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Dreams of Empire - Fall of Rome
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The Fall of Rome
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The Fall of Rome

Dreams of Empire - The Fall of the Roman Empire
Dreams of Empire - The Fall of the Roman Empire
by Addison Hart

Part 1
Early in the first century BC, a Roman teenager from a minor patrician family visited Nicomedes, King of Bithynia. On his return trip to the city of Rome, the historian Plutarch tells us that "he was captured by pirates near the island of Pharmacusa. At that time there were large fleets of pirates, with ships large and small, infesting the seas everywhere." When the boy was first captured, the pirates demanded that the family pay twenty gold talents for his safe return, but it was soon upped to a good fifty talents when the boy told them that they did not understand the importance of their new prisoner. The boy sent most of his companions away to earn the money, and he was left alone with the pirates. The boy was not at all intimidated by the villainous pirates, and for thirty-eight days he lived with them, and they grew to respect the boy, and they even began to grow a sort of bond with him. The boy once, in a jovial manner, said to them that he would one day have them crucified.
Read more...
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Part 2
The night sky late on August 8th, 48 BC, was suddenly host to a literal ball of fire, some said a fiery torch, flung into the air, twisting about in the sky, slamming down somewhere off in the darkness. The object had come, it seemed, from the direction of the camps of Julius Caesar, and had been heading straight for the camps of Gnaeus Pompeius. Obviously, within seconds of the appearance of the fiery body, the Pompeians began to scramble about under the stars. They were preparing for an attack that they knew would sooner or later come. It seemed that Caesar was finally going to end this civil war once and for all. The very next day, August the 9th, the Consul/Dictator of Rome did just that. When Pompey awoke the next morning (assuming he even managed sleep on that rather hectic night), he knew that this was the day old Caesar would come, and he knew that he would definitely be defeated by this veteran army, despite the words of General Titus Labienus, a veteran of the Gallic Wars, who felt that Caesar was just as unprepared as Pompey. All the same, Pompey had 40,000 men with him, Caesar only sported 22,000.
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Part 3
Of course, another three men were now slowly emerging from all this chaos, as Crassus, Caesar, and Pompey had done in the last generation of Civil War. The three men were strikingly different, and they all seemed to hate each other tremendously to boot. The first was, of course, the thirty-eight year old Marcus Antonius, alias Marc Antony. Art depicting Antonius shows him in various different appearances, and so it's hard to pin down exactly what he looked like. He was a handsome individual, tall, square-faced, curly-haired, Plutarch tells us that at one time he had a fine Herculean beard. He had a rather large nose, turning down at the tip, and a strong, projecting chin. He had rather fleshy features. Indeed, in his later years he seems to have gotten a little on the chubby side. Despite that, he was built like a gladiator, as befitted someone who claimed to be a descendant of Herakles (Hercules) himself. Antonius was born in 82 BC into a fine political family, and he married into an even finer one, that of Julius Caesar. Young Antonius always had a taste for strong drink, and so by 60 BC, the man was a hopeless, drunken, denarii-less individual. It was only through the mob leader Clodius Pulcher that Antonius was saved from a nasty fate, and he soon set out to Syria as a commander of cavalry. Of course, in the military old Antonius excelled, so much so in fact that he wound up as the second most powerful man in Caesar's army next to, well, Caesar himself. Now, of course, he was one of the most powerful men in Rome, period. He was beloved by his troops, as well. He was seen to go into the tents of the wounded to speak with them, and on occasion he would burst into tears when he saw the hopelessly wounded. He was also known for his rather puerile tricks on, well, just about anybody, especially his wives. He was known to be quite vulgar on occasions, and he was also famous for his numerous affairs.
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Part 4
Though Antonius had hard work ahead of him, Octavian's task of holding Italy together was rather tough going. The problem was land grants to veterans. Eighteen cities had been confiscated by the government for land for the veterans of the army, but the inhabitants of the city were, understandably, rather ticked off by the idea of simply being shoved out of their dwellings so as some cut-up, battle-weary soldier could move in. With the support of both Antonius and, unsurprisingly, Sextus Pompey, the ancient Etruscan city of Perusia arose in full revolt, rallying some small army to attempt to gain it's own independence, or at least to show this upstart Octavian some sense. Despite the total destruction of Perusia itself, the Perusian Wars seemed to last longer than they should have, thanks to Antonius. The Eastern triumvir actually dared to sail towards Italy. Was this to be the start of some nasty little political coup?
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Suggested Reading


The Fall of Rome


The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire


How the Irish Saved Civilization

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