Discussion in 'Civ3 - Stories & Tales' started by BuckyRea, Feb 24, 2006.
Great story BuckyRea!
Thanks. It's fun writing it, even if writing kinda detracts from my actually playing the next round (I've only played up to about 1400 AD, so I really don't know how this story turns out).
Rea is actually my last name. So when people call me "BuckyRea" instead of just "Bucky" I kinda feel like that nerd on Stargate whom everyone calls "Daniel Jackson" instead of just Danny or Jack-o. So your lordship should feel free to call this commoner "Bucky."
this is an excellent story
Forgotten Bits of History
Nothing throws your day off quite like bumbling into a mélange of barbarians. The great Boyer trader-explorer Yevgeny Pizdetski discovered this principle while traveling through the Great Rift Valley. In the years following the First Russian Wars, a band of barbarians had apparently moved into our continent--somewhere between the Iroquois Transvaal and Russian dominated Congo basin.
They called themselves the Bretons, and it is only a miracle that Pizdetski's party survived. Pizdetski went on to write his World Travels, the earliest book known to survive the ages (almost) fully intact. It is thru Pizdetski that we know of the mysterious Bretons, and of so many other ancient cultures of our continent. Archaeologists and ethno-anthropologists today guess that the Bretons were nomads, an offshoot of the French people (whom of course we'll meet much later in history). But how the Bretons came to Africa all the way across the ocean from French lands will perhaps always be a mystery.
The most plausible, albeit radical, theory is that they migrated by boat across the Eastern Ocean, yet somehow were never detected by our young civilization until they had settled into the mountains around Lake Wictoria. And yet historians for centuries have assured us that no people in the world at that time had the maritime technology to complete such a journey.
Possible sea route of the Bretons
Of course how the separate continents ever got populated in the first place--all human beings are, genticists assure us, are so many offshoots of the same human species--in the eons before mapmaking made oceanic travel possible is a mystery. The same sort of mystery that used to inspire the kids of my generation to go to church.
I don't suppose you and your carousing buddies do that much, do you? Not unless they start making communion wine as strong as vodka.
Oh, quit blubbering, boy. We have more studying to do.
After the Ancient Russians defeated the Romans, a general hostility continued between those peoples. There was little doubt now, however, which civilization was stronger. Defeat after punishing defeat left the Romans surly, angry, despondent and restive. Any Roman politician could rise to power just by denouncing the impeccable character of our people and organizing an army.
What so few realized was that in order to hang onto power, the one thing--above all other things--one needs most to do with one's armies is to avoid war with the Russians. I'm not sure why people never figured that out.
One such fool who raised an army against us was the Consul Slaevius Maximus of Cumae. A brutal propagandist, Slaevius styled himself the "Dagger of Jupiter" and inspired his expert archers to march up the Nile and liberate their "Ravennian cousins."
Of course liberators back then rarely asked people if they wanted to be liberated. But Ravenna had been under Russian occupation for only three generations when Slaevius's troops arrived, unexpected, in formations north and west of the city.
A frightful slaughter followed.
History, my boy, is just choking full of important life lessons. The lesson in the Capture of Ravenna is clear--never turn your back on a Roman. Based on his victory Slaevius rose to rule all the armies of the Roman Empire.
The Romans, however, forgot two important things in the glory of their conquest of Ravenna. First, the Russians, like the mighty elephants of our homeland, never forget a slight. An armed retribution was bound to follow eventually. And second, we had the horse.
Eh, the barbarians didn't kill your scout? I don't know this for a fact, but I suspect that when there's only one warrior defending the barbarian camp, it won't move out.
What map are you playing on here?
The Second Roman Wars
Slaevius was an old greedy man when he decided he needed to insult Russian honor further by establishing armed camps in the gold mines north of Odessa. This hubris would lead to the Second Roman War.
Valin of Petersburg in 470 bc launched a crusade to reclaim the central Nile. Slaevius Maximus took to the field himself the following year to lead a new assault across the Amhar Plateau and attempt to intercept Valin's driving force.
The two clashed at al-B'Dǔrnd in the "Battle of Twenty Days." However to the fleeing Romans it must have seemed like twenty years. When the dust settled, Slaevius was dead and his army scattered.
Valin continued to march his army north down the Nile to re-liberate Ravenna. Again, not that anyone there was asking him to do so.
The son of Slaevius Maximus, Slaevius Tuu, was given--in one of those odd Roman traditions of "reclaiming family honor"--the responsibility of defending the lands his father conquered. Slaevius Tuu fashioned a brilliant defense south of Ravenna, which stopped the Russian advance at a bloody cost to both armies.
While the great Valin assaulted Ravenna, the swordsmen of Odessa, led by Boros Smardinov, moved into the mountains and began to drive out Roman squatters in the gold-rich hills of the Amhar Plateau.
The Roman usurpers retreated hastily from the hill lands. General Smardinov pursued them onto the savanna and smashed them in the open fields south of the gold mines.
Back in the Nile Valley, Valin retreated his forces away from Slaevius Tuu's zone of control around Ravenna and established a fortification where his battered troops could recuperate pending the next assault. The next assault never came. His forces too bloodied to continue, Valin died five years later, still encamped and preparing for the attack he would never see.
Valin's war had been long and arduous. Had he won the siege of Ravenna, he might be a contender for the title Great Hero of Russia. But in the end the second Slaevius stood his ground and the wars against the Romans would continue long past Valin's life time.
Sparse Russian camps of farmers were attracted by the "seller's market" of a large and seemingly permanent military encampment outside the Roman borders. For generations the Russian forces gathered beyond the Romans' lands, training, building, and scouting possible weak spots.
Soon iron swordsmen and horsemen began to replace the older military formations of bronze swordsmen and archers. By the mid 4th century bc, a mighty force was in place and ready to complete Valin's crusade.
It's the pre-fabbed Earth map that came with Vanilla civ 1.29
I'm pretty sure you're right on the money there. It sure surprised me, tho. I took that screenie because I figured the scout was gonna be offed. But then he wasn't.
When I looked at the name of the barbs, it said "Bretons." That struck me as odd since the names of barbs I thought were always based on neighboring cultures to the tribe that discovers them first. Russians tend to find the Bulgars, American find the Illinois, Chinese the Mongols, etc. So it made no sense for a tribe that the Frogs are supposed to discover to show up in the middle of my continent.
From there I riffed a totally pointless historical distraction. After all the Angles and Jutes were still migrating westward well into the 9th century AD in our history. No reason why you can't have migratory barbs on this planet, too.
Well, the English are expansionist (in Vanilla at least). Quite likely they sent their scouts all over the place.
You need to get a leader from those swords. Bad.
Great story. Are you still expanding during these wars?
I sure hope I'm expanding. It's still in the BCs here and 2/3s of Africa is still unclaimed. Plus I'm about to start muscling in on a whole new territory, and one of our rival nations (tho I won't say who yet) will be biting the dust before the Renaissance arrives.
How Old Gandon Could Have Saved Us All a Lot of Trouble
Wars today are not like the wars of the ancient past, young Alek. In our world, war is a sometimes-necessity, a thing nations do if and only if they can't resolve their differences.
To our ancestors it was a different affair. War was a more or less constant; peace but a momentary respite. At any moment violence could strike from any direction. Today if we war the whole nation, the whole culture goes on an alert footing. Nothing else transpires, nothing else is thought of. The nation is at war and the enemy must be crushed. But to our ancestors violence was just another aspect of life--killing came as naturally to their armies as it does to the hungry lions and tigers of the Ukraine.
And so it was only natural that we would conduct business even during a time of violence. In the fourth century bc the long wars against the Romans soon turned our people to favor local ways and lifestyles that rejected Roman militarism and pragmatism. It was during this era when Russian notions of the gods became systemized. It is no wonder, then, that our divine notions reflected Iroquoian influences, not Roman.
Indeed, some of the greatest writing of the early Seneca and Mohawk pantheists came from the literary traditions of Russia, borrowing Russian legends and adapting equatorial imagery and holy sites for their folklore. The level of cultural diffusion never made the two peoples one, but the two cultures did grow closer in their shared values and affections.
Yes, yes, be patient lad. I am getting back to the war.
In 350 bc the usual skirmishing between roman warrior and Russia's troop, with their more advanced iron weaponry, escalated into a full conflict. The Russian commander, Prince Perdün Starì, saw an opportunity to end the years-long quest for Ravenna. When a secession of poor harvests weakened the Cumaean-Roman occupiers, our own hungry Ukrainian iron lions pounced upon the Roman gazelle.
The Cumaeans fought more valiantly than Prince Perdün expected. And altho they were a century old, Slaevius Tuu's battlements held firm, proving almost impossible to scale. Almost. Legends say the Nile flowed red after the Bulgarite and Belarusan swordsmen pushed the last Cumaean defenders against the riverdocks and slaughtered them on the piers. The mounted horsemen of Odessa struck the final blow. Ravenna was, at long last, ours.
Scattered Roman armies threatened from beyond our borders, and perhaps things seems uncertain at first, as the surviving troops recuperated in the militarized city of Ravenna. But a counter attack never came.
There was not much fight left in our people either. Almost 600 years of conflict left them ready to discuss peace. The Romans, however, refused our offers of peace. Death could still come paddling up the Nile at any moment and the matriarchs in Moscow insisted that the people prepare for war.
That third and final Roman war came a hundred years later. The Hereditary Consul of Cumae, Lintel Flatulus, had married the sole surviving great granddaughter of the last Roman governor of Ravenna. When the Russian prince of Ravenna died heirless in 235 bc, Lintel sent a sole company of archers up river to claim his wife's "birthright." A Russian troop rushed to "welcome" the would-be usurpers and killed them before they could reach the city outskirts.
The Russians, under Prince Gandon Starì, the new ruler appointed by the Matriarch, immediately marched north to end the threat from Lintel once and for all. However rash Gandon was to take to the field, however, he was no conqueror. In fact, stories recount how he was in fact a bit of a coward. The early fights south of Cumae went well for the Russian army. The first wave of swordsmen defeated the veteran spearmen defending the lands around Cumae. Then the fearsome Odessan horsemen moved toward the city itself, preparing to take Lintel's capital.
But the riders encountered a new foe as they approach the battlefield. The Romans had, somehow, developed iron weaponry. Assumed for years to be significantly less advanced than our ancestors, the Romans had, somehow, managed to develop their own unique iron weaponry. Our forces were no longer the superior. Iron swords and platewear, coupled with the vaunted Roman military discipline, would certainly give them the edge in a fight.
Prince Gandon, rather than face a possible loss--or even a particularly blood-soaked victory--called for peace. The Romans, hunkering down in their fortifications and expecting a tremendous Russian onslaught, readily agreed and called back for peace, too.
Gandon was not dismissed as a coward, as you might suspect. Military historians will continue to disagree with Gandon's decision. Some claim that he could have still taken Cumae and withstood the onslaught of these earliest Roman legionnaires. My own father is one such historian and his first published paper as a college professor was to argue that Prince Gandon should have sacked and razed Cumae and then go on to wipe out the Roman empire entirely. Papa later republished his paper as a short book entitled, How Old Gandon Could Have Saved Us All a Lot of Trouble.
Others, like my mentor Professor Halyavshchik Tortelduvsky, suggest that the Romans in this epoch were probably unbeatable. They point out that the Roman legionnaires were more than just a psychological last gasp for the Romans. Tortelduvsky says that any victory by these iron soldiers could have rejuvenated the Roman spirit--perhaps triggering a golden age, not unlike the one they experienced centuries later when those same legionnaires, altho supposedly antiquated, were able to lead Rome to victory against the rampaging Germanics in far Cathay.
They were truly awesome fighters.
Of course, Tortelduvsky is famous for his wild historical speculations, but he is probably right that a total conquest of Old Romany was at best a vain hope and would have led at worst to a complete exhaustion of our empire. Instead, our people followed the honorable peace the Romans offered us.
As the third century bc came to a close new technologies, new horizons, and new trading opportunities began to open up. We came to trade and discuss with the advanced Egyptian culture that for centuries had so influenced the sciences of backward Rome. We learned of the reclusive and barbaric Aztlani. Our traders now frequently visited the distant arctic wastelands where the nomadic Ameri had come to settle. And we soon came to hear of the exotic Germans, a warlike, but sensible people.
Still the jungles of the New World were still unknown to us--for history was still opening up as we grew and discovered the mysteries and dangers of this vast planet. But at least the Romans now knew who was stronger and it would be centuries before they would trouble us again.
As far as fickle history goes, that's about as happy an ending as you're going to get. There will be sequels to this story, of course, because history never ends. But, young Alek, I must warn you that the sequels are rarely as good as the original.
(to be cont'd)
The Brief Times Between the Violence
The end of the Classical Era came with a note of sadness for the Russian people.
As our world vista expanded, Russians as a people came to see ourselves as somewhat behind our world rivals. When the world was the Matriarch and her court and all who would aspire to be there, and the only challenge to our supremacy was the laggard-fighting Romans, we could see ourselves as comfortably at the center of the universe.
When we saw that the world in fact revolved around the Mediterranean Sea (and that we were, in fact, on the less dominant side of that sea), then we have far less reason to feel self assured. The first inkling of this came when we realized that Egyptian sailing technology was far more advanced than ours. Our boats traveled perhaps 75% as fast as theirs. The Red Sea was clearly not as conducive to training sailors and boat builders.
When we looked to the east, we saw the pale Englandians deeply ensconced in their esoteric thoughts and mathematical speculations. We could learn from them, but we could not always fathom their mystic visions--inspired no doubt by the eerie stars twinkling in the black Kazakh nights.
But if we were primitive compared to Egypt and Englandia, we were veritable rock scientists compared to the Egyptians' northern cousins, the grunting Aztecs. Why Cleopatricians didn't wipe out and colonize those shivering northmen is beyond the understanding of this historian.
Okay, fine. I mean "beyond the understanding of this history tutor." Whatever. At least their backwardness afforded a chance to make money, learn about other cultures, and perhaps bolster an ally who could keep the mighty southern Europeans in check.
Unfortunately, the Aztlanians were never going to prove willing partners in a war against their mightier neighbor. They made that perfectly clear in numerous diplomatic efforts our ambassadors undertook through the years. Certainly they feared the Egyptians far too much to risk warring on them. Such wisdom may provide a clue as to how the weak, primitive Aztecs survived without succumbing to Egyptian domination.
Determined to not fall behind in the rush for learning--and inspired by our English friends--the Matriarch K'tryn decreed that our people build a fabulous center of learning--a Great Library, centered in Moscow and dedicated to gathering all of the knowledge of the world. If we could not be the first nation to learn every new thing, we could at least be the second or third.
Diligently our carpenters and mechanics fashioned a great building to house all the scrolls of learning from a hundred different languages. Our scholars set about copying the known works of all the engineers of Egypt, the philosophers of Englandia, the sailors of Germany, the shamans of America, the metalsmiths of Aztlan, and the tacticians of Rome. Our merchants gained commissions from the royal house for bringing back texts from far lands and translators to put them in our alphabet. Our scribes stayed up nights codifying all this learning into catalogues for our students to learn by. This Great Library would be an achievement for the ages.
But, alas, for unknown reasons, at the last minute the plans proved unworkable.
. . .
In a fit of anger the Matriarch torched her great library for no reason at all and converted the building into a giant coliseum for popular amusements. No more was ever spoken of this project. But in an odd coincidence, it seems that just one year before a foreign land that we had not even discovered yet built precisely that same sort of learning center. Wiser than we, perhaps, they never converted their center into a rugby field. Only a few surviving texts remained in what became, later than year, a moderately competant local library.
Whatever the cause of the Matriarch's foolish wasting of resources, it still bothered our scholars that we lagged so far behind the Egyptians. Obtaining their learning by gold and trade would be, many decided, the sounder policy.
Unfortunately, the pharaohs proved harder to deal with than even the Caesars had been. They were arrogant, brash, and vain. None of these qualities would have led to war with us, of course. But the pharaohs were also jealous. They resented our economic prosperity and our knowledge of the world. This could and did lead to hostilities. When their matriarch demanded a tribute from our matriarch--an ineffective gambit they should have learned about from their Roman puppets, it led to the obvious response.
Once again, we were going to war.
(to be continu'd)
Ooo wow. You should really be scared of the Egyptians.
They are so far a way from you they could never get a sizeable army coming for you.
Yes, but what you fail to take into account is the fact that I stink at Civilization. Cleo gave me (as you'll see) more than her share of trouble. Plus I stink at Civ, or did I mention that already?
The Bad News Bearers
Don't be absurd, Alek, you do not "know just how that feels." Honestly, boy, do you really think that getting piled on in a rugby scrimmage is anything at all like going to war?
Well no, boy, I've never played rugby. But that doesn't mean I wasn't a sportsman in my college days. Don't laugh, you giggling imbecile, I certainly was involved in athletics... of a sort.
Very well, I will tell you what "sort." I was captain of the chess team in both my junior and senior years. Of course we didn't do pile ons. But it was still by any reasonable definition a highly competitive sport. Yes, yes, it was!
Oh for God's sake, lad, get off the floor and compose yourself. We need to move on to today's lesson.
When the war commenced, Russia's primary concern was that Rome would join in against her old Slavic enemy. Perhaps wizened by experience, perhaps merely scared, perhaps hoping to see her old puppetmaster Egypt take a few hits from the Russian gorilla, Rome chose to stay out of hostilities. That was about the only thing that did not go wrong in these wars.
While a few skirmishes happened between the European power (Egypt) and the African power (Russia), there were no significant battles between them for more than a century. Still, Egypt was by far the more threatening power to the other nations and, frustrated with the progress of the war, exacted an alliance from its far eastern dependent in 50 bc.
It was almost the sort of thing that could ruin your day--except that Americans lived on the far side of the known world. Still, the signal that Egypt was building alliances was not a welcome sign. Unfortunately the matriarch at that time was not a wise leader. Manda Voshka the Untamable was a fiercely proud woman, determined to bring the long Egyptian conflict to a head. Rather than stand by and wait to repel the inevitable Egyptian onslaught, Manda Voshka chose to bring the war to the enemy.
To her advisors' thinking, there was only one viable attack route along which to meet the Egyptians: across the Levant and thru Asia Minor. The small trading nations of the Levant were too weak and disorganized either to form their own empires or to resist the incursion of other nations' troops--including the Russians, the Romans, and the Egyptians. These were simple trader-tribes--the Phoenicians, the Radhanites, the Picts and Ozzies (these last were mountain and desert people, respectively, related to the English somehow).
In 20 bc Russian and Egyptian forces clashed in the Levant over control of this vital choke point between Asia and Africa. The Egyptian forces proved more maneuverable, while our people were more adept at winning pitched battles.
For twenty years fight for control of the lands continued. No clear winner seemed to emerge, except for those in the metalsmithing and undertaking business. The chaos seems contagious. That is when more bad news came from the east.
The wars and uprisings disrupted the flow of goods between nations and soon far away empires became interested in the outcome of this conflict. American diplomats, seeing an opportunity, recruited more valuable allies in the fight. Egypt would remain the main enemy, but the threat of a wider conflict loomed large on the horizon. It at least felt like the whole world stood against us.
fear of a bleak planet
No great leaders emerged on either side in these wars as the ceaseless fighting slogged on. The upper hand in the war seesawed over the years. In 30 ad Russian swordsmen won a decisive victory in Judea, driving the surviving Egyptians deep into the Sinai Desert. Yet by 50 ad the Egyptians again controlled the Levant and were pushing the surviving Russian garrisons southward.
Then the Russians counter attacked and the swift Egyptians again fled. The crafty young Egyptian commander, Horakhty Faiyum, drew his troops away from certain annihilation and ran them into safety among their Roman friends. But Faiyum was too smart for his own good. Having safely escaped, he then turned his tired troops around and attacked the pursuing Russians, hoping to wipe them out. Instead he met the Russian Gorilla. His entire command was lost.
After the defeat of Horakhty Faiyum on the Cumae Plain, only one final battle awaited the Egyptians in the First Egyptian War. In the Battle of the Sinai, 90 ad, an exhausted Russian encampment was ambushed by undetected Egyptian charioteers and cut to shreds. However their war chariots proved no match for the superior Russian horsemen. Pursued along the open deserts by the inexhaustible German stallions, the last standing charioteers were hunted down by men, metal, and dehydration. The Russians proved more adept at finding oases in the vast desert--a discovery that would have a huge impact on further development of the Russian empire.
By 100 ad, Russian troops controlled the Levant. A sobered Rome would not join the world wide alliance against Mother Russia. For a while the Russo-Egyptian rivalry lay dormant. But in truth, both sides were merely gearing up for a new wave of violence to come.
The Second Egyptian War was inevitable. The first battles had ended in a draw, a stand off. No nation before had had ever bested the Egyptians, which left these Europeans far too proud to allow an African upstart like Russia to get away with controlling the main trade and travel routes between them.
That war started in 130 ad with the surprise overrun of the eastern Med lands by a new wave of Egyptian war chariots. Unprepared Russian swordsmen were defeated at two of the four military posts the Russian had placed around the Levant. The two that survived were older outposts controlled the Sinai peninsula--Phoenicia and Judea were lost.
The Russians reacted swiftly to this new challenge. Russian lords from every province began heavily recruiting and training battalions of swordsmen--particularly among the hardy mountain folk of the Amhar Plateau. Veteran horseman fighters from the Horn of Russia and even some Iroquoian volunteers rallied to repel the invaders.
Despite being a nation emotionally and culturally disposed to creation and innovation, the Russians of this epoch were also becoming experienced men of war.
But as quickly as the defenders rallied and began the long march north, they were too far away to prevent the Egyptians from wiping out the rest of the Russian garrisons. Eventually all that stood between Russia and the Gypsy hordes was a single command of elite sword bearers, the Murmansk Two Hundred. In a miraculous victory they drove two companies of chariots away from the banks of the Red Sea and camped down, readying for the next wave of attacks.
Their commanders devised effective trenching techniques for defeating chariot assaults. However the Egyptian invasion force was more diverse than the Two Hundred anticipated. In the months before relief could arrive, they were confronted by a force of Egyptian swordsmen. In the ensuing bloody Battle of the Red Sea, the entire company was lost, altho in their sacrifice they exacted a devastating price on the invaders.
Egyptian forces won the Second Egyptian war and drove Russia from the eastern Med. They were now poised to drive south and harass the Russian homeland, but lacked the manpower to deliver a death blow. A restless, inadvertent peace set in, with neither power holding enough military might to begin hostilities. Instead, they built up their forces and waited for the other side to make a mistake. Egypt, being the larger power, stood to gain more from a waiting game while the Russians resigned themselves to a perpetual state of playing catch up.
By 230 ad, Russia's security stance had reached a nadir. While a large garrison of swordsmen and horsemen stood ready to check further Egyptian advances from the Red Sea, the Egyptian navy now controlled the western coast of the African Bulge and clearly was laying plans to deliver a backdoor invasion on Russia's western provinces along the Gold Coast.
Oh my God! Look how close the Egyptians are!!
In 246 ad a new matriarch rose to the throne of state, Cathrine the Great. She was the first matriarch to hold the title Czarina--Russian for "seize her"--and with that militaristic title she signaled her clear intent to win back the lands lost to the Gypsy Hordes... "by wit or by fist" as my father used to say. Given that the Egyptians were neither stupid nor nice, it was clear that the young Czarina would need to use her fists to seize the Levant.
Separate names with a comma.