Roma rediviva III


Chapter III

It is a new year… Today Felix smiled when he saw me. I asked him why? He just dragged me to the pond in the atrium and put me to look in the water… I saw myself but didn’t get the point … He said: You got some grey hair, too…

Didn’t noticed that… I was too busy settling former rebels in Campus Frisii… They organised themselves quite well. The emperor was content. In a brief speech he asked them to live as romans, even if they chosen to live outside the empire… We agreed it will be better for everybody if they live. We want peace and no more rebelious provinces. We have enough troubles.

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Nero is speeding up to Vicus Saxones… He has strict orders to let no male above 12 years alive. Those barbarians will pay a harsh price but the emperor hopes that this will teach other a cruel but effective lesson.

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For the first time the emperor had no patience. For a good reason, though. He ordered a full asault of barbarian fortress. Felix told me that in Londinium the saxon were preparing to break through Placus cohorts and relieve their home fortress… It was a brutal assault. The saxons defended themselves up to the last man apt to handle a sword, a spear or an axe. Many good romans died in that day. Nero wasn’t elated about victory. His loyalty was unquestionable but Servius isn’t always disposed to explain why. That task remained for me….

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Etelgis was the Saxon’s last king. He didn’t even knew it. The news of slaining his predecesor by the spear of Marcus couldn’t reach him. He died pierced by an arrow before the wooden walls of Londinium… His last men tried to hide in Londinium but were hunted like rats and thrown in Thames….

That intelligence but the desperate message from Spurius convinced Nero of the just decision of Servius…

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The emperor ceded Vicus Saxoni for colonisation of the rebels. He said there is no time to settle the business as usual… He arrived in Rome for the first time in his reign as emperor… He choose wisely not to triumph. He, after all, slained only rebels. The real heroes were Nero, Marcus, Gratian, Placus, Titus or Spurius… He summoned Nero to go to Vicus Alemanni, to replenish his exhausted troops and recruit more legionaries (he said that Iberia and Gaul will furnish enough recruits. Britain was in Placus hands and he was ordered to clear the shores of pirates  – so many saxon ships now turned to piracy…).

A brief skirmish in Africa gave Titus a great satisfaction:

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The remnants of Berbers were herded like sheeps toward Tingis… Titus said that in a year or two will pacify the whole region….

But the big trouble came, again, from Aquincum. Spurius was assaulted by vast numbers of vandals…

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After the battle his official message to the Emperor and the Senate (yes, the emperor recreated a body of senators… just for the sake of old times.. Unfortunately those capable are in provinces or leading armies. Those who can’t govern or lead armies stay in Rome and squabble about petty things…) explained that the Vandals chose to attack at night, hoping that he was to young and untrained and his troops were untested in battle…

That wasn’t quite true. He had new cohorts with him but his veterans were also with him. And night or day sentinels were watching every vandal move….

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He had three more legionary cohorts and a new alae of sarmatians… Hardly enough to repulse so many fierce steppe warriors…  In harsh winter night he encouraged his troops to stand fast against the nomads…

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They came in vast numbers (even if a good portion of them, leaded by a too young warrior, never found the way to the town..). The first group, led by Boiocalus, was formed by more untrained warriors. They were put in the first line to wear down our troops… But Spurius was not born yesterday. He said to his limitanei not to throw their pillas, to keep them for the second wave…

In the night the vandals had the upper hand of being taller and stouter and their shadows make them look even impressive… The sarmatians were less impressed, they knew them already… Spurius encouraged them: they are men. Men can die. Tommorow, when we will burry them you will see that their bodies are made of flesh, just like yours…

Heapes of bodies were all around and many vandals fled…

But Visimar, the leader of the second wave was a fierce warriors, a veteran of the clashes with the Huns… He drove his men like wolves against sheeps… But these were not ordinary sheeps. Their shepherd, Spurius, charged with his sarmatians Visimar and gutted him like a fish… All the army hailed Spurius and started to chase the remaining vandals… They slain almost everyone in Visimar’s contingent. Boiocalus, who tried to regroup some of his men, to offer some point of resistance was ingloriously killed by a pilla thrown from city walls…

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Servius was so happy with this great victory that, when he received the embassy returning from Alexandria, he didn’t asked for terms or anything. Just plain peace and fruitfull trading between romans… He even asked Gallus, the Philosopher, to celebrate a triumph for this common victory…

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