Report of "For myself and for the Empire", campaign about the year of the four Emperors
This is the second run that we give to this campaign. The players are:
Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus: Guglielmo M, in Rome - Eliminated
Caius Iulius Vindex: Dennis P, in Gallia Lugdunensis - Eliminated
Servius Sulpicius Galba: Marco C, in Hispania Tarraconensis - Eliminated
Marcus Salvius Otho: Paolo P, in Lusitania - Eliminated
Aulus Vitellius Germanicus: Stefano G, in Germania inferior - Eliminated
Titus Flavianus Vespasianus: Massimo V, in Iudea -
Lucius Trebellus Maximus: Stefano T, in Britannia
Marcus Aponius Saturninus: Nikola B, in Moesia - Eliminated
Caius Licinius Mucianus: Sergio M, in Siria - Eliminated
Tiberius Iulius Alexander: Dario B, in Egyptus - Eliminated
In addition, Fred V starts directly as barbarian king
Barbarians vs Rome scoring situation
This is the initial position
Fall 68 AD
Caius Iulius Vindex, son of a noble Gallic house, is tired and sick that the Empire is run by the immoral Nero. He decides to rebel to overthrow the tyrant and restore the Republic.
He is supported by some loyal garrisons and by the bulk of his Gallic tribe. He immediatly writes letters to the nearer legati, trying to gain support, but he is mostly unsuccesful. The only one to join him is Lucius Trebellus, from Britannia. Nero's spies have informed the Emperor, that doesn't stand idle. With promises and threats Nero keeps everyone loyal.
Unexpectedly, Tiberius Iulius Alexander stops the grain supply to Rome and declare himself ally to Vindex.
Nero now is worried, and decides to crush as soon as possible the rebellion. He orders to Vitellius and Vespasianus to engage the usurper and his minions and destroy them.
Situation after fall 68 move phase, with rebels marked in green and battles by a red X.
Vindex advances to Rome. To be succesful he must eliminate Nero, before to be overwhelmed. Vitellius intercepts him in northern Italy near Cremona. This battle will decide if Vindex can force his way to the Capital.
Alexander decides to take the initiative and marches across the Sinai to attack Iudea and protect his Egyptian bases. Vespasianus and Mucianus are both equally aggressive and the two armies meet halfway near El Arish, along the coastal road.
The other legati march to create a protective ring and defend Rome. Trebellus in the meantime follows closely the usurper. The year 68 AD is going to close with two battles and a civil war that involves most of the legions. The borders are quiet, but how long the barbarians will not move against the limes? Nero knows well that the longer the borders are undefended, the higher is the risks of raids and invasions...
Battle of El Arish
Vespasianus choosed with care the battlefield, to take advantage of his superior cavalry. Alexander was surprised to meet the enemy legions on the high ground in a strong defensive position, while his wing was enveloped. He was too slow to react, and when he was able to engage the enemy infantry, his army was already doomed. Neverless Alexander didn't give up. His body was found where the melee has been toughest. Vespasianus gave him an honoured burial. The road to Egypt was open.
Battle of Cremona
Vindex meet Vitellius army near Cremona blocking the access to the bridges. Vitellius attacked hard and mauled both rebel wings. Vindex skillfully retreated, regrouped, and counterattacked, breaking an enemy corps. With his center exposed and mounting casualties, Vitellius was able to withdrew his demoralised troops back to the Alps. Just an harsh use of punishment avoided the army collapse.
Vindex did not pursue the beaten enemy for he wanted to take the bridge and cross the Po. His target was in Rome and the way was open.
Winter 68 A.D.
Start of Winter 68 A.D. position
The winted proved to be harsh, and all the armies choosed to set winter camps in preparation of a renewed onslaught in 69 AD. Vespasianus and Mucianus, eliminated the rebels from Asia, marched theit troops toward Europe. As Nero foresaw, news of the civil wars spreaded over the borders. The Roxolani, unruled and eager for loot, started to raid Roman lands.
Spring 69 AD
This is the starting position. Vindex is ready to make his bid for the throne. His army morale is high after the past year victory and confident to have been able to force its way to Rome.
Nero is disappointed. Grain supply has been restored, but his generals have not been able (or willing) to destroy Vindex. It's time to field the Pretorians guard.
Position after movements, with red crosses showing battles
The end of winter marked an outburst of militay activity. As anticipated, Vindex marched to Rome. Nero the Emperor was in danger, and quickly assembled an army with the troops avalaible in Rome. The showdown was near Arretium on the Flaminia road. There the destiny of the Empire would be decided. In the meantime Trebellus was caught by a pincer movement by Vitellius, back in action, and Otho. Surrounded by enemy armies Trebellus decided to stand and fight Otho at Arausio.
The Roxolani, after some raids, launched a big attack and the provincial roman army, quite depleted, was ready to fight them.
Battle of Arausio
Trebellus was attacked by Otho with the army in march order. The legion switly changed front to face the enemy, but their formation was pityful. Otho cavalry scattered the enemy mounted corps and started to encircle the rebels.
The battle seemed to be over, but the Legions from Britannia were an hard bunch. After a tough fight they pushed back and overwhelmed the Lusitanian troops, too long out of a real fight to resist the veterans from the north. Otho, surrounded by enemies, committed suicide.
Battle of Arretium
Vindex used well his cavalry superiority, enveloping an enemy wing and destroying it, sacking the enemy camp in the process. During the bloody fight Nero, trying to bolster the morale of a collapsing section of his battle line, was involved in the fight and outright killed.
The Emperor army kept fighting until the news of his death was heard. Everybody fled and Vindex was raised by his troops and hailed as the new Caesar. Long life to Vindex
Roxolani invasion of Moesia
The Emperor Nero gave to Vespasianus the task to defend the Moesia from the Roxolani led by the king Fredgetheusa. Vespasianus choosed carefully the battlefield, keeping his infantry along a Dabube tributary, and hiding his cavalry corps. When the enemy spotted the roman legions and attacked, the auxiliary cavalry was sent in a wide outflank, falling on the open barbarian flank.
Fredgetheusa, afraid to be encircled, overcommitted his force to counter the roman cavalry, that after an hard fight, was routed. The roman infantry didn't stay idle, pressing the flank and rear too of the enemy mounted host, routing the noble armoured cavalry and slaying many of the lesser follower. Fredgetheusa survived fleeing. Roxolani left many many dead on the battlefield, and will not be a threat for some years.
Summer 69 A.D.
Vindex is the new Emperor, but instead of proclaiming the Republic, he takes as many titles as possible for himself and his minions, including self appointing Pontifex Maximus.
Galba is disgusted and openly revolts, he proclaims himself the True Rome defender. The indignation toward Vindex and the loyalty to the poor Nero help the new usurper, Galba.
Saturninus, Mucianus and Vitellius join Galba. Just the trustworthy Vespasianus and Trebellus defend the legitimate ruler
Map of the situation after Summer 69 d.C. move - battles marked by red X, rebel legati in green boxes.
The situation is more confused than ever. The Roman Empire stability is broken, because each new ruler is not accepted by some of the military leaders, and rebellions follow rebellions.
Now Vindex, having betrayed the Republic ideals, is attacked by many quarters. Still he enjoys the support of loyal commanders. The sneaky Galba send forward his allied rebels commanders to destroy opposition, while he stays in Sicily with his army, waiting for the events.
The ruthless Vitellius, looking for a revenge after the beating taken in Cremona by Vindex, invades Italy and meet the Imperial army near Ravenna. In the meantime The balcanic legions led by Saturninus are intercepted by Trebellus at Aquileia. More bloody battles that will weaken even more the Roman army will be fought.
Will Galba's bid to the throne be succesful? And what will happens along the borders?
The haughty Emperor Vindex while his army parades in front of him before leaving Rome to attack the rebellious Vitellius' legions.
Battle of Aquileia
Once again Trebellus the Great marched his legions to support Vindex. He caught the enemy army, led by Saturninus, as this left the mountain passes near Aquileia. Part of the balcanic army stayed near the hills to protect the communications, while a strong advance guard of cavalry and one legion, tried to outflank.
Trebellus, while the enemy army was manouvering, struck it in the center, and once again the legions from Britannia proved their worth. Saturninus center was pierced, his cavalry stopped and counterattacked, surrounded and destroyed. Saturninus fell fighting with his men. Trebellus the Great won another great victory
Battle of Ravenna
Vitellius and Vindex had a grudge by long time and both did their best to prevail. The battle was a long a bloody struggle.. Vitellius tried with a ruse to gain a tactical advantage over his enemy. He deployed with a wing very weak, just to suddenly send there all his cavalry. Vindex did the same, so the rebel tried to win with a frontal attack all along the battle line.
The combat was tough, lines went back and forth, and at the end of the day both the exhausted armies were on the verge of the collapse. It was an even combat, and the balance was broken by the intervention of Mars, the God of War. On the last charge, Vindex legionaries pushed back some cohorts. The withdraw became a rout and Vitellius was killed in the confusion, trying to stem the panic.
The losses between Vindex troops were so heavy that the army was in a rebellious mood. Vindex was forced to bury Vitellius' corpse with all military honours (instead of parading to Rome with his head on a spear as planned) and gave a speech to the troops. We report the most important part:
"Soldiers, men, brothers, on this bloody battlefield the flower of Roman men has fallen. A brave and worthy man as Vitellius died. All of this happened because of an evil man, hungry for power, ready to sacrifice everything to his ambition. This monster is Galba. Now, Here, I promise you large donativi, I will make you rich, but you will make a promise to me: to bring me the head of Galba!!!!"
The mighty uproar of the legions, shouting "Death to Galba! Kill kill kill him!!" delighted Vindex. He was ready for a renewed fight.
In the meantime, in Sicily, Galba was informed of the battle and of the demise of his ally Vitellius. He was reported to say: "Excellent, one less. Ready the army, we march north".
Fall 69 A.D.
Galba, after the failure of his allies, decided to take charge of the military matters and led his army North, towards Roma. Vindex was waiting for him near Capua. The Emperor wanted to end this rebellion, striking the head of the snake.
Vespasianus in the meantime intercepted Mucianus in Achaia, near Tebe. Vespasianus veteran army was confident, the rebellion would be stopped and eradicated.
Situation after Fall 69 A.D. move. Rebel in green boxes and battles with red crosses
Battle of Capua
What a horrible day for Rome. A stride of houses and towns burned marked the line of advance of the evil Galba. The legions were given freedom of plunder, to terrorize the people and teach a lesson. Galba, still faithful to Nero, traited as traitors all the Roman citizens he met.
Finally, near Capua, sighting Vindex's army, he halted and readied his troops for the battle, addressing a speech to his legions. We have a part of it:
"Warriors of my legions in front of us stay Vindex the usurper. No mercy no quarter and as we enter in Rome..rape her. I'll give you 3 days of sack and pillage beginning with the christians, the sept that overthrew our beloved emperor Nero. Shield against shield...to victory".
The looting promise should have been a right way to raise battle readiness, for in the fight Galba's legions did very well.
Vindex as usual sent his Numidians on an outflank the enemy camp, and they did it. Galba plan was tricky and full of risks but effective. He deployed his legion wide and with almost no reserve, to outflank the enemy wings and force the cowering legions of Vindex to come and fight. They did so and they lost. Galba right wing fought well and destroyed two corps. In this battle Vindex leadership was unsure. Reserves were badly committed, troops were exposed to flank attacks. It was not the winning generals that Rome knew so well. But this was expected, because the night before the fight Vindex's sleep was an haunted one, with bad omen in his dreams.
Vindex was a pale and fearing man the day of the battle, and he lost. Neverless, he died with dignity.
In the afternoon after the battle Galba is said to have entered Vindex empty camp to retrieve Vitellian lost Eagles. His first act as Emperor was to disband Vitellian legions and banish the soldiers. Then the cruel man marched to Rome.
In the meantime, in Greece another event happened... Mucianus army, low on morale, deserted en masse when faced Vespasianus. Mucianus, begged for his life and was spared. His destiny was the exile. The road to Rome was open for Vespasianus, that hearing the news about Vindex's demise, promptly raised again the banner.
Galba was alone now. Trebellius and Vespasianus, still faithful to Vindex, marched against him.
The ruthless Galba
The Parthian attack
In the meantime, the frontiers were under sever pressure. The parthians broke the peace treaty and marched to Antiochia, being intercepted by Marcus Vindex Dennicus and his army. Vindex protected a wing on a river and fought head to head the immense cataphract horde. The legions once again proved their valour.
The Parthian attack was repulsed by the Roman general that won a brilliant victory. His troops acclaimed him but he did not want to add blood to blood. His deserved triumph could wait until the end of the civil wars. By that day, Vindex was unofficially known as Parthicus.
The winter again passed by with opposing armies building up. When the bad weather stopped, the war started again. Trebellus the Great takes the initiative and march to Rome, to get rid of Galba.
Galba again take the field with his legions, facing the rebel in Tuscany, while Vespasianus advance towards Italy. Galba must quicly beat Trebellus then fight Vespasianus to prevail. All of this while hordes of barbarians are hurling themselves against the limes.
The civil war is coming to an end, with most of the protagonist dwelling in Ade, paying with their life for ambition or loyalty.
Situation after spring 70 move. End is closing. Again rebels in green and battles marked by red cross
Trebellus' army advance in Italy changed the mood of roman citizens: most of the people hoped to see the end of Galba's reign. The ruthless Emperor made his final mistake when he ordered the decimatio of his troops. The pretorians agreed to support a coup to eliminate the tyrant, and Galba fell stabbed by his generals.
Vespasianus was the new Emperor, but the civil war was not yet over.
Trebellus' ambition and popularity were almost equal to that of Vespasianus. The struggle between the last two great men in the Empire was to be decided on a battlefield.
Near Anzio the armies met, and Trebellus fell.
Vespasianus finally put an end to the civil war, bringing peace and justice to Rome and to the Empire.