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Thread: ALL PLAYABLE FACTION REVELAED (The Last Roman Campaign Pack)

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    Default ALL PLAYABLE FACTION REVELAED (The Last Roman Campaign Pack)

    The Roman Expedition

    After over a century of losses and defeats, culminating in the collapse of the troubled Western Roman Empire and the loss of Rome itself, the Eastern Empire is enjoying a period of growth. Justinian I - 'the Great' to his many admirers, and a man known for his grand ambition - has embarked upon a policy known as 'Renovatio Imperii'. Literally the 'Restoration of the Empire', its intention is to reverse Roman fortunes through a comprehensive reworking of the Empire's statutes and laws, a vast construction program in Constantinople, and, most ambitiously, the recovery of the Western Empire from barbarian hands.
    North Africa has been controlled by the Vandals, who migrated south through Hispania, for almost one hundred years. Likewise, the Italian peninsula has been lost to the Empire since the last Western Emperor, Romulus Augustulus, abdicated - triggering a cataclysmic sequence of events culminating in the establishment of the Ostrogothic Kingdom, under King Theoderic. It is into this scene that the Roman general, Belisarius, has been injected - his task to reconquer all the Empire's former territories.
    Since snatching victory from the jaws of defeat at the Battle of Dara, where he employed unconventional and ingenious tactics to neutralise the Persians whilst heavily outnumbered, Belisarius' reputation has been secure. As the highest-ranking officer in Constantinople, he was in command of Imperial forces when the Nika riots broke out in the capital, remaining steadfast and putting down the uprising with brutal efficiency. Now, Justinian has called on his most reliable general once again, and for no less a task than the complete reconquest of the West!
    There is no better time - the Vandals are in political turmoil, their kingdom beset by rebellion, whilst the Ostrogoths face a dynastic crisis that greatly weakens their position. Belisarius is the man to capitalise on this weakness, and the only man who can restore glory to the troubled Roman Empire - an empire that has been overshadowed by its past for far too long!

    Flavius Belisarius - Leader of the Roman Expedition

    The Ostrogothic Kingdom

    The Ostrogothic Kingdom has succeeded where the Romans failed. The Battle of Ravenna in AD476 - Rome's final humiliation - signalled the ignoble end of its Western Empire. In its place was the Kingdom of Italy, helmed by the victorious Germanic general, Flavius Odoacer. However, although he was officially recognised by the Eastern Emperor Zeno as 'patrician', Imperial favour is fickle and Odoacer eventually came to be considered a rival claimant to the throne.
    As such, by AD488 the Ostrogothic king, Theoderic, had been contracted to depose and supplant him as the Emperor's man in Italy. After four years of war, Theoderic emerged victorious and in AD493, after murdering Odoacer at a banquet, assumed control of all Italy. He ruled benevolently, becoming a patron of the arts and architecture and subsuming much of the Western Empire's administrative infrastructure into his own kingdom. However, Theoderic's death in AD526 destabilised the Ostrogothic Kingdom, as his grandson - still a child - ascended to the throne under the regency of his mother, Amalasuntha. Eventually, she appealed to the new Eastern Emperor, Justinian, to intervene. Her subsequent murder by rivals has given Justinian the 'casus belli' - literally the 'case for war' - he needs to reconquer Italy and reclaim the ancient seat of Imperial power.
    The future of the Ostrogothic Kingdom remains uncertain - the Romans encroach with vengeful determination - and so the current incumbent must be wary if he is to retain control. However, the Ostrogoths seized this wealthy land through much skill and spilled-blood - no man, Roman or otherwise, will wrest it from their iron grasp without a fight!

    Theodahad - King of the Ostrogoths

    The Frankish Kingdom

    One of several confederations of warlike Germanic tribes that spilled across the River Rhine from Germania during the Migration Period, the Franks have wasted little time in taking advantage of their situation.

    Amidst the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West, they fought as foederati for the Romans in exchange for land in Gaul, and by the end of the 5th century AD there were many petty Frankish kingdoms across northern Gaul. Eventually, Tournai, under Childeric I, rose to dominate the region with Rome’s help. However, his son, Clovis I, knowing that the Western Empire was all but dead, turned on and defeated the Romans at the Battle of Soissons around AD486, going on to unite the Franks as a single kingdom under his leadership by AD509.
    Now, his four sons rule, with all the internal feuding and internecine plots that such arrangements entail. Yet the Frankish Kingdom is also strong without; Clovis’ fourth son, Theuderic, is poised to eclipse their neighbours – and one-time allies – the Burgundians, and to the south, the last foothold of the Visigothic Kingdom on Gaulish soil. There is also the question of the Ostrogoths, who flounder now that Theoderic the Great lies dead – their lands are ripe for the taking too, if Rome doesn’t get there first. Yet the noble blood of Childeric and Clovis flows through the king’s veins; he alone can unite his people; he alone will see the Franks become the sole power in Gaul, and beyond!

    Theuderic - King of the Franks

    The Vandalic Kingdom

    The Vandals have travelled far and fought hard to establish a new home for themselves in Africa. Initially, they were invited to the region by the Roman general Bonifacius who, when convicted of treason, chose to revolt instead of capitulate. However, the Vandals' journey from Hispania was long and, when they finally arrived, Bonifacius had regained the support of the Emperor and the court. Affronted by their flippant dismissal, the Vandals chose instead to attack. They captured Hippo Regius in AD430, before moving to establish themselves at Carthage in AD435. Geiseric, their leader, styled himself “King of the Vandals and Alans”, expanding his new kingdom to Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia, as well as securing his grip on Africa.
    Although the destruction of lands and religious persecution tied them to their barbarian roots, the Vandals developed a civilised air, becoming great patrons of architecture and learning. Centres of education blossomed across the continent, producing several great academic figures. Rome tried many times to retake its lost lands, but catastrophic naval defeats at Cartagena and Cape Bon forced the Empire to dismantle its plans for invasion, which strengthened the Vandals’ position as the true power in Africa.
    As the line of Vandalic kings progressed, a more lenient attitude towards Catholicism developed. However, this caused religious friction that undermined the kingdom, leaving rifts of dissent at the far reaches of the Vandal lands. Now they face both a political quandary and a revitalised Roman invasion under Belisarius. Yet the Vandals have halted the forces of the Empire many times before, and will once again see those who threaten their independence put to the sword!

    Gelimer - King of the Vandals

    The Visigothic Kingdom

    By the end of the Migration Period the marauding Huns had been dispersed east of the River Danube and the peoples they displaced had mostly settled new lands in the west, at first with the permission of the crumbling Western Roman Empire but later attacking and capturing its possessions for themselves. For the Visigoths, this meant a kingdom that sat astride the Pyrenees, in both Hispania and Gaul, with their capital at Toulouse.
    Since then, they have been at war with the highly-aggressive, expansionist Franks to the north, their Burgundian allies, and the Suebi in the northwest corner of Hispania. Now, in AD533, the only Gallic territory still under Visigothic control is the southern province of Septimania, under constant threat of attack from the Franks. Yet war has also raged away from the battlefield; much of the Visigoths’ trouble has been exacerbated by internal instability, and brothers have killed brothers for the throne. In addition, the Ostrogoths have had a controlling interest in the affairs of their neighbours and kin for some time, Theoderic the Great even installing his grandson, Amalaric as king in AD511.
    Since his death, Theudis – Theoderic’s loyal swordbearer and a man of common birth - has been elected king, marrying a local noblewoman and treating the largely-Romanised population fairly and justly to strengthen his position at home, and raising an army independent of Ostrogothic influence. His goals are thus: to recapture the territory lost in Gaul to Clovis’ Franks and to consolidate the Visigoths’ holdings in Hispania, and if the Vandal Kingdom collapses under pressure from the Romans there may be land for the taking in northern Africa. Who knows, such things may even allow the Visigoths to control and dominate Mediterranean trade – making their kingdom far stronger than any before it!

    Theudis - King of the Visigoths

    Official art by Polish artist Mariusz Kozik (Lacedemon)

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