The Early History of the Roans

The Early History of the Roans:

By the Senator-Librarian Armanicus Gracchus

As recorded during the fifth year of the reign of Rothius Augustus,

Imperator and Princeps, First Consul of the Roan Senate, Son of Roetes, etc.

I. The Monarchy

When the gods created the world, the first peoples came from four places. The Children of the Mountains, linked to the sky goddess Roanae, Queen of the gods, dwelt in high peaks and mountains to be closest to their heavenly mother. The Children of the Forests, linked to the forest and love goddess Avumaea, lived playfully in the forests and glens amidst their mother. The Children of the Grass, linked to Caecorae, the god of farming and weather, began in the warming Age of Plows to farm and till the earth, offering their fruits of labour to their god. The oldest people, indeed the oldest life forms, however, emerged not from the sky or mountains, forest or glen, valley or field, but from the sea, the abode of might Roanes, King of the gods.

Taking the name of their father god, a people called the Roans emerged in the land of the Cespedians. Claiming mythical descent from the Turean adventurers who fled their ruined city Turephas after losing a disastrous war with the ancient Phillaen kings Memnon and Agatho, the Roans were first humble fishermen, olive, grape, and wheat farmers, and vassals to the mighty Cespedian kings. The mythical founding of Roanum in honour of the Lord of the Sea Roanes occurred some eight hundred years ago. Arriving on the southern Cespedian coast, the Roans—some 30,000 men in all—found an ideal location for their first permanent settlement, a fertile hilltop surrounded by seven other great hills overlooking the pleasant, deep river Teaban. Tricking the local Cespedian lord into giving him “as much land as could lay within your round leather shield”, the Roans’ leader Roathes the Clever stripped the leather from his shield into small pieces and with the strips formed a circular wall around the base of the tallest hill. This hill, dedicated to Roanes, Roanae, and Hedote, was consecrated as the fount of Roanum with sea water—Roanes’ element—an offering of a dove and a falcon—Roanae’s animals—and an owl—Hedote’s animal.

Roathes the Clever set the Roans to diligently farming the eight hills and the valleys in between. Out of profound piety, he declared that one in twenty sons of Roanum’s first families would serve Roanes as priests. These men, called the Sons of Roanes, caused the first wooden temple to the Three Great Protectors to be built within five years[1]. Determined to gain wealth from their prime location, Roathes sent envoys throughout Cespedia, offering free trade and for Roanum’s noble sons to serve Cespedia as vassals. By Roathes’ death, some thirty years after Roanum’s foundation, some five hundred Roan families had sons serving as vassals to the different Cespedian kings. Roathes was buried in front of the temple to the Three Great Protectors, and his twin sons Rothicus and Racicus succeeded him as co-ruling kings.

To prevent civil war between the two brothers, a council of Roanum’s leading families was called by the priests of Roanes to divide the rule of Roanum between them. Rothicus, the leader of Roanum’s mercenary forces, was chosen to lead the city’s military, while Racicus, a capable administrator, was called to assume charge of the city’s domestic affairs. The precedent for a noble council to be called in times of crisis would ultimately give rise to the Senate, a body of (initially) one hundred leading aristocrats and men of renown that governed in the Republic.

The two kings were understood as the heads of state and principal executive magistrates. Together they functioned as the chief priests of the city, chief lawgivers, and chief judges. The military king, Rothicus, was the chief commander of the army, while the domestic king, Racicus, ruled the city as absolute monarch whenever Rothicus was away. When both kings were present in the city, neither had seniority over the other, but both were regarded as equal. In theory, there were no restrictions on the kings’ powers. The two kings controlled all property held by the city, had the sole appropriating power to divide land and spoils from war, and served as the chief representatives of Roanum during negotiations with foreign communities and in relations with the gods. Out of respect for the collective wisdom of the city fathers and nobles, the kings conferred with the Council of Nobles on all important matters, submitting their decrees to the Council for ceremonial ratification, but in practice the Council always ratified the kings’ commands.

Rothicus extended Roanum’s domains by allying the small settlement with Cespedia’s mightiest king, Caspedar the Strong of the mighty city-state Cespedora. Serving in Caspedar’s armies, the Roan mercenaries gained renown for their unshakable bravery and superior discipline. As Roan military prowess became known throughout Cespedia, myths of their heroism and bravery spread far and wide. They came to be regarded as true “Sons of Turephas”. Given lands farther up the Teaban as a reward for their military service –lands Caspedar dismissed as too poor for use –the Roan farmer-soldiers made use of novel irrigation canals and heavy sacrifice to Caestroma and Caecorae to ensure bountiful harvests that made the badlands fertile. Rothicus attracted many ambitious men from throughout Cespedia to fight under Roanum’s banners with the promise of fertile lands to plough after a quarter-century of military service. The most effective of Roan and foreign-born soldiers alike were inducted into the Silver Company of Aqares, dedicated to Roanum’s defence.

While Rothicus spread Roanum’s military renown far and wide, Racicus had the less glorious but crucial task of managing the city’s domestic affairs. He ruled prudently and by example, not shrinking back from personally supervising building projects such as the fortification of the eight hills with brick in place of wooden parapets and the securing of the twelve springs and cisterns to ensure a fresh water supply for the small but growing city. Realising after consultation with the oracles of Roanes that Roanum’s future lay married to Roanes’ realm, the sea, Racicus fortified the excellent natural harbour at Ocdeum and ordered the felling of thousands of trees in Avumaea’s Glen for the construction of a merchant fleet. This fleet, exporting Roan wheat, olives, grapes, and wine, quickly added to Roanum’s budding wealth by trading on favourable terms with the southern Cespedian and Cescepine cities as well as the Phillaen and Heaphonian colonies on Caccius.

The two brother-kings ruled peaceably and justly, always holding council with the leading men of the city and honouring the gods and their father’s memory. While Racicus oversaw defence and commerce and Rothicus all military matters and foreign policy, both kings administered Roan justice together, holding court once a week and as needed on the steps of Roanum’s temple to Roetes, the Righteous Judge. The brother-kings issued the Brothers’ Ten Tablets, a basic law code forbidding murder, theft, laziness, adultery, rape, dishonesty, and impiety. Unusually lenient, the penalty for all crimes save murder and impiety was not death, but permanent banishment from the city and confiscation of goods by the temple of Roetes. With these laws in place, justice and order prevailed to an unusual degree in the city, and Roanum prospered in peace.

Roanum’s first decades of peace came to a sudden end in the twenty-second year of the brothers’ reign. Caspedar the Strong’s death in battle against King Hypolor the Bold of Nucrantea resulted in his aggressive and disloyal son Casperanus coming to power. After treating with the council of nobles, Rothicus and Racicus decided to pledge their continued service and allegiance to Casperanus, assuming that the new Cespedian king would want to preserve the current arrangement. To all Roanum’s outrage, Casperanus in his arrogance took the Roan envoy, a nobleman named Solethius, hostage, demanding that the Roans pay a larger annual tax to him and, most outrageously, accusing the Roans of failing to protect his father Caspedar’s flank in his last battle against Hypolor. To add insult to injury, Casperanus broke off his engagement to Avumaea, Rothicus’ daughter, declaring he would never marry a woman of lowly Roan birth. He threatened war if the Roans did not comply with his demands.

Rothicus and Racicus took council together, fasted and beseeched the gods for discernment, and on the third day called the banners of Roanum together for war. Avumaea Rothiana, the wronged maiden, exhorted the sons of Roanum to fight honourably to rid Cespedia of the arrogant Casperanus. After offering sacrifice of wine, incense, and a bull before the altars of the Three Great Protectors, the Roan army – only some 10,000 men strong—filed out of the city gates to head north into Cespedia. Under the two kings’ command, the Roans marched swiftly north, surprising the treacherous Cespedian king and his much larger army—some 30,000 strong—at nightfall in the Glen of Hedote some forty miles south of Cespedium[2]. Rothicus led Roanum’s sons in the surprise night-time attack, slaughtering some 20,000 Cespedian soldiers and capturing the arrogant Casperanus and his top generals. Rothicus, wise as ever and valuing peace above vengeance, offered to spare Casperanus’ life should he agree to marry his daughter Avumaea and accept the pre-war arrangement. Casperanus initially refused, but changed his mind when Rothicus prepared to behead him. Accepting defeat, Casperanus agreed to Rothicus’ terms, including sending twenty noble Cespedian hostages to Roanum as a guarantee that he would honour the agreement. Solethius was released.

All of Roanum rejoiced at the victorious return of their army. The noble council ordered a week of sacrifices at the temples and public supplications to thank the gods, while Racicus and Rothicus were hailed as the saviours of the city. Avumaea dutifully prepared to marry her defeated intended, preparing her retinue of servants to bring north with her. However, no sooner had she prepared to leave Roanum than a grim Cespedian messenger arrived at the city gates. Only two weeks after the Roans had magnanimously allowed Casperanus to escape with his life, the treacherous king reneged on his word. His envoy carried with him a black banner, a universal sign for war.

Incensed that their graciousness in victory had been repaid with duplicity and dishonour, the two kings once again led Roanum’s sons north to war. Rothicus sent scouts ahead of the army to warn of any presence of Casperanus’ soldiers. Casperanus, most of his army having been destroyed only weeks before at Hedote’s Glen, called on mercenaries from across Cespedia to “put these upstart Roans in their place.” Some 40,000 men flocked to his banners, though being mercenaries they were of dubious loyalty.

When the brother kings learned from their scouts that Casperanus’ army was an overwhelmingly mercenary force, Racicus came up with the ingenious idea of bribing the Cespedian mercenaries with the promise of Roan citizenship and half of Casperanus’ conquered lands should they turn against the king in battle. By night Racicus’ envoys went out to the Cespedian camps, convincing most of the mercenaries to switch to the Roan side. The following morning, Casperanus’ vast army of seemingly 40,000 men fanned out against Roanum’s mere 15,000 men. Casperanus, sure of victory, did not even bother to disguise his war chest of gold which he had brought with him to the battlefield. As trumpets and drums sounded before the walls of Cespedium, some 55,000 men advanced in battle formation, spears extended. The two armies moved closer and closer together, with King Casperanus bellowing war cries. Suddenly, Rothicus gave a prearranged signal with his hands, and some 30,000 of the 40,000 Cespedian mercenaries turned about, away from the Roans, and fell upon the 10,000 soldiers still loyal to Casperanus.

The Roans’ new ally King Hypolor the Bold wheeled his chariot about and threw his mighty spear with all his strength at Casperanus, still bellowing from his horse. The Cespedian king, struck in the abdomen, fell from his horse, and Rothicus and Racicus charged his last defenders as all Cespedium watched groaning from their sturdy brick walls. Rothicus advanced to where the treacherous Casperanus had fallen, beheading him with a single blow of his great sword. As the Roan king’s generals held Casperanus’ head aloft, his few remaining supporters lost what courage they had and surrendered. The Battle of Cespedium was a colossal victory for the Roans and their Cespedian allies.

Rothicus and Racicus, true to their word, bestowed half the wealth from Casperanus’ train on their Cespedian allies, and then sent envoys into Cespedium to demand the city’s conditional surrender. Rothicus wrote the note personally: “We have no quarrel with you. We only objected to your tyrannical king, who is now dead. Join peacefully with us, enter into league with our city, and no harm will come to you, but instead much benefit.” All non-combatants were to be spared, no women attacked, and the people left in their homes, the city economy left undisturbed. The city, populated by some 100,000 people, was over double Roanum’s size at the time, and the wealthiest in Cespedia. In exchange for an annual tribute of ten tons of gold and silver, acceptance of Roan overlordship, and the providing of Roanum with twenty war galleys a year, Cespedium was spared wholesale sacking and destruction.

The 30,000 Cespedian mercenaries under King Hypolor the Bold of Nucrantea received half of the lands of conquered Cespedium, with the other half going to the 15,000 victorious Roans. Most importantly, as Cespedium became a Roan vassal and some 30,000 Cespedian mercenaries and their families became Roan citizens, the population under Roanum’s control expanded from a mere 50,000 before the war to some 230,000. Roanum thus became a major Cespedian city-state within two generations of its founding.

In order to accommodate such a vast population expansion, Rothicus and Racicus conferred with the noble council, which now included representatives of King Hypolor and the other allied Cespedians. To integrate the Cespedians and Roans, with the blessing of the gods’ oracles numerous marriages were celebrated joining Cespedians and Roans together. Avumaea Rothiana herself married the new client king Clevius of Cespedium, Hypolor’s nephew, with her father Rothicus and uncle Racicus and most of Roanum’s nobles attending the ceremonies. With Roanum’s princess thus becoming Queen of Cespedium, the stage was set for a new dynastic formation peaceably uniting Roanum and Cespedium through marriage for the next three centuries. Kings Racicus and Rothicus invited leading Cespedian nobles, now married into Roanum families, to sit in the much-expanded noble council, which became known as the Roan Senate during the Republic. The kings also set the Ten Tablets as the highest law throughout Cespedia, peacefully uniting the region under one, Roan law.

After a glorious reign of 33 years, King Rothicus died, with his daughter Queen Avumaea of Cespedium and her uncle King Racicus acting as chief mourners. For eight days and nights all Roanum mourned, with men bellowing and women crying their grief. Having no son to succeed him as military king, that role fell to Rothicus’ nephew Prince Laurentius, son of King Hypolor of Nucrantea and Rothicus’ sister Roanae Roathea. King Racicus continued to reign and mentor the young King Laurentius until his death five years following his brother’s. The two brother kings are revered, like their father Roathes and his wife Roanaea, as the founders of the Roan kingdom. Deified as sons of Roetes, Rothicus and Racicus would become models of successful rule for all future kings and later, in the Republic, consuls. Racicus’ son Racinius succeeded him as king over domestic affairs. That year, both Racinius and Laurentius were confirmed in their rule by the council of nobles, which, by tradition, met during any time of crisis and also twice annually.

Under Kings Laurentius and Racinius, the Roan kingdom continued to prosper. Laurentius peacefully expanded the borders of the kingdom north of Cespedia into the fertile Tubisian river valley through marriage, while the Cescepines in their forests and alps were vassalised, joining the Roan foothills with Cespedia to the north and gaining control over the crucial Cescepine Pass between Roa (the foothills around Roanum) and Cescepia. Racinius expanded the burgeoning city walls and conscripted the 4,000 Cespedian mercenaries who had been enslaved for their loyalty to Casperanus to build a network of stone roads connecting the Roan kingdom. He initiated trade with the Eodean lake region, a mountainous land of lakes rich in iron, tin, timber, bronze, fish, and gold, who were vassalised a century later.

In the tenth year of his reign, Laurentius, following Porraen diplomatic insults he could not ignore, launched the successful conquest of the marble, grain, and iron-rich kingdom, defeating King Maneus in battle, slaughtering some 30,000 of the 50,000 enemy and enslaving the survivors. As with Cespedium, the Porraen capital Porraeion (renamed Porraeum) was spared wholesale slaughter after it peacefully surrendered. His troops thus gained access to the wealthy southeastern peninsula’s lands, made rich from Phillaen colonies’ trade with Phillae. Laurentius affirmed the liberties of the Phillaen colonies in Porrae—chiefly Eusebeion, Philanthion, and Nea Phillaeos—and ensured that their commerce was not molested. The Phillaens responded warmly.

Racinius improved relations with the Heaphonians, who by now had established colonies at Sorrareum and Soronium in Sorrae (the southwest peninsula) where several Phillaen colonies (Symptheon and Marcuseon) existed as well. These colonies were crucial outposts for the Phillaen and Heaphonian contest for dominance over Caccius to the south.

By the end of their reigns, after 24 and 28 years, respectively, Laurentius and Racinius had managed to greatly consolidate the gains from the Cespedian War as well as the incorporation of Tubisia, Cescepia, and Porrae into the Roan realm. Roanum was now a major city with over 100,000 people, ruling over most of the west of what would become known as the Roan peninsula. After Laurentius’ death, Racinius continued to reign for four more years alongside Laurentius’ son Hedotius. During this time, King Hedotius annexed the poor borderland of Ostremia as a pretext for conquering the rich riverlands of Potomia opposite the Teaban from Tubisia. After a three year siege, the mighty walled city of Potomium—with its 120,000 people—fell to the Roan army, which, on Hedotius’ orders, sacked only the houses of the Potomian nobles who had defied him. The city and region were annexed peacefully, with the city remaining autonomous provided that it sent 20 tons of marble and 500 tons of grain to Roanum annually. As with the earliest conquest of Cespedium, both Porraen and Potomian nobles soon intermarried with the Roan nobility, sending representatives to Roanum’s council of nobles.

In the fourth year of Hedotius’ reign, King Racinius died, and his son Prince Lucilius became domestic king. Hedotius immediately undertook preparations for the invasion of the extremely wealthy agricultural region of Vinaea, where the Vinae River, a tributary of the Teaban, meanders northeast toward the Phillaen Sea. Alone of all powers on the Roan peninsula, the Vinaen Confederacy under King Arcilaeus had chosen to defy the Roan kings’ demand for recognition of suzerainty. When Arcilaeus had the Roan ambassador to his court thrown from out the palace, over Vinaedion’s towering cliffs into the Vinae below, the Roan kings prepared for war. All Roanum was outraged by the Defenestration of Vinaedion, as the event became known.

While King Lucilius strengthened Roanum’s massive walls and doubled the size of the ancient, noble Silver Company of Aqares from 2,500 to 5,000 men, King Hedotius gathered a massive army of 70,000 Roan and allied soldiers to march north to Vinaedion and punish Arcilaeus for his defiance. On the Plain of Aqarona in the beginning of spring in the second year of Lucilius’ reign, King Hedotius led his great host to a crushing victory over Arcilaeus and his Vinaen Confederacy, whose vast army numbered over 100,000. In the largest battle yet to be fought on the Roan peninsula, some 50,000 men died (40,000 Vinaens and 10,000 Roans). Making use of their superior discipline, the Roans triumphed against all the odds, killing Arcilaeus and his son and heir Arconius in the battle. Despite the smashing of the Confederacy in battle, the citizens of Vinaedion, proud behind their massive ramparts and sure their city could endure any siege, refused Hedotius’ generous offer of a conditional surrender. The great walled city of Vinaedion atop the massive cliffs overlooking the Vinae River fell after a six week siege, with every man put to the sword, the leading defenders hung alive from the ramparts and left to die, and the women and children sold into slavery as punishment for the city’s defiance. Hedotius ordered the city “depopulated and left completely desolate of all life until we see fit to resettle it”.

Vinaedion, renamed Vinaeum, was colonised by tens of thousands of Roans and Cespedians in the wake of the savage sack. Within ten years, some 50,000 Roans and Cespedians had migrated north to construct new plantations and villas beneath the towering cliffs where the Vinae separated from the Teaban. Lucilius effected a massive land grant program whereby any free Roan who settled and started a farm in Vinaea would pay no taxes for ten years, inducing thousands to move north to the fertile river valley, the peninsula’s wealthiest. Vinaea’s peasants were pacified by the offer of Roan citizenship to all who stayed on tilling their lands, while the surviving Vinaen nobility were invited to send representatives to Roanum’s great council and “encouraged” to send a son to serve Roanes as a priest.

With Roan control extending over the peninsula from Porrae in the south to Vinaea in the north, the Roan kingdom was now effectively an empire, drawing on a subject population in the millions, with commercial networks reaching as far as Phillae and Turea in the east and, under Lucilius’ patronage, Heaphonia, Caccius, and even Ceaphonia in the west. Lucilius signed a highly favourable treaty of commerce and alliance with the Heaphonian Masters (the aristocratic council that advised the Heaphonian king) which would be renewed every ten years until the outbreak of the First Heaphonian War during the Republic.

After a long, stable reign of 38 years, King Hedotius died and was succeeded by his son and heir Hedotianus, who deified his father as Hedotius the Mighty for his great conquests. Lucilius reigned for a further three years until his death, and was succeeded as domestic king by his nephew Sorcilius. In the fifth year of his reign, after consulting with the council of nobles (by now a body of over 300 men from throughout the Roan kingdom) and oracles of the Three Great Protectors, military king Hedotianus prepared for war against the fur, tin, and iron-rich northern Artemian Confederacy above Vinaea. The independent-minded tribes and city-states of Artemia had refused the Roans’ reasonable request to send token hostages of goodwill, and, intermarried with many barbarian Phaedan hill peoples of the Phaedan Alps, they proudly refused to punish the Phaedan bands for their attacks on Roan settlements on the north banks of the lower Vinae.

Marching a vast army of 80,000 men (55,000 phalanx spearmen, 15,000 heavy cavalry, and 10,000 archers) north from Vinaeum in early autumn, Hedotianus met no resistance in the Artemian hills, instead encountering only abandoned hill forts and deserted valley towns. The semi-barbarous Artemians, cousins of the Phaedan mountain peoples, had tactfully retreated into the region’s dense forests and high hills. Outraged that the uncouth Artemians refused to engage the superior Roan force in a matched, open battle, Hedotianus had no choice but to try to starve, scout, raid, and burn the Artemians out of their forest retreats. Building a string of earth-and-timber forts and walls to prevent night-time Artemian raids on their camps, the Roans also employed captured enemy scouts as double agents, spreading discord and encouraging rival factions to attach each other. As winter approached, the Roans knew that the Artemians could not hold out in their forest sanctuaries forever.

On the southern shores of Lake Teabanus, the source of the mighty Teaban, at last the Roans had their chance to do battle. Some 40,000 of their men were ambushed on the lakeshores by a larger mixed Artemian-Phaedan force of some 50,000 spearmen, axe men, and archers, who stood between the Roans and their lake fort, trapping them against the lakeshore. In a six-hour long pitched battle, some 45,000 men died on the frigid lakeshore before the Roans were able to cut through the Artemian centre and rout the Phaedans, who fled northwest into the forests around the lake.

Hedotianus’ vengeance for such enormous losses was swift and bloody: he enslaved almost all of the 15,000 Artemian survivors, save their confederate generals whom he crucified on the southern lakeshore. Over five hundred Artemian leaders were killed this way, leading the southern shore of the lake where the Vinae begins to be named the Shore of Sorrows (or, locally, the Shore of Screams). By the approach of winter, a further 30,000 Artemians had emerged from the forests and surrendered: these people were ragged, nearly starved, and in exchange for being fed and houses adjacent to the Roan hill forts they were conscripted in the spring to fell trees, make room for new farms, and resettle their abandoned towns.

Continuing the late Lucilius’ land grand policy in Artemia, within ten years of the Roans’ hard-won victory against the Confederacy some 40,000 Roans and Cespedians had settled in the northern region, establishing the fortified colony of Teabanium in the high hills overlooking Lake Teabanus’ southern shore. While Hedotianus was occupied pacifying and integrating Artemia into the kingdom, domestic king Sorcilius ruled justly in Roanum, using the wealth of silver and gold pouring into the royal treasury to erect marble victory arches, temples, and a new royal palace and public audience hall. He minted a new currency named after Roanum’s chief and patron deity: the gold and silver coroen. These new coins, of precise minting and standard metal content and weight, quickly replaced Phillaen and Heaphonian coins to become the standard vehicles for commerce in the western Taepan. Sorcilius and Hedotianus cooperated diligently in the administration of Roan justice, ordering temples to Roetes built in every town in the kingdom, which served as functioning royal courts.

Since the two kings were not close relatives as all previous Roan monarchs had been, a degree of rivalry developed in the latter half of their reign as to which realm—the military or the domestic—was to have predominance in the kingdom. Both kings sought to further their cause within the (now) Assembly of Nobles, patronising their own supporters and factions at the expense of the chamber’s order and dedication to the common good of the realm. The two factions, favouring either war or commerce, gradually came to dominate Roanum’s politics, with ancient noble houses jockeying and positioning themselves either as “Hedotians” (favouring military expansion) or “Sorcilians” (favouring commercial growth over war). The political drama was made personal in the 20th year of the joint reign, when King Hedotianus’ son and heir Prince Acolianus married a noblewoman, Alia Drusilla, from the Hedotian faction instead of his betrothed, King Sorcilius’ daughter and heiress Princess Honoria Sophia. Princess Honoria retaliated by marrying a wealthy general and nobleman Sacimian who supported the Sorcilians, and over the next twenty years, Prince Acolianus and Princess Honoria vied in public and in private, rushing to outdo each other in lavish parties, patronage networks, donations to temples and civic institutions, and in having children (Prince Acolianus sired 4 sons and 3 daughters, and Princess Honoria 3 sons and 4 daughters).

When both King Hedotianus and Sorcilius died within a month of each other, the stage was set for the first and most disastrous civil war in Roan history. Sorcilius died first, and despite his having repeatedly arranged for the Assembly of Nobles to recognise Princess Honoria as his heiress, upon his death the Princess was outside Roanum at her villa, awaiting the birth of her latest child. The Hedotian faction led by Prince Acolianus, King Hedotianus’ son and heir, bribed, threatened, and even murdered its way through the city’s garrison (the Silver Company of Aqares), preventing the Sorcilian members of the company from proclaiming Honoria as queen and instead putting forward a Hedotian loyalist Toronnius the Elder as domestic king.

Roanum’s populace was deeply divided over whether or not to accept Honoria as Queen—a female monarch was unprecedented, but most sought to honour their oaths and respect Sorcilius’ will of succession. Enough of Honoria’s supporters were present in the capital to forcibly prevent Prince Acolianus from installing Toronnius as king at the Temple of Roanes. By this time, Princess Honoria had received word of her father’s death and her own succession to the dual throne of Roanum. While a merchant-paid mob of her partisans besieged Prince Acolianus in the Assembly, where he sought in vain to sway a majority to proclaim Toronnius as domestic king, Honoria’s husband Sacimian, Roanum’s greatest general after the dying King Hedotianus, lay siege to Roanum, threatening to slaughter the Silver Company if it did not proclaim his wife queen.

Despite the dying Hedotianus’ pleas for his son to accept Honoria’s rule over domestic affairs, Acolianus refused to yield to what he disparaged as “a woman’s government of the realm, which would ruin us all”. The old king, worn down by constant news of the civil strife engulfing Roanum’s streets, was powerless to stop the escalating violence. He weakened and died to the sounds of the Hedotian factions chanting his son’s name, not his own. Now king over military matters, Acolianus had himself proclaimed by the Silver Company in front of the Assembly hall, but the mob of Sorcilians (now called Honorians) reacted by stoning, attacking, and nearly annihilating the company. Honoria’s supporters in the Assembly—half the gathering—refused to accept Acolianus’ rule, even ejecting the priests of Roanes sent by him to mediate in the sacred hall.

With the royal council, Silver Company, noble Assembly, and even the people divided over who was to rule, Roanum descended into the dark depths of civil war. Fathers and sons took opposing sides, brother fought against brother. When (de iure uxoris) domestic king Sacimian’s forces breached the towering city walls, stormed the Silver Company’s fortress (the Aqarion) and put all Hedotian (now Acolian) partisans to the sword, King Acolianus barely managed to flee the capital alive. Queen Honoria took his wife Alia and daughters as hostages, while her husband and their sons exiled Acolianus’ sons to the far north, with secret orders to their guards that the boys should be killed if anyone tried to liberate them.

To the Acolians remaining in Roanum, Honoria’s rule as Queen ushered in a reign of terror. Following King consort Sacimian’s purging of the Silver Company, the Honorian faction leaders began a bloody campaign of reprisals against Acolianus’ supporters. Dozens of Acolian men in the noble Assembly were proscribed, their names listed from the rostrum of the Forum Roanum. These men, sentenced by Honoria and her husband to die as traitors, were given one choice: flee Roanum immediately, taking with them only the barest essentials, or die by anyone’s hand as public enemies.

While Honoria and Sacimian consolidated power in Roanum, sending envoys proclaiming their accession throughout the kingdom, Acolianus fled in disguise to Vinaeum, aided by only a handful of servants of proven loyalty. When the military king boldly climbed Vinaeum’s towering cliffs by nightfall, scaling the walls with his small band of supporters and surprising the city guard, he was able to convince the city’s governor, loyal to the Acolian cause, to allow him to speak before the city council. With bold words, he exhorted the men of Vinaeum to fight beside him to help him regain Roanum’s throne, challenging them “by what right or precedent does a woman think to rule over us, and wives to rule over men?” His first step was to liberate his sons from captivity at the hands of Honoria’s sons.

In a ferocious night-time attack on Prince Honorius’ camp in the hills north of Vinaeum, Acolianus and his band of Vinaen supporters slaughtered hundreds of the enemy, who were caught completely unaware. Mortally wounded by several sword blows inflicted in personal combat with Acolianus, Honorius ordered his guards to leave his side and rush to execute Acolianus’ sons before their father could liberate them. By the time Acolianus at last reached the tent where his sons were, Honorius’ men had killed two of them. In a mad fury, Acolianus and his men hacked Honorius’ guards to pieces and slaughtered the remaining Honorians, crucifying their bodies on the hills surrounding Vinaeum. Acolianus personally cut off Honorius’ head and sent it south to his parents in Roanum. Refusing to allow the man responsible for his sons’ murders to receive a decent burial, Acolianus vengefully ordered Honorius’ corpse set on the Vinaeum city gates.

When the domestic King and Queen received their eldest son’s head at their palace in Roanum, the entire court trembled to hear their cries of grief, lamentation, and rage. Refusing their counsellors’ pleas for forbearance and reason, the Queen and her husband ordered their guards to the palace dungeons where Acolianus’ queen Alia and her three daughters were confined. As the guards burst into the chamber, they shouted for the horrified Alia to choose two of her daughters, with the third to be taken away by the guards and presumably raped or killed. At wits’ end, Alia refused to choose, so the guards promptly slit her eldest daughter Alia the Younger’s throat, leaving the girl dead in a pool of blood as her mother and sisters shrieked in agony.

Princess Alia the Younger’s murder on Honoria’s orders horrified Roanum’s population. Their first queen had behaved with the vengeance and recklessness of the worst of men. While her son Honorius had been killed honourably in battle in defence of his mother’s claim to the throne, she had slaughtered a harmless girl out of spite and a most unqueenly desire for revenge. After ruling for some six months in Roanum, it was Honoria who now had to flee the capital by nightfall in disguise as the outraged citizens called for her and her husband’s heads. Recovering her wits after her daughter’s brutal murder, Acolianus’ wife Alia had managed to smuggle her daughter’s blood-soaked gown along with a note written by her in her daughter’s fresh blood out of her prison and, via a trusted servant, to the house of Procomius of the Ephemian House, one of her few supporters whom Honoria had not had executed.

Procomius promptly had the gown and the note, with his own incendiary annotations, posted to the rostrum publicum in the Forum, where, by midday, an outraged throng of several thousand armed citizens had gathered, calling for the overthrow of the “she-wolf” and her husband. Terrified that the Silver Company were of dubious loyalty, Honoria and Sacimian fled the palace by nightfall with their children and several trusted servants and guards. The same night, Acolian loyalists broke into the palace, found their way to the dungeons, and released Alia and her surviving daughters, who immediately headed to the Forum to rally the people to “hunt down the she-wolf and her vicious cubs”.

In what became known as the “Honorian Flight”, Queen Honoria, Sacimian, their now-eldest son Sacimianus, their other son Maximius, and their daughters fled Roanum for the Porraen hills, taking with them as much of the public treasury as they could carry. In several days they had reached the fortified colony of Porraeum, which became their base for the remainder of the conflict. Sending envoys east to the Phillaen city-state of Pharsalon and the Aellyrian port of Nortonium, both ruled by queens, Honoria forged a powerful foreign alliance with the promise of Phillaen hoplite warrior mercenaries and Aellyrian warships to strengthen her much-depleted military forces. Inviting foreign armies and fleets to the shores of Roa for the first time, the Alliance of the Three Queens—sealed by Honoria marrying one of her sons and one of her daughters to Pharsalon and Nortonium—would haunt Roa for a further century as Honoria’s descendants in Phillae (Pharsalon) and Aellyria (Nortonium) marshalled forces to claim Roanum’s throne.

When word of Honoria’s flight from Roanum reached Acolianus and his two surviving sons in Vinaeum, he immediately gave supplications to the gods before heading south with his army. Queen Alia in Roanum sent an army of 30,000 to besiege Honoria in Porraeum, which within months was reinforced by 25,000 Phillaen mercenaries from Pharsalon. As soon as she became aware that Acolianus had left Vinaeum for Roanum, Queen Honoria sent Sacimian and their son Sacimianus on a secret mission along the west Phillaen Sea coast north past eastern Roa, Ostremia, and Potomia. Disembarking at the mouth of the Vinae, Sacimian and his son and their small band of followers headed northwest into the hills of Artemia, rallying the Artemians and several thousand Phaedan warriors to Honoria’s banner. The Artemian host led by Sacimian swiftly moved south, besieging the Acolian stronghold of Vinaeum.

No sooner had Acolianus and his sons rendezvoused with Alia outside Roanum than messengers arrived at the Acolian camp with the news that the Honorians, led by Sacimian, had begun laying siege to the Acolians’ base of Vinaeum with their Artemian-Phaedan army of some 30,000 men. Appointing Alia as Regent in Roanum in his absence, Acolianus again turned his army north. Defeating a garrison of some 5,000 Honorians guarding the Cescepine Pass—Acolianus had the survivors flayed—the military King’s men pressed on through Cescepia and Cespedia, where client kings, princes, and lords who only nine months earlier had recognised Honoria as queen now bent the knee to Acolianus, providing him with fresh men and horses.

In the Battle of Vinaeum before the walls of the city, 45,000 Honorians (mostly Artemians and Phaedans) did battle against 50,000 Acolians. King Acolianus initially seemed to gain the upper hand, surrounding the Artemian camp and launching a devastating attack which left most of their commanders dead. The Phaedans fought fiercely—including numerous female warriors—scalping tens of thousands of their victims. King Sacimian and Prince Sacimianus challenged Acolianus to single combat to no avail, as the latter dared not risk his life against either man. The outcome of the battle hung in the balance until a contingent of Ostremian javelineers, Potomian slingers, and Porraen hoplites appeared on the horizon behind Acolianus’ army.

Honoria had taken the enormous gamble of sending 15,000 of Porraeum’s defending army of 25,000 north after her husband. The sudden arrival of this relief force, entering the battle shouting Honoria’s name, terrified the Acolians, throwing them into a panic and giving fresh heart to the Honorians. This, coupled with Acolianus’ grief over the loss of his son Acolianus the Younger in battle (Sacimianus had killed him in single combat), was too much for the military King. Acolianus and his sole surviving son  Prince Achorius fled the battlefield only moments before their all-but-certain death at Sacimian’s hands, as the people of Vinaeum, taking stock of the arrival of the additional Honorian soldiers, massacred the members of the city council loyal to Acolianus and delivered the city intact into Sacimian’s hands.

Aware of how close his stunning victory had been to a crushing defeat, Sacimian ordered his soldiers to loot only from the abandoned Acolian camp, sparing the Vinaeum citizens from the customary looting and slaughter since they had freely surrendered their city to him. Ordering three days of solemn supplications to the gods in humble gratitude for his great victory, Sacimian was careful not to repeat the earlier Honorian brutality in ruling Roanum during his pacification of Vinaeum. The city’s nobles and commoners alike were unmolested, the most dedicated Acolians freely permitted to leave the city unharmed, and in the name of his wife Sacimian confirmed the liberties of the city, including the permanent right of Vinaeum nobles to elect three men from among their ranks to send to the Roanum Assembly.

Leaving his son Prince Sacimianus as Regent in Vinaeum, King Sacimian immediately headed south in pursuit of Acolianus and Achorius, who were fleeing with only a handful of retainers toward Tubisium. Sacimian sent assassins to dispatch Achorius, who died in his anguished father’s arms outside the walls of Tubisium, which, ruled by the Honorian faction, had closed its gates to the military King. Contemplating suicide, only the thought of his wife Alia and their daughters helpless at the hands of the Honorians inspired him to continue. The King fled south to Roanum, all the while disguised as a humble shepherd. When he entered Roanum with his son’s body, Queen Alia’s grief was boundless, and the noble lady could not restrain herself from weeping in public. Even Queen Honoria in Porraeum remarked that she could not stomach how her husband had sent an assassin to dispatch her rival’s sole surviving heir.

As soon as she had heard of Prince Achorius’ death, Honoria sent envoys through the Acolian lines outside Porraeum, urging the soldiers to either join her cause or return to their homes. “Why would you risk all and fight for a king whose heirs are dead, a man with no future?” Honoria’s offer divided the Acolian lines, as she had wished, and within hours her partisans turned on those who remained loyal to King Acolianus, slaughtering them as they prepared to launch an attack on Porraeum and capture the Queen. As soon as those loyal to Honoria had triumphed—some 15,000 of Alia’s besieging army of 30,000 men—she ordered them and 10,000 of her own soldiers who had been defending Porraeum to march on Roanum.

For the second time, King Acolianus and Queen Alia found themselves besieged by Queen Honoria and King Sacimian in Roanum. For almost two years the Honorians lay siege to the capital, whose inhabitants were reduced to eating cats and then rats to survive. Only days before Sacimian planned to lead an all-out final assault on the starving city, a malaria outbreak swept through the Honorian camp, nearly killing the King. Ravaged by disease, the Honorians took this disaster as a bad omen, while the Acolians regarded it as the gods’ vengeance for the Honorians’ slaughter of Princess Alia the Younger and Prince Achorius. Faced with an untenable situation, the much-weakened Sacimian was forced to break off the siege, giving relief to the Acolians who at last were able to bring fresh food supplies into Roanum.

Over the next three months, as summer turned to autumn, Roanum’s battered walls were repaired and strengthened for the inevitable return of the Honorian army. The Honorians returned from Porraeum in the fall, some 40,000 Phillaen, Aellyrian, and Roan soldiers led personally by Queen Honoria herself, her husband at her side. Roanum’s Silver Company of Aqares was bolstered by some 5,000 Eodean mercenaries (mostly archers) and some 10,000 Cescepian axe men and spearmen. Refusing to engage the Honorians in a pitched battle where they would be at a tremendous disadvantage, the Acolian defenders of Roanum prepared to endure another lengthy siege. Six months passed before the much-weakened city once again ran out of sufficient provisions. Both kings and queens consulted with their auguries, and it was agreed that battle should at last be joined.

The Acolians’ 20,000 men, aided by 10,000 Sorraen Phillaen and Heaphonian colonial troops[3], drew up before the city walls, with Queen Alia and her daughters the princesses Acolia Hedotia and Aqarona Alia sending their King off to battle armed with the city’s standard before taking their place with Roanum’s leading nobles on the ramparts to watch the battle below. Queen Honoria blessed her sons Sacimianus and Honorius the Younger along with her husband King Sacimian before the men took up their position at the head of the 40,000 strong Honorian force. Battle was joined at dawn and lasted savagely until midday, when King Acolianus sent word to King Sacimian that he wished to fight him in single combat. A Phillaen hoplite from Sorrae had mortally wounded Prince Honorius the Younger, so Sacimian’s blood was up. Despite Honoria and Sacimianus’ pleas for Sacimian not to fight Acolianus, both kings prepared for single combat.

Each man fought with sword, shield, and spear, and in the course of almost an hour both kings fought with the courage and nobility of the bygone Age of Heroes. King Acolianus struck the first mortal blow with his spear piercing Sacimian’s leather breastplate. As he approached to finish Sacimian, to Honoria’s anguished cries, Sacimian unexpectedly rallied to summon the strength to stab Acolianus’ upper abdomen with his dagger. Both kings fell to the ground, mortally wounded, and both queens howled and cried their grief. Roanum’s chief priests immediately came forth from the city walls, declaring that with the two kings’ deaths the gods had at last willed a draw in battle and an end to the five years of bloodletting.

The two devastated queens, Honoria and Alia, were moved by their husbands’ simultaneous deaths and the counsel of Roanum’s priests to at last seek peace. In what came to be known as ‘The Queens’ Peace’, Honoria and Sacimian’s sole surviving son and heir Prince Sacimianus was married to Acolia Hedotia, Acolianus and Alia’s eldest surviving daughter and heiress. Both Honoria and Alia were to have no further part in the rule of Roanum, but they were permitted to keep the title of ‘queen’ and advise their children as queen mothers and dowagers. Sacimianus was acclaimed as domestic king, while Toronnius the Younger, the son of Acolianus’ old ally Toronnius the Elder was installed as military king and married to Acolianus’ and Alia’s youngest daughter Aqarona Alia, who became military queen consort. By uniting the Honorians and Acolians by marriage, and raising an Honorian (Sacimianus) as domestic king and two Acolians as queens consort, the two rival houses were at last brought together peaceably, and five years of vicious, exhaustive civil war ended.

For the next 22 years, Kings Sacimianus and Toronnius the Younger ruled justly and peaceably, aided by their capable and popular queens. In the wake of the devastating civil war, Roan military manpower was greatly reduced. Roanum’s provinces took advantage of this military weakness, with rebellions against Roan rule and taxes breaking out in Vinaea, Artemia, Tubisia, and Potomia. In what became known as “The Taming of the North”, outright resistance to Roan rule was crushed from the nineteenth to the twenty-first years of the joint reign. Only by the help of the gods—Roanum’s priests offered sacrifices for a month without ceasing, and the temples were filled with citizens coming to supplicate the gods for victory—did the Roans manage to triumph over the provincial revolts. Both kings sent their queens as peace emissaries to negotiate several peaceful surrenders and the reincorporation of surrendered provinces into the kingdom.

While Toronnius the Younger quelled the rebellions in the provinces, domestic King Sacimianus had the crucial, though less glorious task of restoring Roan commerce and restructuring Roanum’s depleted administration after the devastating civil war, which had seen the capital depopulated, ravaged by disease, and trade at a standstill. Renowned for his wisdom, Sacimianus reformed the Roan judicial system, requiring all trials to be held in public with a magistrate appointed directly by him presiding if the King himself was not present. Sacimianus also confirmed the Assembly of Nobles’ privileges as the senior advisory body to the kings, to which Roanum’s hundred leading noble families all elected their own members with the kings’ approval. While all ultimate military, political, economic, and religious authority remained with the kings, who were understood and venerated as the sons of Roetes, the Righteous Judge, Sacimianus’ affirmation of the Assembly of Nobles’ participation in ruling (as a consultative body for the kings to solicit advice from Roanum’s leading aristocrats) served to buttress the institution’s political and civic authority a century prior to the founding of the Republic.

King Sacimianus the Wise died in the 22nd year of his reign alongside King Toronnius the Younger, who reigned for a further four years before dying. Sacimianus was succeeded as domestic king by his eldest son by Queen Acolia Hedotia, Ammorianus Hedotius. Ammorianus and the elderly Toronnius presided over the peaceful vassalisation of pine, fish, and tin-rich Eodea in the third year of their joint rule. At his death, Toronnius was succeeded as military king by his second, oldest-living son by Queen Aqarona Alia, Cytimianus Alius. These two kings reigned together for a largely stable period of 26 years.

Cytimianus Alius and Ammorianus Hedotius’ first act as co-ruling kings was to send commercial and political envoys to the Laramian emperor Malek Negeshtizaripal I, who agreed to favourable trade terms which included giving the Roan monarchs a discount for the Naephan and Marphan purple dye used to make royal robes. In the tenth year of their joint reign, Queen Aqarona Philea of Nortonium in Aellyria, a descendant of Queen Honoria’s daughter Lucilla Philea, attempted a massive invasion of Roa from the Phillaen Sea with some 70,000 men and 467 war galleys. Consulting the augurs on the Hill of the Three Great Protectors, the two kings determined with the priests’ blessing to construct Roanum’s first navy in honour of Rodophon, son of Aqares and Aqarona. Under Ammorianus’ supervision, 400 mighty galleys were built in an astonishing six months’ time at the fortified harbour at Ocdeum, while Cytimianus summoned an army of 65,000 men from across the kingdom to relieve Roanum, which Queen Aqarona had been besieging for over five months.

As both domestic Roan King Ammorianus (in the male line) and Aellyrian Queen Aqarona Philea (in the female line) were grandchildren of Queen Honoria, they were cousins, so the conflict came to be known as “The Cousins’ War”. Protesting via her envoy that “I have as much Honorian blood in me as you, and as strong a claim to sit on Roanum’s throne”, Queen Aqarona’s armies ravaged the Roan countryside when the then-outnumbered Roans refused to give battle.

Only in the second year of her campaign, when the Roans had at last broken the Nortonian naval blockade and assembled a large force of 65,000 men from across the kingdom, did the Roans give battle against the warrior queen. In three savage battles, in which Queen Aqarona personally fought against King Cytimianus Alius’ forces, the enemy was gradually driven further and further from Roanum. Like her maternal grandmother before her, Aqarona retreated first to Porraeum, “the Bastion of Queens” before sailing home with her fleet. The first Roan attempt at naval warfare had ended disastrously: in the sea Battle of Porraeum some 300 Roan warships went to the bottom of the sea, outnumbered and outmanoeuvred by the superior Nortonian fleet.

Attempting a second invasion of Roa twelve years later with her son Prince Aqares Philleus, Queen Aqarona this time brought 75,000 men on 500 great warships. This time, the Roans were ready: in four battles the Roans—80,000 strong—annihilated the mixed Phillaen-Aellyrian invading army. Queen Aqarona narrowly escaped with her life, while Cytimianus personally killed Prince Aqares in the fourth and final battle. The Roan navy defeated the Nortonian fleet outside Ocdeum, causing Aqarona to flee to Caccius in an attempt to replenish her forces. She never again attempted to conquer Roa, instead barely surviving a coup against her in Nortonium.

Ammorianus died in the twenty-sixth year of his joint reign with Cytimianus, the thirtieth year of his rule on the domestic throne. His eldest son Alexiorius succeeded him as domestic king, reigning with Cytimianus for four years before the latter died. In the second year of their joint reign, Alexiorius’ second cousin King Honorius Alexius of Pharsalon, another grandson of Queen Honoria, invaded Roa with a large army of 70,000 hoplites, archers, and horsemen and 600 war galleys. The elderly King Cytimianus summoned 80,000 men from across the kingdom to repulse the invaders in three great battles. In the third and final battle, his son and heir Prince Sorthinius killed King Honorius in personal combat, beheading him with his great sword and then ordering the surviving Phillaen generals taken hostage.

Exhausted from the latest invasion, Cytimianus died less than a year later, succeeded as military king by his capable son Sorthinius. In their 26 year joint reign, Sorthinius and Alexiorius presided at last over a peaceful period in which Roanum was free of either foreign invasion or civil war. Steady population growth saw Roanum’s population surpass 200,000 by the tenth year of their reign, while Alexiorius established favourable trade terms with the Phillaen and Heaphonian colonies on Caccius and confirmed the existing free trade terms with Sorraen colonies and Pharsalon.

II. Cespedian Rule

Both kings died in the same year, and their sons’ succession to the dual throne was overshadowed by a massive Cespedian uprising against Roan rule. Some 250,000 Cespedians—over half of the available Cespedian male population—took up arms under the instigation of Cespedora’s client King Cypareus. Both Alexiorius and Sorthinius’ sons were minors, and the Assembly of Nobles was too internally divided to offer competent leadership to deal with the massive rebellion. Within a year, all of Cespedia, Tubisia, and most of Cescepia had revolted against Roan authority. Roan garrisons at Tubisium, Vinaeum, and Teabanium, receiving no orders from Roanum, either acknowledged local Cespedian pretensions or stayed within their own bounds.

For nine years, Cespedian forces gradually seized control of the kingdom, driving out Roan garrisons in Vinaeum and annexing Tubisium and Cescepium in four years. In the seventh year King Cypareus took as a hostage and ultimately executed the Roan Assembly’s peace envoy Claudius Alexiorianus, Alexiorius’ adopted son, and by the eighth year the Cespedians were outside Roanum’s walls.

Roanum fell and was savagely sacked after a nine-month siege. Neither nobles nor commoners were spared as the Cespedian soldiers under Cypareus burned homes and palaces, sacked and profaned temples, butchered priests and the elderly, and enslaved and raped thousands. So began the unspeakable, dark days of direct Cespedian rule over Roanum. For a miserable period of 52 years, three Cespedian kings, beginning with Cypareus, ruled brutally over Roanum from their capital at Cespedora. After ruling over a much-dilapidated Roanum for 19 years—during which time he pillaged the city of its many treasures and routinely assassinated Roan noblemen—Cypareus’ son Cespedorus Cyprear succeeded him at Cespedora. He was even worse than his father, stripping the Roan Assembly of its traditional dignities and savagely executing several noble members who dared to voice their opposition to his rule. He appointed foreigners, all uncouth Cespedians, to all cult divine offices, and insisted that the Roans offer sacrifice to Cespedian gods. He sent Cespedian merchants and adventurers to colonise north-western Caccius, where they quickly began conflicting with both native Caccians and Phillaens on the island’s east and southeast coasts. Cespedorus ruled for 21 years, and was succeeded by his even more brutal and fiendish son Cyraxeus.

Cyraxeus, the most hated and worst ruler Roanum has ever known, ruled over the city for a miserable twelve years, with each year worse than the last. A tyrant in every way, Cyraxeus profaned Roanum’s gods by closing many temples and turning others into theatres or even brothels for his soldiers. He refused to administer basic justice, allowing his Cespedian friends and courtiers to commit all manner of crimes—extortions, rapes, even murders—against Roan citizens and go entirely unpunished. He refused to hear or receive petitions from Roans, failing in his most basic duty as a king. Opposition to his rule among all classes of Roans continued to mount, with several noble families (chiefly the Anonii, Rothians, Drusians, Galonians, and Ephemians) organising clandestine meetings of noble Assembly gatherings to plan to depose the hated tyrant and restore the Roans to self-rule. When rumours began to spread in the Forum Roanum in the twelfth year of Cyraxeus’ reign that the King was planning to abolish and destroy the Assembly outright, the patricians of the Assembly fathers planned a coup to topple the tyrannical king.

When the King abducted and raped the married noblewoman Claudia Hedotia Rothiana, sister of powerful Roan nobleman Rothius Alexius Ignatius, the Roans could stand his abuses no longer. Led by Ignatius and Claudia’s outraged husband Flavius Marcus Anonius, a mob of some 20,000 Roans, noble and commoner alike, descended on Cyraxeus’ palace. All the guards were slaughtered, while the hated king was pulled from his bed, paraded naked to the Forum, and there denounced and condemned as a tyrant, traitor, and public enemy. He was savagely executed before the assembly of Roans: his right hand was cut off and the wound burned with iron, and he was then blinded and castrated before being torn apart and hacked to pieces by four horses sent in opposite directions. His head was sent north to Cespedora with the warning “Never send us another king, or he will meet the same fight as this one.” His sons were blinded and his widow and daughters forced to flee to Cespedia for their very lives. His body was burned and the ashes dumped in the Teaban River.

In place of restoring the monarchy—no Roan nobleman dared propose himself or his friend as king when Roanum’s last king had just been savagely, though justly, killed—the Roan nobles assembled with elected representatives of the common people in the Forum Roanum. After consulting with the oracles and augurs of the Three Great Protectors and offering many sacrifices to discern the will of the gods, the Assembly of Nobles, or Senate as it soon became known, was vested and publicly and sacredly charged with the rule of Roanum and the recovery of the provinces still under Cespedian domination. Thus, some five hundred years ago, the Roan Republic was born, with Rothius Ignatius unanimously acclaimed and elected as the first First Consul (chief magistrate) and Philleus Alexius Galonius as the first Second Consul.

III. The Roan Republic

The Republic dawned almost five hundred years ago at what seemed like Roanum’s darkest hour. The city’s nobles and commoners alike bore the scars of 52 years of Cespedian tyranny. The capital, long neglected and abused by the Cespedian kings, was in a state of disrepair, depopulated, immensely poor, the temples having been pillaged and profaned, the Assembly of Nobles—now the Senate—outraged, and the dignity of the city at its lowest point in centuries. The only common unifier among all the Roans was their great hatred for the Cespedians, especially the memory of the hated Cyraxeus, and their determination that a king would never again rule over them.

The ordinary people (plebis)—all those whose ancestors had not been noble or served as advisors to the kings during the monarchy—were divided by the first act of the Roan Senate into thirty curiae (courts) based on their family ancestry and which tribe (gens) they belong to. The curiae unanimously accepted the rule of the nobles via the Senate so long as they were permitted to form their own popular assembly of commoners, the Concilium Publicum (Public Council), to review and discuss the Senate’s decrees. Rather than risk the outrage and possibly violent reaction of the plebs, the Senate agreed, with the Concilium appointing Marcus Junius Adoleus as the first tribune (presiding magistrate) and envoy to the Senate.

Invested with the solemn rule of the city (imperium), the Roan Senate established in its infancy the absolute rule of precedent, public morality, and deference to the elder city fathers over all legal and civic affairs in the capital. Married to these virtues was the priority of according proper worship and reverence to the gods. The gods had once raised Roanum up to great heights of power and dominance over the Roan peninsula; with their aid, Roanum could be great once again. As with the earlier Council and Assembly of Nobles, every meeting of the Senate began with solemn sacrifice to the gods in which all members participated.

On ordinary days, this meant the usual auspices were taken, augury signs read, and inexpensive sacrifice of wine and incense offered on the altar in the center of the Senate chamber (Cenation); on great occasions of either triumph or distress the Senate would order great supplications to the gods in the form of public processions, hymns to be sung in all the temples, and animal sacrifices on all the city’s altars. By rule of precedent, the Senate always met on the first day of the year and the calends (first day of the month) in the Temple of the Three Great Protectors on Roathes’ Hill. While only senators were permitted to speak, Senate meetings were open to the Roan public and began at dawn after sacrifices, as they still do to this day.

Whereas now the emperor or (if absent) his appointed deputy presides over most Senate meetings, in olden days the two consuls presided, or if only one consul was present, that consul presided alone, with the other consul’s deputy observing the proceedings and reporting back on them to his master. If neither of the consuls were present, the next senior-most officials (praetors) could preside. In times of crisis when the commoner assembly (Concilium)’s wishes conflicted with those of the Senate, the consuls (or, if absent, the praetors) could invite the tribune (senior delegate from the Concilium) to preside over the Senate in order to restore concord and reach a settlement.

Whereas during the Roan kingdom the Assembly of Nobles had functioned primarily as a consultative and advisory body to the two kings—who, rather than the Assembly, retained all ultimate political authority unto themselves—the Senate had now been invested with the rule of the city in the name of the gods and the Roan people. The Senate remained an advisory body to the two consuls on matters of foreign and military policy, exercising great influence over the consuls’ decision making, and retaining all ultimate authority for the management of civil administration within Roanum.

Continuing the tradition whereby leading noble (patrician) families had elected from among themselves their most virtuous and honourable members to the Assembly, the Senate, initially a body of one hundred of the leading aristocratic city fathers, continued in this vein. The Senate had at its roots the aristocratic concept of the organisation of Roanum into individual tribes or clans (gentes), a group of interrelated families ruled absolutely by a clan father (pater). Based on familial lines and geographic place of residence, all gentes, noble and commoner alike, elected annual representatives to the Committia, the Roan Committee, which voted by gens (with each holding one vote) on public matters. The Committia, an assembly of all free Roan citizens, enacted laws, elected junior magistrates (the Senate and consuls appointed senior ones), and tried most judicial cases (all treason trials were presided over by the Senate).

In antiquity, even before Roanum’s founding, the Roan patres had elected Roathes the Clever from among themselves as Roanum’s first king, and during the monarchy had nominated from their ranks representatives to serve on the Council of Nobles (which later became the Assembly and then the Senate). During the kingdom period, the Council/Assembly primarily served to recommend legislation to the kings (who decreed all laws) and, above all, serve as their principal advisory body. While the kings were not bound by the Assembly’s advice, the institution’s growing prestige made it increasingly impolitic to ignore.

Now, with the declaration of a republic, the Senate was invested with the principal lawmaking power (potestas) and authority (auctoritas). Executive authority, rather than being concentrated in the hands of two lifelong, nominally elected hereditary kings, was to be conferred on two consuls chosen from among the senators who would each serve for only one year. So afraid were the Roans of another Cyraxeus coming to power that the new Roan republican constitution (a series of uncodified precedents and laws passed by the Senate, Committia, and Concilium) emphasised the absolute authority of the Senate over the two consuls. In practice, this authority gradually weakened over the centuries as the most outstanding generals in the realm became consuls and amassed more and more power to themselves at the Senate’s expense, but during the early period of the Republic, the Senate’s sovereignty over all matters of political and civic life was nearly absolute. Initially, only noble families were permitted to elect senators from among their ranks, although this was later changed at the behest of an armed assembly of the ordinary people (Concilium Publicum).

As a symbol of their high estate and nobility, senators were entitled to wear a fine white tunic with a broad purple stripe, symbolising their participation in the rule of Roanum, as well as an iron (later gold) ring. In practice, the Roan Senate ruled through the issuing of decrees called senatus consulta, which officially constituted their advice to a ruling executive magistrate (usually the consuls, praetors, or those appointed by the consuls to various lesser executive offices). While these senatorial decrees were not as powerful as laws enacted in vox populi (by the voice of the common people) in the Concilium or Committia with the Senate’s approval, due to the Senate’s prestige, they were usually obeyed. Since the Senate ruled through the acclamation and support of the Roan people, in the event that a senatorial decree conflicted with a lex (law) passed by a popular assembly, the popular law overrode the senatorial decree. However, since the Senate had such high prestige, in practice its decrees, sent to the consuls and the popular assemblies alike, served to guide other officials in conforming to the Senate’s position.

Through these decrees, the Roan Senate gave various assignments and orders to the civil magistrates, especially the two consuls in their prosecution of military conflicts or civic justice. Practically, the Senate’s real power over Roanum’s civil government came from its management of the state finances, as only the Senate could disburse public funds from the Roan treasury. As the Roans gradually reconquered Roa from the Cespedians and began to expand their dominion across the Taepan world, the Senate also gained in authority by administering the conquered provinces, which were governed by former consuls appointed by the Senate as proconsul governors.

The Senate as a body declared war or made peace with Roanum’s enemies, and also held the power to, in times of crisis, appoint a dictator called an archon (usually one of the consuls or a former consul) to rule with emergency powers. In practice, archons were rarely appointed, and while the office was revived twice in the last century, the Senate usually conferred an ultimate, emergency decree called the senatus consultum ultimum, which authorised consuls to employ the use of extrajudicial force to end a crisis.

If the consuls wished to summon the Roan Senate outside of its normal meeting times (once a week and on the first day of the month), they had to first take auspices to see if the gods approved of the illustrious body’s irregular convening before issuing a degree of summons (cogere). Senators were then expected to assemble at the Senate House (Cenation) or the appointed temple for the meeting, with the censor (enforcer of ethics within the Senate) charged with punishing senators who did not respond to the summons.

While in session, the Senate had the power and authority to act on its own terms, even against the will of the presiding magistrate. As a matter of form, the presiding magistrate began each meeting of the Senate with an introductory speech, and then began referring the issues at hand to the senators, who would discuss the matters in order of seniority and rank (later, when wealthy commoners of illustrious birth were permitted to elect members to the Senate, this meant that a noble of equal seniority with a commoner would always speak before the commoner). Because all senators were obliged to speak before a vote could be held on a proposal, and since all meetings had to end by sunset, a senator opposing a motion could use a filibuster to talk a proposal to death.

All votes were between a proposal and its negative, and a proposed motion could be vetoed by majority consensus or the authoritative veto exercised by the people’s tribune from the Concilium. In the event that the motion was considered to be of minor importance (routine confirmations of magistrates appointed by the consuls, for example, or the reissuing of an old tax), the Senate would vote by a show of hands or a voice vote, while more significant matters (new taxes, decrees of censure or exile, or a vote to go to war) were voted on by a physical division of the house, with senators voting by moving to either side of the chamber.

The presiding magistrate recorded any motion that the Senate approved but which was vetoed by the people’s tribune as a senatus auctoritas, while a motion that was successfully passed and not vetoed entered into law as a senatus consultum, an advisory decree which all Roans were bound to respect. At the end of each Senate session, the recorded documents were deposited in the Temple of Roetes, the Righteous Judge, which housed the state treasury. While a vetoed but passed Senate motion did not have the force of law, it did serve to reflect the collective opinion of the body and thus served to inform the magistrates, Concilium, and Committia of the Senate’s position.

The princeps senatus was the first member of the Roan Senate by order of precedence and seniority. Although he held no imperium, the holder of the office had enormous prestige, as he was regularly consulted by the consuls for his opinions, and all senators seeking to introduce legislation sought to obtain his support. Membership in the Senate was strictly controlled by the censors, high-ranking senators chosen for their impeccable honour and unimpeachable ethics. Censors, appointed annually by senatorial nomination, were charged with holding a census each year to determine the population of Roanum (used for calculating grain and wine requisitions) and authorising subsequent elections to the Concilium, Committia, or Senate. The censors could bring articles of impeachment against corrupt senators, which were promptly voted on and, if passed by a majority, the accused was expelled from the body and his assets seized.

A century ago, by the time of Gaius Alexius Marius, who served as consul an unprecedented seven times, property worth at least one million coroens was required for membership in the body, thus ensuring that only the noblest and wealthiest men gained entry into the Senate. By the Marian reforms of last century, a man’s appointment by the consuls to any of the Committia or Concilium’s magisterial offices resulted in automatic election to the Senate following his term as magistrate. This had the effect of greatly expanding the Senate’s size from some 300 to over 600 members by the time of Marius’ death some sixty years ago.

Senators were chosen from only the most honourable and ethical of Roan families. They were required to be married and fathers of legitimate children, and were required to take part in most of Roanum’s major cult rites and divine offices, sending representatives to minor rites if unable to attend in person. Unlike Roan equestrians (knights appointed to the Silver Company of Aqares from among the best military commanders), senators could not engage in any public contracts, including money lending, nor could they participate directly in foreign commerce or leave Roa without permission from the Senate. Coming as they did from the wealthiest ranks of society, as they do today, senators were not paid a salary.

The two leading men in Roan political society, replacing the role earlier filled by the military and domestic kings, were the consuls. The office of consul stood at the summit of the Roan Republic, as it was the highest political office. The consulship was the highest level of the cursus honorum (the honorary course, the sequential order of public offices through which aspiring public servants sought to ascend).

During their terms, both consuls exercised the ultimate executive imperium and auctoritas of Roanum in cooperation with the Senate. Elected from among the ranks of senators for one year terms, the consuls were the highest ranking magistrates and first citizens of the Republic, solemnly vested with supreme power in civil and military matters. Responsible to the Senate, which could vote to strip them of their powers unless one of the consuls had been previously named an archon (dictator), the consuls nevertheless had a wide degree of latitude in setting forth their own policies and obliging the other senators to enact the laws they wished to see passed.

All Roan magistrates (executives) reported to those immediately above them, and could veto decisions made by those at lower levels. Senior executive magistrates were drawn from either the Committia, Concilium, or Senate, but all had to be confirmed in their office by the Senate. Under the two consuls, twelve praetors administered civil law, presided over the courts and trials whenever the consuls were absent, and personally commanded Roan armies under the consuls’ command. Under the praetors, twenty civil justices were elected to preside over Roanum’s domestic affairs and maintain order in the markets, public games, and other entertainments. A fluctuating number of financial ministers assisted the consuls and praetors in raising money for their various obligations.

Republican virtues and ancestral values

Continuing from the monarchy period through the Republic down to today, the highest, unwritten code of conduct and values from which the Roan people derived their social practices and laws remains the “Ancestral Customs”. Uniting all ranks and classes of Roan society, the ancestral customs were the time-honoured principles, models of behaviour, and social practices that defined all aspects of private and public life in Roanum from time immemorial until today. Today, the Emperor as the First Citizen is the chief embodiment of these ancient, ancestral customs (or “way of the elders”). During the Republic, the Consuls and the Senate by their virtuous and noble conduct embodied the way of the elders.

The ancestral customs are transmitted firstly and foremost through the life of the family and household (familia), which is the foundation of Roan society and the source of all moral education. Reflecting the hierarchy of Roan society, fathers rule as absolute heads over their families, while, when the father dies, the widowed wife becomes the head of her family, with her children and their spouses owing her all reverence and obedience. The head of the family is always expected to exercise his or her power in moderation and to act with all honour, dignity, and responsibility on behalf of his or her family. The chief check or balance on the conduct of the head of the family is the pressure of social outcast and censure and the decline of the family’s prestige should the head fail to meet societal expectations in his or her conduct. Children remain in subjugation and obedience to their parents until their parents’ death, with the surviving grandparents the apex of the extended family, held in reverence by all.

The distinctive social relationship during the Roan Republic, which remains in Roan society to this day, is that of the mutual obligations between the patronus (patron) and the cliens (client). The patronal network, in which patrons were often obliged to someone of higher status or greater power and clients often had multiple patrons, served as the underlying societal foundation for Roan business, commerce, and social advancement.

The chief Roan virtues from time immemorial through to today are as follows. They are known as the Nine Cardinal Virtues:

I. Pietas (piety: dutiful respect and justice toward the gods, homeland, parents and family) is manifested by the upholding of all relationships in a moral and dutiful manner. True piety consists in the inner devotion and righteous behaviour of the individual, and was the chief virtue of Turephon, the ancestral Roan hero who fled Turephas in Turea, seeking a home for the Roans west across the Taepan.

II. Fides (faith: a person’s good faith, trustfulness or credibility) is required for the honouring of oral contracts and the basic day-to-day interactions between patrons and clients, masters and slaves, family members, and employers and employees.

III. Religio (from the verb “to bind”) consists of the bond between gods and men, maintained through the proper observance and correct performance (cultus) of traditional religious rites required to preserve the peace of the gods (pax deorum).

IV. Disciplina refers to the martial character of Roan society in relation to excellence in education, prowess in military training, discipline in battle, and overall self-control.

V. Gravitas is dignified self-control, especially required of the head of the family, parents in relation to their children, employers in relation to employees, masters in relation to slaves, patrons in relation to clients, and especially exemplified by the senators, consuls, and, now today, the Emperor and Empress.

VI. Constantia (constancy) or steadiness or perseverance, which all Roans were expected to preserve through periods of trial or adversity, especially members of the nobility and senators in particular.

VII. Virtus (virtue) constituted the ideal of the perfect Roan male. Brave in battle, honourable in all conduct with patrons or clients, respectful toward his wife and children, dedicated to his labour, and devoted to the gods and to Roanum’s prestige and protection, a true Roan male ought always to discern between right and wrong, to know what is good or evil, shameful or laudatory, honourable or dishonourable.

VIII. Dignitas (dignity) is achieved by maintaining and showing the other values and virtues. For men, this should include serving the Roan republic in the form of service in the Roan priesthood, military, or magistracies. For women, this should include serving in the female priestly orders (either from youth or in old age), being an exemplary matron and hostess (if a noblewoman), or (for common women) being a dutiful wife and excellent mother. A man or woman with dignitas, irrespective of whether or not he or she was noble, is lauded for behaving nobly and honourably, and esteemed highly among all men. A Roan man or woman who displays the other virtues becomes a person who possesses great dignity.

IX. Auctoritas (authority) is an ethical concept as well as a political one, meaning prestige or respect. By virtue of a man’s auctoritas in the home, he and his family interact in domestic peace and tranquility; by virtue of an elderly person’s authority over their extended family, proper respect is observed, wisdom transmitted, and the appropriate age hierarchy reinforced. A patron’s authority distinguished him or her from other patrones, making them an honourable, reliable, and virtuous person to work for or serve.

The virtues were—and remain—so highly prized that a Roan, male or female, who exhibits them throughout his or her life will occasionally be given the title of the virtue as a cognomen. The most noted example would be the Roan Senate’s conferral five years ago of the title of Augustus (“venerable”, “exalted one”) on the First Consul of the Roan Senate, the Imperator, General, and nobleman Rothius. The Senate may bestow a cognomen upon a consul or other general who returns victorious from battle, a senior member of its own ranks, any magistrate or civil servant, or a nobleman or noblewoman for an outstanding reputation as a particularly pious, dignified, honourable, or virtuous individual.

In truly exceptional circumstances, the Senate has awarded outstanding commoners with cognomens as a mark of the body’s respect for their outstanding public service, piety, or dutifulness. Several tribunes of the Concilium Publicum were granted cognomens, beginning with the first tribune, Marcus Junius Adoleus. The virtues remain to this day the fount of all Roan accomplishments and triumphs. The ability, through adherence to the Ancestral Customs, to preserve a strong sense of religious, corporate, and social identity while adapting to the changing political circumstances around them is what permitted Roanum’s expansion in the years of the Republic from a small, poor city-state to not only regain its lost dominion over Roa, but to become the greatest empire in the Taepan world.

A Brief History of the Roan Republic

Just under five hundred years ago, the noble Senate unanimously acclaimed and elected Rothius Alexius Ignatius, brother of the outraged married noblewoman Claudia Hedotia Rothiana (whom the Cespedian King Cyraxeus had abducted and raped) as the first First Consul (chief magistrate) and Philleus Alexius Galonius as the first Second Consul.

The Senate elected Flavius Marcus Anonius, Claudia Hedotia Rothiana’s husband and the brother-in-law to Rothius Alexius Ignatius, as the first praetor, responsible for the enforcement of the Senate’s decrees in Roanum and for the prosecution of criminal. The honourable and universally esteemed wealthy plebeian Marcus Junius Adoleus was appointed as the first tribune of the Concilium Publicum.

Both Rothius Ignatius and Philleus Galonius, aware that they held the unenviable position of being the inaugural holders of these new offices, constantly behaved with the upmost decorum and dignity, always showing respect to the common people, respecting the Senate’s wisdom, and cultivating the admiration and loyalty of the nobility. Both men served in their respective positions a total of six times, though, of course, non-consecutively.

Throughout the nineteen years during which they were active in Roan politics, Rothius Ignatius and Philleus Galonius exemplified the highest of Roan virtues, most especially that of being excellent military commanders and superb conquerors. With the approval of the Senate, the consuls set out to reclaim all of Roanum’s lost territories from the Cespedians. Their first target was Cespedora, ruled by Cyraxeus’ nephew, King Cyrenicus the Cruel. Conquering the Cespedian capital would serve as a warning sign to the other Cespedian city-states throughout Cespedia (variously called Roa in the chronicles) to return to Roan authority. Offering humble supplications to the gods, Rothius Ignatius and Philleus Galonius prepared Roanum’s soldiers for war. Carpenters and siege engineers worked tirelessly on constructing massive weighed catapults to rain burning projectiles, large arrows, and stones down on Cespedora’s walls and homes. After three months of preparation, the two consuls sent Cyrenicus the universal sign for a war, a sign that only sixty years before had come menacingly from Cespedora to Roanum’s walls: a black banner.

Marching their host of 40,000 soldiers north through the Cescepine Pass (the Cespedian soldiers there surrendered en masse to the consuls, joining the Roan ranks with the promise for treasure), the two consuls gained some 10,000 reinforcements as they passed through the Cescepine hills heading north toward Cespedia. After a week’s march they drew up outside the walls of Cespedora. Delivering their ultimatum to King Cyrenicus—the city would be left intact if he opened the city gates to the Roans and abdicated—the consuls waited for his reply. Cyrenicus replied not with words, but with an intolerable insult: he ordered the Roan messenger beheaded, and his head and body catapulted over the city walls to the Roan camp. Outraged at the barbaric treatment of their envoy, the Roans prepared for battle, with the consuls instructing them to show no mercy to the city unless it revolted against its tyrant king.

In a fierce, pitched nine hour battle, the 50,000 Roan and Cescepine soldiers slaughtered 40,000 of the 60,000 Cespedian enemy. The survivors were taken as slaves, and those who resisted—some 4,000—crucified or put to the sword. The consuls ordered one last message sent to Cyrenicus—give himself up as a prisoner, or he would face certain death at the hands of the Roans. Refusing to accept Roan suzerainty for his city, Cyrenicus again refused the Roans’ reasonable demands.

Rothius Ignatius and Philleus Galonius personally supervised the preparation of the catapults—all twenty of which were hauled in pieces from Roanum and assembled outside Cespedora’s walls. The city’s massive walls were fifty feet high and fifteen feet thick, but the Roans had no interest in attempting to demolish such solid fortifications, which would need to remain intact if the Roans wished to hold the city after conquering it. Instead, they trained all their catapults on the city’s central stone gates, which crumbled to the ground after less than three hours of continuous bombardment by the great catapults. Roanum’s soldiers gave three cries before pouring over the rubble where the gate had stood and setting upon the city like ravenous wolves. In revenge for the brutal sack of Roanum 53 years before, the Roan soldiers savagely sacked the city, slaughtering tens of thousands and looting every palace, temple, and house they could enter. Some 70,000 civilians were taken as slaves, and millions of coroens’ worth of gold, silver, temple treasures, and confiscated goods captured and readied to be hauled back to Roanum.

King Cyrenicus was dragged from his hiding place in his palace citadel and, along with his sons, beheaded by order of the two consuls in front of the burning temple of Cespedora’s patron gods. Their bodies were quartered and burned, and the remains sent with Roan messengers across Cespedia as a warning for all other Cespedian towns and cities to promptly recognise Roan rule. The 10,000 Cescepine allies were dismissed with thanks and their share of the confiscated treasure, and 5,000 of the Roan soldiers who had conquered Cespedora left in the city to rebuild and begin to transform it into its old Roan name, Cespedium, a new Roan colony.

Leading their 86,000 slaves in chains along with their piles of treasure back to Roanum, the two consuls entered the capital to the fanfare of drums, trumpets, and the raucous cries of Roanum’s 150,000 people. The Senate declared that the consuls be given a triumphal parade, followed by a week of supplications and joyous thanksgiving. For the next month, public gladiatorial games were held for six days and nights, scores of Cespedian generals publicly executed in the Forum Roanum, and the gritty business of selling so many slaves commenced.

Over the next several months, the Senate sent out envoys to Sorrae and Porrae in the south, Ostremia and Cescepia in the central regions, Potomia and Tubisia in the central north, and Vinaea and Artemia in the far north, inviting them to accept Roan suzerainty in exchange for keeping their local economies intact. All the regional capitals were invited to send three representatives each to the Roan Senate. Following the savage sack of Cespedora, no single anti-Roan leader emerged to inspire these peoples to reject the Roan offer, so within several years the entire Roan peninsula was brought peaceably under Roan rule by the two consuls. Remembering how profitable Roan rule had been during the monarchy period, most of the common people in these cities happily reaccepted Roan rule, with only the Vinaen and Artemian nobles dragging their heels in the negotiations. The consuls finally persuaded the Vinaen and Artemian nobles to agree to accept Roan rule on the condition that both Teabanium and Vinaeum, the two regional capitals, would pay only nominal taxes to Roanum for the next decade, during which time they could send five representatives to Roanum to secure their interests.

The Senate ratified the Brothers’ Ten Tablets as the supreme law of the land, and these were again extended over the entire peninsula. Roanum, for the first time in its history, began to look outside the Roan peninsula for possible conquests.

To be continued…

IV. The Roan Imperium (Imperial Monarchy)—see the Companion Guide to The Imperatrix Trilogy.


[1] The first Temple to the Three Great Protectors (Roanes, Roanae, and Hedote) was expanded in the twentieth year of Roathes’ rule, fifteen years after its construction.

[2] The Roan name for Cespedora.

[3] The Phillaen and Heaphonian colonies in Sorrae sought to keep the Roans weak by prolonging the civil war, thereby keeping Roan attentions divided and away from conquering them.


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