Caesar - Manual
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Caesar: Copyright Impressions 1992
Welcome to the grandeur and glory of imperial
Rome! It is the first century BC, and the repub-
lihas just fallen to the first Emperor, Caesar
Augstus. Positions of power change hands as the
would-be masters of the Empire rise and fall in the
You are one such ambitious publifigure. Through
patient skill and hard nosed dealing, you have
managed to secure the governorship of a province
of the Roman Empire.
If you can turn the undeveloped backwater
into a secure and prosperous home for its
citizens, you will rise in rank, and in the Emperors
esteem. If you can repeat that success throughout
your career, anything is possible - perhaps even
the throne itself.
In Caesar, you job is to govern your province as
efficiently as possible. Much of your time will be
spent in the capital city of your Province. You will
have to design & build this yourself. Housing,
water-supply, industry and many other factors will
have to be balanced to produce a successful city.
However, your citizens do not live in an ideal,
insulated world where the only problem is how to
spend your money. Beyond the Imperial frontiers
are barbarians of many tribes, constantly trying the
Empire's defences. If life under your rule is miser-
able or harsh, you will also have to face opposition
from within. You must ensure that the entire
province is well defended, and that safe travel
between its towns is maintained.
Your objective in Caesar is to govern your province
of the Empire sufficiently well that you will be
promoted. If promoted, you will be given control of
a new region where standards must be higher.
With enough successes, you could eventually rise
to the rank of Emperor yourself.
Your performance as provincial governor will be
assessed in four ways:
Peace - the degree of security your people
Culture - the publiand cultural amenities avail-
able to the citizens.
Prosperity - the wealth you have bought your province.
Empire - the communications and transport network in the region.
You will also have an overall rating based on these factors.
You can always get a report on your current performance by
consulting your administrative advisor, from the forum.
Click on the base of each pillar in his report for a resume
of the requirements to increase in each rating.
To gain promotion, you need to achieve a certain overall rating,
and have at least a minimum in each category. You can see what
those figures are, again, by going to the forum - this time
to see your political advisor. Once there, just click on
your current title.
The imperial favour rating on the same screen gives a more
general indication of how important and how competent the
Emperor considers you to be.
TITLE IN CAESAR
You start the game with the title of Decurian, one level
above the citizens of the province. The ranks which exist
in the game, from lowest to highest are as follows:
Citizen - Decurian - Magistrate - Praefectus - Legate -
Quaestor - Senator - Praetor - Consul - Proconsul -
This game has been designed with an easy to use mouse driven
point and click interface. Each command you mighyt want
to issue will be associated with an icon (a small picture)
on the screen. The icons are always along the bottom of
To give the command, just click on its icon - move the mouse
pointer onto the icon and firmly press the left mouse
Keyboard commands are also included for pusers who do not have
COMMAND MODE AND SCROLL MODE
After you load the game, you will see terrain over all of the
screen except a strip along the bottom - the icons.
The mouse pointer initially looks like an arrow. This means
that you are in command mode, and can issue iunstructions by
clicking on icons.
If you give a command that needs a location to be
specified (like building something), the pointer will
change - usually into a picture of the thing you
want to build. You are now in Scroll Mode.
Clicking the right mouse button (right clicking)
anywhere will also toggle you between the two
In Scroll Mode, when you move the mouse beyond
one of the screen edges, the screen display will
move in that direction up to the border of the
terrain area. Both of the main terrain displays in
the game are of an area much larger than what is
first visible on the screen.
So, if you want to build new houses, say, you
must be in Command Mode and click on the icon
that looks like a house. The pointer will become a
small house, indicating that you are now in scroll
mode. You can scroll all around, looking for a good
sight to place your building. Click on a site to
choose it. Having done so, you will stay in Scroll
Mode, with house-building still the selected com-
mand, until you right click, and shift back to
Please refer to your technical supplement for
instructions on how to load the oame on your
Having done so, you will be shown the options
screen. Here you can either load a partially-finished
game you saved earlier and carry on, or set the
parameters for a new uame.
In a new game, you must first set a difficulty level,
which determines how much money you start with
in each province. You can also personalise the
game by naming your new governor.
You can rename your character later, or gain a
reminder of where in the Empire you have been
posted, by clicking on your Name and your prov-
ince within the Political Advisor's report (see 'In
the Forum ').
THE CITY LEVEL AND THE PROVINCIAL LEVEL
Once past the options screen, you will be shown
the area where you must build your new city.
Initially, this 'City Level' is a bare landscape of
rocks and trees. It is here that you will clear the
way for housing, hospitals, schools and all the
other buildings of the capital. Eventually, most of
this countryside may become a bustling urban
Whenever you take control of a new province, the
terrain of the City Level will be generated randomly
so as to maximise replay value.
If you click on the arrow icon on the left, you will
be taken from the City Level to the Provincial
Level. This shows the whole province, not just the
small area selected for the new Capital. The most
important elements here are your main city and the
larger towns of the region. You must add roads
and walls, and base garrisons where you expect
trouble. The red battle standard next to the build-
ings marking your city represents the Prima Cohors
- your first cohort of soldiers.
The shape of the Provincial Level will reflect the
actual province you are in.
TIME IN CAESAR
While you are looking at the City Level or the
Provincial Level, time is always ticking away in
Caesar. You can pause the game by clicking on the
Disk Options icon and choosing Pause.
Time also stops when you leave the two main
displays altogether - for example when you consult
your advisors in the forum, or inspect a Mini Map.
THE MINI MAPS
As well as the normal City Level, there are a
number of small 'Mini Maps', each of which
summarises information about one specifiaspect of
the city, all on one screen. Select the Mini Map
icon, and you are presented with the following list
of available maps.
Land Shape Water Distribution
Land Value Administration
Trouble Areas Road Layout
Below that, the name of the map currently se-
lected for display is given. This is the map that is
actually shown to the left of the list. Click on the
button next to an item on the list to select it. Note
that most Mini Maps will initially look very boring -
a display of your road layout won't be too interest-
ino until you have built some roads.
IN THE FORUM
The large F icon will take you to the forum - the
administrative centre of your city. Here you can
check up on the state of various things, and get
information from your main advisors and assist-
Each of the six figures in the picture is such an
assistant. To get a report from any one of them,
just click directly on them. From left to right, they
The Political Advisor (BIue clooked man)
The Military Advisor (Red uniformed soldier)
The Financial Analyst (Man with blue robe)
The Treasurer (Orange robed man)
The Administrative (White robed &
Advisor hooded man)
The Slave Foreman (Man in white tunic)
The figure on the right of the icon bar is the
amount of money left in the Province's coffers.
This is a crucial fiqure - if you run out of money,
you are doomed. Without money, you will not be
able to build things, maintain them, support a
workforce or keep a standing army. Eventually, the
annual tribute which you are expected to pay to
Rome will be missed enough times that you will be
summoned to face the wrath of the Emperor.
All expenditure is measured in Denarii, the
Denarius being the basic unit of Imperial Roman
There are five main costs you will have to face in
* Construction costs
* Paying your soldiers
* Looking after the slave population
* Paying the Governor
* The annual tribute
You will be able to get money in from taxes - both
personal income tax and business tax.
Any sort of construction, from building a school to
laying a road to establishing defensive walls costs
money. Different projects cost different amounts.
The cost will be displayed on the screen when you
give the command (ie before you select where it is
to be and so confirm the order). For comparison,
consturction costs are also given below:
3 Water pipe
40 Bath House
300 Heavy Industry
PAYING YOUR SOLDIERS
Your soldiers cost you money. This goes on sala-
ries, recruitment drives and other means of con-
vincing people to join the army, as well as on the
soldiers' basikit. The more you spend, the more
people will sign up over time.
To alter your military spending, select your Military
Advisor from the forum (See 'In The Forum').
Towards the bottom of the screen is the Wages
Bill, initially set at 10 Denarii per year. Use the up
and down arrows next to the figure to alter it.
LOOKING AFTER THE SLAVE POPULATION
One of the most unpleasant aspects of the Empire
was its practice of slavery. As a Roman adminis-
trator, slaves are a normal and important resource
to you - they provide the workforce for most
activities. Although unpaid, slaves must be cared
for. The more you spend on this, the more the
slave population will grow over the years.
Call on your Slave Foreman (See 'In The Forum')
to check the current slave population and slave
welfare expenditure. Use the arrows next to the
latter figure to alter it.
PAYING THE GOVERNOR
The province must also pay its most important
employee - you! As chief administrator, it is per-
fectly possible for you to award yourself a huge
wage. However, the city will probably go bank-
rupt, and you will be taken away in chains to
explain your failure.
It is important to understand the difference be-
tween your personal wealth and that of the prov-
ince. You are governor, and have control of the
province's money. It isn't yours, but you are
allowed to say what it should be spent on - con-
struction, wages etc. When you set your salary,
you are setting how much the province will give to
To change this amount, choose the Political Advi-
sor from the forum (See 'In The Forum '). Use the
two arrow icons next to the Salary Drawn figure to
change it. You can also donate some of your
personal wealth to the province, if you feel your
career depends on it. The money you have is
shown below your name and title. Click on 'Do-
nate money to city' to give some away. Set the
amount with the arrow buttons, and right click to
Your personal wealth will go with you when
you are promoted to a new province.
THE ANNUAL TRIBUTE
Every year, you are expected to return a tribute to
Rome. If you have insufficient funds to do so, you
will receive a warning. If you fail to deliver a
tribute three times in a row, you will be removed
from office, your career over (not to mention quite
possibly your life).
The tribute begins at 50 Denarii per year, and
increases over time.
Fortunately, there are ways of getting money in,
as well as spending it. This means tax. As Gover-
nor, you set the tax rate. This affects the amount
of money you get from private citizens, as well as
from businesses. On the down side, high taxes
discourage people from moving to your province,
and so slow population growth. They also add to
complaints and disaffection within the population.
Note that Roman taxes were much lower than
rates in modern countries: 5% would be a typical
Income Tax revenue depends on the number and
quality on houses in your City. Business taxes
depend on the number of businesses established,
and how well they are doing.
To see or check the current tax rate, which applies
both to businesses and individuals, consult your
Treasurer (See 'In the Forumr'). The tax rate is the
first thing on his report. Alter it upwards or down-
wards by using the two arrows next to the
Finally, you will only collect taxes from areas over
which you have administrative control. Two types
of building help here: prefectures give control over
a very limited region. Fora (the plural of Forum)
cover a much wider area. Use the Administration
Mini Map to see how far the arm of the taxman
KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR MONEY
Two of your advisors (See 'In The Forum' will
help you understand how your governorship is
doing financially. They are the Financial Analyst
and the Treasurer.
The Financial Analyst will tell you how your
economy has been doing over the last few years.
He will present four graphs, showing the changes
* Tax revenues gained from private citizens
* Taxes gained from businesses
* The overall funds held by the city
* The population of the city
The Treasurer on the other hand deals with exact
figures for the present time and last full year.
He will tell you the current tax rate, population and
tax gained per head of the population. This last
figure reflects the tax level and the strength of the
Below that is a summary of the income and costs
for the previous year. The annual profit/loss over
the previous few years is reflected in the bar chart
running down the left of the picture.
Your main task in the Game wlll be choosing what
to construct, and where. You will need to order
many different construction projects to maintain an
affluent and secure province. Check the 'Construc-
tion Costs' section above, to see how much each
The procedure for building is the same in all cases.
Each thing you might want to create has its own
icon. Click on that and the mouse pointer will
become an image of the thing you want to build.
At the same time, you are also automatically taken
into Scroll Mode, so you can move around until
you have found the right spot. Then just click on
the desired site to place your new development.
If you build over terrain features like trees, they
will automatically be cleared away. Also, if you
keep the mouse button pressed down and drag the
mouse across the screen, the new construction
will be repeated again and again in all of the places
the pointer passes over. This is particularly useful
when laying out roads, pipes and walls.
On the City Level, there are too many buildings to
fit all of the icons on the screen at once. To get to
the icon you need, you will first have to say what
sort of project you are ordering. The normal icons
are then replaced by new ones representing the
specific jobs available, and you can click on the one
All jobs gexcept housing, which is available di-
rectly have been divided into two groups.
Infrastructure = roads, water supply, walls,
Construction = public amenities, cultural sights,
So, let's say you want to lay a road. That's Infra-
1. Select that icon. The new icons for roads
and walls now appear.
2. Choose roads and click on the site where
you want the road to be.
3. Finally, you can easily check how much of
the City Level you have actually built on, by
checking out the Urbanisation Mini Map.
THE EVOLVING CITY
In many cases, buildings will expand or fail inde-
pendently of you, once they are set up. For in-
stance, if you order housing for an area, your first
settlers put up simple tent-like, semi-permanent
dwellings. If you fail to provide basic amenities:
opportunities for employment and so on, the
inhabitants will just pack up and leave - the house
will vanish. If you create the conditions for a
fashionable residential area, the tents will eventu-
ally become luxurious villas. Note however, that
they will still cover the same physical area.
The Land Value Mini Map will tell you how desir-
able each area is considered to be.
BUILDING A FORUM
The centre of your new City will be its first Forum.
This large open square, surrounded by public
buildings, is an administrative centre and also a
major meeting place and social centre for every-
To build a Forum, click on the Infrastructure icon,
and then on Build Forum. You must then select
from the eight different types of forum, from the
small Aventine to the grand Romanum. The larger
ones maintain their economic and administrative
influence over a larger area.
Convenient road access to the forum is a crucial
factor in the development of many types of build-
ing. You will see various people wending their way
along the roads to and from the forum. The
quicker and easier it is for them to reach a place,
the greater the boost that area will receive. The
area around a Forum is also considered to be under
firm administrative control. See 'Tax' for the
benefits of this.
Note that it is perfectly possible to build several
Fora, if your city starts to outgrow its original one.
The most basic thinq your city will need is, of
course, housing. Ensure that the house:
* has a road route to a Forum
* is supplied with water
* and that there is employment for the new settlers.
A local market is also handy. Note also that build-
ing humble shacks right next to grand mansions
will depress the value of the more expensive
Roads can be built in the City, and also on the
Provincial Level. Road access to the Forum is
important to all homes. On the Provincial level, it is
important to connect the major towns of the
reuion to your capital. If you can do this, trade will
expand quickly, and the revenue you will get from
businesses in the city will increase rapidly.
Also, establishing a reliable road network is very
important for Romanizing the entire area, and
spreading Imperial culture and influence. This is
reflected in the Empire success rating.
There is a Road Layout Mini Map to show you
where your roads extend to.
Houses need water. You are not expected to
connect plumbing directly to each dwelling, just
provide all homes with a reasonably close water
source. House values will be severely curtailed if
you fail to provide them with water, and you will
never see those shabby tents become palatial
Bath Houses also need nearby water supplies. A
local bath house is very important to the quality of
life of any civilised Roman. Houses will not im-
prove in quality very fast without bath houses
There are three types of water source available in
the game. Wells are the simplest. They can be
sunk anywhere, but only provide water within a
very limited area.
Reservoirs are the next option. To create one, just
lay a piece of water pipe on a straight section of
river or lake. The pipinq will become a small water
store. Nearby people will be able to collect their
water directly from there.
However, the main purpose of reservoirs is to
provide water to fountains. If a fountain is placed,
and is connected by pipe to a reservoir, it will
provide water to a large area. It is possible to
continue the pipe on past the fountain to further
The Land Shape Mini Map will tell you quickly
where the natural water supplies are. The Water
Distribution display from the same list will show
which areas are currently considered to be sup-
plied with water.
Any province of the Empire would be overrun with
barbarians, were it to neglect its defences. A
reliable army is one necessary protection. Another
is a proper network of defensive walls.
You can build walls on the Provincial Level, and on
the City Level. The walls on the Provtncial Level
are by far the most important - it is far better to
keep the attackers out of your city than to contain
their rampages once inside.
A normal wall will usually keep a barbarian army
out, although there is a small chance that it will
break through the wall and carry on. If there is a
tower built onto the wall close by, the chance of
breaking through is much reduced. Note that
towers are only used to strengthen walls - they
cgnnot be built on their own.
For more information on soldiers and barbarians,
see 'The Army'.
BARRACKS AND PREFECTURES
Barracks are small, local militia bases, which hold a
few soldiers each. Prefectures are the Roman
equivalent of police stations. Other officials like tax
collectors also work there.
Both buildings keep down the level of discontent in
their part of the city.
Barracks also put out soldiers who will intercept
any barbarians and rioters they encounter. Note
that these soldiers act automatically and need not
be controlled by you.
Prefectures create an administrated area immedi-
ately around them, which means that taxes can be
collected there. For more information, see the
As Governor you can help start small businesses,
such as workshops, within the city. To do so,
select the business icon and choose what the new
firm is to manufacture. The workshop will appear.
Once it begins to operate, you can check its
performance at any time. The empty space within
the workshop courtyard, below the main building,
will start to fill up with produce. The more there is,
the more successful the business is.
Differene provinces will be best suited to making
different things. For example, most people will tell
you that the grapes in Gaul produce better wine
than the ones in Brittanial Experience will tell you
where to press wine and where to make pottery.
Some variety is essential, though. If you find that
copper goods flourish in your province, and from
then on you only build those workshops, you will
quickly flood the market, and wind up producing
more copper than anybody wants to buy.
For a business to be successful, two other things
are needed. A nearby heavy industrial plant to
supply the necessary raw materials is essential.
Secondly, there must be a road from the business
that leads to the vicinity of a marketplace, so that
goods can be sold. Note that the road does not
have to go right up to the market, but it should
take you as close as possible.
Schools, Hospitals, Temples and Oracles all fall
under this category. The number of schools and
hospitals there are per head of the population will
significantly affect the quality of life of your citi-
zens - and so your ' Culture' rating. Having such
facilities near a house will also help to boost its
Temples work in the same way, but are even more
important. Oracles provide the benefit of several
temples, and also have a significant effect on
house values over a very large area.
Amphitheatres, theatres and hippodromes all keep
the populace entertained. Their presence boosts
house values significantly. They also have a lesser
effect on the Culture rating.
A Fort is the headquarters of a cohort. The cohort
is the basiunit of men in the Roman army. Each
one has its own fort. So, when you build a fort on
the Provincial Level, you create a building for
soldiers to live in, and you declare that a new
Cohort shall be formed to operate there. A flutter-
ing red flag appears at the fort, to indicate where
the new cohort is.
Note however, that until you assign men to the
new Cohort there will be no-one in it, ond it will
only exist 'on paper'. See the 'Army Recruitment'
section for more information.
DEMOLITION & CLEARANCE
If you build something and then change your mind
about it, you can always knock it down. Select the
demolition icon, and click on the building you want
destroyed. It will come tumbling down, and be
converted into rubble. Then just sweep over the
rubble with the mouse button pressed to erase all
trace of the unfortunate project.
Unfortunately, the things you build don't necessar-
ily stay up. As well as barbarians and rioters, your
creations are threatened by natural disasters such
as fires, and the effects of the passage of time.
Fortunately, you can assign people to do work
which will reduce these dangers.
The workforce in your province is composed of
slaves. A slave can be given one of six tasks:
Construction Work Fire Prevention
Building Upkeep Army duty
Road Maintenance No work assigned.
You can see who is doing what by asking your
Slave Foreman (See 'In the Forum').
Each work category has two figures next to it. The
first is the number of work groups currently as-
signed this job. The second is the minimum you
should have assigned to cover that area fully.
(Except in the Army cgtegory. See the 'Army
Recruitment' section for more details).
To change the number of groups working in an
area, click on the two arrow icons next to the
number itself. Note that the jobs are ranked in
order of importance. If you try to allocate more
slaves than you have to an area, the computer will
automatically take them from less vital categories.
Construction is so important it works differently
from everyging else. The computer will automati-
cally draw enough slaves from the pool to fulfill
construction needs. If there are too few, it will
take all that it can. Without construction groups,
you will not be able to build anything.
Leaving some slaves with no work to do is basi-
cally wasteful, but it will help expand the slave
population a little over time.
You control one Legion of men. This is made up
of units called Cohorts. A Cohort in turn consists
of several Centuries - groups of 100 men.
Each Century is made up of one of the following
types of soldier (there are no mixed Centuries):
regulars - superbly trained professional soldiers
irregulars - reasonably proficient drafted men
auxiliaries- absolutely terrible slave soldiers
Each Cohort will also have a morale rating, which
will increase if they win battles, and go down if
Every Cohort will also have its own battle stand-
ard, number and name.
BARBARIANS & RIOTERS
There are 16 different races of barbarians who
might attack you. In battle, different tactics work
best against different types of barbarians. Experi-
mentation will tell you what sort of approach
works best when facing Carthaginians, for exam-
It is vital to keep barbarians away from the capital.
If they do reach your city on the Provincial Level,
they will enter the City Level. They will then roam
about destroying much of what lies in their path.
Walls and barracks on the City Level may provide a
Violent rioters are another class of people who will
endanger your city. They act much like barbarians,
but calm down reasonably quickly.
INSPECTING YOUR TROOPS
To inspect your Cohorts, go to the Military Advisor
(see 'In the Forum'). The legion number at the very
top of the screen just depends on which province
you are in. Below that you will see the fluttering
banner of one of your Cohorts. To the right of the
standard, you should see the current orders of the
unit, its morale, and the Centuries it is made up of.
Use the arrow buttons further to the right to step
through the different Cohorts you control. The
button between the two arrows will toggle the
current Cohort between mobilised and demobilised
status gsee 'Army recruitment').
The very large numbers in the centre of the screen
tell you the total number of regular, irregular and
auxiliary Centuries in your entire Legion. The
numbers in brackets are the amounts you had last
year, so you can see if your army is growing or
shrinking. Note that some of your Centuries may
be en route to join a unit, and so not currently in
You start off with oniy one Cohort - the Prima
Cohors. Initially, it consists of just 1 Century of
regulars. Clearly, you would be safer with a bit
more than that. You can set up new Cohorts
whenever you like (see 'forts'). As explained in
that section, however, setting up new Cohorts
doesn't increase the number of men in the army,
just the number of units it's divided into. There are
three ways to add to the number of soldiers you
If you spend more on your annual army wages
(see 'Paying your Soldiers'), you will get more
regular soldiers joining up. The new recruits will
not appear immediately you spend the money.
Rather, a steady flow of new applicants will be
attracted to the job over the next few years. You
will not need to assign these men to particular
Cohorts - they will be spread throughout all of the
Cohorts you have as evenly as possible.
If you increase the rate of conscription, also
through your Military Advisor, the number of
Irregular soldiers you have will go up in the same
If you ask your Slave Foreman to put more slaves
on army duty (see 'Maintenance'), more Auxilia-
ries will be assigned throughout your army. Note
that on the Foreman's report, the first figure after
the Army heading is the number of slave work
groups assigned to army duty, and the second is
the total number of cohorts your work groups
translate into. The army will not use odd individu-
als which they cannot form into a new cohort.
If you want to increase the number of men in a
particular location, you can tempotarily demobilise
some other Cohorts. Their soldiers will feed slowly
into the general pool of recruits, and will then be
assigned to the various mobilised units of the
army. You can re-mobilise the Cohort at any time,
and it will start to fill up again. See 'Inspecting
your Troops' for how to demobilise.
Your army exists only on the Provincial Level.(The
soldiers you may see coming from city Barracks
are militia - nothing to do with the regulor army.)
There are four sorts of instruction you can give a
cohort. In each case, you should click on the
relevant icon on the Provincial Level, and then on
the Cohort you want to order.
Stop -the Cohort will stay still, awaiting
Patrol -click anywhere and the unit
will move between there and where it
is now, indefinitely.
Attack -click on a barbarian horde and the
Cohort will attack
Return -the Cohort will 9O back to its
Battles -When a Cohort and a group of
barbarians meet on the Provincial
Level, a battle will occur. You will
have to decide the tactics used by
your troops, and you will be given
the results. It may take a few
rounds of decision-response to
finish the battle.
If you have Impressions' Roman battle game,
Cohort 2, you can play through the battle in detail
if you wish to. To do so, just click on the informa-
tion panel along the bottom, and follow the in-
structions on the screen.
Otherwise, click on the main picture. The bottom
panel will display information on the state of your
troops, and then on the enemy.
You will see the name of your Cohort, its morale,
and the number of regular, irregular and auxiliary
Centuries in it. Below that, the type of barbarians
you are facing will be shown, and then the number
of Centuries of them there are. These statistics are
updated during battle to show you the data after
casualties have been taken out. The number they
had originally will be given in brackets, so you can
see how you are doing.
You now have to choose a tactic from the following list:
Tortoise - A close knit, defensive formation.
Retreat - Pull out with Whoever you can save.
Assault - A standard frontal attack.
Flank - An attempt to encircle the enemy.
Charge - An all out attack.
Click on one of the icons along the right of the
screen to make your decision. The result will be
shown on the bottom panel.
The strategy to choose depends on whether you or they
are outnumbered, and also on what type of barbarians
you are facing.
UNREST IN THE CITY
If the people do badly under your rule, dissent will
grow. Eventually, fierce riots may break out in one
or other portion of the city. The rioters will wander
about wreaking havoc in your city. Any militia soldiers you
have nearby will try and contain the trouble.
The mere fact that there is unrest indicates that you
have gone wrong, however. By far the best way to deal with
unrest is to prevent it from happening. Make sure the people
are content, have money and jobs and feel secure and there
should be few riots. The presence of barracks and
prefectures will also suppress violent dissent. You can
check out potential trouble spots by looking at the
trouble areas mini map.
DISK AND GAME OPTIONS
Click on theDisk Options icon to save your progress so
far in the game. If playing from floppy, you will have to insert
a fresh formatted disk. You can also load up a game that was
saved previously, pause the game, or start again. If you wish
to you can also forbid the usual message panels which appear,
warning you of barbarian incursions, natural disasters and so
on. This information is valuable and you should only do this if
you are very confident that you can keep track of everything
HINTS AND TIPS
> Divide your time carefully between the city
and the province. If you get too wrapped up in
working on the City Level, you might suddenly
find your new buildings being decimated by a flood
of barbarians because you have neglected to set
up adequate defences on the provincial level.
> Never forget water supply. Use the Mini Map
to check that all of your houses are supplies. Lack
of water will hurt land value very badly.
> Similarly, don't neglect the road network.
Build (or at least plan) the roads before the build-
ings: don't set up housing and then worry about
roads. Roads on the Provincial Level are very
useful, but also very expensive. Before starting
any such project, make sure you can afford it.
> Always try and cover Fire Prevention, Road
Maintenance and Building Upkeep needs com-
pletely. If you don't have enough slaves, spend
more on their welfare to bring the numbers up. If
your city is expanding, allocate substantially more
than you need, or you will soon realise that the
growing requirements have exceeded your alloca-
tion - when things start falling down.
> If you let this happen, or if barbarians or rioters get
into the city, check your infrastructure (roads,
pipes, walls) carefully. One damaged section of
pipe can cut off water to a wide area.
> Don't be tempted to spend all of your money
at once - always have something available for
> Remember that tax is only collected from
administrated areas. Tax collection facilities - like
new fora - are the best investment around.
> Don't start off building hundreds of houses
at once - they will just disappear because there are
no amenities or jobs around. Work up housing,
business and cultural centres in a balanced way.
> Use the Mini Maps. Land Value especially
will tell you just how valuable different projects
are, and how far their influence extends.
Once upon a time, a man stood on a hill looking down at
the bend in a river. He decided that this would be a good
place to build a house. Being a popular fellow, after a
while some other people decided to come and join him on
his hill and the foundations of the Roman empire were
A thousand years later, a young man called Marcus
Publius sat in the Theatre of Pompey (not far from that
first house) watching a very tedious Greek tragedy. We
know this because most Greek tragedies are tedious and
because in school books every young Roman man who is
not an emperor is called Marcus Publius and has a slave
(or a dog) called Titus. As yet another over-excited fat
lady rushed onto the stage brandishing a bloodied dagger,
the eyes of Marcus Publius glazed over and he set to
dreaming of glory in the all-conquering legions of Rome.
It would have been hard for Marcus to imagine a world
which Rome did not dominate. As he sat and day-
dreamed, there were no serious rivals to the Roman Army
apart from a few barbarians in the north and an empire or
two in the distant east. Yet a couple of hundred years
later the city of Rome was just part of an Ostrogothic
kingdom. Of course, ripples remain of Marcus Publius
and his friends. Rome survives in our language, our
govermnent, our judiciary, our buildings and our imagi-
nations. Nevertheless, while some Roman roads are now
three lane motorways, others are barely discernible tracks
along the edges of obscure fields.
Why Rome fell has been a popular topic of debate ever
since, lending itself to dramatic reconstructions full of
orgies, corruption and barbarian hordes. And yet why it
fell is not as interesting as the simple fact that it did.
Historically and for whatever reason, an empire always
does. Had you asked Marcus, or an Ancient Egyptian, or
a Ming Dynasty Chinaman, or a Napoleonic Frenchman,
or a Victorian Englishman, or even a Russian five years
ago about how their empire might disappear, they would
probably have thought it a silly question.
The fact that we cannot imagine how, for instance, the
United States of America could break up or how western
capitalism might collapse does not make our position any
more secure than that of Marcus Publius. So far the
United States has not lasted as long as the Roman Empire.
Rome fell partly because the strength of the Empire was
shifted east to Constantinople; the strength of westem
capitalism is also shifting east. But then again, perhaps
we are so different from every other empire in history that
we, as opposed to anyone else, will last for ever...
It is not unfair to say that the Romans inherited from the
Greeks much of the philosophy behind how a civilised
society should organise itself and the Greek 'polis', or
city-state, was fundamental to this. Thus, rather than
starting the story of Rome in the foothills of central Italy
it makes sense to take a quick look at the model for a city
that the Greeks had already come up with and which they
were about to hand on to the new boys in town.
The Greek mainland and islands had been a centre of
civilisation for a couple of thousand years before Rome
was even thought of. They had been at the heart of both
the Mycenaean and probably the Minoan civilisations and
had thus enjoyed long periods of prosperity and settled
conditions. This had produced a population increase
which in turn led to a widespread process of colonization.
New Greek cities were founded all along the Black Sea
coast and the Mediterranean coast of Asia Minor, North
East Africa, Spain, France and Southern Italy. Among
many others, Greeks were responsible for the founding of
the cities of Marseilles, Naples and Istanbul (originally
Byzantium and then Constantinople).
The geography of Greece, consisting largely of islands
and small plains encircled by mountains, made for small
political units and created a sense of the value of inde-
pendence and self-sufficiency. These values were passed
on to the new colonies which regarded themselves as
separate entities from their mother cities. Thus the Greek
world came to be made up of hundreds of small city-
states, most of them with populations of only a few
thousand, who shared a common identity, culture and
language and could be formed into various leagues to
confront the barbaric outside world but who were also
jealous of their own independence. This tension was an
inherent part of Greek civilisation, on the one hand
limiting the extent to which it could reach out and domi-
nate its neighbours while on the other enabling it to
survive as a vibrant part of subsequent civilisations;
notably that of Rome.
The success and creativity of the Greek polis led to a
number of developments which were reflected in the
Roman city ideals. As the wealth of individual cities
grew, tribal kingship gave way to rule by landed gentry
which in turn was threatened by the political aspirations
of the wealthy merchant classes. If by their endeavours
they could acquire economic strength, why not political
power as well ? With literacy came intellectual debate
and the spread and development of reason. This brave
new world needed to be ordered. The wild and amoral
gods and demons were tamed and made to look and act
like men. They were given proper houses to dwell in and
dirty little shrines became magnificent temples, monu-
ments as much to civic pride as to the deities themselves.
Perhaps most important of all was the introduction of
civilian law, to which all free men could appeal and to which
all men, however well-bred, were subject. Rather than
the law being meted out at the king's pleasure, it Was now
the responsibility of elective and even collective govern-
ment. Various experiments in democracy arose (even a
form of communism) with different combinations of
assemblies and elders being thrown up by variously
constituted electorates. The roles of the feudal lord as
priest, judge and military defender were taken over by the
polis. An infantry was organised which reduced the
significance of individual military prowess, which had
been the mainstay of tribal and feudal rule.
The ebb and flow of political power in Greek society need
not concern us. Suffice it to say that by the 5th Century
BC, Athens and Sparta had emerged as the two main
rivals for dominance. The land-based Peloponesian
league of the Spartan monarchy was supplanted by the
sea-based Delian league of the Athenian democracy, only
for Sparta to make a brief comeback. They joined to
defeat external enemies such as Persia and then returned
to their internecine struggles. Eventually, the merry-go-
round was stopped by Philip of Macedon when he
defeated the Greeks at Chaeronea in 338 BC, finally
ending city-state freedom.
Philip's son, Alexander the Great, exploded Greek
culture throughout the middle east by taking a Greek
army on a truly spectacular invasion of most of the known
world. He then died at the age of only 32 before he could
get home to Macedon, leaving his empire split between
his generals. Three entities emerged (plus the little
kingdom of Pergamum); Macedon (which had control of
Greece), Syria (which included most of the eastern
conquests) and Egypt where Ptolemy founded a new
dynasty. The Greek cities, and especially Athens, largely
abdicated from politics and concentrated on being centres
of learning. They permeated the rising star of Rome
which on a clear night could be seen in the west.
THE CITY OF ROME
The romans took many of the ideas of the Greek Polis and
adapted them to serve the building of an empire. The ideals
of law and order were changed from moral standards to
instruments of control. The common responsibility for defence
became a way of recruiting for the legions.
Perhaps most important of all, the notion of ultimate power
resting with the citizen was developed so that power rested not
just with any old citizen but a citizen of rome. The rulers
of distant cities scrambled for the honour of Roman citizenship.
The greeks were restrained from trying to rule an empire because
they valued the principal of independance. Athens did not want
to rule sparta so much as dominate a Greek league included Sparta.
The Greek city-states sought allies wheras the Romans sought
The Romans formed allies to defeat common enemies but in the
end allies and enemies were swallowed up together. The Greeks
produced a magnificent civilisation but not much of an empire.
The Romans borrowed the civilisation and turned it into a great
However, we are bounding ahead of ourselves by about
700 years. The historical founding of Rome is less
important and much less interesting than the legendary
one. In any case we cannot be sure of early historical
details beyond the reasonable assumption that the city
coalesced from a small group of villages. In fact there are
two legends about the founding of Rome which eventu-
ally merged into one. In the 5th Century, the Greeks
recorded that Rome was founded by Aags, the Trojan
war veteran and son of the goddess Venus. The other
legend, that Rome was founded by Romulus, twin
brother of Remus, was joined to the first by asserting that
Romulus and Remus were after all direct descendants of
The story of Romulus and Remus is a good one. Aban-
doned as babes on the banks of the River Tiber, they were
suckled by a she-wolf and brought up by a shepherd.
Having killed his brother in a quarrel, Romulus founded
Rome on the Palatine Hill in 753 BC. Reckoning that
they were a bit short of women in this new city, Romulus
went Off and kidnapped some from the nearby Sabine
tribe; the so-called 'rape of the Sabine women'. To help
him, Romulus also appointed one hundred elders, or
'patres', who became the first Senate and whose descend-
ants called themselves 'patricians', thereby acquiring
instant credibility and a pre-eminent position in society.
Over the next one hundred and fifty years, Rome devel-
oped from a cluster of hilltop settlements on and around
seven hills into a fully fledged city, draining the marshes
in the valleys between the hills and eventually building
masonry structures such as temples and defences. Ruled
by a succession of seven kings who were chosen by the
Senate, she was very much under the influence of the
Etruscan civilisation which held sway to the north.
Indeed, the last three kings, of whom Tarquin I was
responsible for most of the major building work of the
period, were of Etruscan extraction. By 509 BC, how-
ever, the Romans were ready to take matters into their
own hands and Tarquin the Proud was thrown out of
office for being much too unpopular and the Roman
Republic was proclaimed.
As the Romans gradually defeated and took over the
Carthaginian empire, the powers in the eastern Mediterra-
nean began to get nervous and tried to face down the new
threat. When the Romans attacked pirates on the Illyrian
coast, the Macedonians to the south took the side of the
pirates with the not too surprising result that the Romans
extended their campaigns into Macedonia, defeating her
in 197 BC. Just as the Romans were going home the
Syrian empire in Asia Minor invaded Greece, forcing the
Romans to sweep back through Greece and into present-
day Turkey, defeating the Syrians in 190 BC.
At this stage, however, Rome was not interested in direct
rule of the east (it must have seemed like they were
already doing quite well enough in the west, thank you
very much) and withdrew into Italy. nevertheless,
Macedonia continued to grow in strength, provoking a
further Roman invasion in 171 BC. Finally in 146 BC,
the new Roman province of Macedonia was created,
which incorporated the whole of Greece after the southern
Greeks had revolted a few years earlier. The rest of the
Aegean went Roman in 133 BC when the last king of
Pergamum, Attalus m, bequeathed his kingdom to
Rome and it became the province of Asia, consisting of
the western end of Asia Minor.
14C BC was an important year in the history of Rome. In
that year both Carthage and Corinth were razed to the
ground and the Corinthian citizens were sold into slavery.
It marked not just the defeat but the end of the powers on
either side of Italy and it announced Roman rule to the
world. It marked a transition from Rome merely
trying to secure its borders to feeling confident enough
to boss the known world around. If in the same year
they could do that to two of the greatest cities in the
world, everybody else had better watch out.
Ironically, but as so often happens, just as Rome acquired
a position of unparalleled external strength, she very
nearly fell apart. There had been rumblings for a while
within Italy and the next hundred years or so brought civil
wars and the death of the Roman Republic. Republics are
not really designed for ruling empires (Napoleon had the
same trouble and came up with the same solution and as
the empire had grown the republican system had been
hijacked by a senatorial elite. The rural and urban poor,
who seemed to be getting poorer as Rome became richer
asked the question, 'Are we a republic or not ?' and
eventually discovered that they weren't.
Theoretically, power rested with the citizens, who gave it
to the Senate which acted as an executive, responsible to
an elected Assembly. However, increasingly the Senate
and the magistrates were dominated by a new nobility,
made up of patricians and nouveau-riche plebians, who
found it much more convenient to ignore the Assemb1y
altogether. While this system was unchallenged, it
worked very well but it had no constitutional validity and
collapsed as soon as the boat was rocked. This was done
initially by land reforms proposed in 133 BC by
Tiberius Gracchus and then economic and legislative
reforms proposed by his brother Gaius a decade later.
Both brothers came to a sticky end.
In 122 BC, southern Gaul was taken over and became
the province of Gal Narbonensis but very soon after-
wards the army started losing battles to troublesome
Germanic tribes, putting the whole State of Rome at risk.
As a consequence the Roman army was reformed by
Gaius Marius, becoming much more efficient and
professional but at the same time switching its allegiance
from the State to individual army commanders. This
made civil war a constant possibility and almost inevita-
However, before ambitious generals could really get their
act together, the so called Social War from 'socii '
meaning allies) broke out in 91 BC. The non-Roman
Italians, who for two hundred years had been fighting to
stay non-roman, had gradually realised that, in this new
day and age, there was a lot to be said for being a Roman
citizen. This resulted in the political unification of Italy,
with citizenship granted to all in 90 BC, but it hardly led
to peace. When war was declared on Mithridates of
Pontus who had attacked the province of Asia, a squabble
broke out about who should command the legions in Asia;
Marius or the consul Lucius Sulla. In the end it was
settled by Sulla marching on Rome and declaring himself
dictator. Although his rule only lasted a year, it was the
first (but not the last) time that Rome had been taken by a
general at the head of her own legions.
After Sulla, three men jockeyed for power; a politician
called Crassus and two generals, Pompey (one of Sulla 's
boys) and Julius Caesar. They formed a private alliance
in 60 BC, known as the First Triumvirate, but they were
really all out for themselves. Pompey had established his
credentials in the 70s and 60s BC, first by helping
Crassus to defeat the slave rebellion led by Spartacus and
then by conquering a lot of eastern territory, including
Bithynia, Cilicia, Pontus, Syria and Cyptus. Crassus put
himself out of the picture by getting himself killed by the
Parthians in 53 BC. Caesar, however, employed better
tactics and made the most of his opportunity by conquer-
ing the whob of Gaul by 49 BC and even having a look at
the mysterious island of Britain.
By this time Pompey had taken power in Rome and
persuaded the Senate to take away Caesar's command. As
a consequence, Caesar invaded Italy, forcing Pompey to
withdraw to Greece where he was defeated by Caesar at
Pharsala. Pompey escaped to Egypt, where he was
murdered. Caesar returned to Rome to rule for four years
until the infamous Ides of March in 44 BC, when he was
murdered by 'Brutus and the rest'. There was thus
another power vacuum, more civil war and three more
contenders, Mark Antonyr, Marcus Lepidus and
Octavian. Octavian beat Antony at Modena and marched
on Rome, only to make friends again when Anthony and
Lepidus joined forces. This was then the Second Trium-
virate, formed in 43 BC as a legal dictatorship for a
period of five years.
The following year, Octavian and Anthony went off to
defeat Brutus and Cassius while Lepidus looked after the
shop in Rome. In 40 BC, they divided power, Lepidus
being given Africa, Octavian the west and Anthony the
east. Lepidus blew his chances with a failed power bid
and Anthony suffered a series of disasters in the east, not
least of which was to start a bit of thing with Queen
Cleopatra in Egypt. All of this played into Octavian's
hand, who in 31 BC got a mandate from the Senate to
attack Egypt. Anthony and Cleopatra were finally
defeated in Greece and committed suicide together in
Although he claimed to have restored the Republic in 27
BC, Octavian was effectively the Emperor of Rome
from that time, assuming the name Augustus and ruling
very successfully for 32 years until his death in 14 AD.
He brought stability and reform, taking the army out of
politics with land grants, and undertaking a tremendous
programme of public building. It was said that Augustus
found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.
He laid the proper foundations for Roman imperial rule
which lasted for over 300 years.
In the hundred years following the death of Augustus, the
empire continued to grow, particularly in the north and in
the east. Under the Emperor Trajan, the Empire reached
its greatest extent, taking possession of Arabia and Dacia
(modern Romania) in 106 AD and armenia, Assyria and
Mesopotamia in 117, whereupon he died.The new
Emperor, Hadrian, decided that it would be better to
consolidate the imperial boundaries rather than seek
further expansion. He even abandoned some of the
eastern conquests of his predecessor. Nevertheless, the
threat of invasion, especially from the northern Germanic
tribes was always there and the army gradually re-
asserted its influence over politics.
In civilian life, things bubbled along but internal weak-
nesses were beginning to appear. More and more people
became Roman citizens until 212 when the Emperor
Caracalla awarded citizenship to all free-born men in
the empire. This was mainly a financial measure since it
meant that there were more people to
tax but it was part of a general
weakening of the imperial structures. More and more
emperors were being murdered and a long period of anarchy
followed Caracalla's death in 217. The confusion was
partially resolved by Diocletian, who came to power in 284 and
divided the empire into four prefectures, ruled over by two emperors
(Augustii) and two assistant emperors (Caesars). This was
called a 'Tetrachy' or 'four-man rule'.
However, this system was further evidence of weakness
and inevitably it broke, down. In 324, the Emperor
Constantine defeated his co-emperor, Licinius and took
over sole power. Constantine was the first emperor to
convert to Christianity and his ties with the pagan city of
Rome were not as strong as some of his predecessors. In
330, he moved his capital to Byzuntiun, building a new
unashamedly Christian city. The western half of the
empire collapsed over the next hundred years or so and,
although Justiniun re-conquered some of it in the middle
of the sixth century, it was lost again three years after his
The Roman empire had become the Byzantine empire,
Greek-speaking and Christian. This new empire acted a
thousand years more, to some extent carrying the Roman
torch, until it was finally crushed by the Turks in 1453.
THE CONQUEST OF BRITAIN
The effect and character of Roman rule varied from
region to region. In general, the western half of the
empire underwent a rapid and far-reaching process of
Romanization simply because the standard of government
and level of civilization that Rome brought were so much
better than what had been before. Without meaning to
belittle the vibrancy, creativity and sophistication of the
Celtic tribes, it is nevertheless true to say that relatively
crude tribal societies were exposed to new levels of
education and technology and had modern roads and
buildings constructed in their midst.
This is in static contrast to the eastern empite where the
civilisations of the Greeks, Persians, Egyptians and the
like were in no way inferior to that of Rome. Indeed, AS
we have seen the so called Roman civilisation was very
largely borrowed from the Greeks in the first place.
Consequently, the eastern empire remained very Greek in
character and was simply ruled from Rome. Great cities
existed already and the Romans did not build that many
new ones, instead building Roman baths and temples
within existing Greek and Egyptian cities.
As such, it is in the western and northern regions of the
empire that we see more dearly how the Romans went
about building settlements. It is here that they were
given a relatively blank canvas to paint on. In particular,
we will concentrate on Britain, that most northerly and
magnificent outpost of the Roman Empire.
Contrary to popular belief, Britain was not invaded by
Julius Caesar, although he did pop over to study the
form while he was in the area conquering Gaul. In fact,
Britain was invaded a hundred years later by
Claudius, partly because he felt that his imperial position
needed a bit of A boost after the excesses of his nutty
predeoessor, Caligula. Moreover, both the emperors
previous to Caligula, Tiberius and Augustus, had enjoyed
great military successes and Claudius no doubt felt that by
finishing what the great Julius CAesar himself had started
he would be putting himself right up there. It was also
true that the troublesome Gauls had a nasty habit of
slipping across the English Channel to hide out with their
So it was that in 43 AD, Claudius dispatched Aulus
Plautius with four legions to invade Britain. Landing in
Kent, they swept north west, defeatine the Britons under
Caratacus near Rochester and then again on the future site
Londinium (London). There, with the native capital of
Camulodunum (Colchester) at their mercy, they waited
until Claudius could arrive from Rome to lead them
triumphantly to victory. After a full sixteen hard days
sitting around being triumphant in Briton, Claudius went
home again leaving poor old Aulus Plautius to resume
command and continue the campaign.
Over the nexct few years, the Roman legions moved
steadily north and west, finally defeating Caratacus in
Wales. He fled north to the Brigantes, only to be be-
trayed to the Romans. Sent as a captive to Rome, the
British chieftan so impressed Claudius with his courage
and dignity that he was allowed to live out his days in
honourable if captive exile. By the time Paulinus was
appointed governor in 59 AD, most of England and
Wales south of Lincoln was in Roman hands. He was
busy trying to polish off the Druids in north Wales when
a revolt broke out in East Anglia led by Queen Boadicea
of the Iceni.
In the folklore of British resistance to the Romans, the
feisty Queen Boadicea in her heavy war-chariot takes
pride of place. She quite eclipses Caratacus, which is
very unfair because she was much less trouble than he
was. Although the Iceni had a high old time and even
sacked Londinium, they were an unruly bunch who got
rather carried away with themselves. Heavily laden with
booty they were easily routed by Paulinus when he
returned from Wales. After that, the south of England
was pacified and Romanized and the fighting shifted to
In 78 AD, Agricola was appointed governor of Britain
and under him the Roman legions reached their most
northerly point. Establishing three permanent legionary
bases at York, Chester and Caerleon he headed north
and defeated the Brigantes of northern England before
marching into Scotland. By 84 AD he had control of
Lowland Scotland and had inflicted heavy defeats on the
Highland tribes. Exactly how far north Agricola got, we
don't really know but it certainly seems to have been
beyond Aberdeen. Just then however, in the winter of 84
AD, he was recalled to Rome and the border slowly sank
back into England over the next forty years.
In 117 AD, the Emperor Hadrian came to power and, as
we have seen, introduced a policy of consolidating his
borders rather than attempting new conquests. He went
on a tour round his Empire, visiting Britain in 122 and
initiating the building of a defensive wall along what was
the northern border at the time; a line between Car1isle
and Newcastle. However, Hadrian's Wall in Britain was
only a tiny part of a defensive system, cal1ed 'the Limes',
that stretched over 7,000 miles around the edges of the
empire; along the Rhine and the Danube between the
North Sea and the Black Sea, from the Caspian Sea to the
Red Sea and from Egypt to Morocco.
Without wishing to belittle Hadrian's Wall still further, in
many ways it was built in the wrong place. It does not
follow the natural features very well, with views some-
times obscured by inconvenient hills, and it seems simply
to have been built where the border happened to be when
Hadrian arrived. In the hundred years or so after Hadri-
an's Wall was built the Romans tried to establish a
frontier 80 miles further north between the mouths of the
rivers Clyde and Forth. This is a much shorter distance
and makes much more sense. However, the so-called
Antonine Wall built along this line was less substantial.
Eventually the legions found themselves overstretched and
the border fell back to the earlier line.
In fact, the Wall is not a defensive structure so much as a
part of a defensive strategy. On its own, it could hardly
have kept a horde of marauding Picts at bay. It was only
about 8ft wide, which was enough for a legionary to
patrol along but not enough to concentrate sufficient
forces to defend it. It was thus primarily an observation
platform and a boundary line. No doubt it was supposed
to look like a formidable obstacle to the aforementioned
marauding horde, in the sense that to approach it they
would have had to have come over a mound and then
down into a ditch to stand beneath a 22ft stone wall, but
any horde worth their salt would have been able to scale it.
The point was that simply standing on a wall exchanging
arrows with the marauding horde below was really a
waste of all the training that the Roman legionnaires
underwent. It was in the open, where they had room to
manoeuvre and organise, that they were the best fighting
force in the world.
Thus the Wall was designed to release legionaries into the
open at the optimum time and place.
A marauding horde simply had no idea how many legion-
aries were about to burst out of the Wall and attack them,
nor from where they would come.
This trick was achieved with an elaborate system of
milecastles, forts and turrets that were built along, in
front and behind the wall. The milecastles were small
forts positioned (surprise, surprise) one Roman mile apart
along the wall. They were really guardhouses, usually
holding far fewer than the 50 or 60 men they could
otherwise accommodate, and provided access to the
northern side of the border. The Romans could spot the
enemy from afar, muster their troops unseen behind the
Wall and emerge on either side to trap the unlucky horde
against the very wall they were trying to attack.
The main body of troops were stationed in fifteen forts
along the length of the Wall, protected behind by the
Vallum. This was a double line of mounds with a ditch
between which seems to have been the Roman equivalent
of a barbed wire fence; simply telling the civilian popula-
tion to keep off military land. The forts were then
serviced by the Military Way, which was a purpose built
road running behind the Wall with branches going to each
fort. Later on, a series of outpost forts were also built in
front of the Wall, providing even more warning of an
advancing horde and even more room to manoeuvre. In
some respects, the role of the Wall itself was thus
changed from a first line of defence to an administrative
line to fall back on in times of crisis.
The end of Roman rule in Britain is usually dated as 410
AD although in effect it simply fizzled out through lack
of interest. As the Roman empire itself collapsed, a series
of army commanders in Britain laid claim to the imperial
throne and set off for the continent with all the troops
they could muster. This, of course, progressively weak-
ened the defences of Roman Britain against raids by the
Irish, the Picts, the Sagons and various other assorted
hordes. In 410 AD, the Romanised British people ap-
pealed to the Emperor Honorius help and were told to
go away and leave him alone; or words to that effect.
As for Hadrian's Wall, it seems to have been abandoned
by the Legions and taken over by the civilian population
in 383 AD, although it may simply be that the soldiers
had their families living with them from that time. Either
way, it is not surprising that a civilian population in the
wilds of the north of England would jump at the chance to
live in fortified Roman buildings. This leads nicely into
the topic of Roman cities, how they worked, how they
contributed to the operation of the Empire and why they
were thought to be such a good ides by barbarian people
who had never lived in them before.
WHY CITIES ?
There are two basic reasons why people choose to live
together in cities (or towns); security and trade. This is
as true for us as it was for the Romans and the Celts.
However, as civilization has progressed, the relative
importance of these two factors has changed. For tribal
farming settlements, community life was mostly about
protection from rampant hordes of Picts, although market
day had a crucial role to play. For the Romans, security
was important but easier to achieve and thus the benefits
of trade came to the fore. For us, there is very little
danger of rampant Picts (except for international soccer
matches) and business is why we live in cities. It is
interesting that we seem to be approaching a level of
sophistication where business is going back to the coun-
try, linked by phone, fax and computer.
Often a town grows up to exploit a very specific natural
resource or geographical feature. These might include a
rich seam of coal, fishing grounds, a fertile plain, a lake,
a bend in the river, a major crossroads, a bridge, a hill or
a natural harbour. Moreover, the nature of a settlement is
to some extent determined by what kind of security is
wanted and what kind of trade is expected. While most
Celtic houses were timber-framed huts with walls of
wattle and daub, the Romans built elaborate stone build-
ings. While a Celtic settlement consisted almost entirely
of private dwellings clustered aimlessly around that of the
chieftain, the Romans carefully arranged temples, bath
houses, aquaducts, theatres and forums and linked them
together with streets.
The most fundamental reason to gather together is secu-
rity. The human being is not designed to live in total
isolation from the rest of its species and even nomads and
hunter-gatherers, who do not build permanent settlements,
move around in groups and maintain relations with their
neighbours. For tribal peoples this safety in numbers is
reinforced by long standing family ties, both real and
imaginary. In this way there will always be people to
identify with and club together with because there will
always be kinsmen and fellow tribesrnen. More over, it
makes sense to live in the same place as those most likely
to help out in times of trouble.
The Celts were both tribal and warlike, forever sweep-
ing off to attack some enemy, perhaps in order to take
over more fertile land, perhaps because they had been
driven off their own land and perhaps just for the hell of
it. It was therefore a good idea to identify with the most
powerful chieftain, join his band and build houses around
his in the sure knowledge that in the face of an external
danger he would lead them all into battle. Furthermore,
since the settlements were often not much more than
glorified military encampments (even if they stayed in the
same place for a good many years) there was no particular
reason to build houses that would last forever.
Of course, even for the mighty Romans simple physical
security was an important factor. The very fact that they
were an invading force made them a target for attack from
irate natives. Moreover, a legionary fort would often
become the focus for a haphazard settlement; if you built
your hut next to a Roman stronghold it was hardly likely
to be attacked by casual bandits and if it was, you could
shelter inside the fort. Many of the Greek and Roman
cities started out with the basic model of a central forti-
fied area surrounded by an agricultural settlement. In
many ways, of course, this model was similar in form to
the Celtic settlements but the Greeks and Romans substan-
tially developed the basic theme.
For those who chose to live in a Roman city, other
aspects of security were becoming important also. There
was the security of knowing that there were priests in the
temple doing the right rituals to appease the right gods,
there were teachers and doctors ready to educate and cure,
there were merchants making sure that all the goods that
might be wanted were in the market and as always there
were neighbours who might hear the agonised screams if
someone fell down and broke a leg. By subscribing to the
laws and administration of the city, one became part of a
whole that was greater than its parts could ever be.
This brings us to the other main contribution of cities;
trade. At its most basic level, to trade with someone you
or your representative generally have to be in the same
place as them (at least you did before the invention of the
telephone). The local market has been the foundation of
many a thriving town, even some Celtic ones. By
actually living next to the market, you had constant access
to a wide range of goods, which was not possible for a
farmer who might only come to market two or three times
a year to sell his crop in exchange for some basic necessi-
ties. More importantly, however, since the market
provided you with all you could want, there was the
opportunity to specialise and become a shopkeeper, a
builder, a potter or a tailor. You could get an education
or even go into politics.
Whereas in an agricultural settlement everyone had to
spend most of their time looking out for danger and
gathering food for the day, in a city these were largely
taken care of by others. Each individual had only to
perform a specific role. Furthermore, the very fact that
a city was permanent, built to stand for ever, made it
worth while investing in infrastructure and technological
development. Thus the structures, physical, legal and
administrative, became more important than the individu-
als that used them. Once established, they could just as
well be used by every subsequent generation.
Of course, it is very simplistic to suggest that the Celtic
settlements were incapable of providing any of the
goodies that the Roman cities offered. It is nevertheless.
true that the Roman system was so much more efficient
and stable that it constituted a totally different way of living.
Things which before could be achieved only if you were
lucky were now taken for granted. There is no doubt that
Roman cities posed awkward questions for the local people.
Farmers are naturally conservative and the idea of a Celtic
warrior becoming a Roman shopkeeper was a bit of a sell
out. At the same time, the Roman urban lifestyle was very
This was all part of the Roman plan. Cities. were founded
very largely as an instrument of control over the people
they had conquered. On the one hand, of course, they
provided somewhere to station legionnaires and an adminis-
trative centre for a region. More important in the long term,
however, was the Romanising effect that they had. By
showing the people how wonderful it was to live like a
Roman and by tempting so many of them to join in the fun,
the threat of local insurrection receded. Even those who
remained in the fields had kinsmen in the cities. It is
significant that Rome was finally swept away by barbarian
hordes from outside the Empire rather than through upris-
ings among the subject peoples.
Before looking at the bricks and mortar, it would be well to
identify who lived in different types of city and how they
were organised. As we have seen, primitive pre-Roman
settlements were not much to write home about but there
were exceptions, such as our old friend Camulodunum
(Colchester) in Britain. Under Roman influence these
often grew into cities and were called 'oppida'. Equally,
where a proper city existed before the Romans arrived (more
typically in the cast) a city charter might be granted by the
Roman emperor and it would be given the title, 'municipa'.
Sometimes these new cities would be re-organised
along Roman lines and sometimes they would continue
running in the same way, subject to Roman approval.
However, it is in those cities that were founded by the
Romans that we can see what the ideal was. These
were called, 'coloniae' or colonies and were initially
built and lived in by veterans recently discharged from
the legions. Far from being old and infirm, these were
highly trained and experienced rnen who had simply
done their allotted time in the service of Rome and
been rewarded with a plot of land. Legionary training
included surveying, construction, engineering and a
host of skills useful to the building of a new city.
Perhaps it is not surprising that the cities tended to be
built in the same grid formation as a Roman fort. Of
course, in an emergency the veterans could also act as a
highly trained militia.
The coloniae were given a charter by the emperor
which laid down its constitution, gave it a name and
detailed its rights and privileges. The administration
was very similar to that of Rome itself. Just as (in the
good old days of the Republic) the Senate elected two
Consuls to rule the Empire, each city had a town
council, the 'ordo', which elected two chief magis-
trates, 'duovirs' to act as mayors. There were then
various city officials with functions carefully spelled
out in the city charter. Each city was also given an
area of land which it could cultivate and raise rent
from. With respect to their internal working, the cities
were relatively independent from the authority of the
Roman citizenship was a valuable status to possess
in that it bestowed several important privileges. As
well as various legal exemptions and rights of appeal,
there were two major rights that bore directly on the
workings of the cities. The first, 'commercium', was the
right to conduct commerce under Roman Law which was
a great advantage, particularly when trading between
provinces. The second, 'conubium' was the capacity to
have a marriage recognised under Roman Law, thereby
protecting the legitimacy of any children and their rights
of inheritance. Thus Roman citizenship was of great
advantage to anyone seeking to build and retain a fortune
and became increasingly highly sought after.
BRICKS AND MORTAR
Although early Roman towns (including Rome itself) were
just as haphazard as everyone else's, by the 1st Century
BC Greek notions of town planning had caught on and
things changed dramatically. When they got going, the
Romans were great little planners and relished the pros-
pect of meticulously planned new cities. A site would be
chosen and marked out by the imperial surveyors, closely
following the layout of a legionary fort. Sacrifices would
be made to the gods and away they would go. As far as
local conditions would allow, the city would be in the
shape of a playing card with two major roads crossing at
right angles in the centre. The quarters thus created
would be divided by side streets into a grid of numbered
blocks, called 'insulae'.
The surveyors would also allocate agricultural land to
feed the population as well as making calculations as to
land rents and the taxation needs of the new city. A
Roman city was much more of an integral part of the
surrounding countryside than is the case today. Since
techniques for the preservation of food were not very
highly developed, many of the needs of the city popula-
tion had to be produced in the immediate vicinity. A city
was simply not viable if it had insufficient agricultural
land locked into its operation. Over time there was a
tendency for smaller farms to be bought up by large
landowners, who languished in plush villas and main
tained substantial estates.
Major public buildings would be built at the centre of the
city, next to the main crossroads. Perhaps the most
important of them was the forum. Although in the early
days of the Republic the forum might sirnply be an open
space, by the 1st Cantury BC the planners were starting
to enjoy themselves and the forum took on a standard
form, often resembling the headquarters of a fort. In the
shape of a square, three of the sides would be formed by
colonnaded walks, offices and shops. Along the fourth
side would stand the basilica, which was a large assembly
hall used for a range of activities, including court sittings,
administration and political meetings. The area thus
enclosed was used as the market place, with stalls set up
much as they are today. The forum therefore acted as
civic centre, market place and administrative he
where goods and ideas were exchanged.
Civic pride was an important part of city life and many of
the public buildings were constructed simply to show off.
Huge arches and monuments were constructed to honour
some great deed of daring-do performed ned by a founding
veteran or simply to toady to the emperor. Temples
would be built in honour of some deity but great trouble
would be taken to made sure that it was just a little bigger
than the one in the next city. The city walls and the
gateways in them were usually much more elaborate and
massive than a purely defensive function would dictate.
However, this was not simple vanity. The more prestige
a city could generate, the more trade and imperial favours
it could attract. Well, all right, it was mainly vanity.
Naturally enough, some of the building work was
financed out of city coffers. As with any city, money
was collected from a bewildering array of rents and
charges; fines, water-rates, customs duties, market tax'
entrance fee to the city paths, licences etc. In Ephesus,
had you wanted to set yourself up in the potentially
lucrative business of selling salt and parsley, it would
have cost you one denarius for the privilege. However,
many individual buildings were paid for by wealthy
benefactors which, if gou were very luckg, might even
include the emperor. Moreover, the management of city
finances could in itself be a matter of civic pride. The
city of Nicomedia got in big trouble with the Emperor
Trajan for spending vast amounts of money on not one
but two failed aquaduct schemes. Perhaps they just
Nevertheless, apart from showing off, the city did
provide extensive civic amenities. Although medicine
was in its infancy, there were hospitals and there were
schools, often in rooms off the basilica. As such, market
days were usually a school holiday simply because no-one
could hear what the teacher was saying over the din.
While the very wealthy might live in luxurious town
houses or country villas (or both), most of the city
population were housed in tenement blocks. These were
very badly constructed and were forever spreading
disease, falling over or burning down (or all three).
Eventually, a height limit of 60ft was imposed, presum-
ably on the basis that if they were going to fall down it
better not be from too great a height. In the northern part
of the empire, it was more usual for the poor to live in
rows of timber houses.
However, the two most famous public amenities were
connected to water. Aquaducts are perhaps the most
spectacular legacy left by Rome. Many were fairly
simple affairs consisting of underground pipelines. Some
were colossal feats of engineering, blcing water careering
down one side of a mountain and shooting up the other
under force of pressure. They crossed gorges and went
through mountains. One at Nimes went along a channel,
through a mountain, and over a river on a bridge 1542 ft
long and 161ft high. At Segovia, the quaduct is still in
working order. On one rather sad occasion in Numidia,
two teams of workers set about tunnelling through a
mountain from either side but missed each other on the
The other great watery contribution to world civilization
were the Roman baths. In fact, of course, they were more
like a cross between a sauna and swimming pool than a
bathroom, with 'bathers' moving together from the
undressing mom (apodytcnum) to the cold room
(frigidanum) to the warm room (tepidarium) to the hot
room (caldarium). Heat was produced by an underfloor
system which sent hot air from a furnace into spaces
beneath the floor and up the walls. It was so efficient that
'bathers' had to wear thick-soled sandals to protect their
feet. The daily bath was very fashionable and a great
social focus for both men and women. However, in the
2nd Century the Emperor Hadrian (who seerns to have
been a bit of a spoil-sport) issued a decree forbidding
Although the aquaducts usually ensured a plentiful supply
of water to the city as a whole, very few houses had the
luxury of their own piped supply. The water was col-
lected in large tanks and piped to the public baths and
fountains. Moreover, since there was no mechanism for
conrolling or stopping the flow, the drainage system had
to be very efficient. The public latrines, with everyone
sitting in rather sociable lines, were flushed with the
water from the baths and the whole was carried away
along drains and sewers.
HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS
Straight roads are also something for which the Romans
were famous. They built a transport and communica-
tion network over their vast empire that was unparal-
leled until the modern era. They built wooden cause-
ways across marshes, bridges over rivers and zig-zagged
roads up mountain sides. Moreover, it was all so well
constructed that many roads and bridges have survived
two thousand years or more. A bridge at Vaison-la-
Romaine even survived a direct hit by a German bomb in
1944. Although the main roads were originally built for
military purposes and to facilitate the running of the
empire, once they were in place, of course, they were of
great benefit to the communities through which they
passed. The cities built side roads to link into the net-
work and the maintenance of the system fell largely to the
However, the legendary straightness of Roman roads is a
little misleading. The road engineers were not stupid and
if the easiest route was round a mountain or along the
banks of a river, they could build curves with the best of
them. However, when the terrain was flat and there was
no particular reason not to go in a straight line, they went
straight. Moreover, the Romans had the know-how to
build in a straight line when they wanted to. The point
really was that the roads were planed, so they actually
went to where they were going by the shortest route.
This seems to have been a revolutionary idea. Certainly
the new roads must have seemed ridiculously straight to a
local population used to tracks meandering their way happily
across the countryside, apparently with no particular end
Nevertheless, however good the roads were, they were much more
expensive than water transport. Particularly when transporting
large or heavy loads, a barge to the sea and then onto a ship was
by far the most sensible way to go. Every permanent human
settlement needs access to water and most ancient ones were built
near to a river. If the river access was not sufficient for their
needs, the Romans were more than capable of building canals
to bridge the gap. A city with sea access could reap great
rewards and would spend a lot of money on harbours
and lighthouses etc. Although the city of Rome had very little
sea faring tradition, with the advent of the empire and the
large distances involved, it quickly acquired one.
Not only did it make trade much more efficient and profitable but it
made sense to rule the waves as well as the land in between.
Religion played a vital and obvious role in Roman
society; it is the back-seat driver of every society. Al-
though we may have a clear impression of who the
Roman gods were (Jupiter, Juno, Neptune, Minerva,
Mars, Mercury and their chums) in fact Roman
religion was a highly complex, not to say unwieldy
structure. Not only did they rule a huge empire which
contained a dazzling array of faiths, deities and spirits but
they were also (on the whole) very tolerant of them and
incorporated many into their own system. This confusion
was not helped when Julius Caesar was made a god after
his death, initiating a practise of emperor worship. Even
the spirit of Rome itself, Roma, was worshipped.
Religious belief often starts with a vague idea that there
must be a divine essence in everything. Like many
primitive societies, the Romans believed that every aspect
of life and nature had its own spirit. Thus there were
spirits of victory, fortune, marriage, storms, trees,
streams, animals and anything else you care to name.
There was also a spirit, called a 'Lar', which protected
each household. When they dedicated an altar or a city,
they often ended with, 'and any other gods around that we
might have forgotten to mention'. This divine soup was
given a little more structure by adopting the gods of the
Etruscans and the Greeks. In particular, the Greek gods
were very handy. The Romans identified some of their
deities with particular Greek gods (Zeus became Jupiter,
Hera became Juno, Hermes became Mercury etc.) thereby
acquiring a ready-made pantheon complete with well
developed mythological characters and legends.
As they conquered new territory, they discovered new
gods and incorporated them also, as much as anything
to avoid having to suppress indigenous religions. So in
Bath for example, there was a temple dedicated to 'Sulis
Minerva', Sulis being a local Celtic nymph. Moreover,
some of the eastern deities, such as Mithras in Persia,
Cybele in Anatolia and Isis in Egypt found themselves at
the centre of Roman mystery cults. Of course, some local
religions were suppressed because they were seen as a
threat to the Roman State. Druidism in Britain and
northern Gaul came in this category, as did Christianity
and Judaism. At first Christianity was tolerated but it did
rather inconveniently demand that its followers renounce
all other gods, which sounded like atheism to the Ro-
mans. However, after a period of savage persecution
(being thrown to the lions and all that) Christianity
eventually became the official State religion at the end
of the 4th Century.
Of course, all of this was quite literally a god-send to the
civic show-offs. There was no shortage of spare deities to
build a temple in honour of and most cities boasted a
veritable rash of shrines and temples, including at least
one to their own patron deity. With each new emperor
there was yet another possible candidate, particularly
since there could hardly be a better way to carry favour
with someone than to dedicate an enormous gilded shrine
to them. Furthermore, it was a good excuse to really go
to town with the decoration. Nevertheless, temples did
have an important civic role in that Roman religion
was a public rather than a personal affair, in which the
rituals and sacrifices necessary for cantinued protection
and prosperity were performed by priests in front of the
assembled community. Temples and religious festivals
were funded by the city and the priests were highly
esteemed city officials.
As a society becomes wealthier and more technologically
advanced, continued survival can be ensurred by working
for less and less of the day. The wealthiest members of
society do not have to work at all. As such, more time
and effort is spent in working out how to have a really
good time. To some extent the Roman empire collapsed
because people ended up working so hard at enjoying
themselves that they forgot to work at anything else. In
modern legend, barbarian hordes gathered at the gates of
Rome while the inhabitants were busy with the most
enormous orgy. Moreover, with apologies to Virgil and
Ovid, it is fair to say that the Romans did not spend their
leisure time making great cultural and artistic strides.
The drama was mostly borrowed from the Greeks and the
chief role of music was to signal manoeuvres to fighting
legions. In general, Romans were much better at eating,
drinking and fighting than at writing sensitive poetry.
Of course, the wealthy classes had cultural evenings in
their homes, washed down with enormous banquets, but
most people just went to the pub. These taverns also
served as gaming houses and of the hundred or so identi-
fied in Pompeii, several were brothels with unpaid
accounts still scribbled on the walls. Under Greek
influence, theatres were built and the educated classes sat
and watched Greek tragedies arld comedies but it did not
compare with what the Greeks themselves used to do.
The rest of the public preferred less intellectually chal-
lenging entertainment such as pantomime and mime, not
least because women were not allowed to appear on the
stage of a serious theatre. They were, however, allowed
to appear in panto and these events soon degenerated into
very vulgar and debauched spectacles, more in keeping
with Roman sensibilities.
What the Roman people enjoyed most of all were 'the
games'. These came in various forms, most of them with
origins in Etruscan funeral rites and Greek theatre but
slowly adapted to suit the sadistic nature of the Roman
audience. In fact, one can divide the games into the
sporting, which took place in the circus and the sadistic,
which took place in the amphitheatre. Sport had been a
popular part of Greek culture and in the early days of the
Republic, Romans had gone to Greece to take part in their
games. Later, Greek sports were includet in Roman
pub1ic games. In 67 AD, the Emperor Nero went on tour
in Greece in order to take part in a Greek sporting festival
which included the Olympic Games. He returned home
with 1,808 first prizes, no doubt as a consequence of
many a potential gold medalist tactfully falling over in the
The circus games included wrestling, boxing and athlet-
ics but the most popular sport was chariot racing. As
such the design of the circus was best suited to this
activity. It consisted of a long, thin racetrack with tiers
of seats either side and ridiculously sharp bends at either
end. A low wall called the spina ran down the centre to
prevent head-on collisions (no doubt to the disappoint-
nent of many of the spectators). Some of the circuses
were simply enormous; the Circus Magimus in Rome
having a capacity of 250,000. Chariot racing was big
business (much like horse racing today) and the chariot-
eers became real celebrities. There were four racing
factions (imaginatively called red, blue, white and green)
and the rivalries often led to violent altercations.
DEATH AT THE GAMES
The sadistic Roman games took place in the ampithea-
tre, which was an oval structure with the tiers of seats
often raised above a high wall to protect the audience
from the nasties below. The biggest of five in Rome was
the Colosseum which could seat 50,000 people and had
an arena that could be flooded to produce a large in which
to stage naval conflicts. Beneath the stadium there was a
maze of underground passages from which would emerge
wild animals, Christians and gladiators. The gladiatorial
contest had its origins in the Etruscan ritual of a fight to
the death being staged at a funeral to help the deceased on
his way. The Romans gradually lost the ritual signifi-
cance but liked the idea of a fight to the death. Not
surprisingly, most gladiators were slaves, although
successful ones could eventually earn their freedom.
They all got their freedom one way or another.
As well as fighting each other, gladiators called
bestiarii would fight wild animals, including bulls,
bears, tigers, rhinoceroses, leopards, lions and elephants.
The animals were also pitted against each other to add to
the fun and a thriving trade grew up with distant prov-
inces to supply the games with exotic animals for slaugh-
ter. Nero once produced a spectacle that brought about
the death of 400 bears and 300 lions in one day and 9,000
animals are said to have died to inaugurate the Coliseum.
It goes without saying that many Christians, Jews and
other enemies of the State were executed by wild animals
for the entertainment of the populace. They were a pretty
bloody thirsty lot those Romans.
However, dont lets be beastly to the Romans. They did after
all give us both the word and the idea of civilisation. While
it may no longer be geographically true that all roads
lead to Rome, she lingers on in our own culture.
Roman letters, your date of birth is recorded using the
Roman calendar, your home town may well have been founded by
Rome, your country was ruled by rome and given a name by
Rome, you are governed partially under the principals of
Roman law, many of the very words you speak are Roman. It is
hard then to deny, that to some extent, your identity is
tied up with Rome.
2,000 years after the coming of Imperial Rome we all still know
about gladiators and legionaries, aquaducts and baths, the
Circus Maximus and Hadrians wall. Caesar and Caligula.
Most of us know practically nothing about the Minoan
civilisation, the Chinese Empire (which was just as great
as the Roman one), the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the
Egyptians, the Hitties, the Persians, the Indians, the
Goths, the Vandals, the Huns, the Slavs, the Greeks,
the Britons. We dont know all that much about the greeks.
We know they all existed but not much more than that. One
almost gets the idea that the Romans were the ancient world;
apart from Christ, the Battle of Hastings and Robin Hood
they are what happened before Henry VIII.
Typed by Razor Blade