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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

alscon

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Welcome to this AAR. Roman culture is dead at the Old Gods start, but what if a small group lands on Iceland instead of the vikings? As Iceland was not yet settled, it is the perfect starting point to revive the glorious Roman culture, perhaps even the Imperium. As you have to be mad to do this, my first ruler is a lunatic and I will give this trait to every ruler of the dynasty at some point of their lives. Let Latin live again, and may the knowledge of old return to the dark ages!

Other setup:
-event 55001 at start. As Iceland was not settled, it isn't even a cheat.
-I don't stay Hellenic, as the Prologue shows. As I'm playing Vanilla with all DLC's (except mapfont Eagle Lake from Decorus Visum), it is to not have a featureless religion. An explanation for the faith adopted follows
-Every ruler will be a madman! If not exorcised at some point.
-I'll play on hard (at least initially, there have been some normal parts for whatever reason) and updates will come irregularly, I aim for once a week (now: pretty regular at the end of the week).

1. With the stabilization of Roman rule, the madness of the dynasty was taken into consideration when forming a true gouvernment. As Ennodius explained, the primary function of the Senate will be to provide counsel to the ruler while sane and assume ruling functions while insane. So it is a narrative device. I tried to imagine a feudal structure with Roman elements to stay within the system. See it as Feudo-Roman. Knowledge was lost in the dark age.

2. The administration existing, I start to use more Latin. The titles and offices of the realm are either translations or tries to find an acceptable one. Roman administration was different, thus much medieval Latin is used. For the council:
Chancellor: Cancellarius
Marshal: Magister Militum
Steward: Quaestor
Spymaster: Magister Inquisitiones
Court Chaplain: Pontifex

My Latin is not as good as it used to be, so if I make grave mistakes, which I apologize for should it happen, either correct me or accept it.

Chapter I - Pioneers
Chapter II - Praegressus
Chapter III - Ennodius, regens Novae Romae
Chapter IV - Crispina, mater ducis
Chapter V - Folki, Legatus de legione prima
Chapter VI - Quaestor Fabius
Chapter VII - Quaestor Fabius
Chapter VIII - Comes Fabius Hvitserk of Argil
Chapter IX - Comes Fabius Hvitserk Vitsercus of Argil
Chapter X - Fabius Vitsercus and Julius' plan
Chapter XI - Fabius Vitsercus, in via imperatoria
Chapter XII - Pace?
Chapter XIII -Roma
Chapter XIV - Cornelius de Insania
Chapter XV - Expeditio Arcadio Secundo
Chapter XVI - Unum Imperium!
Chapter XVII - Ulpia or Attila?
Chapter XVIII -Sunnites et Equites Sancti
Chapter XIX - Verona
Chapter XX - The Order of the Phoenix
Chapter XXI - The Matter of Gallia
Chapter XXII - Opportunism in times of Regency
Chapter XXIII - The end of the regency
Chapter XXIV - Imperatrix contra Magister Inquisitiones
Chapter XXV - Martinianism on the rise
Chapter XXVI - Changes of Mind
Chapter XXVII - Ulpia's education
Chapter XXVIII - Potesta Absoluta
Chapter XXIX - Anatolian Jihad
Chapter XXX - Familiar Powers
Chapter XXXI - The End of an Era
Chapter XXXII - Valiosta
Chapter XXXIII - Bella Ulpiae
Chapter XXXIV - Aemilian's Dilemma
Chapter XXXV - Sic semper tyrannis?
Chapter XXXVI - Religious Troubles
Chapter XXXVII - The Tower of Babel
Chapter XXXVIII - Three Times the Charm
Chapter XL -Trade of Power
Chapter XIL - Provincia de Germania
Chapter XIIL - Always the Swedes
Chapter XIIIL - Tolgay's Identity
Up until this point, the links go to the old forum. (It's faster to update, and I have the 'slothful' trait when I don't have the 'diligent' one ;))
Chapter XIVL - Florian's Nemesis
Chapter VL - The Failed-Hunt-Laws
Chapter IVL - Bellum Valensis
Chapter IIIL - A Mysterious Apparition
Chapter IIL - Auxiliarius Satanis
Chapter IL - A Cartographer's Duty (Europe 1239)
Chapter L - Codex Anastasiis
Chapter LI - Via Deis
Chapter LII - A Legionnaire's view
Chapter LIII - The Mongols' last Invasion
Chapter LIV - Unexpected Visitors
Chapter LV - All Roads lead to Nova Roma
Chapter LVI - The Conference of Cebecia
Chapter LVII - A very short Odyssey
Chapter LVIII- Cianarea
Chapter LIX - Tordesillas et Almazán
Chapter LX - Under the Eyes of the Ancients
Chapter LXI - Consolidating Arcadian Iberia
Chapter LXII - Ancient Rediscoveries
Chapter LXIII - The Fate of the Confederacy
Chapter LIX - The Thirteen Years War
Arcadian Chapter One: The Julianic Wars
Chapter LX - Pugnia Magnia Potentatis
Chapter LXI - An Imperium without an Imperator - Arcadius III 'the Fair'
Chapter LXII - The End of the Pugnia - Arcadius III 'the Hard'
Arcadian Chapter Two - The Young Imperium
Chapter LXIII - Arcadius III 'Ironfist'
Arcadian Chapter Three - The Julianic Succession Wars
Chapter LXIV - Messalia's Rise
Chapter LXV - Ecla
Chapter LXVI - Sea Unicorns
Chapter LXVII - The Fishy Administration
Chapter LXVIII - Forging the Future
Chapter LXIX - Novus Imperator, novus religio?
Chapter LXX - Imperator Florian I, Europaeus

For the form of narration, the first part will be told by Ennodius de Capua; after his death, I'll either pick up as another courtier or as the ruler, maybe switching.
Feedback is appreciated. So let's start!



Prologue

I still don't know what made me do this. But we did it. 'Land! Ennodius, look!'. I was sleeping when Amentius' shout woke me up. Amentius de Insania. The man who convinced me to join his folly. I should have known what was going to happen. The last day on sea, I just wanted to die. 'There is land in the West', he said. 'Fellow Romans, we are going to revive our Imperium there!'

We were a young group in Roma, fascinated by the ruins and works of the Imperium Romanum. All sharing the belief that the pope and his church have as their only goal to amass as much money as possible. So we adapted the faith of the ancients, their culture, their everything. Pietro was the head of our small group. As we took Latin names, we called him Amentius. He is a brilliant man, capable of persuading me more often then I like it, although I am a good diplomat, but he sometimes loses control of himself. Hence we named him Amentius de Insania. Formerly Italians, we were now true Romans, not like the Greeks in the eastern remains of the Imperium. It was already a wonder that the pope didn't burn us. Amentius managed to create a small Roman community in Roma, and we believed in the old ways, dreaming of the best days of the Imperium. That he is a raving madman, I should have known that too. Roma... A distant dream I liked to dream. We could have gone on for some time there. Before Amentius in one of his crises went running through the city cursing the Catholics in the name of the gods. He forgot that the last time Christians were hunted was long ago, and that now we were the hunted. Luckily, Valerius got hold of him and we were able to leave.

Thinking of where to go, de Insania, when calmed down, elaborated his plan. We would go north. Stories of raiders coming from the sea, crossing great distances, had reached the Eternal City. 'If someone can take us West, it's them.' A hard journey through Italia and Germania later, Amentius was able to find a man called Eilif of Borg, who had serious problems and was easily convinced to lead us into the unknown. The boats needed for this he hadn't, though: In a completely insane action in the fog, we got them charged and left the town behind. I am still seeing Crassus preach in front of the guards while we charged the boats. Ferocious warriors, like those who brought the Fall of the Imperium, I feared that they would hear us more than what would follow on our adventure into the unknown. Incredibly, after some jars of mead they drank, we had finished and were even able to get Crassus on board.

And now, we see the coast. It felt like we were weeks on sea. I don't remember how often I thought the ship would sink. I'm freezing, our supplies are diminishing rapidly; the gods be thanked we reached our destination. Although Amentius somehow, surely due to Tryggve, one of Eilif's men, took their gods into our pantheon. Hopefully it is just another one of his follies, as normally the barbarians assimilate our faith, not the other way around.
As we have real soil under our feet again, we call this land Nova Roma. Wild and rough, hopefully we will survive. The Northmens' experience will surely help us. In return, we will civilize these barbarians. And who knows, perhaps this will be the beginning of a new Imperium Romanum... If our leader's madness doesn't kill us all. At least he was right; there was a land in the West.

 
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oxfordroyale

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"The Senate and the People of Iceland" - an interesting premise!
 

alscon

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alscon

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Chapter I – Pioneers

We could not build a great Roman city. At least not yet. The few of us from Roma and the Northmen have to tame this land first. So we built a castle, our twelve ships lying in a safely-looking bay. Amentius wanted to prioritize the stables. How can I still follow that man we chose as our leader? We didn't have any horses.



Chancellor of Nova Roma. A nice title for me. Amentius wanted a council. His trusted followers would surely fill out that position, I told him. He is too influenced by the realms of Charlemagne's descendants. We need a Senate, no feudal organization, I said. Somehow, he again managed to change my opinion. 'That's very diplomatic of you, my dear Ennodius. But we are not alone, us true Romans. You forget our Norse friends. They need a strong structure. We can be Feudo-Romans. In the whole Imperium, our culture exerted its influence. Now the time influences us. And we don't need efficient bureaucracy anyway, do we? 500 persons, all decadent bureaucrats.' I ignored the last part, because I knew he was right on the rest. So I became his Chancellor, and he filled his council with other Roman refugees plus Eilif and Tryggve. He needed Eilif's military experience, and Tryggve should preach his new faith. I withstood the Christians at their seat of power, and Amentius guided me. This trend is surely just another of his follies.

Nova Roma is now standing. Not the architectural wonders from Roma, but solid houses melting the Norse with the Roman design. While the climate is much too cold for us Romans, the Norse seem to be doing just fine. And while we are living mostly from fishing, they are talking of returning to Europe, bringing back horses, livestock and grain. What a sweet thought, although I don't think much will grow here. Not to say we are lost. We made it here, but not thanks to Eilif's navigation prowess, more because of luck. Getting here was hard enough, finding the way back? Just as I try to talk the Norse out of it, a group of men appears. While I thought these were the hunters of Eilif's group, they didn't look familiar. We are not alone. Apparently we have landed West of another Norse group. And they know the way back. The future looks bright.

Our Italian sense of affairs pays off. Soon, Nova Roma is a small trading port. Amentius always reminds us that Roma was not built in a day. How true. If Romulus faced challenges like we did in Roma's early days, it's rise was no wonder. However, the Norse are bored. It is hard to stick with panem et circenses if there is no bread and circenses for the Norse would be too bloody. Eilif's men are warriors, not farmers. And as tension rises, Amentius has to act before the second Roma's first civil war. Ingólfr Arnar was plotting to kill him and therefore disorganise the Roman community to become ruler of this land himself, but his new Spymaster, as poor Valerius was one of the first victims of this land, my wife Crispina, revealed the plot and he fled home.



I must finally admit it was a good choice to found a council; before the Senate could have acted, Amentius would already be dead. Even more so because the Norse Senators would be his murderers. With the plot leader gone, they threatened to become uncontrollable, and Eilif's advice to let them raid the European coast is an option we will have to take. He sends his trusted friend Alfgeir as leader of the looter band, and our precious longboats leave the port. We are failing to civilize them. Just to hope they will return empty-handed or not at all. Barbarians! Although this would help our city's development. As de Insania says: Roma was not built in a day. And wealth accelerates this progress.

 
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DKM

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This is a new idea. I submit this comment to you.
 

MelonMan678

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So is it now going to be 'Senatus Populusque Islandia' on the banners when the legions go marching out into battle? :p
Keep it up - absurd scenarios like this are the reason I like CK2.
 

alscon

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This is a new idea. I submit this comment to you.
Loving the premise. Subscribed.
So is it now going to be 'Senatus Populusque Islandia' on the banners when the legions go marching out into battle? :p
Keep it up - absurd scenarios like this are the reason I like CK2.
Islandia is not an option. Why call that land like the Norse barbarians? S.P.Q.N.R, maybe. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoy it so far.
 

alscon

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Chapter II – Praegressus (Development)

It is not wrong to say Nova Roma's pioneers have a hard time. The climate is harsh; already many of our companions from the beginning fell to the conditions. Cold, windy, dark in the winter, bright in the summer... too different from Roma. No wonder Amentius and his preacher Tryggve have more and more success bringing the people to the Norse gods. Even his wife Crispina was not able to persuade him to return to our old faith by nominating Crassus as seer. As now our pantheons are starting to mix; soon we will have the same faith. What did that old fool back in Roma prove? That a united faith is a strong weapon, you can see by looking at the Karlings.




Now it has been three years since we arrived. Civilization has found its way up here. We are sharing this island with Garðar Svavarsson in the East, but thanks to my efforts, we are keeping good relations. Trade with the mainland has brought some animals on our island and I fear Amentius is talking more to his horse than to his council. He calls it 'Glitterhoof' and seems to search for its advice. Yesterday he tried to talk to me, but only managed to whinny.

Alfgeir returned. Sadly, I must admit I was once more wrong. While Garðar and his men wanted to go raiding, but couldn't leave port, we as civilized people were opposed to Alfgeir's raid, but changed our opinion as he returned with the boats full of loot, enough to finance walls for Nova Roma. Amentius seemed to enjoy Alfgeir's story and even more when he told them he raided Hibernia: 'They were always barbarians, never under Roma. Through raiding, we bring them civilization!' This success behind him, Alfgeir left again under the cheers of the population. Now I know how the Germanic tribesmen felt after attacking Roman cities.



The 26th June 873, Amentius' first son was born. I proposed naming him Romulus, he could lead Nova Roma to first expansion, after all. But our leader decided naming him after himself. His name was more a nickname we gave him because of his... sometimes missing mind control. Either he forgot that or he likes the idea of a son as insane as himself.

Alfgeir's raids permitted the city to grow more, and poachers started appearing, hunting I don't know what. As he returned almost alone after his third raid, explaining an Anglo-Saxon army defeated them in Wessex, I remembered that I always thought it was a bad idea, and told Amentius that. He in return seemed to remember that Glitterhoof always shared his opinion and sacked me. In a Senate, I could be able to defend myself, but not in our new Feudo-Roman society. I never liked that idea anyway. Thinking that his son starts to act like his father and that he will replace him one day, as we accepted a succession based on inheritance, makes me shudder.

It took him one year to reappoint me as Chancellor. 'Glitterhoof is ill', he said, 'you need to replace him.' Now I am the replacement for a horse during its illness. Great. Showing good will, he named his second son Romulus, accepting my proposition. As if it would make the same sense for the second son. Oh well, at least young Amentius understands my worries, a kind child.

As I enter his room this 11th December 881, I find him lying lifeless on his book. He explained me before that he was putting to print how he saved the world from the 'Old Ones'. It was his excuse for when we found him lying naked on the shore, surprisingly with fifty gold next to him. He said he met Odin before setting sail towards the ritual place and he showed him a gold well. His wife believed him, as she then prayed to Odin for his health, but it didn't work. The next victim of the climate here. No surprise that lying naked in the icy water is not good for his health. The founder of Nova Roma, dead with 35 years.



Now it is my duty to raise Amentius to lead Nova Roma to its true position. The basement exists now; and Garðar is weak. If I can convince him to move out, the island is ours. At least I will try to revive the Senate. It is my duty to continue where my friend left off. For the New Rome!

 
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alscon

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alscon

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Chapter III – Ennodius, regens Novae Romae (Ennodius, regent of Nova Roma)



Ah, how sweet is the wine of power. As closest companion and longest friend of our late ruler, I had no problems convincing the others that I am the best suited candidate for the regency in place of Secundus, as I call our child-ruler. Although I hear them whinnying in my back. Well, not for long! When the time comes to give Amentius his last honours, I will have my revenge. I waited for some time, now the moment was coming. Glitterhoof. I haven't forgotten how it took my place. I was still its replacement when Amentius died, he just forgot to reinstitute his trusted advisor, who is now going to follow its master. Yes, that damned animal will die! I am already seeing myself harbouring the stupid grin with which I'm going to assist the procedure. How satisfying. Revenge will be mine! Yes, on a horse. Yes, I fear for my mental sanity, too, but I'm still much clearer than Amentius. The best moment of my life! Call me insane, call me mad, call me... all right, I'll stop.


Shortly after Glitterhoof's goodbye, Secundus begins to worry me. He is starting to talk with his horse, 'Glitty'. Oh no, not again. I am going to miss my time as a regent without the need to justify himself, but if I don't want to be replaced by another horse, I will have to give away some of my power. Keeping the sane Amentius' advice in mind, I decide to create the Senate of Nova Roma, but restrict its power. The Norse don't know the old Roman structure, and the remaining true Romans under us have the important positions, so everyone is happy and no horse is going to replace me. Its function will be to lead our leader, as I fear Amentius' insanity will be a permanent problem for Nova Roma. As long as we control the de Insanias, their lucid moments combined with the Senate will surely help its progress.



Keeping in mind an advantage of our system, I send Alfgeir to arrange a betrothal between Secundus and the daughter of Halfdan 'Whiteshirt' to secure an alliance. The king of Jorvik was constantly fighting with the Anglo-Saxons and was therefore an important part of my latest idea: In order to take the other half of the island, we need manpower. We do not have much manpower. My brilliant idea is to trade our valuable cultural artefacts for Norse prisoners. A win-win-situation: Our work is much more valuable for the Norse than it is for us; Nova Roma is already full of great pieces of art, they can sell it at high prices to the Christians. And the Anglo-Saxons and Celts we gain in exchange are surely grateful to us for civilizing them, and they can be the foundation for our new legions. As soon as we are strong enough, the East of the island will be Roman!



I am trying to make Secundus understand my plan, to show him that his rushing into action against that other child was foolish. I had already put the next part of the plan into motion and sent highway robbers and thieves to weaken the East, and as I showed him the exercise of our almost 900 soldiers ready for battle, I think he got it. Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim. (Be patient and tough; some day this pain will be useful to you.) Now my toughness and patience as one of the last original Romans will see the rise of Nova Roma's power.



The 11th November 884, the Senate gives his approval. As if it would mean anything; I am in charge, and its approval was sure. I would lead the new legion to its first victory. But as I want to leave, Secundus comes running to me pointing on a small spider. As long as I am here, you don't have to think of it, I tell him. I will take care of the ruling, you can live without fears, I say. Although he seems to accept his fate as my puppet, he doesn't seem to trust that spider.





At the end of the year, I led the legion, two times bigger than Garðar's warrior pack, into battle. They were too dumb to return to their ships for raiding, they will not oppose such a superior foe. At least I thought so. Apparently, having no intelligence to speak of is an advantage in battle. I will have to considerate that while rebuilding the legion. The battle started with small skirmishes, but as soon as I commanded the charge, our men started to fear the incredible will to fight until the end and that terrible war cry of the enemy. A shame for our ambition to revive Roma. The men routed, and I had to reorganize the legion for our second attack back in Nova Roma.



I needed someone to blame for the defeat. And I chose the first one who came to mind: Amentius. Yes, not Secundus, I need to call him by his real name. Why? Because in a first step to assure my power even after he comes of age, I had him declared incapable. It was not a surprise as I asked the Senate for support that they would follow my advice, but it was hard to present him not only as the occasional madman like his father but as a completely insane child. That he announced to plead his cause with the King of the Turnip People upon his transfer to house arrest helps to silence the small number of opposition in the Senate. Now I have the complete control of Nova Roma. Maybe I should revive the old republican title of dictator, on lifetime?



The legion reorganized and partly reinforced, the Norse in the east had to fear our next advance. With the experience of the last time, and outnumbering them three to one, they had no chance. Now that they are fleeing, I can smell the victory. As I am already dreaming of a glorious triumph held in occasion of my return, one of my officers wakes me. 'We are not enough to siege the castle', he says. Well, then we are waiting for reinforcements. My triumph will be delayed, but our victory is now assured.



Nova Roma is still not Roma. The triumph is a small one, although the whole population is assisting to it. But who cares for numbers? We, I, have set the start sign for New Roman expansion! The 2nd January 888 will be an important date for future generations, as it marks the end of the siege of Husavik, now Usavic. In honour of my victory, I am already called 'Austisius', after the name of the province I conquered, Austisium. The barbarian names had to leave, but not entirely. Now all I need to do is reorganize the realm as a form of feudal duchy so that I can rule my conquest directly without fearing any opposition. I have never before thought it was an as good idea to go west.



The next move was to secure the new province. The poor idiots I had sent to terrorize the roads in Austisium were rounded up and executed. Criminals. And to prevent Svavarsson, who managed to escape, to gather support and retake this land, I plan to marry Amentius' oldest daughters Insania and Verina to the young king of Sviþjod and the chief of Orknö respectively. Although I start to feel weaker, all the energy I got from my successful conquest has to go somewhere. The Senate starts disagreeing with my last projects; maybe I should eliminate it again.



Power corrupted me. Now, with my last breath, I finally realize this. Would I have traded prisoners back in Roma? To civilize them, I would have used words. And would I have attacked the East, although I worked to improve our relations during Amentius' life and we would have never been able to trade with the continent? Would I have instituted a Senate just to think of how to disable it some years later? Probably not. But I did it. And I will enter history, not only as one of the pioneers, but as Ennodius Austisius, founder of the Legiones Novae, of Nova Roma's military. Hopefully not only as a power-hungry regent, but as the founder of the Senate, too. My plan of disabling it is not ready now and it won't any more. May Amentius and the Senate continue where I left. And may my son play a role in it. I lived for Roma's revival, and now I die knowing Nova Roma can survive. Only future can tell if I did enough.

 
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alscon

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Expansion! And insanity!
More of one of those will come! Tomorrow, I think.

By the way, I am localising the titles I will use now, as it makes no sense having Chiefs and Jarls. Anyone knows how to disable the religious specific titles (jarl, seer etc.) for one culture? It is ready as Christian, but I don't plan to convert (for now).
 
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Jokolytic

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This AAR makes me wish for some Roman love from Paradox...restore the Senate!
 

LumberKing

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More of one of those will come! Tomorrow, I think.

By the way, I am localising the titles I will use now, as it makes no sense having Chiefs and Jarls. Anyone knows how to disable the religious specific titles (jarl, seer etc.) for one culture? It is ready as Christian, but I don't plan to convert (for now).
You can make titles either culture or religion specific, but not both.
 

alscon

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@ngppgn: I edited the OP to answer the question. And for the moment I am an unreformed pagan, so elective is not possible anyway.

@Jokolytic: Some love would be nice, but like Hellenism just for some ruler-designed starts.

@LumberKing: Thanks for the answer. I guess I'll just edit the screenshots then as long as I'm not the only 'norse' or converted.
 

alscon

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Chapter IV – Crispina, mater ducis

That scheming snake of Ennodius is no more. I would not have believed anyone who told me that he would become dictator. Since our days in Roma, he was always the one incapable to argue with my late husband over his ideas, in the end always accepting Amentius' opinion. That he seized power during my son's infancy is a rotten coup I thought it was below him. Well, he was not able to end the New Roman Senate before it began. Amentius is almost of age, I will take over the regency for now. He is not more insane than his father, so my first and only act as regent will be to return him to his rightful position.



The diplomatic education first Ennodius, then me provided him, made of Amentius a charismatic negotiator, capable of winning important debates in the Senate and in his father's tradition. Although the other aspects of a ruler are... not really developed, the Senate and his wife Gunnhildr will provide the much needed help in matters of taxation and military.



Yesterday, Amentius found his father's unfinished book. I did my best to hide it, but I really should have burnt it instead. The servants say that they found him on the shore. Like his father, ten years ago. If I had to to guess, I would say that he read what insanity slept in this book and followed instructions to a strange ritual of washing in the icy sea. How he did it will stay a mystery, all I was able to read was Amentius' name at the beginning, the rest was composed of symbols with absolutely no meaning. I will put one of the young men of the city on the task of deciphering the book. Perhaps one day we will gain valuable insight on where my husband found that gold he had...


We accepted one of Ennodius' last projects. The island is now reorganized as a sort of feudal duchy. We revived many of the offices from the ancient times, although their functions are naturally different due to us living on a sparsely populated island instead of an Imperium. When the Feudal society will finally hear from us, we will have true Roman efficiency combined with the Feudal advantages, as Amentius suggested. I just hope we will have the Imperium to make good use of it.



The 16th October 892. The day of the speech of magister militum Eilif af Borg in the Senate. He held a flaming speech, telling us how he ended as the (unsuited) navigator of the last Romans and first New Romans. He was the leader of a warrior group, the same men who went raiding with Alfgeir later, and led a normal Viking life of raiding the Christian coast. Then, upon one of his returns, he was falsely accused of a capital crime; he didn't want to tell us which one. What he did was bringing up the barbarian custom in law-speaking, wrongly claiming his head without a chance to defend himself. His only chance was to flee with his loyal companions. That way, they reached the South of Jylland, where they finally met us. That was the start of his new life, he said. A new home, cold and inhospitable for sure, but at least no one wanted to kill him here. And the benefits of Roman civilization, so superior to the Norse one. And now, he said, his home, Scandinavia Occidental, was embroiled in civil war, weak and helpless. It would be the chance to take advantage of the situation, overrun Fairhair and establish a base on the continent. At the same time, we would bring civilization to his former people. King Haesteinn of Sviþjod would surely help us, preferring an ally as a neighbour then a potential enemy. And the trade opportunities ensuing our victory would sweeten the proposal. He then went on with anecdotes of his former home, before ending with the words: Audaces fortuna iuvat! We made of him a Roman. And that speech was enough for the Senate to act. The small legion was sent to the boats and would land in Bergenshus. Once more, Nova Roma was at war.

Shortly after the legion's departure, I became grandmother of a healthy young girl, Iustina. The birth was accompanied with Borkvard of Denmark's approval to his betrothal with my third daughter Placidia. When the young king marries her, he may be able to help in our war if it is still not won. And hopefully without emptying our coffers like Haesteinn because of requesting 81.5 denarii to accept our call to arms.



I can only resume how the magister militum described the campaign. Bergenshus fell early, and the Swedes were laying siege to Akershus. When the first troops of Ostlandet arrived to reconquer Bergenshus, the Swedes abandoned the siege although the legion was able to defeat the enemy before the reinforcements arrived.



Then the Swedes returned to the East and the legion finished the remains of this detachment. But while these first battles were won, the lack of Roman discipline in the Swedish ranks proved disastrous. Fairhair rebuilt a warrior host and marched on the 270 remaining legionnaires. The Swedes stayed in the East. The legion was heavily outnumbered and the reinforcements would have equalized the numbers while fighting in favourable terrain. But no.



Utterly crushed in Eidsborg, Eilif returned and made this report. The Swedish army would surely be crushed with its lack of discipline, and there were rumours that Denmark would attack the weak Sviþjod. The tide of war turning, hope was not entirely lost, though: Sigtrygg of Suðreyar, whose son was married to my fourth daughter, had announced his support of our cause.

Romulus is now a man, married to a bright Swedish chief's daughter. And he assumes the role of cancellarius for his brother. But I am seeing difficulties at the horizon. Ennodius had educated him well in the matters of diplomacy and intrigue, to put him at his place, the one of Amentius, who he had put under house arrest for insanity. That snake provoked envy and ambition in my young son. He preferred Romulus, and I fear this will destabilize Nova Roma. As if the situation was not explosive enough, with the defeat and the murder of the magistra inquisitionem.



The 13th March 897 is a dark day. Not long ago, with Sigtrygg our hopes of winning the war died. And now, Amentius has succumbed to a sudden illness. I didn't even recognize any symptoms, and then he was dead. How? It has to do something with that cursed book. This incapable idiot who calls himself Mysterius has that damned book for almost six years now, and still no result! 'I am making progress, mater ducis. Just some more time and I can deliver first results.' I am tired of hearing these excuses. Maybe he deciphered something, read it and cursed my dear son? Or maybe it was really sudden illness. The profit of analysing the book outweighs the risks. As much as I regret it, even more if it killed my son, Mysterius should continue. For the future of all New Romans.



The lack of a male heir makes Iustina the new ducissa. Romulus heavily protests in the Senate, claiming the title for himself, but as he sees this won't change he at least wants the title of regens. My dear son won't admit it, but his wife is better suited for it, so Edla is appointed regens. With Ennodius in mind, the Senate has restricted the office's power, and the separation of the administration between Nova Roma under ducissa Iustina and Austisium under her sister comitissa Paulina restricted it even more. The first act of the Senate was to sign a white peace with Fairhair. We have to recover from this disaster. The death of magister militum Eilif won't help. A rumour circulates he died the moment the peace was signed. A punishment of the gods for his failed plan. I just hope it wasn't Amentius' monster who got him.



When Romulus managed to get himself appointed guardian of Iustina, I tried to prevent it already fearing the worst. Knowing him, he will continue to pursue his dream of ruling Nova Roma, and having the ducissa as ward is a dangerous position. And now, three years after his brother's death, he finally convinced the Senate that he is the perfect regens for Nova Roma. That's bound to bring difficulties for Nova Roma, and certainly for the conjugal harmony with his wife, too.



Vigilius, one of Romulus' three rivals within the Senate, doesn't accept his appointment. Romulus uses his new office to affront him constantly, even blaming the three of them for the lost war, although they weren't even adults back then. Vigilius, who has never been the most patient person and envies every bit of recognition Romulus earns, finally lost his nerves and challenged my son to a duel. For once, I don't regret that Ennodius was his guardian, as Romulus knows how to fight. Proving his bravery, I don't know how the duel ended, but both duellists are still alive, so they seem to have settled their differences for now.



My fears have proven right. My dear granddaughter sank today. This 14th of December 901, she wanted to make a boat trip. The icy water and perhaps Amentius' monster got her. Poor child. There is one survivor though, and he says the little boat was sabotaged. A culprit is rapidly found: Paulina and Crispina are too young to kill their sister. The whole Senate knows Romulus' ambition as he made it clear after his brother's death. That he would walk over little girls' corpses to reach his goal, nobody expected that, but it seems the only viable solution for the sabotage. Romulus has to free his office as regens and retire from politics for now as consequence, as we have no definite proof. Paulina's councillors in Austisium are effective, so her cancellarius Marcellus will take the vacant place.



Two years after the tragic boat trip, Romulus returns on the scene. He criticised Marcellus' 'weak' politics. Nova Roma needs strong leaders, or we'll end as a failed border notice of history, a people of art traders on a cold and forgotten island far in the North. After Paulina's guardian Julia's death in childbirth, he managed to convince us that family should take care of her education. And not someone without any ruling experience. In other words, him. Now he returns to power. I can't imagine the Senate keeping Marcellus as regens. Not with his vehement denial of Romulus' idea. He remembered the raids' primary destination: Hibernia. If they couldn't stop some raiders, they won't stop an organized legion, will they? So it looks like Romulus will get his will. The only thing I can do is hope that it doesn't end in a disaster again.

 
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