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Alternate History Thread V

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Dachs, May 30, 2009.

  1. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Because the other one went over 100 pages. :p

    This is a thread to post ideas, timelines, maps, and all manner of discussion about alternate history topics. It'd be cool if people made NESes out of some of these too. Here's some jargon that people commonly use here:

    PoD - Point of Departure...from the original timeline. Where things changed, basically.
    ATL - Alternate Timeline.
    OTL - Our Timeline, the real world.
    TTL - This Timeline, usually referring to whatever ATL you're talking about at the time.
    ASB - Alien Space Bats, basically meaning "stuff that seems pretty implausible".

    Here are links to the previous threads:

    Amenhotep's Original Thread
    The Redux
    The Third Thread
    The Fourth Thread

    And, to get things started off, here's the final installment of a timeline I started last fall. :) Here are the last few installments:

    The PoD
    The Escalation, or Fun with Diadochi
    The Second Big War, or Pyrrhus of Epirus Goes Nuts

    Spoiler Titanomachia, Final Part, Scene 1 :
    Live and Let Die.

    “The wheel in the sky keeps on turning,
    I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow.”
    -Wheel in the Sky, Journey

    Though the twin engines of destruction, Pyrrhos of Epeiros and Ptolemaios Keraunos, were both dead as of 278, the war they had started still embroiled the eastern Mesogeios. Fragments of their empires were under new rulers, generals who decided to take matters into their own hands, especially given the lack of a central authority. Hieron, the general that Pyrrhos had set over his Megale Hellenic possessions, took the opportunity to declare himself independent and to form a federation of south Italian poleis, with himself as elected strategos. Several of Ptolemaios’ marshals, especially in Asia Mikra, also declared their possessions states unto themselves. They only added to the chaos. Despite the great victory Antiochos had won at the pass of Thermopylai, cementing his leadership of the Korinthian koinon, there were still thousands of Gallic warriors at large; one force of Keltoi was in Thraike, besieging the polis of Byzantion (which nominally owed Antiochos its allegiance), and another was still pillaging Paionia and the northern lands. Romani still were beating at the gates in southern Italia, having driven the last of Hieron’s garrisons from Campania and northern Apulia. The Semites in the west were renewing their attack on Kyrenaia, and then there was the ever-present menace of the Persike basileus, Aristotelis, who, though busy elsewhere, could intervene decisively for either side, either to snap up Antigonid possessions while they were still weak, or to crush the Ptolemaic forces that still remained opposing Antigonos Gonatas in that theater.

    Of the most immediate import was Hellas itself and the Gallic menace. Antiochos may have secured the southern poleis, and reestablished the league that Makedonia had headed since the time of Philippos and Alexandros, but his core territories around Pella were still under threat. Marching north with an army comprised primarily of his remaining Makedonian phalangitai, though with not insignificant contingents from his “allies”, Antiochos brought the other group of barbarians, under one Bolgios, to battle at Klitai and forced them to retire northwards, at least for now. He then split his forces. A subordinate general, one Sosthenes, was ordered to take a naval contingent, primarily composed of the combined fleet of the allies, as well as a small ground force, to relieve Byzantion and the Propontic poleis. Antiochos himself had something more insidious in mind. Epeiros had been in anarchy since the death of Pyrrhos the year before, with three rival claimants to the throne fighting incessantly among themselves, one of whom was a son of Pyrrhos, Pyrrichos. Antiochos elected to back one of Pyrrichos’ enemies, Alexandros III, and debouched from the Pindos with 20,000 men as autumn approached; following a sharp engagement at Nekromanteion, Pyrrichos was defeated and executed, and the country was pacified by early the next year. But Alexandros III did not sit on the throne of the Molossians by that time; Antiochos did. Having quietly had his erstwhile puppet assassinated, he had reduced Epeiros to the state of a province of Makedonia, imposing a strong garrison and adding the title of Molossian ruler onto his already copious other ones. The near-universal dislike with which Pyrrhos and his memory were viewed made this step guaranteed to be quietly approved by the other powers.

    Hieron, in southern Italia, made a squeak of protest, but his opinion didn’t really matter. Having gathered adherents of Pyrrhos to himself, and relying on his new Megale Hellenic koinon, his main goal was to protect himself from the Romani; self-preservation came first. A general of no small skill, but far more pragmatic than his former sovereign, he immediately put out peace feelers to the Romani, which were summarily rejected by the Senate. For 277, Manius Curius Dentatus, the old Samnite War hero, had been elected to the consulship, along with Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges. Dentatus immediately marched south and besieged Grumentum in central Lucania. Hieron could not muster the numbers to oppose him, and was forced to fall back towards the coast. Here the true strength of the Romani military system shone through: while the Hellenes had the variety of soldiers to fight them and beat them on all sorts of terrain, the Romani could raise lots of troops quickly. It did not help Hieron that he was drawing on the same territories that had poured out their blood and treasure for Agathokles and Pyrrhos in the preceding decades. He was increasingly forced to rely on mercenaries, an act which embittered the poleis of his league against him and induced him to seek new opportunities.

    What he found was the situation in Sikilia. Admetos’ successor as the darling of the Qarthadastim senate, a Maharbal, was placed in charge of a large fleet and expeditionary force and ordered to reclaim the lost territories in Sikilia from Pyrrhos’ son Demetrios. Already one invasion attempt had been repulsed by the man who now claimed his father’s mantle as basileus of the Sikeliotes, but Maharbal was a fresh commander, whose mettle had been tested both as a subordinate of Admetos in Kyrenaia and against the Massylian tribes. With 40,000 men, he landed at Lazara in 277 and quickly marched north, besieging Lilibeo and drawing Demetrios, with an equivalent number in his army, into an attempt to relieve the siege. The Qarthadastim drew off, and engaged Demetrios at the Hypsas River. Here, the Sikilian army had not the same advantages that Pyrrhos had held in Africa years before. Demetrios, though a competent general, was not the equal of his father. Too, the Qarthadastim had a unit of elephants to back them up, as well as the highest quality aanatim pikemen and dorkim heavy infantry. Combined with the elite kdoshim, who once more made an appearance, it was enough to shatter the levies that comprised Demetrios’ army, and only the intervention of the fine Syrakousan cavalry prevented total annihilation, holding open a path for the remnants of the Sikeliot army to withdraw back to the east. With the victory at the Hypsas, the formerly Qarthadastim region of Elimya returned to the fold, and even some towns east of the Halykos defected, anxious to escape the tyranny of Demetrios. Akragas remained until Hellenic control, however, and became the obvious target for the next campaign season.

    Hieron smelt an opportunity to the south, and he rapidly capitalized upon it. Absconding with much of his league’s treasury and a part of their fleet, he took advantage of the lack of loyalty the mercenaries that comprised his army had to the Megale Hellenic poleis and moved to Sikilia in 276. Betrayed and divided, the Tarantinoi and their allies did not stand a chance against the Romani; what field army they could muster was broken at Genusia, and that year the consul that succeeded Dentatus, Q. Aemilius Papus, began construction of siege works around Taras itself. Having successfully ruined the Megale Hellenic cause, Hieron set to work on Sikilia. Demetrios, facing a serious manpower shortage, was forced to accept Hieron as a strategos autokrator, ceding much power to him, and with this authority, amalgamating his mercenaries with the native Sikilian troops, Hieron won a victory over Maharbal’s subordinate at Akragas in 275, forcing the Qarthadastim back behind the Krimissos. The window of security this bought him allowed internal machinations. Demetrios was essentially Hieron’s puppet as it was, but during the year Maharbal ended up taking to rearm with more men from Africa, Hieron extended his tentacles of political support throughout the key cities of Hellenic Sikilia, aided by his ethnicity as an islander and his position at the head of the only effective army on the island.

    Back east, the Ptolemaic kingdom was running into problems. Ptolemaios II had left an heir, of the same name, who was crowned, aged seven in 277, at Alexandria under the regency of Sosibios, a Makedonian expatriate nobleman who had been of some importance in the courts of the newly crowned Ptolemaios III’s predecessors. Having secured his regency through no small amount of vicious intrigue at court, Sosibios was an undesirable choice for some of the field generals, especially the commander in Syria and Assyria, Stephanos Anemurionios, and his efforts to bring the garrisons in Asia Mikra under tighter control to salvage something from the wreck of Keraunos’ empire were not met with approval from the garrison commanders themselves, who enjoyed their relative independence and mostly went their own way, save for Pamphylia under Stasioikos Soknopaiou Nesou. Refusing to compromise with Anemurionios, fearing that it would weaken his position at court to bring such a powerful military figure into partnership instead of submission, Sosibios instead declared him an outcast and a traitor, and commissioned a loyal general, Bithys Taucheiraios, to apprehend him, arming him with the few of the klerouchoi phalangitai that remained in the country, as well as a sizable section of the remaining machimoi levy. With those men, some 15,000 – the literal bottom of the barrel, for Sosibios’ government was bankrupt and all men of military age (and then some) of the appropriate classes had been called up, Taucheiraios marched into Ioudaia – along the way recruiting some infantrymen from among the rather queer and insular people that lived there – and then northwards into Syria to bring Anemurionios to heel.

    The renegade general had word of this, of course, and elected to switch sides instead of being caught in the middle. At Doura, late in 277, Antigonos Gonatas and Anemurionios came to terms. The erstwhile Ptolemaic general entered Antigonid service with his force of klerouchoi phalangitai and some of the best remaining Ptolemaic cavalry, with the promise of settlement for his veterans upon conclusion of the Syrian War. Anemurionios’ machimoi, which were essentially useless now, were mostly paroled, though some were liquidated. With the united armies under the command of Antigonos II, the few remaining Ptolemaic garrisons in Syria capitulated; Antigoneia was recaptured early in 276, as was its port of Demetria-in-Pieria. While Antigonos faced off against Taucheiraios in Syria – making sure that his newfound ally couldn’t choose the opportune moment to desert him again – Anemurionios cleared out Kilikia and, in conjunction with the Antigonid general Hippolochos, began the pacification of Asia Mikra. Stasioikos in his Pamphylian fastness was avoided, being particularly difficult to dig out, but Kappadokia and Phrygia were fair game, and during 276 and 275 the Antigonid armies campaigned there with great success, smashing many of the weak and divided Ptolemaic garrisons and reestablishing the former Antigonid control.

    This push coincided with a rare combined effort by the Makedonians and the Antigonoi to beat off the Gallic bogeymen. Leotarios, the main leader of the horde of Keltoi that was operating in the Propontis (some sixty thousand strong), had had some success against the less numerous force under Sosthenes that had been sent to defend against him; after having badgered the hapless Euxine polis of Kallatis to provide a flotilla in support, the Keltoi successfully seized Byzantion in 277 and sacked it, taking control of the Chrysokeras and the excellent harbor it afforded. The following year, Leotarios made an attack on the fortified Thraikike Chersonesos, and was narrowly repelled by Sosthenes at the home city of the Eumenidai, Kardia. This attack forced a meeting between Sosthenes and Anemurionios, who had arrived in Mysia recently; a plan was hatched to drive the Keltoi out of Europe and destroy them. Leotarios was, in 275, pressured heavily in Thraike by Sosthenes, who (with reinforcements from Makedonia) made a descent upon Leotarios’ nominal allies at Kallatis and reincorporated them into Antiochos’ realm. Electing to cross the straits to look for a different future in Asia Mikra, the Keltoi beat off a fleet under Hippolochos that had been instructed not to make too much of a fight of the issue, and landed near Kyzikos, where they were suddenly trapped by the Antigonoi on land and the united allied fleet at sea. What ensued was a ferocious battle, in which the sheer élan of the Keltoi and brilliant skill at close-quarters combat actually allowed them to rupture Anemurionios’ syntagma, though with horrifying losses; this unexpected success was followed up by a veritable flood of Gallic soldiers towards the gap, and Anemurionios’ cavalry was not sufficient to slay them all. All told, some ten thousand Keltoi escaped the trap at Kyzikos and fled northeast. Their story will be reexamined somewhat later.

    By 275 most of the contestants in the wars Pyrrhos and Ptolemaios II had started were exhausted. Ptolemaic finances and manpower were at a nadir, but their Qarthadastim opponents (who had to all intents and purposes ceased to make an issue of Kyrenaia, due to the focus on Sikilia) and the Antigonoi were as badly or worse off. Antigonos II, for his part, had reestablished control over most of his old realm, but bits and pieces were falling away, such as Pontos, which was in virtual anarchy; Pamphylia, which was the haunt of the well-fortified Ptolemaic general Stasioikos; and Gerrha, formerly his last refuge, which had threatened revolt and was demanding autonomy. The successful capture of the Phoenikian ports was poor consolation, since trade in the Eastern Mesogeios was seriously down as a result of the constant warring and the piracy that the various participants were engaging in. Even the Romani were beginning to feel the strain, in their long, drawn-out campaign against the Megale Hellenic poleis; Taras proved difficult to reduce, especially as it received supplies from Hieron and Demetrios of Syrakousai, and was still holding out in 275 despite the best efforts of the Romani besiegers. Qarthadast’s last bid for control of Sikilia too had failed, especially after the advent of Hieron, and they were confined to Elimya in the western section of the island, though the able Maharbal was able to parry any further Hellenic thrusts beyond the Krimissos. The winter and early spring of 274 saw some of the conflicts ended. Qarthadast agreed with Demetrios (read: Hieron) to conclude the fighting and resume the border of the Krimissos, and Antiochos recognized the conquests the Rhodoi had made in the Aigion while he had been busy with the Keltoi and Epeiros, that is to say, many of the Kyklades, including Delos itself, Naxo, and Samos. Chios and Lesbos were still under Makedonian control, though, as were Andros and Euboia. Antiochos still retained leadership of the Korinthian koine, as well as key garrisons within Boiotia, Attika, and Achaia, including the Akrokorinthos, Peiraieos, and Elis.

    But like two punch-drunk boxers, the Antigonoi and Ptolemaioi fought on, with virtually no motivation than to recover the lands the other had taken. And in 274, Sosibios’ regime got a lucky break. Antigonos Gonatas had returned to Mesopotamia, to set affairs in order there and to grant Gerrhaia autonomy; in his absence, the general Asphalion was placed in charge of the Syrian army. A few skirmishes near Kapharnaum between Asphalion and Taucheiraios were inconclusive, but Asphalion’s men soon began to talk of mutiny, over the decreased pay and terrible conditions, especially since many of them were long-service veterans who had been fighting since the Keraunos stormed across the border ten years prior. Asphalion was unwilling to risk his army in a decisive battle, and so was stuck with a revolt on his hands. Taucheiraios, whose army was not much less restive, sensed advantage, and struck; the few troops that remained loyal to Asphalion were cut down at the ensuing Battle of Kapharnaum, and most of the rest of the Antigonid army dispersed. Asphalion himself was cut down in the confusion. In the sequel, Taucheiraios stormed the Phoenikian ports, and laid siege to Damaskos. Antigonos was essentially forced to come to terms after this disaster, and in 273 signed a peace agreement that ceded Pamphylia and Karia to the Ptolemaioi, though prewar borders remained everywhere else. The fall of Taras and the extension of Roman control to the remainder of Apulia that same year signified the end of real fighting in Italia as well; the seizure of Kroton and Sybaris by Hieron’s forces ensured that, at least for now, Brettia would remain out of Romani hands.

    What remains is a sketch of the Hellenic world for the next few years, another lull in the great series of wars that had wracked the Mesogeios. First comes the republic of the Romani, which had made its entrance onto the world stage with their involvement in the Pyrrhic segment of the Syrian War. The conquest of half of Megale Hellas did not sate the new Roman desire for territory, but instead spurred it onward. Brettia was the obvious target, and though formal peace with the Sikilian kingdom had been agreed upon and a boundary marked at the Laus River, a sort of proxy political war ensued, with Roman-backed candidates campaigning for public office in the semi-independent Italic poleis that Hieron’s army had nominally conquered. At this point it is difficult to discern a particular desire on the Roman part for war, especially since, at an opportune moment to abrogate the treaty with the Sikilians (due to political unrest; see below), the Romani docilely renewed the agreement. Roman colonies were established within Apulia, at Brentesion (renamed Brundisium) and throughout Lucania, especially on the border with Hellenic territory. The great Via Appia was also extended to Brundisium, via Beneventum and Tarentum (the renamed Taras), as a critical segment of infrastructure; it was completed by 269. Roma’s project of colonial expansion within Italia, and incorporating the remainder of the territory into its network of socii, wherein the new ‘allies’ were permitted to retain self-government, with the sole exceptions of the Roman levy of allied troops in war (alae and extraordinarii) and the Roman control over the foreign policy. What was surprising to many of the Hellenic inhabitants of Roman Apulia and Lucania was the lightness of the Roman terms. Actual annexations were relatively limited, and concretely amounted to the aforementioned Brundisium and coastal Lucania. Tarentum itself stayed independent, in part due to the pro-Roman aristocracy within the city that had aided in the final capture of the polis in 273. The relatively small formal additions to the ager Romanus played a key part in reducing tensions by the newly incorporated Hellenic poleis.

    Within Roma itself, social tensions had been greatly lessened by the lex Hortensia not long before the Pyrrhic war began, which had awarded the privilege of effective plebiscites to the plebeians; urbs Roma thus enjoyed some of the first quiet and prosperous times it had seen in some years. Peace and quiet within Roman territory proper – which, by the way, stimulated a tremendous growth in peninsular trade, combined with the massive infrastructure benefits the Romani brought; the Samnite Wars and the Pyrrhic war shortly afterward had ruined commerce for nearly a century – did not mean quiet for Roman armies, though. Though the Rasna, the Etruscan forerunners of Roma, had once held the Po valley, by 270 it was settled primarily by Gauls, specifically the tribes of the Boii and Insubres. The region around Bononia, Aemilia, was the major field of action in these years, in which Roman armies distinguished themselves in fighting against the Boii especially, culminating in the victorious Battle of the Renus River in 264, in which the consul Lucius Genucius Clepsina broke up a relieving force of Boii and thus secured control of Aemilia for Roma. Sporadic fighting continued, however, necessitating the placement of one of the two Roman consular armies in the north at all times.

    The successful incorporation of Brettia into the empire nominally ruled by Demetrios, son of Pyrrhos, sparked political infighting in Syrakousai, the effective capital. Mob violence wracked the city and necessitated an even greater increase in Hieron’s power, elevating him from condottiere to the effective ruler of the state. It was, in fact, Hieron who had been behind some of these riots, though, and when Demetrios finally had an epiphany in 271 Hieron turned on him, had him assassinated, and crowned himself basileus (the second Hieron to take the title in Syrakousai), renewing the treaties with Roma and Qarthadast in the process. A reign marked by such a vicious beginning soon improved, however. Hieron settled his mercenaries in katoikiai along the borders, refounding Chimera on the Sikilian northern shore in 269 around a military colony and settling troops in Kosentia as a bulwark against the Romani. The awarding of land to the mercenaries also reduced the fiscal burden on the state, and Syrakousai soon entered a period of relative prosperity, with significant artistic patronage by Hieron. Sikilia had always been known as a hotbed of radicalism and political intrigue, with some of the most vicious incidents in Hellenic history taking place there; Hieron’s rule brought a measure of political stability and calm the likes of which had not yet been seen, and his kingdom prospered for it. Even so, there was an unshakeable feeling of a calm before the storm in Syrakousai, for Roma and Qarthadast were both clearly enemies, kept from uniting against Hieron from fear that the other would benefit too much from the war; Qarthadast was wary of Roma acquiring a beachhead onto Sikilia, while the Romani were loathe to allow the Qarthadastim control of the entire island. Hieron thus cultivated relations with the Ptolemaic court in Alexandria, acquiring supporters among the court of Ptolemaios III to provide a ready ally in the south (though it was still unclear how willing the Ptolemaioi would be to fight an offensive war against Qarthadast, especially considering the results of the last one); the fleet was improved, and the army went through an expansion and reorganization. Indeed, it is largely due to the actions of Hieron that we find the development of a new class of warrior in the Hellenistic array. The Romani fought somewhat similar to a heavy version of the Hellenic thureophoroi, though with swords as their primary weapon, not spears; Hieron decided that his armies needed a variant of the Roman hastati and principes, and thus created a corps of thorakitai, a variant on the thureophoroi that combined the traditional flexibility of those Aitolian-originating troops and the armor of the Romani infantry, as a intermediate step between the thureophoroi and the typical phalangitai. Two thousand of these soldiers were trained beginning in 270 and a variant of them was adopted by Antiochos in Pella, the Aitolioi, and the Antigonoi. While they still remained a small and relatively untested part of the Sikilian army, they – along with the superb Syrakousan cavalry – were Hieron’s ace in the hole.

    Antiochos I, titled Soter (Savior) for his great victory at Thermopylai over the invading Keltoi, continued to live and reign successfully in Pella. The incorporation of Epeiros into Makedonia went smoothly enough, save for the revolt of a Molossian pretender, one Neoptolemos II, who briefly captured Epidamnos and attempted to raise the country against Antiochos; he was put down with minimal fuss in 271. Antiochos himself worked to increase the integration of his ‘allied’ Hellenic territories into Makedonian proper territory, with some success; Thessalia was obviously formally Makedonian, and soon enough Phokis joined it under a governor. Aitolia remained the most equal of Makedonia’s allies, but even it usually was cowed into toeing the line, and not once did the koine disagree with Pella during the reign of Antiochos. Antiochos’ policy of rearmament was financed by new mines that were delved at Pangaion and in Epeiros; once more the navy was built up to rival that of the Rhodoi, taking advantage of the Peiraieos, Lesbos, and Therma bases. In eastern Thraike, Antiochos picked up the pieces from the Gallic invasion of the last years; Byzantion was refounded as Antiocheia-in-Thraikia (often simply shortened to Antiocheia, or Antioch), and quickly grew to its old height with both an influx of Makedonian klerouchoi colonists and traders anxious to resume the old profitable Bosphorine trade. While refraining from demolishing Kallatis as Alexandros had done to Thebai, Antiochos did imprison many of the more rebellious members of the aristocracy of that city and move in a garrison.

    Antiochos’ relations with the Hellenic poleis under the aegis of the koinon Korinthon were complex. The Makedonian basileus was obviously preeminent, and to this end even coined similarly to Alexandros, for in his numismatic portraits, especially following the victory at Thermopylai, he donned the elephant-scalp, something that only that ruler and Antigonos Monophthalmos had done previously. On the other hand, there was a clear desire to portray the clearly subject relationship between Pella and its satellites as a ‘partnership’, and to this end Antiochos had refounded Thebai early in his reign, a sharp contrast with his predecessor as hegemon. The Fetters of Hellas – Demetrias in south Thessalia, the Akrokorinthos, Peiraieos, Elis, Chalkis, and Thebai – were occupied by Makedonian garrisons, but they were small, and sometimes incorporated local guards. And in virtually every aspect the poleis had independent self-governance, very similar to the Roman socii, with the exceptions being foreign policy was subjected to the hegemon Antiochos, a small levy of allied infantry (and usually a larger one of naval vessels) was expected, and some taxes were paid. (Tax duties, however, were usually not as much of a burden due to the fortuitous exploitation of the Pangaion mines, and those in Attika and Thebai.) But the poleis – which were largely democratic, on the old Athenian model – elected their own councils and initiated their own social programs, with scant interference from above. Fundamentally, Antiochos was uninterested in governing the poleis themselves, merely in harnessing their resources, so governors were not imposed (save over Phokis, which due to Thermopylai was deemed a critical strategic possession). And within these poleis new life came back to the forefront. Antiochos’ defeat of the Gallic bogeymen made a deep impression not merely on the willingness of the Hellenes to allow a hegemon to rule them, but on Hellenic art and cultural outlook as well. The attitude towards the barbaroi was changing, reflected in the art of the period, for no longer were the non-Hellenic people depicted as faceless monsters, but instead even heroic or poignant poses were allowed to barbarians, as perhaps best seen in the sculpture of Brennus on his Sword, depicting the chieftain himself (rumored to be the last of the Keltoi still standing at Thermopylai) committing suicide when all was lost.
     
  2. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Moscow
    Spoiler Titanomachia, Final Part, Scene 2 :
    Perhaps the only remaining region of Hellas that wasn’t prosperous during the period was Sparte and the southern Peloponnesos. After the disasterous conquest of Ptolemaios II, and the sacking of the city, the remnants of the Ptolemaic army still were wandering around the peninsula making trouble, Sparte was without half of its kingship – the Eurypontid line had been extinguished with the death of Archidamos III in the siege, while Areios’ son Akrotatos took charge from the Agiad dynasty – and the depredations of the Aigyptioi had made a hash of the local infrastructure and the ability to fight off brigandage. Akrotatos essentially was the sole remaining strong man within the peninsula, and he attempted to use the confusion to benefit and seize control of Argos and Mantineia, but was repelled by the united forces of those poleis and the army of Megalopolis at the Battle of the Tanos in 269. Following this, Lakonia essentially descended into anarchy, with the gerousia and ephoroi attempting to rule in place of the kings, but their military leadership was lacking, and the ability to control the mobs was nonexistent. The land reform that Sparte desperately needed was deferred due to political infighting, so social revolts also commenced, ruining the Spartan agricultural sector (not that one had existed all that much since the separation of Messenia back in Epaminondas’ day). In short, Sparte and its environs were a total mess by 260, and in desperate need of a strong figure to intervene; the failure of other powers to do so mainly lay in the utter uselessness of the territory and the added trouble it would probably bring. By stark comparison, Rhodos, now dominant in the Aigion trade and master of the koinon ton nesioton, now took the opportunity to enter a true golden age, enforced by its fleets, which both guarded much of the trade and carried it themselves. Good relations were cultivated with the Ptolemaioi, who no longer led the islanders but who still needed support against the Antigonoi and the Seleukidai. But even at this height, dangerous fractures were appearing in the Rhodian edifice. For one thing, their leadership of the koine was constantly threatened by other members, none of whom were powerful enough to take it by themselves (Samos being perhaps the most influential of these) but still being a constant irritant. For another, there was the issue of Krete, which, following the withdrawal of the Ptolemaic garrison, became a hotbed of piratical activity that not even the Rhodian fleet could destroy, and which resisted all attempts at coercion outside of military activities. Plunder fueled the Kretan economy, and, especially later in the decade of the 260s, Rhodos’ transport costs began to rise almost prohibitively, necessitating something of a cutback in trade overall. The advantages, of course, were that only Rhodos itself really had a chance of being able to bear the newly rising costs of protection, so other, minor competitors continued to be pushed out.

    Antigonos II reigned on in his capital on the Orontes, having ably enough led his empire back from the brink of destruction, albeit somewhat reduced in size and stature and greatly impoverished from the constant warfare over its territories. The loss of Pamphylia did mean a problem arose vis-à-vis Anatolian security, of course, but the real problem was to the north, where a Gallic kingdom arose in Pontos. Ruled by the warrior aristocracy that had fled Kyzikos, Pontos coalesced first around Amaseia. Some five tribes made up the numbers of Keltoi here, so an overking was elected, the first being Deiotaros, who led the conquest of the remainder of Pontic Kappadokia and Paphlagonia. These seizures were essentially recognized by Antigonos II by 265, though the Keltoi were forced into paying a tribute after the Battle of Pessinos that year, in which the Antigonoi employed elephants, to the consternation of the Gallic warriors. Meanwhile, the agreement to allow Gerrhaia independence was, in an interesting twist of fate, paying off impressive dividends for the Antigonoi, as under their tutelage the trade through the Kolpos Persikos was greatly expanded and even reached India directly, which had previously been rather uncommon (usually having been carried via Arabian intermediaries before then). Revenues from Gerrhaian trade, which passed through Mesopotamia on their way to Syria, made Antigonid recovery from the depredations of the Ptolemaioi relatively rapid, though the depletion of the army was more difficult to deal with. Even that, though, was made mostly good by 260, with immigration counting for a lot; the foundation of the new city Antigoneia-in-Kappadokia as a new military colony was a testament to the numbers flowing eastward, especially from the unrest that wracked the Peloponnesos. Antigonos, as had his predecessors (with the exception of Alexandros), elected to found his empire on the backs of Hellenic colonists, not on a commonwealth of peoples, but even here the Antigonoi were flexible. Citizens of poleis in Asia Mikra, such as Magnesia-by-Sipylos, which were not fully populated with Hellenes, or even hellenized Syriakoi from the neighborhood of Antigoneia itself, were full citizens in many places, especially in the Indos valley and Baktria in the further East. Politically, and with regards to city life, Antigonos, like his father and grandfather, elected not to attempt intervention in polis life. Even Antigoneia, the capital, had a democratically elected council, though obviously a goodly portion of the tax money there was sent to the man in the palace and not the men that the city had set over itself. Antigonos’ goal here, too, was to retain power and to set up a solid foundation for the survival of the empire, and to this end he abstained from revanchist wars and built up a viable state. By 260 the Antigonoi had once more claimed the position of preeminence they had once held over the Ptolemaioi, though that preeminence was narrow as always.

    In Alexandria, by contrast, intrigues were rampant. The 268 reintroduction of the former Antigonid (and before that, Ptolemaic) general Stephanos Anemurionios into the Aigyptian political scheme was due in large part to the schemes of the pharaoh and basileus himself, Ptolemaios III (dubbed Tryphos, ‘the Magnificent’), who wanted to replace Sosibios’ nepotic and corrupted administration. Sosibios had already, in the late 270s, had to deal with a revolt by the machimoi, who, since they had so recently been armed due to the desperate manpower needs of the previous years, decided to use those arms productively. The Thebaid and Heptanomia were, for two years, closed off to Ptolemaic incursions, until Bithys Taucheiraios won the Battle of Oxyrhynchos in 271, whereupon he was executed for his trouble, being by Sosibios’ lights a dangerous rival. The loss of such a significant portion of the competent military leadership meant that the machimoi revolt was still sputtering along around Ptolemais and Panopolis by the time Anemurionios arrived, raised an army of Ioudaioi with monies supplied to him by Antigonos and Ptolemaios III, amalgamated with some of his own loyal bodyguards, retainers, and mercenaries, and successfully broke the great defenses of Pelousion. Sosibios, terrified of impending disaster, settled on the Jews of Alexandria as possible fifth-columnists and slaughtered or drove them out, or at least attempted to: this ignited a general Alexandrian mob revolt, in which the polyglot city’s urban poor and disaffected types made their first – but most certainly not their last – appearance on the historical stage. While Sosibios was attempting to fight the Alexandrian mob (as well as his sovereign, who had taken up with the citizenry in demanding his – Sosibios’ – removal), Anemurionios was breaking into the Delta and laying siege to Alexandria. Sosibios’ remaining support fled, the regent himself was murdered by the mob and fed to the Neilos crocodiles, and Anemurionios entered Alexandria to restore order and ensure the coronation of his sovereign.

    That sovereign did not relish having to sit enthroned next to a man with far more hold over the military than he himself, and upon Anemurionios’ clearing of the native revolt in 266 attempted to have him executed. By now used to the political machinations surrounding the Alexandria court, the general adroitly avoided the attack and forced Ptolemaios III to award him the time-honored position of strategos autokrator (even now wary of eliminating the only real viable Ptolemaios), with essentially dictatorial powers that made Ptolemaios himself a useless puppet. The window between this and Anemurionios’ death on a campaign against Nubia in 263 allowed him to partially rebuild the army and retrain it to a semblance of the former high standards that Keraunos had held it to. Upon the death of his strategos autokrator, Ptolemaios Tryphos took personal power for the first time since being enthroned at the age of seven, fourteen years prior, and proceeded to clean out the upper echelons of the government, eliminating former Anemurionios cronies and replacing them with more loyal instruments. Following this last upheaval, Aigyptos finally settled down into a semblance of peace and quiet, with internal development proceeding and the population of the klerouchoi refilling, though it was behind the Antigonoi as far as the military was concerned. Economically, the expedition of Anemurionios had yielded good fruit, though not nearly so great as the Antigonid influx of Gerrhaian trade: more colonies were founded along the Erythraian shores, and trade with the Sab’yn to the south picked up. Kyrenaia also profited from trade diverted around the southern Peloponnesos and Krete.

    Arkah Yervand III, of the Yervanduni in Hayasdan, had had an eventful few decades on the throne, even if not involved in the wars to the south. Pontos Paralios, with its rich Hellenic colony of Trapezous (which had been under the Antigonid thumb until the 280s), was seized, though it took most of the 270s to do it due to Trapezous’ powerful allies among the other Hellenic poleis, which sent some assistance, as well as its good relations with the Bosporos of the Kimmerioi. In 271 Yervand died, to be succeeded by his son Arzames I, who immediately had to deal with a Saurometai incursion into the Caucasus. Repelling that attack took some years, but on the rebound Arzames claimed prominence over many of the other Caucasian kingdoms, incorporating those who had aided the steppe barbarians into his empire by force. At this point, though, Hayasdan began to weaken from overextension, and much of the next decade was spent playing ‘whack-the-rebel’. Arzames eventually had to reform his governmental system, instituting a system of satrapies similar to the old Persian model, and equivalent to the Hellenic governments of the Eumenai, Antigonoi, Ptolemaioi, and Makedoni. The new governors seemed to be working out as of 260, and Arzames looked to be thinking of spreading farther afield…

    The Beginning is the End is the Beginning.

    “Whom the gods love dies young.”
    -Dis Exapaton (“The Double Deceiver”), Menandros

    And now the survey returns to the neglected Eumenai, the rulers of Media and Persis, of Baktria and Sogdiane, and the sovereigns of the Indos valley, from Gandhara to Patalene. This disparate realm, a difficulty to govern even for the most enterprising of kings, was greatly taxing to Aristotelis, son and successor of Eumenes, first basileus in the East. Upon his ascension in 291, Aristotelis had faced an immediate trial from Chandragupta Maurya’s successor, Samprati (who succeeded his father upon the latter’s conversion to Jainism). A Mauryan army of some 60,000 men invaded Gandhara in 290 and was beaten the following year by Aristotelis personally at the Battle of Sagala, whereupon the situation returned to one of peace, albeit a somewhat menacing one. During the following years, Aristotelis began to focus on preparations for further war with the Mauryas, who had impressive resources on which to draw, if a lower quality military. The army was kept sharp by wars against the Saka in Ferghana, which was constantly threatened by invasions such that Alexandria-Eschate (or ‘the Furthest’) became one of the best fortified places on earth. These constant campaigns also had the side effect of greatly increasing the military force kept under arms by the satrap of Baktria, one Apollodotos, who was already in a position of import second only to that of the basileus himself…a dangerous possible threat, but initially at least he seemed pliant and loyal.

    The distractions of the Mauryas and Sakas prevented Aristotelis from making more than a token commitment to any of the wars that flared up in the 280s and 270s. Antigonos II was the recipient of a few subventions and even, in 282, of fifteen thousand mercenaries, who aided him in reconquering Mesopotamia while Ptolemaios Keraunos was distracted. Such major conflicts in the west suited Aristotelis, for it prevented him from having to deal with a major two-front conflict, and kept his neighbor Antigonos from growing too powerful while at the same time keeping the strong Ptolemaios Keraunos out of the Eastern picture. Arzames’ antics in the Caucasus were also beneficial in part, because they meant that Hayasdan would need to deal with the steppe barbarians and not the Eumenai. In general, the Eumenai got off easily during these decades, and it showed – trade with India boomed, the population increased, and Persia and Baktria even became a prime destination for emigrants fleeing the disorders in Hellas and the arche Antigoneia.

    But in the 260s, that began to change. Part of it was the diversion of a small trickle of trade – just a trickle so far, but still difficult to ignore – around the southern part of Arabia to Aigyptos, with the Erythraian expansion of Ptolemaios Tryphos. While it failed to make a serious dent in Eumenian profits, due to the more hazardous and untried route and its general unsuitability compared to the coastal method thus far, it had ominous implications for the future. Second, the Saka began to encroach once more on the northern border. A confederacy was tightened under the rule of the strong rauka Oxyboakes, who began deep raids into the Ferghana Valley and Sogdiane. In 264 Oxyboakes made his largest attack yet, amassing an attested 40,000 horsemen, bypassing the strongpoint of Alexandria-Eschate and sacking Marakanda. The Saka, however, continued deeper into Hellenic territory, moving along the Baktros River into the eastern heartland itself, until Aristotelis caught up with them and defeated Oxyboakes at Kartana in a sanguinary fight that exhausted even the victors. Oxyboakes himself was killed, but elements of the horde escaped. The Saka were no longer as united as they had been, but they were still dangerous, as made abundantly clear by their continued raiding into Sogdiane even after Oxyboakes’ death. The potential of this newly dangerous foe had terrifying implications for security, and Aristotelis spent much of his last few years raising new fortresses in the borderlands and beefing up the frontier defenses even more. A river flotilla was even constructed for use on the Polytimetos.

    The third and greatest problem facing the Eumenai was the death of Aristotelis in 262. His reign had lasted a stable, prosperous twenty-nine years. It had been hoped that his strong son, Euphrantos, would have taken the throne without muss or fuss, having been in de facto charge of the Indian border forces and having acquitted himself well militarily previously. He also had a good personal relationship with Apollodotos of Baktria, the powerful frontier lord. But in Persis and Susiana, around the capital, a different group intrigued for power. Descendants of Persian nobles, both the petty dehgans who made up some of the best cavalry forces of the Eumenai and the former satrapal families, were strongest in Susa and unwilling to allow these Easterners and frontiersmen from across the great salt desert supplant them. One of them, a Baghaboksh, aligned with the commander of the Argyraspidai, Epiphanios, and gained control of Aristotelis’ younger son, Antisthenes. With both Antisthenes and the elite corps of the army in hand, Baghaboksh contrived to assassinate Euphrantos on his way to Susa to be crowned, and duly made Antisthenes basileus instead. For two years, there was no response from Apollodotos, outside of a brief initial protestation. It was quiet – too quiet.

    In 260, Apollodotos produced a man he claimed to be Euphrantos to the crowds at Baktra, and began minting in his name. The satrap proclaimed this Pseudo-Euphrantos to be the legitimate emperor and exchanged condemnations with Baghaboksh in Susiana. With the pretender on his side, Apollodotos found it was easy to win over the Indos Valley armies, and his control over the vast armament in Baktria and Sogdiane itself was unquestioned. Even with the superlative Argyraspidai at beck and call, Baghaboksh found himself atrociously outnumbered, and lacking in military geniuses to sustain his cause. But he resisted calling in neighbors for aid, worried of the power they might gain over him; the most he was willing to do was order Arzames of Hayasdan to dispatch an army to aid his hegemon, an order to which Arzames was more than willing to accede. Baghaboksh also had his pet basileus call out the Median heavy cavalry in the old way; what dehgans had not lost their land to Hellenic klerouchoi and katoikiai assembled at Susa.

    Baghaboksh had little personal skill in war, but he chose to rely on a mixed Helleno-Median command structure, with the dehgan Shahrgan sharing command with Epiphanios. Arzames’ contingent, commanded by one Bagrat, linked up with a grand phalanx of Hellenic colonists under Diognetos and proceeded into Hyrkania to cover the northern flank. Epiphanios and Shahrgan, with 50,000 men, elected to move along the Khoarene road through the great salt desert, through Stratonikeia to Parthyaia, which would give the imperial army an excellent field position from which to move into Baktria itself and besiege the rebel headquarters. And to aid the generals, Baghaboksh began to court the Maurya of India, to try to keep them at the very least neutral but ideally having them raiding the Indos Valley. Negotiations were inconclusive thus far and difficult at best along the long line of communications, however, made worse when Apollodotos’ navy intercepted one of the couriers, who revealed all. No naval combat developed yet, though, for both fleets were small due to rather minimal production facilities.

    The satrapal army, on the other hand, knew that it had several advantages. Even though its opponents had seized the initiative, Apollodotos was aware of the main path they would take – after all, it was the easiest and most direct route to his holdings, and the one that was logistically best suited to a large army, which the satrap had no reason to doubt the imperial army would muster. The route in the south, through Karmania and Arachosia, was far too rugged and did not lead directly to the heart of the resistance’s territory. Taking that road would also mean that Baghaboksh would leave the capital and the territory of Persis uncovered, which could spell disaster. But even though the direct route was the most sensible, it made the satrap’s job at predicting the enemy attack much easier, and it made his opposing plans simple as well. He had had two years in which to plan his moves, during which the Median had not even thought to have him executed or assassinated – for which the wily Apollodotos was prepared even so. He had spent those valuable two years preparing for the war, and had made certain to keep the dangerous Saka off of his back by paying them to attack the nearby Parni. The Maurya were more unpredictable, but the Indos armies would probably be sufficient to deter them from open warfare. That left the satrap himself with his army to oppose the enemy advance through Parthyaia into Baktra. He, too, had some 50,000 men, but his army had a higher proportion of horse-archers than his opponents – he had hired extensively among the Dahai of the north, and thus boasted the ability to use their baexdzhyntai. His infantry was not as elite as the imperial army, because he lacked the superlative Argyraspidai, but his troops were still hardened veterans and he himself was an able tactician. He trusted that with equal numbers he could best the imperial forces and reverse the tide.

    Apollodotos’ 259 campaign started off well, as he pounced on the Haikaikan army on the Atrek and drove it back into Hyrkania, then quickly force-marched back into Tapuria, between Baktria and the main imperial army. Initially, he slowly gave way and pulled back into Traxiane, allowing Epiphanios and Shahrgan to cross the Areios River unmolested before turning and fighting at the Margos. Here he planned to fight with the aid of one of his river flotillas, but the ships unexpectedly didn’t show, and yet the satrap decided to engage anyway. It significantly helped his cause that Shahrgan had been dispatched with much of the Median asabaran heavy cavalry the day before; it allowed him to approach the riverside camp in which Epiphanios’ army bivouacked unmolested, whereupon he unleashed a ferocious attack against the hastily-assembled phalangitai. Epiphanios was at his best now, though, leading from the front with energy, and his Argyraspidai managed to break up part of the rebel army on his right flank, converting that into a decisive advantage when Shahrgan’s cavalry returned from their reconnaissance prematurely and drove in the rebels’ other flank. With a deteriorating army, the satrap elected to withdraw, and managed to prevent it from being a rout with the belated aid of the river ships. The victory at the Margos had been costly to both sides, but whereas some 4,000 perished on the allied side (with twice that number seriously injured), the satrap lost nearly 10,000. Without numerical parity, Apollodotos decided to pull back to the strong defenses of Baktra itself. Right before winter began, Epiphanios arrived at the city and laid siege to the vast metropolis.

    Before long, however, it was apparent that the city would not fall to assault, for Apollodotos conducted himself energetically as commander of the besieged; it was unlikely that it would fall to starvation any time soon either, because of the large amount of supplies stockpiled there. What was worse, 30,000 rebel soldiers under the command of the Baktrian general Mnesiptolemos Chomoraios were still at large in the Baktrian countryside, with their base at the well-fortified city of Alexandria, in the district the Mauryas called Kapisa. It lay at the entrance to the passes through the Paropamisadai, and was thus protected from all directions. Chomoraios made himself a great deal more than a nuisance in the siege, raiding the supply lines and preventing Shahrgan from detaching part of the army to besiege another of the Baktrian cities to help alleviate the raiding and supply problems. But even Chomoraios was unwilling to try to storm the lines at Baktra and relieve the beleaguered metropolis. His baexdzhyntai would also not stand up in a straight fight against the dehgan cavalry, as he was now painfully aware from the experience on the Margos. So the two sides stayed locked together, each unable to prevail against the other. What was worse, Apollodotos could not send for reinforcements from the Indos valley. His commander there, Euphrantos’ former lieutenant Triballos, now had to deal with the Maurya. Samprati, who had died in 374, had been succeeded by his son Yajnasena, who had been embarrassed by his inability to conquer the holdout coastal region of Kalinga and his loss of sovereignty over the extreme Chola south, which had broken away under Thiththan II. Eager to recoup his losses by conquering Gandhara, Yajnasena attacked the outpost at Sagala without warning in 258 after hearing news of the rebel defeat at the Margos. Triballos was unable to relieve Sagala, which fell later that year, but sparred with Yajnasena’s general Kanha along the Akasines River, preventing a further advance, but to weaken that army now would ruin that equilibrium.

    So Baktra appeared alone for two and a half years of siege, until Apollodotos was forced to his last resort. His Saka “allies” had proven themselves even stronger than suspected: the Parni were smashed and incorporated into the confederacy, under the leadership of the energetic Miyika. The unfortunate Diognetos, leading the Haikaikans to occupy Nisa in the borderlands, was caught by Miyika’s enlarged army in 256 and destroyed, with few survivors left to tell Epiphanios of the disaster. Newly worried about this threat in the north, the commander of the Argyraspidai was informed by Apollodotos that if the siege of Baktra were not lifted, he would withdraw his frontier garrisons in Sogdiane and Ferghana and allow the Saka free passage, for it was worth having his own lands destroyed if Epiphanios were annihilated as well. Too far across the great salt desert to ask Baghaboksh about the whole scheme, Epiphanios reluctantly agreed to a truce and lifted the siege, pulling back to Eumeneia-Margiane to await further orders and establish some kind of perimeter against the Saka.
     
  3. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Spoiler Titanomachia, Final Part, Scene 3 :
    As it happens, those orders would never come through. By the time messengers arrived at Susa in the winter of 256-5, the situation had changed completely. Baghaboksh’s unwillingness to accommodate the Antigonoi had backfired. Antigonos II had left a son on his death in 259, Antigonos III, but he died within a year and was succeeded by the infant Philippos, who was somewhat unexpectedly styled Philippos I – the Antigonoi had given up on the throne of Makedonia. Antigonos’ old general Hippolochos assumed the power of Regent, and smelt an opportunity with the civil war in the arche Eumeneia. The frontiers were denuded, and Hippolochos made a secret deal with Arzames I of Hayasdan to divide the western Eumenid territories between them. In 256 they launched their attack, spurred by the knowledge that the Saka had destroyed the Haikaikan detachment in the East and so would not have to worry about those men being held as hostages. Within months, Susa was in Hippolochos’ hands, while the other Antigonid general Hyspaosines Doulichosyriakes had little trouble pacifying Media. Baghaboksh managed to flee the capital for Persis and tried to raise fresh dehgans and loyal Hellenes, but the latter were already few in number and the flood of propaganda coinage minted by Hippolochos styling the young Philippos as basileus of all Asia did not help matters. After a brief clash outside Eumeneia-Persiana with the Antigonid general Theophilos Kommagenikos, Baghaboksh and the few loyal native nobility he had with him were lynched by the Hellenic phalangitai, who promptly turned Persepolis over to the Antigonoi and entered Antigonid service.

    The arche Eumeneia was crumbling quickly, and apparently Epiphanios was the only man left to take charge of its remnant. He lucked out when he gained custody of the impressionable teenage basileus Antisthenes, who had escaped both Susa and Persepolis with his retainers and successfully made his way to Stratonikeia in Khoarene. But already, virtually all imperial Eumenid territory and forces west of the great salt desert were gone. The Haikaikan betrayal and seizure of Atropatene sealed the deal. In 255, after some deliberation about whether to continue the fight, Epiphanios contacted Apollodotos about entering rebel service. He knew he could not now win against the entire rebel army by himself. Yielding seemed to be the best option. The satrap welcomed the betrayal, as well as the opportunity to gain possession of the luckless Antisthenes. Shahrgan was harder to convince, but he too yielded, mostly due to the helplessness of his position and the amnesty that the rebel satrap was willing to offer. From here on out, the so-called rebels would play the legitimists, but even now it looked to be a hard slog. The danger of the Saka had not been exaggerated by Apollodotos, who soon found himself under attack by Miyika’s horde, which sacked Marakanda before being repelled. And the Antigonoi were now firmly in control of Media and Persis. The truth of the matter was that Hippolochos was unsure of his ability to campaign so far from his base, especially not across the daunting salt desert, and didn’t fancy his chances of winning it all against the formidable rebel numbers. After some perfunctory skirmishing around Stratonikeia and in Hyrkania in 254, both sides were willing to accede to peace.

    Philippos I was recognized as being the ruler of Media and Persis, as well as Karmania, Gabiene, and Khoarene; the great desert became the dividing line between the two empires, as a highly convenient natural border. Rhagai in Hyrkania also passed to the Antigonoi, who gained a (not very useful) outlet on the Hyrkania Thalassa. All lands east of that territory passed to the Eumenai, where Antisthenes remained titular basileus, and who was permitted to style himself as the ruler of Baktria. Hayasdan picked up Atropatene for its troubles, a highly respectable gain that included some klerouchoi which would help improve the quality of the Haikaikan army. The aging Arzames I was quite pleased. This Peace of Stratonikeia settled the borders at respectable locations and was amenable to all…all except the two remaining players in the East. Miyika was irked that the Yavanas and Chorsari had ceased to fight, allowing them to focus their armies on him; after briefly attempting a deep raid in 252 he withdrew in order to avoid engaging Apollodotos’s army. On the far side of the Paropamisadai, Yajnasena was outraged of hearing that his opponent had settled accounts in the west, but decided to press on; he had already contrived to capture Patalene with its ports of Barbarikon and Aristoteleia-Patala. Triballos had resisted valiantly but ended up being outnumbered all the same at the Battle of Boukephala in 257, where he was killed in combat and his army badly mauled. It retreated back towards the shadow of the Paropamisadai under the command of his successor Mithroaxos Orobatios, who proved himself competent when he warded off a premature pursuit attempt at Dionysopolis.

    Yajnasena had devoted a significant portion of the Maurya revenues and armies to this great effort, and so sat down to besiege Taxila, seeking to accomplish what his illustrious grandfather had failed to do and drive the Yavanas back behind the Paropamisadai. When Orobatios linked up with the Argyraspidai and a large force of western Baktrian dehgans under the command of Epiphanios, though, the tables were turned. Taxila was relieved in 251, and the Maurya army clashed in a straight-up contest at the Battle of Iomousa the following year. Epiphanios ably outmaneuvered Kanha and secured high ground, where the detachments of pattiyodha longbowmen that remained in Orobatios’ army rained death on the lightly armored parts of the Maurya army. The engagement was fully decided, though, when the 20,000 Maurya pratradhaka ksatriya, their heavily armored answer to the Hellenic hoplitai, were surrounded by the dehgans and pushed in front by the Argyraspidai; only death could follow, and it duly did. Yajnasena’s army was smashed, and driven back beyond Kaspeiria into its Indian heartland. Yet the war was still not over.

    Machinations in Baktra itself reached a climax when Apollodotos, who had already disposed of his Pseudo-Euphrantos, decided to eliminate Antisthenes now that he had ceased to be of any use. The assassination, in 249, allowed Apollodotos himself to take the throne. What was surprising – and perhaps a little disturbing – is that hardly anybody cared. There were no legitimist revolts by the Greek settlers, who were already accustomed to fighting for the satrap against the legitimately constituted authority. This was just the acknowledgement of a fait accompli. In any case, Apollodotos immediately decided that he needed to crown his arms with further success. The extremely juicy opportunity of India lay next to him. It was already riven with religious tensions of a sort between the Jains and the native, poorly organized Brahmin cults, and the rise of the Buddhists had not helped things either. Yajnasena and the rest of the Maurya family were tolerant of Jains, even emulatory of their practices, so it was easy for rebels to paint this failure of a ruler as being deluded by the lure of the wrong religion. Already there were uprisings in Konkan and elsewhere in Maharashtra, and after the defeat at Iomousa the rebels multiplied. When, in 248, Yajnasena was reviewing what was left of his army at Pataliputra, he was assassinated by Kanha, who himself was an adherent of the Brahmin cults like most of the populace (as indicated by his name), and who took power, in the process ordering the massacre of all foreign cults within the capital. Apollodotos saw this as a window and ordered Orobatios and Epiphanios to advance into India, with Orobatios in charge of the attack into the Gangetic Plain and Epiphanios taking the harder task of securing the line of the Vindhyas to the south and conquering Surastrene along the coast.

    It cannot be said that Kanha did not put up a fight, for he nearly bested Orobatios in a two-day battle at Mathura in 247, but his forces were too depleted and the rebels in the south – who established a Maharashtran state under the aegis of the native notable family of the Satavahanas, who had been tributary to Chandragupta and his son. As the ephemeral Maurya Empire collapsed, Kanha indomitably resisted, attempting to raise the populace in the Gangetic Plain against his adversary. Sadly for him, it was clear that the Jain Arjunayanas and the Buddhist Yaudeyas, who inhabited the lands seized by Orobatios, were not about to rebel in his favor, especially not after the murders in Pataliputra. Orobatios laid siege to Pataliputra in 244 and trapped Kanha inside; a year later, the city was stormed and the usurper was killed in the fighting. The Gangetic Plain belonged to Apollodotos, a victory that was crowned by Epiphanios’ final victory over the Satavahanas in the Vindhyas at the fortress of Taloda in 242. That same year, after the Battle of Taloda, Meghasvati, the ruler of Satavahana, agreed to demarcate the boundary between the Yavanas and Satavahana at the Nammados, or Narmada, River. Northern India was under the control of the Greeks; Apollodotos had done in seven years what Alexandros could not. But even then, problems remained, the new territories still had to be integrated, and the populace was somewhat restive now that the threat of religious war – or something close to it – was over. Apollodotos moved his capital to the area of Taxila, building the new polis of Apollodota on the site of Sirkap near Taxila, and transferring much of the population of old Taxila to Apollodota, along with Hellenic colonists from elsewhere to make it a proper polis. He further began to ponder the effects of extending the franchise of citizenship, not restricting it to merely Hellenes, but by 240 this project had not yet come to fruition.

    His neighbor far to the west, the arche Antigoneia, had peacefully seen a transition of power from the regency to the basileus, Philippos I, in 244 on the death of Hippolochos of old age. Philippos’ early reign was marked with crisis in the north, as the Keltoi in Pontos tried to use the opportunity to break free of vassalage and plunder Anatolia; the young ruler proved himself at least competent when he battered the raiders into submission near Ankyra and forced them back into their tributary status. What was worse was the situation in the Caucasus – to be described later – which was only resolved by the end of the 240s, and which further strengthened the Antigonoi. This in addition to the small victory won by Hippolochos in the brief Second Syrian War against the Ptolemaioi, fought from 251 to 246 and involving mostly minor frontier actions, with a single set-piece engagement at Skythopolis in 247, won by the Regent himself over the Aigyptian general Eutychos Krokodilopolites. The peace made at the end resulted in the territorial change of Phoenike to the Arche Antigoneia. This series of minor successes gave the Antigonoi a great deal of apparent prestige, and certainly of the three western diadochal states they were the most obviously powerful.

    The Ptolemaioi may have been bested in the Second Syrian War, but in all other ways they were increasing in power. From their Erythraian ports came an increasing flow of goods from Indian markets, contact was slowly being made with barbaroi further south, and Ptolemaios III’s family troubles – multiple wives can turn out very badly indeed – were resolved with the rebellion of his first wife Stasikrateia and her son, the avowed “Ptolemaios IV Nikator”, in Kyrenaia in 256 – it was crushed, and the succession clearly passed through his second wife Tryphaina to her son, who was crowned as co-ruler in 241 with the name Ptolemaios IV Alexandros - an auspicious name indeed. The Ptolemaioi, who had yet again rebuilt their army, plotted to launch a revanche in Syria soon, but were unready to renew hostilities on the death of Hippolochos, and thus far Philippos I seemed too strong to assail. Still, the Aigyptioi looked opportunistically at all of their neighbors, with the benefit of having the greatest stability.

    Arzames I had been the greatest of the Arkahs of Hayasdan, but he failed in one respect – he left an incompetent son when he died in 243. That son, Arzames II, immediately began scheming to remove the marcher-lords who had assumed some prominence in the administration as Hayasdan rapidly expanded; in order to wipe out these men, who commanded the army, he made the singularly unwise decision to employ Saurometai. Hiring the chieftain Sturakos to wipe out his rivals, he opened the Caucasus forts to allow 20,000 Saurometai in. Once they actually were in, a revolt immediately began by the nobles who commanded much of the army, led by Artavazd Razmuni, but Sturakos promptly shredded the cream of the Haikaikan nobility and army at Artik, in the shadow of Mount Aragats. Just south of the mountain, in the capital of Armavir, Sturakos and his warriors showed up to collect their pay, but the Arkah made the disastrous mistake of haggling with them over price. Sturakos immediately broke off the negotiations and set to plundering Hayasdan. By the next year he began styling himself as Arkah. Arzames II sent desperately for help from Philippos I; in 241 the Antigonoi showed up, under the command of Hyspaosines Doulichosyriakes, and broke up the Saurometai invaders at Ghshlakh. Sturakos retreated, but only fell back to Aghvan; there he stayed, for Arzames was far too weak to attack him and the Antigonoi weren’t interested. The Arkah of Hayasdan, ephemerally independent, was now forced to yield Ani and Atropatene, and submit to Philippos I as a tributary. Philippos wisely refrained from destroying Sturakos so as to keep his new tributary from rebelling.

    Makedonia, under the rule of Antiochos II, had met its threats in the last twenty years with aplomb. A brief naval war had taken place in the 250s with Rhodos, but it quickly ended with no real result as the Rhodioi were unwilling to disrupt trade for too long. More troubling was Roma’s first war with Makedonia, fought between 256 and 243 and arising over the Makedonian alliance with Hieron II of Syrakousai, who still held Brettia; when yet another border dispute erupted and the Romani attacked Hieron, Antiochos was induced to send aid and quickly was embroiled in a naval war in the sinus Adriaticus. Hieron himself was unable to hold onto his Italian possessions, even with the advantage of the excellent thorakitai, and was defeated at the Krathis River in 255 by Consul Servius Fulvius Vitulus, who outnumbered the Sikeliotes two to one. From then on, it was a naval war, punctuated by two amphibious landings – one by the Romani in Epeiros to try to kick-start a rebellion in 253, a project spearheaded by Caius Caecilius Pullus, which was aborted after Antiochos annihilated the Romani on the Aoos; the other was launched by the Makedonians in 245 under Straton Meliboios and landed at the former Hellenic polis of Brentesion, now Brundisium – it, too, accomplished little, though Meliboios retained Brundisium until the end of the war, when he was forced to relinquish it. That war saw the Romani once again make gains, stripping Hieron of all of his Italian holdings, but marking the end of Romani power at the sea. The circumcised Roman victory was as nothing compared to the total war fought at the same time in the Peloponnesos.

    The troubles at Sparte had climaxed, finally, in the dispossessed taking matters into their own hands. In 258, one of the neodamodeis (homoioi, or full citizens, who had lost their land and thus their privilege), a man named Astyochos, gathered a group of similar inclination and broke into an assembly of the ephoroi, the governing council of the city which had continued to rule despite the extinguishing of both lines of kings. Astyochos attempted to bring up a proposal for land reform, which was desperately needed; when he was rebuffed, he had his companions slay the government and proclaimed himself tyrannos, empowered to establish a new constitution and adjust the laws to improve the general lot of the people, as well as to return Sparte to its former glory. His diktats met with acclaim by the great body of the non-citizens, and his proposal to grant all helotes their freedom was similarly applauded. And yet, none of the surrounding states intervened. Megalopolis sent a mission to some of the other Peloponnesian states to try to gather another army, like the one that had defeated Akrotatos, but none saw this revolution as something particularly dangerous, or as something that would affect their own states. The assembly at Argos actually applauded Astyochos for taking matters into his own hands and ending the problem of brigands from Sparte spilling over onto the lands of neighboring states.

    Astyochos’ plans, however, were easily apparent to the Ptolemaioi, who saw the potential of a new dynamo in the Peloponnesos acting as a counterweight to the Seleukidai of Makedonia, whose brief naval war with Rhodos had nevertheless aroused fears in Alexandria that Antiochos II would turn his fleet next on the vital Aigyptian trade connections. Ptolemaios III thus began funding Astyochos’ regime in 257, making his reforms possible. Land was redistributed in equal lots, to allow all to qualify as citizens – this step vastly increased the manpower available and allowed Sparte to field an army of 20,000 men. Disproportionate wealth was confiscated, and in order to better organize this Astyochos set up proscription lists, which were abused by his less scrupulous supporters into being a vehicle for the settling of old rivalries. Trade laws were put in place to limit the flood of new materials which, it was claimed, ruined moral fiber. Walls were raised for the first time around Sparte, and though they were nothing like those of Alexandria-Eschate, Baktria, or Pella, they were still a deterrent and something of a formidable obstacle. As for much of the old elite, many were co-opted, but the vast majority were slaughtered, especially the magnates who had held the greatest properties. Sparte was going to take a new direction.

    That new direction became apparent when the non-aligned poleis of the Peloponnesos came under attack in 255. Astyochos personally stormed Megalopolis in that year, while his subordinate Lysandros laid waste to Argolis and besieged Argos itself. The following year even that polis was captured, and Sparte came into control of the southern half of the peninsula. The revolution had been successfully exported, and the busy Seleukidai hadn’t even batted an eye. As the reforms were extended to the new lands, where they met with public acclaim (and a great deal of mass slaughter), Astyochos’ army grew, and he soon began to think of taking on Makedonia itself – unless, of course, that had been his plan all along. Agents from Sparte were already infiltrating the garrison at Akrokorinthos, and in Peiraieos the populace was half-ready to launch a revolt with or without his support. In 253, he issued fresh calls for Hellenic union under Sparte and for the overthrow of all oppressors, then had Lysandros attack Mantineia. So began the Astyochan War.

    From the start, Sparte held the initiative. Three armies, each of about 10,000 men, swarmed north, as Astyochos planned to conquer the weak cities of the koinon Korinthon quickly before the main Seleukid army moved south. The primary goal was the Isthmus, and Astyochos set that target for himself; at Nemea and Kleonai he defeated the weak detachments that came out of Korinthos itself, then besieged Akrokorinthos. A revolt there combined with a well-timed disbursement of gold from Aigyptos allowed Astyochos to seize it within a month. The Isthmus was occupied within days of the surrender at Akrokorinthos – the first and greatest of Sparte’s tasks had been accomplished. The second, the conquest of Mantineia to open the door to Azania and Achaia, was actually harder; the polis received reinforcements from Klitor and Methydrion that allowed Mantineian forces to deal Lysandros a bloody nose at Oenoe. But that issue was also never in doubt, and Lysandros occupied the citadel of Mantineia by the winter. The final prong was meant for an attack into Tryphilia and Pisatis by Skopaios, moving along the Alpheios River. Olympia surrendered without a fight and Makistos was seized at the river mouth; Skopaios had time to turn north to Alesion before winter set in.

    By any estimation, these successes would be crippling to the Seleukid cause, but Antiochos II got his balance quickly. A meeting with the remaining representatives of the koinon at Athenai allowed him to quash the incipient Peiraeios uprising and to extort more soldiers from his supposed allies. While 15,000 men, commanded by Hermogenes Potidaiatikos held the Isthmus against Astyochos himself, another 20,000 led by Dioskourides Herakleotikos crossed the kolpos Korinthos into Achaia and began to direct their efforts against the twin columns of Lysandros and Skopaios. In 254, Herakleotikos pounced on Skopaios’ army with his main force on the Selleis River, forcing the remnants to abandon Olympia and fall back into Arkadia to link up with Lysandros. Astyochos quickly realized the difficulty of holding the Isthmus, and so force-marched south, leaving a garrison at Akrokorinthos to hold down Potidaiatikos, and linked up with the other armies from Sparte at Telphousa. With 27,000 men, Astyochos’ united army now outnumbered Herakleotikos’ column. His plan was to operate on interior lines against the widely spaced Seleukid armies. This operational plan was vindicated at Heraia in the early winter of 253, where Astyochos gave Herakleotikos’ army a nasty shock and a nastier amount of casualties. The western Makedonian general was forced to retire on Olympia to recuperate, while Astyochos took the united army to win the second battle of the year, against Potidaiatikos at Sikyon. In the process he relieved Akrokorinthos.

    The strategy of operation on interior lines was well and good for purely defensive initiatives, but in order to drive Antiochos out of the Peloponnesos, Astyochos would need to capture some cities. He took the opportunity afforded by his victory at Sikyon to conquer Psophis and Kynaitha, completing the conquest of Azania and providing a dangerous springboard to attack Achaia. His breathing space, though, was soon over, and in 252 and 251 he was forced to divide the army again in order to spar with the Seleukid generals. Potidaiatikos was still in charge in the east, and had been reinforced to 17,000 men, but Herakleotikos had been sacked in favor of Alypios Echinaieos, who now had 24,000 troops, a third of which were the patented Seleukid mixture of cavalry types that proved so devastating. So Astyochos sparred with Potidaiatikos, successfully warding him off from besieging Akrokorinthos (aided by Sparte-inspired popular revolts in the Makedonian rear), while Echinaieos campaigned to try to recapture the Azanian poleis. After two years, despite slight numerical superiority, he had only gained Psophis, but in 250 he unexpectedly moved south, abandoning his earlier initiative to link up with Potidaiatikos in favor of a unilateral attack on Megalopolis itself. Lysandros, in command of the Azanian army, was unable to make it south in time to prevent the unexpected arrival of Echinaieos in front of Megalopolis, demanding its surrender. Though the Seleukid general was rebuffed verbally, he quickly assaulted the walls and broke in within a day anyway.

    The loss of Megalopolis was a serious blow that once more forced Astyochos to retire southward. Akrokorinthos was lost, as was Azania, and the disasters multiplied when Echinaieos attacked and almost destroyed Lysandros’ army at Tegea before it could combine with Astyochos. The tyrannos of Sparte was almost trapped away from his polis, but adept maneuvering managed to get his army back into Lakonia. In 248, though, his position in Lakonia prevented him from moving to the rescue to relieve Messenia – he could not break through the Taygetos Mountains when the Seleukids held the passes. Since there was a lull in the Romani war, Antiochos II showed up in the Peloponnesos in 247 to take command, and after merging the two armies he marched on Sparte. All Astyochos could do was get in the way, but he picked an excellent position to do it in at Sellasia; Antiochos simply circumvented that position and crossed the Eurotas, so Astyochos had to fight him on even ground at Amyklai. Here, the Makedonian cavalry showed its true power, and the allies managed to drive in the enemy flanks; with that key advantage, Antiochos was able to force Astyochos’ army into a compact position, after which it was not long before the army panicked and began to trickle back towards Sparte. Astyochos fled to Aigyptos, where Ptolemaios initially greeted him as a friend and ally, but he soon proved to be an embarrassment in court and advocated an all-out campaign against the Makedonians, something the pharaoh was unwilling to do. He was quietly strangled in 244. His legacy in the Peloponnesos was one of social ferment. Some of his reforms were reversed by the puppet government that Antiochos put in charge in Sparte, as well as the returned governments in Megalopolis and Argos, but some of them stayed in place – though those were primarily not land-related reforms. It goes without saying that Antiochos forced the new leaders in Sparte and the rest of the southern Peloponnesos to accede to the koinon Korinthon.

    With the beginning of the decade of the 230s BC, it became clear that none of the problems “solved” in the last decades actually had been; the partition of the old empire of the Eumenai had merely intensified the conflicts in India – even the partition treaty with Satavahana failed to stem the tide of war in eastern India, in relatively new and uncharted lands – and threatened to see new ones break out in Syria and Anatolia; Hellas itself was riding through a rough patch of social problems despite the outward appearance of strength and conformity, and in the far west, the non-Hellenic powers of Roma and Qarthadast were rising, with victories against the Po River Gauls and the Keltoi of Hispania. And, as always, the not-distant-enough menace of Saka and Saurometai hung like the sword of Damokles over the oikoumene.

    Apparently some far Eastern barbarians might think it a curse to live in times like these…
     
  4. Condor_green

    Condor_green Chieftain

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    The Carthaginians should sack Roma. Now keep in mind Rome would still rise(in my opinion.) But its rise would be delayed. That would give the other mediterreanean cultures a chance to develope. Carthage should become a power in the western mediterreanean but should never expand into Gaul.

    Is this what your looking for in terms of posts? if not i'll delete this.
     
  5. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    Well played. I think this definitely needs to get some kind of closure, especially with events in India. Bactria definitely has a change to solidify control over all north India. Looking forward to variants on the old Indo-Greek religious and cultural syncretism, particularly with them Buddhists.
     
  6. Kraznaya

    Kraznaya Princeps

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    Which do you have in mind?
     
  7. flyingchicken

    flyingchicken 99 117 110 116 115

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    This is THE alternate history super-thread-continuation thing. This is THE thread to post althists, althist ideas, random althist maps, and so on and so forth. This is also the place to discuss them, so this post is okay, I guess! This is also the thread to be derailed in case an old guard NESer wants to mod an althist by another old guard NESer, and since they're so old guard nobody will mind! :)
     
  8. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Nah, it's cool - since, as far as I'm concerned, the TL is finished, so my input on this particular world is done. I think it's a reasonable stopping point - new round of wars, still some unresolved issues from earlier, an extremely interesting situation in Greece IMHO...for what it's worth, though, Rome doesn't really have the same kind of antagonistic relationship with Carthage yet because neither has a part of Sicily. So they still need to beat Hiero II before they start hatin' on each other. :p
    Meh, as far as I'm concerned it adds a tinge of realism - how much sense does it make for the entire world to be at peace at once at any given time back in the day? (Not much.) I couldn't give closure to that without opening up another issue somewhere else in the classical world.
    Xwaehaex? As rauka Miyika would say. ;)

    Oh, also a map.
     

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  9. Condor_green

    Condor_green Chieftain

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    So this is finished? Or is this going to be continued?
    That is an amazing map by the way, did you make it?
     
  10. Abaddon

    Abaddon Chieftain

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    I'll get this added to the main stickie soonish.
     
  11. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Somebody could always make a NES of it. :mischief:
    Thanks, I did make it, but it's really just the edited Symphonic style Winkel Tripel map, nothing special. :)
     
  12. Kraznaya

    Kraznaya Princeps

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    I always said ATLs should optimally be moderated by those who created them, after all you know your own world best. ;)
     
  13. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    Seconded. The current data fiasco with me needing more input than I've got for stats is indicative of that.

    Now, I believe we were discussing Jewish Carthaginians?
     
  14. Condor_green

    Condor_green Chieftain

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    I've never seen an NES run by Dachs but im sure he would be an amazing moderator and alt 4 would be perfect ofr NESing meat.
     
  15. Kraznaya

    Kraznaya Princeps

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    Dachs' previous mod attempt was pretty fruitful and he should totally do it again except for nagging little things like a completely stacked alliance and Greece conquering Turkey in one turn ;)
     
  16. Condor_green

    Condor_green Chieftain

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    Well with Dachs I would be disapointed if Greece didn't conquer THE WHOLE WORLD!!!! In one turn.
     
  17. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    If I mod, I'll do it in my own time. :p

    Jewish Carthaginians, though. Seriously, wouldn't it be cool if Elissa converted to Judaism somehow and brought it over to Carthage itself? Even though it's ridiculously unlikely that it would successfully spread among all of the other Phoenician colonists? ;) No seriously, it'd be cool.
     
  18. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    Alternatively if Carthage survives to expand into the Eastern Mediterranean and assert control over the old Phoenician cities, there is a potential for a Jewish diaspora into the Carthaginian empire that way.

    What you need for that is a Carthage that never comes into military conflict with Rome to begin with...or at least not initially.
     
  19. Condor_green

    Condor_green Chieftain

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    The map isnt showing up Flying Chicken
     
  20. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    I made a named version of mine.

     

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