Info: The Lives of the Emperors

Tattered Book and Pages found in Goblin Caves


This book was once a very expensive text with expensive illuminations on page borders and chapter headings. The book has been ransacked by small, grasping hands – the pages have been torn out, shredded or lost. Gertrude recovered the binding / covers of the book from the trash heap near the entrance. Those few pages that have been salvaged from the fungus room are badly spotted and marked by humidity and mold, but there is still readable text in formal, carefully copied Umbrian. The following excerpts are legible:

…In the year 128 of the Second Age, a great disaster befell the Umbria when the great host of Byrsa broke the army of Umbria at the river Aufida. The defeat was so great, that the army was shattered to its core, the great king Atilius dead on the field. In the council halls of Umbria, arguments arose over whether to surrender to Byrsa, or withdraw to their mountain fastness. One leader, Otho suggested that instead of retreat and surrender, Umbria should make allies of their clients and renew the war with the men of Sutri, Riano and other towns who had sworn allegiance to Umbria. Thus did Otho reverse the greatest defeat that Umbria had suffered and rout the Byrsan army from Umbria. Otho was acclaimed King of Umbria by his fellow clanlords and led the fight against Byrsa.

Over the following decades, the men of coastal towns formed a new navy for Umbria that transported the army across the sea to bring war to the walls of Byrsa itself. Thus it was that Otho broke the power of the Lakertes and razed their city of Byrsa to cinders in the year 161. From that day forward, Otho was known as King Otho Gloriana, savior of Umbria and architect of the Empire. His later years were marked by…

… and so it was in the year 214 that Galba Proventus, the great expander of the Empire did advance from Illyrica towards the old lands of Ilios. Attacked and beset by pirates of the Melez, wild men and cults of demon worshipers, the legions of Galba were forced to make slow progress. The enemies of Umbria fought a war of subtlety and deceit, rarely opposing the legions in open combat, but attacking supply trains and harrying the encampments built to support the army. The city of Canakkale was first established as a forward supply post and fortified camp, but it became the lynchpin of Umbrian settlement. With the opening of the city to local people, Umbria brough trade, food and law to these wild, ruined lands. A series of small trading posts and towns were established in the Ilian lands, which brought the people to Umbrian civilization more quickly than a legionnaire’s sword ever had. It became the consuming effort of Galba’s reign to incoporate these lands and under the forty years of his reign that followed, Umbria’s new provinces in the East became rich, trading with wildmen to the east and south and shipping their prized spices and cedar throughout the rest of the Empire. The city Chalcedon was founded in 257, a testament to the great bounty of the east, yet Galba never lived to see it, dying just before the New Years feast at the considerable age of 137.

… In the 150th year of the Empire, reckoned as year 311, the emperor Domitian earned his name Aequus by setting a stable new foundation for the Empire. Domitian halted further expansion into Gael lands in the northwest and negotiated a treaty with the Pontus of Noricum stating that Umbria would never advance farther north or east into territory traditionally held by Norican clients. Elsewhere, he chose to freeze the borders…

… creating the great Codex of Law, a singular achievement in improving the order of the Empire and mandating laws across all provinces. Domitian appointed the first men as governors in the Empire as well, acknowledging the importance and contributions of men to the Empire at every level. It is said that Domitian kept numerous men as advisors, a departure from the tradition that only clan lords from the first clans would advise the Emperor…

… Nerva died in 398, barely having made an impression on the Empire. His most significant act had been in naming his chief aide, a man named Verus as his successor. Because no Bellator clan lords stood to challenge this succession, Verus was officially crowned at the New Year’s celebration of the year 399. Many officials had worried about the chaos or strife caused by this momentous change of power, but the accession was remarkably calm – few of the Bellator clans seemed to even notice this change, as the clans seemed to have largely withdrawn inside their strongholds in the Umbrian mountains by this time.

Verus was himself a dynamic leader who attempted to reassert control and leadership from the Imperial capital, struggling to overcome the growing provincialism in the Empire. During his reign he visited the far corners of the Empire, met with legionary commanders and governors, and embarked on a beautification of the capital and palace. Sadly, Verus died in 415, after only sixteen years of rule – unable to complete his great works.

… in the face of this growing heresy in the East, Aurelius himself led a great expedition into his provinces of Bithynia and Phrygia. Bringing with him a force of holy inquisitors at the head of his legions to root out demons and demon worshipers, even in the city of Chalcedon. Though already old when he took the Imperial crown, Aurelius led the army with great vigor and his two year campaign was accorded everywhere as a great victory for the faithful and a restoration of the true values of the Empire. In his triumph at the capital, he was accorded the title “Pius” and led the Imperial City in a 7 day festival of worship and sacrifice to the gods.

At his advanced age, Aurelius Pius chose to resign the throne to a younger successor who could carry on his good works. So it was that in 468 Aurelius Pius, “the most holy man in Umbria” retired to the town of Salona, where a temple and library had been constructed for him to focus on his devotions until his death in 479.

Carus then took on the laurel crown and scepter of the Empire…

… after a decade of tumultuous rule and open rebellion in the corners of the Empire, Claudius – sometimes called Incertus – felt that one man alone could not control the far flung Empire. In 501 he declared the creation of the Tetrarchy, government by an Emperor (who would manage administrative and civil law) and a Praetor (who would manage all military affairs). Claudius named Decius of Pannonia as his praetor and Diocletian and Galerius in the East. It was Claudius’s hope that with the rule of the Empire split in this way…

…with Claudius’s death in 506, the rule of the Tetrarchy is still relatively untested. It is expected that Decius will accede to the Imperial throne and name a new praetor, but this act has not…


Info: The Lives of the Emperors

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