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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

DensleyBlair

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Hopefully once Carthage have secured themselves a proper African power base we’ll be able to see a proper, non-anti-climactic war. :D
 

HistoryDude

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Carthage is being brought to heel.

I wonder if a Hannibal-like figure will emerge?
 

Stuckenschmidt

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25 - Sicily and the begin of the Interlude (266 - 265)

After the end of the Second Punic War, the Republic controlled almost all of Sicily with the exception of a small territory to the west of Mount Etna. After the Sikulian War, during which the city of Tyndaris had been seized, this was the only part of the Tyndarian territory, that had not been annexed by the Republic.

In 266, Rome began to conquer this last place of resistance. We have almost no sources about this Campaign, but in 265 a place called Kentoripa had been captured after a siege and that had seemed to be the end of the Campaign itself either.

The Second Punic War and the Campaign of 266/265 brought the end of a strategic Roman campaign, that led to the Republic controlling mainland Italy as well as the large islands. Carthage`s influence in the region had disappeared and it had to turn its attention to other places in order to compensate its losses.

While the Carthaginian side seemed to have a clear vision about where to prepare for further clashes with the Republic, Rome seemed to have been in a more complex situation. It had emerged victorious out of the struggle for supremacy over Italy. But it is possible that with this victory the strategic focus had been lost either. Historians argue, that Roman foreign policy in the following years was more the result of improvisation than of a long-term strategic concept.

This period of time, that consisted of Campaigns not embedded into a larger strategy, is called "the Interlude" by Historians today.
 

HistoryDude

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No comprehensive foreign policy? Oh dear. The bordergore is going to be horrible, isn't it?
 

Stuckenschmidt

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26 - Landfall in Illyria (264 - 263)

The territory from today`s Slovenia in the north to northern Albania in the south was known as Illyria in antiquity. It was populated by numerous people with their own Indo-European language, whose economic basis was agriculture and, in the mountainous regions, animal husbandry.

This changed as of the 6th Century, when Greek settlers began to found cities in southern Illyria. With the Greek cultural influence spreading, the Illyrian people adopted urbanization and seafaring. The first small and short-lived Kingdoms appeared and some rulers even did mint coins. But in the early 3rd Century, Illyria was still clearly less organized, developed and wealthy than Italy on the other side of the Adriatic Sea.

That the Roman Republic still gained interest in Illyria had to do with this exact political and economic disparity. Illyrian seafarers lived as well on trade as piracy and the rugged coast plus a multitude of small political entities meant, that there were many friendly harbors from where to operate and harass Roman and Greek shipping lines.

Another factor may have been, that the political landscape of the region changed in the first half of the 3rd Century. Although the majority of Illyria was still divided into many different people and territories, the appearance of the Eravisci was threatening the Illyrian tribes. The Eravisci were a Pannonian tribe of Celtic origin. Around 300 they settled north of Lake Balaton, but in the following decades they began to expand and subdued the tribes in the eastern Alps first, before they turned south and invaded northern Illyria.

1616861440982.png

In 267, former Consul Appius Claudius Caudex travelled to Illyria and negotiated with several Tribes. The nature of his mission is not exactly described. But it is assumed, that he was to deliver demands by the Senate to halt any hostilities toward Roman merchant vessels in the Adriatic. He returned to Rome empty-handed and according to Fabius Pictor he barely escaped an assassination attempt.

After Sicily had been completely occupied, Rome turned its attention toward Illyria to secure shipping by force. In mid 264, Rome landed an army of at least 10.000 soldiers at the Illyrian coast, probably at the ancient settlement of Narona. The surroundings were controlled by the Pieri, who were also allied with the Daorsi people.

Within the the next 12 months, Rome successfully ended two sieges and fought minor skirmishes versus the local Illyrian tribes. In mid 263 the Illyrians agreed, that the Republic would seize Narona.

The Campaign of 264/263 was the first of numerous military operations, that would later be summarized as the Illyrian Wars. The Republic had decided to expand further beyond mainland Italy in order to secure its economic interests. Effectively it laid the foundation for the province of Illyria and it brought Rome closer to the Greek world, a major future theater of operation.
 

HistoryDude

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Illyria is subdued.

A base to the east...
 

Stuckenschmidt

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27 - The Abrian Campaign (263 - 262)

Directly after the end of the first Illyrian Campaign, Rome used its present forces to secure control of the Illyrian coast south of Narona. At that moment, the territory belonged to the Abri people. Additionally the land further south was currently in turmoil due to the Taulantian Civil War.

Taulantia was a considerably well developed Illyrian Kingdom heavily influenced by Greek culture. In the late 260s, King Taulas I had ruled the Kingdom for roughly 20 years already, when his younger brother Pleuratas tried to usurp the Throne and began an uprising in the north around the city of Lissus (today Lezha).

Roman historians describe, that Pleuratas decided to not only fight a Civil War versus his brother, but also support the Abri in their struggle versus Rome. It is still disputed, whether this really happened or the Republic took advantage of the disorder within the Taulantian Kingdom. In fact, Rome fought versus both parties during this Campaign, that lasted for roughly a year.

There are no detailed reports about the progress of the Campaign. It is assumed, that no major battle as fought and the Campaign mainly onsisted of two sieges along the Illyrian coast, before a Legion arrived at Lissus and took it with no significant resistance.

It is reported, that the Taurantian Uprising ended with the capture of Lissus. Pleuratas died in these days, but it is unclear, whether he did so in battle, committed suicide or was murdered by his supporters. Anyway, the Roman Campaign of 263/262 came to an end and the Republic now controlled a long part of the coast with several good harbors.

1616938809936.png
 

HistoryDude

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And more of Illyria is brought into the fold.
 

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Good work securing a toehold, but Rome needs to pick up the pace!
 

Stuckenschmidt

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28 - Developments in the Republic (276 - 262)

During the short period from the First Punic War to the early Illyrian Wars, the Republic had gained the remaining mainland of southern Italy, colonized west Corsica, seized Sardinia, Sicily and a coastal stripe in southern Illyria. According to estimations, the total population of the Republic comprised up to 2.5 million people at that point of time.

The result of this rapid expansion was a clear demographic shift. The annexation of territories never exposed to Latin culture meant, that maybe just slightly more than half the population consisted of Latin people. And since not even all Latin speaking people had been granted citizenship, the citizens were now in the minority.

The still unifying factor in society was probably religion. It is assumed that, besides non-Greek population groups on Sardinia and Sicily, the overwhelming majority of inhabitants of the Republic were still followers of some variant of the Hellenic religion and pantheon.

Gnaeus Flavius` work "Legis Actiones", that was written during that time, does not only give insight into the Roman judiciary system, but also into the legislation of his time. Apparently, the Senate was not only more willing to accept variants of the Hellenic system as equal to the Roman one, one does also see, that the first attempts of Syncretism appear in order to incorporate rites of other religions into the own system. This was especially applied to the followers of the Phoenician religious system.

Another important part of legislation concerned slavery. According to estimations, between 30 and 40 percent of the population were slaves. Hence it was necessary to guarante them at least a basic legal status to protect them from "indecent" punishment. On the other hand, punishment for fugitive slaves that were captured again became more harsh.

Besides societal, the Republic also strived for teritorial unity. A good example for this is the Italiote city of Heraclea in southern Italy. In 294, shortly after the end of the Lucanian War, it became a tributary city to the Republic. In 274, the year when Metapontum and Ancona were integrated into the Republic, Heraclea became a vassal of Rome. Another eight years later, in late 262, it also lost its remaining independence and became a part of the Republic. With Sicily being annexed in 265 already, Heraclea had been the last remnant of the Greek influence in Italy and with it Magna Graecia slowly disappeared.

1617100828233.png

In the year 312, Appius Claudius Caecus, while being Censor of the Republic, ordered the construction of the Via Appia. A road from Rome to Capua, that was designed to improve logistics during the Samnite Wars. In 269, after becoming Consuls, Appius Claudius Caudex and Camillus Claudius ordered the extension of the Via Appia from Capua to Tarentum. Additionally another road was constructed from Rome northward to Pisae, that would later be known as Via Claudia. Further roads came into being on Sardinia and Sicily.

These roads did speed up troop movements within Italy, enhanced transport of supplies and thus helped the Republic to keep large armies in the field far away from Rome during long Campaigns. These roads, built across the whole Roman territory and being used for centuries after the end of the Empire, became one of the most important Roman legacies.
 

DensleyBlair

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I drove from Naples to Bari last time I was in Italy, and I had no idea that that was the Via Appia (near enough). But then my dad’s house in Somerset is on a Roman road, so I shouldn’t be surprised. Amazing how they still make themselves known.
 

Stuckenschmidt

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I live in the Barbaric part of Germany. The only Roman traces in the vicinity are the remnants of a short-lived camp. :D
 

DensleyBlair

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I live in the Barbaric part of Germany. The only Roman traces in the vicinity are the remnants of a short-lived camp. :D
Probably turned out better in the end! :D