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loki100

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The Gallic Crisis 705-708 AUC

The original conquest of Gaul had been relatively easy and the borders of Roman control had since steadily expanded to the Atlantic and onto the Rhine. In many ways Gaul now appeared to be as peaceful as Spain and thus a settled part of the Republic. As elsewhere, this peace was shattered by isolated revolts and sometimes by a major incursion by the German tribes. These were mostly dealt with by the legions kept in the region and rarely, if at all, had Gaul been the centre of the Senate’s concerns. Overall, Gaul had become seen as a region that was steadily Romanising and would soon be accepted as a group of fully Roman provinces.



This illusion was shattered first by the massive barbarian incursions in 705 AUC that forced the retention in the West of the legions that had been deployed from Syria to crush the Numidian revolt.

The new colony on the Aquitainian coast line provoked a major revolt in the south west.



The province quickly fell and the Gauls moved to besiege the long settled Ruteni.

Sextus Longinus took the only legion in the region (the 5th) and drove the Gauls back from Ruteni



It was an important, but not a decisive victory.

At the same time, the tribes to the north of the Alps revolted in support of a German horde that had just poured across the border.



Fortunately by late winter of 706 the Numidian revolt ended, freeing up fresh legions to assist in restoring order in Gaul.



Sextus Longinus continued his campaign in the South West and was able to extend Roman control by establishing a veteran’s colony at Santones.



As he finally brought the rebels to bay

At the same time, Curio was able to restore order on the Rhine.



Briefly by June 706, it appeared as if the addition of fresh legions had restored Roman control. However, the sequence of revolt and incursion continued.



The steady sequence of battles, saw the legions gradually weakened. Although most battles ended in victory, here and there, the legions were overwhelmed and Curio’s 7th Legion then was almost wiped out at Biturges.



The defeat at Pictones, became more serious when a fresh German horde appeared on the Rhine in late summer 707.



The 1st and 9th Legions were ordered back from the East, it appeared that the situation in the West was now so desperate that it became the main theatre for the Roman army.



Crossing the Alps in late autumn they surprised the Germans at Vindelicia



While the freshly raised 14th Legion helped to restore order in Gaul.



By June 708, the twin incursion was over



As a protective measure Roman control was extended to cover the entire West bank of the Rhine.



However, the return of peace was to be a brief interlude. As in Britain, the increasing violence of Rome’s domestic politics was to have an impact on military operations.
 

unmerged(471650)

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Ah more fun with the Barbarians they give you slaves to turn into freeman.
and have a happy new year.
 

Ricardo Rolo

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Bah, all those western provinces are only distracting your attention of what is important ... like the yet-not-existant Germans would say, Drang nach Osten ;) The situation in the east is surely volatile and the benefits you could get from there are surely bigger than hordes of barbarian hordes :p
 

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Bah, all those western provinces are only distracting your attention of what is important ... like the yet-not-existant Germans would say, Drang nach Osten ;)
It seems, however, that the currently-existing Germanic tribes have a decided Drang nach Westen. Or Drang nach Süden. Or perhaps it's simply a Drang nach anywhere-not-quite-as-desolate-as-the-Germanic-heartlands. I mean, they're uncivilized, suffer from cold winters and lack of wine and olive oil, and to boot, they're full of barbarian Germanic hordes. Who wouldn't want to escape? :p

As always, the uprisings and barbarian hordes prove to be an enormous drain on your resources and keep diverting your eyes from the real prize (the East) and/or the real threat (those scary, scary Britons and Picts).
 

loki100

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Ah more fun with the Barbarians they give you slaves to turn into freeman.
and have a happy new year.
thank you, and yes I do appreciate the barbarian-slave-freedman-roman legionary dynamic I have set up

Bah, all those western provinces are only distracting your attention of what is important ... like the yet-not-existant Germans would say, Drang nach Osten ;) The situation in the east is surely volatile and the benefits you could get from there are surely bigger than hordes of barbarian hordes :p
fortunately in the East they are all quite happy to war with each other, my main worry is the Seleucids are making gains off the Parthians and of course the Seleucids have a permanent CB on me for their provinces I occupy

It seems, however, that the currently-existing Germanic tribes have a decided Drang nach Westen. Or Drang nach Süden. Or perhaps it's simply a Drang nach anywhere-not-quite-as-desolate-as-the-Germanic-heartlands. I mean, they're uncivilized, suffer from cold winters and lack of wine and olive oil, and to boot, they're full of barbarian Germanic hordes. Who wouldn't want to escape? :p

As always, the uprisings and barbarian hordes prove to be an enormous drain on your resources and keep diverting your eyes from the real prize (the East) and/or the real threat (those scary, scary Britons and Picts).
The Germans have a thing about invading Helvetia, I guess its a desire to gain early access to the wonders of Swiss banking?

In general all this is a distraction, and worse, its, as in the next post, related to my domestic politics ... I think that in game terms I am rather stuck but still hope to reduce the Populist menace without a major civil war if I can
 

loki100

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Pulcher's revolt 709-711 AUC

The Great Gallic revolt of 709 AUC was a direct product of Rome’s domestic turmoil. As the consulship passed between the contending factions, increasingly each replaced the provincial governors with their own favourites [1]. In this case, Gaius Pulcher merged his personal desire to cling to office to a widespread discontent with Roman rule across Eastern and Northern Gaul. Rome’s defeats in Britain, created the hope that the legions might be driven from the more valuable Gallic provinces.



This came at a bad time as the legions had taken heavy losses in the recent campaigns, were heavily involved in Britain and, with the end of the Aquitanian revolt, had sought to end the independence of the Vascones who sat astride Rome’s communication links between Spain and Gaul. Initially this particular campaign had started well.




The province was quickly colonised but the resulting war continued for well over a year, sparking revolts in Spain at a time when the Senate wished to destroy Pulcher’s Gallic Kingdom as quickly as possible.

In the meantime Pulcher was quickly raising and training troops and managed to seize control of the new legionary colony at Remi on the Rhine.



With this, the 6th Legion was withdrawn from Britain, ending 10 years of campaigning on that wet and miserable island (except for the sunny bit occupied by the Picts).



This consolidated Rome’s power in Gaul and, with these fresh forces, it appeared as if Pulcher’s revolt would be quickly ended.



However, although the settled British tribes accepted Rome’s withdrawal, their more volatile neighbours sought to take advantage of the chaos in Gaul.

Fortunately, this invasion was quickly ended.



The balance of the war was a series of long drawn out sieges and small scale revolts provoked by Pulcher’s agents. By July 711 it was over. In effect, the Gauls showed little enthusiasm in fighting for someone whose motives were plainly those of personal interest rather than a real struggle for independence from Rome.



[1] Not quite true, I do end up operating with most of the posts vacant but that is due to problems of containing revolt risk due to tyranny (we’ll come to this soon). Mostly it is safer to dismiss governors rather than legates (so I can concentrate the bribes on them) but this revolt and the earlier one in Numidia were the exceptions.
 

Ricardo Rolo

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So, let me see: the antics of Roman politics lead to a crisis in terms of governmental leadership, leading to revolts that make wars to fail and prevent the Republic of making glorious gains in the east instead of barbarian head crushing in the west. So, exactly why there isn't a Sulla "cleaning" the ranks ? ;)

On a more serious note, I think that Britain was a bridge too far at this point. You probably need to consolidate Gallia Transalpina and get a good defensive line in the Rhine before you can get enough spare troops in the west to entertain a real invasion of Britain ...
 

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With this, the 6th Legion was withdrawn from Britain, ending 10 years of campaigning on that wet and miserable island (except for the sunny bit occupied by the Picts).
Oh, c'mon, I know you've been known to stretch the truth a little, but that's really taking suspension of disbelief and smashing it right through the fourth wall. EVERYONE knows that Scotland is a hellish place where the sun only ever shines to highlight how depressingly foggy/cloudy/rainy it is the other 99.9% of the time. That's not at all a stereotype, nossir. :)

I see you beat off another booze cruise and trampled your unruly governors back into place. Too bad that you're stagnating at best, instead of taking all those hapless poor Eastern provinces into the loving embrace of the upright Roman Republic.
 

loki100

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So, let me see: the antics of Roman politics lead to a crisis in terms of governmental leadership, leading to revolts that make wars to fail and prevent the Republic of making glorious gains in the east instead of barbarian head crushing in the west. So, exactly why there isn't a Sulla "cleaning" the ranks ? ;)

On a more serious note, I think that Britain was a bridge too far at this point. You probably need to consolidate Gallia Transalpina and get a good defensive line in the Rhine before you can get enough spare troops in the west to entertain a real invasion of Britain ...
well in truth, as in the next post, I run out of actual real Populists that I can imprison/exile/murder etc so I have cleaned out the actual ones, just their dopplegangers fill the Senate. But yes, broadly I am now stuck in a cycle of small revolts that tie up a lot of the army but are no real threat.

I think you are right about Britain, just I have been trying to take account of the various 'missions' (not least as a means to reduce the grip of the Populists)

Oh, c'mon, I know you've been known to stretch the truth a little, but that's really taking suspension of disbelief and smashing it right through the fourth wall. EVERYONE knows that Scotland is a hellish place where the sun only ever shines to highlight how depressingly foggy/cloudy/rainy it is the other 99.9% of the time. That's not at all a stereotype, nossir. :)

I see you beat off another booze cruise and trampled your unruly governors back into place. Too bad that you're stagnating at best, instead of taking all those hapless poor Eastern provinces into the loving embrace of the upright Roman Republic.
nah, just goes to explain why Scotland is soooo genteel and civilised ...:ninja:

Stagnating is not the word for it.


I've been doing a bit of thinking about where to take this. I have played about 6-7 years beyond the date of the next update and I am stuck in a constant cycle of 'governor' revolts (I am running out of bribes). In truth, the last few updates have seemed rather repetitive and I think writing up the next period is going to be more of the same, no matter how I try to spin it. So while the game is still fun to play, and hopefully the AAR varied enough to be worth reading, I am going to halt this after the next update. The next post will set out the domestic politics behind all the problems in Gaul and Britain. I'll then do a sort of epilogue, based in part on the material I have and in part on an imagined end.
 

loki100

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Domestic Politics 704-711 AUC

Across this period Rome faced various problems – a loss of momentum in the East, the failed conquest of Britain, the sequence of Gallic revolts as well as the mounting use of bribery to secure loyalty. However, all can be traced to a single cause. The old oligarchic Republic effectively collapsed into a set of competing power blocks. At the least, this led to paralysis and the dismissal of competent men merely because they backed the wrong faction. At the worst, it led directly to major crises.

Typical of this small scale disruption was the fate of Mettius Flaccus. He happened to observe, and believe it was his duty to report, a murder. Shortly after his return to his province he was found dead in the garden of his villa.



Not all mourned the loss of a competent official, not least his own cousin was the leader of the faction widely held responsible.

Later on Lucius Sulla was accused of Flaccus’ murder and imprisoned.



The ongoing agitation and turmoil meant many able men were unwilling to stand for the consulship. Typical of the new type of consul was Faustus Cinna, at least he was competent, but quite content to govern in the interests of his own faction.



To this end, almost his first act was to banish the various members of the Populist faction who were held in jail.



In the meantime, corruption reached unprecedented levels.



And the Senate remained evenly balanced between the competing groups.



Inevitably, the Populists regained the consulship with the election of Gaius Flaccus



However, he surprised many by imprisoning those accused of his cousins’s murder.



Despite this rare instance of disregarding party loyalty, the Senate continued its decline from being a means of governance and more an arena for private gain, even the Gods turned their eyes from the Republic



Gaius Scipio followed in late 709



Only to be met with almost constant dissent from the Populists, including regular threats of civil war.



As, had others, he tried to use the state apparatus to regain control



And escalated the situation when he had Flaccus executed for crimes committed during his consulship.



However, the constant small wars and revolts lay at the root of the Populists’ popularity not individuals. Each round of state sponsored vengeance merely further destabilised the Republic



In an attempt to create a new social basis for the Republic, Scipio passed the Lex Canuleia



Over time, this reform was to be crucial, but in the short term was one factor behind the Gallic revolt. Scipio did what he could to stabilise the situation.



However, not only did the Populists regain power, they did so in the person of Gnaus Orestes.



The Republic seemed doomed, unable to produce rulers of any ability, almost regardless of faction [1]


[1] – part of the problem here is I have imprisoned/executed/exiled so many Populists, especially the able ones, that the few actual characters left are utter numpties.
 

alhoward

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I love the introduction when you get a bad ruler. Strangely monotheistic sounding for a pagan society.
 

Ricardo Rolo

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Normally this kind of Gibbonesque narrations are followed by one of this sentences:

a) " All was set for the appearance of a strongman that would usurp the power and shatter the decaying political structures "

b) " This was just the beginning of the fall. The inner and outer enemies of the political arrangement were fast to notice the weaknesses of the regime and after a series of blows, it simply was no more "

So, I assume that , given your previous description, b) is what happened :/ In the end and all summed, you probably should had forced the civil war and/or go Dictadorship ... oh well, you just can't fight the game mechanics :p
 
Last edited:

loki100

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I love the introduction when you get a bad ruler. Strangely monotheistic sounding for a pagan society.
I can't remember where I read it, but I think it was if a court delivered a verdict of treason the Gods were blindfolded so they could not see how low humans could stoop - indirectly that led to the idea of justice being blind in later thinking about jurisprudence.

Normally this kind of Gibbonesque narrations are followed by one of this sentences:

a) " All was set for the appearance of a strongman that would usurp the power and shatter the decaying political structures "

b) " This was just the beginning of the fall. The inner and outer enemies of the political arrangement were fast to notice the weaknesses of the regime and after a series of blows, it simply was no more "

So, I assume that , given your previous description, b) is what happened :/ In the end and all summed, you probably should had forced the civil war and/or go Dictadorship ... oh well, you just can't fight the game mechanics :p
With hindsight about 20 game years back I had a consul with decent stats and high enough infamy to proclaim a dictatorship. I should have done it then, accepted the civil wars and probably had about 30 years at the end of the game to spread Pax Romana. As it is now, I'm trapped in small level revolts, I guess I will have a populist civil war but too late to make use of actually winning it.

In the 6-7 years I've played I've completed the conquest of Gaul up to the Rhine (with the exception, rather spookily, of Brittany - does the game wish to ensure Asterix has a future?). So the Empire pretty much stretches from the Atlantic to Asia Minor and I hold all the Western Med. The 3 main 'Hellenistic' powers take more land from the Parthians (the Pontic-Seleucid alliance is too strong for them and Egypt then grabs bits from the corpse). None seem that interested in me.

So to sketch out a time line (I'm in a bit of a house cleaning mood today), my guess is Rome slips into Dictatorship-Principate. I think I can easily sustain my opening thesis that this reflects the greed and disruption to the traditional Republic brought about by the conquest of Carthage. The east becomes a different version of the historical Roman-Parthian/Sassanid stand off in that the front line is Asia Minor. My guess is Rome is unchallengeable in the West and Greece but control of the border provinces will shift according to power blocks and temporary alliances. But there will be a rough stasis in that none will be strong enough to really damage any of the others, and equally all have a stake in some balance of power being maintained. Only Egypt is rich enough to really break this consensus and I can match their navy.

I'd like to thank all who have read and commented on this AAR. Its one I've enjoyed writing and very much enjoyed the underlying gameplay. I've always liked Rome as a game and really like the meld of EU (the focus is on the state) with the richer characterisation (but unlike CK the characters are not the focus). Clearly I need to go and reread Cheexsta's Republic guide again, but I think the decline into a strong populist force and thus dictatorship is fairly inevitable from this start point.
 

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Thanks for writing it! It's been a fun ride: scrappy at the start, then hitting your stride (if only ever briefly) and then ever more wildly tottering. And in the end the wheels were falling off, to stretch the awkward metaphor to its breaking point. :)

Not quite the triumphant conquest of our own well-known Imperium Romanum, nor the cataclysmic destruction that Gibbon was such a fan of (but then, it's too early for you to go Christian, so Edward would've had his work cut out to blame Christianity for this mess). Rather an implosion, a collapse from the center spreading outwards.

I'm glad you say it was fun to play, as it sounds almost painful with all the low- and middle-grade nuisances popping up. Did make for some very interesting reading, though. And it's noticeable how you resorted to tyrannical methods ever more. Perhaps there's a cautionary tale there. ;)
 

unmerged(471650)

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I think this was a very fine tale.
Shows how corruptive power is.
cannot wait for your next endeavor:D
 

Wessex1

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Thank you so much for this superb read! Very instructive for those, like me, returning to Rome-VV for another try.
 

loki100

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Thanks for writing it! It's been a fun ride: scrappy at the start, then hitting your stride (if only ever briefly) and then ever more wildly tottering. And in the end the wheels were falling off, to stretch the awkward metaphor to its breaking point. :)

Not quite the triumphant conquest of our own well-known Imperium Romanum, nor the cataclysmic destruction that Gibbon was such a fan of (but then, it's too early for you to go Christian, so Edward would've had his work cut out to blame Christianity for this mess). Rather an implosion, a collapse from the center spreading outwards.

I'm glad you say it was fun to play, as it sounds almost painful with all the low- and middle-grade nuisances popping up. Did make for some very interesting reading, though. And it's noticeable how you resorted to tyrannical methods ever more. Perhaps there's a cautionary tale there. ;)
I think this was a very fine tale.
Shows how corruptive power is.
cannot wait for your next endeavor:D
Well, I have to say I certainly enjoyed it. Hopefully the end of this won't mean the end of your AARing career.
Thank you so much for this superb read! Very instructive for those, like me, returning to Rome-VV for another try.
thanks for the feedback and comments, very much appreciated. I think Rome is a bit like CK2 in that you can have a lot of fun just dipping in and out or using the later start dates (for some reason with EU3 I feel its a 1399 start or not bother). This was interesting as you are presented with a starting position not of your own choice, but equally there is no way you can realistically lose (though the speed at which the Seleucids generated huge armies was a shock), so it tends to a role-play model rather than astute game play (which is handy as I am pretty rubbish at most of these games - though I find it vastly enjoyable).

as to more ... not for a while. I need to concentrate my writing on actually earning some money which cuts across the spare time. Equally I seem to be playing a lot of MP these days, but find those game engines with end of turn resolution routines, rather than the Clauswitz real time method, fit better around my time. So that means a lot of AGEOD and, more recently, War in the East. So put the two together and I suspect it'll be a while before I write another conventional paradox game based AAR :)
 

Rensslaer

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Not that I'm happy this is over, Loki -- it's a very entertaining and well-told tale! But it will help facilitate my catching up, as I started reading it the other day (re-reading parts) in momentary free times, and I'm getting through about an update a day. I'll be done soon enough! :)

Rensslaer