Alternate History

Wars of the world (Roma Delenda Est)

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Phoenician Wars (264 BC / 241 BC - 218BC / 210 BC)

The Phoenician Wars were waged between Carthago and Roma. Roma dubbed this war the Bellum Punicum or, although less used, the Bellum Phoenicum, referring to Phoenicia, where Dido, the first queen of Carthago, had lived. Over time, this Latin name was replaced by the Carthaginian translation of it. Roma had declared war on Carthago in 264 BC, because the Mamertines wanted help and assistance. They had first asked Carthago, but, maybe because they didn't want Carthaginian oppression (a Carthaginian garrison), they asked Roma. And after a long debate, Roma accepted, and went to war with Carthago. Another possible and likely reason was, that Roma didn't want any more Carthaginian influence on Sicilianu (Sicily), because after Carthago managed to deal with the Mamertines, they could deal with the city of Syracuse, and then Sicilianu would essentially be completely controlled by Carthago. Strangely, in the first part of the Phoenician Wars, which lasted from 264 BC to 241 BC, Carthago lost and was forced to pay a hefty price for it. Roma, having completely no experience in naval warfare, didn't even have a fleet ready, and when they built one, they copied their design from Carthago. But Roma was an inventive nation, and instead of ramming ships, as was usual, they created a corvus. A corvus was a primitive boarding system, and would attach it to the other ship via spikes at the end of the bridge. Then, soldiers would board the enemy ship and take it over. But the corvus had its drawbacks, it made the ship harder to steer, and possibly imbalanced it, causing it to easily sink in bad weather. Carthago, a trading power and not a military one, had difficulties adapting to war time, and had difficulties with adapting in general. Indeed, when the corvus proved a huge succes, Carthago was forced to change its naval doctrine, with which it had great difficulties. However, Roma lost many ships, due to Carthago, but also due to the corvus (remember, ships with a corvus were easily lost in storms, and were hard to steer), and didn't want to keep building new and expensive fleets. Carthago dominated the waves. And because of that, Carthago lost. As has been said, Carthago had troubles with war time, and its government didn't help. Many wanted to end the war, and now that they controlled the sea, Roma could do nothing. Thus, the fleets were demobilized, and the war was considered won. Hamilcar Barca, the father of Hannibal Barca, raided the coast of Roma many times in this period, and perhaps because of this, Roma did build a new fleet. And Carthago had demobilized hers. In response, Carthago did make a new fleet, although hastily and without enough men. It was no surprise that the fleet of Roma won, and Hamilcar, now cut off from Carthago, was forced to sign a peace treaty, which he himself actually didn't do. He let Gesco, one of his subordinates, do this, perhaps to give the impression that he wasn't really defeated. Both nations were financially very weak now, and Carthago needed to pay the mercenaries it had hired, the soldiers captured by Roma (while Roma got hers for free), and pay 3200 talents (although only 1000 talents needed to be paid immediately). Further, Carthago was forced to evacuate every single island between Europa and Afrika, including Sicilianu and some islands north of it. Also, Carthago wasn't allowed to attack Syracuse or her allies, or in fact, attack Roma or any of her allies. But Roma also wasn't allowed to attack Carthago or her allies. Carthago also wasn't allowed to recruit mercenaries in territories controlled by Roma or her allies. Carthago now had no money, and it did need money, for the mercenaries it hired wanted their payment. This caused the Mercenary War (around 240 BC), in which Carthago had great difficulties to quell the mercenaries. It succeeded, but Roma took over Corsica and Sardinia in the meantime. Syracuse became an ally of Roma, Sicilia became the first province of Roma, and Roma began expanding beyond the Peninsula Roma (the Italian peninsula). Roma now controlled the seas, but not for long.
Indeed, in 218 BC, Roma again declared war on Carthago. Before, it was agreed that Iberia, or more precisely, the Iberus (the Ebro), would be the border of Roma and Carthago, but Roma conquered the city of Saguntum, which lay south of the Iberus and thus in territory of Carthago. Thus Hannibal besieged the city of Saguntum, and after a long and bloody siege, the city was taken by Hannibal (who was wounded, and his army was nearly destroyed) and most of the citizens committed suicide. Roma demanded Hannibal, Carthago refused, and war was declared. Hannibal left with one of the largest armies the world had ever seen (or at least, the Hellenistic world) from Carthago Nova. He travelled over land, and at the Pyrenees, he subdued a few tribes which caused him to lose many soldiers. He lost more soldiers though, for some Iberian soldiers didn't want to leave Iberia. But, he travelled further, not sticking to the coast, but travelling more land inwards in order to avoid fights with Roma and her allies. In Gaul, no Gaulish army tried to stop him, except for one when Hannibal tried to cross the Rhodanus (the Rhone), which, needless to say, lost. Roma knew that Hannibal had crossed the Iberus, but a galley of Roma, on its way towards Iberia which landed in the territory of the Roman ally Massalia, learned there (from Massalia) that Hannibal had already crossed the Rhodanus. They sent out a scout party, defeated a Carthaginian scout party, and uncovered Hannibal's encampment. Hannibal however, managed to evade them, and resupplied his army with Gaulish soldiers from a tribe he had helped. A few Gauls, allied with Carthago, living in the Peninsula Roma, plead Hannibal to stop the Roman oppression, and sent guides to him, guides, which would help him crosing the Alpis (Alps). He then began raiding the Peninsula Roma, with the help of Gauls and other newly conquered subjects of Roma (although most cities stayed loyal to Roma, but, the island Sardinia did rebel against Roma). 'Hannibal ad portas' still means that there is a great danger coming, for at this time, the citizens of Roma frequently used this phrase. Quintus Fabius Maximum Cunctator, the newly appointed dictator of Roma, suggested that instead of attacking Hannibal directly, they should attack Iberia, from where Hannibal's reinforcements came. However, while in our timeline, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (maior, or, the greater) was the general that was sent to Iberia to do this (and who, together with Quintus Fabius Maximum Cunctator, came up with the idea to attack Iberia). In this timeline, he had already died near the river of Ticinus, trying to save his father, who also died. Thus another general was sent, who didn't use the Numidian rebellions to his advantage, nor the minor squibbles of the Carthaginian commanders. Thus, he and his armies were defeated, and Hannibal kept being reinforced. Iberia also stayed loyal to Carthago. Hannibal didn't began losing to the Romans, the Romans didn't go into Afrika, Hannibal wasn't recalled to Afrika, and peace negotiations didn't happen. Thus, Hannibal and his reinforcements eventually arrived at the city of Roma. Before besieging it he (or so some people claim) said 'Roma delenda est'. Eventually the city crumbled. Hannibal ordered his men to utterly destroy it, after all, he had an intense hate for anything to do with Roma. He had been made to swear to always hate Roma by his father. But, after his men had delighted theirselves with destroying the city of Roma, and the citizens that hadn't fled, Hannibal marched on towards the few cities still loyal to Roma, and most immediately pledged their alliance to Carthago upon sighting Hannibal and his army. The Iberians and Numidians all stayed loyal to Carthago, and what few Romans that survived fled towards Graece or towards various barbarian tribes. The barbarian tribes mostly (if not all) liked Carthago and didn't raid the new and unprotected territories of Carthago (well, Hannibal and his army stayed sometime in the Peninsula Roma). With the wealth gathered from the abandoned, conquered, and assimilated Roman cities, Carthago wasn't in financial troubles, and after the Peninsula Roma was protected (lightly, though), Hannibal marched back to Iberia. The tribes there suddenly were as loyal as ever. More isn't known about Hannibal (well, he was sent to Graece, but not much is known about him there), except for a few stories which have no proof, like that Hannibal was the main cause of the reforms of Carthago's government and that he was one of the Barca members in the new government. And there's a fancy story saying that Hannibal and Cato met in the city of Roma, and that Cato hysterically screamed 'Censeo Carthaginem esse delendam' (it's my opinion that Carthago must be destroyed) while Hannibal again roared 'Roma delenda est' (Roma must be destroyed), and that Hannibal then ripped Cato's head of his body, with his bare hand. While that story was something like a mini Odysseus for Carthago, it of course stretches the turth a bit too far. That story was part of an almost mythical tale of Hannibal's life, and ended with the razing of Roma. It's name was simply 'Hannibal'. With the end of the Phoenician Wars (or the Second Phoenician War, but most simply refer to the 2 wars as the Phoenician Wars), Carthago was a superpower.

Makedonian Wars (214 BC - 204 BC)

The Makedonian Wars (some however, call the part where Philippos V attacked the Seleucid Empire the Makedonia-Seleucia War and differentiate it from the Makedonian Wars), all initiated by Philippos V of Makedonia, was an attempt by Philippos V, ever ambitious, to acquire more territory while Roma was busy fighting Carthago. This attempt succeeded beyod his wildest epectations, for in 204 BC, he had united Graece, conquered Anatolia, and even took a small part of the Seleucid Empire. Around 200 BC however, rebellions in the conquered lands of Bithynia, Galatia, and Pergamon broke out however, and Bithynia and Galatia regained their independence, as the army of Graece was very weak and the domestic situation very unstable after the Makedonian Wars. Philippos V didn't simply declare war though, he only did so after a few years of preparations. First, he met with the Aetolian leaders and negotiated peace. In the winter between 217 BC and 216 BC, Philippos V did the nearly unthinkable, he ordered people to build a fleet of 100 warships. Some said that Philippos V had no chance of beating the navies of Roma, but he was smart, and didn't really build a warfleet, but small, fast galleys, also known as lembi's, to transport his troops and to evade hostile navies. In the meantime, Philippos V had expanded his lands to include the Apsus and the Genusus river valleys, and his lands now bordered Illyria, which he planned to conquer. However, when he set sail for the Illyrian coast, he received news that the Roman fleet (or actually, a few quinqueremes) was approaching, and he immediately retreated back to Cephalenia. Many say that this had been his chance to invade Illyria, but alas, it wasn't to be. After hearing that Carthago defeated Roma in Cannae in 216 BC, Philippos V sent ambassadors to Hannibal (in the Peninsula Roma) to negotiate an alliance. While it goes into detail about cities and such, it doesn't mention Illyria, indicating that Philippos V didn't want to remember this dishonoring defeat. In 215 BC, the negotiations were concluded. In 214 BC, Philippos V chose to try to invade Illyria again, succesfully so, for he captured the city of Oricum with a fleet of 120 lembi's. The war had now began.
The Romans however, quickly reacted and a fleet (and an army of course) commanded by Laevinus was sent to retake the city of Oricum, which they succesfully did after only a little fighting. Philippos V had already moved on and was now besieging the city of Apollonia, which Laevinus heard, and which prompted him to sent out 2000 men under the command of Quintus Naevius Crista. They avoided the army of Philippos V and garrisoned the city at night. From the city, they mounted an attack and routed the Makedonian encampment. Philippos V escaped with a ship back to Makedonia, but burned the rest of his fleet and as such left his men behind to be captured or killed by Roma. Still, Philippos V didn't give up. In the years 213 BC and 212 BC, he, instead of invading Illyria by sea, invaded Illyria by land. He stayed clear of the coast, and managed to conquer a good portion of it, eventually, by taking the city of Lissus, reaching the Mare Superum (also known as the Mare Hadriaticum, or even Mare Adriaticum, and in our timeline, as the Adriatic Sea). After taking Lissus, Philippos V deemed that he wouldn't invade the Peninsula Roma, mainly because he had no fleet to do so. Carthago probably would have granted Philippos V a few of their ships, but Philippos V didn't like that idea. Roma however, decided that this was a threat and thus decided to keep Philippos V occupied, although Laevinus had already started negotiating with the Aetolians in 212 BC, who had signed a peace treaty with Philippos V in 217 BC. In 211 BC, the negotiations were concluded, and the Aetolian League allied theirselves with Roma, and with her allies.
Upon hearing this, Philippos V secured his northern borders and rapidly marched southwards (although he turned north into Thracia and attacked the city Iamphorynna of the Maedi) towards Makedon. There, he heard that the Aetolian general Scopas was planning to invade the Acarnanians, an ally of Philippos V, and thus Philippos V marched towards the Arcarnanians. Meanwhile, the Arcarnanians sent everyone incapable of fighting towards Epirus, while the rest sworn to fight to the death. This determination, combined with the approaching army of Philippos V, caused Scopas to abandon the invasion. More and more joined the war against Philippos V, although the Eleans, Messenians, and Spartans, who, among others, had all joined the war against Philippos V, didn't actively wage war allowing Philippos V to conquer a few cities like Echinus. Roma took the island Aegina which was sold to the king of Pergamon, Attalus I. Only in 209 BC did Sparta begin attacking, together with the Aetolians they attacked the Achaean League, an ally of Philippos V. Thus, Philippos V marched yet again, again southwards, into Graece. He fought with Aetolians, supported by auxiliaries of Roma and Pergamon, at Lamia. This army was commanded by Phyrrhias, who retreated inside the city after losing 2 battles against Philippos V. Philippos V proceeded however, to Phalara where he met representatives from Aigyptos (Egypt), Rhodes, Athenai (Athens), and Chios who were trying to end the war because it hurt their trade, and they were trading nations. A representative from the Aetolians was also with the, and they managed to negotiate a truce of 30 days. He then marched onwards, to Aegium, for the conference. However, a report arrived that Attalus had arrived in Aegina (not Aegium). Upon hearing this, the Aetolian representatives demanded that Philippos V returned some cities (1 or 2 less then in our timeline though) which Philippos V refused. The war continued, and Philippos V joined up with Cycliadas, an Achaean general, to (succesfully) attack the city of Elis which was the main base of operations of the Aetolians against the Achaea. Then, he captured the stronghold of Phyricus, and went to Thessaly because he heard that Illyrians were raiding in the north. In 208 BC, 34 ships of Pergamon (with armies) occupied the island Peparethos (Skopelos). Attalus went to a meeting in Heraclea Trachinia, and a peace treaty was again negotiated by, among others, representatives from Aigyptos, Rhodes, and the Aetolian League, but the negotiations failed yet again. Philippos V learned of the conference and tried to capture or kill Attalus, but he arrived too late. He did however receive news that the Romans now were officially out of the war, although unofficially they had been so for some years. He did also receive news dat Hannibal had arrived with a large army.
Attalus returned to Pergamon, where he learned that the king of Bithynia, Prusias I, was going to attack Pergamon. Pergamon abandoned the Aetolians (but it wasn't clear whether Pergamon would now fight for Makedonia and the Achaean League or simply be neutral), and the attack was averted. Philippos V managed to take over a few cities like Drymaea, and the trading powers (Aigyptos, et cetera) still tried to hold a peace conference. The met again, but the Aetolians, although losing, didn't want to make peace on terms proposed by Philippos V, only in 206 BC they wanted to. In the meantime however, Hannibal (and others), acting independent of Philippos V or others, managed to pretty much clear what we consider present day Greece of any enemies. A small and vague conference was held, and after many speeches the nations of the Aetolian League were annexed by Makedonia, as were the Aechean League, the Hellenicstic League, Epirus, Pergamon, Bithynia and Galatia, and basically anything in Graece was annexed by Makedonia. It is perhaps a bit strange that nations such as Bithynia decided to become part of Graece, and perhaps this was only because some manipulations of Philippos V or something like that, but anyway, rebellions flared up, and were quelled, but the empire was very unstable and prone to collapsing. It didn't though, although eventually, around 200 BC, Bithynia and Galatia became independent once again. It should also be noted that the Aetolian League was forced to pay talents and contribute soldiers to Graece. It also should be noted that, while Hannibal's army contributed greatly to the uniting (or better, conquering) of the various nations of Graece (and beyond, although this timeline's Graece is either Makedonia or Graece as it was in 200 BC with the inclusion of Bithynia and Galatia, and that Magna Graece is Graece as it was in 200 BC with the inclusion of Bithynia and Galatia), he was mostly a psychological force, scaring his enemies, and boosting the morale of his allies. Indeed, without Hannibal's precense, it could be said that Makedonia wouldn't have been so 'warlike' and would have had much less victories in the last years of the war.
But Philippos V now was the sole ruler of a great power (not a superpower though, it wasn't really united, it suffered many rebellions, and some annexed nations were for all intents and purposes conquered vassals), and he, like many other rulers, wanted more. In 204 BC, when the rebellions had lessened a bit, and when he had a large army (made up by soldiers of any nation under his control, which helped strengthen the bond between Makedonia and the rest), he invaded the Seleucid Empire. Which was a giant gamble, but upon closer inspection, the outcome was pretty much assured. Indeed, Graece had just waged a war, including a great civil war, but this war against the Seleucid Empire helped unite the various nations of Graece. The Seleucid Empire was, at that time, ever so slightly unstable. The situation would quickly worsen (very much so) by the attack of Philippos V, and the lose of its complete army (well, very nearly so) after conquering the Ptolemaic Empire and losing it immediately. The Seleucid Empire also had a large army on its border with Graece, for Antiochus III (the king of the Seleucid Empire) had feared such an ambitious move of Philippos V. Luckily, the armies of Graece had fought vehemently in a war for the past 10 (closer to 9, actually) years, and respected, and perhaps even feared, each other. After the initial uproar was over, the armies had been training together, each trying to prove that it was better than the army of some other nation. This all inspired them to fight better than anyone expected, and the Seleucid armies on the border were crushed. But after the initial advances and conquering, Philippos V knew that he would have to negotiate peace, for the armies of the Seleucid Empire simply outnumbered his armies, and they had a much larger population to call upon should the need arise. Luckily, Philippos V was a great tactican, strategist, manipulator, and basically a sneaky, ambitious bastard. He had correctly guessed that Antiochus III wanted to make peace (Philippos V also knew that Antiochus III had been preparing to attack Coele-Syria again, and his empire was, as has been stated, slightly unstable, but prone to becoming massively unstable (as has happened)). While the Seleucid Empire should have continued warring (it could perhaps have taken over the whole of Graece, for Graece was (much more compared to the Seleucid Empire, but really not that much) unstable and had sent most of its soldiers to the Seleucid front, but alas, Antiochus III signed a peace treaty in the same year, unwilling to postpone his upcoming war in Coele-Syria. Which would be his downfall. Graece now really couldn't afford anymore wars, and it may be a miracle that it hadn't collapsed already, but Philippos V was a great leader, daring, cunning, charismatic, many wanted to be just like him. He truly was the darling of Hellas, and he deserved it to be compared to Alexandros Magnos (Alexander the Great).

This will of course be continued...

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