Pontus, The Scourge of the Diadochi

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Stories & Tales' started by Arquebuse, Jul 27, 2017.

  1. Lokki242

    Lokki242 That One Guy

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    Another awesome update! I love all the detail in your work
     
  2. Arquebuse

    Arquebuse Chieftain

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    Mithridates VI: The Bittersweet

    The Romans threatened to invade Athens and the city state promptly surrendered in fear of the destruction of the city. The other Hellene city states follow suit, and by the end of Mithridates’s reign almost all of Hellas would be controlled by the Romans. Sulla returned to Roma to assume governorship of the new territory.
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    The Ptolemies began to recognize the growing power of Pontos. The Vasileos, Ptolemaios XII, asked for Mithridates’s assistance in his war against the Sabaeans. Not wishing to fight with Pontos’s longtime trading partner, Mithridates declined.
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    The Roman army expelled the Iazyges tribes from northern Makedonia. With nowhere else to go, the nomads entered Thrake where they began to ravage the countryside. Luckily, the Pontic army was able to defeat them before they could cause too much destruction.
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    The son of Philippos I and the new Vasileos of the Seleucid Kingdom, Philoppos II, tried to retake Cilicia with an attack against the Pontic army at Tarsos. Outnumbered and outmaneuvered, the Seleucid forces were routed after only a few hours of fighting.
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    News of Pharnakes’s imprisonment had now made its way to the ears of the public. Many were outraged, believing that his actions at the Battle of Tarsos were heroic rather than treasonous. Rioting broke out in Thrake, where Pharnakes had previously governed, and lasted for months until the army could establish order. Soldiers who had fought in the Battle of Tarsos also protested his imprisonment, but stopped when Mithridates declared that any disloyalty among his ranks would swiftly be punished by death.
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    Despite the anger caused by the imprisonment of his son, internal loyalty grew and few considered Mithridates a tyrant. In the years to come, seldom would men challenge the descendants of Mithridates to the throne of Pontos.
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    Philippos attempted another counterattack, this time towards Sinope through Kappadokia. Mithridates thought nothing of the offensive and left the governors to deal with the small force.
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    Pirates were spotted operating in the Aigaion based out of the island of Kos. They mostly troubled Roman shipping around Rodos, but the Pontic navy was ready should they decide to try and raid to the north.
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    The Seleucid army continued to march north where they posed a threat to both Pontos and Paphlagonia. In response Ariarathes, Mithridates’s son and governor of Pontos, sent his garrison to intercept the Seleucids
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    The Romans sent a fleet to Rodos to deal with the pirates harassing their shipping lanes. The pirates of Kos were then forced to try their luck in the Pontic waters the north. The pirates sailed to Samos hoping for easy pickings. But the Pontic fleet was stationed on the north of the island and sailed around to meet the pirates just off the southern coast. Surprised by the Pontic fleet, the pirates were unprepared for battle and were promptly defeated.
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    The Getae peoples of Dakia united under the Vasileos Vurevistas to resist Roman expansion into their homeland. Mithridates sent an emissary to open cordial relations with the upstart kingdom.
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    A scholar from Seres by the name of Liu Xiang compiled the imperial records of years past into the Bielu. Although Liu Xiang regarded the Romans as the most cultured people, the Pontics were not too far behind. Mithridates was proud that his once insignificant kingdom was now highly respected as far as Seres.
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    The Seleucid army was deterred from entering Pontos by the provincial garrison and instead began to march west toward Phrugia. The governor, Ariovarzanes, sent the Phrugian garrison east to meet the army on the northern shores of Lake Alas.
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    Instead of fighting, the Seleucid army followed the eastern shore of Lake Alas and came around the south shore and began to march toward Ankyra. Ariovarzanes mirrored the Seleucid movements and the two finally met on the western shore of the lake. Just in time for the battle, Galatian Gallians had returned from Gallia after their brethren made peace with Roma. With the help of the experienced Gallians, Ariovarzanes destroyed the Seleucid invaders.
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    The Parthians, not making any progress in Syria, decided to turn their focus southward and came to the aid of the Ptolemies in their war against Saba. Certain to lose the war now, the Sabaean Vasileos, Ilasaros, came to Mithridates begging for help in the war. Sadly, Mithridates was in no position to come to his rescue.
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    Mithridates was finally ready to march into Syria and take Antiocheia. He was 66 years old now, and although he could not fight as well as he could in his youth, Mithridates still had the fire in his eyes he had when he returned from the wilderness. He had spent his whole life trying to prove himself worthy of the throne of his forefathers. If Mithridates could not keep the home of the great Alexandros, then he would the take the home of his successor.
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    A messenger from Sinope arrived at Mithridates’s camp. The Dakians had invaded Roman Makedonia and took the city of Pella for themselves. Mithridates was jealous that a band of glorified barbarians had conquered Makedonia, but at least it was out of Roman hands.
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    As the Pontic army neared Antiocheia, scouts reported that the city’s fortifications and garrison were light. The entire Seleucid navy was also sitting idle in the harbor. After being overshadowed by his son at the Battle of Tarsos, Mithridates needed to prove himself to both his people and the gods. Although an old man now, Mithridates charged at the front of his army. The battle was going great for Pontos. Mithridates had not yet lost a battle in the war, so the Uazali were in high spirits and the Seleucids, low. The new Seleucid Vasileos, Philippos II, was young and inexperienced; he had never even personally seen a battlefield. But Mithridates got too comfortable. Him and his guard charged through the Seleucid lines and were quickly surrounded by reinforcements. Mithridates had no room to maneuver his men and was unable to communicate with the rest of his army. Trapped, he tried to poison himself, forgetting his immunity. His guard fought to the last man, but Mithridates was knocked unconscious and taken into Antiocheia. With their prize, the Seleucid army retreated into the city. The remainder Pontic army followed, fighting in the streets, alleys, and shops. Mithridates’s general, Xiphares, led the Pontic forces into the palace courtyard where the city garrison was making their final stand. Philippos appeared on the palace roof and Xiphares ordered his men to halt. Philippos shouted, “The battle is over and I have won. I have slain your Vasileos and his blood stains my floors. Lay down your arms and return to the lands from where you came.” He threw Mithridates’s head from the roof and his men jeered in triumph. When the shouts died down, Xiphares responded, “So my Vasileos is dead. Mithridates was noble and brave, but another man will take his place, and he will rule your people. But I am not here to rule, I am here for you and anyone who stands in my way. So Philippos, you have a chance to save your men. Should they be ruled, or should they be killed?” The floors of the palace would soon be stained with the blood of two Vasileoses.
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    Xiphares returned to Sinope with Mithridates’s body. Mithridates died leaving no legitimate heirs; most of his sons had died, as had all his nephews. The royal court decided that Mithridates VI’s son by his mistress Abodogiona, Mithridates, should succeed him on the throne. When word let out of the court’s decision, the populace of Sinope erupted in a riot. The people wanted the champion of Tarsos and the last true son of Mithridates to be Vasileos. Xiphares sided with the people and lead an army of Uazali, farmers, merchants, and fishermen through the streets of Sinope towards the palace. The royal guards had no choice but to let the mob inside. Xiphares marched his followers down into the belly of the compound where they found Pharnakes waiting patiently in his cell. Pharnakes was crowned Vasileos of Pontos that day in the month of Pyanepsion in the 3rd year of the 178th Olympiad.
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    Relief of Pharnakes II Parading Through Sinope After his Liberation
     
  3. Arquebuse

    Arquebuse Chieftain

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    Pharnakes II: The Era of Peace

    Alan tribes from the eastern steppes began migrating west into the Ypervore. Eventually they would reach Taurike and the fortress of Kalos Limin. In a failed effort to destroy the Pontic garrison at the fortress, the Alans were crushed and sent back into the steppes.
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    After the celebrations in Sinope were over, Pharnakes met up with the Pontic army in Syria. He was met with great enthusiasm from his soldiers who were ready and willing to destroy what remained of the Seleucid Kingdom. Under command of the Hero of Tarsos, the army marched inland toward the last Seleucid stronghold of Edessa.
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    Although successful, the invasion of Makedonia proved to be costly to the Dakian army. No more progress had been made in their war with Roma and it was beginning to grind to a stalemate. In an effort to reinvigorate the Dakian war effort, Vasileos Vurevistas came to Pontos. Pharnakes was too busy on the Syrian front to send word back the Dakian Vasileos, so Vurevistas left Sinope less than pleased.
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    Meanwhile in Syria, the siege of Edessa had begun. What remained of the Seleucid Kingdom had reorganized under Philippos II’s general, Archelaos. Archelaos gathered the Seleucid army in Edessa and enlisted every man in the city between 14 and 55 years of age to aid in the city’s defense.
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    In the west, Scythians tribes continued to be pushed south as the Alans migrated into the Ypervore. They entered Thrake, where they met the Pontic garrison and were sent back into Moisia after a quick and decisive battle.
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    In order to secure his position as the true Seleucid Vasileos, Archelaos asked to marry Philippos II’s widow, Berenike. Berenike accepted his proposal, but was not willing to witness another husband perish in battle. She convinced him to flee with her to Roman Syria. The two smuggled themselves out of Edessa at night and escaped to Damaskos. When the city awoke the next morning to find their Vasileos and Vasileia gone, they took it as sign from the gods that there was no hope left for the Seleucid Kingdom. The guards threw open the gates and let Pharnakes and his army parade triumphantly through the city. Pharnakes would rename the city Urhay, the old Persian name for the Edessa, in honor of his Persian forefathers. With the annexation of Urhay and the surrounding lands, the province of Osroene was added to Pontos. And with the annexation of Antiocheia, the province of Syria was created as well. Pharnakes also abandoned the title of Vasileos of Pontos and instead adopted the title of Autokrator of Pontos.
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    Mosaic of the Flight of Archelaos and Berenike from Edessa


    In hopes of making peace with the Scythians, Pharnakes had married a Scythian woman and brought her back to Sinope. Seeing that Pontos had some compassion for them, the Scythians came forward offering to cease raiding Pontic settlements if Pharnakes allowed twenty thousand Scythians and their herds to live safely in Thrake. Pharnakes agreed and a peace between the Pontics and Scythians was established. But after a dispute between some Pontic farmers and Scythian tribesmen over land usage turned bloody, Pharnakes had a revolt on his hands. After the revolt was quelled, Pharnakes and his wife met with the tribal elders to discuss peace. The elders understood that Pharnakes did what he had to do, and peace was renewed.
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    The Parthians began to look to expand their trade network in the west. Hoping to grow relations with their Persian brothers, the Parthian Vasileos, Arsakes XX, requested that trade be allowed to flow between the two kingdoms; Pharnakes happily agreed. Soon goods from as far off as Seres and Indiai arrived at Pontic markets through the trade routes with the Parthians. Goods like spices, incense and the especially coveted silk made many merchants quite wealthy.
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    With the end of the Wars of Pontic Expansion, the wealthy of Pontos were able to focus more on the arts. Poetry and theatre especially began to thrive in Pontic cities. Artists from all over the eastern Mesogeios flocked to the growing cultural centers of Sinope, Byzantion and Ephesos. Most famous of these was the poet and epigrammatist Krinagoras of Mytilini, who was often invited to the court of Pharnakes.
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    Hoping to take grazing lands from the Scythians, Iazyges tribesmen launched an invasion into Thrake. Pharnakes ordered the Thrakian garrison to help the Scythians defend their pastures. The Iazyges were swiftly repelled into Moisia by a combined force of Scythians and Uazali.
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    The Roman ambassador in Pontos introduced Pharnakes to Iovas, Vasileos of the Nomads of the lands west of Karchedon. Iovas was travelling throughout the Mesogeios, meeting the various kingdoms and their rulers with the help of the Romans. Although Iovas seemed oblivious, Pharnakes could tell that the Romans were merely trying to gain the Vasileos’s favor. A civil war had broken out in Roma after a rivalry between two senators had turned bloody. As the war began to drag on, both sides of the conflict were desperately looking for allies. Both of the rival senators had already come to Sinope in search of a helping hand, but Pharnakes turned them both away. Pontos did not need another war.
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    More Alan tribes from the eastern steppes arrived at the gates of Kalos Limin. Again, their efforts to invade Taurike were repulsed. By now, hostile encounters at the fortress resulted in few Pontic casualties as the Uazali there had become experts on fighting the nomadic horsemen of the Ypervore.
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    Arsakes XX again came to Sinope to discuss matters of trade. Hoping to gain a monopoly on eastern goods in Pontic markets, Arsakes asked Pharnakes to end Pontic trade with the Sabaean kingdoms and come to their aid in the war. He even offered to fix low prices on Parthian goods in exchange for the embargo and military aid. Pharnakes could only decline as the Sabaeans had been good friends of Pontos for generations and they solely controlled the finest incenses in the world.
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    With the civil war raging, Romans in the eastern Mesogeios began to grow wary of Pontic intervention. The governor of Rhodes and Krete forbid Pontic vessels from passing though his waters. This meant that the Pontic navy could not sail east to protect Lykia, Pamphylia, Cilicia or Syria. In response to the governor’s declaration, Pharnakes ordered the construction of a new fleet in Perge to protect Pontos’s southern provinces.
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    Pharnakes would die in his bed of a heavy fever at age 62. He passed leaving Pontos in an era of unprecedented peace. He left the throne to his eldest son, Darius, who was coronated in the month of Gamelion in the 2nd year of the 182nd Olympiad.
     
  4. Arquebuse

    Arquebuse Chieftain

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    Darius: The Scythian Revolt

    Early in Darius’s reign, the Alan tribes launched another invasion of Taurike, their largest attempt yet. After the fifteen thousand nomadic warriors were defeated at the gates of Kalos Limin, thousands of the tribesmen were taken prisoner by the Pontic garrison. Rather than enslave the men, Darius ordered them to be executed. Darius lacked compassion for barbarian tribes of the steppelands. He saw them as inferiors as they lacked the sophistication of the Persians, Hellenes, or Romans. Despite this, he was married to a Scythian princess. His father had forced him to marry her to improve relations with the Scythians in Thrake. After Pharnakes II died, Darius became distant from her and encouraged their children to do the same.
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    Despite having nothing but disdain for the nomads of the Ypervore, Darius had faith in the nomads of Noumidia. Under influence of post-civil war Roma, the Vasileos Iovas II began to civilize his people by settling the old cities of the Karchedonian Empire and adopting Roman agricultural techniques. Supporting their budding civilization, Darius permitted trade between Pontos and Noumidia.
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    Having observed the carnage of the Roman civil war and the Parthian invasions, Darius saw that the Pontic ways of war had become outdated. The Pontic army had been dependent on the phalanx formation of pikemen, at which the Uazali were the best. But these tactics were older than even the great Alexandros. The phalanx had worked in the past, but with the introduction of Parthian heavy cavalry and Roman legions they became obsolete. Taking after their Persian cousins, Darius began to introduce cavalry to the Pontic army.
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    Many nobles in Pontos talked in hushed tones of the hypocrisy of Darius. They debated how a man could despise the nomads of the north despite his mother and wife being Scythian princesses. When the gossip reached the ear of Darius, he denied that she was his mother and claimed he was a descendant of only Persian and Hellene nobility. To prove it to the people of Pontos, Darius had his mother imprisoned and later executed. In response, the Scythians living in Thrake revolted against Darius. After a failed attack on the Thrakian capital of Byzantion, the Scythians withdrew into western Thrake, basing their revolt out of the town of Orestias under the command of the nobleman Palakus. Darius ordered the Scythians captured in battle to begin construction of a grand mausoleum for all the Autokrators and Vasileoses of Pontos in the Vithynian town of Kios.
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    As Pontos was in a time of relative peace, Arsakes XX came to Darius asking for the assistance of Pontos’s strategists to help train their armies. But with the recent reforms in the Pontic military and the beginning of the shift towards a cavalry focus, Darius wanted his strategist close and developing new tactics for the new army.
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    The Scythian rebels seized most of the cities and towns in Thrake, save Byzantion of course. The Thrakian garrison began its advance out of Byzantion and began its advance to the west. The garrison, under the commander Diophantos, met Palakus’s army at the town of Vizye. The Uazali were experienced fighting tribesmen and the Scythians were routed easily. Palakus retreated further west with what remained of his army to the town of Drizipara, one of the first villages founded by the Scythian immigrants.
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    Diophantos was on Palakus’s heels as he pursued the Scythian army towards Drizipara. Palakus called up all the warriors he could to aid the defense of the town. The Scythians did not even have a day to prepare to their defenses, but the reinforcements had doubled their numbers. While Palakus was busy preparing the defense of the town, Diophantos split his forces to attack the cities from two sides. At dawn, the Uazali pounced on the town. The Scythians were not prepared for battle and most of the army escaped on horseback, including Palakus. Those unlucky enough to escape immediately surrendered to Pontic forces and were sent to Byzantion to be at the mercy of Darius.
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    In Ioudaia, a Jewish revolt against Ptolemaic rule had proven successful. The Vasileos, Hyrkanos II, liberated Ioudaia and established a new kingdom with the help of the Romans. Hyrkanos’s nephew, Antigonos II, offered a diplomatic hand to Pontos after the Roman civil war soured relations between the two. Antigonos was mainly afraid of the Ptolemies, who were looking to retake their territory in Palaistine.
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    The Scythians captured during the Battle of Drizipara were ferried across the Bosporos to Vithynia. There, they were forced to build the Royal Mausoleum at Kios under Darius’s orders. Many of these prisoners of war would be worked to death by Pontic slave drivers. Darius felt no remorse for the deaths of these men. His Scythian wife, on the other hand, was furious that her husband was enslaving and murdering her countrymen. She tried to convince Darius to relent his punishment of the Thrakian Scythians to no avail.
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    Palakus retreated to his stronghold of Orestias in western Thrake where he began to mount a last stand against Diophantos and his army. The town of Orestias was fortified with a palisade and another layer was being built in preparation for the battle. All the men were given weapons and mounts and many women were given bows to protect the palisade. The rest of the populace were sent north to escape Diophantos and the fury of Darius. Diophantos descended upon Orestias before the completion of the second palisade. The Scythians charged at the Uazali hoping to prevent the Pontics from entering the town, but this proved futile against the tight phalanx formation of pikemen. Palakus would perish in the battle, and the town was burned to the ground. Thousands of Scythians were captured as slaves to continue the work on the Royal Mausoleum, and thousands more fled the wrath of Darius to Moisia from which they were invited by Pharnakes II all those years ago.
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    Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, the Autokrator of Roma, looked to expand Roman influence in the eastern Mesogeios by conquering the small Ioudaian Kingdom to the south of their Syrian holdings. Antigonos II came to Sinope asking for assistance against the Roman invasion. Darius offered to help train Ioudaian soldiers and sailors rather than direct intervention. With the growing relations between Pontos and Ioudaia, many refugees would flee to Pontic lands, bringing their religion with them.
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    Darius’s wife had been silent since the Battle of Orestias and the expulsion of the Scythians from Thrake. She resented her husband for his treatment of her people. Still, the palace guards were surprised to find Darius, his wife and his three children dead. Darius was 48 years old. The wounds and the knife in his wife’s hand provided enough evidence to place the murders on her. With no children to take the throne, the throne of Pontos would normally pass to his brother Arsakes. But Arsakes had perished in a storm during a diplomatic mission to Ioudaia two years prior. With no clear succession to the throne of Pontos, the kingdom went into disarray. Most problematically, the former Seleucid provinces rose in a violent revolt against the governors. Skirmishes between city garrisons and rioters would continue to break out for the next three years.
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    Autokrator Darius and His Wife


    With Darius, his sons, and his brother all dead, the royal court decided that the crown of Pontos was to be passed to Darius’s brother in law, the husband of his sister Dynamis. Asandros was the governor of Taurike, being appointed by Pharnakes II. He was an old man, ascending to the throne at 72 years of age. Nevertheless, Asandros was coronated in the month of Mounichion in the 4th year of the 184th Olympiad.
     

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