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



    Book I: Caesar Augustus (Lost)

    Book II: Lucius

    Book III: Tiberius

    Book IV: Flavian

    Book V: Lucius [II] Flavius

    Book VI: Aurelian

    Book VII: Tiberius [II] Aurelius

    More to come later


    Before I recount to you the lives and the deeds of the Caesars, I shall affirm my own identity as so none dares question my validity or my aptitude. I am Flavius Julianus Magonus, a citizen of the Roman Republic and a member of the Senate of Carthage. My father was Flavius Julianus Magonus, and his father was Lucius Julianus Magonus, both of them belong to the class of the Equites, as well as I. The house of my father's is one of only recent rise, as my grandfather earned his wealth in battle. Both him and my father had served at the sides of Emperors, and in such a manner did they earn the wealth of our family. My mother was Claudia Agatha and her father was Gaius Marcellus, a descendant of the old Patrician houses that once dominated the politics. I affirm the Creeds of Nicaea and of Thessalonica.

    I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God,] Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; By whom all things were made [both in heaven and on earth]; Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeded from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets.

    I also continue in following, that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us One and the same Son, the Self-same Perfect in Godhead, the Self-same Perfect in Manhood; the Self-same of a rational soul and body; co-essential with the Father according to the Godhead, the Self-same co-essential with us according to the Manhood; like us in all things, sin apart; before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead, but in the last days, the Self-same, for us and for our salvation (born) of Mary the Virgin Theotokos as to the Manhood; One and the Same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten; acknowledged in One Will unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; there being no separation of the Will and being in no way divided because of the incarnation, but rather the properties of the singular Will being preserved, and concurring into One Person and One Hypostasis; not as though He was parted or led by Two Wills, but One and the Self-same Son and Only-begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ; even as from the beginning the prophets have taught concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself hath taught us, and as the Symbol of the Fathers hath handed down to us.

    This having been said, none can question my legitimacy nor my own faith, and I shall recount to you the history of the Caesars.


    An Icon of Julian Magonus, made during the 9th Century, shortly after his own death
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    Book II: Lucius
  • Book II: Lucius

    I. The clan of the Vipsanii was one of plebeian nature, and had only risen within the period following the Social War. The grandfather of the Caesar Lucius, Lucius Vipsanius the Elder, was of Pisa, though his family itself was Venetii in nature, and little has been said or written of him, or if there was any it has been lost to time. His family was of a decent albeit minor stature, and he one of the many New Men that had risen as a result of the Social War. Lucius the Elder had borne 3 children with his wife by the time of his death, in order, Lucius Vipsanius the Younger, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, and Vipsania Polla.
    The family would continue to rise up in status, and by the time of the First Civil War, the younger Lucius chose to side with the faction of Pompey. Lucius the Younger would be captured and pardoned after the Pompeian defeat at Pharsalus, however he would immediately turn disregard his clemency, and instead joined Cato the Younger in Africa. After the defeat of the Pompeians at Thapsus, Lucius was once again taken as prisoner, and was considered for execution.

    II. It should be noted that the younger brother of Lucius, Marcus Agrippa, was a schoolmate of Gaius Octavius, the great-nephew and future heir of Julius Caesar, and the two had become brothers over the years. When word reached Marcus of his brother’s imprisonment, he begged Octavius to have his brother pardoned by Julius, and Octavius obliged him. The young Octavius asked his uncle to pardon Lucius Vipsanius, which he did, and this endeared the boy to him further and what was, in my belief, what pushed Julius Caesar towards accepting the young Octavius as his heir. As for Agrippa, in thanks for this pardon, he became Octavius’ undying follower, and the future Caesar’s key to victory in the Civil Wars to come.
    Much of Marcus’s time spent following Caesar Augustus has already been detailed, and as such shall be skipped ahead of. It was in [21 BC] that Augustus married Agrippa to his daughter Julia. While married they had 4 children, Gaius, Julia, Lucius, and Agrippina, while after Agrippa’s death Julia would have one son, Agrippa Postumus. Lucius himself was born on the 6th day before the Ides of March in the year of [17 BC]. His older brother Gaius was born 3 years before in the year of [20 BC]. The location of his birth is unclear, though according to certain sources he was born in Samos as his father was serving in the East at the time of his birth. Others proclaim that he was born in Rome or Naples, and more distrustworthy men proclaim he was born in Velitrae like his grandfather.

    III. Both Gaius and Lucius were adopted by their grandfather shortly after their births in an almost ceremonial sale by their father, and were taken to Rome. There the brothers were put under the guardianship of Augustus, who made sure to afford them as best of an education as he could. As previously mentioned, he taught the boys how to read, write, swim, and even educated them personally to ensure that they were properly fit to rule. The young Caesar also grew up alongside both Germanicus and Claudius the Elder [1], the latter of whom would become one of Lucius’s closest confidants, and the most reputable source for this work. According to the pagan sources of more unscrupulous times, their childhood was also frequently marked with omens, as when their grandfather made them sacrifice a bird each at the Temple of Apollo, the bird of Gaius had entrails in a dark color, similar to that of obsidian, while Lucius’ bird had healthy entrails. The pagan priests declared later on this omen foreshadowed the early death of Gaius and the long reign of Lucius, however Augustus was said to had any augurs who attempted to tell him the meaning of this omen silenced and threatened their own lives. In my own opinion this is likely apocryphal, as no simple entrails can predict the life God dictates in a man. In Gaius’ 20th year he assumed the consulship alongside his brother-in-law Lucius Aemilius Lepidus. A year after his consulship, Augustus sent his grandsons off for military training, with Gaius going to Syria and Armenia, while Lucius was sent to Hispania.

    IV. While on his way towards Hispania, Lucius fell deathly ill with a disease. Many make the accusation that Livia had poisoned him as she did Marcellus, and this is a fine accusation. But whatever the case, Lucius’s life was held in the balance as he laid near death in Massalia. Augustus himself held public sacrifices across Rome in an attempt to appease the gods into protecting his son, and he had the Senate sacrifice alongside him. However none of these practices worked and he continued to succumb to his illness, until he was raised again by the actions of a Gaulish physician, who treated his sickness with the utmost care and used the odd method of ice baths to banish his fever. As such Lucius did recover by the new year in [3 AD]. He did continue onwards to Spain, where he fought against the hill tribes of the northern region, who had continued to resist Roman rule.
    It was in this same year that his brother Gaius received a wound while campaigning in Armenia. While at first the wound was only a minor nuisance, he eventually felt himself succumbing to an infection. By the middle part of the year he had officially renounced his command and sent word to his grandfather, retiring as a private citizen. The wound itself reportedly warped his mind, and became unfit for office, falling into long bouts of unbridled depression and raging fear. Augustus attempted to convince him to return home, but the young Gaius refused and died on the kalends of May in Lycia the very next year. The Emperor is said to have wept for days, and proclaimed “To save one son I have lost another!”.

    V. Lucius spent the rest of [4 AD] in Hispania before returning to Rome. The very next year Lucius was elected as consul and served a full term alongside Lucius Valerius Messalla. Afterwards he was assigned to Illyricum and fought in the Pannonian Revolt alongside his step-brother Tiberius Nero the Elder. It was also in the year of his consulship that he married Julia Livilla, daughter of Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia Minor. She had been previously married to Gaius, however due to the young man’s death Augustus sought to marry her off to Lucius to keep his plans intact. The marriage between the two was deeply unhappy, and both had grown to despise one another throughout their time. They only had two children, Gaius a year after his consulship was assumed, who died of a fever in his second year, and Tiberius in [10 AD], named after his father’s comrade Tiberius Claudius the Elder, the son of Germanicus. In the same time of his consulship Augustus also adopted the last son of Agrippa, Marcus Agrippa Postumus, as his own son. The young Agrippa would be neither like his father nor his brothers, as he acted cruelly and with impudence, being banished to Planasia [2] as punishment.

    VI. After the Pannonian Revolt was defeated, Lucius was awarded a Triumph by the Senate, and many thought to give him the name Pannonicus or Invictus, however Augustus denied him this honor, claiming that he would have enough honors when he inherited his father’s titles and offices. Lucius denied himself the triumph, as only shortly before his set date the legion of Publius Quinctilius Varus was ambushed and killed by the Cherusci. While the majority of the army had avoided the ambush thanks to the presence of Germanicus, the loss of the Legion and its Eagle Standard caused great sadness among the people of Rome, and it was felt to be in bad taste that Lucius would hold a Triumph so shortly after.
    He would then go on to serve in Germany, working alongside Germanicus in establishing Roman authority in Germania Magna. While he would spend the year in the north, he was recalled to Rome by his father, who had him invested with the powers of the Caesars and acting as his own subordinate Caesar. He spent the remainder of Augustus’s lifetime in Italy, managing his affairs and awaiting for his father’s passing and for him to succeed him as Caesar.

    VII. The descriptions of Lucius often portray him as a handsome man within his youth, having dark brown hair and a defined face. He had a tall and large frame, though in his age he would begin to shrink down to a more humbled form and lost much of his weight. The Caesar possessed a deep voice as well, and great oratory skill, having imposed himself with the grace of his grandfather upon the Senate and people of Rome. Many have made the claim that in his period of co-rulership with his grandfather, Lucius’ lecherous tendencies began to manifest themselves, and not without reason. He had many mistresses, of both plebeian and patrician stock, and frequently seduced the wives of senators. The number of bastards he sired is unknown to me, however some up the estimate to 5 or 6, with the most outlandish claiming he had 23 bastard sons. Claudius the Elder makes no mention of bastards, however he does note how Lucius in his early years held a relationship with one Aemilia Lepida, who would later marry the general Servius Galba. There are no legitimate reports of pedeastery, but there are some unscrupulous men who claim that he took his share of young men as he did young women.

    VIII. It was in [14 AD] that the revered Augustus would pass on of an illness, likely caused by his own wife. Only 4 days after interring his father’s ashes in his Mausoleum was Lucius proclaimed by the Senate. He took the titles of Princeps, Pater Patriae, Imperator, and Augustus, and the Civic Crown was placed upon his head by a troupe of Senators. His only major reform of that year was to put the Praetorian Guard under the command of Lucius Aelius Sejanus, and allowing Claudius the Elder to enter the Cursus Honorum.
    Promptly afterwards, in the next year, Lucius was invested with his second Consulship, and went north to the Rhine in order to lead a campaign of revenge against the Germans.
    While his wars were successful, he slowly grew distrusting of the highly popular Germanicus, who had also gained victories in the war against the German tribes. He was fed this distrust by Sejanus, with whom he frequently communicated during his time along the Rhine. He grew contempt for the rising general, and even considered having him killed, though Claudius had managed to persuade him otherwise.

    IX. Instead he sent Germanicus off to Rome to serve a Consulship in [18 AD], with him being sent off the next year to govern the Orient. Germanicus died the very next year in Antioch, after suffering a short and suspicious illness. Many have chosen to blame Lucius for this action, however no reputable source chooses this explanation, and rather the only person truly blamed by them for poisoning is Gnaeus Piso. Germanicus was still awarded a state funeral by Lucius, and his son Nero was allowed to enter the Cursus Honorum, alongside his cousin Drusus the Younger, the son of Tiberius Nero. The generosity of Lucius in my opinion disabuses the notion that he may have poisoned his own cousin, as he did take both Drusus and Gaius Germanicus to be raised in his own household. A proper source proclaims that, after Lucius heard of the death of Germanicus, he blamed himself for removing his own cousin and leaving him to die at the hands of cruel enemies and chose to adopt both Drusus and Gaius as repentance for his own betrayal. Gnaeus Piso as well was set to be tried publicly, however before he could be the people of Rome overwhelmed the transport carrying him to court and tore him to shreds, punishment for murdering their beloved Germanicus.

    X. Despite the Roman affirmation of dominance beyond the Rhine, Lucius chose not to leave the frontier, claiming to the Senate that he still had to pacify Germania Magna, and asking them to make the newly conquered territories their own provinces, that of Boihaemia and Germania Magna. While the Senate itself was weary of this prospect, they were pushed into accepting by Sejanus, who himself grew more and more powerful as a result of the Emperor’s distance from Rome. In this time Sejanus also grew close with the Emperor’s wife, Livilla, who had remained in Rome along with their son Tiberius. They frequently engaged in adulterous actions, and they even made plans to take the Empire for themselves. Lucius, while spending his time in the city of Colonia Agrippinensium, also fell into an adulterous romance, this time with Agrippina Cassia. She was the daughter of a local Gallic noble, and had a reportedly unparalleled level of physical beauty. While under her trance the Emperor remained in the city, and even renamed it in honor of her, hence it becoming Colonia Agrippinensium, however the official reason the Caesar gave was that it had been chosen in honor of his sister, Agrippina the Elder. He has been said to have constructed a palace there, and to have had frequent drunken parties. He led a debauched lifestyle and seemed to have forgotten about his own duties in Rome for the time, being seduced by both the prospects of a Germanic conquest and his own mistress.

    XI. Although Sejanus and Livilla plotted to take over for themselves, they found staunch opposition in the forms of Nero Germanicus and Drusus the Younger. Both refused to bend to the will of the two, and instead attempted to uphold the rule of the Caesar by resisting Sejanus’s influence and organizing opposition to his rule. In the very same year of Nero’s Consulship [23 AD], Drusus died under unclear circumstances. Many make the claim that Sejanus was the one who killed him through poison, and this is an accurate assessment to make, as the two had been known to hold a deep seated rivalry between one another. Drusus the Younger did have one son, a young Tiberius Gemellus, who was taken in and raised by Nero after his father’s death. In the very same year the young Tiberius Caesar was also recalled to Rome and taken out of the grasp of his mother, who had wished to use him as a puppet to secure power for herself and her lover. Without their key to power, both attempted to look for other ways to seize legitimate control. While they did attempt to convince the ancient Tiberius Nero to assist them, he was much to elderly and had chosen to completely isolate himself on the island of Capraea [3].
    As such they turned to the young and exiled Agrippa Postumus. While they never made their move openly, they made arrangements so that Agrippa would be transported to Rome once they had their plan in order, and they purged the Senate of many who had attempted to oppose them. By [26 AD], they were on the verge of a revolution against the rule of Lucius, however their correspondence was leaked and their whole plot together made openly known to both the people of Rome and to the Caesar. When he heard the news of his wife’s adultery, he simply replied “I would only be surprised had she not slept with another”.

    XII. Sejanus was shortly thereafter executed on orders of Lucius, with Nero personally strangling him and his sons on the Gemonian Stairs and their bodies being cast down the Steps. Livilla was formally divorced from Lucius and received as her official punishment forced starvation, being locked in her apartment with the only one to hear her cries being her grandmother Antonia Minor. The memories of both traitors were damned, their names struck from official records and their statues destroyed. A purge was then enacted upon the Senate, cleansing it of those who had shown any sign of loyalty to Sejanus over their Emperor during the period. Many historians choose to look down upon Lucius for this action, however I am of the belief that many chose to slander him afterwards, looking to support their own agendas.
    Despite the executions of Sejanus and Livilla, Agrippa Postumus had managed to escape from his exile within Planasia, avoiding Rome and instead turning towards Sicily. Postumus attempted to stir a revolution within Sicily for his own gain, inciting the flames of the aristocracy into open rebellion against Lucius, as the local gentry upon the island held a deep rooted dislike for the Emperorship in general, and especially that of Lucius and his focus in the northern reaches rather than on their spoiled senses. The rebellion of Postumus took hold across Africa Proconsularis and Bruttium [4], as he managed to flip 2 legions upon his own side, and raised one more. As has been said before, Postumus was not a man of tactics nor of patience, instead his hotheaded personality drove the young man to push directly upon Rome, thinking he could dislodge his brother from power. His rash plan was of course, very swiftly defeated by the forces of Lucius, with many surrendering and returning to the cause of Lucius to preserve their own lives and wealth. Postumus fled once more, only making it to Thurii before the armies of Lucius had him surrounded. The Caesar had given direct orders for his brother to be brought to Rome unharmed and alive, however Postumus resisted to the point where the Legionaries saw it more fit to kill him than to take him in. When Lucius heard news of his brother’s death, he reportedly said “Woe for my brother, and woe for me, the last of our brood.”[5]. He had those who murdered Postumus crucified along the Via Appia, and gave his brother a state funeral, though his ashes were not interned in the Mausoleum of Augustus.

    XIII. Almost a month after the death of Livilla, Lucius remarried once more, this time to his long time mistress Agrippina. Together they had no recorded legitimate children, though I have found many who have made the claim that they did sire a daughter while in Colonia Agrippinensium and that this daughter had progeny, however these sources are apocryphal and date back to the days of the numerous usurpers, when they wished to establish their own legitimacy.
    Nevertheless, the decade after the failed usurpation by Sejanus would be marked by relative peace and security, as the remaining soldiers in Germania had managed to subdue the remaining tribes and force the tribes of the region to accept Germanic overlordship, establishing the now renowned city of Augusta Chassalla [6] along a tributary of the Veserus [7] and establishing client kingdoms as far as the Albis [8]. In Rome itself, the political order would only be interrupted with the youngest son of Germanicus, Gaius, becoming an adult. Despite the level of competence set by his family, Gaius was a brash and callous young man, with no regard for authority upon any level. He treated others cruelly and despite the attempts made by his adoptive father, Lucius, to rear him correctly, Gaius would prove a difficult man to properly raise. By the time of his 25th year in [37 AD], he was allowed to enter the Cursus Honorum, and from there he caused a great ruckus. Though he was elected to Quaestor and later Aedile, he often made a mockery of not only those men in the Senate but of all around him. While the plebeians loved the public games he threw, and how he did not act in the manner of the upper Patricians, many within the Senate grew to despise him. During his tenure as a Senator he frequently insulted his comrades upon the floor of the Curia, especially during debates, and he showed no regard for the political formalities of the state. It was said that after a Senate meeting where he was publicly rebuked by a senator, Gaius met him on the streets of home with his own personal guard, and threatened the man’s own life as a form of cruel revenge. Later men like Seneca the Younger and the freedmen of Gaius would write upon how he treated his own slaves as dogs and beat them whenever he saw fit. However the most notable scandal came in the year of [40 AD], as he was found to be carrying on multiple affairs with his own sisters, Julia Livilla and Agrippina the Younger.
    When news of this scandal became apparent, the Senate pushed Lucius into forcefully banishing his adoptive son as well as his sisters, sending them off to Melita [9] and Ephesus respectively. Gaius would die only a year later, and while official records proclaim that it was the cause of a fever, I and many are inclined to believe that this was upon orders of the Senate, seeking to rid the man of whom they despised the most.

    XIV. While Rome was seemingly stable afterwards, the internal system seemed to have been coming down upon the Emperor. With a newly resurgent Senate and his own power being undermined and pulled around on multiple occasions, he truly seemed weaker than ever. The possibility of a revolution that could remove the Emperor seemed imminent, as the loyalty of the Legions slowly began to wane. As a result, under the advice of Claudius the Elder, Lucius made one more move to secure his life and his power, annexing the Kingdom of Thracia and launching an invasion of Britannia.

    XV. Long had the island been under the rule of barbarian chiefs, and despite the attempts by Julius Caesar to civilize the island, it fell to Lucius to finish the job. In [41 AD], he invaded with the force of 4 whole legions, landing in the south of the isle and leading his men to victory there. Both Claudius the Elder and a young general by the name of Vespasian would prove themselves alongside the Emperor, securing dominance throughout the southern regions and allowing for colonies to be established, such as the city of Camulodunum [10].
    From there the firm grasp upon the island had been formed and Lucius had seemed like a true marvel, for in those days most men believed that the island was the edge of the world and the gates of Hades, and in seeing it’s conquest by the Emperor their faith within him rose once again. When he returned to Rome he was granted a triumph by the Senate, and took it with pride, riding through the streets and displaying the captured gold and slaves alongside his soldiers. The people and the Senate of Rome acclaimed him so much, they saw it fit to grant him the title “Britannicus” in honor of his deeds, though after his death he would pass it on to his companion Claudius rather than to his own son.

    XVI. After his conquest of Britannia and his triumph in the city, the remainder of Lucius’ reign was spent in peace and quiet, with the state continuing to thrive. He affirmed the succession of his son, granting him the consulship twice over as well as sending him off to govern provinces. After the death of Ptolemy, King of Mauretania, he had the province annexed as well, and his soldiers put down an attempted revolt by one of the King’s freedmen, Aedemon. Lucius would serve only one more consulship, alongside his son, and increasingly spent his time upon his private villa in Capraea. There he had the home of the long since deceased Tiberius rebuilt and refurbished into the highly luxurious Villa Jovis, which still stands to this day upon that island. Even in his old age did his salacious actions continue, as he had whole throngs of women who would remain around the palace, tending to his needs, both in the sense of a servant and in that of a prostitute.

    XVII. After Thirty-seven years, Six months, and Fifteen days, the Emperor Lucius died in his villa on Capraea. His body was then cremated upon the island and his ashes carried on a march from Misenium to Rome, and the eulogy was given twice, with both Tiberius Caesar and Drusus Germanicus giving their speeches from the rostra. Many senators vied to give him honors, hoping to win favor from Tiberius in a sycophantic manner. One proposed that the month of September be renamed after Lucius, as the months of August and July had been for his own predecessors. Some said that no golden rings should be worn during the days after the ceremony, and that only those of iron should be allowed. Most of these attempts at flattery were not passed, and instead they simply had him deified in the manner of his forbearers, and a temple for him constructed upon the Campus Martius. Within his will he produced as his primary heir Tiberius Caesar who took upon his name and the majority of his wealth, and to a second degree Drusus Germanicus and Nero Germanicus, who took a quarter of his fortune between them, and to a lesser degree other family members as well as the citizens of Rome.


    A bust of Lucius

    [1] THE Claudius, the one who was an OTL Emperor
    [2] IOTL island of Pianosa in Italy, close to Elba
    [3] IOTL Capri
    [4] IOTL Calabria
    [5] Agrippina the Elder still died shortly before this, her death is unrecorded and the date unknown
    [6] IOTL Kassel
    [7] A made up Latin name for the Weser, couldn't find out what they actually used for it
    [8] IOTL Elbe
    [9] IOTL Malta
    [10] IOTL Colchester

    Brackets are put around the year as in contemporary texts people use regnal years/consular years rather than the Anno Domini system, as by the 9th century it was still catching on.
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    Book III: Tiberius
  • Book III: Tiberius

    I. The man destined to become the third of the Roman Emperors was born Tiberius Julius Caesar on the Fifth day before the kalends of July [1] in the year [10 AD] to Lucius Julius Caesar and Julia Livilla. The young Tiberius spent most of his childhood neglected by his own parents, as shortly after he entered his fourth year Lucius ascended to the office of Emperor and left for the frontiers of Germania, and his mother was focused upon attempting to dominate the affairs of state alongside Sejanus afterwards. As such, the vast majority of his education was given to him by the household slaves, and he was in all essence raised by them. In spending his years surrounded by men who treated him as their lord and god he grew a grand ego, one which made him feel a sense of superiority above all those near him.

    II. While the politics of the city continued to sour as a result of Sejanus’ actions, Tiberius grew into a despotic young man, idolizing those cruel men of old like Dionysius of Syracuse and Cornelius Sulla. One might wonder what would have happened if Livilla and Sejanus had put the young boy as Emperor and how much they would have had to wrestle with his self-aggrandizing nature while trying to take power, but such circumstances never came to pass. In [23 AD] Tiberius, aged 13, was sent off to Colonia Agrippinensium to be with his father and spend time on the military frontier. There he was given a military education, and taught how to ride, fight, and tactics of generals. I have seen some claim that Tiberius continued his period within Germania after his father’s return to Rome, and others that claim he returned with him, and none are decisively more valid than the other. As such the period between his arrival at Agrippinensium and the invasion of Britannia is left clouded by the haze of time, with the only certainties being his marriage to Junia Calvina and the birth of their daughter Julia, both in [33 AD].
    Tiberius himself had a quite handsome complexion and a tall frame, though he did have a small and weak chin. He was known to engage in little physical sports as his body was not one of strength. He had many physical oddities such as his legs, which more resembled spindles than limbs, and his choice to grow out a beard which at the time was considered barbaric by the citizenry.

    III. The next recorded instance of Tiberius comes in the form of the invasion of Britannia, where he fought in the invasion alongside the young general, Vespasian. During their time pacifying the island the two men grew close to one another, to the point where they even held a consulship together in [47 AD]. It was also upon the island where many proclaim the cruelty of Tiberius began to take shape, as he was said to give no quarter to Britannian soldiers and raped the people and countryside of the island with impunity. He would be appointed as Governor of Britannia after his father’s withdrawal from the province and he would serve for 4 years in his post before retiring the position and returning to Rome.
    It was during both his consulships and his period as a senator did he grow to despise the men of the Curia as the son of Germanicus, Gaius, once did. Tiberius constantly got into verbal conflict with senators, in one case during a public debate outside the Curia Julia he left in the middle and went to his residence, and returned with a troupe armed guards to threaten the Senator. He held little regard for the formal aspect of politics, showing no respect to other Senators and belittling them almost constantly.

    IV. After the death of his father in [51 AD] and his own ascension to the office, many Senators attempted to make amends with Tiberius by proposing the aforementioned honors for Lucius, but he made no attempt to partake in these amends, refusing the honors to be placed upon his father and only providing him with deification. As Emperor his disdain for the Senate made itself even more apparent, as he very often ruled through fiat rather than respecting the laws of the Republic. Little heed was paid to the men, however any purge that Tiberius might have wished upon the Senate was blocked by his compatriot Vespasian. In the times of that tyranny, Vespasian was the only man who could balance out the desires of Tiberius to rule by his own iron fist and to ignore the rights of the Senate.
    It was also shortly after the death of his wife Domitilla in [52 AD] after complications from giving birth to their second son Domitian, that Tiberius sought to keep his own dynasty intact, marrying off his daughter Julia to Vespasian for a proper male heir to succeed him. This he did succeed at, with Vespasian and Julia having a son together, Titus Flavius Julianus, later adopted by Tiberius and being renamed Titus Julius Caesar Flavianus. Tiberius himself had a deep seated hatred of his cousins Nero Germanicus and Drusus Germanicus, not wishing for them to succeed him to his office, so much so that he had both stationed to different portions of Rome as to not threaten his own power. Nero was sent off to Mauretania Tingitana, while Drusus Germanicus was sent to Syria Coele, both far from their centers of power and living out in a pseudo-exile.

    V. Shortly after sending off both of his cousins in [55AD], Tiberius sought to out do both his father and his uncle Germanicus by defining Roman rule over the Germanic tribes. He marched north and set up camp at the town of Augusta Vindelicorum [2], and issued a fiat forcefully accepted by the Public Assembly and the Senate of Rome, disbanding the client kingdoms of Germania and forcing all the territories into direct Roman rule. This was not taken too kindly by the Germans, who instead chose to rise up in rebellion against the Romans, led by Italicus, a nephew of Arminius and the King of the Cherusci.
    The war lasted for over 5 years and left the already pitiful province of Germania in horrid shape. While the Romans did triumph in the end due to the generalship of Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, the war was not only costly but unnecessary. The dismantling of the effective system of clients that had kept Germania at peace was a vain show of power that cost thousands of Roman lives. Many pagan apologists of the earlier era attempt to paint this as a virtuous subduing of the Germanic peoples and the affirmation of Roman authority along the Albis, however this is clearly a lie meant to glorify a man meant to be detested. For removing this stable system, Germania wouldn’t be the same bastion frontier that was intended by Drusus the Elder and Augustus, instead it would be a much more hollow and expensive to maintain state, with Romanization destined to make little headway as it had within Gaul or Hispania.

    VI. After his self-proclaimed victory over the Germans in [60 AD] that he returned to Rome and held a mockery of a triumph. He paraded through the streets dirtied Germanic soldiers and even their women and children, showing only meager amounts of gold and only providing icons of German huts being burned and pillaged by Roman soldiers. The people of Rome began to grow dissatisfied with him, especially the Senate. Tired of being kicked around, the Senators planned to proclaim Vespasian and his young son Flavian as Emperor, and to have Tiberius deposed and killed, however the plot was discovered and Vespasian personally revealed the news to the Emperor, as to not seem implicated in the plot. While the men behind it were executed, sources disagree on what happened to Vespasian. I have seen many claim that he was forced into an early retirement, while others say he received a mere slap on his wrist to show that the Emperor still had dominance over him. Nevertheless after this plot Vespasian took a much more backseat role within politics, never involving himself too heavily.

    VII. Tiberius in turn also took steps back to halt the growing dislike, allowing the Senate to once again have a form of preeminence and restoring to them former powers he had unjustly robbed. He also pardoned many and revoked the exiles of numerous citizens made before his departure from Rome, allowing them to return to Italy. The Caesar also attempted to please the plebeians, throwing large games and providing them with bread and circuses to forget what he had done to them. But that tyrant would not so easily slip away into popular memory, as in [64 AD], a great fire shook Rome, the likes of which had only been seen during the sack of Brennus. Many thousands lost their lives in this fire and a large part of the city was left destroyed afterwards. It is unclear whether Tiberius was within the city at the time the flames started or at his villa in Ostia, however he was clearly in Rome by the time the flames had been put out. After seeing how much of the great city had been levelled, he decided to use it for his own advantage, ordering the construction of a luxurious Golden Palace on the slope of the Caecilian Hill, demolishing what was left of the homes in the region. Many make the accusation, which in my opinion is highly accurate, that Tiberius himself ordered the fire to allow the construction of his palace.

    VIII. However his own tyranny did not halt there, and instead he sought for a scapegoat to protect himself from the repercussions of those who might see through his actions. As such he moved to blame the population of Christians within the city, claiming that they had caused the fire and making the innocent Christians look like vile anti-Roman Jews. Many Christians were killed, including the Saints Peter, Paul, and Domitius [3]. While much has been said of the two former saints, folks pay little heed to St. Domitius himself nor of his life, and I shall recount it to you as quickly as possible. He was the son of Agrippina the Younger and Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, the grandson of Germanicus and great-grandson of Augustus. After his mother had been found engaging in a relationship with her own brother she had been exiled to Ephesus alongside her sister Julia Livilla. There as the family lived in poverty, they fell upon the charity of the Christian community and specifically that of Paul and his associates. There the young Domitius joined the Christian faith and preached alongside Paul, eventually returning to Rome once his exile had been lifted and taking up a position within the upper classes of Rome, preaching the word of God to the masses of the city. When the Great fire struck Rome and Tiberius sought to persecute the blameless Christians, one of the first punished was Domitius, who was crucified and burnt alive alongside many other early martyrs of the faith.

    IX. The persecution of the faithful did succeed in convincing the daft masses of the city his innocence, and Rome would continue to flourish under his guidance, as he even ordered the construction of a luxurious Amphitheater between the Palatine and Esquiline Hills, though it would not be finished in his time. In [66 AD] the Jews chose to rise up against the rulership of the Romans after they had desecrated their temples and their religion, with them crushing a Roman legion in battle. The situation grew so dire that Tiberius was forced to send Vespasian and his adult son, Titus, to Judaea in order to stamp out the revolt. They did succeed in their endeavor, defeating the Jews and sacking Jerusalem by [70 AD]. So great was their victory that many within the Senate and Rome demanded a triumph for the generals, which Tiberius denied, fearing that they may usurp him if given the opportunity to do so. In fact one general by the name of Gaius Julius Vindex did attempt a usurpation in favor of the general Galba during the year [68 AD]. While his rebellion was put down without fanfare and Galba himself, after his unwilling acclimation, chose to retire in protection of his own life, Tiberius began to feel the insecurity of his position. The Emperor slowly began to succumb to paranoia and fear, showing up to Senate meetings wearing a bronze breastplate and with lictors constantly surrounding his person. The Emperor reportedly refused to even eat anything unless his 5 tasters had already made sure that the food was not poisoned in any way.

    X. When the time came for his grandson Flavian to enter the Cursus Honorum Tiberius prevented him from entering, fearing that if he were to make connections within the Senate he might join them and usurp his father. His slow descent into madness came to a halt in [72 AD], as the cruel Emperor was smothered to death in his sleep. While official reports proclaim that he had died after spending the night in an enclosed room with a lit brazier, suffocating due to the smoke and fumes produced by it, most men proclaim otherwise. Almost all sources align with another, more realistic idea. They claim that Tiberius was in all actuality smothered to death by his grandson while he was asleep, and in my opinion this theory makes much more sense than the official proclamation. Nevertheless, he died in Rome after Twenty years, Five months, and Six days in office, having lived for Sixty-two years and Three weeks, dying on the 15th day before the Kalends of August [4].
    After his death his body was cremated and interred within the Mausoleum of Augustus, however he wasn’t allowed deification as both the Senate and Flavian blocked such a proposal. Many even proposed a damnation of the deceased Caesar’s memory as had been the case for his mother, but no such thing was passed. Even his will was ignored and kept out of public light, as Tiberius had attempted to divvy up his wealth into such portions that the members of his close family would only receive very little wealth, as it was to be distributed amongst the plebeians and soldiery. Instead all his wealth fell upon the only 19 year old Flavian, who would also be invested with the offices of the Emperor despite his young age. His elderly father did take up the Powers of a Tribune as a check for the young man, but for the most part power was near totally consolidated within him.


    A bust of Tiberius

    [1] 27th of June, 10 AD
    [2] OTL Augsburg
    [3] Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, better known to us today as Nero
    [4] 18th of July, 72 AD
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    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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    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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    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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    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