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'Rome in the twentieth century, the "Sick Old Man of Europe". ' by Todayinah Ed.
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May 18

In 2696 AUC Adolfus (pictured) the Legatus Legionis of Germania issued orders to mount a defence of the Roman Republic along the Italian peninsula, in order to slow the Celtic advance up through Italy.

This operation codenamed Alaric (after Alaric I king of Visigoths, the Barbarian general in the Roman army who sacked Rome in 1223, AUC) was considered so top secret that Adolfus refused to issue a written order. Instead, he communicated verbally his desire that Tribunus laticlavius Erwinius should assemble and ultimately command eleven cohorts of heavy infantry for the occupation of Italy to prevent an Celt foothold in the peninsula. Alolfus also gave Erwinius the false impression that his reward would be the appointment of Legatus Legionis in Italy.

Adolfus orders the invasion of ItalyThe Home Legions reacted negatively, as could be expected. Erwinius had no patience for the indigenous Romans, rightly predicting that the Italians were preparing to surrender to the Celtic invaders. He was given orders, codename Axis, giving him permission to seize Roman defenses.

Yet Tribunus laticlavius Albertus soon became a serious rival to Erwinius, organising a superior defensive mechanism at Monte Cassino that would be rewarded with his appointment as Legatus Legionis in Italy. This command decision infuritated Erwinius, who promply assassinated Adolfus at his military camp in the Teutoberg Forest on Dies Martis vii Julius MCMXLIII.

June 19

In 2697 AUC this day marked the coronation of the first Holy Roman Emperor at Lutetia.

In so doing, Charlemagne (pictured) the former Legatus Legionis of Gaul proclaimed the titular successor to the former Western Roman Empire under the principle of translatio imperii, the transfer of rule linking divine history to worldly power.

Because "le Grand Charles" sought to establish a new union of territories in Western and Central Europe as a successor state following the fall of Rome.

And yet the unexpected opportunity to strike out in a new direction had arisen almost by accident, as a result of a power vacuum that had developed in the last days of the Empire. Because during the Celt conquest of the Italian peninsula, Charlemagne had forged a short-lived alliance with Adolfus, the Legatus Legionis of Germania.

Charlemagne proclaims a Holy Roman EmpireHowever a command dispute had infuritated Tribunus laticlavius Erwinius who promptly assassinated Adolfus at his military camp in the Teutoberg Forest on Dies Martis vii Julius MCMXLIII.

"Une certain ideè de la Gaul" (a certain idea [of greatness] for Gaul) ~ CharlemagneIt was by no means certain that the warlike Celts would accept Charlemagne's self-appointed status as the "August Emperor of the Romans" (Romanorum Imperator Augustus), styled as "most serene Augustus, crowned by God, great and pacific emperor, governing the Roman Empire".

And in fact both Erwinius and Albertus were holding their noses too, having taken the expediate decision to form a popular front against the hated Celts. The former Roman generals rightly suspected that Charlemagne's commitment to a Catholic satrapy was simply a fig-leaf for "une certain ideè de la Gaul" (a certain idea [of greatness] for Gaul). And the seeds of that ideè had been sown by Charlemagne's own countryman, the greatest Roman general of the modern era - Napoleone di Bonaparte.

May 5

In 2688 AUC the Ethiopian City of Addis Ababa fell to the East African Roman forces of the Legatus Legionis Badoglio.

Government ReshuffleEmperor Haille Selassie had fled the country three days before, clearing the way for the Ethiopian Empire to be formally annexed on May 7. Then on May 9, Caesar Emmanuel III was proclaimed Emperor of Ethiopia (the countries of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somaliland being merged into a single colony known as Roman East Africa (Africa Orientale Roma, or AOR).

Rome would taste a rare military success that had been conspiciously absent in recent years; "Emperor! Emperor! Salute the Emperor!" ("Imperatore! Imperatore! Salute Imperatore!") chanted the crowd when the Caesar, in full military uniform, showed himself on the balcony in the Palazzo Venezia.

Whilst Caesar maintained a dignified silence, General Mussolini unwisely did not, acting in what some might describe as a more flamboyant Latin manner (pictured top left) bordering on self-congratulatory exuberance. So when victory was announced by the General the Roman population reacted with jubilant abandon.

"People of Rome, people of the world, peace has been restored".From the balcony, the General proclaimed: "During the thirty centuries of our history, Rome has known many solemn and memorable moments -- this is unquestionably one of the most solemn, the most memorable. People of Rome, people of the world, peace has been restored". The crowds would not let him go - ten times they recalled the General to the balcony and cheered and waved while the boys of youth organizations sang the newly composed "Hymn of the Empire" (Inno dell'impero).

Caesar was less impressed with the General's victory, achieved frankly through the use of overwhelming force and also the cowardly use of mustard gas. Now observing some potential for confusion over who was actually "Il Duce" (the Leader), Caesar ordered that the General and his mistress, Clara Petacci were to be crucified and then hung upside down in the Palazzo Venezia (pictured right).

Whilst the remainder of the Romans were rejoicing, Haile Selassie was constructing a memorable letter of protest to stir up the Celts who would soon wage war with the Romans ~ "We have decided to bring to an end the most unequal, most unjust, most barbarous war of our age, and have chosen the road to exile in order that our people will not be exterminated and in order to consecrate ourselves wholly and in peace to the preservation of our empire's independence ... we now demand that [the Celtic allies] should decide not to recognize territorial extensions, or the exercise of an assumed sovereignty".

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