One thing the Republic did not lack in these years was able ambitious men. Even so too many turned their backs on the qualities that had made Rome mistress of the West in the search of personal, or family, wealth. What it lacked was able men, content to serve the state and who never made any demands beyond that of fair recognition of their efforts.
However, even in this era of moral decline, some remnants of the older Roman virtues survived. In this the career of Titus Didius  is exemplary, both for the insight into the nature of the wars on the Danube in this period and as to the type of man Rome now needed more than ever.
He took control of the 9th Legion in early 668 and drove off a major incursion on the Illyrian frontier. Even in this, his first battle, he skillfully outmanouvered the feared Dazid and won a stuning victory for only minimal losses for his legion.
He brought that particular warband to bay in Moesi in late May, killing or capturing all the barbarians
Even before the summer was over, he successfully defended the Illyrian provinces against a new encroachment.
In early 669 he ambushed a barbarian warband in the snow. More slaves and more gold was sent back to Rome.
For several years, the tribes on his sector lay quiet, battered by their defeats. However, by late 671 he was again called to protect Illyria.
And again the victory was testament to his skill and his willingness to protect the lives of his men.
The next two years saw little but minor skirmishes but this relative peace was shattered in May 673.
Here he won perhaps his greatest victory. Outnumbered, he routed the enemy for minimal losses. However, for once, he became careless. Pursuit saw him run into an ambush
From this he scarcely escaped leaving a third of his legion dead on the battlefield.
It took till September, and the arrival of the 11th Legion before vengence was taken.
By the summer of 674 he was fully engaged in a series of minor skirmishes on the lower Danube. Although his legion was not involved in the tragic events at Vindelicia , like all the commanders on the Danube he was blamed. The normal ebb and flow of war, Rome could accept, a defeat of that magnitude, with those consequences, was intolerable.
With the first snows of that winter, he had the chance to redeem his own reputation faced with yet another incursion.
By late 675, faced with the ongoing consequences of the Vindelician campaign, the 9th were again deployed in the north. He managed to protect Hristi from the same terrible fate
With the colony secure, his was the legion that finally avenged Vindelicia. Not many prisoners were taken as the legions exacted their revenge for almost 3 years of continuous warfare.
After this his legion returned to Illyria. Campaigning was constant, but the major incursions seemed to have died away.
On the morning of 19 August 672, this great man was found dead in his field tent. Aged 71 he was still leading his legion in the field.
Beaten only once in a long career, noted for his low losses when many others were careless of Roman lives, content to serve when many others manouvered for their own gain. However, his reputation at the time was tainted by Vindelicia, unfairly as he had been campaigning in Thrace. Still like all the Danubian army, he felt responsible, to a man of his character, defending Roman citizens was the reason for the army.
 If anyone has read Lindsay Davis' wonderful tales of Vespasian's Rome they will realise why his name stuck in my mind while I was playing.
 next post!
 To conserve manpower, I started to sit and wait for the tribe to return rather than persue them.