Book V: Lucius [II] Flavius
I. The Emperor Lucius Flavius was born on the second day from the Ides of January  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  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.
II. Due to his position, being in Salona  at the time of his father’s death preparing to go to Pannonia, the succession of the Republic  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.
A bust of Lucius Flavius
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 . 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.
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.
A Drachma of Vologases of Persia
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  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 , 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.
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 , 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.
A portrait of Aurelius Antoninus
He also led multiple campaigns while abroad, expanding the borders of Britannia to the Bodotria  as well as seizing the island of Mona . 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.
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.
Pollice Verso, a later artist's representation of gladiators in the Flavian Amphitheater.
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 , 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 , 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  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.
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.
The Mausoleum of Augustus
Lucius would die on the third day from the Nones of February in the year after his accident . 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.
 11th of January, 77 AD.
 OTL Milan.
 OTL Split, Croatia.
 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.
 In American Imperial Units 5'1", in Metric 160 Centimeters.
 OTL Bahrain.
 Known as the Kitos War, important at the time but became relegated to a footnote like in the OTL.
 Also known as Antoninus Pius.
 OTL Firth of Forth.
 OTL Isle of Man.
 Latin name for Greece, popularized by Homer.
 OTL Aswan.
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.
 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.