The Romans

Welcome, traveler, to the Republic of Rome. Once a small village built upon seven hills, Rome is now a city poised to take on the known world and win. We are a civilized state, with a government unique among all the world. Our city boast four factions, three houses under the Senatus Populusque Roma. The Julii hold the north, the Brutii the East, while the Scipii are poised to strike south. Each will be described in detail elsewhere; here we shall discuss mainly our Republic as a whole.

Just remember this, traveler, when choosing which faction in our Virtual World you wish to command: the name of the game is Rome: Total War. The only thing you will have to decide is which Roman faction you wish to lead to victory.

Roma Victrix!

The Land

Cities and Factions

We Romans own all of Italia, which all educated people know is the peninsula south of the River Padus. There is a tiny settlement to the west of the Padus called Segesta which is not under our standards, but we will be taking that soon. In fact, the first Senate Mission given the Julii faction is to bring this wayward town into our fold.

The House of Julius, also known in-game as the Julii, have their base in the two northern cities of Arretium and Ariminum. The Julii are an ancient family, patricians of a long and noble line. It is said their ancestors were kings of Alba Longa back when Romulus first founded our city. After the Rape of the Sabine Women and the conquest of Alba Longa, the Julii became Roman patricians. They would remain senators, occasionally serving as consul, until the later rise of Gaius Julius Caesar, who would go on to conquer all of Gaul. Thus, in our virtual world, the Julii are most often tasked by the Senate to seize settlements in what is known now as Gaul.

Their red banners are poised to strike north into Cisalpine Gaul, that area of Italia north of the river but south of the Alps. Two Gallic cities lie there, ripe for the taking. Mediolanium lies to the west, and guards two passes through the might Alps to the north and west- gateway to the Greek-founded city of Massilia. Patavium lies to the east, guarding the gateways to the underbelly of Germania Magna through the Great Northern Pass to Iuvavum, and the roads east to the Balkans.

Our city of Rome lies in the center of the world, a perfect position from which to rule all. Central to the world; central in Italia. She is a shining city along the Tiber. Rome is unique, for unlike the other Roman cities, Rome is ruled directly by the Senate and People of Rome, popularly known by its initials SPQR. The Senate, under the direction of the consul, handles foreign relations, and can- if needed- issue decrees to other Roman factions in the form of assigning a Senate Mission. This can be something as easy as blockading a nearby port, or something as difficult as reaching a distant settlement and conquering it. Regardless of the mission, the Senate feels its accomplishment will further the policies and goals of Rome, Center of the World.

The city has a firm stone wall girding its borders- built by King Servius Tullus a long time ago. The Senate meets in a governor's palace, while in the Forum Romanum, the plebs can listen to the demagogues rant and rave over laws and proposals while they purchase bread and exotic items from other lands. The city barracks works hard to keep the principes trained and ready, while on the practice field young men volunteer to become velites. There is a blacksmith to forge the ores coming from the nearby mines, and all of Rome can enjoy the gladiatorial games in our magnificent amphitheatre.

South of Rome lies Italia's second-largest city- Capua, the powerful capital of the blue-bannered Cornelii Scipiones, known in this world as the Scipii.

This house, like the Julii, is a long and respected gens in Roman social circles. Many Cornelii ruled as consul in the olden days, and many more will come. The branch cognominated "Scipio" would go on to conquer Carthage- not once, but twice. Thus in our world, the Scipii are often tasked by the Senate to seize Carthaginian settlements- to include their capital of Carthage itself.

Capua is the only city the Scipii rule in Italia. Their second city is Messana, on the island of Sicilia. Sicilia is shared by three factions- the Scipii in the north, the Greeks in Syracuse to the south, and the Carthaginians in Lilybaeum to the west. They get into battle quite early securing Sicilia for Rome.

In the very south of the Italian peninsula lies the strongholds of the Junii Bruti, known locally as the Brutii. Their green banners sway over Croton and Tarentum. The Brutii descend from Marcus Junius Brutus, the man who overthrew the Kings of Rome to establish our republic. The Brutii, who often married into the Caepio family of senators and merchants, were among the best and richest merchants of our republic. They had strong ties to Greece, where in the actual Civil War they had once defeated Caesar himself in battle before succumbing to his armies. The Senate will usually demand the Brutii to conquer Greece, which makes the Brutii an economic powerhouse.

Buildings and Roads

We Romans are famous builders. Our aqueducts and many of our buildings will still be around thousands of years from now, for the people of the future to marvel upon.

Though most civilized factions can construct buildings to improve public health, such as sewers and aqueducts, only we Romans can build city plumbing to keep our people healthy and happy. And only Romans (and by some fluke, the Seleucids as well) can build a fifth-tier barracks to churn out our Urban cohorts.

We have no odeons or theatres along the Greek models, nor do we need any. Romans are a bellicose people. We want no Greek tragedy to watch- we want blood! Thus we have our arenas, where Warriors of the Sands fight and die for our amusement. These can be upgraded to an amphithreater, or even to a Coliseum. Further, unlike any Greek theatre, our Arenas can recruit soldiers to our ranks- the mighty gladiators who fight within their walls.

Road-making is a science, and we Romans perfected it. Some of our roads will exist and still be in use thousands of years from now. We take the making of roads to a new level. Only we can create highways- solid stone roads traveling as the crow does fly to any destination we desire- for the rapid transportation of our legions to where they are needed. They also bring merchants in their multitudes, as Roman roads get their goods to markets faster than any other land-bound means.

We also have a special talent. Only we can build upon a Sacred Circle of Epona, and turn it into an Awesome Temple of Epona, the Gallic Horse Goddess. We often take from others that which works well, and improved it to make it our own. Epona is no different, goddess or not. Awesome Temples in her honor bring warriors trained in their vicinity experience bonuses, much like the Brutian Temple to Mars.

The Army

The Starting Legions

Rome has on average the most powerful military formations in the game. Though other factions may have exceptional units here and there capable of defeating our legions, overall, our armies are the strongest. This goes back to the early days of Camillus, who saw the inherent dominance of the short Celtiberian sword over the much longer spears of the phalanx. He coupled this weapon with a body-sized shield and armored each man according to a standard, and added in Samnite pila. He then devised tactics to use this new force.

The legion is impressively strong, so much so that even a mediocre general can win victories with it. Many a time, a sub-par consul led our forces into battle with this simple plan: Let the legions do their thing. More often than not, that was enough for the victory. Other factions can beat our armies if they are led by a competent general and face a mediocre one on our side; our strength is such that a competent general will almost always claim the victory, while even mediocre generals will have a better-than-average chance at victory. We can win astounding victories with a good general, and tremendous victories with an excellent general. No other house can claim the same.

The basis of our army is the swordsman legionary. This soldier comes in two varieties- the rookie Hastati, and the more experienced Principes. The Hastati usually serve on the front line, gaining experience, while the older Principes serve to steady them and take over the battle when the Hastati have weakened the enemy. The principe is stronger, more experienced, and steadier than the fresh Hastati, which made them the backbone of the Camillan legion.

A third line of troops- the Triarii- are powerful spearmen, though they must be modified if you wish them to learn the phalanx. These are the hoary veterans of the Roman Army, the last line of defense. They are good against cavalry, being spearmen, but less so against swordsman, being spearmen. Still, they are a powerful reserve for a Roman general. They come from the Army Barracks.

Roman cavalry is at first limited to the Equites- light horsemen with a decent charge but very little armor or melee ability. They are the equivalent of Greek Cavalry, though seemingly slightly stronger. A second unit- Cavalry Auxilia- is the only unit besides gladiators that are available both before and after the Marian Reforms, which will be discussed in detail later. Cavalry Auxilia is a Roman copy of Numidian cavalry- fleet-footed warhorses bearing javelin-throwing soldiers. Excellent scouts, they can also be used to eliminate pesky generals and other powerful units which hide behind a spearwall.

For skirmishers and the inevitable missile duel before battle, we have velites, and can later acquire archers. Velites are skirmishers, men with little or no armor who cast javelins at the enemy to weaken them before the legionaries of the Hastati and Principe ranks move in for the kill. Use them wisely, and they can win battles for you. Use them carelessly, and they will be slaughtered like sheep.

Our artillery is slow to come, but when it does, we have access to more forms of artillery than any other nation. Ballistae and catapults, onagers and scorpions, repeating ballistas and rapid-fire scorpions, and of course the Heavy Onager.

The Marian Reforms

What separates the Roman Army from the other factions is the Marius Reforms. Gaius Marius was one of our greatest generals, but when he became consul, he had no qualified men upon whom to call. The wars of the previous generations had drained the pool of available manpower almost dry. So what Marius did was reform the laws so that not only propertied men could serve, but any Roman citizen could serve.

Further, he reformed the army structure. He had to- the influx of many untrained men into the legions created problems, such as how to train and equip them as velites, Equites, Hastati, Principe, and Triarii. Too many types, too little time. So he discarded all of the above and created the legionary cohort based upon the Principe. This article explains the Reforms in better detail. A summary of the reforms as affecting the game are that armor and weapons were standardized for the legions, and all training was the same. The legions were made into a professional army, with increased training and discipline.

The other branches of the Army became auxilia- spearmen, cavalry, archers. All with improved equipment and discipline. The legion provided the heavy infantry, while the auxilia provided the necessary blend of combat arms to the mix to give it the flexibility to fight and win anywhere.

The Marian Reform is thus the greatest single event to occur in the game- and opens up an entirely new and far superior technological tree for the Roman player. After the Marian Reforms, it will no longer be possible to train, recruit, or gather replacements for the pre-Marian units (without modifying your files).

In addition to these standard units, each of the three familial Houses has its own gladiators. These are able to be recruited in any city with an arena or better, and are hardy fighters (two hit points in place of one), though expensive and not numerous. Still, a unit of gladiators can make a difference in battle if used properly.

Two other units that emerge with or around the Reforms are Praetorians and the Urban Cohort. The Praetorians were the guards of generals and emperors, men devoted to that sole task who were selected from among the cream of the fighting units. Praetorian cavalry is the best of the Roman Horse, while the Praetorian Cohorts coming from Imperial Palaces make mincemeat of most infantry units anywhere.

The Urban Cohort, from the fifth-tier barracks, is arguably the strongest infantry unit in the game. It beats the Praetorians on attack, defense, and morale, though the praetorians can be retrained in any city with an Imperial Palace while the Urbans require an Urban barracks. They have two hit points, excellent armor, excellent condition, excellent morale, and wicked defense. They can cut huge holes in a legionary cohort, which itself can reduce any barbarian warband to fleeing cowards within seconds.

This is the army which you could command.

The Gods

Rome has a huge pantheon of gods, most a variant of a similar Greek Olympian. Others were typically Roman, while yet others were imported from conquered peoples and incorporated into the growing Roman religion. They are so many we will enumerate but a few of them such as Parthian Mithras, Gallic Epona, and Egyptian Isis, and leave the rest. And then there were the home-grown gods, the deified Emperors- men who became gods.

These are the major gods we worship:

Jupiter is the King of the Gods. Variously known as Jupiter, Jupiter Optimus Maximus, and other names of honor, he was the son of the Titan Saturn, whom he overthrew to bring the Olympian Gods to power. He is the Lawgiver, and as such, his temples grant their cities law bonuses to help maintain public order. He is comparable to Zeus of the Greeks.

Juno, also known as Juno Moneta, was his wife. She is roughly comparable to Greek Hera, without the intense jealousy. Her temples bring happiness and health bonuses to their cities.

Mars is the war god, similar to Greek Ares. He is a bloody warrior, a hero, and veteran of a thousand battles. Troops trained in cities with temples of Mars gain experience bonuses, making them more effective than troops recruited elsewhere.

Pluto is the God of the Dead, the Roman Hades. He rules the underworld, though no faction in the game has any temples or shrine dedicated to him. His realm, however, is filled with those who opposed Roman aims. His wife Proserpina is the daughter of Ceres, and spends half of the year with her mother, the other half with her husband. While with her mother, Ceres allows the sun to shine and bring forth crops from the earth. While with her husband, her mother grieves- and the skies cloud over, rain falls, and crops die in the fields.

Neptune is the brother of Jupiter. He is the god of the sea. He is a natural for the Scipii port cities, as he rules the sea over which the Scipii soldiers must sail to reach their foes. The upper tiers of temples to Neptune grant to the Scipii ships of various new designs- the famed Corvus Quinquereme which won the Romans the First Punic War, and the deadly Decere, which outclasses anything on the water. These temples and ships may be modified to be available to the other factions.

Ceres is the goddess of grain, the single-most important part of the Roman diet. Curiously, her worship includes the rites for the dead- maybe due to her daughter Proserpina being taken to wife by Pluto, or maybe because blood makes the grass grow. Regardless, she is honored by shrines and temples for her fertility, which allow cities to grow stronger faster than cities with no temples to her.

Bacchus- the Roman equivalent of Greek Dionysius- bring forth happiness. He is the god of the grape, an important fruit to the early Romans. His temples bring forth excessive happiness- but also occasionally the bad trait if a governor remains within the city too long. . .

Apollo is the Sun God. The Lightbringer, and brother to Diana, the Huntress. Though both were major gods, neither is represented by temples in our Virtual World.

The last god which does indeed have a temple is Mercury, the messenger of the gods who doubles as the god of merchants and thieves. The two are not so different it seems! His temples increase trade to their cities, as merchants are religious people who flock to where their god is honored.

Now, there is a ninth temple, and we have just read that the last god with a temple was Mercury. That is because we Romans also honor a Titan with a temple. The Greeklings call him Chronos, but we know better. He is Saturn, the father of Jupiter. We are a patriarchal people we Romans, and for that reason, the father of our primary god is also honored as if he were a god. Our most popular and most famous celebration- the Saturnalia- is celebrated in his honor. Well, actually, we celebrate the ascendancy of Jupiter over Saturn on that day by turning all relationships upside down- slaves become masters for a day, while the masters serve their servants, but it fits nicely with our paternal society.

We have two other gods, invisible spirits, that we worship, though their altars are within every good Roman household and not in the public eye. These are the Lares and Penates, the personal gods of the household.

Each of our factions have chosen three gods to honor with shrines and temples. Rome itself- open to all- has no single god which it worships. However, one can easily modify the export_descr_buildings file to allow all Roman Houses all gods by simply replacing the text 'romans_(house)' with simply 'romans'.

The Mods

The Roman Army of Antiquity- and of this game- was the toughest, most diverse, strongest, and most-disciplined force the known world had ever seen. As such, there are many modifications to our Virtual World out there to increase the rosters of other factions, or to make other factions stronger, or generally weaken what we have created.

There are a few mods out there that can unite the Roman factions into a single faction. This is done to allow new factions to emerge, since our Virtual World has a limited number of factions available. Uniting Rome undoes one of the most deliciously-bloody events of the game- the Roman Civil War, where one house pits its might against the other three. Fighting factions that employ the same powerhouse formations as your own makes for a challenging and bitter fight, one upon which the player may end up on the wrong side of a sword.

Ave Caesar, te moritu salutus.

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