribe once more attempt to expand its territories at the expense of another Germanic tribe. Thus, the Alemanii begin the long process of rebuilding their once-mighty army and look towards the Ostrogothic kingdom, where Wigbart is spending more and more of the treasury on creating Wigbarta.
In Persia, Yazdigert I declares the city of Zarand to be the new temporary capital of the Sassanid Empire, until Ctesiphon is retaken and the Romans are punished. The Throne of the King of Kings, however, along with the three lesser thrones (for the Roman, Chinese, and Khanad Emperors, who the Shahs believed were their vassals) were lost in Ctesiphon, and Yazdigert's ministers protest the building of a new one, claiming that the Empire's boder vassals are beginning to break off and taxes have slowed to a snail's pace. Yazdigert, taking advantage of the Roman civil war, immediately prepares his troops and begins to attack the separatist border regions, quickly bringing them under his heel. He rushes to secure his Empire and retake Ctesiphon before the Romans have dealt with their problems.
In Nicaea, Constans deploys his forces against his brother's army. As the troops are readied, Constantius' forces begin to panic, as they are heavily outnumbered and most have not seen battle. Constans, having received messengers from Constantinople, also declares that Constantius has murderered Pope Julius Cornelius, and decrees that his brother shall be executed for his crimes against the Empire and against God. All who fight for him shall receive no mercy from neither Constans nor the Holy Army. As the Chariots are started and moved into position, Constantius orders his troops to advance. Their slow, cautious legion-style advance is suddenly halted when the Chariots advance to meet them. Constans' claims that God Himself is against Constantius now seem justified, and Constantius' army breaks before any actual battle is fought. In the shortest battle (and civil war) in history, Constantius' forces surrender to Constans within 6 minutes of the commencement of the battle. Several pious soldiers, in turmoil that they served the murderer of the Pontiff, chain Constantius, strip him of all honors, tie him to the back of a horse, and drag him to the camp of Constans.
The youngest son of Constantine the Great rides into Constantinople as a hero. Many proclaim that Constantine has come again in the form of his own son, and Constans is declared to be Caesar of the Holy Roman Empire. The holy men of Constantinople, having lost political importance in the years of Constantine's successful reign, realize that none of them will be able to gain the public's support in any matter, and will be subservient to Constans if they are given the title of Pope. Thus, to increase their importance in the political sphere and to increase their standing with the new Emperor, the holy men of the city elect Constans as the new Pope. Constans, shocked by the unexpected new title, gives no response to the holy men. The people of Constantinople, however, cheer for the new “Caesar of the Church.” Realizing that he will lose public support if he turns down the offer, Constans accepts his position and orders that the Imperial Palace and the Church of St. Sylvester be connected, and combines the Throne of Peter with the Imperial Throne. The Holy Caesar, temporal and spiritual ruler of the Holy Roman Empire and Vicar of Christ on Earth, is crowned on Sept. 1st, which is declared a holiday, the Day of Enthronement. The old age of Rome, with its European aspirations and paganist beliefs, ended with the death of Constantine the Great and the defeat of the temporal sons. The new age, the Holy age, with a solid Christian nation and territory to the east, begins on the first of September.
350 AD - End of what historians call the Days of Turmoil.
In Constantinople, Constans Augustus Caesar begins to build his empire. Constantine and Constantius, in the short weeks of their “reign,” emptied most of the treasury and sent it to safe houses now lost to the Emperor. Gaius Fironicus and are recruited by their Emperor to build Constantinople and Christopolis into the finest cities in the world. Constans also requests that the two work together to create a beam of light that “should eminate from the Throne into the Heavens themselves, to show all that the Light of God Himself falls upon the Caesar of the Holy Empire of Rome.”
In the Iberian peninsula, the Basque kingdom sends an ultimatum to the Confederation: return the Basque gold paid in taxes back to the capital, pay the cost of the upkeep of the Basque soldiers and a fee for each Basque trooper killed, and pay a tribute of 10,000 gold coins as payment for Basque assistance. The Confederation, fearing reprisals, agrees to return the money of the Basques and to pay for the Basque soldiers killed. It refuses, however, to pay a tribute, stating that it is a sovereign force and bends knee to no one. The Basque kingdom responds by declaring war. The Iberian Confederation, still reeling from its heavy losses in the war against the Romanigoths, is quickly and soundly smashed outside Iberiana, and Basque troops parade along the streets of the capital by the end of the month. The new Iberian Union is declared, in name a democratic-style government, but in practice dominated by the Basques, who have more say in the Iberian Council than all other city-states combined.
353 AD - An attempt by Yazdigert I to send an expeditionary force to the Holy Roman Empire is smashed by Roman troops, operating with a small number of Chariots (which, once again, are able to almost single-handedly carry the fight). The Emperor begins to fortify the eastern border heavily, and orders mass production of Chariots, while simultaneously decreasing the number of soldiers in the army to allow more money to pay for the weapons. The massive Holy Army of Constantinople is finally disbanded after an extensive parade through the streets of the capital, and all who fought are given papers bestowing citizenship on them and their families and descendants. Realizing a potent (and reliable) force in the Arabs, the Emperor ensures that the region does not become a “border realm,” but rather is integrated as one of the heartlands of the Empire. Arabians are promised full citizenship if they work to increase the might of the nation. Roads are built in the peninsula, connected the various and distant cities to one another and to Constantinople itself.
In Saxony, the population rate has soared far beyond anything experienced in Europe. Abundant food, large open spaces, inferior enemies and mild winters allow the hardy Germans to live in peace. The Kahniankehaka are promised that war shall be resumed in due time, and the red-skinned warriors are more than happy with their gifts of metal and horses, which they liberally share with the rest of the Haudenosaunee, who each send emissaries to meet their new allies and induct them into the nation-tribe. The Saxons accept, but insist that they shall only war and peace at their own council, which the red-skins accept. Wihtgils, King of the Saxons, fathers twin boys, who are named Horsa and Hengist, the Stallion brothers. The half-Saxon, half-red skin children are celebrated as a symbol of the union between the white Germans and the red Asgardians, as the people of the new land are called.
354 AD - Fritigern the Last Visigoth, the Foreign Roman and Keiser of the Romanigothic Empire of Italy and Gaul, dies at the age of 71. The Italian citizens of the Empire mourn the passing of the old man, and the Goths who were devoted to him tear at their beards. Gudeliva ascends the throne as the Keisera. Several of Fritigern's relatives attempt to launch coups, but forces are few to attempt to join, and many are killed by mob violence and Gudeliva's followers. Some minor unrest in Gaul is quickly stamped out, and Gudeliva becomes Empress without much disturbance. Her adopted sister, Constantina, supports Gudeliva, who listens to the wisdom of Constantine the Great's daughter, while realizing that in her lies a viable claim to Constantine's realm.
355 AD - Manhattan slaves of the Saxons begin to fall ill. The German healers are quickly able to identify the European diseases that are felling the red-skins, and apply their own remedies, including burning of the body after death and quarentine. The outbreaks are thus controlled rather easily. King Wihtgils orders the creation of a standing army, and prepares to take up the war once again.
Yazdigert I finally settles upon the new borders of the Persian Empire after numerous and disastrous skirmishes cost him even more territory. Constans, fearing overexpansion and his flanks against the Ostrogoths, agrees and withdraws his troops from Persia. The Kingdom of Armenia, wanting vengeance for past grievances, however, continues to fight the Persians. Persia is but a shadow of its former self, and so the Armenians, already battle-hardened and well trained, and now with Assyrian reinforcements, are able carry the fight to the Shahanshah and capture more territory for themselves.
The Gaels continue on peacefully. The Celts send much aid to the Picts and Scots, who sufferred far worse in the battles, and work towards the remaking of the city of Londonium. The Gaels, who are druidic even in their form of Christianity, begin to plant thousands of trees in and around the capital, attempting to rid themselves of Rome's lasting influence on the island.
358 AD - Keisera Gudeliva I, anxious to prove herself and expand her Empire, launches an attack into Roman Italy. The defenders of the peninsula, believing that their recent victories would be enough to frighten all enemies, are unprepared for the attack and are quickly defeated. Constans immediately orders a counterattack, and hundreds of Chariots are loaded aboard transport ships. Constans, however, heavily underestimates Gudeliva's ablities, as she is “nothing but an upstart barbarian girl.”
As the transports are being unloaded, the Keisera, who has hid waiting in ambush, attacks. Her handpicked soldiers are instructed to quickly kill all men, rather than seek a glorious battle. The ships are quickly set aflame, and many of those who are able to escape the flames are immediately killed. After a “battle” of some forty minutes, Gudeliva not only succeeds in chasing off Constans' forces, but also is able to capture seven Chariots for her own use. When word reaches Constans, he is so enraged that he orders the execution of every surviving member of the expeditionary force. The damage, however, is done. The Goths return to Rome with their prizes, and the greatest minds of their Empire immediately begin to study how to use the weapons. The Holy Caesar in Constantinople immediately orders Gaius Fironicus to “build something better, something bigger, something faster! I need now to be able to defeat my own weapons!”
358 AD (Cont.) - Constans launches almost his entire army into Italy. His forces do not underestimate the Goths this time, and are able to land intact. A thousand Chariots, as well as the Light of God, are brought, and Constans threatens to “burn down even Rome itself” before he lets the Goths use his weapons. The Holy Romans march to Rome through the Sabines, where, thirty years ago, another Roman army, led by Constantine, was decimated.
Keisera Gudeliva, however, is prepared. After months of studying, the Empress' wise men report that they would be able to make a similar construction. Minor details, however, that allow the Chariots to move as swiftly as they do, are lost on the Gothic scientists. Gudeliva, knowing that she wouldn't be able to match the Romans Chariot-to-Chariot on such a short time limit anyway, asks if they can create a weapon of her own design.
On a cold November morning, the 23rd, the Roman army encounters the Gothic army. The Holy Roman army numbers some twenty thousand infantry and six thousand long-range troops, as well as a thousand Chariots. The Goths have over fifty thousand troops, mostly cavalry, with a strong minority of legionnaries. Constans, realizing that his advantage are his new Chariots, attacks with them. The Faithful class Chariot is an improved model of Constans' old Cavalry class, with better shielding and more room for archers, as well as slots from which to stab out. There are also the old Fortress designs, Constantine's favorite, which lumber over all obstacles. The Chariots seem to carry the day, and the Goths begin to fall back after attempting to stand up to the Chariot and infantry combinations.
As the Charioteers pull ahead of their infantry support to “finish off the barbarians,” however, Gudeliva gives her signal. The main center line of the Romanigoths melt away, and a wall of ballistae appear, aimed at the Chariots. The ballistae, powered by crude steam engines, hurl their massive payloads farther and faster than any previous construct. Crews are required only to load new bolts and pull the knots away from the siege weapons.
The Chariot front is cut to pieces almost immediately. The Charioteers, not expecting any real resistance, panic when a massive missile pierces through the armor of the chariot and impales any body it hits. The massive Fortresses fare the worst, and as they compose of the bulk of the Chariots, the numbers are soon cut down to shreds. Fearing that even more weapons will fall into the hands of the Goths, Constans withdraws all of his Chariots, and his army retreats back to the coast. The Goths don't push their luck, as they know that the Holy Roman Empire has far more manpower than they do, and allow the Emperor to retreat with whatever grace he can manage.
The battle was a disaster for the Romans. Out of almost thirty thousand troops, some ten thousand fell in battle. Only a scant two hundred Chariots (all of the Faithful designation) make it back to Constantinople. The Goths had heavier losses, but their decimation of the Romans' Chariot ranks is a victory beyond measure. Afterwards, Constans grudgingly cedes Roman Italy to the Romanigothic Empire, who begin to produce larger quantities of their ballistae. Constans also demands that new Chariots be built, strong enough to withstand ballista bolts and large enough to carry their own long-ranged weapons.
The consequences of the battle have far more important effects than territory. With the decimation of the Chariots by an army of infantry and ingenuity, the place of the footsoldier is ensured for many years to come. Constans rescinds his orders cutting down the army, and increases it to almost half the size of the Holy Army of Constantinople. Once more, a majority of these are Arab recruits, as military service is still the quickest way for the Arabs to gain full citizenship status. The Goths, and subsequently the remaining European countries, also are able to gleam Holy Roman technology, which, although not nearly as powerful as Constantinople's productions, allow them to offer a challenge to the Romans. Constans' ego and overestimation of his forces led to the loss of complete Holy Roman monopoly on advanced weapons, and lead the Empire to quintiple its funding for the sciences, particularly those projects that also have military applications.
360 AD - Constans, having begun his reign off with a terrible defeat, strives to improve his image. Since the defeat at the Sabines, the Holy Caesar of the Roman Empire pushed for the completion of the renovations of Constantinople and Christopolis. The cities are finally finished in early February. Constantinople, the “City of Caesars,” is proclaimed as the greatest city on earth, with gates that open with the rise of the sun and close at the end of the day, lights that keep the city shining throughout the night, and a Sacred Imperial Throne that is engulfed in pure white light. Christopolis, formerly Ctesiphon of the Persian Empire, is given entirely to the Imperial Church. The only residents of the city are priests who come to be near the seat of holy power. A duplicate of the Throne is placed within the city, inside the majestic Cathedral of St. Julius the Last. Many of the faithful flood to Christopolis, spending their days worshipping at one of the numerous holy places.
King Vatche I, ruling in an era of prosperity unknown to the Armenians since the days of the Armenian Empire, orders renovations of cities throughout the nation. Intent on not neglecting his Assyrian subjects, Vatche officializes the de facto citizenship of the Assyrians and has Ashur rebuilt and made into the capital of the Assyrian province. The wars against Persia are finally settled, with much Caspian Sea territory gained. Vatche cedes some of the territory gained by his troops to the Romans in return for Caucasus territory, thus giving the Armenians a coastline along the Black Sea. Catholicos Vartan, in Echmiadzin, crowns Vatche with the old Imperial Crown of Tikran II, the Great, and declares the Mamigonian as the ruler of the new Armenian Empire.
Keisera Gudeliva, called by many as the savior of the Romanigothic Empire, is surprised when Gaelic emissaries from Britannia arrive in her court with gifts. The Gaels claim that they do not wish to expand further, and are happy with their island. All they ask is that the Goths, barbarians themselves and those who fought against the old Romans, leave the island in peace. The Keisera, amused that the small island of barbarian tribes would send such a word to one who just handed the Holy Romans a defeat, accepts their request, on the condition that they pay a yearly tribute. The Gaels agree, and propose to begin an exchange of ideas and items. The first seeds of friendship between the powerhouse and the small island are planted.
363 AD - The “Divine Retribution”-class chariot is completed. This chariot, one of the largest yet, is powered by only eight steam engines, courtesy of Gaius Fironicus, who has improved on his original designs greatly at the request of the Caesar. The chariots are mounted with dual ballista launchers, the idea taken from the Romanigoths, and are also heavily armored. Constans, pleased with the might and genius of his forces, orders an unprecidented five thousand chariots, looking towards Italy with glee.
(For a design spec of the Divine Retribution, give me your e-mail, or just tell me you want one if you've already posted your e-mail.)
Half a world away, the Saxons begin to build a navy with which to launch their troops into the mainland. The coordination with their distant allies is difficult, but their plans are possible: the Saxons will invade the mainland and press hard towards the West, while the Haudenosaunee attack and press towards the East. Once the two armies link up, they will attack North, driving their enemies before them. The Haudenosaunee agree to the Saxon demand that all the territory captured in the East will be given to the Saxons, who will bear the brunt of the attack by driving into the heart of the enemy held territory.
Keisera Gudeliva cements the Romanigothic hold over Roman Italy by making her adopted sister, Constantina, governess of the province. She declares that, as one of Constantine's children, Constantina has a right to a section of the Holy Roman Empire. The Keisera also proclaims that the African territories, by right, belong to the Romanigoths, and prepares an invasion fleet and forces.
The Alemanii invade the Ostrogothic lands to their East. The Goths, with much of their forces in the East near the Crimea, are unable to make a sufficient show of force to halt the German barbarians, who quickly overrun much of the Gothic Balkans and up towards the sea coast. Wigbart, fearing further expansion, begins to negotiate a treaty of non-aggression and alliance with the Holy Roman Empire, having grown accustomed to a lifestyle of luxury, rather than hard riding.
365 AD - The Year of the European War
Constantinople celebrates its fortieth anniversery as capital of the Empire. Constans declares that the year shall see victories unlike any that the Holy Roman Empire has yet seen. The Holy Caesar proclaims the Romanigothic Empire the haven of demons, and swears to march through Rome once again. In a grand procession of the Holy Army of Constantinople through the streets of the capital, all five thousand Divine Retributions are displayed. On the morning of January 6th, the Holy Roman Empire declares war on the Romanigothic Empire.
The Goths immediately mobilize their troops and prepare to defend their peninsula. Constans, however, realizes the weakness of invading the heartland, and thus returns to a more reliable route: overland. He seeks to conquer the bulk of the Gothic Empire first, and once Gaul has fallen, to turn to the Italian peninsula. To do this, however, the Roman armies must march through Alemania. Thus, on Jan. 15th, Rome enters the German lands. Simultaneously, Wigbart has his forces ride into the east of the Alemanii lands.
The Alemanii, having spent much of their energy conquering Ostrogothic lands, are caught unprepared for such an onslaught. They are quickly and soundly beaten back at every encounter with the Romans, whose Divine Retribution chariots are unstoppable, not a single one breaking down or being defeated. The twin ballistae are useful not only as siege weapons, but also to destroy a tight formation of the enemy. The Alemanii are soon forced to retreat, and the Ostrogoths happily claim back all of their lost land and much of the Alemanii territory without having to fight. They are now, however, pledged to assist the Romans in their fight.
The Alemanii plead for aid from their Germanic brethren. Although the union of tribes have not been on friendly terms with the powerful Alemanii, they realize that independently they stand no chance. Thus, the United Tribes of Germania declare war on the Holy Roman Empire on the first of February. Constans responds, “looks like all of Europe will fall under the Master Shephard.”
The united forces of the Germans and the Alemanii immediately seek Romanigothic aid. The Goths, realizing that they are outnumbered and overwhelmed, are still loathe to share their stolen steam technology, but accept the fact that it cannot be helped. Thus, the designs for steam-powered weapons are given to the Germans, Alemanii, and Gaels. The Gaels declare that the allies must keep the fight going until they are ready to enter. None of the nations even think twice about the tiny island that lies at the western edge of the world.
On the 12th of February, the allies decided to create fortified lines to hold back the Romans and Ostrogoths until they can use their superior manpower to their advantage. The Germans agree to carry out an offensive on the Romans, designed only to buy them time, while the Romanigoths dig long trenches in the path of the Roman advance. Although they won't stop rushing infantry for long, the trenches will prove a difficult obstacle for the heavy chariots to traverse.
The Germans clash first with the Ostrogoths on February 19th. The Germans prove more vicious in combat than anything the Ostrogoths have faced in recent years, and are able to scatter much of Wigbart's forces. Two days later, however, a contingent of fifty Divine Retributions and three hundred infantry meet the Germans. The barbarians, having never encountered a chariot before, are routed rather quickly. During a second attack, the quick German cavalry perfects a method of racing by the chariots in a way to both avoid the arrows and to scatter and smash the infantry guard. Two hundred and seventy of the three hundred foot soldiers are killed by the Germans, but not a dent is made in the giant chariots. The threat is sufficient, however, that Constans peels off another four hundred chariots and some twelve thousand infantry to deal with the might of the German army, approximately two hundred thousand strong. The Germans make a quick show of force on the 4th of March, and sound the horn of retreat early into the battle. As the bulk of the German army is cavalry, they are able to quickly ride out of harms way, usually up onto higher hills from which they can harass the Romans with strong arrow fire.
Constans orders Wigbart to support his right flank immediately, while his center continues towards the combined Romanigothic-Alemanii forces. Wigbart's cavalry are able to put a halt to the German harassment, but suffer heavy casualties. The Germans, with no recourse, retreat to the front line, which has no been prepared for the coming of the chariots. Unbeknownst to them, however, Constans does not have his right flank merge with his center; rather, he has them continue onwards in hopes of cutting off any possible retreat.
On the twentieth of March, the combined might of the allies stands up to the mightiest army in the world. The well-hidden chariot pits and trenches prove immensely successful, and nearly a thousand chariots are lost before Constans realizes his enemies' strategy. He sends word for his right flank, now almost three hundred miles distant, to circle around and come to his aid from the west. Meanwhile, he orders his infantry forward, in the old legion-style advance, and has bridges built out of logwood to toss across the trenches and have his chariots advance. The steady Roman advance is successful to a large degree, albeit slow, and several hundred more tanks are lost when the bridges are burned out from under them by flaming arrows, or crushed under the weight of the monstrosities. The allies begin to take losses as they are forced to keep the Romans occupied while more trenches are dug to retreat behind. All offensives are stopped cold by the chariots, whose armor is able to deflect all but the most direct hits from the Gothic ballistae, thanks to its sloping surfaces.
On the 25th of March, almost four months since the official declaration of war, the Romans have conquered all of south-eastern Europe up to the Alps, while the Roman right flank and the Ostrogoths have entered Germania and are now turning south. The allies continue to steadily retreat, and prepare a final fortification of barricades protected by a series of trenches, to both hold back the infantry and stop the chariots. The Romanigoths know that if Gaul is lost, then all hopes are lost with it. Thousands come from Italy and Gaul to assist in the war, and thousands more emigrate to Africa, Iberia, and Britannia.
After three weeks of construction and heavy losses, the allies retreat to behind their wall. The Roman advance stops cold, as the infantry are unable to advance beyond the wall to secure enough territory to allow the chariots to advance. Several skirmishes and breaking points occur, with massed chariot ballista strikes on specific sections of the barricades, and even use of the Light of God, but the allies are able to hold the line. Near mid-April, however, they receive reports of an army of Ostrogoths and Romans advancing on them from the north-west.
Keisera Gudeliva, struggling with the news that she has been surrounded and effectively defeated, prepares to surrender herself in return for the safety of her army. As she is writing a formal declaration of surrender, however, Gaelic cavalry ride into her camp with news that she, and the allied forces, are entirely unprepared for:
“King Daffyd, chieftain of the Celts, King of Hibernia and representative of the Gaelic Union, wishes to send you his greetings and the assurance that the Roman army in the west has been dealt with. Gaelic warships are, at this moment, sailing towards Constantinople, and our armies are riding to your aid, and shall arrive within three days' time.”
True to his word, Daffyd arrives at the head of the Gaelic banner in two days. Constans believes that it is actually his reinforcements, and orders an all-out attack on the allied positions on May 5th. The attack is held at the wall while the Gaels attack in their “landships.” The Gaelic design is little more than a high-speed battering ram, and is nearly useless against individual troops. Against the tight legionnary formation of the Romans, however, and especially against the slow chariots, the landship is able to work wonders. After a full day of fighting, Constans withdraws his troops. Although he lost more chariots in the one day of battle than in the rest of the war so far, he considers the melee a victory, as much of the allied infantry was killed or wounded halting the offensive. He sends envoys into the allied camp, demanding that they lay down their arms and surrender to the glory of Christ and His Imperial Vicar.
The allies have different thoughts in mind: immediate withdrawal from all allied territory, reparations paid to the allied nations themselves, and assurances that the Holy Roman Empire will never again threaten the stability of Europe. The envoys are returned with the head of Wigbart II, taken by the Gaels, as proof that the allies now have the upper hand. Constans is shocked, and much of his army is demoralized. As he attempts to galvanize them further, courier horses arrive bringing the ultimate news: Constantinople is under naval blockade and siege. Constans, the morale of his troops broken and his capital under siege, witnesses victory slip from his fingers. He withdraws his troops from the battlefield without responding to the allied ultimatum.
During the entire European War, the Iberians expanded their control over their African holdings. Most of northwest Africa, as well as a part of the western coastlines, now fly the Basque flag. Iberiana is filled with the riches of Africa, and the army is doubled, then tripled, in size, feeding off the spoils of war.
The Germans aid the Alemanii in reconquering their lands and taking much of the Ostrogothic's European holdings, keeping some for themselves as well. Meanwhile, the Gaels have not only cemented their roles as true allies of the Romanigoths, but also as the naval power of the European continent, as their steam powered ships are fast enough and strong enough to outpace any other. Constans begins to build up an Imperial navy to avoid another such catastrophe.
June 6th is declared the Day of Peace throughout Europe, as Constans formally agrees to all allied demands, taking the gold straight from Ostrogothic treasuries. The Ostrogoths, defeated in Europe, deprived of their king, and robbed of their treasury, begin to look towards the east. Egfroth takes the throne as Egfroth III, King of the Goths of the East.
Finally, one of the most important developements of the war occurs one week after Peace Day. As the Alemanii, Germans, and Romanigoths tend to the devastation of their lands, the Gaels propose the creation of a council between the barbarian states to negotiate all differences peacefully and to aid themselves against “the hated Roman.” After days spent debating minor points, on July 6th, one month after the allied victory in Europe, the Barbarian Council is created, with the capital set Londonium, farthest from any possible attack.
366 AD - Constans, broken by his repeated defeats, begins to examine his military advisors and generals as causes for his setbacks. He consults Gaius Fironicus and Lucius Brutus, who by now are among the Caesar's closest friends and advisors, on why he was beaten. Brutus, ever lacking tact, is said to respond, “because you are all narrow-minded barbarians.”
Fironicus, still a shy cripple despite his newfound wealth and power, concurs, although more politely towards the Holy Caesar. The army, he argues, views the chariot as a soldier, rather than a weapon, and thus attempts to use it as a strong individual rather than a tool in and of itself. The genius points out that the massive chariots were depended upon almost entirely by Constans' generals; rather than being used as a link in a chain, it was made to be the chain itself. Constans, agreeing with the two, soon proclaims to the public that their defeats were punishments from God, both for not appreciating the gifts that He had given, and for concentrating on pagan Europe, heart of the old Empire, rather than the East, which is where Christ came from and thus where they should be concentrating. The Caesar then proceeds to order a general purge of the military hierarchy, and many leading generals are sacked. Fironicus, to the surprise of everyone (including himself) is named as the Commander of the Armies, and given the task of sculpting a new generation of officers.
The start of the Saxon Wars: The Saxons launch a full-scale invasion of the mainland, against the Adirondack, or “tree eaters,” as the Haudenosaunee have educated them about their enemies. The brunt of the invasion is against the Kichesipirini, the strongest of the Adirondack red-skins. The Saxons attack in numbers unseen by the native warriors, and the legends of sunlight-haired, sky-eyed white-skinned warriors, tall as a tree and riding on massive beasts, carry almost as much force as the Saxons themselves. The Saxons, armed also with weapons far more advanced than the Adirondack, quickly drive back their enemies, taking many as slaves. Wihtgils, personally taking the heads of the various chieftains of the enemy's tribes, declares that the gods have shown favor, and that Odin's wrath is upon these vile children of the giants. By the end of the first year, all of the coastline adjacent to Saxonburg, as well as many hundreds of acres and thousands of slaves, are firmly in Saxon hands. Wihtgils prepares to meet up with his allies sometime in the middle of the following year.
Devastated by the war, the Romanigoths are forced to withdraw from Africa, finding that the expense of holding the territory is too inhibitive. Tens of thousands of Romanigothic troopers fell in the European War, as well as much of their most lucrative farmlands. Starvation runs rampant in many smaller villages, particularly those caught in the advance of the Holy Roman and Ostrogothic advance on both fronts. The Germans don't fare much better, and, if anything, the Alemanii in particular fare worse, with much of their territory in ruins or occupied by bands of Ostrogoths. The only winners of the entire war, if anything, are the Gaels. The small island-nation cemented its role as a true member of the Alliance, as well as proved its prowess and its track record of smashing Romans. In addition, the small but swift navy built up by the Gaels was able to raid a good portion of coastal Anatolia and Greece, and returns home laden with riches; although the Gaelic Union lends much of the wealth to its Allies to assist in the rebuilding, many new ships are also built on the island. Finally, the Gaelic landship is seen as a revolution. Extremely speedy, it is quickly taken up as a caravan, especially with the use of the flat Roman roads covering much of Europe. Wholesale starvation is, in fact, prevented, thanks to the use of landships to quickly deliver food from the wealthier regions to those sufferring from the war.
Egfroth III, in Wigbarta, begins his policy of abandoning Eastern Europe entirely. “The East,” he argues, “is far wealthier than anything that broken land has. We are Eastern Goths; then, let us ride East!” It is important to note, however, that he still orders his withdrawing troops to take as much of Europe's wealth with them as possible before the Alliance becomes strong enough to chase his forces away. In the first few months after his coming to the throne, the young King executes almost all of his father's chosen advisors and ministers, and begins to tighten the hold of the central government.
An Armenian scientist, Sembat Aramian, creates his own version of the steam engine, based on Hero's writings and his own experience with a Roman chariot during his days as a soldier fighting against the Persians in the Battles of Ashur and Ctesiphon. He makes the engine different enough to avoid any possible accusations of thieving from Constantionple, and Emperor Vatche, now 61, applauds the learned man and appoints him as the head of the Imperial Armenian Academy of the Sciences, in the city of Vaspurakan, more commonly referred to as Van. The Academy is immediately ordered to design an Armenian chariot.
Iberia, entirely untouched by the wars, has spent the time conquering much of the African coast. As soon as the Romanigoths withdraw from North Africa, the Iberians move in. In celebration of their “mighty victories” and their “continued democracy,” the Iberian Senate declares that the nation shall officially be renamed the Iberian Republic, and that the official language shall be changed from Latin to Basque. Benat I, King of the Basques and Prime Senator of the Iberian Republic, is “voted” Senator-for-life, in effect giving him all the powers of an Emperor. Wary of the other city-states, Benat makes sure that all soldiers drafted from the city-states are never grouped together, but are instead diluted in Basque troops. “A single citizen is a soldier; ten are a problem; a hundred are a rebellion,” the King is heard to say. Thus, each unit has no more than a handful of non-Basques hailing from the same city.
367 AD - The Saxons and the Haudenosaunee smash the Adirondack and turn north, into the colder regions, driving the “tree eaters” before them. In many of the camps that the Saxons and Haudenosaunee share, diseases become rampant among the red-skins. The Saxons, quickly recognizing the diseases that their allies are sufferring from, help in their healing. Thus, although a good number of the Haudenosaunee die, a complete epidemic is prevented. Many Saxons, clad in chainmail, are almost completely immune to Adirondack attacks, and raze entire villages. The Haudenosaunee, particularly the Kahniankehaka, have adopted the Saxon style of fighting, and are fearsome in battle. By the end of the year, the war is won, and Saxony has increased its territory almost sixfold.
370 AD - The Ostrogoths encounter the first of what will be many waves of barbarians. They are readily smashed, and most pledge their alliegance to Egfroth. The barbarians speak of a massive horde, far to the East, which devours land and raves for more. These voracious barbarians call themselves “Hun.” Egfroth, panicking, begins a buildup of his forces, and also warns his ally, the Holy Roman Empire, of the rumored threat in the East. Constans, too shocked and shaken about his nation's stability to be pompous, orders mass fortifications built in the East.
372 AD - On the morning of January 9th, Vatche I, Mamigonian, the Great, first Emperor of Armenia since the days of Tikran the Great, dies peacefully in his sleep. The nation mourns his passing in a way unmatched by any in memory since the death of Ara the Beautiful, legendary king of the First Dynasty. His son, Vassak, although not appointed as heir, is unanimously voted by the Nakharar Council to take the Imperial Throne. The young ruler's first act is to make January 9th into a national holiday, and enshrine his father's body. The tomb is made near Echmiadzin, and becomes one of the most famous holy sites of the nation. Vassak, who grew up in a more modern Armenia, realizes that the people are not united, in so far as that each city and province speaks with a different dialect. He thus asks the wisemen of the Church and his government to set out and create a means to unify the people fully.
375 AD - Benat I, king of the Basques, dies after a week-long illness. His son, Kemen, is crowned Kemen I. Soon afterwards, a Basque army, travelling south into Africa, sends a report that they have encountered people who, apparently, worship the God of the Romans. Soon after this report, the army sends further news that these Christians are lead by a powerful king known as Juan. Kemen, with the Basque mentality of invincibility, orders that the Christian king submit to and join the Iberian Union or face destruction. All traces of the Basque army vanish soon after the ultimatum is given.
In Armenia, Sembat Aramian finishes the first prototype of the “Shaunt (Thunder) class chariot. Sembat's goal was to duplicate the power and effectiveness of the Armenian cataphract. Therefore, the foregoes the Roman “block” design and creates a more rounded vehicle, with a wedge-like angle at the front. Rather than making the thing out of iron completely, Sembat simply makes a bronze chariot and covers it in layers of chainmail. This also allows for more open viewing ports, as the chainmail is able to cover against attacks on the charioteer. Finally, a smaller ballista is added, lacking the range and strength of the twin ballistae on the “Divine Retribution,” but enough to cause damage on the battlefield. On a side note, an earlier version of the Thunder was destroyed in an explosion when the steam of the engine was not vented properly. Sembat, intrigued by the unguessed strength of the engine, begins to speak with Fironicus about somehow employing the engine for other purposes.
Gaius Fironicus, Commander of the Holy Armies of Constantinople, orders an end to the old legionnary formation. This comes as a shock to the Romans, even to Constans, who questions the scientist-turned-general on his decision. Fironicus responds that the new Roman army will work together with chariot legions, allowing them to disrupt the enemy enough so that the slow march of the legion will no longer be necessary. Fironicus also revises the numbers: each legion will have 5,000 infantry, 2,000 archers, a thousand light-cavalry, and 300 chariots. The legion will act as a single entity, rather than a heavy infantry army with cavalry and archer support. The crippled genius does not have to wait long to test his theory, as, several weeks after his revision of the armed forces, Yazdigert II, Shahanshah of the remains of the Sassanid Persian Empire, launches an attack on the Roman border, hoping to take advantage of the apparent weakness of the Romans.
The battle is fought near the Silk Road city of Susa. Fironicus, confident in his strategy, sends only two legions to combat the Persians. Vassak of Armenia honors his nation's pledge and sends his troops into northern Persia, defeating the Persian army stationed there. Yazdigert II had foreseen this, and thus had concentrated his troops to the South: knock out the Romans, then swing north and take out the Armenians while they are still in Persian territory. And so, on the 11th of May, the Battle of Susa is fought (If you want a map of the battle, just ask for it).
The Romans have an army of about 15,000 (10,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry, 2,000 archers), with about 200 Divine Retribution chariots and 300 newly-built Cavalry chariots of the old design, with modern engines. The Persians have amassed an army of some 60,000, almost 35,000 of those being spearmen infantry, with the 10,000 Immortals as their cavalry arm. Fironicus orders his troops to move in smaller groups, rather than as a whole. Each unit will act as an individual army, with its own archer support.
Fironicus begins to give unorthodox orders, which the soldiers, puzzled though they may be, dutifully obey. The bulk of the Roman army slowly marches forward, while a third of their cavalry flanks break off to merge with the Divine Retribution chariots at the front. Pieces of the Roman infantry also break off and advance to the flanks, checking Immortal advance. The Roman extreme flanks, however, are held only by light cavalry, and the Immortals immediately split into two groups: one to hold the infantry flanks in place while the other rides into the exposed cavalry flanks and into the archer support. Meanwhile, the Persians, wishing to maintain steady contact with the enemy, mold their advancing lines so that they form a wedge.
As soon as the Immortals and the Persian infantry change their formations, the chariots charge forward. The heavily armored Divine Retributions charge suddenly into the Persian wedge, and, rather than concentrate on eliminating them, burst through. They are immediately followed by cavalry, which take advantage of the confusion. The Roman infantry rushes forward to capitalize, and massacres the first ranks of the Persians before they are able to hold the Romans in check. The single Persian line is now divide into 4 pieces, each with infantry to the front, cavalry to the flank and chariots to the rear. The Immortals, meanwhile, are stopped cold by massed Cavalry chariots, which hold back their famous charges. A piece of the Roman infantry flank then breaks off on each side and decimates the Immortal ranks after their initial charge. Meanwhile, the Immortal charges at the supposed cavalry flanks are ended quickly when the cavalry melts to either side, revealing a line of infantry with archer support.
The battle is soon over. Each section of the Persian army is confronted with an army of its own. The Immortals are stopped by infantry, chariot, cavalry and archer combinations. The Persian lines are shattered, and Divine Retributions rip the exposed archer lines apart. The battle ends with an utter rout, which turns into a massacre. Forty eight of the sixty thousand Persian troops do not return from the fields of Susa. The Roman casualties are astounding: three hundred and thirty six dead, several hundred more wounded. Yazdigert II sues for peace, and is forced to concede even more territory to the Romans and Armenians, most humiliating of which is the loss of Persepolis, the ancient capital of the first Persian dynasty, to the Romans.
377 AD - Tiran, son of the last Arshakouni king of Armenia, Khosrov II, dies in a dungeon cell in Dvin. His body is cremated. “He wished to ignore the word of God and continue worshipping that fire which his father and his father before him extinguished from this land,” Emperor Vassak declares. “Then let his body and soul be consumed by that fire, and find no peace in the realm of Christ and His Father.” Tiran's ashes are scattered into the winds in Persia, so that he never lies on Armenian soil.
The Gaels, armed with their fleet of steam ships, begin to explore the seas around them. The Celtic missionaries, in particular, explore far and wide, spreading the word of God to all who would listen. None dare attack the missionaries, as they have the backing of the Barbarian Council and the Gaelic navy.
378 AD - Keisera Gudeliva, considered by many to be the savior of the Romanigoths, has her first son, naming him Fritigern, after her father. The Empire, since the end of the European War, has begun to prosper once again, and overland trade (using the Gaelic landships) ties the distant cities of the Empire together, creating a unified nation. Information begins to travel along with the landships, keeping the various provinces up to date on current affairs from Rome. The Golden Age of Romanigotha begins.
Kemen I, realizing that one of his armies has been completely lost, orders another to conquer “that Roman-loving Juan.” The army, entering African territory that the Basques consider their own, report that the local folk consider the territory “the home of Prestor John.” The report describes him as a local warlord who attempts to rule under the symbol of Christ, using a symbol unlike the Imperial cross, rather closer to the Armenian crucifix. The army vanishes soon after the report is given.
The Shaunt chariot, which performed well in the limited existing numbers during the latest war against Persia, is produced in larger numbers in Armenia. Vassak, marvelling at Fironicus' efficiency, begins to somewhat model his own army after the new Roman strategy. One very important change that the Emperor orders is that commanders are given the job by skill, not by birth. Thus, one of the last nakharar holds on the army is severed, as they had previously been hereditary generals and commanders. Furthermore, with the existance of much coastline, Vassak orders the creation of a navy and a much larger merchant marine, and within a generation Armenian ships are a common sight in Mediterranean ports. Vassak also trades much of the lands Armenia just conquered from Persia to the Romans in exchange for freedom of Armenian merchants and ships to pass through the Bosphorus straits without paying any taxes.
381 AD - A Greek-born Roman scientist, Leo Galeus, uses a modified version of the Light of God to stare into the heavens. By judging the length and time of various moving objects and precisely calculating the rising and setting of the sun, Galeus and his colleagues realize that the Julian calendar, set by Julius Caesar centuries before, is incorrect. They continue with the studies, wanting to have a larger set of data before presenting their findings.
383 AD - With Roman borders now surrounding Armenia on all fronts except the North, Armenia enters a Golden Age. Vassak invites all artisans and architects to Dvin, both to improve the city and to further a budding cultural advancement. With the borders of the nation secure, a strong army with chariots at the frontiers, and a close alliance with the strongest power in the world, Armenia begins to concentrate on improving its social aspects. Vassak expands the Imperial Academy into a school teaching many subjects, harkening back to Plato's Academy in Athens. The school is open only to the wealthiest of citizens, and nobles across the country send their sons and daughters to study the teachings of the greatest minds in Greek, Roman, and Armenian history. The nobles, incidentally, have lost almost all major power in the government. They are, however, still allowed to hold onto their large familial estates and pay no taxes, and thus are relatively content. Many of the major businesses of the country are now run by noble families, which are referred to as “the merchant princes of Armenia.”
In Saxony, Wihtgils, King of the Saxons, is killed during a hunt when his horse stumbles over a fallen tree and crushes him. The surprise death of the beloved king, who showed little signs of aging, comes as a blow to the Saxon people. The twin brothers, Horsa and Hengist, both almost 30 years old, are both named as the Kings of the Saxons. With the elimination of the Adirondack from the North and the close friendship with the Haudenosaunee, Saxony is a very large and prosperous nation, far larger now than the Saxon lands in Germania ever were. With abundance of land, and the realization that neither will be able to profit from any sort of conflict, the brothers agree to co-rule the Saxons. Although they are also half-Red skin, the two are Saxon at heart, and are accepted by the populace. The Reign of the Stallions thus begins.
Constans, hearing of the Basque troubles against a Christian foe in Africa, praises this “Prestor John” in upholding the faith of the One True God and His Son. Envoys set out from Constantinople to find this Christian nation. Constans also begins to call on his people to unite the lands between the two Christian nations “by spreading the word of God into all of Africa.” Fironicus, realizing that a good portion of the spreading shall be done with the sword, hastens in his reorganizing of the armies. Titus Lucinius, the cripple's most apt military student, studies from his master all that he can, both strategic and scientific information.
391 AD - After an unusually long life and reign, Flavius Julius Constans, the first Holy Caesar of the Holy Roman Empire, dies after a sudden heart attack while writing at his desk. The nation mourns for its fallen leader, and the funeral procession tours the entire Empire, the Caesar's glass coffin carrying him across the land. In Christopolis, he is sainted as St. Constans the First. The Holy Army then leads his body from the former capital of the Persian Empire to Constantinople, where he is buried alongside his father in the Tomb of the Caesars.
After the Civil War, no living relatives of Constantine nor Constans remained, other than the Holy Caesar's sister, Constantina. Constans, who had been paranoid about usurpers, had also made sure to put to death all the generals that he had deposed in favor of the cripple, Fironicus. Thus, with no clear heirs and no one strong enough to take the reigns of the armies, the Throne of Peter fell to the one man that most in the government had not looked to as even a contender, much less a threat: Gaius Fironicus. The army, having won its first victory since the Persian Wars under Fironicus' command, immediately support their commander. The holy men, realizing that none of them carried enough public support to take the Throne for themselves, and believing that the lame genius would be easy to manipulate, also support Fironicus. Thus, in February 1, 391 AD, Gauis Fironicus is proclaimed the new Holy Caesar of the Holy Roman Empire.
The heavy rain poured onto the streets of Rome. Weather like this had not been seen for generations. The few people still in the open were hurrying to reach warmth and shelter; if any of them saw the lone figure calmly walking towards the Palace, they did not say anything. The person strode upon the paved roads towards the Capitol, roads that had been set by engineers of a dead empire. The figure paused, as several armored guards barred his way. “The Empress does not wish to see any visitors this night,” said one of the guards, a particularly gruff one with a matted beard; a barbarian. “Return home.” “I care not for the… empress…” the figure responded, extending his seal for the ignorant thug to examine. “I am here for my mother.” “Lord Constantine! Forgive me, sir, I did not recognize you in the storm!” He signalled his men, who immediately stood down. “Your mother, the Lady Constantina, is in her quarters, preparing to return to her villa.” “I am well aware of that.” Constantine continued on his way, stopping at a crossroads, looking ahead at his mother's office. He turned and walked down a different path, leading towards the Palace itself. With practiced precision, he climbed a tree and entered a window. Several minutes later, he was walking down the road again, this time leaving the paved street and heading for a secluded corner, one that he had been to many times. As he reached the area, a voice spoke out from the darkness. “The wise lead.” “And the workers follow,” Constantine responded. A man stepped out of the shadows and greeted him. “Constantine. How are you my friend? More importantly, how goes the plan?” “Excellent, Marcinius. The old sow should be waking up any moment now. And when she does, she will be childless and heirless.” The man named Marcinius nodded. “Then we are that much closer to doing what our ancestors should have done. Let nothing stand in the way of progress.”
392 AD - On a rainy night in January, Hauhamunths, only son of Keisera Gudeliva and the heir to the Romanigothic Imperial Throne, is murdered in his sleep. The dagger that was found is traced back to a popular Roman senator, Flavius Basilius, who represents the “New Roman” culture and ideals. Basilius was also the son of one of the New Roman Republic's finest generals, and often complained publicly about the future Rome had before the Goths arrived. The Gothic citizens of Rome immediately call for the senator's execution, whereas the Roman elements believe the senator's pleas of innocence and demand that an investigation take place, rather than a lynching. Despite the government's best attempts to keep order, the situation quickly escalates, as Hauhamunths represented the new generation, a true Romanigoth, not simply an emigrated Visigoth. As guards escort the senator from his quarters to the Palace to stand trial, a Gothic mobs attacks the group and kills the senator, the crowd cheering when his head is hoisted.
Influential Romans had been warned by letter about the attempt on the senator's life, and the Roman mob arrived in time to see their beloved Basilius' head being kicked about. Many Romans draw weapons and attack the Goths, who respond likewise. With an hour, a fullscale riot has broken out in Rome.
Despite the best attempts by the government, even the mourning Keisera, to keep the violence a secret, by the end of the day, cities and villages across Rome have been told of the violence and the murders. Many of the towns respond in a similar fashion. The trust and friendships that had been built up since the conquest by Fritigern half a century ago are thrown to the wind as Goths and Romans across Italy clash. The army, consisting of both Goths and Romans, are also heavily affected, and many of the officers “fan the fires.” Gothic units assist the Goths when “restoring order,” and Roman units assist the Romans. Within two days, reports of army units fighting eachother and officers arming civilians are widespread.
As the Keisera and her supporters struggle to maintain the peace in the face of escalating violence, Constantina, the last surviving child of Constantine the Great, is found murdered; a spear of the Gothic Guard, Gudeliva's personal defenders, is embedded in her chest.
The floodgates are raised after the murder. The majority of Romans, who had not participated in the violence, are driven to fury by the death of the beloved Princess, the last link between them and the glory days of Rome. A Roman legionnary charges the Empress and slashes her arm off before the Gothic Guard impale him. The Keisera suffers from blood loss, but survives the attempt; however, she is unable to take the reigns of power, when the wound becomes infected and she attempts to recover. A purge of the military occurs in her absence, with the Gothic generals ousting all Roman elements; in some cases, Roman soldiers in predominantly Gothic units are simply killed. The predominantly Roman Southern Italy declares independence from the “brutal barbarian invaders” on February 19th, and almost all Romans from the rest of the Empire emigrate to the south. The Romanigothic Civil War has begun.
Most of the chariots being developed by the Empire are seized by the withdrawing Romans and taken with them into the south. Using the chariots, they are able to defeat several Gothic forces in heavily one-sided battles. The leaders of the revolution all declare Constantine, the son of Constantina, as the Praetor of the new Roman Republic. Constantine, raised mostly in Southern Italy, a bastion of science, philosophy, and knowledge, is heavily schooled in war, philosophy, mathematics and music, and is an excellent athlete. Constantine and his followers, including the leader of the original Roman mob in the riots of Rome, Gnaeus Marcinius, declare that the new Republic shall not be based on the flawed pseudo-democratic principals that have twice failed the Roman people. Instead, the new Republic shall be pased on the principals of Plato, who teachings are almost religiously studied in Southern Italy.
The Republicans repeatedly defeat the Goths, but realize that they have less manpower than the Goths, and once Gothic chariots are produced again, they shall be defeated. So, Constantine takes a ship to Constantinople, and speaks to the scientist-Caesar Gaius Fironicus. Fironicus agrees to aid the Republicans, mostly because he himself is a lover of Plato, and is thrilled at the prospect of a Platoist friendly nation in Italy. Constantine makes several trade agreements with the Caesar, and returns to Italy at the head of three new Holy Roman legions, led by Titus Lucinius, the Caesar's pupil. The Republican forces, which had been losing ground to the Goths and their slowly building chariot forces, and bolstered by the Holy Romans, which are able to easily defeat Gothic armies four times as large as they. In the spring of 391, Keisera Gudeliva, still not fully recovered, signs a peace treaty recognizing the new Italian Republic.
393 AD - Gudeliva, now fully recovered and always dressed in robes to hide her missing arm, arrives in Londonium, where she demands to know why her allies did not aid her in the Civil War. The Gaels and Germans respond, quite simply, that they did not wish to. The aging Daffyd, King of Hibernia, states that, “it was you who chose to have an empire, rather than giving each man his land and each tribe its freedom. It was you who attempted to cling to the old trappings of the lying Romans, and tried to befriend the murderers of your fathers. We do not try to impose our will on any others. Why should we die to ensure that you do?” In frustration, Gudeliva withdraws the Romanigothic Empire from Barbarian Council. The Gaelic Navy immediately withdraws from all Romanigothic ports, and gathers in the Gaelic Channel. The United Tribes of Germania warn the Romanigoths that the alliances are still binding, and any attack them or the Gaels will cause both nations to declare war.
394 AD - In Armenia, the times are peaceful and the days idyllic. The new Catholicos, Sahak Partev and a brilliant priest, Mesrop Mashtots, set out to spread the word of God across all the land. The old Armenian Alphabet, having been banned by Catholicos Grigor the Illuminator, is rediscovered. Mashtots undertakes a project to modernizes and change the ancient Armenian alphabet into a newer, modern version, more applicable to the modern dialect and easier to learn.
Gaius Fironicus, Holy Caesar of the Holy Roman Empire, willingly passes his crown to his student, Titus Lucinius, after having ensured that the sciences and other intellectual endeavours shall enjoy full funding from the government. Lucinius is crowned the new Caesar on Sept. 1, the Day of Enthronement, which becomes a tradition afterwards. The young man is not only a brilliant military tactician, but also a genius in his own right, having created several of the processes used by Fironicus in his latest update of the steam engine. Lucinius undertakes a massive development project across the Empire, having numerous aqueducts and irrigation canals built into the harsh climates of the Arabian peninsula, and modernizing cities from Anatolia to Africa. He also orders the creation of steam-powered farm equipment, to feed the ever-increasing population and increase trade. Taking a cue from the Gaels, he completes the modernization of the navy (all the more important now that they have an ally in Italy) and begins to create special roads specifically for “landships,” which have evolved into long carriages that carry goods and passengers. Roads are also built into Armenia and Ostrogotha, increasing trade dramatically between the allied nations. The Golden Age of the Holy Roman Empire has begun.
Ahtagais was cold. He hated the cold. The broad-shouldered, barrel-chested Ostrogoth was seated upon his horse, looked out upon the plains. He was wrapped in furs, and his monstrous spear, also named Ahtagais, the terrible spear, was slung across the equine's back. He drank some home-brewed liquor from a sack; one needed liquid fire to warm up in this damnable weather. “I hate the cold.” His friend, Waihtifuns, a blonde-haired warrior with a strong sword-arm, sighed. “And I hate you repeating the same thing every day.” The two laughed, and Ahtagais tossed his liquor sack over to his friend. “Explain again, noble Waihtifuns, why it is we are to sit here in the gods-forsaken snow, staring at jackrabbits and deer prance hither and thither?” “Oh for the love of… I told you already! The King is spooked over talk of these eastern barbarians, these Hangs, or whatever they are called. If we are to see or hear anything, we are to ride to headquarters and report, so the army will be ready to intercept these invaders.” “So we are to sit here, the two of us, and await the coming of an army? Not that I'm complaining, mind you, since Ahtagais can take a hundred thousand men; you, on the other hand, would have trouble taking your own wife.” “I have no trouble taking yours!” The blonde-haired barbarian began to laugh, but Ahtagais cut him off. “Wait… do you hear that?” Waihtifuns, realizing that his companion was not jesting, looked about, his hand falling to his blade. “Yes… it sounds like…” “Horses,” Ahtagais finished, looking towards the east. Ahead of the rising sun rode what look like a black wave; the ground began to thunder as thousands of hooves stamped into the earth. “What did you say these barbarians were called?” Ahtagais asked, turning his horse about. “Hangs.” “Then the Hangs have come.”
398 AD - In the beginning of the year, the Huns, a massive barbarian people utilizing cavalry archers and viciousness unseen by the relatively civilized Europeans, burst onto the eastern borders of Ostrogotha. They are intitially very successful, and their archer-cavalry tactics devastate the largely cavalry Ostrogothic army. Egfroth frantically calls on the Holy Romans to send aid. Caesar Lucinius, although not a fan of the Ostrogoths, realizes that the Empire needs a friendly nation to the north to maintain stability. Armenia, with its northern border to Ostrogotha, also agrees to send aid.
About 4,000 heavy infantry, a thousand heavy cataphracts and a hundred Shaunt (Thunderbolt) class chariots are sent by the Armenians, along with two full legions by the Romans. The Armenians, led by Crown Prince Vagharshak Mamigonian, have modelled their army and tactics after the new Roman legion. Egfroth, upon hearing how few troops are coming to his aid, rages in Wigbarta, accusing the Romans of treachery. The Hunnic army, however, is promptly defeated by the join Armenian-Roman armies, with the chariots smashing Hunnic horse and deflecting Hunnic arrow. The Huns retreat, after inflicting devastating losses to Ostrogothic cities and fields.
Egfroth, realizing that the era of the cavalryman has ended, begins to order his own chariots. Ostrogotha is poor, however, after paying Allied reparations for the European War. The devastation caused by the Huns further depleted the Ostrogothic treasury. In desperation, he is forced to sell off the southern provinces to Caesar Titus, who makes sure that all territories purchased are rich in ore that is useful for chariots.
401 AD - The Philosophic Republic of Italy is finally fully established. The “capital” of the Republic, if it could be called that, is the city of Neapolis. The Philosophic Republic is based entirely off the model of Plato's Republic. The entire country, therefore, is simply a union of city-states, which each have complete autonomy. Each city-state is divided into two classes and three groups: the Upper Class, which are the Leaders and the Soldiers; and the Lower Class, which are the Workers. The Upper Class live in very modest, state-run homes, and are raised on an almost Spartan model: children are not raised by parents, and in fact never discover who their parents are, and are instead raised and educated by the state. They are heavily schooled in music, mathematics, philosophy, war, and athletics, as per Plato's instructions. The Upper Class owns no property whatsoever, thereby eliminating the corrupting influence of power. The Lower Class is allowed to own private property and raise traditional families, although they have absolutely no say in the government. Each city-state is run by a small council of Philosopher-Kings, and these Philosopher-Kings meet monthly in Neapolis to discuss national matters, such as war. Realizing that, with the strict structure of the system, armies would become small and professional, the Philosopher-Kings begin to research heavily into steam engine technology, hoping to gain an edge unseen by any other nation.
405 AD - The Armenian priest Mesrop Mashtots, having travelled the Empire in search of the Armenian alphabet, finally compiles a new Armenian alphabet, of 36 letters. Much of the alphabet is based on the old, pagan alphabet, which was banned by Grigor the Illuminator and vanished when the Catholicos waged the destructive war against the old Armenian pagan priests. The Bible is translated from Greek and Aramaic into Armenian, foregoing the Holy Roman version for earlier ones.
In Constantinople, the aged Gaius Fironicus, on his deathbed, completes the designes of the last improvement to his beloved chariot that he shall make: the track. Realizing the effectiveness of trenches against the chariot's wheels, Fironicus creates a system of armored plates attached to the wheels, creating a constant flat surface for the wheels to roll over. Shortly after completing the designs, Gaius Fironicus, former Caesar of the Holy Roman Empire and the “greatest genius in the history of the world,” passes away. His track designs are immediately incorporated into all models of chariots by Caesar Titus. Titus realizes that much of the west is decidedly anti-Roman, and that the Ostrogoths are a weak ally, useful only for insuring that no hostile force exists in the north; therefore, in a show of goodwill and friendship, the Holy Caesar passes along the designs, as well as the models of the current steam engine, to “our eternal and graceful allies and brothers, the Armenians.” Emperor Vassak, grateful at this gesture, gives Titus the title of “friend of the people,” and awards him with Nakhararship, making him a nobleman of Armenia.
During the funeral of Fironicus, now beatified as St. Fironicus, the scientist Leo Galeus presents Caesar Titus with a new calendar, which they call the Fironican calendar in honor of the deceased. Titus officially adopts the new calendar, and declares that the start of the new year shall be September 1st, and that Sept. 1, 349 AD, shall be the first day of year 1 ad imperium augustus condita, or ad imperium, AI, as it will be commonly referred to.
406 AD - The Saxons, led by the twin kings Horsa and Hengist, have reached the staggerring population of three million in only two generations, staggering mostly due to the fact that less than half a million landed upon the shores of Saxony from Europe. The Stallion Kings have seen their lands become urbanized, with European style cities beginning to emerge, using paved roads and stone houses. The territories captured by the Saxons in their wars are so expansive that they have only been able to begin colonization efforts in roughly one quarter of the newly gained lands.
“Scientist Antonius, prepare steam engine for operation, block venting chamber.” “Understood.” Antonius activated the steam engine and slid the iron plate into the venting tube, blocking the path for the escaping steam. “Insert the sphere into the venting chamber.” The scientist complied almost without thought, inserting the small iron ball into the end of the tube. According to the calculations, the steam engine could go another fourteen seconds before pressure within the steam chamber would become critical. “Withdraw the plate in six… five… four… three… two… one… withdraw.” Antonius immediately pulled the plate up, freeing the steam. The force of the escaping steam propelled the iron ball forward at a stunning velocity. The small sphere ricochetted off the wall with a loud clash of metal against stone and flew into the body of Antonius. The scientist was killed before he even realized what had just occurred, his body crumpling to the floor with a sickening thud. A figure in the corner looked on impassively, calmly stepping aside when the blood of the dead scientist threatened to stain his boots. “Experiment a success. Guard Rufus, please remove the body of Scientist Antonius and have Scientist Gallus report to the invention chamber.” Guard Rufus looked down at Antonius. “Shall I equip Scientist Gallus with armor, Administrator Aulus?” The figure did not deign to look at the guard. “We have not the resources to risk armor. Do as ordered.” The guard saluted and grabbed the arms of the fallen scientist, hoisting him up and carrying him from the room.
411 AD - A scientist of the Upper Class of the Philosophic Republic, Administrator Aulus (the Upper Class has dropped the traditional Roman use of praenomens, nomens, cognomens and agnomens, and instead has taken to referring to the Upper Classmen by their designation and name), researches the unused properties of steam power; namely, the highly explosive ability of unvented steam first observed by the Armenian scientist Sembat Aramian. Through several experiments, Aulus discovers that steam, when vented after collecting enough pressure, can propel items at incredible speeds. Aulus immediately realizes the potential of this discovery and orders the scientists of the Republic to design a weapon that will rapidly project small iron spheres.
In Germania, the use of landships has lead to the creation of permanent settlements connected by the paved roads that the landships run on. Without the need for constant migration in search of food, the Germanian tribes begin to advance culturally, and the settlements are allowed to urbanize as the farming communities with richer soil can ship their food to the new cities. The kings of the various tribes thus establish permanent boundaries, taking the first steps towards a nation-state.
In the Romanigothic Empire, turmoil is spreading. Relatives of the dead Keiser Fritigern, having been prevented from claiming the throne when his daughter became Keisera, lead factions of traditional Visigoths as they protest against the Keisera. The older Goths claim that the softening of Gudeliva has caused the troubles faced by the nation, and that only a return to the old principles of their barbarian forefathers shall save the Gothic people. The urban populations of Italy tend to support Gudeliva and the “new Goths,” whereas the rural population of Gaul follow the hardliners. The hardliner leaders, all princes of the Balthigg Imperial family, decide to refrain from open revolution, realizing that, without a direct heir, Gudeliva's death shall leave one of them in power.
Their plans are spoiled, however, when the aged Keisera decrees that, after her death, the Romanigothic Empire shall become the Romanigothic Republic. The princes, realizing that word of this would begin to errode their popularity, immediately alter the news as it arrives in Gaul, portraying it as further proof that the Keisera has become a Roman, and that the meaning of the decree is that the country would be sold to “the traitorous thinkers” of the Philosophic Republic. The people, outraged, rise up against the Keisera. The Second Romanigothic Civil War begins.
The Era of the Good Caesars continues for about a century and a half in the HRE, seeing it expand massively in the East. The last remnants of the Persian Empire are conquered by the HRE and by the Huns, whose numbers and savagery are able to beat back all Roman advances save those by chariots.
Armenia, surrounded mostly by the HRE with a border to the north with the friendly Ostrogoths, begins to demilitarize. This will come back to bite in straight in the arse in a few centuries, however, when the Era of Good Caesars is over.
The Platonic Republic launches an assault on the Romanigothic Empire during the Civil War, and captures some much-needed agricultural land. It's newly developed steam-cannons are incredible useful. Afterwards, it constructs a wall across its border, creates cannon-forts along the coast, and breaks off relations with all nations, turning in on itself (Confederation of Platonic City-States, the CPCS), having the resources to feed its own population and constantly furthering all sciences to ensure that it remains independent and secure despite its small size and population. The CPCS' spy network becomes unparalleled throughout the world.
The Romanigoths plunge into Civil War. The Empress wishes it to become a Republic, the nobles wish it to remain a Monarchy. In the end, several of the Empress' “loyal” relatives succeed in winning the war, but turn the “republic” into an oligarchy, with a select few ruling in a council. The principles of unbridled capitalism develop in the “Republic,” and it becomes the financial superpower of the world, giving loans even to the HRE.
The Alemanni develop into an analogue of the Austrian Empire. Although the Germanic tribe itself is large in population, the land it controls number many other nationalities and languages.
The Germans develop into an even looser version of the OTL HRE. Each tribe as a chief, and is divided even further into smaller tribes that are all of a single larger tribe. This resembles the Gaelic government, and both become bastions of liberalism and freedom.
The Barbarian Union, as the alliance of the Gaels, Germans, and Alemanni is known, becomes a seafaring power and a trading giant. The Gaels make the first contact with the Saxons overseas, who eventually ally with the BU. They also create colonies in South America, which they name Hy-Brasil.
The Saxons create a large land empire in North America (known as Asgard), and create a close alliance with the Iroquois. By several centuries, there is little distinction between the Germans and the Redskins except for skin color. The coming of steam technology is late to the Saxons, but the resources at hand for them dwarf anything in Europe, and they are able to mass produce chariots for war, becoming the arsenal of the Barbarian Union.
The Basque Empire becomes an African powerhouse. After years of war, it conquers the Christian kingdom of “Prestor John,” and gold stuffs the coffers of the Emperor. The HRE, however, takes this as an excuse to entire Central Africa, and after a quick and decisive naval war, the Kingdom of Prestor John is liberated as a Holy Roman protectorate. The Basques begin to develop steam technology, and carve a large African land empire.
Asia will be contacted after the Era of Good Empires. Around 600 AD, religious zealots will gain the Imperial Throne of Peter. More and more people will be fighting the Huns, but will not want to return to simple pseudo-serfdom after their days soldiering. Demands for liberties and civil rights will continue until the Inquisition. This will basically try to return the HRE to a time about 200 years past, with people tied to their land and technology only for the military. The Caesar will decree that the use of technology by the common man has made them lose sight of God's plan, and will ban all technology except that used by the military. Science will face a severe crackdown, with the researchers requiring to pass “religious exams” to determine their loyalty. Many scientists will flee to Europe, bringing their knowledge up-to-date with the technology of the HRE (though not of the Platonic Republic, which is still far advanced).
Armenia, which has refused to emulate the HRE's Imperial Church, will be attacked and conquered, having demilitarized for the most part and having nowhere near the population of the Empire. The people will be exiled to the East, to prevent them from aiding the Infidels in Europe. Many Roman scientists also are sent with them, again to prevent them from assisting the Europeans. This happens in about 800 AD, and they eventually settle in Mongolia, where they ally with the Mongol tribes, who convert to the Apostolic Christian faith.
The Barbarian Union militarizes over this, and in response the HRE declares war. A brutal campaign is fought in Eastern Europe, and much of the Alemanni Empire is devastated, and eventually annexed by the HRE, which is the victor. At this point, the Barbarians, with the aid of their new scientists, devote much of their strength to research and development, using the vast expanses of Asgard to supply their war machine for the inevitable rematch (this is all in the year 1000, give or take a few decades).
Hunnish India is finally conquered and a path to the East opened, but the HRE then stumbles into the Chinese Empire. Technology, having trickled East, has allowed China to maintain stability, and the war of the white devils unifies them like nothing else. Several Crusades follow, but little territory is lost, with the Chinese utilizing gunpowder against the Roman chariots.
Meanwhile, the Armenians, Assyrians, and Mongols create the Apostolic Federation. Using Chinese gunpowder and Roman technology, they are able to create weapons unlike any seen in the West. They launch a war against the Ostrogoths (who occupy Northern Armenia during the joint war against the Armenian Empire) and are able to expand quickly. They also fight the Chinese, and ally with the Japanese in about 1000 AD. The Japanese use their technology to conquer and colonize many of the islands to their south, with the crowning achievement of Hoyaikyu (New Land, OTL Australia). They are challenged by the Southern Huns, which control Southeast Asia and the nearby islands, whereas the Northern Huns control the area to the east of the Caspian Sea.
With the Federation attacking from the north and the HRE attacking from the West, the Chinese are finished. They flee Eastward, past Japan, and eventually colonize Western Asgard. The Chinese Empire thus controls the Asgardian west coast and parts of Southeast Asia. The Federation turns then on the war-weary HRE and conquers much of Asia, pushing back the HRE to their Hunnic borders.
This broils down to the World War. The HRE allies with the Iberians and the Chinese, who fear and hate the Mongols worse than anything else. The Algonquins in Asgard, as well as the Incan and Mayan Empires, also join the Alliance. In response, the Barbarian Union allies with the Federation and their Japanese allies. The Aztecs, having been driven from their lands by the Chinese, as well as the Iroquois, decide to join the new Greater Federation for their own security. In about 1300, all hell breaks loose.
All this broils down to the World War in about 1200-1300. The HRE, Ostrogoths, Iberians, Mayans, Incans, Algonquins, and Chinese will duke it out with the Federation, the Barbarian Union, Aztecs, Iroquois, and Japanese. The main fighting will be:
- Iberians vs BU
- BU vs HRE
- HRE vs Federation
- Japanese vs Chinese
- Aztecs vs Mayans
- Aztecs vs Chinese
- Iroquois vs Algonquins
- Saxons vs Algonquins
- Federation vs Ostrogoths
- Incans vs anyone who gets near them.