Blasted Numidia: 584-599
- That Incident Past The Sea -
In 584, the young king Djedhor presented his generals with his most cunning plan to conquer Sicily via a diversionary invasion of Hispania and told them to execute it:
Of the companion cavalry, fifty thousand strong, who were sent to “kill all the Romans in Hispania”, eight in ten died from attrition and half the remainder died in the unending string of skirmishes that the companions got embroiled in. Finally the last 1800 men were evacuated by the navy mere days before a thirty thousand strong army of heavy infantry could eradicate it.
Meanwhile, the navy kept sailing in circles near the Roman coast while Roman armies marched down through Hispania and into Mauretania. The foremost generals of the Galestids, Charistids, and Penamids had to agree, though, that the catastrophic casualties suffered were, in retrospect, not really worth mentioning when compared to those suffered once Djedhor reached his majority in 587 and insisted on personally leading the troops.
Good news was scarce in the war, but the huge sea battle of Mare Africanum in 587, where Nicodemus Senuid's 56 triremes decisively defeated Gaius Laelius 58 triremes off the coast of Carthage, gave Numidia the uncontested control of the western mediterranean for several years and allowed limited landings of troops on the islands under Roman control, starting with Corsica and Sardinia and ultimately leading to the investment of Sicily itself.
Further shipbuilding was ordered to offset the casualties and to enable a smaller fleet to block the straits of Gibraltar, bottling up Rome's forces in Hispania, only letting a few through when the Numidian army in Tingis was ready to defeat anybody crossing the strait.
By 590 the manpower reserves were all used up and Djedhor ordered the invasion of Roma itself for the purpose of breaking Rome's manpower and in the desperate hope that it would bring the Senate to see the wisdom of not spamming him with white peace offers, but actually being willing to give up a province or two as testimony to its defeat.
Breaking the remaining Roman navy
The remainder of the Roman navy was easily forced into harbour, and the great general Neferibre Naravid (MAR=9) led his elite army ashore, weak in numbers but strong in tradition and with hardened veterans of the Hispania campaign, who hardly whimpered in their sleep any longer, amongst them.
Unfortunately, against all advice to the contrary, Djedhor had appointed his old tutor, the Royal Treasurer Peneus Naravid (MAR=2), who so wanted to help his protege, to the post of Strategos, and somehow he managed to take control of all the armies in Roma from his cousin. He had also been allowed to eat meat and use sharp instruments.
Peneus Naravid somehow takes charge in the fighting in Roma
This necessitated desperate reinforcements stripping Africa of nearly all troops save those necessary to defend the Gibraltar straits, but eventually the siege of Rome got going and Neferibre Naravid took control of the forces after Peneus Naravid got the prestigious job of commanding two triremes on anti-smuggling duty in the capital of Hippo Regius.
With the war dragging on for years, politics went on as usual, and on the 11th of October, 592, Gulussa, Djedhor's heir, died of natural causes due to a freak driving accident with a tuned unlicensed elephant, the less said the better. The Chief Eunuch Isocrates Ahmid read the eulogy, which provided a much needed moment of hilarity during the otherwise bleak war and sorry social scene..
Gulussa, heir to the throne, dies of natural causes
The war was dragging into the final phase when unexpectedly the Roman allies turned up. With Senuid chasing down the last 25 Roman triremes, he was surprised off the coast of Sicily when the Achaean League sent a fleet of 31 triremes under an extremely experienced admiral who, joining the Romans, proceeded to destroy half the Numidian fleet and chase the remainder into harbour in Carthage, leaving the troops in Italy stranded.
On the 8th of June, 593, the Roman senate agreed to sign a peace treaty granting Corsica and Syracuse to Numidia and there was much rejoicing in Numidia that the war was finally over.
With exceedingly high war exhausting, few armies in the field, and no manpower, it was clearly time to rest. The king himself, not altogether pleased with the performance of the military during the war, began studying tactics and strategy, intent on prosecuting future wars on a more professional basis.
It has been said that oftentimes the best laid plans go awry. There were, amongst the nobility, several treacherous critics who were not altogether satisfied with the expenses of the war, the gains or the war, the actions of the government, or, to be more precise, who could not stand Djedhor's rulership. This came to a head on January 11, 596, when a conspiracy of Isocrates Ahmid and Peneus Naravid was discovered over the demobilization of a few dozen regiments and triremes that had crews more loyal to the court than to king and led to total civil war. Of the old government, only the Chief Torturer remained loyal. The tattered remnants of the army and navy, having suffered so much over the last decade, stayed loyal too.
January 11, 596 AUC: Peneus Naravid and friends have finally had enough...
Fortunately, the rebels were defeated within a year.
Unfortunately, the truce with Rome expired on the 8th of June, 598, and while Rome had had time to rebuild its armies, Numidia had not and had higher war exhaustion than ever, with a navy that, while in a considerably better state than the armies, had only barely recovered from its mauling by the combined fleets of Rome and the Achaean League.
As such, it should come as no surprise to anybody that Rome declared war on Numidia immediately on the expiration of the truce, throwing the young king Djedhor head first into a second “Incident Past the Sea” that he had not anticipated.