Military Affairs

Tully

Tully

Though you have kept it hidden from most, you suffered from seizures in your youth, a sign of weakness which would have reflected badly on you and certainly prevented you from achieving the rank you have today.

Publius, Julia

You've heard from a colleague who used to work for the Tullii that Tully the Great actually suffered from seizures when he was young. Since this is typically seen as a sign of weakness, it was hidden from public knowledge. You've never told anyone this information, but could use it as a bargaining chip.

Tully, Domitius, Gallicus

Despite the popular acclaim for Tully's swift conquest of Kush, many military insiders know that he personally had little effect on the campaign. His forces won primarily through luck and the general military weakness and unpreparedness of the Kushites. During the only battle of any real note, when the Roman camp was ambushed at night by superior numbers of Kushite troops, Tully, his top officers, and a single cohort were cut off from the main body of the legions early in the battle. Overall command was assumed by a gutsy young tribune, Varrius Flaminius, who led the troops to victory. Much of this information never came to the attention of the Senate, even during the intense debates in which Tully officially received the title Magnus.

Flaminius was quietly decorated for his valor, and now commands his own legion in Mesopotamia.

Titus Flavius

Though you have few reliable details, since returning to Rome you've heard from your military buddies that Tully's victory in Kush was vastly overrated, and that his campaign was actually marked by an amazing level of incompetence. This could, of course, be sour grapes, so you'd like to verify the truth or falsehood of the rumors.

Severas, Aurelia

Last year you hosted a newly promoted young legate named Varrius Flaminius, who was passing through Gerasa in order to take command of the XXXVIth Legion in Mesopotamia. He had apparently served with great distinction during Tully's conquest of Kush, where he was a junior tribune. According to his description of the key battle, he actually took command of the army for a short time when Tully and his top officers were cut off from the legions by a night-time ambush. Though Flaminius modestly downplayed his own exploits, you suspect that he may have had more to do with Tully's success in Kush than Tully himself did.

Domitius, Agricola, Ennius, Cassius Aurelius, Publius, Tully, Vespasian, Gallicus

After Tully's return from Kush, during the debates about granting him the title "Tully the Great" certain facts about his treatment of prisoners came to light. Late in the campaign, after the main Kushite army had been defeated and the Romans were laying siege to the capital of Meroe, the Kushite king offered to surrender on two conditions: first that not a drop of his men's blood be spilled, and second that his wive's and daughters not be molested or raped by Tully's men. Tully agreed. The Kushite soldiers were buried alive, and the king's wives and daughters were given to criminals in the Kushite prisons.

Certain senators in the Vespasiani faction argued that this excessive behavior was detrimental to the empire, alienating the Kushites and laying the seeds of future rebellion. However, the majority of the senators, including those in the imperial and religious factions, praised Tully's decisions regarding the prisoners and considered this yet another reason for granting him the title Magnus.

Domitius, Tully, Cassius Aurelius, Vespasian, Agricola, Ennius, Domitria, Gallicus

In the year 43, Tully was the prefect of the VIth Legion commanded by Nepos Merrinius, a cousin of Merrinia Domitia and a good friend of Tully's. The Merrinius family was pushing its recent alliance with the Domitians and had arranged for Nepos's betrothal to Domitia, Emperor Castor's niece. However, Nepos was killed by Celtic raiders, and Domitia ended up marrying Tully.

This minor bit of history became an important issue 14 years later when Emperor Domitius was preparing to depart from Britannia and had summoned a new general to take his place. Since the emperor was hundreds of leagues from Rome, he was careful to include contingency plans in his orders and thus sent a prioritized list of potential generals to command the Britannic legions, with instructions that if the top candidate were unavailable then the second should be sent.

At the top of the list was Senator Tullius, who was the praetor peregrinus of Rome at the time. Tully was ready to march for Britannia, picking up the LIVth Legion in Belgica on the way. However, at the last minute leading members of the Senate received reports of documents and witnesses of foul play, indicating that back in 43 Tully had actually betrayed his commander to the Celtic raiders in order to gain the hand of Domitia. Though this issue wasn't brought to the full attention of the Senate, the back room scandal was sufficient to remove Tully from consideration, and the British command passed to the second candidate on the list: Titus Flavius Vespasianus.

The allegations of murder were later proven false, when it was discovered that the documents had been forged and the witnesses who had come forward, mostly Romanized Celts, had all disappeared. Upon returning and discovering what had occurred the emperor was furious, but an imperial investigation never revealed the perpetrators of the fraud. The emperor personally promised Tully that he would receive the next important command available, a promise which eventually led to Tully's famous exploits in Kush.

Vespasian, Gallicus

The false scandal against Tully was engineered by Senator Vespasian, with help from Gallicus, who provided the Celtic witnesses and then arranged for them to disappear.

Britannia

Titus Flavius, Gallicus

Titus Flavius's conquest of Britannia was a long, hard campaign that had its share of setbacks and errors, including two major ones. The first involved a major miscalculation in Dumnonia, in which the Dumnonii took you completely by surprise and temporarily captured the valuable tin mines, destroying the infrastructure and depriving you of the much needed income from those mines. That loss set your entire conquest back by at least two years. The second involved the embarrassing successes of a native queen, Boudicca, who managed to defeat Roman garrisons for six months before she and her Silurii allies were finally destroyed.

Both of these incidents could have been used by Domitius as grounds for recalling his general. However, Domitius had faith in Titus Flavius and realized that no one else could have done a better job. Though the emperor regularly grumbled about the excessive time spent on the campaign, he had nothing but praise for Titus Flavius's decisions and sent only mild reprimands for the two blunders.

Titus Flavius

The emperor's actions during your conquest of the Britons gave you a new respect for the man's leadership abilities. Though your reports downplayed your failures and emphasized your successes, a practice that every general followed, you were too honest to outright lie, and knew that the emperor was definitely astute enough to read between the lines. Knowing Domitius's reputation for military perfectionism, you fully expected to be recalled after each of your major setbacks. His patience, however, made you realize that he was more than the insane perfectionist of rumor who expected the impossible from his subordinates.

Domitius, Agricola, Cassius Aurelius

Domitius always considered it something of a personal failure that political requirements forced him to leave Britannia before he finished conquering it. The fact that it took six years for Titus Flavius to finish the job has, however, somewhat vindicated him. According to the reports from Titus Flavius, the Britons were far tougher opponents than originally expected, militarily on par with the Germanic barbarians but with a more advanced culture. Titus Flavius made no mistakes in his campaign, and though the emperor grumbled about the excessive time and money spent on the conquest, could find no reason to fault Titus Flavius's leadership.

Gallicus, Publius

With his command of all communications between Britannia and the empire, it was easy for Gallicus to intercept Titus Flavius's reports and replace them with similar ones that kept most of the information intact but made no mention of any major setbacks. All the emperor and his staff ever saw were reports of a slow but steady string of victories. Publius was also in on this project, relaying to Gallicus the emperor's reactions to the fudged reports so that Gallicus's staff could forge appropriate missives for the next delivery.

Gallicus has never revealed this information to anyone but has saved it as a bargaining chip.

Rutger, Atilius

You've heard rumors that while he was in Britannia, Titus Flavius was actually defeated in battle by a troop of female barbarians let by a female general. Though the story is almost certainly apocryphal (a female general indeed!), it's just too good to not pass on and you can't wait to tell people about it, along with the string of hilarious vulgar jokes that accompanied the story. (I'm sure you can make some up.)

Tully

Letters from your son Marcus have told you of an incident which occurred during the conquest of Britannia which doesn't seem to be public knowledge. Apparently, two years ago there was a major rebellion among the western tribes that was led by a woman. Marcus found this hard to believe at first, but in talking with the veteran troops learned that it was fact. Not only are the rumors true that the Britons send their women into battle, but their women even command armies! This warrior queen managed to defeat Roman garrisons for six months before she was finally defeated and killed in battle by Titus Flavius. You are surprised that this incident, which could be quite embarrassing, has never been heard of in Rome.

Gallicus, Titus Flavius

Last year, Senator Gallicus requested a military posting for his nephew Tibullus. In a private missive to General Vespasian, Gallicus made it clear that Tibullus, who had large ambitions, was to be considered "expendable". Two months after arriving in Britannia, Tibullus was sent with a small force of men on a particularly dangerous mission into the Pictish lands and did not return.

Domitria

A couple years ago at a dinner party in Rome you met Gallicus's nephew Tibullus, a charming young man who was quite flattering, and the two of you became good friends for a short period. While you both engaged in outrageous flirtation with each other, it was clearly understood that your were nothing more than friends. You haven't seen or heard from him in over a year, and would like to find out what happened to him.

Praetorian Guard

Domitius, Agricola, Publius, Cassius Aurelius, Vespasian, Ennius, Titus Flavius

When Domitius took the throne, he naturally put many of his own people into place in key positions. However, one position he couldn't just reassign at a whim, much as he wanted to, was that of the prefect of the Praetorian Guard. Quintus Flavius Piper had packed the guard with his own people from the Sabine Hills; any attempt to replace him without cause would lead to insurrection in the Guard. Piper was smart enough to be among the first to swear fealty to the new emperor and, it is assumed, gave him further private assurances of his loyalty, for he remained in office for six years.

When Piper died in 54, Domitius wasted no time in selecting a new prefect, choosing Marcus Caeculus Agricola. Though there was an in-depth investigation of his death (a political necessity), there was never any indication of foul play -- the man was simply trampled to death while guarding the imperial granaries from a desperate mob.

Domitius, Agricola, Publius, Cassius Aurelius, Vespasian, Ennius, Domitria, Gallicus, Tully, Herod

Four years ago, when the position of first tribune of the Praetorian Guard became open, there was a major political scramble to select the new officer. With the emperor away in Sarmatia, the selection fell to Prefect Agricola and the two consuls, so it was very easy for other major powers to remove unwanted candidates by applying social pressure. Agricola's first choice, Cassius Decimus, a praetorian centurion with an excellent record, was vetoed by Tully, who was one of the consuls at that time. The next few proposed candidates, all veteran guardsmen, were removed from consideration by various senatorial factions. A couple candidates voluntarily withdrew their nominations, presumably after political or financial pressure was applied to them. Every faction put forward its own candidates, who of course were rapidly eliminated from the roster. After months of wrangling, the office finally was granted to a compromise candidate, Sextus Publius Maximus, who had almost no political connections into Roman politics.

Herod, Tully, Domitius, Agricola

The inside story of how Publius was chosen is actually quite amusing. Agricola and the consuls were in a deadlock, and seemed to have no means of breaking it. Everyone knew that Domitius would be displeased if his subordinates could not make such a simple decision without him, so Agricola met secretly with the two consuls in the imperial apartments and offered a unique solution, which was accepted. They collected the names of all the candidates whose selection would not provoke actual violence from any one faction, wrote those names onto scraps of papyrus, put the slips in a jar, and agreed to let the first person who passed by the door pick one of the slips at random. As chance had it, Herod Aemilianus, who was visiting at the time, was the first person to walked by, and it was he who selected the name. When Domitius was later told of this process he officially reprimanded Agricola and the consuls for such sloppy work -- once he stopped laughing.

Cassius Aurelius, Vespasian, Ennius

You are aware that during the selection of the praetorian first tribune there was some definite back-room politicking to which even you were not privy. Apparently, Agricola and the two consuls met in secret and worked out a compromise between them, one which nobody was really happy with, but to which faction was too strongly opposed. You have always wanted to discover exactly how they managed to finally agree on Publius.

Publius, Agricola, Domitius, Titus Flavius

Though no longer dominated by Flavian supporters, there is still a substantial minority of Sabines in the Praetorian Guard. Were the Guard to do anything particularly unacceptable to Sabine or Flavian interests, they could prove troublesome, especially if a member of the Flavii were to incite them to insurrection.

Gallicus, Publius

For the last few years, Gallicus has been quietly buying supporters within the Praetorian Guard. Though the Praetorians are the best payed soldiers in the empire, there are always higher levels of wealth available. Publius, whose family is quite poor, was an easy mark, and he is now secretly in the pay of Senator Gallicus. Also in the cabal are the centurions Belacus, Trimanicus, and Fornax (all three of whom are in Publius's personal cohort), along with a dozen or so common soldiers. Gallicus has given them few orders over the years, but they stand by to do his bidding when necessary.

Agricola

You are worried about Publius. Being from such a poor family, you fear that he is susceptible to bribery, a fatal weakness for the emperor's bodyguard. Though he's payed extremely well (all the praetorians are), you know that he has expensive tastes, typical of the noveau riche. Though you are aware of no impropriety on his part, you keep a careful watch on him, and have identified at least a half-dozen men in his personal cohort who seem to be his "flunkies", including the centurions Trimanicus and Fornax. If there were even any trouble, they would probably take his side against you.

You have not informed Domitius of these fears.

Julia

From your contacts in the imperial households accounting offices, you are aware that they suspect someone of funneling money to certain members of the Praetorian Guard. The centurions Belacus and Trimanicus, along with a half-dozen common soldiers, all seem to be spending more money than can be accounted for from their pay or other outside income. However, there is no solid proof of bribery, and definitely no sign of where the money is coming from, so no accusations have been made.

Germania

Publius, Atilius

Atilius Regulus served in the XXXIInd Legion four years ago under Legate Publius Maximus. At the time they were stationed in Alemannia, in southwestern Germania [modern Bavaria]. The Alemanni were a fractious confederation of tribes which had never been fully subdued. In the winter of 59, during a battle against rebel Alemanni, Publius made a key blunder, ordering half of his cohorts to swing around into a valley which his tribunes and centurions, including Atilius, suspected was a trap. Publius ignored their objections and sent them anyway. At the last moment, the senior tribune, Petronius, disobeyed the order and commanded the troops to turn back. His fears proved correct, for as the cohorts turned around hordes of Alemanni sprang from hiding in the snow and attacked. Petronius personally took command of the rear cohort, ordering Atilius to take command of the rest and continue the retreat. Petronius was killed in the fight, but managed to save half the army from certain slaughter, which would have probably led to the defeat of the entire legion. Instead, the Alemanni were eventually routed and their commander, a tribal leader named Rutger, was captured and taken back as a slave. (This is, of course, the Rutger who would later become the famous gladiator, though Publius never actually encountered him face to face at the time.)

Publius's blunder was never reported to the emperor (officers who squeal on their superiors don't get promoted) and only a few months later he was chosen to serve as first tribune of the Praetorian Guard.

Rutger

You were once the chieftain of the Traubin tribe. A fierce warrior, your voice was respected among all the tribes of the Alman Confederation in southwest Germany [modern Bavaria], and you counseled a union of all the Alman tribes in a rebellion against the decadent Romans and their Loki-ridden king, Domitius. The fact that this would almost certainly allow you to proclaim yourself king of the Almans was no small part of your reasons for advocating this plan.

Unfortunately, the Almans tribes were fragmented, and not all would listen to you, so you decided to give them an example of your might by destroying one of the Roman legions. You prepared an elegant plan to lure the Romans into a valley where your troops would be hidden in the snow, ready to spring upon them in ambush. At first the plan worked perfectly, and the Roman commander was even stupid enough to send only half of his men into the valley, a prospect which would have allowed you to destroy the divided forces at leisure. However, at the last minute, the tribune in charge of the troops heading into the valley decided to turn around! Enraged, your men broke from cover and attacked. From your vantage point in a tree, you personally saw the lead tribune take command of the rear cohort and order the rest of the men to retreat under the command of another tribune. The brave tribune and his cohort were killed, but allowed the two halves of the legion to link up and engage your troops as a whole. Your forces were quickly routed and you yourself were captured, though you're pretty sure you saw your younger brother Garvis safely get away.

During the long march to the slave markets of Rome, you met the tribune who led the cohorts which retreated from your trap. His name was Atilius Regulus [and you will recognize him at the game]. He told you that the brave tribune who died to save the rest was named Petronius. You never found out the name of the legate whom you would have defeated if Petronius had not saved his ass!

Publius, Domitius, Agricola, Tully, Cassius Aurelius, Vespasian, Ennius, Gallicus

Publius has an excellent service record and earned numerous commendations for his defeat of a much larger army of Alemanni tribesmen in the winter of 59, only a few months before he entered the Praetorian Guard. That major victory, in which many of the most rebellious Alemanni were slaughtered, put the fear of the legions into the Alemanni, and directly led to the political climate which allowed Rome to select a client king from among their number.

Herod

You recently purchased a German slave girl named Ingra who had served as a concubine for the gladiator pens. Most such women are badly used and unfit for anything but menial labor afterward, but this was a big strapping girl whose German ancestry apparently caused the German gladiators to protect her from too much abuse. Still, you were able to pick her up cheap as a concubine for your own favored male slaves. You questioned Ingra upon purchase and discovered that she had been a favorite of Rutger. Considering his fame, you decided to find out all you could about him. You learned that Rutger was once a tribal chieftain among the Alemanni of southwestern Germania, and had tried to unite his people against the Romans. He failed and was captured. Rutger also has a younger brother named Garvis, who participated in the battle but escaped. Rutger has not seen or heard from Garvis in four years and is worried about his little brother and hopes he has taken care of himself.