Disclaimer: The main characters of this story don't belong to me, but the interpretation of History, and the crazy events that take place here, are the product of my crazy mind.
A/N: Hi! I'm afraid that I have to give a lot of explanation before you start reading. Yes I know, I'm the "explanations girl" and I know this is boring but I'm afraid it is necessary. I'll be brief.
I love ancient Rome, and I was very excited to read what would have happened if Alexander had fought against Rome. Alexander would have won because, in Alexander's time, Rome was not the Rome of Scipio the Africanus or Caesar Augustus. So, I found myself thinking that that would be an unjust battle. Alexander had a great army but Rome did not, so I thought, what would have happened if Alexander had fought against Julius Caesar? THAT would have been a fair fight.
But Caesar was born in the 100 B.C., almost 256 years after Alexander, so I did some cheating.
As the X men had their "What if" series, where Gambit is a vampire or Wolverine is in a pack with his half brother living in the wild. I decided to do my own "What If". So, what if Rome evolved faster, and while Alexander was conquering Asia Caesar was conquering Gaul?
And as a result we have this delusion of a crazy girl.
I based this battle principally on: the Battle of Cynoscephalae in Thessaly in 197 BC, between the Macedonian King Philip V and the Roman General Titus Quinctius Flamininus. Also I used the battles of: Cannae (Hannibal vs the Romans) Zama (Scipio the Africanus vs Hannibal) Pharsalus (Caesar vs Pompey) and Gaugamela (Alexander vs Darius III). I do NOT have a Ph. D. in Classic History and this is not an essay, it's an A/U story, so I apologize in advance for all the mistakes here.
I hope you like it and, many thanks for reading!.
Between Marcus Antonius and Quintus Dellius.
41 BC Asia
"You would have beaten Caesar with no trouble, Antonius" said Dellius without a trace of sycophancy in his tone.
"I? Not if every God there is fought on my side! Caesar was in a class all his own, and there's no disgrace in saying that. Over 50 battles he generaled, and never lost one. Oh, I'd beat Magnus if he still lived -or Lucullus, or even Gaius Marius. But Caesar? Alexander the Great would have gone down to him" (1)
THE GODS OF WAR
ARES AND MARS
It was a hot day in the south of Italy in the region of Campania; the Romans had heard from their spies that the Macedonian king was moving against the growing Roman Empire in Western Europe. This had been just a matter of time and the general in charge of the 6 Roman legions and two auxiliary cohorts knew it— It cannot be two suns in the sky –the Roman general saw the Macedonian army formation in front of him— Flawless –he thought.
31 000 infantrymen:
The phalanx at the center with 9,000 men divided in 6 taxeis (battalions), 2,000 hypaspist, the elite of the Macedonian infantry; 7,000 Greek hoplites, and 13,000 light infantry. His cavalry 8, 800: the Greek, Thracian and Bactrian cavalry at his left wing, the hetairoi cavalry with the Ile Basilike, the Royal Squadron, at the right wing.
There, in the right wing was the Macedonian King, leading. He knew it as he knew this day would come, and he was not surprised when he realized that he had waited this moment since he heard about the deeds of the Macedonian Lion, who at such a young age was the master of half the known world.
Meus Imperator, protector of Rome
Quod Rector, son of the republic
Meus Murco, the eagle's eyes
Meus Loricatus, the hands of war
(Ex Deo. Invictus)
But now he, Gaius Julius Caesar, was also the master of half of the known world and this battle was eminent since Alexander's uncle, Alexandros of Epirus, had been defeated by the Romans. Julius sighed and closed his eyes for a moment, remembered that day when everything started…
It was a sunny, bright hot morning of October…and that had Julius in a terrible mood. October was not supposed to have sunny, bright hot mornings, and this was all thanks to the archaistic and completely useless calendar that King Numa had inherited them more than 200 years ago. The Roman kingdom had disappeared centuries in the past, they were now a proud Republic. Why then, in the name of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, they had to suffer a horrible calendar that failed to match the seasons?
Julius had gave this a lot of thought, even in the middle of his war against the Gauls he had time to remind himself that, as soon as he had time, he would correct the calendar. And now that he was not only the Pontifex Maximus but also a Dictator for life, he had the best men working on this. Still, that morning, when he got ready to start a long day of hard work, the shining sun outside offended him.
His personal slave arranged the several folds of wool that was his toga. Once Julius had heard someone joking that the Romans had conquered the world just to have sufficient slaves to dress them. They had conquered the world because they could. Period. He watched that impressive sight that was Rome from the window of his bedroom…
Impressive? No, impressive was a very big word for the city unfolding in front of him, Julius thought from his privilege position on the Palatine Hill. This was the capital of a great empire covering from Britain to the north of Africa, including Hispania and Gaul, this was the city that had crushed great empires, like Carthage, and that had gave birth to brilliant Generals like: Camillus, Scipio the Africanus, his own uncle Gaius Marius, the not so loved Sulla and his fat, decapitated, and very dead ex son-in-law Pompey. But Rome was not impressive, at least not yet, it was city built of wood with numerous problems and heavily shaken by constant civil wars.
The best reminder of this were the rests of the Senate house, right there, in the Forum. A very angry mob had burned it down when a very idiot Milo had killed his rival Publius Clodio, the champion of the poor and the lowest class of citizens, in one word: the mob, on the Appian Way. If someone had ever wonder what was the most powerful force on the planet the answer was quiet simple: the Roman mob, you did not wanted to face that, you just don't.
Julius had ordered to rebuild the Senate house and in the mean time, the Senate met in Pompey's theater, on the Campus Martius. The Gods had truly a twisted sense of humor, Pompey had been his allied, son-in-law, rival and finally his enemy, and now fat Pompey was dead, Julius was the undisputed Master of Rome but had to hold his meetings in the place his rival had built under the very statue of the man.
Julius would change that, for a start, he was building a brand new house for the Senate…and a new Forum by the way, next to the Forum Romanum. He loved Rome as he had never loved a living person and he would make of her the most wonderful city on the world, he would make the Roman Empire the only force worth to fear.
But he had so many things to do! Why was he still stuck in his house? Julius turned to look at his slave, who was finally finishing his task, and he was free to go. He decided to walk from here, the Domus Publica, the known house of the Pontifex Maximus, to the Campus Martius, ignoring the alarming number of clients that were waiting for him. Julius did not have time that day. It was not a short distance from here to Pompey's theater, but Julius was proud of his excellent physical condition, he was as fit as any young man, and liked to walk around Rome, the only city in the world that burst with so much life.
Also he also had to remember Pompey's round silhouette, like a perfect balloon stuck in an armor too small for him, to know that too much luxury and good life could ruin a man, so no litters for him.
Julius' lictors walked behind him, the bodyguards that every elected magistrate with Imperium had at his disposal, but as the Dictator, he was the only one who could go around the city with 24. Cool, wasn't it? He had so many things in his mind but these did not stop him from greeting people on his way and catching the looks they gave him, especially the women.
He was as vain as he was brilliant, which was to say a lot, and knew perfectly well he was, and had always been, a striking man, a living piece or art that breath and walk around as if he owned the whole world: Tall, blond, with a single lock of silver hair crossing his face that gave him a mature and mysterious look that had charmed more than one; aquamarine eyes with a darker ring of blue, changing its color like the jewels according to his mood, from intense blue when he was angry to a pale shade like the sky during summer when he was relax.
Julius was good hiding his thoughts but his eyes spoke louder than words, saying so much with so little but at the same time hiding his most intimate secrets. He turned slowly when he felt an intense glance over him and found a beautiful red hair woman looking at him. A married woman judging by the stola she was wearing.
It was as if time had stopped for a moment, and everything discoursed in slow motion. He smiled, that charming smile that could strip all defenses of men and women, the one that had bewitched the heart of more maidens than he could count and that had his Legion eating from the palm of his hand. The red hair blushed intently and Julius continued walking.
His mind went back to his most urgent problems: The city had many necessities starting with the very alarming fact that the treasury was as good as empty, his veterans wanted lands to retire… Mm, was not his nephew's birthday that week? Gaius Octavius was 17 years old now, which meant he had come to age and the day where he was going to wear his first toga was approaching. Would they wait until the Liberalia to celebrate it? He truly hoped so because he had to attend, of course, and did not have time in those moments.
There were also his problems with Marcus Antonius' scandalous behavior, his affair with the voluptuous actress Cytheris, the heavy drinking, Julius was sure Antonius could drink as much as King Alexander which was truly preoccupying, and his massive debts. Had it been a good idea to name Antonius as Master of the Horse? Well, he did not have so much as a choice there, after all he was his cousin.
And what to say about the good smarty Cicero who lately only gave problems? The so called Pater Patriae after the "great" service he did to the Republic by crushing Catiline's conspiracy to overthrown the Senate, had published a very colorful pamphlet called Cato, praising his swore enemy…enemy? That was a curious word. Was Cato really his enemy?
Well, he certainly hated me and he knew how to be really annoying with that shrill voice of his –thought Julius—Did I hate him? It is hard to actually hate a man when you have slept with his first wife and his half sister –he smiled again remembering poor fragile Atilia and intelligent savage Servilia.
Julius remembered that Cato liked to talk for hours, until nightfall, and he had done it during a Senate meeting just to avoid that they voted the motion if Julius should be allowed to stand for Consul in absentia. How could someone talk for so long? He would have never thought it possible without Cato; once, when he was Consul, he even had to order his lictors to take the man out as soon he pretended to start talking nonstop.
But I never hated Cato, and I would certainly miss him in a way…but Cicero's Cato…—he shook his head—Maybe I should write a reply, The Anticato…But it will have to wait until this situation with Macedonia is settle…
And this took Julius to THE problem. How had this started? He crossed the Rubicon, the river that served as boundary between his province, Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul and Rome, and started a civil war. Not that he had wanted that, it was more like he did not have a choice. During this time of turmoil at Italy, a very opportunist King Alexandros of Epirus, had decided to invade them, thinking it would be an easy victory and that he could match his famous nephew's, King Alexander III of Macedonia, glory by conquering the powerful Roman Empire.
Alexandros of Epirus obtained an easy victory at the south of Italy but he was no match for Pompey. What had Pompey to do in all of this? As son as his ex son-in-law heard that Julius had crossed the Rubicon, Pompey decided to flee…All right, if one was to believe Pompey he did not flee, it was just a 'strategic retreat', for Julius it was just a nice way to say he had ran away to the south and, eventually, crossed his path with the Epirote.
What then? There was a fight and Pompey defeated Alexandros; unfortunately the King died in that battle leaving the Romans in the very delicate position of informing the second most powerful man on earth that Oops! They had killed his uncle. Of course Pompey hadn't lived long enough to face the consequences of his victory. Shortly after this he fought against Julius and lost…
Pompey ran away to Egypt hoping that King Alexander would welcome him and protect him from his enemies. Nothing further from reality. Alexander was too far away from Europe to know what had happened in time, and the first one to heard the news about King Alexandros' defeat and ultimate death was Cleomenes of Naucratis, who was in charge of Egypt by Alexander's direct orders. And he took the decision of cutting Pompey's head as soon as the poor devil set a foot on Egypt.
The head, according to Julius' spies, was on his way to Babylon attached to note to King Alexander explaining what had happened to his uncle, and the one who was now in the very delicate position of solving this mess was no other than Julius.
Rome had always depended of Egyptian grain, the Persian Great Kings had no problem in selling them grain but, when the dashing Macedonian conqueror invaded the Persian Empire the grain supply stopped, which meant the people of Rome did not have accessed to the grain dole and the prices had gone to the sky, which was enraging the people, which would cause that soon Julius would have to face the always feared phenomenon called "angry Roman mob". Nobody wanted that.
What to do? Cleomenes had cut the head of an elected Roman Consul, a terrible insult, King Alexandros had invaded them, which was even worst, and they were in all their right to defend their territory, even killed the invader. Julius had decided then to write to King Alexander, who had heard these news almost 3 months after the events, and Julius had asked for 2 things: Pompey's head and sealing ring and the head of the man responsible for killing his ex son-in-law.
Julius had King Alexander's answer now and was going to read it to the Senate that day. He had been expecting this. Alexander, despite of being very polite and everything in his letter, had refused to fulfill his demands; after all, Pompey had killed his uncle, in the eyes of the Macedonian Great King, Cleomenes had not done anything wrong.
This did not surprise Julius one bit. He knew with whom he was dealing and had heard numerous things about Alexander, the most important, that his hunger for everlasting glory was insatiable; he could have conquered one of the most important empires of the world, but he would not stop. What were his proofs? The Macedonian had gone to India, was planning to invade Arabia and now…Now Julius was sure he also wanted to annex Rome to his vast possessions including all the Eastern Europe and part of Asia, Greece, Thrace, Illyria, the Hellespont, the Persian Empire and part of India. Macedonia's military power was undisputable, and the fame of its young king was legendary. The Macedonian Lion, the son of Zeus-Amon, Sikander.
Rome had not sought this war, they had been busy in their own civil war when a foreign King invaded them, but they would make the most of this situation.
This couldn't be better –he thought, reaching Pompey's theater at last where he would urged the Senate into taking action against the Macedonians—There is only one way to restore Rome after the civil wars and that way is with gold. No one has more gold than the Great King.
Marching on, marching on
The battle weary marching side by side
Alexander's army line by line
Alexander the Great
His name struck fear into hearts of men
Alexander the Great
Became a legend amongst mortal men
(Iron Maiden. Alexander the Great)
At first the handsome king of uneven eyes was angry for having to return before he could reach the end of the world, but when he arrived to Italy his annoyance was replace by a burning excitement. Rome was not Persia, Rome was also an empire but had a professional army with a legendary commander as himself. That was new for him. He had battle against great armies and powerful kings but never, NEVER against a resourceful, clever, respected and skill commander. It was his ultimate challenge; he had the opportunity to measure his forces against a more than worthy opponent.
Achilles had found his Hector, at last.
The wind blew, the blond locks of his hair danced in front of his eyes: one cerulean blue, one brown like amber, watching the Roman battle formation in front of his own men. Six legions at full force, which means: 30, 000 men, 2 auxiliary cohorts: 2,500 men. Their cavalry on the wings: a total of 6,400 Romans and allies with Latin status, and 2,000 Celtic and Germans. Their silver eagles were shining under the sun, and his standards dancing at the mercy of the wind.
Alexander saw the Tenth legion, Caesar's favorite one, ruthless and ferocious, was in the place of honor, at the right flank. The left flank was held by the Ninth and Eighth legions and legatus Mark Anthony was in charge of the left wing. And the Thirteenth legion, the one that had crossed the river Rubicon with their commander starting the civil war, was placed at the center, along with the First legion under the command of legatus Publius Sulla. The Third legion was at the rearguard with the auxiliary cohorts. The legion's standards were full with decorations.
The Macedonian king smiled, his blood burned in the anticipation of the battle of his life.
Caesar had with him the veteran troops of Gaul. Alexander had his veterans of Asia. Men to whom the only retirement could be death. They both had the unconditional love of their men and both were undefeated. Alexander had his outstanding victories in Gaugamela and Hydaspes against the kings Darius and Porus; Caesar had his victories in Alesia and Pharsalus (2) against the Gaul leader Vercingetorix and the Roman general Pompey Magnus.
They both were childless, had no male heir, they both had never found love in marriage, and had married several time. Olympias, Alexander's mother and Aurelia, Caesar's mother were strong, intelligent and independent women who were widows at a young age. The Macedonian king had inherited his army from his father; the Roman Dictator had inherited it from his uncle.
Their forces were even.
One was the descendant of Heracles and the other was direct descendant of Venus. And they were ready to decide who was the greatest general of all time and which one was the better army. The winner would be the undisputable master of the world, the undeniable god of war.
Alexander smiled under his magnificent helmet like a lion head.
— They are ready to fight –said Ptolemy, on his horse at the left of the king.
— I told you, these Romans are tough, they are not going to make it easy for us –said Leonnatos, his horse was nervous, kicking the ground with his hoof.
— But they are just 30 000 or 33 000 of them, Darius' army was of almost 100,000 men –said Ptolemy, extremely confident in their victory. In more than 10 years of military campaign they hadn't lost one battle, he trusted Alexander in almost a fanatical way—And they had no cataphracti cavalry or scythed chariots like the Persians.
— The Romans are not Persians –said Hephaistion on his white stallion, always at the king's right. His silky bronze-golden hair tied, but rebel locks crossed his ungodly handsome face. He was a vision of beauty in his military uniform.
— They are barbarians –insisted Ptolemy and he spited at one side—You worry too much Hephaistion.
— No, he is right –said Alexander, his uneven eyes fixed in the formidable enemy in front of him—These Romans and their commander are not like any other foe we have encounter before. I told you yesterday.
Ptolemy frowned, remembering the military council they had the day before…
The Macedonian camp was situated outside the Greek city of Posidonia, at the south of Italy. They had come not only because the ultimate demise of King Alexandros, they had also come because the Greeks had complained about the Roman monopoly of the Mediterranean, which they had started calling Mare Nostrum. The Romans galleys were everywhere, but when they had invaded Crete the Greeks were outrage, and then they started to complain with the Macedonian King.
— Those Athenians sons of a Bad Mother have lured us into a trap! –exclaimed Krateros, hitting the wooden table, making the things on it jump—The Greek cities in Italy don't want our help, they are already Roman cities.
— We are not doing this to liberate the Greek cities in Italy, we are here because Rome is becoming a danger to us –said Hephaistion, every opportunity to bother Krateros was a good one.
— I know that, Mr. I-so-cute-that-I-get-my-own-cavalry-squadron –Hephaistion was about to jump to him and took out his eyes, but Perdikkas took him by the arm. The last time he had fought with Krateros Alexander was furious and they hadn't spoken to each other in months.
— Enough! –Alexander raised his voice—It doesn't matter if we don't have the support of the Greek or ex-Greek cities in Italy, we are going to fight the Romans anyway.
— We'll defeat them in no time, Alexander –said Leonnatos with absolute confidence, closing his fist in front of his face.
— These Romans have no chance against us –Ptolemy agreed, but Alexander was too serious.
— I don't want you to underestimate our opponent –said the King—We are going to win this battle against Caesar, but don't think it's going to be easy. I've read Caesar's Comments of the Gallic Wars.
— And? –asked Koinos.
— Oh! He is tough –Alexander smiled excited—He is someone I will like to meet… and battle against, have no doubt of that.
— What are these Comments of the Gallic Wars? –asked Perdikkas, frowning.
— Caesar wrote all his campaign against the Gauls and sent it to Rome with regularity, so the Senate and the people were always inform of what he was doing –Hephaistion explained—One of Alexander's spies sent him a copy.
— Whatever, I still think we are better –said Ptolemy stubbornly.
— Of course we are, but be prepare this is going to be more difficult that fighting against king Porus –said Alexander.
— But they have no elephants with them –said Leonnatos.
— No, but they have a more capable commander –replied Alexander.
(1) Colleen McCullough. Antony and Cleopatra, page 16
(2) I know, I know, Pharsalus is in Greece, and according to my story Rome hadn't any influence in Greece…but I didn't know how to changed it. I'm sorry.