I don't know if what happened to me is some kind of a 'bug' or a feature of this succession game so I decided to start a spoiler thread instead of discussing it in the Gotm64 thread. I quickly realized that it would probably be impossible to capture Rome any time soon using horsemen without also razing it so I built a diplomat to buy the city. I then tried buying Rome and it simply wasn't possible . The diplomat couldn't do anything to Rome - it couldn't incite a revolt, couldn't investigate the city, couldn't do industrial sabotage etc. The usual window with these and other options didn't appear when the diplomat attempted to 'enter' Rome - nothing happened (however, I can attack Rome using military units). Also I was asked if I wanted to declare war on the barbarians when I attacked a barbarian unit for the first time. Something really strange seems to be going on. This was a major setback and delayed the development of my empire for centuries. Had I known this I would have focused my limited resources on discovering mapmaking ASAP and then sending out a trireme plus settlers to establish a colony somewhere. Now I'm #7 in population and haven't conquered Rome despite wasting a lot of resources on a diplomat, barracks and an extra horsemen unit. I only have two tiny colonies (size 1 cities) in addition to Vei (which is a size 4 city with a palace). Since this is only prince level I will quickly catch up with the AI but I don't know when I will be able to capture Rome. A possible option is to simply bite the bullet, raze Rome and then found the city of New Rome in the same spot .