Monday, February 3, 2014

Stu Plays Civ: Roma Victor, 4000 BC - 420 AD

As you all know, when I play Civ now, I post it on here.

I just wrapped up a Civ IV file involving the British Empire (you can read the whole thing if you start here and then read here, here, here and here.)

I decided that I was going to play Civ V vanilla after that file was done, albeit a modded version of it. I grabbed one of the Earth packs with true starting locations, city-states in their true locations, and resources distributed realistically. And I was trying to decide who to play: Rome, Mongolia, Germany, America, Russia or India. After asking around some IRL friends, I settled on Rome.

Anyway, on with Ad Urbe Condita - Librum I.

The founding of Rome is shrouded in much myth and superstition. One tale says that the brothers Romulus and Remus were raised by wolves in the wilderness amidst the shrines of the Sabians. They founded a city amidst these neutral places of worship, but then fought over who would lead it. Rome takes her name from Romulus, who slew Remus.

Another myth says that Aeneas, fleeing fallen Troy, sailed to the uttermost parts of the Greek world, the plains of Latium, and built a new Troy upon seven hills by the river Tiber. It is said that he then ordered his subjects, the Sabines, to abduct German settlers to work their fields. The blond hair of a scattering of rural Italians in Latium to this day gives some credence to this myth.

What we do know is this: the oldest buildings in Rome date from Palatine Hill, where legend states Romulus and Remus grew up. Recent digs for artifacts have turned up coins identified as from the reign of King Menes of Egypt, so we know that the city now called Rome is more ancient than even the myths tell us. It may even have been a place of pilgrimage and worship as many as 4420 years ago!

In any case, we Romans were not the first to build upon these seven hills. Before us were the Sabines, who built a pyramidal temple upon the Collis Quirinalis to do sacrifice to their war god Quirinus. Historical records suggest that the Pyramid of Quirinus dates to 1280 BC.

We have historical records, because the Sabines established the Temple of Minerva Medica on the Esquiline Hill of what is now Rome. It was unique in the world, a "temple of knowledge," where the priests asked for donations not of money, but of texts. An immense collection of scrolls has come into their possession over many years, and their strategy has proven shrewd. Though they were once a minor sect, they now are perhaps the most prominent in Rome, and the charges they levy for access to their overflowing and well-curated libraries surpass the tithes of any other.

What would become the territory of the original Kingdom of Rome also had another marvel built within it, but this one not in Rome. Great standing stones were assembled on an island in the Laguna Veneta. Sacrifice was done here in the name of Ares, after a Spartan raiding party was captured and then offered to him as thanks for the victory. The Veneti were longstanding allies of the Romans, and regularly served to counterbalance the Etruscans. Finally, their great city Aquileia was granted colonia status and their people made citizens, to honor their fidelity as allies and their historic contribution to Rome's greatness.

But in any case, the state historians of Rome still date the official founding of the city to 753 BC, and consider Romulus the first King of Rome. The city quickly amassed wealth and power, and the Etruscans, who had dominated the plains of Latium before then, were subdued. After some small wars, the Etruscans accepted the overlordship of a Roman proconsul, and a Roman colony was established at Mediolanum, in the valley of the Fluvius Padus. Mediolanum was intended to be a garrison town: not just to keep the restive Etruscans from threatening Rome, but also to keep the Gauls and Suebi out of Italia proper. For similar reasons, the Greek city of Massilla was made a friend and ally of the King of Rome, and then a colony and its people citizens of Rome. In this way, we guaranteed Roman control of the Italian peninsula, and that invasion by land would not be an easy task.

The Kingdom of Rome was overthrown in 460 BC, when the eighth king of Rome displeased the legionaries. He had attempted to lower veterans' pay, and was forced to flee to the court of the Gauls. He had done so after tax revenue was lower than expected, and after having already spent a lot of money on creating a new shrine for oracles.

Meanwhile, the legionaries instituted the Roman Republic, an institution which still technically endures to this day. Elected consuls took on the burden of government.

But we were not fully rid of kings yet. The son of the eighth Roman king styled himself the ninth King of Rome, and furthermore had demonstrated himself unworthy of the title when he swore fealty to the Gauls in exchange for them putting them back on his throne. We faced a Gallic invasion in 420 BC.

The Republic was not prepared. The fortress cities in Cisalpine Gaul held fast, but the legions stationed at them were largely away. Massilla's garrison was chasing down barbarians in Hispania, and Aquileia was garrisoned by a force of archers. The only city with a garrison, Mediolanum, was largely ignored in the first wave of battle. A Gallic band menaced Aquileia, but was worn down by attrition and guerrilla warfare by archers, the only engagement on the eastern front.

The quick victory on the eastern front allowed troops to be sent to the relief of Massilla. After the Battle of Aquileia, there was renewed appreciation in the Senate for guerrilla archery tactics. The Gauls had an exceptionally large force besieging Massilla, and Massilla's garrison was too far away to reach the city in time. Also given the lack of iron with which to equip legionaries with swords, popular cohorts were called up from the plebians and equipped with bows. Together with the under-equipped legionaries sent from Mediolanum, hit-and-run tactics kept the Gauls at bay. At one point, they managed to surround Massilla in preparation for a final attack, but the city defenses held strong and fresh troops from Rome and Aquileia relieved the city as the guerrillas in the hills swept down to administer the final blow.

After that, we menaced the Gallic countryside around Parisiorum, but their civil defenses and their armed band of swordsmen guarding the hilly approaches prevented anything more than a cat-and-mouse game. A ballista cohort was raised in Aquileia, but was only successfully deployed in any numbers at the very end of the First Gallic War. Nonetheless, the massed troops in their territory made the Gauls nervous, and in 200 BC accepted peace with the Senate and people of Rome.

It was necessary breathing space before the Second Gallic War, as it was only in 200 BC when the colony of Brundisium was established at the site of an iron mine in Apulia. Once a domestic supply of iron was secured, we could equip our legionaries with better weapons and armor, and prepare them for the arduous task of conquering the rest of Gaul. For after the First Gallic War, Rome would not be caught unawares again, and now considered an unsubdued Gaul to be a threat to the nation.

But first, public opinion would have to be mobilized for such a task. If we were to successfully conquer the Gauls and bring their lands under our command, we would have to foster a sense of greater Roman nationalism. So to begin, we built the Colossus of Massilla to celebrate the city's heroism and ultimate victory in the First Gallic War. Tourists now come from all over the world to visit this wonder in Massilla's harbor, and when they go home they tell the tale of Roman victory and martial prowess. This has given our citizens the necessary pride, especially in relation to the Gauls, to finish the job.

We also realized a broader front would be necessary to conquer Parisiorum. The hill country between the great city and Massilla was simply too treacherous to cross, as it left our legions too vulnerable to hit-and-run attacks. If we dared to cross it, we would need massive numbers, and a second front marching across the Atlantic coast. So we made an alliance with the Bituriges Vivisci against the Gauls, and made their city Burdigala into a colony. We dispatched the Legio II Augusta to guard it, and to advance on Parisiorum when the time came.

The time came in 240 AD. We advanced, and the enemy advanced to meet us; both on the Burdigala and Massilla fronts. We then pulled back to Roman territory, and they followed. Wearing them down with guerrilla strikes, our legions were able to slay their swordsmen, their warriors and their catapults. We then advanced: legions, ballistae, and archers all. The Legio I Minervia was slaughtered to a man by Gallic mobs, but we ended up taking the city of Parisiorum in 350 AD.

After recovering the rest of the army to full strength through conscription, and after pacifying Parisiorum under a Gallic client king, we advanced on the remnant of the Gallic forces in Germania Inferior, and finally by 420 AD had captured their great city, Batavia. The Gallic kingdom was destroyed, save for their Franci allies across the Rhenus, who quickly approached us for peace. We established the colony of Lugdunum Batavia at the mouth of the Rhenus, to guard our new northernmost frontier.

There are great opportunities for expansion now. We have the vast lands of Hispania to settle, as well as the lands of Africa, Numidia and Phasania, where we have discovered abundant incense. We built massive gardens in Rome, gardens that will help feed a growing population. Our empire may not be the largest, but it is growing at a sustainable pace. We are thoroughly absorbing the lands we conquer; it will be difficult indeed for any barbarians to pry them away from our grasp. We seek to create an empire that will never fall; only time will tell if we succeed.

(For those who want to play along, here's the save file to 420 AD. I forget the exact mod used, but I'm pretty sure it's Wallengren's Giant Earth, and all it did anyway was put everyone in the right starting locations. If you don't have the mod, the only thing that'll change is the names of some city-states.)

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