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[RFC:E] . The Roman Emperors

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Stories & Tales' started by Danger Bird, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    Yes, sorry, it was a wrong word, what I meant is "declaring independence" for the random cities outside the core, for example Alexandria. Never happened with my last game even though I was running -40 stability for 20+ turns, expanded in Africa, Italy and Illiria -- without any punishment. Still not sure why...
     
  2. hoplitejoe

    hoplitejoe Top fun-poster

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    Was it with ++ Europe? I think not collapsing is a bug on it.
     
  3. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    No, it was with vanila RFCE :) I used to see my Libyan city deflect within first 20 turns on Emperor on the earlier betas -- stability is a big pain for Byzantium. You keep the core from collapsing thanks to the UP, but provincial cities used to declare independence often and it was very annoying. I guess Byzantine stability was buffed in last betas...

    Half of the sories here are RFC based -- I am pleasantly surprise :) I thought its only me who thought that stability must be a standard Civ5 feature...
     
  4. Optical

    Optical The Fall of the Eleventh

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    Great story! Subbed.
     
  5. Danger Bird

    Danger Bird gravity's angel

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    (Ecedius, like his contemporaries Justin I and Justinian I a Latin-speaker, in his histories included some excerpts from the letters and diaries of one Flavius Sabinianus, son of magister militum Sabinianus Magnus, companion of the young Justin I (or Flavius Justinus, as he then was called), and late in his career a high-ranking captain in the Excubitors Royal Guard. Sabinianus was a blunt speaker of the vulgar Thraco-Roman, and an eager and fearless gossip - perhaps his close relationship to Justin I made him untouchable - who made good use of the extensive contacts he had in the military, even in the far-flung garrisons and in the tourma that were sent on border expeditions.)

    Well, it's widely thought by the more religious folk that Flavius Justinus was chosen by God to be the first man to walk into Emperor Anastasius' chambers on the morn after his so-called 'night of contrition', but the real story of how he became emperor is this: Flavius Justinus, Dardanian swineherd, running from Taulanti raiders, escaped from Naissus in a cart of excrement (the only ones they don't check so carefully) and thinking it such as good idea, did it again in reverse, on another cart's return trip, to get past the Theodosian walls into the capital. So, our fearless 'Count of the Excubitors' ended up in the capital only by virtue his superhuman endurance of stench - this be no hearsay, I was his companion, but it was his idea, so I suppose I have to admit that our journey owed something to his inventive mind as well. Inventive mind, I said, but mark that I didn't say a mind for knowledge, at least not in the conventional sense. Never a very good student, spoke horrid Greek, worse than me, and so we lived from hand to mouth, till we got our break in life when we joined the army, which suited us well, especially Flavius Justinus. He knew how to play the obedient soldier, and it must be said he was good at fighting too once he had someone show him which end to hold, and he became wise too, after a fashion, at least at knowing whose hand to grease for a promotion. Became comes excubitorum, Count of the Excubitors, at a fair age too. So that part he owes to himself.


    But his real trick was marrying his sister Vigilantia (the raids had calmed down, and he got back to Dardania for this deal by cleaner means than by which he had come out) to the scoundrel Sabbatius. After a daughter the two had a son, and for that son a meaner bastard-of-a-father there never was one, and after 15 years of being bashed around the house, Petrus Sabbatius was one day introduced to his uncle, Flavius Justinus, comes excubitorum, and he instantly reckoned his escape plan. He pleaded with his uncle to be sent to the military academy, and then he was in the army and he moved through the ranks so fast that no one knew his name. Then he was a few years with the Excubitors - in fact he was in my command for a few months - and before you knew it he was a Captain. And then people started to know his name, but he knew everyone's name and he also knew a lot more about them as well, if you know what I mean.

    Soon the uncle Flavius Justinus grew so fond of his nephew Petrus Sabbatius that he made him a regular guest at his home, and spoke on and on, drunkenly, of his ambitions for the Empire, and of what he knew and feared of his enemies, but also about the dirt that he had on them. Petrus Sabbatious used this information well. He got cosy with the consul, Moschianus Probus Magnus, my cousin I am ashamed to say, to advocate to Emperor Anastasius, who really was a confused old man, on behalf of his uncle Justinus. Well, he got cosy, and also said a few things he'd heard about Probus' plot to arrange a hunting accident for the emperor a couple of years back. So, using Probus like a puppet, it was Petrus Sabbatius who got the nephews of Anastasius to ruin his couch game, and it was Petrus Sabbatius who put the guilt trip on Anastasius afterwards, and then it was Petrus Sabbatius who basically pushed his uncle through the door into the emperor's chambers. This man, barely 35, was acting like the old and wizened kingmaker, but of course he knew that in helping his uncle become emperor Justin I he was really helping himself - he saw the first signs of his uncle's weakening mind, and that his uncle was altogether too trusting of him. So three years later, he's made a consul, along side his puppet Probus, who was supposed to be his - whaddayacallit - "counterbalance". What was the point? Well the point was gonna be clear soon, with Petrus Sabbatius formally adopted by Justin, named Justinian, re-making laws so he could marry a stripper... But that's another story.

    (Ecedius cuts off Captain Sabinianus before he gets to tell the tale of Theodora, the "stripper", but his low opinion of her is plain. He does use his diaries once more, however, to tell some of the story of the eastern and western fronts in the 530s, after Justinian I was crowned Emperor in 527 on the death of his uncle.)

    On the eastern front, the Sassanid Lancers were again reported to be causing mischief in the lands east of Caesarea in central Anatolia. The damned Persians were testing the striking capacities of the Roman frontier guards, which, sad to say, was nil. One tourma of spearmen was in the region of Tarsus, and two of swordsmen guarded Jerusalem and Antioch, but beyond that, it was just bowmen trembling behind arrow slits, if not in proper walls then from behind rocks, barrels, and tufts of grass.


    The 2nd incursion of Sassanids into Roman lands in the east.

    Thankfully, the western front was quiet by then, thanks partly to a queer but effective idea of the commander of the Classis Thracia, whose name I forget, to patrol the western shores of Hellas, and drop the swordsmen on any Epirote or Taulanti uprising before they could even rally in their town square. When Justinian got wind of this fleet, though, he started getting ideas about using it more aggressively. As we all know, he'd been making speech after speech about bringing the west back into his Empire. He was spending a lot of time talking to churchpeople too, telling them in no uncertain terms that they'd better sort out their differences with the Roman church, because theology was all well and good as a hobby, but if they thought some talk about the Father, the Son, and the Spirit was going to stand in the way of a united Empire, then they had another thing coming.


    The patrols of the Classis Thracia on the west coast of Hellas.

    The Empire at 536:
    Solid. State religion: Christianity.
    Treasury: 804 million solidi. Total commerce: 179.
    Tax income: 52, Research: 109, Espionage: 18.
    Expenses: 68 (Military maintenance: 16, Military supply: 1, City maintenance: 7, Civic maintenance: 44).
     
  6. trexeric

    trexeric (or backwards 'cirexert')

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    VERY, very well done!
     
  7. christos200

    christos200 Never tell me the odds

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    Great update.
     
  8. Princeof Persia

    Princeof Persia The Empire wasn't bad

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    Subbed. What mod is this?
     
  9. hoplitejoe

    hoplitejoe Top fun-poster

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    Rhys and fall of Europe.
     
  10. Danger Bird

    Danger Bird gravity's angel

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    Welcome, General Olaf and Prince of Persia.

    Thanks to all for the encouraging comments. And if you find the pace a bit slow, don't worry, so do I. But there will be more action ahead, I can feel it, and have played some of it.

    This is good news, I guess, if I experience the same 'bug'. Of course, I really don't want to rely on it, as the threat of having cities flip away is all part of the fun. But I'm sure there are plenty of other challenges anyway.
     
  11. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    @ DB, Lot's of great details about Flavius Justinus, I didn't know about the stench part :lol:, I hope you didn't make it up. I like your fonts but the size is a little ... small.
     
  12. Danger Bird

    Danger Bird gravity's angel

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    Yes, I made a few things up here and there. I confess. :)

    (Re-sized the font, too.)
     
  13. nightcreature

    nightcreature Ready to Pounce!

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    very good story. is there an empire-wide pic?
     
  14. Gruekiller

    Gruekiller Back From The Beyond

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  15. Danger Bird

    Danger Bird gravity's angel

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    There will be one on the next update, which is coming tomorrow.
     
  16. Oohforf

    Oohforf Praise loud, blame soft.

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    In that corrupted Ontario south.
    Oh yeah? Well I subbed 120%

    :goodjob:
     
  17. MoreEpicThanYou

    MoreEpicThanYou The most Epic.

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    Well, I subbed Epic% :p
     
  18. Danger Bird

    Danger Bird gravity's angel

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    From the Secret History by Procopius, which, contrary to the histories which had been no doubt commissioned by the Emperor Justinian or General Belisarius, was a very unflattering portrayal of the leaders of the time:

    As if to make up for the months and years she had languished in the theatres of Constantinople and Alexandria, exhibiting herself in the lowliest fashion, the rise of Theodora to power at the side of her husband was swift and unrelenting. Not content with having already broken Roman convention by marrying innumerable echelons above her station, she now sought to make her mark on Roman history as well. Justinian was a strong and wily man, and so it is natural that he wouls seek out the same in a mate, but in Theodora he had possibly found one who intimidated even him.

    Her first battle of wills with her husband was occasioned by the Blue versus Green riots at the Hippodrome in 532, which had escalated into a full-scale rebellion against the privileged classes, and had been co-opted by the disappointed nephew of Anastasius, Hypatius, who had long held a grudge at the bloodless coup that Justinian and Justin had engineered. The rebellion had grown foul indeed, and it was the counsel of Justinian's senior advisors (including his young General Belisarius) to remove themselves from the city until such time that the rampaging had run its course. Theodora entered the court from her private chambers just as the discussion was winding towards its defeatist conclusion, and declared that she had never been so dismayed at her choice to serve the empire as at this moment, never so disgusted at her choice of a husband, and said also that she had a mind to elope with the rebel Hypatius, because at least he had the courage to fight for the city of Constantine, even if it was in the company of hooligans. She proceeded to shame the entire room for their complacency, and gradually they were seduced by her, the younger military men first, as she made appeals to their bravery and confessed to her admiration for them (she had already acquired a reputation as a master of her own flirtatious behaviour). The effect of her speech was at last to bring the room together into a frothing crescendo of patriotism and conviction to fight the rebels before they had taken another plaza or toppled another statue.


    Later, the rousing speech of Theodora was given a more conventional explanation: that it had been the cunning of Justinian and his advisors themselves to appear fatalistic, in order to set the stage for Theodora and by her exhibition to sway the reticent members of the court towards action. This revision understandably suits the guardians of Justinian's legacy, but I do here submit that Theodora's challenge of her husband was real, for after that time she was always in the company of a full retinue of courtiers, just as her husband was, and she was styled Augusta as he was styled Augustus.

    And one more matter do I submit in evidence for Theodora's ascendancy: which is the war in Italy. Indeed Justinian had been speaking of his desire to reunite the empire, but always had that talk been of some uncertain time in the future. The immediate threats were in the east, as the Sassanids were continuing their raids in Anatolia and Syria, and Belisarius, the most promising young general, had been designated to lead the forces there in defence. However, after the Nika Riots in 532, the tone of Justinian's speeches shifted, the Goths of Neapolis now replacing the Sassanids as the greatest threat, and Belisarius was now known to be conducting training missions with the tourma that were patrolling the waters off the western shores of Ellas.

    As further evidence for my claim of a dual Imperator, I bring this forth: It is written that in earlier days, for four full twenties of years during and after the reign of Justinian, that the following was inscribed on the base of one of the pillars at the Hippodrome:
    Procopius of Palestine accompanied General Belisarius to southern Italy, 540-544, and devoted a chapter of his ΓΠΕΡ ΤΩΝ ΠΟΛΕΜΩΝ ΛΟΥΟΙ (Wars of Justinian), excerpted here, to telling the story of the campaign from the viewpoint of travelling with the General:

    Lord Belisarius had asked me to stay in his cabin, expressly forbidding me from walking the decks or below, for three straight days. This was probably a precaution against my divulging any kind of information regarding our mission to the low-ranking soldiers and oarsmen. This was unnecessary, as I certainly knew less than they. I had heard the General's conversations with his staff regarding the landings on 'the temple beach' and the organisation of the enemy's regiments, and I had seen that on port and starboard there was often no land in sight, and I knew of the rumours of an Italian invasion, which was why I had accepted the post as the General's scribe. But surely these seasoned navymen knew far better than I where we were heading. So I made it my business those days to keep my head down to the floorboards, so that I might overhear some intelligence from below, if it happened to be in a dialect not too vulgar or uncommon.

    I was awoken before dawn on the fourth morning to be told that we were making a camp on land, where one tourma, the 1st Thraki, would stay to fight with the galleys if necessary, while the other two, the 1st Thessalonaiki and 1st Athinai, would begin preparing for a long march north. The General was still close-lipped about the destination, although I finally pried out of him our present location, arguing that surely I was the last to know. We were near the city of Rossano in Calabria, so I guessed that our destination was not Ravenna but Neapolis.

    I would have preferred that we take the galleys to a beach closer to our goal, but I was told that the risk of encountering pirates at the mouth of the Tyrrhenian Sea was too great.


    The Romans land in Calabria.

    The journey was grueling. On the way we met very few Goths, contrary to my expectation. In fact, we were, for the first while, mostly among Greeks, and even when the chatter at the town squares (and we did cause a stir whenever we approached one) turned to Latin, the feeling was still as one might imagine in the Italy of old. For the most part we were able to rely on the inns (such as they were) to order, procure, and deliver to us our bread and wine and other staples. There was no sympathy for the Goths of Ravenna, nor for us either I might add, and the people lived their lives apart from the concerns of emperors and kings. We do not know how many rushed ahead with word of our approach, but the plan was not, as far as I could make out, one that relied on surprise.

    Early one morning, about a fortnight into our march, I noticed that our numbers were distinctly fewer, and all Athenian, and that the General was not present. The captains told me that our goal was close, as I could see as we wer now under the slopes of the smoking Vesuvius, but no one would tell me where the Thessalonicans were. As we approached the city close enough to see the archers, our commander suddenly called for a change in direction, and we were marching around to the north of the city, and as we marched we could see the Napolitan archers scramble from parapet to parapet, repositioning to follow our progress and maintain their advantage. Then we saw a commotion at the gates facing us. At first I could not believe my eyes, but it soon dawned on me that we were being charged. A large mass of warriors was moving towards us, kicking up dust that obsured our view, but clearly a number that far outnumbered us. I do remember expressing my alarm to my comrades, whoever nearby that would listen, but all that they returned to me were smiles. Utterly confused, I kept my hand on my dagger and peered into the seething rabble approaching, fearing at one point that a mutiny had taken hold in the company to which I was haplessly attached. I remained in this vigilant state until I perceived that the approaching mob had veered to the side and hurried past us on the road leading south. They were carrying farm implements and sacks, they were silent and fear was in their eyes. They were not soldiers, but plebians, and they were fleeing their city. When I looked again at the ramparts of Neapolis, I saw that the archers had disappeared, and soon after I heard the horn call which signalled Roman victory. The soldiers around me erupted in a cheer, and then a captain took me aside and explained that the General had snuck around to the west of the city before daybreak, used the decoy of our dust-raising approach to move the Napolitan archers into the most vulnerable position, and then stormed the walls of the undefended side of the city. Neapolis had fallen before breakfast.

    I do now repent in shame at the panic that swept through me that morning, but I credit the genius of General Belisarius in granting me the most astounding display of tactics that an historian could hope for.


    The Roman reconquest of Neapolis.

    A civil servant who we only know as "the assistant of John the Lydian" kept extensive records of the possessions of notable patricians in the 6th century, including even some statistics on the spending of the emperors and patriarchs.

    Justinian I inherited a healthy treasury, though yearly depleting, of over 800 million solidi at the beginning of his reign, but due to his ambitions abroad and in Constantinople, the deficit only increased during the next four decades. Rebuilding the Hagia Sophia alone cost 1,440,000 solidi. The reparations after the vandalism of the Nika riots, as well as after the 551 earthquake, cost in excess of 8,000,000 solidi.

    At the height if the Italian campaign, supply for the army and navy in the west were running in excess of 2,000,000 solidi per four-year funding period. About half as much was spent in dispatching the 2nd Thraki Tourma permanently in the Antioch region. This discrepancy drew criticism of the Emperor's misplaced emphasis on Latin lands, when our own lands in the east were in peril. It is often commented in this regard that the Emperor was of Latin-speaking stock, from the environs of Illyria. The critcism of was especially harsh two decades later when a Sassanid raid resulted in the loss of an important road from Antioch to Aleppo, drastically reducing silk supplies to the capital.


    The 2nd Thraki Tourma in deployed against the Sassanid raiders.


    A Sassanid raid leaves the road to Aleppo untraversable.

    It must be admitted that, under Justinian I, several estates were established that helped to increase the revenues of the Empire and improve, to some degree, the life of the people. Demetrius of Nicaea purchased the salt mines to the west of Iconium and developed them in the years before 560, and likewise the Church was able to develop its holdings in Palestine, including a large apiary. Both of these developments can be credited in part to the greater feeling of security brought about by the victories of Justinian.


    The Iconium salt mines.


    The apiaries of Palestine.

    Also at sea, although no new fleets of galleys had been commissioned, some of the patricians were sponsoring more exploratory and patrol missions. As a result of these, minimal contact was re-established with the Rhodians, who had broken free in the chaos of the east-west wars of the last century.


    The independent city-state of Rhodes.

    As of 564, I have made this accounting of the major sources of commodities in the empire:
    Constantinopolis: wheat, iron, unsteady supply of copper
    Nicaea: livestock (predominantly swine), gold
    Smyrna: wheat
    Iconium: horses, silver, salt
    Aleppo: silk (interrupted)
    Tyre: wool
    Jerusalem: wheat, wool, honey
    Alexandria: stone, fish
    Athens: wool, wine, copper
    Thessalonica: iron

    This report submitted to John of Lydia, 30 December 564, in fulfillment of my duties as assistant and scribe.


    The economy of the Roman Empire in 564, near the end of Justinian's reign.

    The Empire at 564:
    Unstable. State religion: Christianity.
    Treasury: 695 million solidi. Total commerce: 185.
    Tax income: 54, Research: 113, Espionage: 18.
    Expenses: 76 (Military maintenance: 13, Military supply: 0, City maintenance: 9, Civic maintenance: 54).
     
  19. Gruekiller

    Gruekiller Back From The Beyond

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  20. Civ'ed

    Civ'ed I ain't gotta explain a thing

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    er, can you turn the Greek into something we can read please?
     

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