In the annals of Marcus Aurelius; the Emperor writes of a particular battle that had given him much to think of in the days of his youth. He writes of the time during the first Caesars, when the empire had first expanded her boundaries to the far edges of the known world. The Roman military of the time was proclaimed as invincible, and everything in their path was dealt fire and sword and crushed beneath the heels of the Imperial Legions. Tens of thousands of vanquished were taken captive as tribute and enslaved forever,  never to see their families and lands again.  Fastened in chains and looking over their shoulders a last time to see behind them their tribes scattered and their forests burned to provide settlements under the rule of the Empire, they were marched to a Eternal City filled with the captives and the wealth of all known nations.

King Blood – Vengeance

Their Generals had heard of the Germanic forest-dwelling tribes north of the Danube, and it was reported that they were fearsome and that they welcomed war. It was said they were physically larger and more intimidating than any the Romans had yet encountered, and they had inspired fear among the Legions of the northern borders. Hearing this, the Commanders gathered their councils and devised a plan; they would bring trains of cages filled with Lions to lead the phalanx, and at the outset of the battle they would release the Lions and surely the barbarians would flee in terror.

Crossing the Danube, on the sloped plain of a valley of which the location is now unknown, they met  the Warriors of the tribe known as the Nervi. The Romans had not foreseen that the Germanic tribes north of the Danube had yet to see a Lion, and were unaware that they should be afraid.  As the Roman soldiers advanced to meet the lines of the Nervi, they released the Lions who came roaring out of their cages, charging the battle lines of the Nervi Warriors with bared fang and claw, yet the Warriors simply shrugged their shoulders, pausing only to swiftly kill all of what they understood as only packs of huge dogs.

King Blood – Silent Dust

On that day the Romans lost two of the Pannonian Legions to the last man, along with the sacred standards of their eagles, and the northern borders of the Empire from that time on was set forever on the south bank of the Danube.


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11 Responses to Lions

  1. Reg Sipco says:

    Good stuff. I never knew Marcus Aurelius wrote of conquests. I thought it was all about his philosophy. Unless this episode is one he recounts that prompted him to ponder some aspect of life.

  2. etype says:

    The quip about the Nervi thinking the Lions were huge dogs is mentioned in the biographies of which there were many – ‘Historia Augusta’ is one of them. The ‘Meditations’ were his autobiographical later writings on the stoic philosophy and his life. If I had a choice of which Emperor to get drunk with and swerve-drive sportscars, it would be between Julius Caesar and Marcus Aurelius.

  3. Clyde says:

    Great story, one I’d never heard.

  4. etype says:

    the moral of the story is that our enemies are not Lions, but dogs, because we say so.

  5. Reg Sipco says:

    Lions in the street and roaming
    Dogs in heat, rabid, foaming
    A beast caged in the heart of a city
    The body of his mother
    Rotting in the summer ground
    He fled the town
    He went down South and crossed the border
    Left the chaos and disorder
    Back there over his shoulder
    One morning he awoke in a green hotel
    With a strange creature groaning beside him
    Sweat oozed from it’s shiny skin
    Is everybody in?
    The ceremony is about to begin

  6. Reg Sipco says:

    Wake Up!

  7. Reg Sipco says:

    We’ll erect, a different people.

  8. Reg Sipco says:

    And, to complete the set: The Hill Dwellers:

    • etype says:

      Instead of ‘huge dogs’ some people resemble mere medium-size Koala’s.
      An animal that survives because if faces no more formidable adversary than the Australian aboriginal.
      However not without bite, these beasts are carriers of herpes in their poisonous spittle.
      They also give a high, menacing squeak when savagely kicked.

      • Reg Sipco says:

        Lol, I’ve never kicked a koala. Matter of fact, I’ve only ever once seen one in the wild. They’re pretty hard to find, spending most of their lives way up in the tree tops.

        They’re pretty much drug fucked, which probably led to their spread of chlamydia. Eat, sleep, eat, root, shit, and sleep some more. Great life if you can get it.

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