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abian363

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Chapter X: A child for a child
The 9th of November of the year 476 of our lord is a date no Roman man, woman or child can ever forget, for it marks the date of our resurgence, the date when the barbarian Odoacer lay defeated and bowed to the underage Emperor of Rome and the date when Roman pride resurged once again, this time to never even come close to fade. I hope.

Objectively speaking though, this date is the day in which Odoacer signed a White Peace with the Empire back at our capital in Ravenna. It had taken both parts two months of talks and negotiations to reach this stage, time the Skirian had used to plunder “a little bit more”, just in case. He was not in chains, nor was he welcomed with boos. He signed the treaty as a free man, and left together with his all the formerly imprisoned family members as a free man. The two generals that had faced off and defied death in battle just a few months prior met face to face right before the signing act. In that meeting Odoacer congratulated Decimus for his strength in a perfect Latin, proof of his Romanized self. He also complained, in a slightly dreamy tone, that once just a few of his units had been slain following Arsacius’ charge several of his less loyal subjects just left the fight, to the demise of the Skirian. Ah, what could have happened had they stayed just past the first minutes of the flanking attack. The legendary aura that surrounded Odoacer vanished following the battle and many of the lesser tribal chiefs that followed him simply abandoned the war they thought was now pointless. They really didn’t know that half our army had literally been turned into dust during that battle; night and darkness did us good.
Comes Arsacius wasn’t present at the signing of the treaty despite being invited by Orestes, as he had now gained the high esteem of the Emperor’s father. He was, instead, ensuring that every one of the germanic tribesmen that had ravaged the lands left the territory in peace. He would not allow them, however, to carry any of the pillage they had done. Each one of the barbarians would receive ten Tremissis as a pay for their “loyal service as Rome’s foederati”, of course, all of them bearing Romulus’ young efigie to remind them that encroachment on Roman territory would not be taken lightly. Perhaps it was time to make a few commemorative gold medallions celebrating the survival of the Empire? You may see now that all the “important” matters that worried the capital were nothing but celebration related topics. Should a gladiatorial event be held? Should taxes be lowered for a week? The dead peasants in the countryside surely deserved it.

Apart from meeting Odoacer in a more personal and… distended way, Decimus also got to bow in front of the Emperor the Seiani swore to protect, and although receiving a very childish answer to his “funny salute”, he knew that those words were better that any pay he could have gotten. Not that he didn’t get a huge monetary reward anyways, that was more than granted already. Even I got a few coins for surviving the battle.

I’m afraid I did not get to see Romulus though; as part of the lesser family I was not invited and didn’t even put a foot in Ravenna, but I’m glad our kin is finally beginning to be recognized as a positive pillar of the empire, and our name stops being a synonym of treachery.

I returned back to Florentia, where I left most of my duties almost a year ago and have stayed there since. In the meantime and entirely for my own amusement, I have managed to produce a nearly accurate portrait of Emperor Romulus, just by reproducing the description Decimus has made in his many letters.



My take on Emperor Romulus

One last question though, because partying is fun and celebrating victory is always sweet even far from the capital, but… What in the world happened to Basiliscus “The Craven”?

I can easily answer that. Dread nothing of his dissappearance, because we will surely meet again. He has fled to the Visigothic court and has taken up once again the role of commander of armies, oh those poor barbarians, they don’t know what awaits them.
 

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Rome lives!

I think that the Seiani would be better off if a true Roman family ruled. If it makes them the family behind the throne, then all the better I say!
 

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Chapter XI: Florentian Intermission
It’s been already a few months since I last wrote for this Chronicle, but there’s been nothing much to comment anyways. We celebrated the ending of this nefarious year together, praising Decimus for his victories, and with the same Decimus begging God to grant him a child, which doesn’t seem to have happened yet. God must be busy elsewhere, enough did he do back in Mantua.

During all this time my kinsman has healed his wounds and overseen the expansion of the walls of Florentia assisted by many veterans of Odoacer’s war, construction of which I need to mark that we received no help from the capital and it was all paid by our family and the serf’s diminished tax money. He has also initiated talks with Comes Gaius Sempronius, one of his subordinates, so that they both could recruit more soldiers for hypothetical future campaigns, but everything seems so distant. Surely, Decimus’ near-heroic aura has helped raise recruitment ratios everywhere he goes. Everyone wants to be like Decimus. Truly, it looks as if the ancient Roman military spirit came back from the grave every now and then, at least just a few minutes, then vanishes along with my kinsman.

He has also kept contact with both Comitis, Titus and Arsacius, to who he constantly sends letters. They seem to have done the same thing as Decimus; return back home and take it easy. The age of commanders and generals surely has passed. Now the only thing in sight is healing the scars almost the entirety of the northern lands have and making sure no barbarian ever crosses our diminished Limes again.

Life is pretty slow these days as there is much reconstruction to be done and not much manpower to fulfill the requirements. Destroyed buildings, amphitheatres, roads and aqueducts will surely take years to fix, but with only peace in mind, everything will be handled eventually.

Curiously enough, I begun this Chronicle thinking that Rome was doomed to fall, that thousands of years full of history would be gone without actually having the means to defend itself. Perhaps I had judged the Roman people incorrectly, perhaps there’s still hope out there.
 

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Chapter XII: No rest for the treacherous
Scratch it all. Whatever I said previously, not true, never ever again. How could I have been so naive to believe in a common “Romanitas” when all people do is squabble against their masters and lust for power. Oh the wish of becoming Emperor, how many innocent people has killed. Perhaps it would have been best if the Empire had been killed long ago, before any of us had the chance to see it collapse on itself once again.

If you, dear reader, take a look back a few chapters you’ll notice I mentioned that there are two reasons for Rome to activate its war machine. One, barbarians, simple enough. And the second, which is the one we are facing now, is Imperial Ambition. There has always been imperial ambitions and usurpers here and there, it doesn’t come as a surprise that someone would attempt to seize power when the armies were so exhausted.

It is impossible to elude, as I’ve mentioned several times, that the first example of Imperial usurper was my ancestor Lucius Aelius, but many families have born the torch since then. Even the Emperor Child’s father was a usurper once, for example, but no more. I will remind you all that the real Emperor is and will always be Iulius Nepos, right until the day he exhales his last breath, for he was elected by the Emperor in the East and hadn’t taken the role by force, unlike his many predecessors.

However, we will continue to serve the Child as its most loyal protector for it’s not his fault that the Pannonian he has as a father has made poor life choices. I often think that our family sees itself reflected on Romulus and come to think about it, it makes much sense. Both have horrible ancestors, surely barbaric, that have done horrible things, but just as Decimus or myself are innocent of whatever crimes our dynasty has been accused, so is the Little Augustus.

For this reason, and many more, we will continue to serve under him and together crush every opponent that attempts to seize the Imperial Regallia for himself.

This time the wannabe usurper is a man called Drusus Probianus, a fat stubborn mule of a man, from what I’ve heard. Neither myself nor Decimus have met him personally but he reminds me of Vitellius, another historic usurper that got its recognition from the senate. Luckily for us, the Senate in Rome has little to no power to decide who actually wears the laurel crown so the Imperial Regallia is safe where it is, back at Ravenna. Anyhow, we can’t expect any help from the East as they are also embroiled in their own civil war. Just like Orestes the Pannonian, a man named Basiliskos (Oh the irony!) of Greek Monophysite origin, declared himself Emperor and banished previous leader Zeno to Isauria, where he originally came from. Luckily for all legitimists, he has now come back with a force twice the size of Odoacer’s pagan army. To even further increase the similarities between both men, I have to note that it is very possible he has received the help of Onoulphus Scirii, the brother of the Skirian, who fled there to avoid being captured by our armies. Will he betray his new ruler? Not that it bothers me in any way; the further away the better.

Returning back to Drusus though, unbeknown to me, he sent some emissaries with requests of help for his claim on the purple. Many of the nobles that had fought alongside Decimus and Orestes outright refused his barely-credible claims of past lineages or “Godly commands” and were quick to imprison the messengers. The only one that happened to take to heart the request is a man called Ruferius Signus, Dux of Apulia and both equally a deceitful bastard and talentless soldier. Everything, once again, only rumours that people say. Still, I hope that the “talentless soldier” part shows some truth. I’m not sure what he expects to earn for his crimes, but what we will surely give him is a hard time.

Decimus has been quick to gather the few forces he has, which don’t really number past the thousand, but are full of veterans and battle-hardened men and has been quick to confirm his loyalty to Romulus. So have Arsacius and Titus, that have mobilized their respective Imperial Armies.

The Imperial Eagle marches once again!... And so do I.
 

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Chapter XIII: Romans against Rome

The “proper” Romans, citizens of Rome, have gone absolutely ballistic. The Senate, which has had absolutely no power since Diocletian’s times, has recognized Drusus as Emperor and the Praetorian Prefect of the city, Marcianus Constantinus, has raised his own militia to fight alongside the usurper. The mere thought such a traitor makes Seiani blood boil.

What I find “funny” is that even Marcianus himself can make a better proper claim to the throne than Drusus can! You see, Marcianus is both son and grandson of Emperors. He is the second child of former Emperor Anthemius, who reigned from 467 to 472, just around five years prior. Truly a great man that would not support his son’s lost cause. In my younger days I collected coins of his just for their “historical value”, as I had him in such a high pedestal. His demise was, as always,
heartbreaking for all loyal subjects of the Empire, that saw a foreigner called Ricimer rise up through the ranks much like Orestes had done during Nepos’ time. Of course, both Emperors ended powerless, but the now Dalmatian ruler lives to fight another day, and Anthemius, instead, was assassinated in cold blood.

The former capital was now embroiled in a bloody conflict. When Marcianus’ proclamation became known, the people milled about as if possessed. The fact is that the Roman mob was ready for change, for it could end the political nothingness in which the city had lived for centuries, but still the greatest enemy of the crowd was the crowd itself because of its tremendous size and diverse elements, it has always been prone to instability and vacillation. There was great slaughter of those innocent of wrongdoing: without warning, men broke into the houses of their creditors and their opponents in lawsuits, indeed into the house of anyone they hated for some trivial reason; after threatening and abusing them as informers, their attackers robbed and killed them, much to the despair of the local authorities, who had longed for a peaceful transition of powers.

Many pro-Romulians fled out of the city, but still refused to abandon the region. We know that because there’s fight ongoing in the Campus Martius, with several cohorts rejecting the peace offers and maintaining their arms still against their brothers. His high holiness, the Pope, too still holds Romulus as Emperor. God shall remain in our side.

Another man who is on our side is the lazy and hedonist elder Governor of the Samnian region Maximus Tacitus, who didn’t actually partake in the battles against Odoacer using the distance of his governorate as an excuse, and using the raiding Vandals as scapegoats. This time, however, there’s no way he can escape from duty’s call, especially when Drusus’ forces are knocking on his door at Praetutium and absolutely obliterating him at Beneventum. For the party to continue there must still be a partying zone.
 

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Chapter XIV: Mutinous Mutineers or the Art of Deceit

Decimus and his men marched south, towards Spoletum, where he would meet both young Felix Himelco, Praetorian Prefect of Italia and biggest authority of the southern part of the Peninsula, and his old friend Titus Belisarius, who had been recalled once again for Imperial duty and had had to leave the men of his county in another man’s hands. They both led a band of around seven hundred men, with a few more coming all the way from Pannonia, sent by the distant governor of the region, Aurelius Licinius, childhood friend of Orestes. Our army may have had half the men Drusus’ had, but ours were far better in quality and far stronger in the bonds that united the leadership. I honestly still don’t understand what reason had made Dux Ruferius support the usurper, but we will never know, as now he was destined to meet his same fate for doing so.

It was around the ides of March, a truly “auspicious” date, when both our armies met in the fields outside of Alba Fucens, capital city of Maximus’ governorate, and not soon after a plan was hatched. Decimus’ first brilliant plan, which took place back in the days of Odoacer’s war, had failed due to Odoacer’s own intelligence and knowledge of the fields in which he was fighting but now, this time, his new cunning plan would surely work. We are not facing another Odoacer after all, the only reason we can’t just go all in, in a complete “Sabinianus style” is just because of the steep disadvantage in numbers. Should both parties have had the same amount of soldiers since the beginning though, our leadership is far more capable of greater things than the traitors’.

The plan was very simple. Far more than the last one at least. Maximus Tacitus’ reconnaissance troops reported that Drusus had been marching for a month, hoping to link the bulk of his forces with the ones supplied by the Princeps Marcianus. This meant that all the lands south of Capua, which is where his headquarters are located, are almost devoid of troops and should not take much time to reoccupy and reintegrate into the domains of the rightful Emperor. Of course, whenever that objective is achieved, the main instigators of the usurpation will be hanged without mercy. This said, the Imperial army now had an objective, and it was ready to achieve it without any setbacks.

When our troops reached the walls of Amalphia we were met with something I didn’t think I’d ever see. They were cheering on us! Well, not us exactly, but on His Highness Emperor Romulus. They acclaimed his name as the sole leader of Italia and shouted praises of legendary victories none of them had seen. They apparently thought that our armies had swiftly crushed the Germanic tribesmen and that Drusus was absolutely out of his mind for having revolted against the young but invincible emperor.

We were, of course, not going make them believe otherwise. “Everyone hail the undefeated Decimus, the heroic leader of His Majesty’s legions.”

Many recruits joined the army on the spot, and we managed to boost our troop number back to the three thousands, which almost matched the numbers the usurper had. Now, if we were to be encircled in mountainous terrain, much like it had happened back at Mantua, the enemy would have a most hard time trying to crack the shieldwalls.

The entire region of Surrentum bowed to its Emperor in less than a month, and our losses didn’t even amount to a hundred, which we could now copiously recover and even duplicate. On the other hand, Drusus and his sidekicks are still having a hard time attempting to crack the morale of the defenders at Campus Martius, and the Pope still refuses to acknowledge his claim.

In other news to end the campaign, we’ve been informed that Zeno, the claimant of which I spoke about last time, has successfully defeated the illegal ruler of the East and now Basiliscus the Myaphisite awaits the date of his execution. Could this mean we would receive even more help? It is know that the Eastern Senate recognizes Nepos and not our young Augustus, but surely now that we’ve defeated the Skirian he sees us now with better, hopeful eyes.
 

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Chapter XV: Alamanni, the Yellow Scourge

What you see right here are the latest news from Rome. Just recently struck, this is a coin bearing the usurper’s name that we got from a captured soldier not long ago. The quality is as bad as you’d expect, understanding the hurry in which the coinmakers were. This also demonstrates, though, that the people of Rome accept his rule without question, and use his otherwise valueless money as their own. Was that coin struck over one of our Emperor’s?

Regarding our field adventure, despair inducing news come again from where else than the north. As if we hadn’t had enough with Odoacer’s many, many tribal chiefs, now we must take care of an Alamanni invasion, which has taken advantage of the fact that near all of our units are currently tied up in the south to invade the region of Tirolis. This land is located right under the rule of Aurelius Licinius the Pannonian, although the population is mainly Romano-Noric, this is, a mixture of both Roman and Gaulish cultures and traditions. They have around four thousand tribal soldiers, which are not even a quarter of a threat of what the Skirian could pose. Some say that the Alamanni have painted their shields in Yellow to request the sun’s assistance in their new campaign; little do they know, their sun was created by our God.

Of course, going up there to expel the raiders means abandoning all of our conquests in the south, but well, the military headquarter will decide our course of action, all we will do is follow orders as always.

Regarding the south though, from what Decimus has told me Drusus the usurper has been suffering heavy casualties the last few months, and now, entering year 478 of our lord’s calendar, his army numbers are down around fifteen percent. It is highly possible that he will soon be killed by his own men due to his own inefficacy, following the example of many, many usurpers before. Our side’s main issue would be if someone assassinated The Child, subject I don’t even wish to think about, but we should really act with care now that there are two Romes clashing with each other, or even three, if any of the men at court is a spy sent by Iulius Nepos.

Two days later:

The situation up north seems to be far more grave than it seems because our units have been quickly recalled by Orestes, who fears the capital of the region, Iuvavum, may fall in the next few months. The Alamanni have taken advantage of the summer weather, for we are in August now, and have moved swiftly across the countryside, pillaging everything in their path much like Odoacer did despite his “Romanitas”. The few Limitanei that protected the region, this is, the soldiers entitled to ensure the border remained uncrossed, seeing themselves almost overrun by the barbarians, have done nothing but retreat, leaving many valuable lands in foreign hands.

We fear that during this time Drusus’ units will gather enough morale for a push to occupy the Samnium, but it is highly improbable that they will attempt to seize the capital. Orestes is safe for now in his own little world.
 

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Thread wasn't giving me notifications for some reason.

It seems as if the throne is hotly contested, and barbarians are taking advantage.

I wonder if Syagrius in Gaul will mount a claim? What's going on in Soissons, anyway?
 

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Chapter XVI: Hell on the Mura
The Noric people surely are an auspicious bunch. Everywhere we’ve gone our troops have been received with warm shelters and hot meals. Unlike in Amalphia, this show of “friendliness” isn’t because of any general’s actions, nor is it because of fear that they will get abducted by the Alamanni and sold as slaves, but because of the man to whom they pay their taxes. Well, the second possibility may also help a little bit. You see, we’ve currently entered the region of Tauriscia, washed by the crystalline waters of the Mura and the man in charge of keeping peace of this Roman territory is none other than Paulus Caecina, the younger brother of Orestes. Paulus has ruled with a fair hand for the past two years, and the populace returns the favour by not rioting or rising against Rome. When our units reached his domain’s border we were quickly recognized as the men sent by his brother to protect them, and he raised his own retinue to support and assist us in our quest to defend the northern frontier.

In all honesty, and speaking from a privileged point of view, neither Orestes nor Paulus are bad people. I know it’s kind of ironic for me to say that, having in count all the bad things I have said about the first one, but well, I will reiterate, Orestes is still the worst diplomat I’ve ever seen, and his stupidity as a commander can only match his luck, for he has a loyal brother to protect him and lead his armies in his name. That’s exactly what he did back in 475, and if they both are still here, they must surely have been successful. Paulus doesn’t seek the Imperial throne as he is quite content that his nephew is the one filling the vacuum of power.

Returning back to our military focus though, the reason we were in Paulus’ lands was because we’d received news of an army marching towards Gratium, the capital city of the region. They were to be stopped at all costs. If they passed, this would mean that they would have successfully flanked the Alps and entered Italy proper, and the northern lands, as you, dear reader, will already know, were in no way ready to arm themselves and form a militia strong enough to kick the raiders away. For this reason we will have to make a stand here and hold off the hordes.

Unlike in 476, the opposing forces are more or less matched, with us Romans being in a slight disadvantage that can be easily overcome by the experience our units have. Against us is coming Gottfrid the Alamannian, a genius expert in mountainous terrain, or that’s what we’ve heard at least. He knows the Alps like the back of his hands. It is for this reason that we will await for him to come, so as to have the time to prepare proper defenses.

Paulus’ scouts report a large group coming from the northwest, and we shall stand our ground right in front the shores of the Mura river. Ditches have been dug and palisades have been built. If they want to get to Gratium, they’ll have to defeat three thousand ready legionaries.

A day later:
O! What great chants will be written about this glorious day. The Alamanni assault began right when the sun came out and, even though it was still slightly dark, their very bright yellow coloured shield didn’t help them hide, while our units ambushed a few before they even got to cross the only river that could lead them to the other side. Surrounding it though, there were many of Paulus’ and Titus’ men, hidden behind bushes and abandoned looking wooden fortifications.

A boasting Alamanni leader, Leuthar, adventured head first into the water, fearing that they would fall into a trap if they crossed the river. He was right, but he had just walked into another trap! Most of the river shore had been extended, and now it looked like it was twice the size, making it twice harder to cross. Big boulders coming from the mountains had been set up behind that, further difficulting the cross. The stream was not excessively quick, and there was no real risk of drowning, but still, should they be knocked unconscious it would be very hard for them to stay in place.
When Leuthar had already crossed half of the river, and his face showed slight confusion, one of Decimus’ subordinates, Publius Sempronia, screamed and threw a javelin into the Alaman’s chest, killing him instantly.

The battle had begun. All the Roman armies revealed themselves, and made moves to encircle their units, which had been advancing in a straight, closed up formation to avoid being ambushed. The Alamanni tried to cross the bridge seeing how one of his commanders had been slain while attempting to avoid so, but when they did they found themselves trapped, for our units, who knew the terrain better than them, had crossed and surrounded them. They fought valiantly but there wasn’t much for them to do. A few jumped into the friendly looking river, only to be captured by more of Paulus’ men.

The battle winded down after a few hours, and cracks began to appear in the non encircled Alamanni lines. Gottfried, who was leading everything from the back, attempted to make an ordered retreat back to the mountainside, where he could gain the advantage and crush his foe. Our units would not let him get a respite and had to break line and run for their lives not much later.

They were not totally defeated, and will surely come back again, but for a few months we will have time to return south and crush Drusus, who has affianced his rule over Rome.
 

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I wonder if Syagrius in Gaul will mount a claim? What's going on in Soissons, anyway?
I'll speak a bit about him in the coming chapters.
 

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Chapter XVII: Not a second for respite

Following the victory, and even though a definitive peace deal hadn’t been settled, the units moved back again south, leaving Paulus to handle the situation in the barbarian border. It now looked far better for the nice people we met there and they could breath with relief, at least for a few months. The Alamanni would surely be back, there’s no ridding of such a pest, but now the Imperial focus was the usurper, who had been feeling emboldened by the lack of enemies the past few months in the region. It was the 12th of January of the year 479 when the troops arrived back at Amalphia, where we had so gloriously left last time.

When we came about once again though, we were not received with cheers, nor did anyone show up to greet us in any way. What we saw instead were ravaged lands, burnt cities and sacked churches. It was Drusus’ punishment for switching sides. None was saved from the Neapolitan’s rage.

We can’t blame the locals for choosing the right side, but we can blame ourselves for leaving them defenseless. The one against whom they had invoked his wrath had ravaged their land and crushed them all into submission again and we were at fault for letting him revolt in the first place.

In fact, Drusus’ and Marcianus’ units were camping outside the ruined walls of Surrentum, where once Decimus had been acclaimed “The Hero of Mantua” and Arsacius and Titus proclaimed Imperatores.

It was our duty as a company to avenge the ones that had treated us so well. Even I was engulfed by the military fervor such a sighting produced in all the hearts. I’m no military man, but the thought of destroying the usurper and protecting The Child once again helped support my determination. It’s all for the no-so-young-now Romulus.

Our emboldened units charged at his without hesitation, just like the Alamanni had done up north. There was no doubt, however, that we were playing the victor’s role, and not the barbarian’s. In fact, there was no plan, there was no tactic, but there was no need for those, all that was was anger and need for revenge.
I may be “overhyping” the battle, but the results speak for themselves.

Septimius Decius, a knowledgeable man, was leading the right flank, where most of the recruits and Pseudocomitatensis were located. In fact, many of those recruits were townsmen from the region, who, as I mentioned, joined the military to support our campaign. His flank should have been the most weak of all and under the normal circumstances should have quickly crumbled and left a path for the cavalry to charge into battle, but maybe because of all the aforementioned bloodlust, or simply because Septimius was a good commander, he still is, his units did nothing but advance into the enemy lines, crushing everyone in their path and taking no prisoners at all. Do I support mercilessly slaying Roman people? Not normally, but they truly deserved it. The mere sight of the burned houses of Amalphinum turn my stomach upside down.

Leading the enemy’s right flank was “Emperor” Drusus himself, seeing helplessly how a big part of his army disintegrated right in front of his own eyes. I couldn’t see
his face from the safe distance in which I was located, but it surely must have been quite an amusing view.

Following the almost total destruction of the right flank, the center began to crumble and Drusus was forced to flee the battlefield in order to save his life. All we can do now is hope his troops get further demoralized and desist, killing him along the way. That’s all he gets.

This is my closest estimate for the battle, done after helping review the corpses for both sides.


 

abian363

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Chapter XVIII: De Rebus Traditoris

It’s been a long six months of arduous campaigning, the papers I brought from home are almost all used now and I don’t know how much I will be able to write without refilling, but I think this is an auspicious enough occasion to do so.

We are currently outside the small palisade of the Bishopric of Iudenacius, in the domains of Comes Sergius Cloelia in Barium. This is currently enemy territory by the way. Drusus hasn’t given up yet, or at least the Romans don’t seem to want to let him do so. The senate grows more nervous each day that passes, and I think the Imperial High Command, with Orestes himself as the lead, believes the situation to be quite entertaining. Everytime the Roman armies pass near Rome smog is floating in the air. Continuous rivalries and conflicts erupt everyday as the people get more and more tense, and food shortages have begun causing deep concern in the Senate. This is mainly because of Zeno, whom even though he doesn’t consider Romulus as the Legitimate leader of the Western Roman Empire, he knows that Drusus’ claim is even more of a joke and has refused to send grain from Egypt to the capital, just opposite of what has been happening for the past five hundred years.

This has triggered the hunger of his troops that get even more violent by the day, if we don’t have in count what happened in Amalphia, which had been just before Zeno closed the flow of food supplies.

In these desperate times we must surely be ready to expect any movement, as his armies are beginning to become unruly and his only notable ally, Doux Ruferius, is beginning to see that he hasn’t, perhaps, chosen correctly.

What is most curious, however, is that Drusus has gotten himself a new rival. That’s right! Another man has proclaimed himself leader of the Romans in the West. Not Western Emperor, just “Ruler in the West”. I already knew about Rex Afranius, up in the heartlands of our old Governorate of Gallia, but he is not a threat anymore, ever since the Germans ravaged his northern frontier. He is still at large though, still protecting his own roman people for the sake of the old Imperial glory. Maybe one day, if he lives enough to see it of course, one of his descendants shall be elected ruler of the West. Who knows?

As I said, Afranius is not our focus right now. Who is the new man then? None other than Magnus Decius. Where he came from is hard to say, being myself so far away from his lands in Southern Hispania. He, just like Afranius, has forged his name as a “Ruler of the Romans” outside of Rome, but unlike the Gaulish warlord, he has done it himself, and hasn’t inherited a vast dominion. He is currently at war with the Visigoths, his past suzerains, but has made sure to make enough noise for his news to reach the capital.

How long will he last? Will he become fodder for the Germanic swords that he has angered or will he actually become a threat for the establishment at Ravenna?
 

HistoryDude

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Western Rome seems to be doing well. It also seems as if its legacy remains strong even outside of its core territory.
 

abian363

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Chapter XIX: The unthinkable
Sometimes, just sometimes, I think God appears and acts just to spite me. Is it a hugely egocentric way of thinking, and quite possibly a sin, especially following what happened at the outskirts of Mantua? Absolutely. But I dare you to convince me otherwise.

On the bright side, I am currently inside Ravenna, have refilled my writing post and currently await inside a warm tabernae while writing this. On the dark side though, Drusus and almost four thousand men are outside the walls of the capital, ready to attempt one last assault, seeing how the situation in Rome was getting out of hand. Decimus, Severus and Magister Iovianus, substitute of Arsacius, who by now is recovering back at Emona sick of Consumption, made it back from Apulia quick enough to reach the walls just a few days before Drusus and Iulius, his second in command did. His army resembles one of the ancient Roman days, before Emperor Diocletian renewed the army system and Aurelian gave cavalry a much important role than before. It is mostly formed by Sagitarii and well trained Comitatensis. Most of these troops lack direct combat experience, but are surely a force to reckon with. Our light cavalry is mobile enough to exit the many gates that surround our capital and ravage their camps, and they’ve done it several times, but he seems adamant in capturing the city and ending his rebellion once for all. I mean, if Orestes and Romulus have been slightly recognized by the Emperor in the East, so can he be, right? And well, Iulius Nepos could invade anytime from his post at Dalmatia.

What would happen to the Seiani if that were to happen? We’ve demonstrated great loyalty towards the Child Emperor, and that can easily be shifted towards anyone that wears the Purple legitimately, but does Drusus really deserve it? His armies have already been humiliated in battle, and the only reason he has stopped being cowardly and move outside of his southern defensive position has been because of his hunger-striken political ally at Rome.

Anyways, I don’t want to think about that. Decimus is always going from one side of the city to another, readying the walls here and there and taking care of every petty situation that may arise. The Emperor and his father are safe in the palace, which is surrounded by another set of walls, and the city can sleep in peace because unlike in Mantua, these times the walls are high enough to avoid archers firing flaming arrows inside.

Only time can tell when the real assault will begin; all the preambles have been successfully completed.
 

HistoryDude

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It seems as if the AI revolt has taken initiative...
 

abian363

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Chapter XX: The final struggle

That “Real Assault” finally came the 4th of April of the year 480, after a siege of a month. Drusus “quickly” realized that the city would not surrender, neither to his threats nor to his offer of “benevolence and clemency” and quickly rearmed his men to call for an assault.

Our walls wouldn’t be easy to crack, so he brought heavy siege weapons to the fields outside of the city. It was truly a majestic sight to see. I only adventured a few minutes one night to gaze upon such big cataphracts and the experience was absolutely breathtaking. Shame they were being used against us. Our engineer team was
overworked going here and there, repairing breaks in the walls and fixing each crack that appeared in the towers. The palace inside was also getting the works, with some hits breaking the hard stone of the superior rooms. The generals knew that the numbers for each side were almost matched, and that it would be extremely dangerous to lead an assault without having a safe entrance route; ladders wouldn’t work this time, so all they had to do was wait for the best moment.

That moment came one night, right after another unsuccessful attempt at breaking our walls and coming inside. Drusus must have surely gotten angrier by the day and I can’t even imagine his face when our cavalry came out hidden by the dark and obliterated all of his siege equipment, truly fantastic. I watched it all from the battlements, safe from any retaliation fire that may follow. The wooden structures lit up like a pire and they became unsalvageable after just a few minutes. Many of our men were lost in that daring attack, which I don’t know who ordered, but most definitely more was won than lost that night.

The real final struggle came, however, just a few days later. Unbeknownst to Drusus, the Imperial Army had an ace under their sleeves. That ace was, of course, the loyalty of the surrounding population, that armed themselves in a militia and quickly striked the enemy camp from the back. The populace was already angry since the foe had been taking their grain and supplies ever since they arrived at the walls, and they just needed a message from the inside to arm themselves and fight for their food.

Seeing how a group of peasants was assaulting a group of well armed and… well fed units, it felt necessary for help to come help them out, or else it would have been a mostly one sided, honourless fight. Everyone rushed to lend a hand and assist the assault. The main gates opened much to the dismay of Drusus and his men, who had been attempting to gain access through that side of the walls for a month. Orestes in person gave the order to attack and led a small contingent of cavalry outside, always safe from any harm, of course. A tide of young, eager men came outside to meet their foe and, making sure that the enemy remained encircled all battle, crushed every last hope the usurper had.

Together with most of his army fell Marcianus Constantinus, heir of many emperors but the leader of only the bones of the ones like him. With him also fell Rome, not literally, but all hope was lost for the eternal city. Now, it was time for the Little Augustus to get his revenge.

Drusus was forced to flee in shame once again and only his most loyal men followed him this time. Almost a thousand soldiers, the ones that didn’t perish in the fray, surrendered to the merciful young Emperor. Only the ones that had instigated the usurpation, mainly leading centurions and cavalry commanders, were executed, the
rest were let free to return back to their homelands in the south or kept in friendly custody if they were from the area surrounding Rome, for what was coming now, they would definitely not want to see.

The wannabe Emperor had completely overextended his own resources, both manpower and food supplies, and now was doing a pathetic retreat towards his stronghold at Capua, persecuted by our own cavalry, which harassed his rear for days. Everywhere he went he was received with boos, and after quickly abandoning any town and village they went into, for they were not welcome, our units were received with twice the effusiveness and warmth. We continually knew where their units were located, and Decimus could surely lead another heroic charge and easily obliterate what was left of his demoralized troop, but decided instead that tormenting the poor men, too oblivious of the real state in which their rebellion was, was far better for the Imperial Plans, for a better prize began to loom on the horizon the further southwards we moved.

That prize, of course, was the city of Rome, and with it, like a gift that has another gift inside, came the Senate, of which most members had already left for their villas far from the ancient capital, hidden under cloaks and another name.



My take on the siege, not counting men that fled the battle.
 

HistoryDude

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I wonder what the Western Romans will do now that the revolt is defeated...

How's the ERE doing, by the way?
 

abian363

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Chapter XXI: Male parta male dilabuntur
What is initiated with a bleak future ends when that future becomes present. For Rome, however, its future looked bright back at the times of Romulus. I'm going very far back, am I not? I mean, ever since those ancient, nearly forgotten days we’ve had years of greater victories and times of joyous celebration all around the civilized world. The Roman eagle seemed unstoppable. Why has it been then, that we’ve been born in the wrong times? All fires must extinguish at last, doesn’t matter if the flames last for a thousand years, but sometimes they go out in a blaze, and sometimes they go out like Rome was doomed to go out: In silence and in the deepest irrelevance. I find it ironic, for a country whose name is derived from that magnificent city, how badly it has been mistreated. Everything reduced to nothing in just a few centuries.

We are at fault of some of that nothingness, but we do have a reason. The old senate, which had been toiling at their irrelevance, wanted to return to the glorious old days, when they could depose leaders and send them into exile like the omnipotent being they thought they were. The only omnipotent being, however, has been proven again and again to be God, and should you believe to be a god, you’ll fall like a mortal.

Now Rome laid in ruins once again. Neither the Aurelian nor the Servian walls could stop the influx of foreigners. The senators executed and the Senate on fire. There would be no more “Republic”, there would be no more consuls.

The enemy, almost completely broken, was waiting at Capua ready to make its last stand like Sabinianus predicted. Oh how distant it all seems now. It’s also been three years since I last was at Florentia, I wonder whatever has happened to my house. It has surely been broken into, several times at least.

Drusus knew there was no winning, no going anywhere else. He was appointed Governor of Capua and he would die there as Governor of Capua. I began collecting coins with his efigie once again, now valueless as Orestes had denounced them, but unlike the ones of Anthemius, which as I said I collected when I was young, now these ones were just to spite his supporters and throw at them when they faced the lions at the Amphitheatrum of the Flavii.

Decimus marched at the head of the army, followed by Arsacius, who was back from his unlucky sick leave and ready to end it all.

Capua fell one noon not much later. With it fell the Usurper, beaten and bloodstained, and as quick as he had elected emperor against Romulus Augustulus, now he was dead. It’s a shame though, I would’ve liked to see him fight against gladiators for his life.

Peace had been brought to the south, at the cost of many civilian lives, but peace after all. Three years of long, arduous war, endless sieges and battles, but victory at last.
Iulius Gaius, commander in chief and defender of the Campus Martius at the beginning of the war, the one who held a siege for a year against outnumbering enemies has been elevated by Orestes to Caesar for his unending regard for the rightful Emperor and the sacrifice he underwent.

One last unrelated note, remember Magnus Decius, the wannabe Emperor in Hispania? Well, he did defeat the Visigoths and proclaimed himself leader of the Romans, but not soon after his coalition with several of the local warlords disintegrated and now there are three like him, all proclaiming themselves to be the rightful rulers in the south.

O Rome, how much pain you’ve brought to these lands but how much you’ve given in return!
 

abian363

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Chapter XXII: The calm before and after the storm
You, dear reader, may be wondering what’s next for Decimus; what troubles will he face. Well, I’ll tell you. But first, how about another Florentian intermission?

As I said before, it’d been around three-four years since I’d last been at Florentia, but when we all returned everything looked the same. The fields were blooming, the populace seemed happy and Agretia, the spouse of Decimus, had made sure that all taxes were collected on time and without missing a single coin. Florentian wheat was trading higher than ever, maybe because 90% of the rest of the empire was completely ravaged, looted, and impracticable for cultive, or maybe because Egyptian wheat wasn’t arriving. The reason isn’t because Zeno has decided to finally stop accepting Romulus as Emperor, far from it. There’s now another usurpation going on and those usurpers of the east have the needs to feed their own troops rather than to send them far away. Poor Zeno is hiding behind the walls of Constantinople. Maybe we should help him?

Unlike the last intermission, Florentia is not undergoing any significant renovations, but Decimus surely has gotten some ideas from his “visit” to Rome. I still hope we can build our own “Amphitheatrum Seianum” one day. For the sake of the dynastical glory that our lineage deserves, no less than that. It’ll remain wishful thinking for now, but how knows, it may come earlier than expected.

Oh, and in other news, perhaps that’s the reason I’ve begun thinking about amphitheatres while writing this. Ruferius, the governor of Apulia and traitor has been publicly executed in the amphiteatre at Ravenna, where his armies were unable to enter just half a year prior. Sic transit gloria mundi.

And yes, now let’s return back to Decimus. After spending the first two months of the year 481 at home, he was recalled once again to service, this time once again up north. The Alamanni had gotten what they wanted: A vast sum of gold and some small territorial concessions so as to keep them away, but now the Thuringians wanted their own piece of the cake Pannonia was becoming. Poor Norics, they keep getting stepped over.

They aim for nothing less than the capital; Iuvavum. Bisinus Almading, the devilish leader of the Thuringians, is leading himself the biggest unit. Under his command come several tens of small vassals, landowners, and all sorts of serfs. He is not Odoacer, don’t get confused, and he doesn’t have the same numbers, but still, all enemies are Odoacer-like if left uncontrolled. They surely were angry to find most of
the lands already ravaged and with not much to rob regarding food and valuables. Their second-cousins had already done that a year prior. Truly a man that plans his actions with care and intelligence, that Bisinus.

He has allegedly mustered around four thousand men, similar number to the one of the Alamanni. Definitely, they must’ve gotten their raiding ideas from them.
 

HistoryDude

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Helping the ERE would be good for inter-Roman relations...

As for Drusus, live by the sword, and die by it.

Also, are there seriously six claimants to Western Roman throne. Six?