Res Gestae Imperatorum --- The Deeds of the Emperors, a Julio-Claudian TL

Book IV: Flavian
Book IV: Flavian

I. The Flavian family held ancient, albeit humble origins. They were a plebeian family, though one of the most ancient, dating far back to the period in times before the Latin War. The first ever recorded member of the family of legitimate record as Marcus Flavius, a Tribune of the Plebs during the days of the Early Republic in the year [327 BC]. Numerous members would also make their way through the history of the Republic, however in most certainly minor roles, simply being at the side of the numerous great men of the era.
The first recorded member of the Sabine branch of the Flavii, that which Flavian and his paternal relatives descend from, is Titus Flavius Petro, great-grandfather to the Emperor. Petro’s own origins are unclear, though from the location of his birth in Retae [1], his own name, and the name which he bestowed upon his son it is clear that he was of Sabine or Oscan stock. Nevertheless Petro was one of Pompey’s men, and had fought alongside his forces during the Civil War of Julius Caesar, being present at the battles of Dyrrhachium and Pharsalus. Petro in turn would have one son, Titus Flavius Sabinus the Elder, a tax collector and a banker in the province of Asia. Titus Sabinus would marry into the respectful Equestrian family of the Vespasia, and had two sons by his wife, Titus Flavius Sabinus the Younger and Titus Flavius Vespasianus.
The career of Vespasian has largely been mentioned through the previous book, and the only note that should be made of him is his marriage to his first wife Domitilla the Elder and their children, Titus Flavius Vespasian, better known to us contemporaries as Titus, and Titus Flavius Domitianus.

II. The Caesar Flavian was born in Tusculum as Titus Flavius Julianus, on the Nones of February [2] in the year [53 AD], as was in the style of the Flavii household. All children of that branch were born with the praenomen [3] of Titus, and instead being distinguished by their cognomen [4], derived mainly from the name of their mother’s household. Only 3 months after his birth he was formally and quite publicly adopted by his grandfather as his own son and heir, with his name formally being changed to Titus Julius Caesar Flavianus and him entering the house of the Julii. Despite the formal adoption Flavian still remained close with his biological family, being educated first by his father and later by his uncle Sabinus the Younger, alongside his brother Domitian. Tiberius himself was rather inattentive to his adoptive son, focusing more upon the affairs of state rather than rearing his heir. According to some Tiberius grew to dislike the boy after the plot to overthrow Tiberius was discovered, and sought to put the boy at the fringes of Imperial life and away from the plots and intrigues of senators.
His desire to remove the boy from the politics of Rome and himself is what, in my opinion, ensured that the young Flavian would grow into a fine young man. His education at the hands of competent men like Vespasian and Sabinus the Younger made it so he was competent at both affairs of state and of the military. By the time he gained his Toga of Manhood [5] the young man had proven himself to be a kind and competent man, so much so that men of the era praised him and were glad that the cruel and bitter Tiberius would be succeeded by a more amicable man. Of course Tiberius grew to fear how the young man might move against him, so he had Flavian recalled to the Imperial Palace and forbade him from entering the Cursus Honorum, attempting to distance him from both his family and any possible allies he hoped to make with the Senate or the people of Rome.

III. This was not an extremely wise move made by the Emperor, as only shortly thereafter he was suffocated to death, most likely by Flavian himself. The very day after his death Flavian was declared Emperor by the Praetorian Guard and the Senate bestowed upon him the titles and symbols of the Emperor. While some did have hope for the young Flavian, many plotted behind his back and seeked to become Emperor themselves as he was only 19 years of age at the time of his acclimation. Despite the fears Flavian did attempt to raise himself up, being elected consul alongside his brother Titus and having the Amphitheater constructed by Tiberius finished, and renamed as the Flavian Amphitheater. There he held games for a hundred days, winning the admiration of the plebeians and equestrians alike. He allowed his brother and father a Triumph to celebrate their victory over the Jews, carrying their iconography throughout the streets of Rome. The young Caesar also showed mercy to the Senate as well, having an end brought to their constant harassment and allowing them their functions and powers back, even creating Dalmatia and Lusitania as Proconsular provinces to apologize for his predecessor’s actions unto the Senate.
Flavian’s restoration of Rome after the defilement Tiberius had given to it earned him the love and respect of his citizens, and throughout his reign he faced little true challenges from enemies both internal and external. Even in Germania he saw relative peace, as the tribes there were not only beaten down during the abolition of the client Kingdoms but also because they held hopes that this young benevolent Emperor would allow them a reprieve. And while Flavian was most certainly willing to hand them their client status once more, both the people around him and the Senate of Rome advised him to avoid it, as it would sully the image of the Roman state to bend over to the will of these barbarians.

IV. Flavian himself led a dignified personal life, refusing many debauched customs and instead preferring to live humbly. At least as humbly as an Emperor can live. It has been frequently said that he popularized camping among the patrician classes as he would leave the city and retire to the Alban Hills on a regular basis, where he would live almost in the style of a soldier or drover. He also had a humble wife, Annia Bassia, the daughter of Lucius Annius Bassus, whom he married in [75 AD] and had three children by her. Gaius Caesar, often called Gaius Flavius to avoid confusion with the son of Marcus Agrippa, Lucius Caesar, also called Lucius Flavius to avoid confusion with the Emperor of the same name, and Julia Flavia.
Flavian was said to have had a dark complexion and had hair as brown as a mare’s fur. I have seen a source readily make the claim that his eyes were of a brown so dark they nearly blended with his pupils, and nothing I could find has refuted this claim so it should be noted and included for posterity’s sake, even if untrue. He also had a smooth face, even into his adulthood, and kept his face shaved in the style of the time unlike his predecessor. His own voice was extremely deep and never matched his own babyish appearance, as if his throat was rather a Horn than the average windpipe.

V. Flavian’s reign continued peacefully and it was at this point many writers began to use the term Pax Romana, no doubt encouraged not only by literary convention but by the Caesar’s gold as well. For 7 years Rome thrived under his rule, as the Emperor and the men around him all worked together to ensure national prosperity. But by [79 AD], these times would become more turbulent, as in that year Vespasian succumbed to an illness and swiftly died in the latter part of June, leaving his sons distraught. While he would be deified after his death in the pagan custom, his elder sons Titus and Domitian would come into direct conflict with one another over the policies of state immediately after. Due to his own personal biases, having been raised alongside Domitian, Flavian sided with Domitian and had Titus sent off to govern Hispania Tarraconensis.
However shortly afterwards in the month of September Flavian fell ill. Not ill enough that his life was threatened, but enough that he felt to leave the city for the Imperial Villas on Capraea to better his health. Some whispered of poisoning, either by bitter supporters of Titus or an overconfident Domitian. These whispers would soon quickly be dispelled as on the ides of October [6] the Vesuvian Mount erupted with great fury. Such was the devastation that when those fleeing from Misenium reached Rome, they told of how the Neapolitan Bay was completely blanketed in ash, with Capraea being invisible in the distance. No word had reached Rome about the Emperor’s well-being, and the Senate feared the worst. For five days the Curia raged in near constant debate over who should be appointed Emperor, and some in the Praetorian Guard attempted to advocate in favor of Domitian though he quickly refused. Thankfully for Rome, Flavian had managed to survive the horrid eruption of the Vesuvius, thankfully being far enough from the volcano as to have only dealt with minor ashfall. Even after his own close encounter with death, Flavian still attempted to support as many of the survivors as possible, and tried to rebuild upon the ruins of Pompeii, though the flow of ashes and lava had yet to properly clear and break.

VI. While the eruption of the Vesuvius and the ensuing harsh summer left grain production low, Flavian would continue to rule in a just and fair manner. Throughout his reign, even in times when Imperial funds were low, Flavian constantly liberated slaves of the Imperial Palace to such an extent that so many took the name Flavius it became as common as a praenomen. Even my ancestors partook in it, giving unto me the name, and it is one of if not the most common of the ancient praenomens.
The Caesar’s reign also came to a troubled point with the death of Titus in [81 AD]. The beloved general had died only aged 41, having fallen ill and died at a rapid pace. Many, and I rightfully presume, levelled the blame upon Domitian, as he held animosity with Titus and had attempted to secure power for himself as much as possible. So many people suspected him that he was forced to resign from his consulship and willingly exiled himself to the island of Salina in the Tyrrhenian to avoid the wrath of the populace of Rome. Some make the defense that he retired in fear that the mob might have torn him apart for a fear that he might have killed their beloved Titus, but I find this to be foolhardy, as only a man truly guilty flees from his accusations.

VII. Still despite all the good he attempted to do for Rome, Flavian would face more familial troubles, as in [86 AD], his son with Annia Bassia, Gaius, would die at only 10 years of age. While the young child was learning how to ride a horse, he slipped from the saddle and fell, breaking his neck over a stone in the pathway and dying immediately. The Emperor was grief stricken at the loss of his eldest son, and mourned for months over his son. The child was deified of course, but the loss of his family had reportedly left the joyful Flavian with a more sour personal disposition. He still cared for his younger children, Julia Flavia and Lucius Flavius, as well as his wife, but aside from them he remained coldly distant to people, though still keeping his kind policies.
The remaining years of his life would be fraught with conflict, as in the same year of his son’s death, the Dacian war broke out. The Dacians, under their King Decebalus, often made raids into the territories of Moesia, but in the year of [86 AD] they handily defeated the Governor of Moesia, killing him and taking the Eagle Standard of the V Alaude Legion. Flavian would not let this stand, and so invaded the province. By 87 the armies of Decebalus had been decisively defeated and Flavian able to push his men on towards Sarmizegetusa. There Flavian was halted, not only by the walls of the city but also due to rebellion in the West.
The Governor of Germania Superior, Lucius Antonius Saturninus, had chosen to revolt against the Emperor in [88 AD], for reasons not entirely known for us men in this day and age. Some claim that he did so due to Flavian’s own tolerance to the Germanic tribes, others say that it was due to his own greed and desire for power, and I have even seen a handful proclaim that he wished to restore the ancient days of the Republic and abolish the Caesars. Whatever the case, Flavian waited for a good amount of time on whether to make peace with Decebalus and to return home, or to continue his war on Dacia. He chose to continue fighting, sending the Legate Marcus Ulpius Traianus to deal with the revolt of Saturninus, which was done with the utmost ease by him. Flavian continued his siege of Sarmizegetusa, so threatening Decebalus’ position that he sued for peace, and was obliged. The Dacian was forced to accept Roman sovereignty and become a Client King, paying Rome tribute and leaving with his life and his lands intact.

VIII. After this Flavian chose not to celebrate a Triumph, as many of his generals wished him to, claiming that he had conquered nothing, and therefore no Triumph would be true. Instead he chose, as a humble man would, to dole out the gold and spoils gained among the citizens of Rome, as well as throwing fanciful games in celebration. For another 5 years the Dacian frontier remained secure, until Decebalus was found to be constructing fortifications along the border with Rome. Once more in [93 AD] the Legions marched, however Flavian was set on a grand campaign, one to finally subdue the Dacian threat. He brought 10 Legions from across the Empire to Dacia, as well as competent commanders such as Traianus and Lucius Quietus, preparing to finally smash the forces of Dacia into submission.
This victory came with ease at Tapae, where the armies of Decebalus were so thoroughly routed by the competency of the Emperor’s Generals that Decebalus begged Flavian for peace. His attempts were refused, as Flavian had set his sights on a complete Dacian conquest by that point. The siege at Sarmizegetusa only cemented this fact, as the city fell after only 4 months, and with it the entire Dacian treasury. Decebalus attempted to flee to the lands of the Carpi, but he was caught by Lucius Quietus and taken prisoner.

IX. With the conquest of Dacia, Flavian had completed a master stroke. The finances of the Empire were to remain secure with the overflowing Dacian gold mines granting them profit, and the Danubian frontier finally secure from major threats. The Caesar even saw reason to give himself a triumph, celebrating a grand display throughout the streets of Rome and having Decebalus publicly killed and his body tossed down the Gemonian stairs. He held 123 days of celebration in the city, further preserving his memory as that of a gratuitous and competent sovereign.
Dacia would still be reorganized and many of the legions once brought together sent home, but still the province would become one of Rome’s most important, and the bridge he ordered constructed by Apollodorus of Damascus was one of the finest ever seen in the world. The conquest of Dacia would not be the last under the guidance of Flavian, as he later had the client king of the Nabateans, Rabbel Soter, removed and his lands annexed into Rome. The armies faced no resistance and the nation itself fel quickly, further increasing the taxes meant to be received by the state.

X. Alas, all good things come to an end, and the reign of Flavian is no exception. Despite being at the prime age of 45, Flavian would still die. His death was a slow one, as he suffered from brutal diarrhoea for 3 months on end at his estate in Capua. He died on the first day from the Ides of July [7] in Capua in [98 AD], leaving only his 22 year old son Lucius Flavius behind. By that point the boy had only been made as Praetor, though he had been trained for military conflicts, and while some feared many had faith in the system, as Flavian was but a young man and managed to rule wisely and effectively. In his will the Emperor left nearly all to his son and his daughter, with only portions being doled out to the other members of the Imperial family such as the descendants of Germanicus or Claudius Britannicus.


A bust of Flavian

[1] OTL Rieti, Italy.
[2] 5th of February, 53 AD.
[3] A Roman first name, like the Gaius in Gaius Julius Caesar.
[4] A Roman last name, such as the Caesar in Gaius Julius Caesar.
[5] Also known by the Latin Toga Virilis, gained by every man after they reach the age of 15.
[6] 13th of October, 79 AD
[7] 12th of July, 98 AD
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At last the northern frontier is secure. With the Danube under Roman control and the Dacian mountains securing the Eastern regions, it would take an act of God to successfully launch an invasion of the Roman empire.
At last the northern frontier is secure. With the Danube under Roman control and the Dacian mountains securing the Eastern regions, it would take an act of God to successfully launch an invasion of the Roman empire.
Hehe, I wouldn't quite say that. The Danube might be secure but the challenge to Roman power is still on the wrong side of the Elbe
Book V: Lucius [II] Flavius
Book V: Lucius [II] Flavius

I. The Emperor Lucius Flavius was born on the second day from the Ides of January [1] in the year [77 AD] in his father’s villa upon the Palatine in Rome with the name Lucius Julius Caesar. Of course in the contemporary era, we know him better as Lucius Flavius, as to avoid confusion with the numerous other men who have held that very same name. He was the second of his father’s children, with his elder brother Gaius taking precedent. This did not mean that the young boy was kept away and ignored, as he was provided a proper education and still granted attention and care by his father. He did receive much more focus after the tragic death of his brother, and was provided a military education and other such trappings of officiality.
Of course it was his period of military education at Mediolanum [2] that brought to light his true skills, as the young Lucius Flavius was a highly skilled military commander, able to match in skill even the greatest of his contemporaries such as Marcus Traianus and even his own uncle Titus. He showed himself to have some military prowess after defeating a revolt led by the tribe of the Alemanni in Germania Superior in [96 AD] at only age 19, completing the campaign in less than a month. Shortly after his great victory he was recalled to Rome and granted a triumph, being given the name Alemannicus and awarded by his father with the position of Praetor. By [98 AD] he was doing extremely well, being awarded a governorship in Pannonia and seemingly on his way to a successful career within the army, however this was quickly cut short by the death of his father.


A bust of Lucius Flavius

II. Due to his position, being in Salona [3] at the time of his father’s death preparing to go to Pannonia, the succession of the Republic [4] was left in a precarious spot. If news reached Rome that the Emperor was dead, and his only heir was outside of Italy on the frontier, others could vie for the office and succeed in becoming Emperor. As a result Annia Bassia, who was with her husband at the time of his death, had the news hidden from as many people as possible, working together with the body of Praetorian Guardsmen who had stayed with Flavian in Capua to keep the news a secret. She even forged his signature and stole his seal to continue providing letters and allow her husband to seem very much alive. Luckily for her, messengers she sent were able to quickly reach Lucius Flavius, and in turn he returned to Rome at a rapid pace where he declared the death of his father. Upon his acclamation by the Senate Lucius Flavius, in order to solidify his powers, he had a declaration issued and passed by the Senate and People of Rome which took together all the offices and titles that the Emperor held into the single office of the Princeps.
Lucius Flavius himself was an amiable though rather uncouth and gruff man. He had the same round face of which his father held, though it was much longer and less childlike in appearance. He kept his soft face hidden under a beard and was the first to popularize the practice amongst the Latin Romans, who had previously seen the beard as a barbaric and Hellenic fashion. He was also said to have been a short man, coming at only 3 and a half cubits [5]. He reportedly wore sandals that had their heels and sole raised in order to seem the average height. It was also said that he was an absolute Hellenophile, having grown to love Greek culture during his education and writing his, now lost, works in the Greek dialect.

III. After his ascension to office Lucius Flavius began large scale charity works, establishing the Alimentia, a fund designed to help educate those young children left without parental figures. He was largely generous, using the wealth from Dacia to fund grand infrastructure projects such as the Via Julia Flavia which expanded the route of the Appian Way. He spent 8 years in total residing within Italy, regularly attending the Curia and using the state funds amassed by his predecessors for his purposes. However, providing education to orphans and constructing roads across the Empire weren’t the only things he used the Imperial treasury for, as he was a noted and avid fan of gladiatorial sports. Being a man infatuated with the military and combat as a whole, his entrapment in the peaceful Italy caused him great boredom. As a result, he turned to gladiators to satiate his desire for conflict, making use of his father’s Amphitheater and holding frequent games. One source even makes the dubious claim that he had the Amphitheater flooded to recreate the naval battles of old, which I find preposterous and a mere exaggeration of his lust for barbaric bloodsport. He also married (although not of his own desire) to the noblewoman Antonia the Younger, daughter of Lucius Antonius Albus, to further secure his position with the Patrician families. This marriage was notoriously unhappy, as both despised each other and never even attempted to conceive a child, instead spending time with other lovers.
But his charity and his desires all came with a hefty fee, and by [106 AD], even with mines in Dacia and Hispania producing silver and gold on the regular, the Republic was near bankruptcy. Sadly Lucius Flavius was unable to raise taxes properly, as the Patrician and Equestrian classes refused any with the intent of keeping their own wealth away from his spendthrift hands. He still had dignity though, refusing to rule as a tyrant and not partaking in Proscriptions to secure his wealth, proving himself valiant unlike others before and after him. But the treasury was still suffering from his profligate spending, and so the Caesar looked towards other methods of achieving wealth.


A Drachma of Vologases of Persia

IV. It was in the year [106 AD] that the Parthians violated previous agreements with Rome, as the King Vologases appointed his brother as King of Armenia. Of course in that moment, Lucius Flavius realized how both to achieve the war he desperately desired and the funds he needed to hold Rome together. As such he declared war on Parthia with the backing of the Curia, and marched east with 8 Legions backing him, along with competent generals such as Traianus, Quietus, and Nero the Younger, the grandson of Nero Germanicus. He first struck at Armenia, with the Parthian forces in the region being defeated handily by Roman forces, and the Armenian king being captured and killed by the Romans. Armenia was quickly annexed into the Empire as a province, and the hilltribes of the region subdued and brought under the banner of civilization.
Lucius Flavius chose not to stop at Armenia, instead leading a personal conquest of Mesopotamia to finally bring down the Parthian menace. He first struck at the city of Hatra, the major Parthian fortress within the north of Mesopotamia, and took it with such speed and ferocity that the Parthian King refused to believe it had fallen until survivors of the garrison returned to him. He conquered his way across the plain, taking cities like Nineveh and even sacked the ancient city of Dura Europus. When the armies of the Parthians attempted to face him once again in open battle at Ctesiphon, he crushed their forces handily, entrapping their cavalry and turning on their main body of infantry, dividing and crushing the army. This victory soundly crushed the Parthians and was what most certainly solidified the Roman victory. Lucius Flavius marched as far as he could, entering Babylon as a triumphant Emperor and a new Alexander, and even going as far south as Charax. Even at the sea of the Persian Gulf he did not stop, sending Traianus to seize the island of Tylos [6] and marching on Susa himself, looking to outdo Alexander in his entirety and to conquer the whole of the land.

V. Lucius Flavius would be unable to fully follow in the footsteps of Alexander however. In [109 AD] he marched into the region of Susiana and faced the Parthians once more, this time under the direct leadership of their King, Vologases. Vologases was a wily man, and used trickery and deceit to whittle away at the Romans in sneak attacks, seeking to slowly but surely cause casualties and cut them down. Lucius Flavius, being an intelligent commander, saw his tricks and decided to fight him head on. They met outside of the city of Susa and battled long and hard. While victory did come to the Romans, it was at a high cost of lives. With many men dead and his own goals achieved, Lucius Flavius halted his advance in Susiana, taking the province as the last territory to be conquered in the war. The Emperor also forced Vologases into accepting a peace deal, with him becoming a client king of the Romans and being forced to pay tribute to Rome.
While his war was over, the Caesar chose to remain in the east, resting in Babylon and reorganizing the new territories into the provinces of Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Assyria. He continued to mimic Alexander, enjoying the Hellenic culture of Mesopotamia and having the cities of the region rebuilt and improved upon in the Roman style. The large amounts of trade in the region were also taxed to large amounts in order to pay off the debts and restock the Roman treasury and expeditions were sent as far afield as India for sources of gold. There was a minor Jewish revolt at the time [7], mainly made up of the diaspora Jews, however it was quickly snuffed out by Quietus and Lucius together, with the Jews once more put in their place. The Emperor remained in Babylon for 6 years after the war, only returning in [115 AD] after the Senate desperately pleaded him to return to the capital. Upon his return to Rome proper he held a lavish Triumph, presenting the eastern gold seized as well as thousands of slaves and portraits of the grand cities of the east. The city cheered him on and he once again held massive games, with the city in jubilation for 150 days and the arenas filled with spectacles.


A portrait of Aurelius Antoninus

VI. Though he returned to Rome a conquering hero, he did not remain for long, choosing only to stay and officiate the marriage between his sister Julia Flavia and Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus [8], an influential politician in Rome and a member of the rising Aurelii family. This marriage was intended to produce a proper heir, as Lucius had no legitimate children of his own. This did succeed at its goal, as in [115 AD] the couple had a child, Lucius Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus. While the boy would be promptly adopted by Lucius Flavius, the Caesar focused once again on matters of the state. He left Rome shortly thereafter, going on a grand inspection of the Empire, visiting Gaul, Germania, Britannia, Hispania, Africa, and other long neglected regions. He purged many hereditary and corrupt officials within the poorer regions of the Republic, instead attempting to force them into the same mold as the province of Italy with a similar traditional government structure.
He also led multiple campaigns while abroad, expanding the borders of Britannia to the Bodotria [9] as well as seizing the island of Mona [10]. He also crushed a Germanic revolt in [117 AD], made up of hereditary chieftains attempting to regain their autonomy which Tiberius had stripped. The whole adventure lasted 5 years in total, with the Western territories being put in the right shape once more. In celebration of his victories he had constructed the Via Flavia Magna, a road which connected the cities of Colonia Agrippinensium and Mediolanum, providing an easy line of connection with the frontiers and Italy. But his return to Italy would not be as grand and triumphant as he may have wished.

VII. While the Emperor was in Africa attempting to provide a defeat to the Garamantian tribes in [121 AD], a disgruntled faction of Senators and Praetorians attempted to revolt against Lucius Flavius. They felt alienated by his focus on the provinces, as they felt that he was becoming a down to earth provincial. They revolted and managed to take over the city of Rome, proclaiming Traianus as their new Emperor. The aged general however, still remaining loyal to the true Emperor, refused their call and declared himself as a subject of Lucius Flavius. When the Praetorians came to his villa in an attempt to convince them to join him, he once again refused publicly and nobly in front of them. They made a last attempt to drag him out of the villa to the palace, however when they reached his private room, they found him dead, having fallen on his own sword to protect his dignity.
The death of Traianus threw the revolutionaries into a panic, as their main candidate for the office had not only publicly rebuked them, but had killed himself to avoid being dragged into their treasonous plot. The city of Rome was in chaos for a whole week, with the entirety of the Aventine burning down in the chaos. Eventually Lucius was able to return to the city and restore order, having all conspirators executed and 45 senators proscribed for their compliance to the usurpers during the revolution. His grip over Rome would remain unchallenged, though this was a harsh stain upon his reign as a whole. The Caesar did rebuild the Aventine, making it into a much more illustrious trading center and improving the dock works to allow for more ships along the Tiber to enter the city.


Pollice Verso, a later artist's representation of gladiators in the Flavian Amphitheater.

VIII. Even after his punishment of the Senate, Lucius Flavius succumbed to boredom, as he found once again that remaining in the peaceful city of Rome had left him starved. Even after throwing lavish games and attempting to educate his nephew, Lucius Caesar Aurelianus, the man could never shake his desire for conquest and conflict. Reportedly he once made an attempt to enter the gladiatorial ring to fight, however he was held back by his companions, fearing for not only his safety but his state of mind. While this is plausible, I find it unlikely that even one of the most skilled Emperors would be willing to throw their dignity to the curb for simple bloodsport satisfaction. He did love the sport, but I do not believe it was to that ludicrous extent.
Nevertheless, the Emperor lounged about painfully in Rome for another long 4 years, to the ire of the Senate who despised his brutish habits and his general disregard for them in favor of the plebs. Many of the coins he had minted even read “People and Senate of Rome” rather than the traditional “Senate and People of Rome”. After the Revolution, Lucius Flavius had further grown to dislike the Senate, and put himself up as more of a man of the commonfolk rather than a traditional ruler on behalf of the Senate. Things threatened to come to a head once more, but Lucius decided to cool himself off, choosing to leave Rome in the hands of his brother-in-law Aurelius Antoninus, taking a tour of the Eastern Provinces. He visited Achaea [11], Asia Minor, Cappadocia, Syria, and Egypt, taking his time and enjoying the culture of the east which he so loved. While inspecting Egypt near the end of his tour in [128 AD], a rogue band of Nubians sacked and pillaged the town of Syene [12], Lucius saw his chance for another great campaign to satiate his conquest.

IX. He launched an invasion with 3 legions from Egypt, bringing them southwards into the lands of Meroe. Despite the issues with taking supplies across the cataracts, due to his own skill Lucius made good time, being able to keep his army at a steady pace and facing the Nubians on his own terms. They fought at the battle of Philae, with the armies of the Nubian Queen Candace [13] being defeated in a quick and easy manner by the Romans. The battle was so simple in fact, Lucius feared that the campaign would simply be one with little conflict, fearing that he might not find the fight he wished for. His fears would not come to pass, as when he attempted to pass the Third Cataract of the Nile, his forces were halted. This was not by a grand army, as instead the Queen of the Nubians had moved to the more unorthodox and cowardly forms of warfare. She chose to destroy the wells of the area and burn the crops, taking all forms of livestock and people away from the area and leaving the Roman armies cut off from any proper food source. From there her chariot mounted archers would constantly wheel along the flanks, attacking and harassing Roman soldiers, attempting to grind them down bit by bit.
This cowardly warfare succeeded, as even though the Roman armies were able to reach the city of Meroe, both the supplies and the manpower of the men were heavily drained due to the expedition. Despite his willingness to press on, Lucius knew when to listen to his men, falling back to the Third Cataract and choosing to fortify there. From his position along the Third Cataract, he constantly attempted to launch new invasions of Kush, feeling disgraced at how he was driven out and defeated by a cowardly woman. His attempts would not succeed, as for 6 long years he bashed his head upon the wall of Nubia, repeatedly failing to take the city and to make any headway, the aged Caesar finally gave up on his dreams for a great African conquest. In [132 AD], he signed a peace treaty with Candace, allowing for the surrender of the Nubian lands past the Third Cataract and making Kush a client state, with all the benefits that came with it.


The Mausoleum of Augustus

X. Lucius Flavius never truly recovered from his failure in Kush, having been an undefeated and beloved general. Many felt that he should return to Rome and hold a triumph, both to prove his power to the Senate and to celebrate the subduction of Kush, but the Caesar never felt truly right with leaving Egypt. Instead he chose to rest in Heracleopolis, attempting to gather himself and his personal thoughts and plan his next movements in both Rome and abroad. This dream would not come to pass, as while riding along the banks of the Nile, Lucius slipped off of his horse and into the river itself. While he fell in, a crocodile was lying in wait for its prey, and attempted to attack the Emperor of the Romans, biting his leg clean off. Lucius was recovered from the river by his guards, however the wound quickly grew gangrenous. His doctors were able to extend his life for months with their herbs and balms, but the infection remained and he was permanently bedridden.
Lucius would die on the third day from the Nones of February in the year after his accident [14]. His reign would be remembered both as one of conquest and of lavish lifestyles, as under his reign the welfare systems of the Republic were adequately stocked, and the men of government lived grandiose lives in large palatial residences. As always he was immediately defied by the Senate, begrudgingly as they still held a deep disliking for him, and his ashes interred to the Mausoleum of Augustus. Of course in his will he made his nephew and adopted son Aurelianus as his main beneficiary, giving him two thirds of his estate, with relatives like his cousin Titus Flavius Clemens and Nero the Younger receiving the remaining third. In his final will he also gave out to the citizens of Rome two million sesterces, and to the army half a year’s worth of wages to each soldier.


[1] 11th of January, 77 AD.
[2] OTL Milan.
[3] OTL Split, Croatia.
[4] Throughout all of its history, all contemporaries referred to Rome as a Republic, even though in our modern eyes we do not see it that way.
[5] In American Imperial Units 5'1", in Metric 160 Centimeters.
[6] OTL Bahrain.
[7] Known as the Kitos War, important at the time but became relegated to a footnote like in the OTL.
[8] Also known as Antoninus Pius.
[9] OTL Firth of Forth.
[10] OTL Isle of Man.
[11] Latin name for Greece, popularized by Homer.
[12] OTL Aswan.
[13] can dis dick fit in your ok no, Candace was a Latinized version of the name Kandake, a title that the powerful Nubian Queens used.
[14] 3rd of February, 134 AD.

The regnal numbers are put into brackets at the title, as they weren't invented until the 14th Century and never used widely until the 18th.
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Well this was a fun read, so far Lucius Flavius is my favourite Emperor. A worthy man to holder the title of Imperator. I wonder how his nephew holds up after this, will he give up his uncles conquests? Be the Hadrianus to Lucius’ Traiaunus? Or will he be another nero? At the very least I hope they keep Babylonia-Ctesiphon. Giving up that Province was in my opinion one of the biggest mistakes Hadrian ever made.
Well this was a fun read, so far Lucius Flavius is my favourite Emperor. A worthy man to holder the title of Imperator. I wonder how his nephew holds up after this, will he give up his uncles conquests? Be the Hadrianus to Lucius’ Traiaunus? Or will he be another nero? At the very least I hope they keep Babylonia-Ctesiphon. Giving up that Province was in my opinion one of the biggest mistakes Hadrian ever made.
In all reality it wasn't Hadrian's choice. Trajan was force to abandon the provinces due to the massive amount of military difficulties caused by maintaining it. There were a large amount of Parthian holdouts like Hatra, not to mention the second Jewish Revolt & others. The losses would've needed to be cut at some point and Hadrian finished the job.

But thanks though! Aurelian (the nephew of Lucius Flavius) will certainly be a character, though not truly fitting into the mold of other Emperors completely.
Sorry I haven't posted in over a week. I'm currently on vacation in Dar es Salaam so I was spending the time packing & traveling! I'll be back to posting in a few days.
Book VI: Aurelian
Book VI: Aurelian

I. The Aurelii were a clan of somewhat archaic origins. While the proper Patrician branch of the Aurelii date back to the days of the Punic Wars, the branch which Aurelian himself descended, the Fulvi, were only of recent record.The first one to ever enter the record was Titus Aurelius Fulvus, who achieved the consulship in bother [71 AD] and [85 AD], as well as governing Tarraconensis. His son, also named Titus Aurelius Fulvus, served as consul in [89 AD] and was a close companion of the historian Pliny the Younger.
The father of the Emperor Aurelian was one Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, the son of the latter Titus Aurelius Fulvus and Arria Fadilla. His maternal clan was that of the Arrii Antoninii, and as a result he was given the additional name Antoninus to differentiate him from his paternal ancestors. His father died only 2 years after his consulship, and as such the young Antoninus was raised by his maternal grandfather. He followed in the footsteps of his ancestors, entering the politics of Rome and rising to the forefront as a major politician. He became a drinking companion of Lucius Flavius in his youth, and when the Emperor left Rome for his campaign against the Parthians he joined him, gaining military experience and further tightening their bond. When Lucius Flavius returned to Rome, he married Aurelius Antoninus to his sister, Julia Flavia, as his own wife was barren and none of his children by other women were legitimate and the family desperately required an heir. In this regard their marriage did succeed, with the marriage producing 3 children, Lucius Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, Marcus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus (who wouldn’t survive to adulthood), and Aurelia Flavia. The eldest of these children, Lucius Aurelius, would be adopted by the Emperor and would himself become Aurelian.


A bust of Aurelian

II. He was born on the day before the kalends of January [1], in the year [115 AD]. Promptly after his birth, he was adopted by his uncle and gained the name Lucius Julius Caesar Aurelianus. Despite this, the leave of Lucius Flavius for provincial inspections meant he remained in the hands of his father. Aurelius Antoninus also served as a second authority to Lucius Flavius, holding Italy together while his brother-in-law established order in the provinces. However the revolution in [121 AD] threw the family into severe troubles. Antoninus was forced to flee the city alongside his pregnant wife and Aurelian, dressing as drovers and slipping past the revolutionaries which wanted their heads. After it’s subdual, the young man continued his studies and education in the city, being trained by the great scholars of the age like Suetonius.
Throughout his formative years the young Aurelian grew a deep love for the navy and ocean travel as a whole. He read through Periplus of Hanno, that brave Carthaginian navigator, as well as those of the Erythraean Sea, Juba of Mauretania, and Pytheas. He even attempted to sail on a ship himself as a crew member, however both his father and uncle denied him this seeing the job as too base for a noble like himself. He continued his constant infatuation of the sea even into his reign as Emperor.

III. After the long and painful death of Lucius Flavius in [134 AD], the young Aurelian was forced to take command as Emperor at only 18 years of age. While this was seen as bad by many and opposed by a large part of the Senate, the Imperial power had been so entrenched by that point it was impossible to ever remove the dynasts from office. Aurelian did not attempt to rule by himself, knowing the limitations of his young self, instead surrounding himself with many wise senators and equestrians like Publius Aelius Hadrianus, Lucius Quietus, Marcus Annius Verus [2], and of course his own father Aurelius Antoninus. He did not rule as a tyrant and instead focused on ruling competently and with senatorial approval, as such entrusting himself to these great minds.
Aurelian himself was of a sizable stature, around 3 and 3 quarters cubit and remaining in good shape into his old age. His hair was the standard brown of the Italians as were his eyes, and his teeth were reportedly as straight as a pole due to special fibers he had wrapped in his mouth during his youth [3]. His face was smooth in the same way as his grandfather and uncle, though his chin was stronger. He also didn’t grow a beard as his father and the men at the time did, claiming to follow the traditional values of the Romans. I have seen some make the contrary claim that he chose not to grow a beard because he could only grow wisps of hair on his lip and cheeks, and I do believe this mainly due to his lack of punishments for those who chose to grow beards that violated “Roman tradition”. It should be mentioned that his love for water was not only limited to sailing, as swimming was one of his most favorite pastimes throughout his entire life.


A map of the first expedition of Aurelian's

IV. The vast majority of Aurelian’s reign was largely smooth and prosperous, with the Senate and People of Rome continuing to abide by the proper laws, and the wise men whom he surrounded himself administered the Republic with grace and respect. He spent most of his early years finishing his education and understanding the functions of the state and the political system. By his 25th year he had finished his studies and proven himself to be a competent man, currying a large amount of favor with the plebeians and patricians alike. He also made visits to the largely ignored provinces in [140 AD], to areas such as Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily, and Dalmatia. In Sardinia he was beloved by the citizens, as he launched multiple construction projects and refurbished the degraded province once more. He was so beloved they even raised a temple in his honor after his death and deification.
It was also at this same time that he threw large funds into the navy, personally inspecting many of the ports across Italy to see the state of the Republic’s ships. His large construction of ships wasn’t limited to the Mediterranean, as he did also order the construction of fleets in Berenice Troglodytica and Gades, attempting to expand the Roman presence in the fringes of the world. To afford these new projects, Aurelian cut back on such projects as the Alimentia and halted the provision of constant public games, instead encouraging private games to be held rather than those which drained the Republic’s purse. While this did cause the people to grow somewhat disgruntled, it didn’t last for long as the privately thrown games were just as satiating as those which the state had formerly financed.

V. In [142 AD] Aurelian chose to marry and sire children, engaging himself to Minicia Quadronia, daughter of Lucius Minicius Verus, a former consul. Together they sired 3 children, two of whom survived into adulthood, in order Tiberius Aurelius, Lucius Aurelius, and Aurelia Minicia. Aurelia would tragically die at age 10 leaving her brothers alone. Aurelian himself was largely inattentive to his children, as shortly after the birth of Tiberius in [144 AD], he left Rome to Mauretania, overseeing a campaign of conquest in the region pushing as far south as the Dara River [4], though many of the tribes on the far side of the Atlas Mountains remained independent from Roman rule. Aurelian focused on establishing colonies across Mauretania such as Aurelia Flavia Thamugadi [5] and Julia Aurelia Anfa [6].
It was also at this time that he launched his expedition towards the lands which Hanno and Juba had once navigated. The great fleet he sent managed to travel as far south as Mount Nademius [7], as well as reaching the far off Canariae and Benedictine Islands [6]. Even more colonies were established in the region also, with the numerous exotic animals being taken back to Rome and shown off in the arenas of the city, such as the Cameleopards and Gorillae. The natives of this land too were contacted and made into friendly states, with a stable trade being established between the tribes and Rome. In fact the trade with these natives became extremely lucrative due to their abundant amounts of gold and willingness to trade it off for simple goods like salt and cloth.


A bronze Sabaean statue, possibly of Aretas

VI. His expansion in the west wasn’t the only notable conquest during his reign, as later in [146 AD], after having arrived in Egypt and organized his armies, he launched another expedition, this time to secure dominance of Rome over the African trade in gold, ivory, ebony, and other such luxury goods. The main opponent which he faced was Aretas, the king of Saba, who held the overlordship of the trade there and to whom the cities of the region swore fealty to. At first the war went with only minor successes, as the armies were only able to take points along the western coast of Saba and their advances inland were largely halted by the armies of the Sabaean King.
Despite the long season of stalemate, the war was not doomed for the Romans, as by the end of [146 AD] both the Axumites across the sea in Aethiopia and the Homeritae [8] also in Arabia Felix had chosen to join on the side of the Romans due to their envy of the Sabaeans. With their assistance the Roman armies were able to push into the region. The armies of the Sabaeans were overrun in the timespan of only a year and their Kingdom was brought down. The Sabaean King, Aretas, personally came to Aurelian and begged for mercy upon his land and his people. Aurelian did grant him this, not entirely destroying Saba and instead allowing him to remain as a client king of Rome, and having him hand over his suzerainty of those Aethiopian city states to him.

VII. After his subjugation of the Sabaeans and the Roman fleets confirming the official suzerainty over the cities that littered the coast, Aurelian left the Erythraean Sea and returned to Rome itself, celebrating a magnificent triumph. Elephants were paraded through the streets, and carts full of ivory and incense pushed around in view of the entire city. So much was the wealth that Aurelian had obtained from his campaign in Saba, having taken and sacked the many trading ports of the region, that he once again brought back those financially wasteful programs which he had cut back on. Once again grand games were held in Flavian’s Amphitheater, and a sacrifice of 15 elephants and 10 cameleopards were given unto the pagan Jupiter Capitolinus, at the time seen as a massive display of wealth and what one may call “piety”.
Coins were also minted in this time with an extremely high purity, as the gold in some reached levels of near complete purity, an extreme rarity both before and after this point. The wealth brought in from the Roman mastery of Africa and Aethiopia was of a point ever before seen in the history of Rome. Tools and goods made of ivory and tortoiseshell became commonplace, to the point where any man of decent standing could afford a plating of ivory for his ceiling and walls. The value of ivory itself began to decline in this period as well due to the simple abundance of the item and it no longer being such a valuable luxury. Many also say that during this time elephants within Aethiopia also began to become much rarer, though I doubt this idea very much. I believe it was likely a lie spun by those merchants of the south who wished to keep the value of their product high due to its plummeting prices.


An engraving of the riot at Hispalis

VIII. Another note must be made of the slaves which were traded from Africa. The tribes of this region, like many others, adhered to the barbarous practices of slavery, and with the arrival of the Romans they found a great market to sell their fellow men into. Such was the volume and quantity of slaves sold that many of the plantations across the west of Rome were inhabited solely by Moorish [9] slaves. They became a standard sight for those in the Empire, and had driven off many of the traditional Roman settlers in these lands, forcing them into the cities nearby. It shouldn’t be understated how productive they were, as these slaves managed to make the formerly subsidy reliant provinces like Gaul and Hispania much more economically independent, providing a strong and cheap labor force for the rich men of the region to use.
Of course the wholesale displacement and deportation of many proper Romans who had lived in these farms caused a large political crisis. Like that during the days of the Gracchi and Julius Caesar, they caused chaos within the Empire, protesting against the landlords who had removed them from their homes and vandalizing their houses. Such was the pandemonium caused by these rioters that they caused great devastation to the cities of Narbo, Lugdunum, Hispalis, and Emerita in [166 AD]. Aurelian himself was forced to intervene and visit the provinces, enforcing a form of martial law on the inhabitants of the region and declaring a cap on the number of slaves that could be imported into the Empire from the African and Aethiopian coasts. Many slaves were also given manumission by their masters, having been forced to do so by Aurelian caving to the wishes of the masses.

IX. The remainder of Aurelian’s reign was largely peaceful in nature, with no more grand expeditions, nor revolts of the same nature regarding slavery. Instead the Republic simply reaped the benefits of what it had sowed, as the period was one of unrivaled peace and prosperity. Aurelian himself was most certainly one who flaunted this wealth, going about in a toga with a broad purple stripe covering a large part of the clothing. He also wore a golden laurel and had his arms decked with golden rings and other forms of jewelry. He also kept with him a manner of exotic pets, having a pair of lions which he kept within the imperial palace, as well as elephants in his personal villas.
Into his old age he ruled lightly, allowing the lucrative state to continue functioning by himself and he himself visited the numerous villas under his private ownership across the Mediterranean. One of his favorite spots was the island of Planasia, upon which he had a grand villa constructed, once called the Villa Solis after his love and dedication to that ancient pagan sun god. He spent months in total upon the small island, enjoying the fruits of his labors while Rome continued to thrive around him. He also continued to neglect his sons throughout this period, never once giving them any true attention or care. Aurelian preferred to sit in luxury than to truly face the consequences of his actions, and so he simply left the reigns of the Republic in the hands of children he never paid proper attention to. It was on the kalends of November in [177 AD] that Aurelian died of dropsy. He had reigned for forty-three years nine, months, and twenty-nine days, the longest of any emperor to that point, even beating Augustus himself. He left almost everything he had to his sons Tiberius and Lucius, intending that they would rule together as co-emperors. He would not know how the events would unfold after his death.


[1] 31st of December, 115 AD
[2] Grandfather to OTL Marcus Aurelius.
[3] Braces were actually used during this period and documented in medical texts, even corpses from the Etruscan era have been found with intestine fiber braces.
[4] OTL Draa River.
[5] OTL Timgad/Ulpia Marciana Thamagudi.
[6] OTL Casablanca.
[7] OTL Mount Cameroon.
[8] Better known as Himyar.
[9] Moor is a word that will be used as an overall term for black people, though Mauretanian will be used to distinguish them from the people of the actual province.
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About time for some Roman civil war!!! Now it remains to see if there would be a split between east and west or any other split or if said split will persist.
By the way amazing TL I was looking for a time now for an early Roman TL and although I didn't get Germanicus I got all the others.
Also is it my idea or is this Rome more trade focused than OTL? And the Moors of Hispania and Gaul what percentage of the population do they cover?
About time for some Roman civil war!!! Now it remains to see if there would be a split between east and west or any other split or if said split will persist.
By the way amazing TL I was looking for a time now for an early Roman TL and although I didn't get Germanicus I got all the others.
Also is it my idea or is this Rome more trade focused than OTL? And the Moors of Hispania and Gaul what percentage of the population do they cover?
Well I was unable to provide on Germanicus but I hope more on his descendants can do.

Rome is a bit more trade focused than it was OTL, but currently the main drive behind it is Aurelian and without him or those like him with hard-on's for trade and naval expeditions it will remain around the same. As for percentages, maybe somewhere between 5-9%. I'm trying to be as historically authentic as I can and what better way to do that than to have a biased & exaggerating author, since Julian Magonus has a clear bone to pick with slavery from his own personal beliefs. A such things are to be exaggerated, like how "many of the plantations across the west of Rome were inhabited solely by Moorish slaves.", when in reality it was less so but still harmful to Roman farmers in the region nonetheless.
I mean, regardless of what the sons may want the Empire's stability is to the benefit of the Rich and Senators in order to keep the money flowing. I see any Civil War ultimately weakening the Monarchy in favor of the Senate.
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Honestly in the long term the Imperial Dynasty may simply become largely symbolic with the growing power of the senate until a point where it reversed and an Imperator once again takes power.
I mean, regardless of what the sons may want the Empire's stability is to the benefit of the Rich and Senators in order to keep the money flowing. I see any Civil War ultimately weakening the Monarchy in favor of the Senate.
Honestly in the long term the Imperial Dynasty may simply become largely symbolic with the growing power of the senate until a point where it reversed and an Imperator once again takes power.
Though your ideas are good, both of you are looking at it through the wrong lens. The Senate will play an important role in this conflict, but not in the way you perceive. And I will share this one thing, the civil war to come will only be the first of many.
Book VII: Tiberius Aurelius
Book VII: Tiberius [II] Aurelius

I. The Emperor Tiberius Aurelius was born on the Ninth day from the Kalends of June [1] in the year [144 AD], the son of the Aurelian and his wife Minicia Quadronia. Tiberius as a child would grow up as a rather spoiled and cruel boy, in a similar manner to the previous Tiberius, though this time doted on by his mother. His childhood was one of opulence and wealth, as the period of unforeseen wealth ushered in by his father’s gains caused Rome to reach new levels of greed and vanity. If those Emperors before him held a silver spoon in their lips, his was one of pure gold inlaid with brilliant gems. And though he lived in great luxury his young life was uneventful, as he did nothing but sit and let others do his work for him. Even into his adulthood, when proclaimed as Praetor, Consul, and granted all manners of state offices, he delegated his work to freedmen or slaves rather than doing anything himself. Tiberius did marry as well, choosing Marcia Herrenia, daughter of a consul. With her he had one daughter, Julia Aurelia, who would marry to the wise stoic and patrician Marcus Annius Verus [2]. He also grew an immense hatred for his younger brother Lucius, who was a competent general though an abysmal statesman. The hatred was reciprocal, as Lucius hated his brother as well, and the two attempted to keep as much distance as possible to prevent any major conflict flaring up between them.
Throughout his constant appointments it has been said that he frequently attempted to win over the love and approval of his awfully neglectful father, but Aurelian consistently rebuked him. For what reason I do not know why, and it is possible that this rejection was what caused him to be embittered and scorn his father’s wishes for a peaceable empire. His jealousy of Lucius could have also stemmed from this, as his father paid him a slightly larger amount of attention than Tiberius, and his victories that he had gained while on the frontiers against the barbarian tribes.


A bust of Tiberius Aurelius

II. Tiberius Aurelius was very lethargic as well, having others do all his work for him rather than actually exert himself. He partook in none of the proper activities that any Roman should, barely exercising. And of course combined with his gluttonous nature, this caused him to balloon in size, his fatness enlarging him so much he resembled a wine-skin more than a man in shape. He too absconded from the growth of a beard unlike many of his contemporaries, though it has been said that he was simply too unmanly to even grow one himself. However despite his lethargy and size, for some reason beyond both my understanding and the interpolation of the classic historians, the Senate was extremely fond of him. They believed him to be a good enough ruler and wished for him to take power after his father’s death, and Tiberius was more than willing to help them in return.
When Aurelian died in [177 AD], Tiberius was the only brother in Rome at the time, as Lucius was across the Alps in Treverorum at the time, preparing to crush a small revolt made by the Chatti. Due to his position within the city and his brother being locked out of Italy due to the Alpine snows, Tiberius had the powers of the office all to himself. He was openly acclaimed by the Senate and granted all the powers of his office, and threw lavish celebrations in Rome in honor of his ascension and his father’s deification. Of course once the snows melted Lucius marched south with the speed and fury that could only be powered by spite, reaching Rome with two legions and demanding that he be acclaimed as Emperor alongside his brother. Tiberius, in no real position to fight his brother, instead cowed and made a compromise. His brother would be acclaimed as his co-emperor and they would rule different parts of the Empire. Lucius would rule from Samos in the East while Tiberius, his senior and the candidate of the Senate, would remain in Rome and judge the West. Lucius himself despised the idea but he knew simply marching on Rome and forcing his brother to accept him or die would ruin his support amongst the Senate and people of the Republic, so rather he accepted the deal, on the condition that he would keep his two legions and take them to Rome with him.

III. Tiberius took this deal and let him go east with his army, relieved that his brother was no longer at his back with a sword. But he simply would not let go of his hatred for his brother, and instead set a plot in motion to kill him. Of course Lucius, as mentioned, was a poor statesman, and blundered in his task of rulership in the eastern provinces. This only made the work of Tiberius’ agents easier, as the people around him grew disgruntled and his high taxes and general failings to fix their problems by Lucius, lessening any retaliation for what may happen when Lucius would be assassinated. The deed was carried out on the seventh day from the kalends of September in [178 AD][3], with Lucius being strangled in his bath by one of his manservants.
The body of Lucius Aurelius was almost immediately thrown into the waters of the Aegean, and his assassins recalled to Rome and given public acclimation. The citizens of the East also chose not to complain, instead glad that this new “self-imposing tyrant” was deposed and content to simply continue their lives as before. Of course the one thing this bumbling fool had forgotten were the legions formerly under the command of Lucius, both those along the Rhine and in the Eastern provinces. At first they were largely dissatisfied with the departure of their general and the separation of their forces, however when he was assassinated, the Rhine legions broke out in open revolt. They abandoned their campaign in Germania against the still rebelling Chatti in an act of defiance, refusing to take orders from the Senate or any of Tiberius’ envoys in protest of his fratricide. They did not enter outright rebellion just yet, instead choosing to keep the peace, for what reason I truly have no idea. I must state that records from this era are muddled, both from a lack of knowledge and the constant censorship and revisions made by opposing factions. As such the pure codification of a sensible and linear history is a near impossible task with the way sources are arrayed.


Bust of Lucius Aurelius

IV. Nevertheless, he continued in his debauchery, holding constant feasts and parties within his palace in Rome. he was said to have brought in the most exotic delicacies from across the empire to eat, having served his guests roasted parrot and the brains of elephants. He also left the government to treacherous freedmen who chose to embezzle the funds of state and leave the government mismanaged than to actually do any work of their own, further destroying the poor Roman state. By the kalends of June in [179 AD], the Roman state was in a state of financial turmoil, as not only did the wealth of Aurelian finally begin to seep in and cause inflation of the currency, but so too was the Roman treasury constantly pilfered by its “guardians” who seeked to use its funds for their own personal enjoyment.
Of course it was at this point that the army chose to rise in complete revolt, as of course it was not the murder of their beloved general that threw them over the edge, rather the dramatic decrease in their pay that came with the inflation and embezzlement. They rose up in arms under the leadership of one Publius Helvius Pertinax, vowing to overthrow and murder Tiberius Aurelius for his crimes against Rome itself. Of course they made with the utmost haste southwards, marching across the Alps with 4 legions worth of men. The Senate and Tiberius, finally awaking from their pleasure induced stupor, realized what was happening by the time the forces of Pertinax had reached Taurinorum. They chose to fight, sending their Praetorian Guard and a militia of Roman citizens north to defeat the rebellious army. Needless to say, the spoiled Praetorians and conscripted plebeians weren’t a match against the veterans of the Germanic frontiers, and they were crushed in short order.

V. While marching on Rome, in the city of Florentia, the armies of Pertinax decided to finally elevate their new candidate for the title of Emperor, proclaiming Hadrianus Germanicus [4], the grandson of Nero the Younger, as the new Emperor of Rome. Hadrian himself was an unwilling candidate, though in the prime age and a competent leader. Instead he resigned himself to retirement and attempted to write his own works of poetry and myth, some of which survives to this day. However due to his descent from Augustus and the desire of the Roman army for a new Emperor to replace the despised Tiberius, he was forced into the position at sword point. And at the very moment of his acclimation, the seeds of devastation for decades to come were sown. For it was not a bright future of peace and prosperity that Hadrian’s usurpation had ushered in, but rather one of constant and vicious civil strife.
And with the legions of the East also revolting in favor of Hadrian, hope seemed lost for Tiberius. He fled, along with his daughter, son-in-law, and grandson, making it to Cumae before the Senate too chose to betray him and declared him an enemy of Rome, marking him for death. The forces loyal to Hadrian marched on Rome, and the end seemed inevitable for Tiberius. While he sent his family off to Panormus, he chose to remain in Cumae waiting out his final days deliberating over whether he too should flee or accept his fate. In the end, he made the correct choice and decided that suicide was the only option for a man such as himself. He slit his own throat on the Nones of July, [179 AD][5], choosing to die rather than to be captured and be subjected to whatever the men of Hadrian and the Senate had planned.


Bust of Hadrian Germanicus
VI. The reign of Tiberius Aurelius was one of immense controversy, and sparked the chaos that would engulf the politics of Roman dynasts for centuries to come. Though it was short by the metric of other Emperors both before and after, it truly set Rome on the path would define her perpetually. For from this point onwards, the ancient Pax Romana, a time of peace and wealth would be over. For centuries thereafter the small pockets of peace and prosperity would be interrupted by bouts of indecent war and destruction. No longer would the frontiers be subject to minor barbarians raids, and no more would new territories be conquered, rather Rome would remain a stagnated and faltering nation, begging for revitalization.


[1] 23th of June, 144 AD
[2] Good old OTL Marcus Aurelius.
[3] 25th of September, 178 AD
[4] Son of the OTL Hadrian and one of Nero's daughters.
[5] 5th of July, 179 AD
This will be the last post for a while, I'm gonna take a hiatus from writing this. I feel bad for hanging it on such a hard cliff-hanger, but I've lost both the interest in Roman history and the drive to write this for now. Of course I intend to return and leave this finished, but for now I'll be turning to other writing projects.