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Alternate History

43-?BC: Dismounting (Cupiditate Regni Adductus)

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"Conquering the world on horseback is easy; it is dismounting and governing that is hard."-Chinggis Khaan

43 BC

Parthia

Barzapharnes

invades Dacia. At first, his forces find success, but Burebista

retreats to the mountains, waging a guerrilla war. After his assaults on the mountain fortresses with Parthian infantry fail numerous times, Barzapharnes retreats to the plains, and tries to raise hoplites.

In the east, as Mithridates moves toward the Yuezhi , a soldier asks him when he will halt the campaign. He replies, "Never." The troops, many of whom expected only a year of campaigning, are furious. Prince Orodes and Surena

beg Mithridates to halt, and they argue in Orodes' tent through the night. Mithridates rides away in rage, but falls while dismounting and dies. Surena crowns Orodes as Shanshah. Orodes makes peace with the Yuezi and brings the army home. Soon the Reforms of Orodes
begin. He re-institutes Achaemenid-style satraps, begins a series of massive military overhauls, creating the Greater and Lesser Immortals, units equipped in Roman, and Greek style, respectively, and brings seigecraft to Parthia through a captured Roman engineer, Vitruvius

, and grows the standing army to include more cataphracts, and even horse archers. Finally, and most importantly, he introduces Roman architectural advancements, along with Achaemenid style message/postal systems. However, these have will only be finished in 36.

Rome

Dictator Titus Labienus

continues to be outfoxed by Vercingetorix

, who as during Caesar's Invasion, practices a scorched-earth and guirella campaign. Titus' determination to conquer Gaul proves his own undoing, as the devastation from Dollabella's Revolt

still goes unfixed, thanks to Titus' obsession. Numerous revolts break out. Desperate for a victory to save face before returning home, Titus chases Vercingetorix into Helvetia despite suspecting an ambush. At the Battle of Jura

, Titus suffers a devastating defeat, leading to revolts all across the imperial realms. Only the fleet, under Gaius Didius

remains loyal. Titus while rushing home with a minimal escort, is surrounded by peasant rebels, dragged off his horse, and ignominiously killed. Titus' son, Quintus Labienus

, left in command of the army, does not prove up to the task, and the legates whittle away time in idiotic squabbles, as Vercingetorix launches attack after attack. The troops mutiny, and in exchange for giving up their weapons, Vercingetorix allows them to leave.

Africa

A deal is struck with the African nobles, in exchange for senate seats, and citizenship for Africans, to 'remove' the extraconsuls. Cassius , now proconsul, leads a successful campaign against the Mauri , whose territory is annexed to the province of Mauritania .

China

Numerous bad omens appear, and Shi Xian

blames them on the policies of Zhou
and Zhang Meng

, leading the two Confucians to demotion.

42 BC

Parthia

Inspired by Barzapharnes' failures in Dacia, the newly-won western conquests rise up, as well as the southern Arabs. Meroe

also attacks. However, resistance everywhere but Egypt and Greece is half-hearted and collapses quickly. In Greece, the poorly-equipped rebels first flee to the mountains, and than are cut off by fortifications designed by Vitruvius

. Egypt proves a similar story. Meroe's armies are easily smashed, but Orodes, not wishing to overextend, allows them independence, for a quite large tribute. A ceasefire is signed with Burebista. The Dacian nobles, thinking of their own power, kill him, leading to Dacia's collapse, and conquest by Parthia.

Africa

A treaty is signed with the Gaetuli . In exchange for caravan protection, horses, and safe passage for African troops, the Romans give large amounts of manufactured goods. The Africans use the treaty to attack and conquer the Garamantes , putting themselves at a critical advantage in Trans-Saharan trade.

Rome

Italy falls into anarchy. Into the void steps an obscure admiral named Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, who marches on Rome, promising, 'stability and bread.' He manages to regain control of the empire. In Gaul, thinking the Romans are doomed, some of Vercingetorix's chiefs overthrow and kill him. Their scattered attacks are easily defeated by Agrippa, who declares himself as Emperor. He stands confronted with rebuilding Italy, which lies in tatters after the numerous wars. However, with the African breadbasket lost, he must import from Africa. He reconquers the battered Gauls, but does not launch any other wars to save money.

China

Emperor Yuan appoints another Confucian, Kuang Heng (匡衡) to high office. Kuang wisely makes an alliance with Shi Xian.

41 BC

Parthia

Armenia loses its independence and becomes a satrapy. The Yuezhi have launched numerous raids on Parthian territory. Orodes decides the use 'diplomacy by other means.' However, the Yuezhi mounted archers heavily outclass the Parthians, and defeat Osakes

several times. However, taking pages from both Cyrus the Great and Vitruvius, Surena invents a brilliant system. The Parthians place a line of scorpios and Polyboli in the desired battlefield. At first, the Yuezhi are allowed to come close through a false retreat of Parthian horse archers. Then when the Yuezhi approach to fire, the artillery launches Arabian camelhides, disordering the horse archers, who are then fired upon by the artillery. Nevertheless, progress is hard and slow.

Rome

Even with farms restored, the population of the empire is too large to survive without the African breadbasket. The Africans and the Parthians both demand gold for grain. Emperor Agrippa has no choice, but tries to reduce consumption by any means necessary. He exterminates whole tribes of Gauls and Illyrians on false charges, raids the coast of Britain to grab grain, bans banquets, strictly rations food, bans sending gold coins overseas for any purpose except grain, kills or deports large numbers of slaves, and turns the Forum into a bloodbath when people try to protest.

Africa

In exchange for lower grain prices, African vessels are allowed passage through the Pillars of Hercules. They soon establish colonies on the Coast, and also land on numerous island groups, the Insulae Purpureae (Purple Islands, OTL Iles Purpuraires) a major dye production center, the Insulae Felices (Blessed Isles, OTL Madeira) which only has a small patrol force, and Canaria , also mostly an outpost.

40 BC

Parthia

The war against the Yuezhi continues. Eventually, the tribes are pushed into the mountains (OTL Kashmir) and cut off through fortifications.

Rome

More Tax Revolts

occur, mainly in Spain, which are crushed by the Empire's legions.

Africa

The colonization of the West African coast continues.

China

Emperor Yuan orders the number of temples decreased, as part of budget cuts.

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