#10044 - 07/03/08 03:02 AM
The Sons of Rome - novel in progress
Loc: US Pacific Northwest
I'm going to write a novel called Imperium (now Sons of Rome). I was trying to sleep, and I entertained a thought I've been entertaining for months: to write a novel about the world-wide Roman Empire. A Roman Empire of the modern day, whose glory remains unmatched. A Roman Empire to span from Roma to Beijing to Roma again.
I put it here because it's still largely unorganized and could use some constructive suggestions to make it better.
The following link takes you to a Civilization 3 file I found that sounds very Roman, and could be a Roman anthem of this story.
THE SONS OF ROME
The eagle swooped down, slicing into the warm waters, returning up into the air with its prize: a solitary fish. It flew to the nearest tree, holding the fish in one leg as it balanced itself on the limbs, eating into the fish. Suddenly, however, a rumble caught the eagle off-guard, and it dropped the fish into the waters below. It swooped down, and high, until it disappeared into the clouds in the sky above the city below.
Rome, the world-city, beckoned to the soldiers marching outside. The legionnaires marched past fellow Roman citizens, and past long gangs of slaves chained together. They marched into Rome, passing the ancient gates and walls that once defended the city long, long ago. They marched under the Triumphs that lined the way to the palace, numerous and detailed were they.
Emperors and dictators would erect these Triumphs after their successful campaigns against the barbarians and civilized peoples of the world, but with the world being mostly Roman, there was little use for more Triumphs. As the troops marched past the Triumphs, they could read the inscriptions: “Here lies the barbarian king of Mongolia,” “Here the barbarian king of Norway was hung in sight of all Romans, patrician, plebian, and slave alike,” among others. The Triumphs were grand, rising into the clear blue sky made largely of stone and marble, giving it a soft shine in contour and texture.
The standard-bearer stopped at the foot of the imperial palace, and all legionnaires stepped into formation, turning, stopping. The sound of thousands of boots hitting the ground as they stopped was like an earthquake to the ears of centurion Gaius Americanus Aquila. He shook his head, avoiding the urge to move his arm to his face to remove a stray strand of hair that was in his eyesight. It fell to the white cobbled ground gracefully at his feet, covered in black boots.
The Eighty-eighth Legio Americanus stood at attention, awaiting their emperor. Time passed, and the world changed. The sky became cloudy, and the sun was covered. Still the 88th remained at attention, with barely a man moving. A legionnaire felt a tingle on his neck, and moved his hand, scratching the spot.
They heard the imperial procession bellow forth with trumpets and song. A gloriously rich-laden carpet was placed before the feet of the emperor, who strode forth gracefully, ignoring his courtiers and aides who struggled to keep up with him as they carried documents of the 88th to aid his memory. His imperial purple robes flowed with ease as he stepped into the cloudy city from the confines of his palace.
Emperor Aracius stepped forth before his legion. “Sons of Rome, where do your loyalties lie?”
Immediately the legionnaires, all six thousand of them, responded with triumphant force: “To Rome, to emperor, to God!”
“But not necessarily in that order, dear sons of Rome?” Said the emperor heartily. Most of the legionnaires laughed. But not the 1st Century of Legion 88. They stood to attention, eyes focused on the emperor of the world, and hardly moved a bit. The emperor strode down the elongated steps leading to the courtyard where the legionnaires stood, his robe following, sliding across the steps.
“Courtiers, give me the notes.” They obeyed, giving the emperor their notes on the legion. He fumbled through, tossing papers aside he didn’t like, much to the dismay of his aides, who rushed forth to pick them up before the sky began to rain.
He pointed to Gaius. “Centurion, tell me, were you victorious against the Huron tribes in the northern colonies of America?”
Gaius looked down to his feet for a moment, collecting his thoughts, before he looked back to the emperor. “No, your majesty.”
The emperor looked fiercely into the eyes of the legionnaires, scanning each man’s heart, so it would seem. “Who does Rome owe its defeat to?” he yelled at Gaius.
“Chief Degandaronk,” said Gaius.
“And you allowed this tragedy, and dishonor, to disgrace the Eighty-Eight?”
Gaius dared to look into the emperor’s eyes. “Yes. I did.”
Aracius’ face reddened, turning from a slight pink while talking to Gaius, to a soft red. “Decimate them all!” yelled the world emperor.
Gaius awoke in sweat, in the arms of his wife Vibia, who had awoken as Gaius stirred forcefully in his sleep.
IMPERIAL HISTORY: AN APPENDIX
The world-wide empire it was often called, and rightfully so. The dominion of Rome, begun in the breasts of the she-wolf in 753 BC, stretched forth its hand, and grasped the power of multitudes of barbarian and civilized thrones, and the destinies of billions of Romans, non-Romans, and mere slaves. Never before and never again would humanity be divided, and ever before and never again would an empire match the power of the world-wide empire.
Founded in stone, forged in fire, the Romans went on to carve the greatest empire ever seen, be it past, present, or future. Though trials by fire faced Rome at every turn, and thoug Rome was sacked by barbarians, it repulsed the barbarians, conquering and enslaving her opponents to rebuild a modern empire to stretch across the globe.
In the year of Our Lord 2138, in the reign of Emperor Artasius, protector of the Holy Roman Church, defender of the faith, the world-wide empire encompassed Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and eastern seaboard colonies in North America. Set in motion since 509 BC, the world-wide empire took hold of the vast territories of cold, forest-filled Europe, the harsh, icy fjords of Scandinavia, the vast tundra of northern Asia, the sandy deserts of central Asia and Africa, and the tropical areas of Africa and Asia, as well as Oceana. From the ice of the tundras to Russia to the sands of South Africa, humanity owed its allegiance to Rome.
The greatness of Rome lay in two degrees: one of the mind, and of arms. From archietecture, to biology greats like Darwin, to artists and inventors such as Edison, Hitler, and DaVinci, to sculptors, the empire of Rome brought forth knowledge, secrets, and wisdom to the people of the world. That is, the world Rome knew existed. As each generation brought forth new blood to the State, it spent that blood in conquest after conquest, glorious victory after victory. While Rome faced many trials, it always survived. It survived the Etruscans, the pillaging and rape of their neighbors, the Sabines, it survived the expeditions of Hannibal, the Pyrrhic War, and numerous barbarian invasions. Rome rebuilt when Nero and the invaders burned it, and it certainly survived when the barbarians tried to overrun its territory. During the reign of Jovian in the fourth century there was talk of splitting the empire, but naught came of it. The security Rome provided, juxtaposed against fierce barbarism of the invading hordes, encouraged a policy of volunteerism and conscription; to save their hard-earned freedoms which even non-Romans possessed, some had to join the military. The historic offering of consulship to Attila the Hun effectively marked the end of Roman worries. While some emperors were barbarians themselves, and not Romans by birth, it should not be said that the pacified barbarians were of poor value. Sturdy warriors of stout hearts, with short supply of Romans, it becamse common practice to utilize a majority army and navy of non-Romans, while Romans quickly became elite soldiers, administrators, and rulers. Rome became a multicultural empire in short time, and couldn't ignore the needs of its subject people forever. While the legions kept civil order, it became common practice to allow subject peoples rights and privileges almost on par with Romans proper in order to preserve morale and to encourage voluntary recruitment.
As Rome turned its attention to the Persians, Roman colonists spread throughout Europe, and in most cases, established themselves and the allegiance of barbarian tribes. The chieftains were brought to rome and educated, returning with knowledge of administration, civility, and justice. The process of Romanization was not always welcomed or successful. The chief resistors to the Roman order of things were the Goths and the Vandals. For many years prior to open engagement of war, skirmishes across the Roman border were commonplace. A decade of open warfare passed before these two tribes were subdued.
In the seventh centuriy, Arab raiders under the banner of a heathen religion marched on Constantinople, burning it before they could be subdued. Constantinople was rebuilt, and legions marched on the Arab homeland in their peninsula, conquering the major cities of Medina and Mecca. By this time, the British isles were unified under the Roman standard, and Romans were colonizing and Romanizing deep into Poland and Ukraine. Africa, the Dark Continent, would remain untouched by Romans in the interior for some time as the Romans turned their attention to more valuable territory.
By the eleventh century, Rome had made India into a Roman vassal state, and the process of Romanization and colonization there went ahead without much hinderance. The Rus in the northeast of Europe were brought under Roman control after a long, protracted war of attrition in the hostile Russian environment. By order of the emperor, the major Russian city populaces were relocated to Cyprus as an example to all enemies of Rome. Britain was temporarily invaded by Norweigian Vikings, but with Danish Vikings under Roman control, and Swedish Vikings sympathetic to the Romans due in part to fear and awe, were overrun from all sides. In Africa, rumors of civilization in the Horn of Africa led legions to march on the kingdom of Abyssinia, leading to Roman control of the Red Sea and its mouth.
But the Romans were not content to simply sit by and allow neighboring empires remain free forever from the grasp of the emperor. They engineered a war of skirmishes along the border with the Chinese and Indochinese, and as the Mongols erupted out of Mongolia to conquer China in the early thirteenth century, destabilizing the region, the Roman legions moved in to China, pushing back the Mongols. In exchange for Roman protection, the Chinese became vassals to the Roman Empire. The bandit Genghis Khan, a mere footnote in history, was brought to Rome and hung on the newly-built Triumph commemorating the victories in the east. During the Roman conquest of Mongolia, Korea and the Indochinese were annexed to the empire, and by this time India had become largely politically Romanized, with the ending of Indian "independence" in the fourteenth century when India was officially made a cluster of provinces.
Roman envoys sent to the various tribes and kingdoms throughout Indonesia, and to the Japanese, were met with little more than hostility. The invasion of Japan failed twice due to typhoons, but after some inroads with the natives in Indonesia, some were conquered and some were assimilated into the empire. The discovery of Australia in the sixteenth century, and overpopulation of the empire, gave an incentive and motivation for vast lands in northern Asia and central Africa being explored and colonized. Peace was established with the Japanese, whom the Romans considered blessed by God just as much as the Romans themselves, being protected from invasion. The Romans developed gunpowder in the seventeenth century, leading to a complete overhaul of military forces, and a complete military revolution of sorts. In the ninteenth century, the secret of industrialization was learned, and Rome revolutionized again.
The Japanese became trusted allies and confidants of the world-wide empire, and earned their keep. The Romans traded with them, and the Japanese learned to colonize, and were quite content to remain in their small island empire without bothering the Romans, and the same was likewise true.
As industrialization put forth a massive resource requirement to fuel the empire, Africa was explored and colonized. The Zulu in the southern region of Africa fought ferociously against the Roman legions, but were in turn conquered. As the world was Romanized, reforms were enacted by several philosopher-emperors, leading to a complete overhaul of the political system of the empire.
The emperor stepped down from active role in the political system, but retained veto power over the Senate. He would remain a figurehead for the empire, but his voice carried much weight, and couldn't be easily ignored. A system of dual consulships was retained, with consuls serving as real heads of the executive branch. With Roman tribes largely obsolete in an increasingly globalized world, tribunes served as judges in tribunals. The Holy Roman Church became a fourth branch of government, the religious branch. Inquisitors were established and inquisitions held, trying and convicting people of heathen religions. While most areas of the empire were Romanized, many, such as the Chinese and Indians, held onto their spirituality, much to the chagrin of the inquisitors. The inqusitions would go on for centuries as they attempted to stamp out heathens. There would be several praetors serving as heads of military. While such ideas as freedom of speech, worship, assembly, and press were not granted, many economic freedoms were granted, such as slaves' rights which granted them the right to life, happiness, and fair treatment, and the system of free capitalism endured, much to the prosperity of the patricians and merchant classes.
Until the twenty-first century, the Romans were unaware of the great continent of America. Once discovered, the Romans settled in colonies along the northeastern seaboard, meeting hostile and friendly natives in various places. While there was more than enough land for Romans to settle, some did go to the American colonies. Throughout this period, from the eighteenth to twenty-second century, the major problems Rome faced were the multiple Persian, Rus, and Zulu uprisings. In the case of the Rus, they were largely exterminated from Cyprus and repopulated with citizens from other corners of the empire. The Persians were kept in check through restrictions on their civil freedoms, and the Zulu were difficult to fight, as they blended in with the civilian population. Eventually, Rome had enough of the Zulu, and engineered a policy of rounding up Zulu at random and executing them. While only brute military force stopped the rebellions, the Zulu would rise up again in a generation to come.
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