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  1. #1
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    The Punic Curse

    I've always liked Rome and usually have a game that I am playing at any time usually around others, almost always abandoned after a while. Equally have been meaning to make one into an AAR for a while (blame Slan for this, he suggested somewhere it was an idea to make an AAR out of every game you own). Now one reason for not having done so was waiting to see if a particular game developed in a way that was worth writing up.

    One thing about Rome, almost unique in the Paradox games, is the late starts are interesting and just very different. I always liked reading of the drama, turmoil and clash of great ideas (go read Cicero on liberty) of the last century of the Republic. So for this game I started in 647AUC (102BC?), Rome is master of the Western Mediterranean, has conquered Greece and has a foothold in Asia Minor. So the debate isn't really can you lose (in any conventional sense) and it is as much about internal disputes as expansion (as it should be).

    The style will be History Book and thematic within blocks of time (each chapter will cover 10-15 years.depending a bit on how the main events break out). Each post will be thematic within that, some focussing on small events, some on major wars or even a single important battle.

    Now, you, dear readers know this anyway, but indulge me a little. The Punic Curse fell on Rome after she heeded Cato the Elder's constant refrain "Carthago delenda est" when Cathage was under Rome's protection after defeat in the second Punic War. Roman fear of Carthage ran deep, as did prejudice against her strange gods and rites (including worshipping Astarte or Hecate, Queen of the Witches [1]). At the end of the third war, Carthage was destroyed, its fields sown with salt and its population sold into slavery. At the time the curse was placed on Carthage by the Romans to stop it ever recovering. Later on it was believed that Rome itself had been cursed, as the wealth and power that flowed after the war corrupted the old Republican values (tosh, but a theme I'll stick to). Thus the old oligarchic, landowning republic of free men became one where mere wealth bought power and citizenship was open to all while the land was worked by slaves.

    [1] - nope she plays no part in this AAR

    Index

    Chapter One: The loss of innocence 647AUC-662 AUC

    External Matters
    Introduction
    North Africa
    The Slave Revolts
    Spain
    Gaul
    Illyria, pt 1
    Illyria, pt 2
    The East
    Domestic Politics
    The Consuls 647-659 AUC
    The Civil War
    A Moment of Panic, November 658-March 659
    Turning the Tide, April 659-July 660
    The Senate Triumphant, July 660 - February 662

    Chapter Two: Triumph in the West 662-679 AUC
    Introduction
    The Trial of Gaius Marius
    The development of the Legions
    The Danube
    The career of Titus Didius
    The Vindelicia Campaign 674-676 AUC
    The trial of Sertorius
    Domestic Affairs
    The revolts in Ager Bruttius, 662-673
    Domestic Politics,662-667, the dominance of the Religious Faction
    Domestic Politics, 667-679, the rise of the Mercantalist Faction
    The North African Campaigns
    The Second Numidian War 665-673
    The Third Numidian War 677-678
    The lure of the East
    Seleucid expansion and Roman gains

    Chapter Three: Expansion and Civil Strife, 679-693 AUC
    Introduction
    Gaul
    The Gallic Wars 679-681 AUC
    The Gallic Wars 684-693 AUC
    Domestic Politics
    Cinna's Revolt 681-683 AUC
    Domestic Politics, 678-687 AUC
    Domestic Politics, 687-693 AUC
    Domestic Revolts, 680-690 AUC
    The East
    The First Syrian War 683-685 AUC
    The Second Syrian War 686-693 AUC
    Conclusion
    The Danubian Campaigns and the Fourth Roman-Numidian War

    Book Four - Consolidation and Domestic Strife 693-704 AUC
    The Populists Ascendent, 693-695 AUC
    The changing nature of Roman politics, 695-699 AUC
    The Third Syrian War, 699-701 AUC
    Piso seizes power, September-October 701 AUC
    Piso's consulship, 701-704 AUC

    Book Five - The Crisis in the West, 704-711 AUC
    Disaster in Britain, 704-711 AUC
    The Gallic Crisis, 705-708 AUC
    Pulcher's Gallic Revolt, 709-711 AUC
    Domestic Politics, 704-711 AUC

    Epilogue

    Last edited by loki100; 15-01-2013 at 11:21.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  2. #2
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Chapter One: Introduction

    Compared to the later events this period appears to have been one of relative calm, but all the problems that were to plague the Republic were already in place. The social changes in Roman society, the gradual loss of the link betweeen the aristocracy and the land they owned, and a growing trend for men in public office to seek personal gain rather than serve the good of the state.

    It also saw an ill-fated war in North Africa that came close to losing the gains followng Cato's demands for Carthage to be destroyed, the long running war in Illyria and expansion into central Gaul. However, the defining element in this period was Quintus Latatius Catalus's decision to defy the orders of the senate bringing down the curse of Civil War on the Republic.

    At the start of this period, Governors, appointed by the Senate ruled provinces that controlled most of the Western Mediterranean, Greece after the wars with Macedon and the city state leagues, and the westen parts of Asia Minor. There were major gaps along the upper Adriatic, to the west of the Hellespont and Roman territory abutted independent barbarian tribes in Gaul and Spain.

    The army was deployed as much to defend this territory as for expansion as, and the nine legions were deployed as:




    Equally the period saw major reform of both the army and the navy. Fundamentally the legions turned their back on the traditional phalanx mode of warfare.



    With this gradually having a major impact on weapons, tactics and the troop mix within the Legions:



    Equally the fleet was retrained and slowly re-equiped with the view of dominating naval battles by strength not manouver



    Overall the ethos of the Republic remained firmly on military values, however, in acknowledge of all the land added to Senatorial control in the last century, conditions for citizenship were gradually relaxed.



    Domestically, the main changes were a relaxation of the criteria for taking a seat in the Senate and some opening of Roman citizenship to a wider section of the populace. Both these were to have far reaching implications.

    In part the promise of advancement reconciled more to the rule of the Republic but equally such newcomers were more reliant on personal networks of friends and rivals – something that was to be a curse over the coming century



    Equally, lacking the reflected power of noble ancestors, the newcomers were more likely to seek and value popular support



    Equally as more and more wealth flooded in from trade and control of valuable resources, Rome lost its traditional attachment to austerity in public life.



    Thus Rome was to shift from being a republic based on virtue with wealth derived from land, to a powerful city at the core of the pre-eminent state of its time. Unfortunately, those in charge would prize personal gain over the public good.

    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  3. #3
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    More Rome AAR's is always great, good luck.
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  4. #4
    Strategy GuidAAR Rensslaer's Avatar
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    Interesting. My experience with Rome is relatively limited -- basically the Beta and my Roman Civil War AAR. But I was always fascinated by the political and personal relationships part of the game, which it seems you're wanting to explore with this.

    Ideally, Rome is built to be a non-standard conquest game, more like Crusader Kings, where much of the power is political, not military.

    I just got CKII yesterday, and am beginning to explore it. I feel like I can get lost in the personal politics. Rome was never quite THAT overwhelming, but it had enough political flavor to make things interesting.

    I'll look forward to seeing how this turns out!

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  5. #5
    Rocker moth Wave's Avatar
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    Interesting start date, the Ptolemies are still strong but Seleucids will be most likely hurt by Parthia. I expect a lot of action in the eastern front

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    Yet another loki100-AAR to follow! I think you chose a period that hasn't been covered before in AARs so it'll be interesting to see how it eveolves. I agree the era just before the end of the Republic is the most fascinating of Roman history.


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    Safe One Lofman's Avatar
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    Looking good. Planning to poke around in the east to prevent Egypt or the Seleucids getting too powerful if it seems necessary? I wonder if we will see any actions against Parthia, they are fairly powerful at this time if I'm not mistaken.
    Still playing EU:Rome? Might check out my litte Rome mod

  9. #9
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soulstrider View Post
    More Rome AAR's is always great, good luck.
    its good that there is a resurgance of them, its a nice game to base an AAR on as it allows so many styles to be used from very character narrative to game play. And its a sadly neglected corner of Paradox's output.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rensslaer View Post
    Interesting. My experience with Rome is relatively limited -- basically the Beta and my Roman Civil War AAR. But I was always fascinated by the political and personal relationships part of the game, which it seems you're wanting to explore with this.

    Ideally, Rome is built to be a non-standard conquest game, more like Crusader Kings, where much of the power is political, not military.

    I just got CKII yesterday, and am beginning to explore it. I feel like I can get lost in the personal politics. Rome was never quite THAT overwhelming, but it had enough political flavor to make things interesting.

    I'll look forward to seeing how this turns out!

    Renss
    I like the balance in Rome between character and state. You can almost play it as EU3, just sort out your characters say once a game year checking for rebels, ambitions, sort out future education & traits etc. So there is not too much snagging at your attention, but equally the characters give it a richness (especially for making an AAR out of). I like CK (both versions) and the extent it all but invites roleplaying, but there is a lot to deal with, and you daren't lose focus on the characters. So despite some similarities I think they are very different games (& each has an appropriate focus).

    This AAR, I'll do mostly as history book, but I may pick individual events and really develop them, either as a side story or as an example. There was a juicy murder at the end of the first civil war that I think deserves a post all of its own. So I'll chuck in a fair bit of narrative as it develops.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wave View Post
    Interesting start date, the Ptolemies are still strong but Seleucids will be most likely hurt by Parthia. I expect a lot of action in the eastern front

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qorten View Post
    Yet another loki100-AAR to follow! I think you chose a period that hasn't been covered before in AARs so it'll be interesting to see how it eveolves. I agree the era just before the end of the Republic is the most fascinating of Roman history.
    Its one of the good things about Rome is the late starts have their own charm. There is less reason starting from here to play to 'win', as I'd have to be very inept to lose. So what I'll do a lot of is role-play, in particular I'll take note of my missions (& won't ditch them), so while my instinct is to clean up Spain/Gaul & then go east, the Senate may have other ideas ...

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonizer View Post
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    Well I've never been that good a player of Rome, I just tend to dabble, but I've played 15 years and this game is brewing up nicely - hence the decision to make an AAR out of it. ... knowing my luck that is a prelude to 80 years of unrivalled peace and calm ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lofman View Post
    Looking good. Planning to poke around in the east to prevent Egypt or the Seleucids getting too powerful if it seems necessary? I wonder if we will see any actions against Parthia, they are fairly powerful at this time if I'm not mistaken.
    East is where I want to go. Egypt is indeed strong and aggressive. The Seleucids seem to recover from an early loss and start moving back into Asia Minor and yep, Parthia broods in the East. So if I can avoid endless civil wars, that is where the military challenge lies.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  10. #10
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    North Africa, 647-658 AUC

    Following the defeat of Carthage, Rome had established a minimal presence on the Southern shores of the Mediterranean. Veteran's colonies were established at Tunis, near the site of the hated city of Carthage and at Oea. Further to the east, the mixed Greek and Punic city of Leptis Magna had been made a province. In the immediate period, Rome sought to dominate the emerging power of the Kingdom of Numidia, in turn that sought to contest Rome's intermittent attempts at expansion.

    Thus mutual distrust had led to war, and one that arrogance had led the Romans to believe they would win easily.



    At the start, the 6th and 2nd Legions (with around 37,000 men in total) were split between Carthage and Oea. However, 29,000 Numidians were at Sabratha and more units were in the west dealing with a barbarian incursion. At this stage imagining an army of light infantry, light cavalry, local militia and elephants was no threat, the Senate was convinced to reject an offer of peace.



    The only terms were that Rome should compensate Numidia for some merchants who had had their goods confiscated. The Senate rejected the offer on factional lines, with the mercantile faction keen to see trade restored and the populists seeking to increase their influence. However the military faction were keen for a major victory and the Religious Faction were easily scared at the prospect of the dark Phoenician gods returning.

    To reinforce Rome's message, Fabius Maximus took the 2nd Legion into Sabratha while 6 Legion marched to his support. The two armies clashed on 1 March 647 and fought a series of skirmishes until 21 March when the two legions were beaten, mainly as the enemy refused regular battle but excelled in small clashes and raids on the Roman camps.



    The battered Legions escaped to Oea, where they were reinforced by the late arriving 7th, while the Numidians besieged Carthage and destroyed the new colony on 16 September 647.



    At sea the fleet won a series of victories, ensuring both the passage of a new legion (the 11th, hastily raised in Italy) as well as ensuring the war was confined to North Africa.

    Both sides took the chance to heavily reinforce and the two armies clashed outside the town of Oea on 26 January 648. The result was a disaster almost on the scale of Cannae. Lacking sufficient cavalry, the Romans were pinned by the lighter Numidian troops and then forced into too tight a formation to deal with the elephants. The Legions were disrupted but exacted a brutal toll in turn when the Numidians closed in for the kill.



    At the end of the battle, over 45,000 had died, but the fierce Roman resistance had allowed the remnants of the Legions to escape. Oea itself fell in early March,.



    Faced with the prospect of 4 Legions being wiped out the Senate pleaded for peace.



    This time, the Senate had to cede Oea not merely compensate a few merchants.



    The war, and raising two new legions, had had a devasting effect on Rome's manpower. The four legions were almost 45,000 short of their notional complement, severly limiting Rome's ability to expand the army for the next four years.



    In the aftermath, Rome decided to consolidate its hold on its two remaining provinces and to fortify Carthage as well as develop the colony.



    Fortunately, Numidia too had suffered and showed no apetite for a renewed conflict, instead expanding steadily to the west in a war with Mauretania from 653-4 AUC. In the meantime, to the East, Egypt overran Cyrenaica in 655.



    For the most part, Rome had other interests and was content to ignore the consequences of the war. Many argued that bringing all of Spain, or advancing into Gaul were more important, others were seduced by the promises of the wealth of the east. However, the settlers and military veterans from Oea were determined to regain their lands. Over time, they found a ready audience with more and more senators who supported the idea of regaining the lost colony and avenging the earlier defeat.



    Thus, North Africa continued to be a focus for Rome, even when many saw it as a land of barren sands and strange, inhospitable, inhabitants.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  11. #11
    Ruler of Somewhere else Thandros's Avatar
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    Ahhh A Disastrous Defeat. Roman Honour in Tatters after a seires of losses. You will no you must turn it around and Inflict twice the Humiliation on the Numidians.

  12. #12
    Safe One Lofman's Avatar
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    That war could certainly have gone better. Nasty defeat there in the battle of Oea. Well Rome will be back, it is the way of things.
    Still playing EU:Rome? Might check out my litte Rome mod

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    Major dragonizer's Avatar
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    Looks like rome got a bloody nose and black eye out of that war.
    hopefully they can do better next time.
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  14. #14
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    This just gets better and better! Numidia surprisingly isn't such a blow-off that could be expected but they most likely won't be attacking you so you'll get a lot of time to prepare from their side, it's whole another thing how long the senate likes to wait. I think this one lost war can be a good thing for the AAR because it may give a little different approach for a while but at least the now the senate knows (or does not...) what it takes to attack the camel riders.

    Good luck for the next wars
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  15. #15
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Its always fascinating how much more engaging an AAR becomes once you have suffered a large defeat ....

    Quote Originally Posted by Thandros View Post
    Ahhh A Disastrous Defeat. Roman Honour in Tatters after a seires of losses. You will no you must turn it around and Inflict twice the Humiliation on the Numidians.
    Left to myself, as long as they didn't attack me again, I was prepared to ignore them. Even if I win, the attrition effect is horrible, but I feel that given my goals I have to take note of the wishes of the Senate ... so yep, there will be a new war at some stage

    Quote Originally Posted by Lofman View Post
    That war could certainly have gone better. Nasty defeat there in the battle of Oea. Well Rome will be back, it is the way of things.
    Quote Originally Posted by dragonizer View Post
    Looks like rome got a bloody nose and black eye out of that war.
    hopefully they can do better next time.
    I was surprised to lose, the numbers were pretty even, my general was a bit worse, they had a lot of militia up against my heavy infantry. So I guess it was the Elephants wot won it ... so next time I need to make sure I've recruited lots of archers to protect me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wave View Post
    This just gets better and better! Numidia surprisingly isn't such a blow-off that could be expected but they most likely won't be attacking you so you'll get a lot of time to prepare from their side, it's whole another thing how long the senate likes to wait. I think this one lost war can be a good thing for the AAR because it may give a little different approach for a while but at least the now the senate knows (or does not...) what it takes to attack the camel riders.

    Good luck for the next wars
    I've played the opening stage of this scenario a couple of times nad have usually won that war (albeit at heavy losses). One key thing this time was that Mauretania wouldn't give me military access so I was totally reliant on my fleet to bring fresh troops in (& one reason why, as a result, I've built up the navy to about 60 ships since then).

    My hope is that their manpower will take forever to recover, so their army will be much the same size when I come back for round 2.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  16. #16
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    The Slave Revolts: 647-649 AUC

    With the increasing use of slave labour, especially on the farms and in heavy work such as mines, came a new threat to the security of the Republic. Whereas most household slaves had reasonable expectations of becoming free after a number of years, or the death of their current owner, this was not the case for those expected to endure physical labour.

    The lack of hope bred desparation. And, to make the situation more dangerous, almost every large group of slaves included many who had been captured in battle. They may have lacked access to arms and armour but were fully aware of how to organise a revolt and fight against provincial militias and local garrisons. To suppress such a major revolt meant the redeployment of one or more legions and this futher strained the Republic's manpower, already depleted in the bloody sands of North Africa.

    One of the first major revolts in this period was in Macedonia in 647 AUC



    Even before that was supressed, a revolt broke out in the silver mines in the province of Tundetani in southern Spain



    Both were suppressed with speedy brutality, those who survived battle with the legions were either assigned back breaking work in the most dangerous mines or crucified on the spot.

    However, rather than ending the cycle, a new, more dangerous, revolt erupted in southern Greece in 649. This time the youthful governor seems to have provoked the revolt by an ill timed dismissal of complaints about food and living conditions.



    20,000 slaves took up arms and looted the local armouries at a time when the legions notionally based in Greece were involved in the Illyrian wars.

    Instead, the 2nd Legion, had to be deployed from Sicily to crush the revolt.



    The two armies clashed in late October 649



    This time the Republic showed no mercy. Three revolts of escalating severity in a few years indicated a problem that needed to be solved. The 15,000 survivors were crucified and steps taken to suppress the spread of subversive ideas. After the Achean revolt, all large groups of slaves were broken up by nationality to reduce the risk of co-operation (it was better to deal with violence between the various ethnic groups than to deal with a coherent revolt).

    In combination, this seemed to stop the spread of any further slave revolts. Even in the chaos caused by Catalus' bid for power and the numerous regional revolts by various cities, the slaves remained quiet. It seemed as if at least one threat to the Republic had been solved.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  17. #17
    Lady of the North Star Demi Moderator Saithis's Avatar
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    Interesting so far, I don't know a lot about Rome but I'm left with the feeling that Rome is pressured and threatened on all sides, whether that's just your writing or the game itself I don't know though. Still, I'm enjoying this and will definitely read more.
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  18. #18
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    I like what I see so far! A defeat now and then is a good thing to keep things realistic, which is what you are aiming for.


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  19. #19
    Rocker moth Wave's Avatar
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    Ouch! The Spartacus events still hurt every time they trigger, and when you have such big empire you'll be having a lot of potential revolt areas.

    I really like the writing style you're using, overall very good job!
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saithis View Post
    Interesting so far, I don't know a lot about Rome but I'm left with the feeling that Rome is pressured and threatened on all sides, whether that's just your writing or the game itself I don't know though. Still, I'm enjoying this and will definitely read more.
    Manpower is a real problem in Rome, it recovers very slowly. So even losing 2-3,000 putting down a slave revolt hurts (not least I want to expand the legions so I can deal with domestic problems and expand). The game has a lot of the type of mechanisms that can throw you off course - plentiful revolts (both civil and slave), disloyalty and civil wars. The latter tend to get worse as things go on as commanders build up more 'loyal cohorts', even if you shift them around a bit (which I haven't done this time for RP reasons).

    The result is that even a large powerful state like Rome at this stage can feel very threatened and with a lot of latent problems. In the next post I managed to strip a disloyal Legate of his Legion with no reaction, a bit later the same thing triggered a Civil War.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qorten View Post
    I like what I see so far! A defeat now and then is a good thing to keep things realistic, which is what you are aiming for.
    I do tend to agree, a bit of disaster makes for a far more interesting read. I still recall JDMS' Etruscan AAR fondly for the superb writing and the defeat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wave View Post
    Ouch! The Spartacus events still hurt every time they trigger, and when you have such big empire you'll be having a lot of potential revolt areas.

    I really like the writing style you're using, overall very good job!
    I was luckier in this play through. I did a couple of test games with the first 10 years of this scenario and had far more slave revolts, especially in Italy. So 3 in 15 years (and all fairly early on) was quite a bonus.

    Glad you're enjoying it. I'll keep to thematic posts - some splitting events up by geography (the next 4 will cover the 'external' affairs of the Republic), some on theme and characters (when I come to the domestic politics) and some chronology (which is how I'll deal with the Civil War that will conlude the first part). I need to play some more into the second block to work out a neat end point for that overall part but am currently obsessed with playing 'Warlock: Ardania' which is far more addictive than is fair.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

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