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Greetings!

I;ve always been fan to epic megacampaings. There is something magical reading about history going completely alternative and such. Nowadays, however, I find that most MC's take easy route: just go along with game engine, use official converter and such. For me, it kills the magic. My philosophy is that megacampaign needs narrative, a heavy touch from player both in game and in his storytelling, to make plausible, truly interesting alternative history. So, it's time for me to take a shot at making history by myself. And since I am serious guy, i will take it seriously, starting right from the beginning with EU: Rome.
Also, please be lenient when it comes to my grammar and vocabulary. It's actually also an opportunity for me to help improve my written English. I hope the quality will improve with every coming part.
I hope you will enjoy!

EDIT: I forgot to mention. i'll be playing on Epigoni Mod with few changes here and there, but nothing major.


Year 20XX, castle somewhere in Europe

Poor little Kail looked around. There were kids around his age - around ten, or even twelve of his cousins - but no one wanted to play with him. It as always the same around Christmas. Kail knew that it was because his parents were something of "main branch", so uncles and aunts instructed their children to treat him with respect. But kail didn;t want respect, he wanted playmates, but whetever he went, every child will try to avoid him.
"Well, here is our little hero" finally, he heard voice that made him rejoice.
"Grandpa!" boy shouted in joy
"Well well, energetic, aren't we? But why are you not playing with your counsins?" grandpa said
"They won't let me join"
"Oh, that's sad. But it was even worse in my generation. When I was your age, there were around thirty of us. Baby boom, they called it. And still, no one even dared to talk to me. My father was really scary, you know. Even his siblings feared him, not to mention their children."
"But my daddy isn't scary" replied Kail
"Oh, it might seem that way to you. But every person in this place fears him, as they feared every head of Napatera for centuries. And someday, they will fear you, Kail" said Grandpa in oddly lighthearted tone
"But I don't want to be feared. I don't care about those centuries."
"You will when you grow older. Come to think of it, I was also five when my grandfather told me for a first time about our family. it was also family gathering like this. Didn't see him around much rest of a year. Well, when I became head I also moved around a lot. Oh, but listen to my ramblings. Let me tell you a story, kail"
"A story?" little Kail was already hooked. He was always looking up to his grandpa.
"Right. A story. A tale of three thousand years. A tale that began far, far away from there. And there are kings, and princesses and brave warriors in it. Believe me, you will like it"
LION"S AWAKENING
Map of territorial changes during this part


Legend goes like this. There were once two great powers in our world - Egyptian and Hittite empires. Thy warred against each other constantly, but never has one prevailed. It was circa 1200 before Christ, when another peace attempt was made. One of terms was an marriage between pharaoh and Hittite princess. But before the girl has reached Egyptian border, she found a love of her life. Some say he was an runaway prince from Egypt. Some say he was an simple, but charming man from city of Ugarit. They eloped, running from wrath of their fathers to the west, through Greece and Italia towards new land and founded new city there, called Oronte, after the river before which they met.
The man's name was Maripas, the princess's - Yuri Napatera.
It's hard to tell how much of truth is in this legend. But without a doubt, city of Orenta stood where it stands there when Greeks came into this region and founded colony of Emporion north of Orenta, which was still a small settlement back then. First author to mention Orenta was greek Eumenes, who came around Emporion ca. 320 BC. Back then, those two cities were already embroiled in conflict, after which Greek colony will become part of fledging empire.
But those are Orentan historians that give us insight into the city's history. Haron of Gardia (1st c. BC) mentions a date f 1203 BC as the city's founding. It rose in stature during era of Phoenician colonization (around 8th century BC), becoming major settlement in western Miditerranean. In 765 BC republic was founded. City was ruled by council of merchants, mostly of Phoenician origin. It continued as major trading hub for almost three hundred years. When Phoenicia itself has fallen into hands of foreign powers, its colonies were left alone. In Orenta, tensions between ruling caste and citizens arose. In internal conflicts the popular side prevailed, led by high priest Hannes Napatera - a supposed descendant of princess Yuri and Maripas It was a year of 531 BC, when Republic has fallen, followed by an Theopublic - an unique form of government, mixing theocracy, republic and even monarchy.
The difference between Orenta and other Phoenician colonies was in its religion. Major deities like Ba'al and Tanit were sidelined. Orenta was a city of goddess Ishtar, patron of war and fertility, which other Phoenician cities called Astarte. Historian Omon (1st c. AD) recounts traditional form of legend about princess Yuri and adds that her grandmother was supposedly Ishtar reincarnated as Hittite queen. Early Orentians called themselves "children of Ishtar" and carried Ishtar lions as their symbol. Position of High Priest of the goddess was always kept within Napatera bloodline, initially passing from father to son. Napateras were therefore natural leaders of Orentan society.


Lion of Ishtar. Lion motiffs were extremely popular in Orenta even after Ishtar cult started to fade. While babylonian Ishtar was heavily connected with sexual practices, Orentian Ishtar was first and foremost goddess of war. Her lions were carried by soldiers into battle. In later centuries, convicted noblemen were ofter punished to being eaten by a lioness. Ishtar had many temples in orenta, but most important one was built ca. 350 BC and dominated the city for seven centuries, until major earthquake destroyed it. Barbarian tribes that invaded empire from 3nd century AD onwards finished the destruction.


As it was mentioned before, Early Orentian government was quite unique. City was ruled by council of nine patricians, always led by a High Priest of Ishtar. Four patrician formed so-called "inner council", while five others were seated in "foreign council". Those in former were chosen by citizens themselves and enjoyed their position until death. Foreign council members were chosen by High Priest, who could also dismiss them, though in practice they usually also served for lifetime. To sit in a council, one had to be Orentan citizen, but there were two categories of citizenship. First one was designed to appease older Orentian famillies. It was hard to attain and guaranteed right to vote for "inner" councilors and various exemptions from tax and military service. Easier to obtain was an "normal" citizenship, which was actually enough to serve in a foreign council.
Mid-5th century BC, when Macedonian armies marched towards Persia, in the west, another conflict raged. After centuries of growth and repelling barbaric tribes, Orenta has grown in citizens. Around 300 BC, it numbered around 30 000 inhabitants, and was just behind Carthage, Rome and on par with Syracuse. High Priest Azuplicar Napatera, despite losses at sea, has broken feeble Emporion phalanx on land and occupied the Greek colony, finalizing first conquest of future empire. Greek colonies, which lost their support from their motherland as Diadochi Wars raged were easy targets for Orenta army. In around 310 BC Azuplicar, along with Carthaginians lent their aid to another Phoenician colony, Abdera, in it's conflict with local tribes and Greeks. Abdera, located in far south, formed a league with Orenta, but it was easily dominated by an stronger partner. Azuplicar died around 307 BC, leaving to his successors foundations for future empire.


Presumably a depiction of fight between Orentian and Emporeian phalanxes. At the beginning, Orentian military simply copied Greek methods of fighting, but under Auron Napatera it developed its own style of warfare. Early Orentian military strategy relied on mobility and winning pitched battles instead of costly sieges, This method worked well in Iberia, but proven ineffective later on, when Orentian Empire encountered more developed rivals on it's way.


But it was his son Auron that started the Orentian expansion for good. Almost a legendary figure, Heron described him as a man of three meters tall and enormous strength. But first and foremost, Auron was an aggressive, wildly charismatic man, and extremely capable commander. He easily dominated council and it was his vision that shaped Orentian policy for centuries. Auron, who commanded an unit during Abdera conflict, believed that Orentian values are clearly superior to those of its neighbors and composed a plan to dominate tribes. At first, a diplomatic solution was seeked, but tribesmen did not understand concepts of political entities such as leagues (de facto federations). When messengers sent to Volcae tribe on the north returned with their hands and legs severed, Auron decided that military subjugation was necessary. Thus, Iberian Wars started.
Orentian army was technically one of the weakest in the Mediterranean. Bulk of its forces was composed of conscripts, fighting in Greek style in modified phalanx. Their main weapons were shots spears and shortbows, and they used loose, defensive formations. Its advantage lied in rudimentary discipline, high morale and above all - Auron Napatera's superior command. In his first major conflict against Volcae tribe, enemy army was smashed in no time and tribe leaders hastily agreed to join Orentian League. Encouraged by this success, Auron discarded diplomatic options and continued his military campaign. Neighboring tribes were unruly, scattered and constantly in feud, which made them a easy target for Auron's army. Only Caessians in the south, already heavily under Orenta' cultural influence surrendered without a fight. In ten years Orentian army conquered hundred times territory it had in the beginning of the Iberian Wars, encountering little resistance from the barbarians. Only tribe of Ruteni offered major resistance, handing Auron his first defeats, but eventually succumbed around 290 BC.


Initially, Merchants composed majority of Orenta citizens. Orentian law, Egao Orente dealt mostly with economic matters, but when orentian expansion began in 3rd century BC, it became obvious that rules had to be made to ensure painless integration of new territories and subjects. Under Auron Napatera leadership law was made to ease entry into ranks of citizens, but after his death influental patricians slowly but surely restricted that path for people of conquered territories.


Successful campaigns surprised everyone in capital and unexpectedly shook it's society to the core. Auron, firm believer that Orenta won't be able to retain it's position shall it remain just a conqueror, offered tribal leaders citizenship, and even seats within the council. Patricians rebelled, but Auron's popularity with the masses prevailed. According to historian Omon, he took a girl from Ruteni as his concubine and proclaimed her another coming of Ishtar, attributing to her his recent difficulties in subjugating this tribe. Utterly defeated, council agreed to open up the ranks of Orentian citizens. Wealthy tribe leaders were able to purchese citizenship and thus enter the council. That was a beginning of rural nobility that governed vast territories of Iberia for Orenta.
Conquests however slowly exhausted war potential of the young state and war with Contestani tribes 290-282 turned out to be surprisingly long and bloody. Meanwhile, rivals of the Orenta expanded their influence. Around that time Carthaginians landed in the south and took major city of Gadir as their protectorate. In 280 BC they controlled significant territory in the peninsula and were eyeing for more. Auron at that time was involved in another costly war with major tribe of Turdetani. Along with Cantabri and Voccali in the centre those were most powerful tribal entities in Iberia and exhausted Orentian military was unable to press its advance. Fearing that Carthaginian will strike one of the warring sides, Auron made peace with the enemy, annexing territory of allied Belli tribe, but leaving Turdetani out of league.


Auron the Conqueror came as close to being dictator as it was possible during his era. An man of extraordinary insight and ability, he created Orentian military almost from scratch, conquered massive territories and reformed law system of the theopublic. Loved by masses, despised by patricians, he ruled the city with iron grip. After his death steps were made to limit High priest power, and since basically none of his descendants came close in terms of ability to Conqueror, importance of the office declined slowly through centuries.

That was conclusion of Iberian Wars. In over 30 years Orenta expanded from city-state to fledgling empire and major power in western Miditerranean, capable of rivalling Carthage and Italians But to contest her rivals, it had to overcome it's major weaknesses. First of all, Orentian fleet was small and weak. Second thing, manpower issues became glaring during an end to Iberian Wars. And third thing, albeit experienced, Orentian army was of considerably worse quality than those of other powers. Thus, Auron, already called "the Conqueror" embarked to solve those issues. First of all, in only five years major naval force was constructed and equipped. It was still smaller than Carthaginian Fleet, but capable of fending off blockades and controlling crucial naval lanes. But major focus of Auron's was on the army. Greek methods and experience from fighting tribes were basis of forming the "issata" system. Infantry was divided into three formations:: light spearmen usually covered the centre of formation, flanked by heavy, well armoured swordsmen and supported by mobile, small units of archers. Cavalry was disregarded by Auron and was used mostly for reconnaissance and support duties. Basic drill was introduced as high council finally approved creation of professional, standing army of 15 000 soldiers. With this force at hand, Auron was able to continue his great designs.


To build a strong navy, major economic effort had to be made. New taxes hit Orentian allies hardest, and in 273 BC, Volcae chieftain Cailtram launched rebellion agains Orenta. he was however quickly overwhelmed and his family executed by Auron's forces. Volcae territories were divided among Orenta patrician famillies.

Around 271 BC, Carthage became embroiled in civil war. Other powers, Syracuse, Teate and Numidia among them, soon intervened. Carthaginian territories in Iberia were ripe for taking. In 271 BC, Orentan forces besieged and captured Gadir, most important Carthaginian outpost in the region. Carthaginians responded by sending strong military expedition lead by commander Hanno, which managed to take Gadir back. Meanwhile, Auron and his forces were involved in conflict in the north. Carthaginians staged coup in Greek colony of Massalia, which strategically threatened Orentian trade routes. Auron threw back enemies from the city and turned it into tributary state, but was forced to evacuate hearing the news of Hanno's advance in the south. Two armies finally met near settlement of Becula. A result was devastating for Carthage. Auron's veterans withheld assault of Numidian mercenaries and then shattered Punic formations, effectively destroying Hanno's army and capturing it's commander. Battle of Becula was an disaster for Carthage, but it continued futile fighting until 267. It managed to recapture Massalia and launch another major offensive in the north, but when Orentian fleet captured Baleares and Corsica, effectively cutting off Punic forces from supplies the result was decided. Following peace ceded not only Carthage' Iberian possessions, but also island of Corsica to Orenta.


Auron's conquests were immortalized in set of statues along major road leading to Orenta, Roga Aurona. As city expanded, number of such monuments grew and in 1 century AD, some of became surrounded by city slums. Auron's most extraordinary monument was however situated in Massalia's port, a giant figure of victorious commander. it was however quickly destroyed, when Punic forces took the forces during Second Punic War.


Battle of Becula was first major engagement of new Orentian army. Its marvelous success should be however more attributed to Carthaginian logistical problems. Still it provided a proof that Orenta has became major military power in the west and boosted both citizens morale and Auron's reputation to new heights.
 
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DKM

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subbed

Are you also going to convert through MoTE?
 

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That's quite an interesting concept. You wrote that the "easy route" is to use the official converter. Are you going to do something different?
 

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EVERY EMPIRE STARTS SMALL


After victory in the First Punic War, Auron Napatera’s position was at its highest. But success often bring jealousy and fear, and so was the case with Auron. Since Punic influence was expelled completely from Iberia, he set forth in new campaign to conquer barbarian tribes and extend Orentian influence further west. between 260 and 255 BC he achieved notable gains in central peninsula at expense of weaker Oretani tribe, former ally of Carthage.
But it was also opportunity for his rivals to strike. In March 257 BC, his oldest son and heir, Banno was brutally murdered by political opponents. Opposition-inspired riots erupted in Orenta itself, aimed at overthrowing High Priest. Auron’s response was however swift, as he mustered his army to march right back to capital. Aided by tribal allies, he defeated rebel army and secured his position once more. However, his popularity with plebs started to wane as fears of tyranny rose. No longer military successes were a way to regain Auron’s reputation; instead, every further conquest could destabilize situation. Unhappy, Auron had to abandon his ambitions.

Situation in Mediterranean was extremely unstable at that time. In Italy, Roman Republic, weakened by long war with Syracuse was replaced as dominant power by Apulian city of Teate which conquered all of southern Italy by 250 BC. In Africa, Carthage had to face another Civil War and conflict with Numidia. Further east, three Hellenic powers: Antigonids, Seleucids and Ptolemies were embroiled in never-ending conflict over hegemony in Greece and Anatolia. Orenta was therefore positioned for further expansion along the sea. For ten years however it lied dormant, gathering strength. Aroudn that time, council authorized recruitment of second army of 15 000 soldiers, as theopublic borders became too stretched for one force to guard. Also, fleet has been expanded to match Carthage and Syracuse at sea. Around 249 BC, Auron managed to snatch Baleares from Carthaginian control, but it was his final conquest. Victorious leader left the world in 448 BC.


Greek influences were always strong in Orenta, mostly thanks to Emporion's proximity. Before the city started developing its own, unique intellectual tradition, it mostly copied from classics. As Orenta borders stretched east, more and more patterns were introduced. Still, Greeks continued to look at states such as Orenta with disdain.

His second son became his successor. But Azimilkar Napatera was far cry from his glorious father. Of feeble health and lacking martial prowess, he could only dream of commanding council as his father did. Still, what remained of his father legacy was a cadre of highly skilled officers that took leadership militarist camp. Most major players of this faction were commanders User Sinatid and Bolgios Bocea.
Around 245, slave market in Orenta started suffering from lack of slaves. Trade started to plummet and many fortunes were in danger. Suddenly, military-religious faction was again on helm of the theopublic. Target was obvious. Carthage still controlled major island of Sardinia, and its African possessions were like dagger pointed at Iberia. Not to mention, Massalia remained Punic ally, which threatened Orentian expansion up north.


During Azimilkar's reign council regained most of its old position. Azimilkar himself was blunt, brash person with few friends and many rivals. For a long time, he lived under his brother shadow and came into office unprepared. Nominally leader of militarist faction, he focused mostly on development of capital and neighbouring provinces. He managed to become quite popular with plebeians, but never was able to convert it into political capital.

Second Punic War began in summer 244 BC, as Orentian Crops landed in Africa and took by surprise major city of Tingis. Carthage answered by sending major force to repel invaders, but commander Hampsikora the Small scored impressive victory near village of Lamda. Also in sea, User Sinatid defeated weakened Punic Fleet in first major engagement of Orentian Navy, effectively ending Carthage’ presence in northern Mediterranean. Massalia switched sides early 443, again becoming Orenta tributary state.
But after unexpectedly successful beginning, Orentian forces started to overextend. In autumn 443, Hampsikora was taken by surprise by Numidians and forced to retreat from much of occupied territory. In summer, city of Tingis returned to Carthage, cutting Orentian army’s supply lines. Theopublic responded by sending massive expedition towards Carthage itself. City was briefly besieged, but logistical problems forced attackers to retreat just after few weeks. Without a way to retreat, Hampsikora surrendered without a fight in city of Rusadir. Third of his troops mutinied and managed to hold until reinforcements arrived, but rest shared the fate of their commander: brutal execution. Carthage’ African possessions were saved.


Bolgios and User were extremely capable commanders, worthy of being Auron Napatera's successors. Bolgios was good organizer and charismatic leader, while User was cold, clever man with excellent stretegic insight. Under their leadership Orentian military doctrine focused on mobility and flexiblity. Until disaster in Africa this method worked very well, but as conflicts with eastern states arose, it became quite outdated.

Only at sea Orenta continued to dominate. In 242, Sardinia and Malta were taken by User’s fleet. Victorious commander also managed to expel Carthaginian influence from Sicily where city of Drepana agreed to ally with Orentians. Carthaginians were unable to mount a reply, afraid of another Orentian invasion. Thus, war reached stalemate, as Orentian military was too exhausted after its losses in Africa. Peace treaty was concluded late in 241 BC. Carthage territory was limited to southern continent, but it managed to retain much of its powerbase. Meanwhile, Orenta obtained positions for further expansion eastwards and soon lost interest in pursuing further conquests at expense of Carthage.


West Mediterranean after Second Punic War. Old powers of Carthage and Rome became supplanted by growing empires such as Teate and Orenta

There was also matter of consolidating it’s fresh conquests. Between 242 and 238 several slave uprisings took place in Orentian territory, with most major one threatening city of Gadir in the south. In Sicily local Orentian commander named Bomilkar engaged in campaign of terror and bloodshed to intimidate rebels, but managed only to turn Sicilians against him. When his armies sacked Drepana, even militaristic faction was forced to revoke his command and send young officer named Matten to /replace him.
Councilmen could not know that they replaced wolf with lion. Twenty-years old Matten came from one of most distinguished Orentian families (later called ‘Mattanids”) and combined excellent martial abilities with unquenched ambition. While not as great strategist as Auron Napatera, Matten was undoubtedly greater tactician. Soon after taking command of his army of 11 000 soldiers he began introducing his own reforms. Number of spearmen in “Issatas” was lowered in favor of swordsmen. Matten also introduced concept of mobile, cavalry reserve and used more flexible approach to battle formations, using experiences from Second Punic War.

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In pursuit of new sources of slaves, many rich Orentian landowners reached further north towards Pyrenees. Afters years of fighting tribe of Vascones livving there was forced to move north and vast tracts of mountainous land became available for Orenta - but slaves still were scarce. Fortunately, trade flourished as new sea routes became available for merchants. Slave rebellions remained however a grim remainder to nobles that their prosperity was built on suffering of others.

His first battle experiences were however painful. In 240 BC, city-state of Syracuse imploded and split into few lesser states that warred against each other. Despot of Akragas, one of them used Bomilkar’s actions as a pretext to expel Orentians from the western side of the island and double his territory. Matten’s army was overwhelmed in two battles against superior enemy and young commander was forced to flee from besieged Drepana to Sardinia. Here however he managed to rebuild his fighting force and launch invasion of Akragas itself, forcing despot to retreat. Now, Matten employd tactics of using small skirmishes, where Greek phalanx was at its worst to slowly bleed out enemy troops. Finally, after two years of costly campaign, despot was forced to accept pitched battle on Matten’s terms, which he lost alongside his city. Thus, thanks to 24-years old commander Orenta became major power in Sicily, threatening Teate, which around that time finally subdued Roman Republic and was slowly shifting its focus towards Greek colonies. Conflict between two powers was inevitable.


Sicillian Campaign, though relatively insignificant in scale, marked beginning of a new era for warfare in region. No longer maneuvering and pitched battles decided battles, but ability to siege and simple numbers, as states competed which one can outlast another.
 
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I think you made a small oversight with the dates. You went from the 3rd century BC at the end of your last post to the 5th century BC in this one.
 

DKM

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Great job so far! Also, did you mean to say Theopublic during the whole chapter?
 

TheTjord

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I think you made a small oversight with the dates. You went from the 3rd century BC at the end of your last post to the 5th century BC in this one.
Thanks, fixed

Also, did you mean to say Theopublic during the whole chapter?
It was a year of 531 BC, when Republic has fallen, followed by an Theopublic - an unique form of government, mixing theocracy, republic and even monarchy.
 

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UNSTOPPABLE FORCE MEETS UNBREAKABLE WALL


Azimilkar Napatera died around 233 BC, leaving no male progeny behind him. His successor was a much younger brother, son of legendary Rutenian concubine named Abdastar. By then, he was already serving as an military governor of territories north of Pyrenees. Though only aged 22, new young priest was man of much higher stature than his older brother. A person of extraordinary charisma, Abdastar was much more similar to his father in his grand designs. However, the way he took to accomplish them was much different.
As an former governor, Abdastar understood the value that controlling northern coast of Mediterranean possessed for Orenta. During his tenure, barbarian tribes started organizing themselves into political entity, capable of undermining Orentian interests in the area. Abdastar was determined to stop them.



Abdastar Napatera was a vain man. He liked to compare himself to Alexander and his father whom he regarded as greatest commanders in history. In fact, while his talent was certainly greater than that of his brother, his main skill lied with propaganda. No other Orentian ruler managed to survive so long despite string of disappointments and losses. Always pursing new conquests, he died murdered by his advisors, tired of engless campaigns.

Around that time expedition led by hero of Sicily, general Matten subdued tribe of Cantabri in northern Iberia, leaving only three areas in the peninsula outside Orentian control - those occupied by tribes of Turdetani, Lusitanians and Astures, though those latter were disorganized and posed no threat to Orenta. New territories provided fresh recruits into ranks of exhausted Orentian army and allowed it to regain its vigour. And it was needed at that time. In 222 BC consul of Teate finally entered Rome as an conqueror, which meant attention of this Apulian power would be now focused in territory called Gallia, where Orentian interests were already strong.
Abdastar decided to not wait. In 227 BC his army crossed Alps and entered territory of Insubres tribe. Barbarian army was defeated with ease in battle of Trebia. Gallia was annexed into Orentian territory, though Teate managed to snatch southern port of it for itself. Another dispute was sparked by events in Syracues. In 225 BC, tyrant of the city was deposed and new, pro-teatian dynasty took power. Orentian army under Matten soon besieged the city under pretense of restoring order and protecting Orentian interests in Sicily. Teatian army mobilised in Calabria, but war was avoided. After year long siege Syracuse capitulated, tyrant deposed and city became Orentian territory. Teate meanwhile annexed Calabria.



After conquest of Gallia, Abdastar popularity was at its highest. With strong support of plebs, he managed to strengthen position of priests, which became his closest allies. ironically, Abdastar himself never paid much attention to religious matters.

But tensions remained and even grew strong. Finally, dam was broken in 215 BC when Teatian merchants were expelled from city of Pelence in Oretnian Gallia. Apulians demanded compansation, but Abdastar replied sending his armied into Teatian Gallia. 30 000 Orentians under general Bomilkar (son of disgraced commander from Sicily) managed to overcome larger force in battle of Telamon, but after that, nothing went according to Abdastar plans.
Teatian army was strong, resilient and extremely well organized. Conscription allowed for quick replenishment of armies, which was area where Orentian military struggled. War soon turned into stalemate. Only in Sicily commander Matten managed to successfully repel Teatians in two years campaign (216-217 BC) but his forces were too exhausted for offensive in Calabria.

So, war of attrition began. Whetever pitched battle was fought, Orenta managed to prevail, like in battles of Arrentium (220 BC) and Sentinum (218 BC). But slowly, Apulian armies began to waver. Turning point was siege of Rome (216-213 BC), which ended in spectacular assault after which the city was sacked. In 214-209 BC, proxy war started in Libya where Teatian allies faced expeditionary force of commander Matten who smashed tribal armies and captured major cities in the region.
But in the end,no further advances were made. Another attempt of invasion in Calabria ended in major disaster, where 18 000 of Orentians were executed by enemy. Plebeians in Orenta itself began voicing their discontent and finally, in 202 BC Abdastar was forced to make peace Orentian gains were minor - it annexed parts of Teatian Gallia and gained foothold in Libya. But Teate’s power was far from broken and Apulian republic still posed threat to Orentian dominance.



Limited and mountainous terrain of italy discouraged attempts of maneuvering warfare, especially since Apulians proved to be masters of defense. Manupular system, directly copied from Roman textbooks seemed superior to Orentian phalanx, but no effort to adapt was made during Abdastar reign. What improved however, was siege warfare. Massive battering rams and catapults that destroyed Rome defenses were transported back to Orenta and presented in parts to Ishtar as sacrifices.

Abdastar barely managed to retain power he had before Apulian War. In time of need, god’s favour returned to him. In the north, new, dangerous enemy appeared. Tribe of Belgici was uniting tribes around it and during Apulian War managed to reach Orentian borders. Raids and skirmishes severely damaged economy of former Ruteni lands and landowners turned to Abdastar for help. Two armies were sent against barbarians, one commanded by Indibilis of Abdara and one by Abdastar himself.



Internal policies of Abdastar were dictated by his foreign policy. Army was always in need of new recruits, especially during Apulian Wars. Therefore, first division of the country was dictated by need for better organized draft. paths for citizenship and nobility were opened for peoples living in conquered lands. But soldiers returning from campaigns rarely enlisted, usually using their spoils to obtain consciprion-free citizenship status for their family. Therefore, Orenta had to expand and assimilate new tribes to prevend its manpower reserves from running dry.

Tribal forces were no match for disciplined, experienced orentian army. In series of bloody skirmishes enemy troops deteriorated and Belgican state became shattered. Now Abdastar was pursuing easy gains. His forces managed to reach Loire in the north and establish many outposts for future colonisation. Complete victory was at grasp, but sudden death of Abdastar in 195 BC reverted much of made progress. Orenta was bogged down in unnecessary war when another threat arose - this time from within.



After spectacular initial victories, Abdastar underestimated his enemies. Belgicans were no soldiers, but their ambushes were deadly and Belgia was country full of forests and mountains. With no towns to capture and control, Belgican War absorbed more and more Orentian soldiers than High priest planned.





Provinces of Orenta in 195 BC. Province was ruled by two people - military prefect and civilian governor. Althrough their competences were clearly separated, this situation often provoked power struggles and personal rivalries.
 
Last edited:

DKM

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Selzro

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Interesting progress. But it looks like you've posted the same picture twice - the one with the caption "After conquest of Gallia, Abdastar popularity was at its highest. With strong support of plebs, he managed to strengthen position of priests, which became his closest allies. ironically, Abdastar himself never paid much attention to religious matters.".
 

TheTjord

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MALICE AND VENGEANCE

As Abdsatar Napatra was lying on his deathbed, a new danger arose for Orenta. Wave of unrest was sweeping through provinces. Orentian allies were hit hardest by losses in Punic and Apulian Wars, not capital city itself, which was flourishing thanks to spoils and increased trade. Caste of tribal nobility, which formed backbone of Orentian system became disillusioned with their positions. And even in Orenta itself, there were many who detested militarist policies of Napateras and council.
Unfortunately, Abdasrar’s son and successor Tigillas was as much of militarist as his father - but lacking in charisma. Of course military faction still remained strongest one in council, but its voice stopped reflecting cries on the streets. Therefore, when Tigillas dispatched for Belgica to fill his father’s position, an attempt for coup was made. With charismatic councilman Himilko at the lead, rebels managed to capture much of Orentian fleet, but government buildings remained in militarist’s hands. But with Tigillas absent, no one could defuse bomb. Himilko sailed for Abdera, which became capital of rebel forces. As 194BC was nearing to an end, a Civil War started in Orenta.


Orenta divided. Tigillas' territories in dark blue, Himilko and rebellious provinces in cyan. Pink is Teate, White - Carthage and Purple - Lusitani tribes.

Tigillas was quick to act. Peace was made with Belgicans, in which Orenta managed to obtain moderate gains. Returning armies managed to quickly subdue rebel forces in near vicinity of capital. In meantime however, Himilko and his supporters convicted several governors to support them. Soon, half of Iberia, Gallia and Sicily was in rebel hands Tigillas managed to retain northern Iberia (Sedetania), Rutenia and minor possessions.
Council decided to focus on Gallia, fearing Teatian intervention in conflict. Indeed, Teate supplied Himilko with gold and intelligence, but it was still exhausted after last war and posed no direct threat to Orenta. Nevertheless, in summer 192 BC Tigillas repelled assault on Massalia and entered Gallia, capturing provincial capital of Mediolan. Later that year, major battle was fought near town of Stelia, in which rebel forces in Gallia were defeated.
Bur rebels were gaining in Iberia. In early 192 BC, Gadir was captured, followed by Sagunta. Year later, Tigillas forces were defeated in battle of Pise and Gallian campaign reached stalemate.


Tigillas Napatera lacked charisma of his father, but his shrewdness and military talents were quite extraordinary. Orenta under his leadership functioned like finely tuned instrument. Tigillas managed to soothe post-macedonian powers and discourage them from supporting his enemies, stabilize empire after series of disasters and even reform military, introducing new set of equipment for Infantry.

The major turning point in war came in 191 BC. In spring, major barbarian army entered Orentian territory and besieged Rate in northern Gallia. Town sent pleas for help to rebellious Gallian governor, but he was wary of Tigills and refused. High Priest however sent detachment of his forces to aid Rate, which managed to repel barbarians and lift the siege. This act boosted Tigillas legitimacy and popularity in empire, while governor of Gallia was forced to commit suicide by his men. At the end of 191 BC, all of Gallia was already under Tigillas control
Rebels still held major parts of Iberia, but were isolated and without hopes of relief. It took another three years to subdue them, but in the end, Himilko himself was captured in his last outpost of Abdera. Tigillas chose to be lenient with captives, most of which were pardoned and reinstated on their previous positions. Civil War left deep scar on Orentian psyche for many years and Tigillas was determined to unite the empire as soon as it was possible.


Victory at Rate was followed by massive propaganda campaign on Tigillas' part. Priests across the country denounced rebels which lost their legitimacy and popular support. Weakness of an rebellious forces was their split leadership, mostly thanks to Tigillas dominance at sea. Without cooridnation, Himilko and his supporters were unable no only to maximize their fighting potential, but also engage government in propaganda warfare.

Tigillas Napatera might not have been an eloquent men, but he was more than capable politician and leader. He chose religion to be an ointment for wounds opened by civil war. Temples of Ishtar started popping around the conquered lands, Orentian religion didn’t have much appeal to people outside Sedarania, but services provided by priest proved to be immensely popular,
When in 186 BC a great famine afflicted Iberia, he used his personal fortune to help Orentian people. Overall, Tigillas policies were a great success and Orenta soon reclaimed it's vigour.
In 184 BC Tigillas managed to subdue last enemy tribe in Iberia, Lusitani. Only Astures in the north still remained outside Orentian influence, but they posed no threat to the growing empire and their lands were deemed not worthy of conquest. Subjugation of Lusitani freed large portion of forces that had to be stationed in Iberia instead of eastern borders. It was sign to Teate and Carthage that time is up and soon another war of conquest will be waged upon them. Those two republics decided to not to wait. In 182 BC, Teatians landed near city of Mesane in Sicily and too local garrison and commander by surprise. Carthaginians meanwhile attacked Libya, hoping to reclaim province that was long time ago theirs.


Famine that troubled Orenta in 186-185 BC was disastrous. Around 40 thousand people died in Orenta itself, not to mention provinces. Teate and Carthage were also afflicted. Expeditions against Lusitani were mounted mostly for economical benefits and propaganda purposes. Food & valuables were robbed and people in western Iberia left to starve.

Tigilias replied with caution. Fortunately for him, Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt agreed to not support the coalition. Powerful Egyptian Fleet could turn the tide of war, since combined fleets of Carthage and Teate were more than match for Orenta. Instead, he could focus on land warfare. One of most capable commanders, Ethbal the Older successfully outmaneuvered Teatian army in Gallia and defeated it at battle of Interamna. But greatest victory in early stage of war came at sea. In early 180 BC, Orentian Fleet under elderly commander Bomilkar, hero of last Apulian War completely crushed combined fleet of coalition, leaving Orenta in dominant position for rest of the war.


Naval Victory of Bomilkar in Straits of Sicily was probably greatest success of Orentian navy in it's history. Combined Teatian-Punic fleet held onsiderable numerical advantage, but Bomilkar's impeccable leadership and technological advantage prevailed. Enemy fleet was completely destroyed and Teatian forces in Sicily left on their own. Bomilkar, iconic commander of Apulian Wars, died day before war conclusion.

Ethbal the Elder managed to score another victory near Rome and take the city, but in 178 BC Teate mobilized large forces and repelled his forces from Latinum. In Sicily, Teatian forces stood besieged in captured Mesane, but their defeat was far from sure. Only in Africa, Orenta was making gains. Under Tigillas personal leadership, expeditionary corps composed by veterans from Lusitani War captured city of Tingis and convicted Numidian Kings to attack Carthage. The old phoenician city was too weak to repel combined attack, aided by Bomilkar’s fleet. In 177 BC, Tigillas assaulted and captured the city. That was an end of Punic State. Its territories were divided between Numidia and new province of Turfaia. After a war, third of Carthage citizens were moved into Iberia to both avoid potential rebellion and strengthen Phoenician element in home country.


Second Apulian War was very costly for Orentian Theopublic, still recovering from civil war and famine. In 179 BC, plague swept through Rutenia and Gallia, killing thousands. But there was no sign of internal unrest in the country. Teate was considered archenemy of the Orenta and war against it was supported by majority of citizens.

But Teate was still fighting back. Lacking reinforcements, Ethbal was pushed further and further north. In 175 BC, his army found itself besieged in Mediolan. Teate was gaining in land,but it’s economy was suffocated by naval blockade. Tigllas died in 175 BC, but his successor, Abdastar II was no less man than his father. Another expedition was launched, this time towards Greece, where Teate found new allies. Most fervent one, Rhodes was blockaded and then and captured by Bomilkar’s fleet. Defeat of Carthage allowed for reinforcements in gallia and in 174 BC, siege of Mediolan was lifted.


Tigillas perished during Sicilian campaign, in which he managed to throw invaders back into the sea - literally, ten thousand Teatian soldiers were drowned after recapture of Mesene. His son Abdastar II (sometimes called "Abdar" to differentiate from his grandfather) was determined to avenge father's death and continue his legacy.

Ffrom then on, Ethbal pressed forward, as Teate exhausted it’s resources. last stand of Teatian army occurred near Ostia in May 172 BC. Apulian legions were defeated, and along them last hope for victory. proud Teate opened gates for Ethbal, counting on leniency. But Orrentia knew no such thing. Teate was considered archrival for theopublic and was hated by most citizens of the empire. Ethbal ordered the city razed and its inhabitants scattered across the Orentian territories. Territory of Teate was transformed into province of Itala and victorious Ethbal made it;s first governor. But despite Teate defeated, peace did not return to Orenta. Greek states remained hostile and threatened Italia and Rhodes. Abdastar II and his generals were determined that proud Greeks had to be taught a lesson that Alexander is no longer - and time of hellas has ended.


Many in orenta doubted that complete victory over Teate was possible - and as many Teatians expected that their country will perish. But Abdastar II was determined to destroy hated enemy and forces in Italy bloodthirsty. For ten years, martial law was in effect in new province, and many rebellions quelled. Blood and dead bodies marked old Roman and Apulian roads, but thanks to this ruthless policies province of Itale was stabilized in only few decades.I
 

TheDeaconBosco

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I can't find anything about this City State's existence. I'm gonna assume you modded it in yourself?
 

TheTjord

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HOW SMALL WAR TOPPLED GREAT EMPIRE

After annexation of Teate and Carthage, Orenta not only suddenly rose as sole power in western Miditerranean, but also gained it’s first possession in Hellenic World. Island of Rhodos, former Teatian ally now served as base of operations against other greek allies of Teate. Former Italian power was supported by tyrants of Sparta and Crete, two most powerful states of Greece. Their power was much weaker than those of Macedonian successor states, but those two city-states still held to their pride and legacy.
Crete looked like obvious target, threatening lanes connecting Italy with Rhodes with its strategic position. But Abdastar II had no proper knowledge about island s military potential. Crete was extremely militaristic country with large army and decent fleet, at least compared to its meager size. In 169 BC 15 000 Orentian infantrymen landed near Knossos only to be completely decimated by Cretan army. it was one of most terrible defeats of Orentian army in it’s history and forced Abdastar to shift his focus towards Sparta. Blockade of the island was raised, as Orentian leaders hoped to starve the Greeks.



Conquest of Greece exposed Orenta on wealth of Hellenic culture.Starting from ~150 BC, Orentian building were raised in new style which was inspired heavy by greek architecture. Literary works from Hellas were considered valuable commodity among patricians and Greek scholars highly sought.

Sparta wasn’t as resilient was Crete. Long gone was age of Leonidas and his brave hoplites. Spartan army managed to inflict major damage to landing Orentian forces, but ultimately impeccable leadership of veteran commander Indibilis of Abdara prevailed. Siege of Sparta lasted less than year, but city finally surrendered in 165 BC, becoming Orentian foothold in Greece proper. Crete however persisted. Another attempt of invasion was thwarted in 162 BC. Finally, compromise was reached. In 160 BC, Crete agreed to pay small tribute and allow Orentian ships in its ports in exchange for peace. This result was an temporary blow towards Orentian confidence.


During 2nd century BC, Orentian leaders rediscovered value of cavalry in battlefield. Hamsikoran Reforms made it possible to create elite force of cavalrymen, capable of withstanding Greek phalanx. Horse Archers were recruited from Numidian and Scythian tribes and composed most foreign but equally valuable component of Orentian army

After painful experiences of Second Apulian War and especially Battle of Knossos, Abdastar and his faction were determined to enact reforms necessary for Orenta to match Greek power in battlefields. Technological advances and steady flow of funds allowed formation of specialised units of military engineers, whose presence was invaluable during sieges of well-fortified eastern cities. New chain of command was introduced, along with professional, trained officers which replaced old system that relied on experienced veterans. But the most important changes were introduced in field of unit organization. Under direction of Hamsikora of Wases, old style of phalanx was abandoned. What replaced him was innovative system of combined arms, with prominent role of cavalry that supported versatile, well-equipped heavy infantry that remained bulwark of Orentian forces. Unit sizes were standardized into Teatian-style “Kohortes” each numbering around 500 soldiers. 40 kohortes formed one army, “Zila”. In 150 BC, there were seven such armies in Empire.


New Orentian army emphasized discipline, drill and organization above all other values. There were two categories of soldiers - conscripts and professionals. Each citizen of the empire had to serve for five years, then was given a choice of remaining in army for a batter pay and various minor privileges. After victories in Greek campaigns many soldiers chose to continue soldiering in hope for rich spoils.

New army drew first blood in Africa, where Numidian king Masinissa threatened Orentian trade. During Second Apulian War, Numidia captured bulk of Punic territory and gained access to the sea. Abdastar was determined to suppress this thorn on Orentian side and send three Zilas against rowdy king. Numidians, relying heavily on cavalry were tough opponents, but Orentian numerical superiority allowed them to capture the Numidian kingdom in three years campaign (153-150 BC).
Abdastar died in 148 BC, succeeded by his son Tigillas II. A pure militarist in character, new High priest had few talents spare warmaking. Under his leadership Orenta focus returned to Greece, where longest war in recorded history raged. Conflict between Thebes, most powerful Greek city and powerful Antigonids started way back in 232 BC, when Orentian borders barely reached Alps. This long war totally exhausted both rivals, especially after Egyptian intervention, in which Athens and Corinth defected from Thebes-led Aetolian League. By 150 BC, Antigonid Macedonia controlled territory north of Ithemus save Thebes, while their enemies remained safe in Achaia and various smaller islands. As historian Haron mentioned, without Orentian involvement both sides would’ve probably warred for another 200 years or so.


Under hardliner Tigillas II, Orenta became quasi-military state. High Priest and his advisors encountered almost no resistance at council as war with Greeks raged. Without a doubt, great spoils helped out with popular opinion. Returning home, may soldiers enriched themselves enough to simply buy new positions in society for themselves.

Direct cause of Orentian intervention lied further north. In 149 BC, Macdonia became object of attack by Illyrian Tribes, which captured large parts of Epirus. Threatened by barbarians, rulers of Corfu and Cephalonia sought Orentian protection. When Tigillas accepted, Antigonid Fleet started conducting hostile operations against Orentian trade. In 147 BC, Antigonids defeated Orentian Fleet near Methone. Conflict quickly escalated, as Council sent army to occupy city of Olympia, which held symbolic significance for Greeks. Aetolian League, which saw Orenta as ally was forced to fight against invaders, only to lose Achaia in short campaign. Meanwhile Antigonids defeated smaller Orentian army in battle of Thermon, but Orenta quickly regained ground as Egyptian-aligned cities of Athens and Corinth allowed three Zilas to pass through their territory.


Tigillas II was a hard and unforgiving man. Historians wrote that his sole desire was to see more Greek blood spilled before him. He led Orenta through period of greatest expansion, but his neglect of internal matters came biting in later years.

Antigonid Kingdom, exhausted after years of warfare was now desperate to defend Macedonia itself. However, its situation became grave when Tigillas obtained allegiance of Lisymachid Rump State in Thracia, which cut off Macedonians from Asia Minor. In battle of Trachinia, most decisive battle of the war,Macedonian phalanx was trampled and obliterated by Hamsikora of Wases. In spring 144 BC, all of Macedonia was already in Orentian hands.
Antigonid King Demetrius III took refuge in Cyprus, but was unable to prevent his empire from Crumbling. In 144 BC, Seleucids invaded Syria and Armenia, annexing large tracts of land. In the north, governors of Bithynia and paphlagonia declared independence and signed treaties with approaching Orentian army. Last success of Antigonid army was in smaller battle of Perinthas in Thrace, which delayed Orentian invasion of Anatolia. But in 142 BC Hamsikora and his armies began glorious march along the shore, capturing vast amounts of land with nearly no opposition. Enemy commanders usually surrendered themselves to Orenta, which in turn showed them mercy and allowed to continue their duties. Success of Hamsikora campaign left everyone in know world dumfounded, even in Orenta itself. Finally, he stopped his campaign, just near Egyptian border.


Antigonids considered themselves true successors of Alexander and indeed, controlled most valuable territories of his former empire. However, their reign was marked by corruption, waste and stagnation. Orentian victory at Trachinia was a shock to Hellenic world and proof that Greek methods, not only in warfare, are outdated.

There was no treaty to end Antigonid-Orentian war, but after 140 BC hostilities mostly ceased. Small local insurrections couldn’t threaten Orentian rule in Asia, and usually and no relation to remaining Antigonid State in Cyprus. However, after this unexpected success Orenta was faced with more demanding task: controlling and keeping new territories, as Ptolemaids and Seleucids started viewing Empire with fear and hatred.


Orenta and it's provinces after defeat of Antigonid Kingdom.I
 

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Next stop, Egypt!
 

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That's quite impressive! There doesn't seem to be much colonization going on, at least compared to my last game.
 

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LUCKIEST IS THE ARROW PICKED FROM ENEMY"S BODY

Year 127 BC marked an end of an era for Orenta. With deaths of great generals and reformers: Hamsikora and Tigillas II, militarist faction lost much of it’s potential and leadership. With annexation of Antigonid Kingdom, Orenta reached far beyond it’s former borders. Sprawling empire faced new kind of problems, that military force could not solve.
Tigillas successor, Audrusbal Napatera was a man of peace. An hellenophile, he correctly judged that Orenta needs long period of peace to consolidate and establish itself in the east. In 129-125 BCseries of rebellions were thwarted in new provinces and although none of them posed threat to Orentian rule, it was obvious that Seleucids and Ptolemeids won’t sit still in the future



During his journey across Greece, Asdrusbal was awed by sheer size of Greek architectural wonders. he and his companions were driving force behind shift in the Orentian style druing that period. Previously, Orentian architecture was solid, bland and strictly utilitarian. After 130 BC more intricate and colorful designs were adopted, for dismay of conservative philosophers. I

During this period, city of Orenta enjoyed tremendous growth. Immigrants from all corners of the empire almost doubled its population. Under Audrusbal, massive infrastructure projects were carried. Modeled after Hellenistic architecture, many palaces, monuments and temples were build both in capital and more distant cities. Merchants enjoyed many new roads that made traveling through Orentian provinces much easier.


As Orenta grew in size, so did societal divides inside it. In the beginnings of theopublic, many leaders shared military, administrative and governmental positions. As all those branches grew more professional, many rivalries arose.I

Greek influences were greatest in field of science and education. In 126-124 BC Audrusbal visited Greece and returned with many philosophers, scholars and teachers for new academy in Orenta, modeled after Athenian one founded by Plato. Similar establishments were created in Abdara and Massalia, with latter one becoming true center of learning in later centuries. But perhaps most important act of Audrusbal’s was law of Esku Eduke, which forced nobles to have at least basic levels of education to serve as officials and officers. Although with conquest of Greece, there also came “fashion” for knowledge, this act greatly improved intellectual potential of the Orenta.
Another major change during this period marked end of Napatera’s cooperation with military faction. In 120 BC, Audrusbal proposed that Iberian Allies of Orenta, nobles or not, should be given citizenship. Militarists and conservatives raged, even though many understood that with new conquests, Orenta needed stronger base for it’s military and administration that Iberians could provide. As he couldn’t find allies in militarists, Audrusbal turned to merchants and patricians. New law passed through, with both administration and military soon recieving influx of manpower. The law proved to be very popular and since Iberia was long under Orentian cultural influence, sparked almost no internal unrest.


"Everything he built had to be new, modeled after his tastes." wrote historian about Asdrusbal. Although brilliant and capable man, his forceful attitude and ambitions often prevented him from achieving pursued goals.


But even in opposition, abandoned by High priest, military remained great power. Audrusbal tried to bind them tightly to his cause with further professionalisation of the army, but his reforms had precisely reverse effect. New generals, many of them of foreign background formed elite, dangerous caste in Orentian system that often threatened stability of the state.
For a time however, military had other commitments. In later part of 2nd century BC, barbarian incursions and raids in Rutenia and Gallia became a real problem. But the greatest threat was an tribe of Illyrians, which managed to subjugate many weaker entities up north. illyrians also controlled shortest land route between Gallia and Greece, which Orentians were eager to capture. Between 115 and 104 BC Orentian forces and Illyrians engaged in series of campaigns and skirmishes that ultimately led to minor Orentian gains. Despite Illyrian successes in Epirus and Macedonia, Zilain [general] Krenid, bastard of last Antigonid king successfully captured most of the Adriatic shore and connected two parts of the empire.


Though Illyrians were far less powerful than Greek states, war with them turned to be long and bloody. Orentian army was unprepared for irregular warfare conducted by barbarians and quickly lost territory it conquered. In the end, new strategy was adopted, of establishing military outposts along the sea. Thanks to this costly, but successful measure Orentians managed to connect two parts of their empire.

Greatest crisis of Audrusbal rule came in 106 BC, as overextended empire finally showed some cracks. Warrior queen of Numidia, Sarella launched that year devastating campaign in Africe and surprised whole world by capturing major city of Tingis. Orentian response was sluggish, as most of the armies were engaged in Illyria and Asia. Lost of Tingis meant that roue that supplied capital with food and other necessities was severed. Sudden rise of prices threatened Audrusbal’s position. In this state of affairs, generals managed to obtain many concessions from High Priest. Above all, office of High Priest was no longer to be inheried by oldest son, but Napatera chosen by an Closed Council, gathering of twelve oldest priests in the capital. Audrusbal lost many of his prerogatives over provincial armies, whose commanders were now served under governors. And finally, military obtained acceptance for another war in Greece.
However, Audrusbal was not going to back down without a fight. As Tingis was recaptured in 104 BC and his popularity partially restored, he planned revenge over generals. Orenta was on brink of civil war - again.



Crisis of 106 BC proved that plebeians became deciding faction in political infighting between various factions. The mob in Orenta was ill-organised, but willing to rebel at first sight of shortages or other troubles. Napatera, once champions of the people, lost their advantage as cult of Ishtar started diminishing with influx of immigrants. Around 100 BC, only half of Orenta citizens followed state faith.
 

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1 - Youch, this is surely a sign of decadence at its worst.

2 - Do you mind if I point out grammatical mistakes? I know some people find it annoying.
 

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TIMES WHEN LESSER MEN RULED

In 103 BC, another rebellion threatened stability of Orenta. Although Orentian rule in Greece was far from malevolent, many Greeks felt oppressed by foreign conquerors, their discontent ignited by foreign propaganda. With Egyptian support, many cities organized themselves into new league under Corinth, and expelled Orentian officials from their walls. As most of the Zilas still stationed up north, League managed to prepare itself for the war and even capture many isles in the Aegean Sea, threatening sealanes that connected Asia with the western part of the empire.
Greeks overestimated themselves. Orentian armies returning from Illyria were composed by veterans, thirsty for more blood. Corinth was taken in assault and plundered. More effort was needed to capture island of Euboea, but defeat in battle Histiaian effectively led rebellion’s end. Military rule was introduced to Greece and many new outpost were funded to keep unruly nation in check.


To counter Seleucid influences in Asia, Orentian diplomacy constructed net of alliances between smaller states. Without Orentian protection those kingdoms however soon fell under Seleucid grasp. under Polikarpos IV Seleucids expanded into north and west, and controlled entire eastern shore of Black Sea. Although their empire was unstable and constantly warring in east, Seleucid military strength was still immense.

Greek rebellion forced Audrusbal out of power. His opposition to new policies in the east led to political murder and his succession by cousin, elderly Bostar Napatera, New High Priest was respected man, but his loyalties were with militarists. Many of Napatera family and their allies left him and joined opposition to new regime. In 102 BC, year after his ascension, Bostar reshuffled the council and tried to arrest many of his enemies. This action, aimed at diffusing the situation instead sparked an open rebellion.
Compared to last civil war, this time sides were roughly equal. Bostar and militarists held firm grasp on Rutenia, Italia, Asia and recently conquered territories. Rebels, under young User Napatera and governor of Afylia Garen held Africa, south Iberia, Gallia and Macedonia. They also enjoyed support of Hellenic Empires.


First decade of last century BC was period of certain shift in Orentian culture. Great infrastructure projects were abandoned, as treasury suffered during civil war and following conflicts. As role of government grew smaller, new territories and estates allowed various wealthy individuals to fund their own designs. Buildings built after civil war usually had lavish exterior designs. As Orenta itself expanded, clear distinction could be made between stone old districts and poor, wooden suburbs.

Bostar and his armies at the beginning had military advantage, which they used to suppress small pockets of rebellion in Thrace and Northern Iberia. Militarists wanted to establish safe sea route that could protect their supply lines with Asia. In 100 BC they managed to score victory near Argenta in Gallia and capture most of that province. In the same time, successful offensive ejected rebel forces from Macedonia.
But those were areas where military faction enjoyed greatest advantage thanks to presence of veterans from Illyrian War. Starting 101 BC, plague hit Greece and Asia. Many militarist soldiers were victims of it, and manpower base of Bostar’s forces dwindled. In the meanwhile, brilliant User Napatera launched campaign in Iberia, capturing many crucial cities and threatening Orenta itself. Defending the city was demoralized Fifth Zila, which was obliterated in battle of Fadrel. Only string of small victories at sea allowed militarists to wither this crisis and avoid losing the capital.


Great Plague of 101 BC severely crippled not only Bostar's forces, but also Greeks themselves. Since government administration was in disarray, hardly any measures were taken to fight the diseases that killed thousands between Achaia and Cilicia. Weakened Hellas was unable to rebel against Orenta again for centuries.

But User was the only one, and rebel territories started to shrink. In 98 BC, governor Garen was captured in battle of Utica and most of Africa switched allegiance to militarists. That year Bostar managed to also break resistance in Gallia. User and his forces were entrenched in southern Iberia, with solid base, but without a chance for victory. In the same time, Bostar lost control over government because of health issues.
At this point, both sides were exhausted and unable to press further. Militarists harsh policies lost them popular support, while rebels were entrenched in the south. Finally, Bostar’s death in 96 BC opened door to negotiations. Militarists agreed to pardon rebels and share the power, while rebels abandoned most of their demands and left occupied outposts. Compromise candidate was negotiated for a position of High Priest - 65-years old Bodastar Napatera, weak and feeble man without much of political position. With figurehead at helm, Theopublic’s system eroded even more, as generals and patricians quickly renewed their conflict.


For a long time, Orentian military strategy focused on coordinated movements of smaller tactical units that enveloped enemy. As User Napatera in Iberia commanded irregular forces, he devised new tactics that involved larger, more powerful formations and focus on breaking enemy lines. His innovations proved very successful against militarists and their conservative methods, but even after civil war commanders were very relucatnt to adopt them.


As Civil War progressed, authority of central government weakened. Even years after war, many military governors ruled their provinces like independent states, especially in Africa and Greece. Private armies and disloyal generals always posed danger to republic, but since military was much decentralized and armies relatively small, no commander could rise above others.

End of civil war came just in time to stop approaching menace from the east, as Seleucids and Ptolemaids agreed to ally against Orenta. Around 96 BC, Egyptians squashed Jewish Uprising under Janneus Macchabeus and moved towards Orentian Syria. In last ditch effort, council mounted diplomatic mission to Alexandria,. Led by Aulozon of Kasete, prominent orator and politician, Orentian managed not only to prevent the war, but also break the grand alliance, as Seleucids at the same time made gains in Arabia at expense of Egyptian client states.
But another danger arose in north, this time unsolvable by diplomatic means. Celtic and Germanic tribes were using period of civil war to launch another series of devastating raids into Orentian territory. Retaliatory expedition led in 94-93 BC by User Napatera reached canal and established fortresses across Atlantic shore. Two years later barbarians approached and besieged one of them, called Turon, but User managed to rout them and expand even further inland. Similar successes were achieved in the south, but ultimately Orenta lacked resources to push ahead at that time.


Belgican Confederation in 1st century BC entered a period of disarray, as Germanic tribes in the east grew stronger. Belgican tribes failed to adapt and now, placed between two military powers fount it hard to maintain their position. Military governors of Orentian province of Armora encouraged assimilation of Belgicans into Orentian system, as many minor tribes could hope to become Orenta allies and potential citizens. Those policies worked well for Orenta in the south, even though high nobility often tried to revert them.