Andy Joy
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Commands & Colors: Ancients

Regulus surveyed his position on the plains of Bagradas, a full day’s march outside Tunis: this was his chance to defeat Carthage… and to do it on their own land and bring an end to this costly Punic War, oh what glory! His chance for immortal glory and honor for Rome that comes with victory! He summoned his collegium of priests… “I must know the gods favor us!”

Far above them Leopodus and Silvus, Regulus’ augurs, watched a pair of eagles speed towards the river that lay south of the Roman camp. Just before reaching the river, the eagles split – one flying east along the river and the other west. Each bird flew until lost from sight. Leopodus knew the mind of his commander and thus read the auguries favorably, for he valued his own life as much as Rome did the power of her senate. Silvus the elder sage soothed, “The gods provide no readable sign… whether for or against us.”

Dawn was unraveling, yet Regulus was still unwilling to commit his legions without divine guidance. The assembling Carthaginian forces could now be heard in the foggy morning stillness. Finally, minutes before full light Regulus called to Diodorus, his Greek slave and haruspex, to read for him what he could of the will of the gods. Regulus slew and delivered to Diodorus the fresh carcass of a captured Numidian steed. In the massive entrails of the animal it was plain to Diodorus that the thirst of Jupiter and Mars were only to be slaked on Carthaginian blood!

Regulus issued nary an order in haste to assemble the Roman troops – the legions would have to rely upon their battle hardened centurions to keep cohesion with the ranks. Conversely, the Carthaginian commander, Xanthippus – himself a Greek, quickly and decisively issued an order to his elephants to advance in the center. Moments later, another order issued to the Carthaginian cavalry joined in the elephant charge. Together they advanced and while the elephants stumbled a bit when they met missiles from the screening velites, the Numidian cavalry smashed into the Roman lighter cavalry and sent them to the Elysian Fields.

Regulus calling upon his men and Mars gave the order to stand firm… trust in the Roman pilium and gladius maior. On the enraged pachyderms came, their massive bodies smashing their way through the velites, their tusks annihilating the first rank of hastati – on they came until meeting resistance from the steadied principes whom the Tribunus Laticlavius rallied. Losses mounted on both sides as barbed elephants fell alongside the broken bodies of Roman legionaries while Numidian horses lay amongst the valiant Roman auxilia.

Fiercely each soldier fought. Unrelentingly the Carthaginians kept charging but Regulus’ line stood firm. The exposed Roman right flank pulled together under Regulus direct command and withstood and then finished off the repeated Carthaginian attempts to break the Roman flank with their cavalry charges. So quickly had the Carthaginian mounted troops engaged the Roman infantry that Xanthippus hadn’t the time to bring up the massed infantry line in support of the all-out charge. And as a bolt from Jupiter, the stout Roman legions withstood the unsupported charge and delivered carnage foreseen by the Greek haruspex.

In celebration, Regulus offered the spitted head of Xanthippus to Mars. And his headless body was sent smoking to Jupiter. For on this day, these martial gods together with the might of Rome re-wrote history and defeated Carthage
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Rob Olsson
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Are you up for a game of Wellington?
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I really do have a wonderful life.
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Yeah! That's more or less what happened.

Well scribed, Histori-G!
 
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Andy Joy
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Thanks G! 'Twas a fun battle.
 
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