Public Information

The Succession

Legally, the next emperor will be elected by the Senate. However, it is an unwritten assumption that the Senate will choose whichever candidate is supported by the legions. Because the legions as a whole are strongly loyal to Domitius, whomever he names as his legal heir will almost certainly inherit that loyalty, along with vast amounts of land, funds, and family clients personally controlled by the Domitians. If Domitius were to die before naming an heir, unless the major players were to quickly agree on a successor the empire could be thrown into chaos as those resources and the allegiance of the individual legions became split between whichever factions could grab hold of them. In addition to naming an heir in his will, which will only be read after his death, it is expected that Domitius will publicly signal his choice of heir through one or more of the following methods: adopting the heir as son, marrying the heir to his daughter (if necessary, the emperor can dissolve any previous marriage), and/or arranging for himself and the heir to be elected co-consuls (only possible for older heirs).

The Imperial Family

Emperor Gaius Domitius Caesar Aaron Vanek

Commonly known as Imperator (Emperor) Domitius, he also holds the titles Princeps, Pontifex Maximus, and Pater Patriae. He is married to Merrinia and has one living child, Domitria. He is the brother of Tiberius Domitius Caesar (now deceased), the half-brother of Lucius Domitius Ennius, and the adopted father of Germanicus (also now deceased).

Domitius was born Gaius Domitius Castor in the year 16, the younger son of Sestus Domitius Castor, the emperor's nephew. When Gaius was nine years old, his father was named the emperor's heir, eventually becoming the Emperor Castor five years later. The family's name was changed and Gaius became Gaius Domitius Caesar, commonly referred to as Domitius.

Domitius gained military experience very quickly, and by age 22 was serving as the legate of Noricum. Emperor Castor was a firm believer in the "Testament of Augustus" and maintained the empire at its "natural borders" in the north: the Rhine and the Danube. Domitius, however, disagreed with his father, and regularly led his troops across the Danube to fight the Germans, a practice for which he received numerous reprimands.

In the year 40, Domitius was called back to Rome, stripped of his command, and (at Castor's request) selected by the Senate to serve as aedile of the ports in Ostia, where he supervised grain shipments. Three months later, however, his elder brother Tiberius disappeared while pursuing bandits in the deserts of Mauretania Tingitana. With Domitius now the most likely heir to the throne, his supporters in the Senate convinced the emperor to give him another command. Castor gave him the Elegacian Legion in Moesia, possibly the most dangerous posting in the empire due to the increasingly daring raids from the fierce and organized Dacian kingdom to the north. Domitius was under firm orders not to cross the Danube.

Upon arriving in Moesia, Domitius's first order was to march the troops north into Dacia. Before winter ended, the Dacian king had surrendered to the empire. Domitius didn't stop. Over the next few years he kept going north, conquering tribe after tribe of Germans and Sarmatians. As a general, Domitius became famous for his brilliant military strategy and his attention to detail; a tenacious "micro manager", he was obsessed with every detail of the battle. His ferocity in battle was unmatched, and among his men Domitius was said to be a son of Mars.

Back in Rome, the emperor was furious with his sons actions, but was prevented from going after him by declining health. His messages were sent back unopened, though always accompanied by trains of booty and slaves, much of it earmarked for key senators who supported Domitius's aggressive stance. Twice the emperor sent legions to hunt down his son and bring him back, by force if necessary. The first legion got lost in the wilds of Germania; they lost a third of their men during the winter and never found him. The second ended up joining Domitius.

In the year 46 Domitius reached the Baltic Sea and turned west into the heart of Germania. His reputation preceded him, and many tribes surrendered to the empire as soon as he appeared in their lands. Those that didn't were crushed. In Rome, Domitius's exploits were famous, while Castor became less and less popular. Now bedridden and unable to appear in public, he relied increasingly on his secret police and the invocation of the treason laws to enforce his orders. In 47 the emperor sent a recall order to which Domitius finally responded, though he took his time coming back, marching through Gaul.

Domitius marched into Rome in 48 at the head of his legion and a tremendous triumphal parade. Summoned before the emperor, he was formally named Castor's heir, a foregone conclusion in the minds of many. Two weeks later Castor died and Domitius was proclaimed emperor by the Senate. Domitius didn't stay for the funeral, but immediately marched north to quench a rebellion in Massilia.

Domitius's first year of imperium was marred by tragedy when a measles epidemic killed his son, Tiberius Domitius, and his eldest daughter, Domitia Minor. His youngest daughter, six-year-old Domitria, survived. When she was twelve he married her to his cousin Germanicus, whom he adopted and named heir.

After consolidating his rule, Domitius embarked on a major campaign to expand the legions. Where Augustus had reduced the legions from 60 to under 30, Domitius raised them back up to their pre-imperial levels. He spent the majority of his reign on the frontiers, conquering new lands and peoples for the empire. In addition to numerous smaller actions, he oversaw two major campaigns, one in Britannia and Hibernia (55-57) and one in Germania, Sarmatia, and Armenia (58-59). Many of the newly acquired provinces were only nominally pacified, and revolts had to be regularly suppressed. Domitius himself could not be everywhere, and his generals pushed the others frontiers outward on his behalf, primarily in the East, where the forced absorption of the various buffer client kingdoms led to a state of almost continuous warfare with the powerful Parthian Empire, whose elite mounted archers were a match for the Roman legions.

While his conquests made Domitius immensely popular with the legions and the citizens of Rome, his need to raise revenues to pay for these conquests made him increasingly unpopular in the provinces, where most of the tax increases were made. Minor uprisings grew in frequency until the year 60, when widespread revolts sprouted up in Greece and Asia Minor. Domitius sent in the legions, who suppressed the revolts with ruthless efficiency. The cities of Tarsus and Argos were razed, while in Pergamum, Nicomedia, and Halicarnassus every tenth male was slain. Domitius himself led the legions which occupied the strategic Thracian Chersonese peninsula, where he ejected the Greek citizens of Sestos and Kallipolis and replaced them with transplanted Roman colonists. The fiercest fighting occurred in prosperous Pamphylia, where the local aristocrats organized the populace into effective military units. The Pamphylian armies were eventually laid low by an epidemic of war fever, which also slew half the civilian population and the XXth legion.

About the same time, rioting against tax officials broke out in Syracuse, other cities in Sicilia, and across the straits in Neapolis. With the legions occupied by the revolts in the east and simply holding down all of the newly conquered provinces, Domitius was forced to negotiate with the local officials and lower taxes in Sicilia. The next year, when the legions in Greece were available, he ordered four of them to Sicilia, where they were quartered, at the local's expense, in the townhouses and villas of the island's upper classes. Taxes in Sicilia were raised back to their previous levels and, for a one year period, doubled beyond that. There was no resistance.

Another round of tax rebellions broke out last year in distant Lusitania, which the emperor rushed to suppress. Taking advantage of the emperor's absence, the Sicilians, led by the city of Syracuse, again revolted, successfully defeating the undermanned IXth Legion which had been left in garrison. Leaving half his troops to mop up in Lusitania, Domitius rushed back to Sicilia, picking up extra legions in Tarraconensis on the way. They landed in September of 62 and proceeded to lay waste to the island, including a grueling six-month siege of Syracuse which only ended a few weeks ago. In the process, much of Sicilia was ravaged and the once wealthy cities of Syracuse, Messina, and Palermo were completely destroyed.

The emperor returned from Sicilia four days ago, only to learn upon his arrival that his adopted son Germanicus had died fighting rebellious tribesmen in Germania. Concerned about the possibility of a succession crisis, key members of the Senate have asked Domitius to name a new heir as soon as possible. It is suspected that he plans to do so this evening.

As emperor, Domitius has clients throughout the empire. However, his true power lies in the legions, which are almost fanatically loyal to him. In contrast, the provinces, hit by ever-increasing taxes, have come to abhor him, with the exception of Germania, where many of the residents, both native tribesmen and retired legionnaires, venerate him as the living god of war. (Of course that doesn't mean the Germans don't regularly revolt. Germania's a big place, and most of the barbarians are used to direct personal leadership. Even those who idolize Domitius don't necessarily see a corollary between their admiration for him and any need to respect Roman officials or Roman law.) The citizens in Rome and Italy lie somewhere between these extremes: their dislike of the new taxes (which have been raised only mildly in comparison to those of the provincials) is balanced by the glory which Domitius has brought to the empire. The people of Rome itself are treated to a regular parade of triumphs and ovations as legions return from new conquests.

Domestically, Domitius is known to be on bad terms with his wife, Merrinia. Four years ago he had her publicly whipped for unspecified "acts of licentiousness".

Domitria Caesara Rachel Heslin

The youngest and only surviving child of Emperor Gaius Domitius Caesar and Merrinia. She is the recent widow of Germanicus Domitius, her father's adopted son and heir

Domitria was born in a frontier fort in northern Illyricum, while her father was conquering Germania to the north. However, since age 5 she has lived in Rome. Though she was married to Germanicus at age 12, as befits a Roman wife she grew into a true partner for her warrior husband, running his household while he was away on the frontier. Generally reticent in public, little else is known of her.

Lucius Domitius Ennius Barry Wilson

Usually referred to as Ennius, Lucius Domitius Ennius is the son of the deceased Emperor Castor from his second marriage. As such he is the half-brother of Emperor Domitius. He is married to Procula and has two children, 10-year-old Ennia and 13-year-old Paterculus Domitius Ennius, who is betrothed to Livia, the youngest daughter of Valerius Vespasianus. He is both a pontifex (member of the College of Pontifices) and the flamen Dialis (the high priest of Jupiter), and as such is the second highest ranking religious official in the empire (after the Pontifex Maximus, a title held by the emperor).

Ennius had a short and undistinguished military career during his father's reign. In 48, when his brother returned to Rome from his famous campaign in Germania, Ennius resigned his military post in Gaul and left to study in Athens and vacation in Palestine. He returned to Rome with his family in 52, at which time he was named flamen Dialis. Seven years later he was also elected to the College of Pontifices.

[Notes on Roman religious offices:

A flamen is one of 15 priests or sacrificers who attend specific deities. The three most important (the flamines maiores) are the flamen Dialis (priest of Jupiter), the flamen Martialis (priest of Mars), and the flamen Quirinalis (priest of Quirinus). The 12 flamines minores were priests of lesser deities.

A pontifex is a member of the College of Pontifices, an elected body of 16 pontiffs which advises the state on religious and legal matters, regulates the calendar, keeps government records, and supervises the Vestal Virgins, six maidens consecrated to the goddess Vesta. The head of the College is the Pontifex Maximums, a title held by the emperors since it was appropriated by Augustus.

Just for reference, there are two other major religious bodies in Rome: the augurs and the haruspices, both of whom specialize in divination.

It should be noted that these offices, like other aspects of Roman religion, were all about obeying formal rules and rituals so that the gods are not offended. As such they were often held simultaneously along with secular office. The individuals in these offices were not particularly "holy", nor did they carry special moral authority.]

As the flamen Dialis, Ennius has a seat in the Senate and may wear the toga praetexta. He is also indirectly in charge of the entire empire-wide cult of the Capitoline triad (Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva). On the negative side, he is also under a number of special religious restrictions. He must always wear his vestments. If his wife dies he must resign. Fire must not be taken from his house (the Flaminia) unless it be sanctified. If a man in bonds enters his house, he must be set free. The flamen cannot touch iron; witness someone bleeding or seen a company of men girt up; touch a horse, goat, raw meat, or a corpse; swear an oath; or wear a ring or a knot. Because of these restrictions, Ennius is effectively prevented from participating in many normal activities of life, especially those associated with the military. Flamines normally serve for life, but should his wife die or some irregularity occur during a sacrifice he is required to resign.

Ennius's wife Procula is the only daughter of a rural patrician family which makes bricks. In the last century, with the vast expansion of the city of Rome, they've became rather wealthy and have a role in almost all public construction in Rome. For the Domitian family, he oversees extensive cattle estates in northern Italy and Iberia. Ennius is a leading figure of the Senate faction which wishes to spend more money on the city of Rome and its citizens.

Quintus Cassius Aurelius Michael Reed

Generally known as Cassius Aurelius, he is the son of Aurelia Maior (daughter of Caesar Germanicus) and Tiberius Cassius Drusus, and has one sister, Aurelia Severas. Now 49 years old, he is married to Arria, the daughter of Marcus Domitius Caesar (the current emperor's uncle) and has two daughters, Cassia (age 21) and Germanica (age 15). Cassia is a widow, while Germanica recently married Julius Domitius Postumus, the only son of Tiberius Domitius Caesar, the emperor's deceased brother.

Cassius Aurelius is currently a powerful senator and the praetor urbanus of Rome, the magistrate who supervises all the domestic affairs of the world's largest city. He grew up in the imperial household with his cousins Tiberius and Gaius Domitius while his grandfather was emperor and was originally groomed as a possible imperial heir. However, when he was ten years old, both his father and his uncle died and the succession switched to the Domitian branch of the family. Cassius became a close friend of Gaius Domitius, and the two served together as tribunes on the Parthian and German frontiers in the years 35 and 36 respectively. After that they drifted apart as Domitius continued his military career while Cassius returned to Rome and entered politics.

After going through the prerequisite stints as quaestor and aedile, and short stints as praetor of first Ephesus and then Athens, Cassius Aurelius received the highly south position of Praetor of Carthage in 46. However, in 48 his wife Arria became gravely ill during a difficult pregnancy and the family retired to Rhodes. (There are those who also note the timing with the imperial succession and believe that Cassius Aurelius purposefully took himself out of the picture.)

A year later Cassius Aurelius returned to Rome and became the chief political advisor in Domitius's court, helping the new emperor consolidate his rule. After serving as the emperor's primary voice in the Senate for four years, in 54 he requested and was granted the Proconsulship of Asia. (Again there were rumors of a falling out with Domitius, as this also marked the beginning of the emperor's series of extended campaigns of conquest.) He later served as Proconsul of Africa. Eventually in 59 he returned to Rome and there was talk of electing him consul, but instead he requested and received the title of praetor urbanus, an old office which had been split into multiple praetorships in the past but was now revived. (Note that though praetors are generally of lower rank that proconsuls, the praetor urbanus ranks directly below the consuls.)

In all of his positions, Cassius Aurelius managed to become popular with both plebeians and equestrians, and he has spent decades honing the art of bread and circuses. He thus has broad support in Africa and Asia (including the current proconsuls in those provinces) and is widely liked in Rome, where he directly or indirectly controls most of the bureaucracy and has spearheaded extensive public programs. The people of Rome are aware of the high taxes being collected elsewhere in the empire and, whether it is true or not, many of them consider Cassius partially responsible for ensuring that they do not share that burden. From their point of view, it's a good thing when your local praetor is the emperor's cousin.

One of Cassius Aurelius's most popular endeavors has been expansion of the games in Rome. He personally owns a number of gladiators and chariot-racing teams, and regularly sponsors lavish exhibitions. Until recently he was the owner of the famous gladiator Cassipor, now freed and known as Cassius Iulius Rutger. He also has influence over many construction firms, local wine merchants, and importers.

Aurelia Severas Amy Creamer

Aurelia is the daughter of Aurelia Minor (daughter of Caesar Germanicus) and Tiberius Cassius Drusus, and thus a cousin of Emperor Domitius. Her brother is Quintus Cassius Aurelius. She is married to Septimius Severas and has two sons, 16-year old Castor Decius Manduis (from an earlier marriage) and 8-year old Octavius Severas.

Known in her youth as Aurelia Minor, she was born in the year 25, four months after her father died under suspicious circumstances. Though she grew up in the imperial palace, her family was reduced to being a collateral branch of the imperial family tree and she was generally overlooked by the powerful Domitian emperors, until the newly enthroned Emperor Gaius Domitius married her off to a senator who had helped during his succession. Decius Manduis was 42 years old and had had two previous wives, but was worth over 12 million sesterces. Surprisingly, instead of being a trophy bride Aurelia soon became a capable business woman and helped Decius manage his accounts until he died in the year 51, leaving her with four-year-old son Castor, extensive financial experience, and a vast fortune. Two years later she chose to marry Septimius Severas, a young patrician just beginning his political career.

Seven years ago, Aurelia's husband was posted to Gerasa in the Decapolis (see Severas for details). Sadly, life in Palestine has not been easy on Aurelia. Her son Castor contracted a disease when they first arrived in the East and has been sickly ever since. Aurelia has only been back to Rome twice, once to bear a daughter who died soon after the return to Gerasa.

Aurelia has considerable land holdings throughout Italy, including a lucrative marble quarry in Umbria. Through clients she controls a number of trading business in Ostia (Rome's sea port), mostly dealing with trade from Syria and Palestine.

Merrinia Caesara NPC

The wife of Emperor Domitius. They have one surviving child, Domitria. The daughter of a rural senator, during the early years of their marriage Merrinia often accompanied her husband to the frontier and truly enjoyed an adventurous life. During her years in Noricum, Illyricum, Moesia, Dacia, and Germania, Merrinia trudged through wilderness, endured harsh northern winters, traded with barbarians for food, and even commanded troops in a pinch, all the while raising three children. However, after her husband became emperor, Merrinia was forced to move to Rome and instantly grew to hate city life. There she lost her two eldest children to plague. Domitius no longer allowed her to accompany him on campaign, and was often away for years at a time. Merrinia makes no secret of her unhappiness with Rome or her husband. Rumor has it that the "wild empress" has assuaged her grief with a string of lovers, a rumor which many believe was confirmed when Domitius had her publicly whipped four years ago for unspecified "acts of licentiousness". Since then, Merrinia has been allowed to spend six months of each year on her family's estates in Illyricum, where she is now.

Julius Domitius Postumus NPC

The 23-year old son of Tiberius Domitius Caesar and Antonia, the nephew of Emperor Domitius. He recently married Germanica, the younger daughter of Quintus Cassius Aurelius.

Sestus Domitius Caesar Castoranus (Castor) NPC, deceased

Born Sestus Domitius Castor, the son of Gnaeus Domitius Castor and Julia, Augustus's daughter. Father of Tiberius Domitius and Gaius Domitius. After his two cousins died in the year 24, his uncle Caesar Germanicus named him heir to the throne (bypassing Castor's sickly elder brother, Marcus). Castor inherited the throne in 30. Extremely conservative and risk averse, Castor never got along well with his militarily aggressive son Gaius Domitius, and strongly favored Tiberius. Even after Tiberius's death he refused to name Gaius heir, and he tried twice to prosecute his son for treason when Gaius disobeyed his orders. Tiberius also coincided with the decline of his own health, and he spent much of the last eight years of his life bedridden, forced to rule the empire through his despotic and unchecked secret police. When he died in 48 (after naming Domitius his heir on his deathbed) he was soundly hated by both the Senate and the general public of Rome.

Tiberius Domitius Caesar NPC, deceased

The deceased elder brother of Emperor Domitius. He was married to Antonia, the daughter of Titus Germanicus and Octavia, and had two children, Julia and Julius Postumus. Tiberius was generally popular among both senators and the Roman populace, looked upon as an excellent heir to the imperial power. He was especially esteemed in the legions, where he was known for his excellent horsemanship and his command of cavalry forces. He was often found on the empire's frontiers, holding down the borders with a small force of cavalry while the infantry troops remained behind in barracks. This practice proved his undoing when he and an entire cohort disappeared in 40 while chasing Berber raiders into the deserts of Mauretania Tingitana. His legacy was later dogged by claims of incompetence, eventually leading to official condemnation of his brash orders which caused his legion to lose its commander while in a dangerous position.

Germanicus Domitius Caesar NPC, deceased

Germanicus is the deceased son of Titus Germanicus and Octavia, a grandson of Caesar Germanicus. In 55 he was married to Domitria, the only daughter of Emperor Domitius, who adopted him as son and heir. They had no children. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather and his adopted father, Germanicus was a brilliant military leader who made his career fighting barbarians in Germania, eventually rising to command of all the legions in southern Germania. A week ago word reached Rome that Germanicus had been killed fighting those barbarians.

Powerful Romans

Lucius Tullius Pulcher (Tully) Dan Rego

Commonly known as Tully the Great, Senator Tullius is a famed general and former consul. At 45 years of age, he is married to the emperor's cousin Domitia. He has a son, Marcus Tullius Pulcher (commonly known as Pulcher Minor), and two unmarried daughters, Tulla Maior and Tulla Secunda (ages 19 and 9, respectively).

Tully is descended from a cousin of the famed orator Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero). His family has been deeply involved in Roman politics for almost a century, and has been closely allied with the Julians since the reign of Augustus. His father served as consul, as did great-grandfathers from both sides of his family. The name Pulcher (meaning fair or lovely) was applied a few generations ago to his father's family, which was noted for having exceedingly attractive women and notably unattractive men. Fortunately, Senator Tullius takes after his mother. The Pulcher family is also well-known for its adherence to traditional values -- the family history sports many long, happy marriages with few divorces, a rarity among Roman patricians.

Tully grew up in Rome during the period when his father served as consul. He became his father's heir when his elder brother was killed by German skirmishers in the year 31. After serving some years in the legions, at age 29 he was made an aedile, a Roman magistrate responsible for enforcing regulations. He used the money gained from his fine collections to fund various games, making him extremely popular, and was elevated to the Senate a year later. At age 37 he was made praetor peregrinus (the magistrate who dealt with cases arising between Romans and foreigners or between foreigners), and at age 42 (the minimum legal age for the office) he was elected Consul.

After serving his year as consul, Tully was granted command of the legions in Egypt, a sign of immense trust from the emperor since imperial law actually forbade members of the senatorial class from even entering Egypt. Tully led the legions on a successful and highly lucrative campaign into the kingdom of Kush in Nubia (the Nile valley south of Egypt), a rich country known for its iron and essential oils. Returning to Rome last year laden with goods and slaves, Tully bestowed generous gifts on his soldiers and many of the leading citizens of Rome. He was officially greeted as "Tully the Great" by the Senate (though the nickname was already in common use by many) and received a Salutatio, the non-imperial equivalent of a Triumph. (Some of his supporters still argue that his marriage to the imperial family grants him the right to a Triumph and believe that he was slighted by receiving only a Salutatio.)

Since his return, Tully has concentrated on politics and his family's economic affairs. He owns multiple villas throughout Italy and indirectly (through his equestrian and freedmen clients) engages in shipping, real estate, construction, banking, publishing, law, and the wine trade, in essence controlling a sizable part of Rome's economy. He is especially well-known for his patronage of the famed gladiatorial team owned by the freedman Publius Ustinius.

Tully is also a well-known writer and has written well-received works on Etruscan history. He is currently circulating draft copies of his memoirs on the Kushite campaign.

Valerius Vespasianus Tapani

Senator Valerius Vespasianus is the venerable head of the powerful Vespasian family. His sister, Vespasiana, is the mother of Titus Flavius Vespasianus. His wife's name is Mancina and they have two sons and three daughters, the youngest of whom, 16-year-old Livia, is betrothed to Paterculus Domitius Ennius, the son of Lucius Domitius Ennius.

As early supporters of Julius Caesar, the Vespasians have risen with those of the Julian dynasty. As a young man Vespasian served as a quaestor in the city government, but he soon shifted to a military career. As a tribune under Caesar Germanicus he helped quell attempted revolts in Syria and Palestine. Emperor Castor granted him command of a legion, eventually appointing him the imperial legate in Syria, a position he held between 42 and 50.

Since the year 50, Vespasian has lived in Rome and concentrated on senatorial politics. He also has extensive connections with the cult of the Capitoline Triad (Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva), having financed the building of numerous temples throughout the empire. Surprisingly, he has never been elected consul.

The Vespasian family controls major estates throughout Italy, including some of the regions best vineyards. Once fierce rivals of the Flavians, with their recent union the two families now have a near monopoly on wine production in Italy. The Vespasians also indirectly control much of Rome's trade with Syria and Palestine.

Caius Nemedius Gallicus Richard Becker

Caius Nemedius's family earned the nickname "Gallicus" when his father, a minor Roman patrician from Massilia, used a combination of economic brilliance and political savvy to become the first Roman senator born in Gaul and the primary patron within the western Gaulish provinces. (The title "Gallicus", or "conqueror of Gaul", is applied ironically. Technically it should refer to Julius Caesar, though he never adopted the title formally.) The current Gallicus is the proconsul of Narbonensis, a title virtually owned by his family, even when they don't actually hold it in name. He splits his time between Rome and Narbo.

Like other patricians, Gallicus went through the standard military and civil posts as a youth, but unlike most his family connections gained him appointments almost exclusively in Narbonensis. He didn't come to Rome until late in life, and he still has the distinctive accent of southern Gaul. Though he received an excellent classical education in Arles and is considered one of the finest legal minds in the senate, he's not above playing up his "rural" roots and often uses "folksy" proverbs to make his point, a practice which often disarms those who don't know him well. This does not always endear him to others: when emperor Domitius served a term as consul in 60, emperor Domitius became enraged at the sight of Gallicus gnawing on a carrot in the Senate chambers and had him thrown out. [Political note: Though the emperor is technically a permanent "third consul", it's been a common practice since Augustus for the emperor to arrange for himself to be elected as one of the two consuls every now and then in order to keep a direct hand in senatorial politics.]

In the senate, Gallicus leads a prominent group of senators which urges the emperor to slow the growth of the empire in favor of consolidating what it has. Though he's careful to not directly criticize the empire's policies, he has questioned the wisdom of attempting to annex lands which provide no significant tax revenues and favors the creation of dependent client states instead.

Though Gallicus's family owns little in the area of Rome other than his city villa, in southern Gaul they literally control the political system and the economy through a web of patronage. They own vast estates in the wine country of Narbonensis and Aquitania and have strong interests in wool production, pottery-making, shipping in the western Mediterranean, and messenger systems and gladiatorial training schools throughout Gaul. Through his clients Gallicus also has significant indirect control in Aquitania and Lugudenensis, and even some sway in Belgica and the western German provinces. Through his control of the ports in Lugudenensis, he has a near monopoly on shipments to and from Britannia. He also has many connections with the XXVIII Legio Galli, the Gallic Legion, whose officers and men are mainly drawn from Gallicus's family or clients, currently stationed in southern Germania under the general command of Germanicus.

Gallicus's wife Annia died only a month ago and he is still wearing the toga pulla (dark toga of mourning) for her. Though he has no sons, Gallicus has three younger brothers and a host of cousins who all report to him as the pater familia. He is grooming two of his nephews, Marius Nemedius and Albinus Marcus Nemedius, to eventually inherit the family's interests.

Titus Flavius Vespasianus Ray LaVoie

Titus Flavius (more properly Vespasian, but that name is often reserved for his uncle) is the 34-year old Commander of the XI Legio Sabini (the Sabine Legion) and the Conqueror of Britannia. He is a scion of the Flavii, an old patrician family from the Sabine Hills, a rural region northeast of Rome. Early supporters of Julius Caesar, their fortunes have risen with the rise of the principate. When his father Gaius Flavius Pulcher (no relation to the Tullius Pulchers) married Vespasiana (sister of Valerius Vespasianus), the family was catapulted into the highest levels of Roman society.

The Sabine Legion was originally raised by Titus Flavius' grandfather to fight with Augustus against Antony, and acquitted itself well in the east. It has remained under Flavian command since. As a young man Titus served as an aide to his father in campaigns on the Dacian frontier. He was elected to the aedileship (a group of Roman magistrates) and the Senate at the youngest possible age for each office. As an aedile he oversaw investigations into corruption of the city's water administration, for which he won much praise.

In 55, when his father retired from public duty, Titus Flavius took command of the Sabine Legion and was sent to Palestine to quell rebellions in the area. He dealt with the rebels with ruthless efficiency, confiscating the lands and goods of anyone even consorting with the rebels. This made him extremely unpopular with the locals, though he was looked on favorably by his own troops, who were paid well from the proceeds, and officials back home, who approved of his stern and successful measures (and the reduced demand on the imperial treasury).

Following his successes in Palestine, Titus Flavius was granted command of the imperial forces in Britannia, taking over from the Emperor Domitius himself. With only the Sabine Legion and some garrison forces left behind by Domitius, Titus Flavius spent the next six years pacifying the island. Though it took longer than originally anticipated, Titus's conquests have proven solid. He and his legion have just returned from the north and are expected to receive some form of ovation. In the next few days the Senate and the emperor are expected to formally declare Britannia as Rome's new province. The Senate is also debating whether or not to formally grant General Vespasianus the title "Britannicus".

The Flavii family's wealth is based primarily on the vineyards and farms of the Sabine Hills. Though Flavian vintages do not match up to those of Sicilia or Iberia, their wines fill in the low end of the spectrum and can be found in cheap bars throughout the city. The Flavii are also deeply involved in Rome's water administration, having built two major aqueducts from the hills into the city (appropriately named the Aqueduct Flavia Maior and the Aqueduct Flavia Minor). Most of the Sabines, many of whom have settled in the region of Rome, look to the Flavii as their patrons. Many of those Sabines are also military veterans.

Sabines also form a significant faction within the praetorian guard, a testament from Quintus Flavius Piper, Titus Flavius's uncle, who served as Prefect of the Praetorians until 54 when he died while quelling bread riots when the Egyptian grain fleet was delayed by storms.

Though unmarried, Titus Flavius has had a long and stable relationship with an imperial freedwoman, Julia Djadeh. His unwillingness to put her aside for a proper Roman wife has been a continuing embarrassment.

While the conquest of Britannia did not bring back much in the way of loot (and was actually a significant drain on the treasury), the legions did return with numerous Celtic slaves. Titus Flavius has brought one of them, a dancing girl, to entertain at tonight's festivities.

Marcus Caeculus Agricola Christian Brown

The prefect (commander) of the Praetorian Guard, the emperor's elite body guards. His second-in-command is First Tribune of the Praetorians Sextus Publius Maximus.

Agricola was appointed prefect of the Praetorians nine years ago when his predecessor, Quintus Flavius Piper, was killed while quelling bread riots in Rome when the Egyptian grain fleet was delayed by storms. The Caeculi are a minor patrician family with a long history of serving as clients to the Domitii. There is no doubt in anyone's mind of his loyalty to Domitius.

[Historical Note on the Praetorian Guard: Though often referred to as bodyguards, in many ways the Praetorians are better described as palace guards. They do not actually accompany the emperor when he leaves Rome, since he is actually much safer in the field where he's typically surrounded by thousands of loyal legionaries. Instead they remain behind, guard his home and family, look after his interests in Rome, and when necessary keep the city's peace by supplementing the vigiles (the police).]

Sextus Publius Maximus Mike Donahue

The First Tribune (second-in-command) of the Praetorian Guard, the emperor's elite body guards. His commander is Marcus Caeculus Agricola.

Publius is the scion of a poor equestrian family from Samnium, an unregarded family with few ties to Roman politics. Through dint of skill and hard work, Publius worked his way up through the legions from centurion to tribune, eventually attaining command as a legate, a rare situation which was becoming more common under Domitius, who has promoted an unprecedented number of officers from the ranks. (Traditionally officers are drawn from powerful families, and most tribunes are young patricians with no previous military experience.)

For three years Publius commanded the XXXIInd Legion in Germania, until he was selected four years ago to serve as first tribune of the Praetorian Guard (technically a step down, but everyone realizes that it's a promotion -- it certainly has much higher pay!).

Septimius Severas Brian Tatosky

Septimius Severas is the praetor of Gerasa, a city in the Decapolis. He is married to Aurelia, a cousin of the emperor. They have an 8-year old son, Octavius. Septimius also serves as a father to Aurelia's 16-year old son from her first marriage, Castor Decius Manduis.

Severas was born into a patrician family which had settled in Etruria (the former Etruscan lands to the north of Rome) during the reign of Augustus. His father had a solid if unremarkable military career, even serving directly under Emperor Castor at one point. However, late in his career he was accused of murdering a senator while serving in Saguntum in Iberia. The charges were dropped, but the scandal destroyed the family's patron-client relations, effectively ruining them. Young Septimius Severas came of age in genteel poverty. He was pushed by his father to pursue a military career, but found that his talents ran more toward administration, and he soon entered the system of senatorial magistracies, eventually catching the eye of Aurelia, the widowed cousin of the emperor, whom he had met in his teens. The two married in 53.

With his new wife's connections, in 56 Severas managed to be appointed to the highly coveted governorship of Gerasa, one of the cities in the Decapolis.[Historical Note: The Decapolis is an alliance of ten cities in and around eastern Palestine, all but one (Damascus) being Greek colonies founded during the conquests of Alexander the Great. Together they control much of the empire's trade with the far east, including the lucrative spice and silk caravans run by the Nabataean Arabs. Though they have been part of the Roman empire for over a century, the ten cities enjoy considerable autonomy. Under constant threat from the Parthians, at the urging of motivated and creative Roman officials like Severas the cities' native elites have banded together for protection, providing much of their own defense.] As praetor in Gerasa, Severas is the senior Roman official within the Decapolis and has served admirably in a difficult political situation where he must deal with the demands of the local tetrarchs, the commands of his immediate superior the proconsul of Palestine, regular conflicts with neighboring client kingdoms such as volatile Judaea and trade rival Palmyra, the constant military threat of the Parthians, and the needs of the legions stationed in Syria which protect the entire region.

Severas has returned to Rome to deliver an administrative report to the senate and the emperor. However, with the emperor off in Sicilia, Severas has been cooling his heels for three weeks awaiting the emperor's return.

Quintus Atilius Regulus Hal Bowman

Atilius is a Roman equestrian. He is 35 years old. A widower, he has a 16-year old son, Septus.

After serving as a centurion for a few years in his youth, Atilius entered the imperial bureaucracy and began a rapid rise through the ranks, including a brief return to the legions as a tribune in the XXXIInd Legion. In 61 he was assigned as the procurator of Pontus, always a troublesome minor province which needed someone with both military and political experience. [Historical Note: In the days of the republic, Pontus was an independent kingdom and an enemy of Rome. Under King Mithridates VI they managed to conquer most of Asia Minor, including many former Roman provinces. In an attempt to consolidate his holdings, Mithridates ordered the deaths of all the Roman citizens in his territory; in one day tens of thousands of Romans were slain. In retaliation, the kingdom was conquered and divided by Pompey the Great. Though that was 130 years ago, the Romans do not forget the perfidy of the Pontians.] When his term of office expired, Atilius was recalled to Rome to await a new assignment.

Atilius's family is not particularly rich, but has lands and business scattered throughout northern Italy and Cisalpine Gaul (the former Celtic lands in the Po river valley at the base of the Italian peninsula, just below the Alps, only recently integrated into Italy proper).

Sextus Valerius Secundus Andy Robinson

Though born a Jew in Judaea, as a young adult Secundus moved to Rome and was adopted into the Valerii, a wealthy plebeian family. He changed his name, embraced Roman religion and culture, and rapidly combined the wealth of the Valerii with his connections in the East to became one of the richest plebes in Rome, controlling a huge import and export business with branches across the Mediterranean. He is also one of Rome's major moneylenders, though most of his clients are provincials or freedmen. Most patricians, and even many equestrians and plebeians, would prefer not to do business with him, but his extensive business and contacts often force them to do so.

Secundus makes no secret of his desire to be elected as one of the ten tribunes, despite the fact that the office is purely ceremonial. However, it can be a stepping stone into the senate. Secundus actually does have some support among the plebs, especially among the merchant classes. His popularity among the masses has also increased in recent years since he purchased some gladiatorial and racing teams and began sponsoring games. He also makes regular contributions to the Roman temples and has offered to finance part of the expected upcoming Salutatio for Titus Flavius Vespasianus and to sponsor a series of gladiatorial games in his honor.

Secundus is unmarried.

Marcus Tullius Pulcher NPC

The 20-year old son of Lucius Tullius Pulcher and Domitia Maior, a cousin of Emperor Domitius. He is married to Julia, the emperor's niece. A few months ago he was assigned as a tribune in Britain, under the general command of Titus Flavius Vespasianus. He is still there, in command of the garrison in Londinium.

Quintus Flavius Piper NPC, deceased

The deceased uncle of Titus Flavius Vespasianus. He was appointed prefect of the Praetorian Guard during the tenure of Emperor Castor, and continued on in that capacity under Emperor Domitius, during which time he managed to pack the Guard with his family's supporters from the Sabine Hills. He was killed in 54 while quelling bread riots in Rome when the Egyptian grain fleet was delayed by storms.

Non-Romans

Cassius Iulius Rutger Ian

Rutger is a former slave and champion gladiator, until recently owned by Quintus Cassius Aurelius, the emperor's cousin. He fought under the name Cassipor until a month ago when he won his freedom and retired form the arena, a famous and relatively wealthy man.

Rutger was originally a warrior chief among the barbarians of Germania, but four years ago he was captured, taken to Rome, and sold at auction to a keen-eyed lanista (trainer of gladiators). After being trained as a secutor (sword and shield fighter), he was sold to Cassius Aurelius, and went on to become an undefeated champion, winning over fifteen fights.

By the time he won his freedom, he was one of the best-known gladiators in Rome and had accumulated a substantial amount in prizes and gifts. Since that time he has been feted as a minor celebrity throughout Rome, invited to numerous dinners and parties.

Herod Aemilianus Alex Epstein

Herod Aemilianus is the son of Herod Agrippa, the king of Judaea. He is currently serving as King of Chalcis and Tetrarch of Batanaea and Trachonitis, positions to which he was appointed by Emperor Domitius.[Historical Note: Chalcis, Batanaea, and Trachonitis are all districts in Palestine and Syria, north of Judaea proper. Like Judaea these were semi-autonomous client states of the Roman empire, ruled by local aristocrats. Tetrarch is a title used generally in the Levant area to indicate a subordinate ruler.]

As clients of Rome, the Herodian dynasty has ruled the kingdom of Judaea since Augustus confirmed Herod the Great in his kingship. Most of them, including Herod Aemilianus, were raised and educated in Rome. The Herodians are close allies of the Julian emperors, a primary lynchpin of the empire's power in the region of Palestine.

The youngest Herod, Aemilianus, is a long-term associate of Emperor Domitius. Though he has a wife and family back in Palestine, he spends much of his time in Rome, where he invariably stays in the palatine complex.

Julia Djadeh Cynthia Chamberlin

Julia Djadeh is an imperial freedwoman, a former slave of the emperor's aunt, Julia Domitia, who was married to Senator Publius Lucretius Tarentius. Originally from Egypt, she was sold to Julia Domitia as a child and grew up as a handmaiden in the imperial household. When Senator Lucretius died, Julia Domitia retired to her country estates in Campania, where Julia Djadeh became her personal secretary and eventually accountant, looking after the patrician lady's numerous investments and finances.

When Julia Domitia died in 55, her will freed her favorite slaves, including Julia Djadeh. However, as she had no children, the rest of her estate reverted to her nephew, the emperor. The estate was so large that Julia Djadeh, the only person who knew the full extent of the properties and funds, was hired by the imperial bureaucrats to continue managing them until they could be liquidated or transferred to supporters of the emperor.

It was during this period that Julia met the young general Titus Flavius Vespasianus. The two fell in love and she became his mistress and she left her job and moved into his household. The two have been together since, and she accompanied him to Britannia for six years. It is rumored that Titus Flavius wishes to marry his mistress, but both custom and law forbid such a match between a patrician and a former slave. Besides, no one would trust an Egyptian in such a position. [Historical Note: Secrecy and duplicity were stereotypical traits the Romans often associated with the Egyptians. While the Egyptian nobility and some of the cities in the delta were highly Hellenized, most of the commoners in the densely populated Nile Valley had been culturally isolated for millennia. Thus the Egyptians were the most "foreign" people in the empire and were heartily mistrusted by the rest.]