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Thread: Etruria: Forging an Empire

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    Etruria: Forging an Empire

    So this is my first AAR.

    Yeah. . . Well I'm playing as Etruria in Lofman's Little Mod. It will be a combination of narrative and historical styles.
    I'll likely update once or twice a week, starting Thursday probably.

    Difficulty is normal. My only real goals is to keep an alliance with Rome for as long as possible, and to try to get a dictatorship at the first oppurtunity.
    Comments and criticism are both appreciated. I'll try to be as historically accurate as possible, though if I do have inaccuracies, feel free to correct me.
    So, like I said, the first update will probably be Thursday.

    Edit: I changed the title when I realized that I had basically copied the title of CJL78's Armenian AAR. Unfortunately, I can't change the title of the thread.
    Last edited by JDMS; 15-03-2010 at 18:25.
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    Hypothetical Hegemon JDMS's Avatar
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    Chapter One: Beginnings

    Chapter One: Beginnings



    1 January 474

    Tiberius Postumius Varro, consul of the Etruscan Republic, looked up from his contemplations of the map. A slave stepped within the entrance, moving aside to allow the visitor to enter. At a nod from Tiberius, he bowed quickly and left.

    The newcomer moved with the casual arrogance of someone secure in their own power, even in the presence of a consul. Publius Vinicius Scipio hesitated as he saw the contents of the airy hall. Fountains splashed in the corners of the chamber, and green-leafed plants bathed in the sunlight that came in through the large windows set near the tops of the walls. The thing that actually caught Publius' eye, was the mosaic embedded into the round, raised platform on which Tiberius stood, leaning on a small, stout table. Tiled in brilliant blues, greens, reds, and golds, it depicted a gorgon in the center, surrounded by a myriad of colorful wolves and eagles.

    The mosaic held Publius' attention for but a moment before he began to walk again, striding across the floor, his haughty mask cloaking his face again. Tiberius waited until Publius had arrived at the platform before beginning bluntly, "I will ask the Senate to declare war on Gallia Boii two days hence. I will need your support to do so."

    Publius stiffened, "The Senate will not stand for such a measure. I will not stand for it. We are already at war with Epirus, and now you want to add another front? We will barely be able to pay this month's tribute to Rome-"

    Tiberius interrupted quickly, "I sent off a messenger three days ago, canceling our monthly tribute." Publius' mouth worked for several moments as he sought the words to give voice to his shock.

    Finally, he found them, "How dare you! You do not have the authority to give such an order! Only the Senate does. You go too far!'

    Tiberius waited until his voice faded away before replying, "No, the Senate does not go far enough! At the moment, we do not have the power to resisti Epirus." He threw a hand towards a window, to the west. "At any moment, we could see sails on that horizon, a fleet bringing thousands, tens of thousands of Epirots to burn our cities and take our land. Faced with overwhelming force, we cannot be like Rome, fleeing into the countryside, awaiting the moment when our enemy is weakest to strike. We have nowhere to retreat to! We need more land, we need more cities, we need more people.

    "Our populace is struggling to support the twelve thousand men we have in our army. We need a larger army if we are ever to be able to defend ourselves. We need the money from our tribute to pay for a larger army. Even with our meager force, we could take on the Boii. The campaign, lasting a few months at most, would double the size of our republic, giving us a bigger manpower pool, and more importantly, giving us room to maneuver if the Epirots come calling."

    Tiberius took a deep breath before continuing, "Look at the map."

    Publius blustered, "I have looked-"

    "Look at it!" Tiberius snapped, the intensity of his voice startling Publius. "We are but a tiny collection of cities compared to the rest of the world. By the gods, I will make Etruria strong! That is why I canceled the tribute. I will not allow Etruria to remain subject to any other nation. We will show the world that no Etrurian will ever bend his knee to a foreign king!" He finished his tirade, panting for breath.

    By the end of it, Publius was nodding, a thoughtful frown creasing his face. "But how will you justify war to the rest of the Senate? They will not accept the reasons you have outlined as good enough to become the agressors in a war."

    Tiberius had already considered this problem, and he had an answer ready, "Just over a century ago, the Boii invaded our territory, taking their current capital, Felsinum, and the surrounding areas. I want it back." Publius nodded once more. The casus belli was scanty, but it would do to sway enough of the Senate to pass the motion. He straightened, looking into Tiberius' piercing blue eyes.

    "You have my support, and that of my clients." Tiberius' only answer was a smile.




    An excerpt from Etruria: The Difinitive History

    On 3 January 474 AUC, Tiberius Postumius Varro proposed a declaration of war on the nation of Gallia Boii to the Senate. After much debate, the motion was passed on 4 January, a diplomat sent with all haste to the foreign court. Varro, taking command of Etruria's two legions, totaling about twelve thousand men, began the march to Boii on 12 January to the cheering of the crowds and the rhymic drumbeats of the legions.

    The soldiers' morale had never been higher, but they had never been on campaign, never experienced war. Their resolve would be tested as they marched, unwittingly, into a string of wars, and they would soon become veterans.
    Last edited by JDMS; 04-03-2010 at 05:51.
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    Attacking the Boii immediately, hmm, well it seems like a good idea. It is better you conquer them then Rome does.
    Still playing EU:Rome? Might check out my litte Rome mod

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    Hypothetical Hegemon JDMS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lofman View Post
    Attacking the Boii immediately, hmm, well it seems like a good idea. It is better you conquer them then Rome does.
    Yeah. Well considering that the first three times I started with Etruria, I was annexed within three months by Epirus, I figured that I needed as much land as I could get as fast as possible.
    God's protection is better than the strongest armor or the tallest tower.
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    Chapter 2: Winter and War



    26 December 474 AUC

    Tiberius Postumius Varro stood at the top of the crude tower, considering the walled city. The cold night was dark, clouds obscuring the moon and the stars. The only light came from smoking torches that illuminated the otherwise somber city. Snow flurries further decreased visibility, dampening everything, and increasing the chance that the legionaries’ armor would rust. Of course, he thought wryly, it’s not as if most of their armor isn’t already rusted.

    With a shiver, he dragged his fur cape more completely about his body, seeking whatever warmth he could find. For two months, the two legions of Etruria had camped outside the walls of the ancient city of Felsinum, enduring the worst that winter could throw at them. Tiberius shuddered to think of the men that were unable to perform their duties. Some were dead, frozen in their blankets, and countless sentries had been found stuck to their spears, serene expressions covering their stiff faces. Hundreds were missing fingers or toes, frostbite quickly setting in among the ill-prepared soldiers.

    Tiberius had not expected the march to take so long. He had had to change direction with his legions, moving north to confront a horde of barbarians, displaced by the Boii as a distraction. The horde had been elusive, evading the Etrurians for several weeks before being caught in a surprise attack. Tiberius had been unable to restrain his soldiers, and the battle turned into a massacre, as men, women, and children were cut to pieces indiscriminately.

    In the aftermath of the battle, many of the legionaries had been horrified at what they had done. Tiberius had realized immediately that he could use this self-disgust. Marching the legions further north, he invaded the region of Liguria, confronting the barbarians that resided in his path. The legionaries fell into the battle with a gusto, fighting with the savagery of men who, for the moment at least, didn’t care whether they lived or died. This new recklessness had almost lost the battle for the legions when nearly two full maniples broke formation, pushing deep into the enemy lines, threatened with being overwhelmed. At that moment, Tiberius had ordered the switch in maniples, and the hastati had moved back, making way for the lines of principes. The wave of fresh legionaries had forced the barbarians back, enough so that the lost maniples could be absorbed into the lines.

    The battle had quickly turned into a rout, but Tiberius had restrained his soldiers. They had broken the back of the resistance in Liguria, and he had sent messengers back to Etruria, requesting settlers for the newly pacified province.

    The morning after the battle, Tiberius had addressed the legions, his voice clear and strong, able to be heard by every man on the field. He had given them a tongue-lashing, urging them out of their slight depression, explaining that, in war, shit happened. He had said that it would only get worse, and that that was all that could be expected of war. He had then moved on to the classic inspiration speech, praising their skill and courage on the battlefield. By the end of it, the legionaries were cheering wildly, raising their swords to the sky and shouting his name. He knew then that they were his. Not Etruria’s, his. That same day, the legions began the long trek to Gallia Boii. The march took nearly six weeks, but soon they were encamped outside the walls.

    “All clear, sir. And there’s a message here for you.” Tiberius was broken from his reverie by the gravelly voice of Marcus, a senior princeps prior. The grizzled veteran handed Tiberius a small scroll, lifting a torch to illuminate the paper. Tiberius scanned the scroll quickly looking up with a laugh.

    “Well it seems that there is good news, even here,” he said. “A month ago, a treaty was signed with Epirus, ending our war. We accepted a white peace, while Rome took the city of Tarentum and the surrounding region. We are once again only at war with a single nation.”

    Marcus took the news with the same calm he had exhibited for as long as Tiberius had known him. “That may be,” he replied, “but when will this war end?”

    Tiberius considered that for a moment, idly fantasizing about a Boii sortie, attacking the walls and trenches the legionaries had erected, effectively ending the siege and the war. He shook that from his mind. Even if the Boii stayed behind their high walls, they couldn’t survive for much longer on dwindling supplies, could they?




    An excerpt from Etruria: The Definitive History

    On 21 February 475 AUC, a delegation of the Boii, emaciated from the onset of starvation, exited the gates of Felsinum to negotiate the surrender of their city. With the surrender of Felsinum and the capture of the Boii king, Etruria annexed the lands of the Boii and began the slow process of assimilating the barbarians into Etrurian culture.

    Varro traveled back to Etruria, met with cheering crowds as he returned home. The people were filled with wild elation, celebrating the conclusion of the first successful war in generations. The enthusiasm even infused the Senate. It was the work of only hours to convince the august body that a war against Insubres was needed. When the action was approved, Varro’s childhood friend, Mamercus Marius Priscia, was chosen as the diplomat to convey the declaration of war. Few realized the danger he would be venturing into.
    Last edited by JDMS; 28-02-2010 at 05:56.
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    Very nicely done...well written. I enjoyed both chapters. Keep it up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Range View Post
    Very nicely done...well written. I enjoyed both chapters. Keep it up.
    Thanks. It's nice to get another reader.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDMS View Post
    Edit: I changed the title when I realized that I had basically copied the title of CJL78's Armenian AAR. Unfortunately, I can't change the title of the thread.
    Yeah stop plagiarising! lol jk. It's not like I own the word shadow.

    Nicely written narrative. May the Etruscans bring down mighty Rome!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDMS View Post
    Edit: I changed the title when I realized that I had basically copied the title of CJL78's Armenian AAR. Unfortunately, I can't change the title of the thread.
    Congrats and good luck writing your first AAR.

    If you confirm that you want to change your AAR-title I'll do it for you. You need to be a Moderator or Demi-Moderator to be able to change a thread-title. If you ever have it again, just message one of us.


    When I use this color I am speaking as a Moderator.

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    CJL78- Thanks, I hope to, but no promises.

    Qorten- Thank you, if you could change the title to Etruria: Forging an Empire, I'd appreciate it.
    God's protection is better than the strongest armor or the tallest tower.
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    Chapter Three: Diplomacy


    3 April 475 AUC

    Mamercus Marius Prisca glanced about the vast hall, and wondered once again why he had ever agreed to serve as the diplomat to the Insubres. He was acutely aware of the dozens of armed warriors that filled the hall, their presence pressing in on him, seeming to compress the air around him into a tiny bubble that sought to suffocate him. He found himself short of breath, and felt a tremor beginning in his arm. Not now, he thought to himself, oh gods, please not now. Grinding his teeth, he mentally forced away one of the incapacitating seizures that had afflicted him since birth. Pulling himself together, he focused on the man seated upon the throne in front of him.

    The Insubrian king - Mamercus was not even sure of what his given name was - sprawled indolently on the ornate chair, one leg thrown over the arm. His manner suggested that nothing could concern him, especially not the short man in the shining toga who stood before him. At least it had until he had heard the message Mamercus had relayed. The king had gone slack with shock, never dreaming his neighbor to the south would be so aggressive. The boisterous conversations among the warriors had died in an instant, and for many minutes, silence had reigned. The specter of war had not visited the Insubres in many decades.

    The silence was broken by the sudden sound of the king cackling. The man threw back his head, laughing uproariously, his mouth falling open to reveal a mass of yellow and black teeth. Regaining enough control to speak, he said, “Etruria is declaring war upon me? Upon my people?” He began to chuckle as he continued, “You will all meet your deaths. You presume to fight me? I am a GOD!” The last erupted into a scream that left the king panting for breath.

    If Mamercus had ever doubted whether or not the king was insane, he did not now. The king’s wide-eyed gaze was lost against the opposite wall, evading Mamercus’ own. It was marred only by a nervous tic in the king’s left eyelid, giving him an even more wild look. Mamercus felt a bead of hot sweat roll down his temple. “Your grace,” he began, attempting to calm the rabid monarch.

    “Etruria will learn the folly of displeasing a god!” the Insubrian interrupted with a roar. “And you,” for the first time, the king met Mamercus’ eyes, “you will be the first enlightened Etruscan!” The king’s mood changed again as he laughed at his own words. He waved a hand lazily, “Take him away!”

    Mamercus felt each word as if it were a weight settling onto his shoulders. The tremor came back tenfold, his entire right side beginning to spasm wildly. He lost control of his legs, falling to the floor as his world faded to black.

    ---------------------


    27 April 475 AUC

    Tiberius Postumius Varro stared into the sightless eyes of his best friend. Mamercus’ face was obscene in death; his swollen tongue protruded from his gaping lips and fluids leaked from eye sockets that had seen their contents gouged out. Tiberius sat where he had fallen when he had seen his friend’s head in the rough sack the Insubrian messenger had brought. That same messenger’s head was staked to a pole, awaiting the completion of one of the many siege towers being constructed so that it could be placed for the entire city to see. The messenger’s body had been left for the wolves.

    Congealing blood had dried on Tiberius’ hands, and still he sat, holding Mamercus’ head. All he could think about was his childhood adventures with his friend. He remembered throwing pebbles at cart drivers as they cursed the pair. He remembered shooting deer with the two bows Tiberius’ father had bought from a Cretan mercenary, celebrating their kills talking of being great warriors when they grew up. He remembered hiding Mamercus from his own father when he was roaring drunk and looking for an outlet for his anger. As an adult, he remembered dining with Mamercus more times than he could count, discussing politics and the state of the world. All that and more passed through his mind as he buried himself in his memories.

    The two guards stationed outside of Tiberius’ tent shared a glance. They knew that as soon as Tiberius roused himself from his personal mourning, all of Insubres would, in one way or another, pay for what had been done.
    Last edited by JDMS; 04-03-2010 at 05:49.
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    Chapter Four: Vengeance



    17 September 475 AUC

    The stench of fire and of burning bodies filled the air. The screams of the dying mingled with the wailing of the new widows, creating a terrible cacophony that echoed through the streets of the city.

    Tiberius Postumius Varro sat astride his horse, impassively taking in the last, fitful gasps of the capital city of the Insubres. He reigned in his mount, halting the half-dozen guards riding behind him, to watch as two Etruscan hastati pulled a young man from a house. One of them pulled back the man’s head, while the other ran his sword across the man’s throat. The two soldiers turned away, saluting Tiberius, then moving on.

    Despite his outward calm, Tiberius’ insides broiled with conflict. He had given the order in the immediate hours after learning of Mamercus’ death: any man over the age of twenty was to be put to the sword upon the fall of the city. The legionaries did not necessarily like the order, but they carried it out, convinced that Tiberius could do no wrong. It was too late to rescind the order, he knew, most of the men had already been found and executed in the three days since the city’s walls had been breached.

    Shaking his head in disgust, Tiberius urged his horse into a walk. He looked ahead, toward the high walls of the citadel, knowing that soon, even those would fall. He was unable to see the redoubt, obscured as it was by the thick pall of smoke that hung over the city. He could, however, hear the thump of the great ram his legionaries were using to try to break the strong gates.

    When the Etruscans had breached the walls, the Insubrians had retreated in relatively good form, falling back to the citadel with nearly a quarter of the city’s population in tow. For three days, they had had little to do but wait as the ram slowly battered the huge gates into submission. The gate was cracking, and Tiberius knew that they would break soon. Then there would be a massacre.

    He did not relish what was to come, but knew that it was necessary. He had seen the frustration of his legionaries when they realized that they had yet another obstacle to overcome before victory could be achieved. They looked forward to ending this long campaign.

    Night was beginning to fall when the crash announcing the fall of the gates was heard throughout the city. A yell went up among attackers and defenders alike, and the clash of iron on iron sounded almost instantly.

    Leaping onto his horse, Tiberius roared for his officers, urging them to gather their men and race to the citadel. There was already a substantial force outside the gates, but Tiberius wasn’t sure whether it would be enough to gain entrance to the citadel.

    He galloped around a building, coming within sight of the fortress. He jerked on the reigns so hard his horse reared, and he quickly assessed the situation. The hastati had forced their way into the gates, pushing into a wide courtyard right inside the entrance. There, the advance had stalled as they were met with every Insubrian man who could hold a sword. The sheer weight of numbers was beginning to tell.

    Tiberius leapt from his mount, bending quickly to snatch up a spear from a legionary who would not need it, and looked around for Marcus. He found him, battered but uncowed, and nodded his head. Marcus nodded back, and signaled to the men around him. An entire maniple of veteran triarii formed up around Tiberius, creating a wedge. Tiberius yelled for the cornicens, who blew several notes, warning the hastati to make way.

    As the wedge pushed through the hastati, more triarii joined up, followed by ranks of principes. The hastati, thankful for their respite fell back after loosing a hail of javelins into the ranks of Insubrians. The exhausted Insubrians were unprepared for the sudden ferocity of the huge wedge as it crashed into their lines.

    Tiberius lost his spear in the first few moments after contact, drawing the short sword at his hip and wading into the host. It seemed like hours to the legionaries, but it was only minutes before the Insubrians broke, fleeing and throwing down their arms as they sought to gain as much speed as possible. Of course, there was really nowhere for them to run, trapped as they were in the citadel. As Tiberius had predicted, the battle rapidly became a massacre.

    Hours later, when the killing was finished, two triarii dragged a man before Tiberius. His rich clothing, so out of place in this ruined city, declared him the Insubrian king. The king obviously understood Etruscan, for he cringed as the two legionaries debated what his fate would be. Tiberius leaned forward, saying quietly, “Do you know who I am?”

    The king shook his head, terror in his wide-eyed stare. Tiberius reached into a cloth bag and pulled out Mamercus’ head. “Do you know who this is?” he asked even more quietly. The Insubrian realized in an instant what was going to happen to him. He wailed piteously, clawing wildly at his guards. Tiberius motioned for the guards to take the king away, whispering, “This is for Mamercus.”

    The king’s eyes were gouged out before he was decapitated, his head placed on a spear. Tiberius expected to feel satisfaction for his revenge, a contentment that Mamercus had been avenged. Instead, he felt disgusted with himself, hardly believing he could have stooped so low during this campaign. He looked around at the burning city, at the corpses that littered the streets, at the weeping survivors who would be sold as slaves.

    So consumed was he with his own conscience, he did not at first hear his men. When he did, he looked out over them in joyous wonder. Shouting, “Var-ro! Var-ro! Var-ro!” over ten thousand legionaries beat their spears and swords on their shields. Tiberius drew his sword, thrusting it high into the air. The cheering dissolved into an incoherent roar, and Tiberius found himself almost giddy with the love of his men. He wondered if there was anyone who could stand against him with such soldiers.

    He was forced to consider such a thought seriously when a messenger arrived from Etruria the next morning. Rome had decided their neighbor to the north was no longer worth defending. The Roman Senate had declared the alliance treaty between Etruria and Rome void.


    An excerpt from Etruria: The Definitive History

    Over the course of five years after the subduing of the Insubres, Varro used his army to further expand the dominions of Etruria. All of the barbarian tribes bordering Etruria were soon conquered or vassalized by Varro and his seemingly invincible army. The Arverni, the Paleoveneti, the Vindelicians, and the Raetians all fell before the Etruscans. The Sequani, powerful though they were, were forced to cede nearly half of their territory.

    Rome soon grew weary of the prestige the Etruscans gained through each of their conquests. More and more of the Senate supported efforts to curb the Etruscan expansion. Some even suggested war.
    Last edited by JDMS; 13-03-2010 at 05:58.
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  13. #13
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    Excellent writing JDMS, you're truly an asset to Rome and the whole of AARland if you keep this level up.


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  14. #14
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    really very gripping narrative ... great stuff

  15. #15
    Hypothetical Hegemon JDMS's Avatar
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    Qorten, loki100 - Thanks!

    I've finally been able to play more of my game, but I won't have time to update until this weekend at the earliest. Thanks for the comments though.
    Last edited by JDMS; 15-03-2010 at 05:46.
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  16. #16
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    Chapter Five: Descent into Darkness



    4 January 486 AUC

    Tiberius Postumius Varro sat upon his son, tickling his sides with all his might. Lucius squirmed under him giggling and struggling to win free. Tiberius knew the nine-year old was too old for such things, but he was making up for the years of Lucius’ childhood he had missed.

    The clap of iron-shod sandals broke through even the laughing of his son, causing him to sit up in alarm. By the time the messenger, escorted by two of Tiberius’ household guards, arrived at the chamber, Tiberius was reclining serenely on a couch, his son standing beside him. The guards saluted, bringing their fists to their hearts, and were dismissed by a wave from their master.

    Tiberius turned his attention to the messenger. “Speak,” he said with a small motion of his hand.

    The messenger nodded nervously and handed Tiberius a sealed scroll. “A message from Arretium my lord.” Tiberius noted that the seal was of the Senate, and wondered what the message could be. Another wave rid the room of the messenger, sending him off to collect his payment from one of the house slaves.

    Tiberius slid a knife through the seal, unfurling the scroll. The message was brief and concise.

    Tiberius Postumius Varro, you are called before the Senate
    to resume your duties as commander of the armies of Etruria.
    A declaration of war was issued to our glorious Republic by the
    pretender Republic of Rome. Your presence is requested at once.


    Tiberius stared in shock at the message. The past five years had been relatively peaceful for Etruria. Well as peaceful as it could be with several tribes of barbarians attempting to migrate through Etruscan territory. Nonetheless, Etruria’s pool of manpower was all but gone, and the men currently enlisted in the three standing legions were, for the most part, all of the able-bodied men in Etruria.

    He calculated quickly in his head: the standing legions gave him just over fourteen-thousand men. The tribesmen in the recently conquered territories were always near revolt, making them unreliable soldiers. He realized with a sinking heart that victory was nearly impossible. But he had been called by the Senate, and he would do his duty.

    Ruffling Lucius’ hair, he stepped out into the courtyard, yelling orders for his slaves to ready his horse and supplies for a journey to Arretium.

    ---------------------


    17 June 486 AUC

    Septimus Tullius Valus, general of Rome, rode his horse slowly across desolated battlefield. His mount stepped carefully over mangled corpses and shattered weapons. Smoke drifted lazily across the field, put out by the fires Septimus’ men had created in the town.

    The battle had been fierce, but Tiberius’ men had fallen back into the outskirts of the small town near the rear of the battlefield. Using the houses as anchors for their lines, the Etruscans had held off the worst the Romans could throw at them. Septimus had ordered his archers to put fire arrows into the dry, wooden buildings.

    The resulting inferno had wreaked havoc with the Etruscan ranks as the legionaries had struggled to get away from the flames. To make matters worse, the Etruscans had been sheltering their wounded in the houses. The screams of the burning men was something Septimus would remember until he took his last breath.

    At first, the Etruscans had withdrawn in good order, but their lines had threatened to break with every step back they took. Septimus had seen this immediately, and ordered his cavalry into the retreating legionaries, shattering the fragile ranks, and turning the withdrawal into a rout.

    Septimus had left his cavalry to harry the fleeing Etruscans, while his infantry settled to the task of cleaning up the battlefield. Even now, two days later, bodies still littered the ground and fires still smoldered among the burnt-out husks of the town’s tall buildings.

    Septimus considered the coming campaign. He had a feeling that Varro would not be able to stand against him again, no matter how many casualties he had inflicted upon the Romans. Etruria simply did not have the manpower to reinforce the remnants of her standing army, much less raise a new one. That fact was one of the primary factors that had contributed to Rome’s declaration of war.

    Septimus looked over the Bononian countryside, imagining the air when it wasn’t filled the stench of the dead. The city of Felsinum had been evacuated as Varro had retreated through it, leaving the entire province of Bononia in Rome’s control. Marcus Gracchus, commander of another three legions, was pressing north into the former territory of the Paleoveneti. Septimus would move northwest, cutting Varro off from Arretium, and keeping him from holing up in the great city.

    Rome would be triumphant, Septimus promised himself.



    An excerpt from Etruria: The Definitive History:

    After his disastrous defeat at the Battle of Bononia, Varro fled to the northwest, kept from Arretium by Septimus’ legions. For the next two years, Varro led Septimus on a not-so-merry chase through Etruscan territory, eluding the larger Roman force, only fighting in small, opportunistic skirmishes. All the while, Gracchus slowly but steadily besieged Etruscan city, gradually seizing all of Etruria’s lands.

    Varro’s and Septimus’ war of maneuver ended when Varro was able to slip around Septimus’ legions, making his way to the southeast. Septimus caught Varro outside of Arretium.
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  17. #17
    Hypothetical Hegemon JDMS's Avatar
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    Chapter Six: Downfall



    7 August 488 AUC

    Tiberius Postumius Varro watched the field before him, entranced by the horrific dance of death. The two armies had conjoined into a single mass, where the screams of the dying and roars of the living vied with the clash of iron on iron and peals of war horns for supremacy of the air. His heart soared with each great push his soldiers gave, and fell with each step back.

    He had not had to tell his legions that this battle was tantamount to the survival of Etruria. A victory here would mean negotiations with the Romans, while defeat would spell an end to Etruscan life as they knew it. This battle was the last thrust of a bleeding soldier.

    His gaze swept over the battle again, considering the differences between his legions and those of the Romans. He could still remember his and his generals’ shock as they were confronted with the Roman legions for the first time. The last time the two had fought together, their legions had been structured the same, their legionaries outfitted the same. The Roman forces at the Battle of Bononia had been armed and armored uniformly in equipment resembling that of the principes.

    The shock of the change had penetrated all the way to the common legionaries. Tiberius had almost been able to see Etruscan morale drop as they saw their opposition. Tiberius retreated earlier than was strictly necessary, realizing that his men would fight better the next time they faced the enemy. The decision had been a costly one, as evidenced by the fact that this battle had turned into a last stand.

    Tiberius cheered suddenly as he realized his legionaries were beginning to make headway against their foes. He attributed this to the fact that his principes were currently engaged with the Romans, so the men were on equal footing.

    Then he saw it.

    The Romans had, at the beginning of the battle, organized their forces in a long, thick line. Tiberius had moved first his velites and then his hastati against the line, before cycling them out and moving his principes forward. Near the end of the time the hastati spent fighting their enemy, the Romans seemed to fear their flanks were weak, and pulled troops from their center to bolster the flanks.

    Now, Tiberius realized, the center was especially weak, and could be broken. Turning to Marcus, sitting on a horse to his right, Tiberius said, “You will have command here. It has come to the triarii.” Marcus stared at his commander.

    “Surely not yet,” he said, “the principes have begun to push the Romans back.”

    Tiberius pointed toward the middle of the melee. “If we push wedge of triarii into the center, we can shatter them, then consolidate the rest of the troops and order a general assault, sweeping the Romans from the field.”

    “But sir,” Marcus protested, uncertainty in his voice, “we still do not know where the Roman cavalry is. They could be just over the ridge, waiting for us to make just such a move.”

    Tiberius was shaking his head before Marcus finished, confidence filling him for the first time in two years. “I’ve no doubt they’ve gone to join Gracchus and deal with the pesky Arverni.” he said. “No, now is our chance to destroy a Roman army, to prove to our men and to our people that this war can still be salvaged. I will lead the triarii. You will have command of the rest.”

    He took a deep breath, watching the chaos below. Marcus realized that Tiberius was practically shaking with excitement, and he thought to himself, What has come over him? Why can’t he see reason? He was too disciplined, however to continue questioning a superior’s orders. “Yes sir,” he said wearily, saluting quickly.

    Tiberius nodded to him, before turning away, riding to gather the triarii.

    Many minutes later, more horns sounded over the din, and the remnants of the velites raced toward the center of the Roman line, flinging their javelins, stalling the Romans long enough for the principes to pull back and let the triarii forward. At the head of the wedge, Tiberius let loose a fierce warcry, that was answered with an incoherent roar by the triarii.

    The wedge crashed into the Roman line, and the ranks immediately began to buckle. Tiberius slammed his spear under a legionary’s guard, driving it into the unfortunate man’s groin. He pulled back quickly, and the man fell away, clutching his wound, trying to staunch the flood of blood that poured forth. Tiberius stepped over the soldier to confront his next foe. His savage thrust was met by the legionary’s shield, but so great was the force of the thrust that it punctured the shield, skidding off of the plates of the legionary’s armor.

    The sudden weight of the spear forced the man’s shield down, and Tiberius shield-rushed him, forcing him back long enough the wrench his sword from its scabbard. He was on the man before he could recover, and opened the soldier’s throat with a quick backhand.

    With a blood-thirsty yell, Tiberius continued to push deep into the enemy lines. Soon after, he could sense the break coming, as the wedge steadily pushed back the Roman ranks. Tiberius could see, over the shoulders of his opponents, that the men farther back were beginning to retreat faster. Realizing the break was closer than he had thought, Tiberius decided not to wait until the actual break before ordering the other maniples forward.

    Tiberius fell back into the center of the wedge, replaced by a fresh soldier. He was the last of the original outside men to rotate into the wedge. Thrusting his blood-soaked sword high into the air, he waved it wildly. He had arranged with the cornicens before forming the wedge that he would signal them to signal the attack.

    Nearly a dozen of the horn-blowers had been watching his distant figure, awaiting the moment. Seeing him waving his sword, they brought their horns to their lips and blew the notes for a general attack.

    The survivors among the hastati roused themselves, filling in the ranks alongside the principes as they pushed into the Romans. The sudden intensity of the fight on the flanks seemed to surprise the Romans, but they held their ground. There was now more pressure on the center too, and the Roman center fell back even more. Tiberius urged his men on, sensing victory.

    Only Marcus and the staff officers, from the vantage point of the hilltop, saw the complete situation. Cursing, he spurred his horse toward the battle, knowing that unless the attack could be called off, they would all die. Tiberius had left him in command of the hastati and principes, but had then usurped that command with his signal to the cornicens.

    The Roman force, originally arranged in a straight line, had now become a V, as the center fell back but the flanks held strong, even advancing slowly. While that was bad, it could still have been salvaged, but for the attack. The general attack had filled in the gaps between the maniples, forming the Etruscan army into a single dense mass that was now being pushed into the V by its own impetus. Added to all of that, Marcus had seen his worst fears come true. Sweeping over a hill, perhaps a mile or two off, the Roman cavalry was riding hard for the Etruscan rear.

    Arriving at the cornicens’ position, Marcus ordered them to blow the retreat. They wasted valuable time questioning the order before finally complying. Marcus, with a sinking heart, saw that the order had come too late. Even as he watched, near the center of the Etruscan mass, the forward ranks of cavalry overran the rear most ranks of Etruscans.

    By now, the order to retreat had been given, and the Etruscans near the rear, still not having seen the incarnation of death that was descending upon them, turned and began to retreat. Right into the charging ranks of cavalry. With the cavalry smashing into the Etruscans, the legions found themselves surrounded. The flanks of the Roman force turned into the Etruscans, cutting them down without mercy.


    Tiberius’ first warning that something was wrong was when horns sounded from amongst the Roman lines, and suddenly the Etruscans found themselves pushed back by the now-advancing enemy. Even the triarii wedge was blunted as the first dozen or so men of the wedge were cut down in their surprise.

    Tiberius pushed his way to the front of the remnants of the wedge, furiously cutting down the first few Romans unfortunate enough to face him. Even he, however, could not face an army. His shield was cut from him, but he fought on. Soon after, his sword, the one he had carried through all of his campaigns, broke upon the shield of a legionary.

    Tiberius stared at the shattered blade in shock, feeling utterly betrayed, not only by the sword, but also by the gods. He didn’t notice as the legionary’s sword plunged into his belly, tearing free. He didn’t try to hold in the blood and entrails that spilled from the wound. He didn’t move as the legionary spun around him, confronting the next man. He didn’t see the next Roman swing at his neck.

    ----------

    An excerpt from Etruria: The Definitive History:

    At the Battle of Arretium, twenty-five thousand Etruscans lost their lives. They were slain without mercy by the tired and furious Romans. The battle ended any chance of Etruscan independence.

    The city of Arretium, with no one to defend it fell the next day to the Romans. The Etruscan Senate met three days later with Roman delegates to discuss a cessation of hostilities. The price was steep. Etruria was left with nothing more than her original homeland and lands of the Ligurians. In addition, Etruria was forced resume its monthly tribute and to become a client-state of Rome. Satisfied, the Romans left, leaving behind a ruined wasteland.

    With nearly every able-bodied man in Etruria either dead or maimed, the harvest could not be brought in. Plague and starvation set in, and winter saw countless thousands die. Rome, in a show of mercy at odds with its former savagery, sent men to aid in the planting, and later, in the harvesting the next year.

    That, however, did not stop the next war. Just over five years after the treaty of peace was signed, the Roman Senate declared war again, citing as their casus belli that Etruria had not sent tribute for several months. This was, of course, a lie, but it satisfied the Roman public. The war was a formality, and Etruria was forced to cede even the Ligurian homeland and pay an even higher tribute.

    Another five years passed, and there was another declaration of war. This war, however brief, was no formality. The Etruscan legions were led by Lucius Postumius Varro, son of the general cut down at Arretium. He won several battles, including one where he lured two Roman legions into the same trap they had used at Arretium. It was not enough to save Etruria. One year after the start of the war, in 459 AUC, Etruria was officially annexed by the Roman Republic.
    Etruria would not regain its independence until centuries had passed, after the fall of the soon-to-be Roman Empire.
    Last edited by JDMS; 23-03-2010 at 03:21.
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  18. #18
    Hypothetical Hegemon JDMS's Avatar
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    Well, that's the end. This AAR was a complete disaster. I didn't notice the signs that the Romans were preparing for war. They had begun shifting large numbers of troops to my border, and I never noticed them. Of course, I was watching House at the time and wasn't really paying attention. Even so, the Romans had military access and still DOWed.

    I hope my few readers enjoyed it. All one page of it. Thank you for reading it and for commenting.
    God's protection is better than the strongest armor or the tallest tower.
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  19. #19
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    Well one can't win everytime. Good work, it was a good read.
    Still playing EU:Rome? Might check out my litte Rome mod

  20. #20
    Very nicely done, kinda makes me want to buy the game Hope to see you write another
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