- May 16, 2013
The Consulship of Lucius Aemilius Barbula (473-477)
"One more such victory and we are undone" - Pyrrhus of Epirus
"One more such victory and we are undone" - Pyrrhus of Epirus
The tenure of Lucius Aemilius Barbula as head of the republic is best remembered as the Consulship when Rome, before this a regional power which dominated central and northern Italy, would assert itself as a major power in the Mediterranean world. The Roman Republic, through Barbula's leadership and that of his successor, would acquire the rich cities of Croton and Tarentum, and would take for the first time land outside of Italy itself, with the annexation of the eastern half of Sicily. Still, such an outcome was not inevitable, and Pyrrhus of Epirus, the man who, for a time, was hailed as the greatest commander of men since Alexander the Great, would come close to halting Rome’s absorption of the cities of Magna Graecia. Perhaps more notably for this history, Barbula’s term was the first where records show the existence of just one Consul, who’s term now had quadrupled to four years, a sign of the need for stable, long term leadership in the growing republic .
The exact details leading up to the outbreak of what would become known as the Pyrrhic War are lost to the mists of time, but it is known that in 468 AUC, the Tarentines launched an assault on the Roman aligned city of Thurii, which they looted. Shortly thereafter in 470, a Roman fleet led by the hapless Lucius Valerius fell under Tarentine attack and many Roman sailors were captured. By the time that Barbula ascended to the Consulship in 473, war was inevitable and broke out officially a short time later. The Tarentines, realizing their mistake, quickly reached out to Pyrrhus, then ruler of the Greek kingdom of Epirus, and an alliance was quickly established. The arrival of Pyrrhus led to several Sicilian cities, notably Syracuse, to join the Epirote cause, and by 474, Rome found itself facing a coalition which stretched from the hinterlands of central Sicily to the borders of Macedonia.
Planned Campaigns of Pyrrhus. He likely would have reached Rome, but for Q.A Papus checking his advance at the Battle of Capua in 475.
Barbula, ostensibly the head of the Republic, would not truly lead the war effort. Instead, this task fell on Quintus Aemilius Papus, the newly appointed general of the freshly raised Legio I Italica. Papus was better equipped from his base in Lucania to react with the speed which was necessary, and would earn great renown from the war. Papus knew that if the Greek armies were allowed to mass, Rome would not be able to withstand them. Deducing that the Tarentine army posed a much greater threat than that of either Croton, or the now Tarentine aligned Thurii, Papus decided to face Thurii and Croton before their full strength could be brought to bear, and by the spring of 474, both Thurii and Croton's armies were scattered and their capitals under siege.
In the meantime, both Pyrrhus and the Tarentines were ravaging southern Italy. Lucania had been pillaged and Potentia put under siege . Barium had likewise been cut off by a Tarentine army numbering some 11,000 men. As such, Barbula ordered a new legion raised, the Legio II Sabina. Placed under the command of a certain Caeso Quinctius Claudius, this new legion had a standing force of 10,000 men, and was tasked with relieving the siege of Barium. At this, Claudius, who initially seemed a promising military mind, failed, and with heavy losses was repulsed. This began a long line of bad luck for poor Claudius, who by the end of the war, was relegated to lead a much reduced force in starving out enemy settlements.
Still, despite the setbacks in Apulia, by September, both Croton and Thurii had capitulated, and were incorporated into the Republic. Pyrrhus had managed to occupy Potentia and with it much of Lucania, but Barium still held out. Claudius, recovering from a new defeat inflicted upon him and his unlucky force by the Epirotes was licking his wounds up the coast from Barium. As such, with 475 dawning, it fell to Papus again to salvage the war effort. He, reaching the Adriatic shore, sped up the coast, and reinforced by Claudius’s army, met the Tarentines in pitched battle in early January 475, and smashed them. Giving chase, the whole army was forced to surrender outside the walls of Tarentum, and the city was invested. Papus, leaving Claudius to end Tarentine resistance, something he would in fact be capable of doing, prepared to deal with Pyrrhus who was now at the walls of Capua. On April 25th, Papus and Pyrrhus, the two most able generals of the war began battle. In an engagement that lasted the better part of two weeks, Papus, with the help of superior numbers forced Pyrrhus from the field. It is a testament to Pyrrhus’s leadership that he was able to withdraw in good order, and it would take nearly a year for his force to be decisively defeated. As Papus began his chase of Pyrrhus across the boot of Italy, Claudius achieved his first real military success when in August, Tarentum surrendered. As punishment for their role in starting the war, Barbula decreed that the territory would not be annexed, and instead would remain under military administration .
The results of the decisive Battles of Barium and Capua.
The war had now turned decisively in Rome’s favor, and on the 18th of April 476, the Epirote army which had burned their way across Italy for two years, surrendered; Pyrrhus only just escaped back to Epirus. Still, Epirote naval supremacy, or perhaps to be more accurate naval dominance put the war on a standstill. Claudius, following his display of competency was delegated the task of retaking Potentia. Papus cooled his heels in Croton, waiting until he was able to cross into Sicily. Rome’s naval presence had never been noteworthy, and so a new navy had to be constructed from the ground up. The time it took to ensure this meant that the remainder of Barbula’s Consulship was uneventful. 476 passed without incident, and the only noteworth event of the first part of 477 was the appointment of Manlius Valerius Maximus, then Tribune of the Treasury, as the admiral of the newly constituted Classis I Apollinaris. The arrival of April 477 brought with it the need for new Consular elections, and the choice was clear to everyone. On May 1st, Quintus Aemelius Papus became Consul of the Roman Republic.
The extent of Roman rule in 477. Not shown is the remaining Epirote garrison at Potentia.
 Unrealistic, I know. Though for the sake of this AAR, I figured it was best to do this for simplicity’s sake. It should also be noted that the major offices, i.e Quaestor, Aedile etc, will also be on this four year term, and will show just one or two holders of the office at any given time. RoA incorporates minor offices as well, which may be mentioned from time to time.
 Pyrrhus didn’t actually land in Italy, instead the Epirote force was commanded by a Martial 9 general, so I decided to take some liberties here and name Pyrrhus as the main general.
. I didn't annex Tarentum right away as I didn't want the "Conquer Sicily" mission to trigger too early and cause a rush for the island before I was ready.
Below is an index of the various officials, governors, and military leaders for this chapter. I know there was never such a thing as Censor Prima and Censor Seconda, but I included it to keep track of who was in the two Censor positions. The armies and navies include the year in which they were organized as well as the year their specific commander took control.
Consul: Lucius Aemilius Barbula (473-477)
Army Quaestor: Gaius Fabius Licinus (474-)
Navy Quaestor: Publius Sempronius Sophus (474-)
Aedile: Gnaeus Cornelius Blasio (474-)
Praetor: Gaius Atilius Regulus (474-)
Pontifex Maximus: Quintus Caedicius (474-)
Censor Prima: Quintus Fabius Gurges (474-)
Censor Seconda: Tiberius Coruncanius (474-)
Apulia: Gaius Fabricius Luscinus (474-)
Campania: Manius Curius Dentatus (474-)
Etruria: Marcus Atilius Regulus (474-)
Generals and Admirals:
Legio I Italica (474-):
Quintus Aemilius Papus (474-)
Legio II Sabina (474-):
Caeso Quinctius Claudius (474-)
Classis I Apollinaris (476-):
Manlius Valerius Maximus (476-)
Hope you all enjoyed the first chapter of this AAR! I've been a long time lurker here as you can see by my post count, but with the announcement of Rome: Imperator, I figured I'd try my hand at writing an AAR for one of my favorite paradox games. I am playing with the Reign of the Ancients mod on version 2.36b for Vae Victus with the hegemony victory condition, hence the title.