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Great rulers of the ancient world?

AJFixer

Writer
Validated User
#1
The GURPS Steampunk game I've been playing in for the past three and a half years just came to a close. It was an awsome campaign, culminating in our PCs joining forces with Capt. Nemo to liberate India from British rule. (GURPS Mass Combat rules absolutely rock! But that's a story for another post.)

My character, Radcliffe Emerson, has settled sown and married Nemo's daughter, Princess Tazmaia. Nemo has instituted a constitutional monarchy with a strong king/queen as ruler, and Emerson and Tazmaia have been charged with producing an heir to the throne.

In keeping with Emerson's character, all of the male children will be named after great rulers of the ancient world ("great" being defined as someone who not only conquered territories, but also encouraged the spread of his people's culture and ideas.) Alexander is first in line, being the greatest conquerer of the ancient world (and, having made some gains in India, Alexander has some ties to the land.) Next in line is Ozymandias, arguably one of the greatest pharoes of ancient Egypt.

But who else can compare to these two greats? The great Persian rulers are right out, as they had a bad habit of getting their asses handed to them by the Greeks. Also out is Julius Ceaser, as Rome was already a great force when he took over as emporer, and he didn't really last long enough to be considered a great ruler. I'd like to keep the rulers Mediterranean in origins, as that is the area of the world Emerson, an archeologist, spent most of his time and efforts in.

BTW, Prince Ozymandius Emerson Dakar is going to be my PC for the upcoming GURPS Cliffhangers campaign that is set in the same timeline and run by the same GM as our Steampunk game was. I can't wait. :D
 

Ross N

New member
Banned
#2
AJFixer said:
Also out is Julius Ceaser, as Rome was already a great force when he took over as emporer, and he didn't really last long enough to be considered a great ruler.
That would be an uncommon viewpoint even today and in the 19th century during the height of Caesar-Worship would have been seen as deeply eccentric.

If anything Caesar would be much more highly regarded than Alexander since Gaul remained Roman for 400 years. Hellenic Parthia crumbled in two generations. Caesar was in several ways a much more important spreader of Roman culture and ideas and with Alexanders Empire vanished beneath oriental barbarism (as the view would have been then) Alexanders gloss would look a little less shiny.

At any rate if Caesar is still out, then there really isn't anyone else - what after all did Hannibal conquer? What Egyptian pharoh did not already lead a great force?

Do chuid
 

AJFixer

Writer
Validated User
#3
Re: Re: Great rulers of the ancient world?

Ross N said:
That would be an uncommon viewpoint even today and in the 19th century during the height of Caesar-Worship would have been seen as deeply eccentric.
Hmm, I actually never thought of it form the 19th century perspective.

If anything Caesar would be much more highly regarded than Alexander since Gaul remained Roman for 400 years. Hellenic Parthia crumbled in two generations.
But Hellenic Egypt lasted for many, many generations. Cleopatra was, IIRC, Greek, and wasn't she about 400 years after Alexander?

Caesar was in several ways a much more important spreader of Roman culture and ideas and with Alexanders Empire vanished beneath oriental barbarism (as the view would have been then) Alexanders gloss would look a little less shiny.
But wasn't the Roman culture already the predominant culture in the ancient world by the time Ceaser became emporer? And didn't the Romans incorporate a lot of the Greek's culture into their own? And wasn't Greek the most common language throughout the Mediterranean during the time of Ceaser? Other than Egypt, what else did Ceaser add to the Roman empire after he became emporer? I'm not arguing with you, mind you, I'm just a little fuzzy on the historical facts here.

At any rate if Caesar is still out, then there really isn't anyone else - what after all did Hannibal conquer? What Egyptian pharoh did not already lead a great force?
Maybe I will include Ceaser, though Julius is sort of a girly sounding name. :p
 

Ross N

New member
Banned
#4
AJFixer said:
The GURPS Steampunk game I've been playing in for the past three and a half years just came to a close. It was an awsome campaign, culminating in our PCs joining forces with Capt. Nemo to liberate India from British rule. (GURPS Mass Combat rules absolutely rock! But that's a story for another post.)
:eek: That bit just registered. Can you imagine the bloodshed required to force out the British in the 19th Century? Before she went she'd pump every possible resource into the Subcontinent, bribe every malcontent. There would have been risings by those Indian groups who though not British would suspect the Liberation movement (perhaps rightly!) against them.

So an India free at some enormous cost (millions dead at least, economy in ruins), hated by the rest of the world (unless you somehow avoided massacares of European civilians...) and under constant blockade with some unknown proportion of dissaffected.

And Emerson wants to name an heir to this burning wreck of a country after a 'great ruler'? He must be the most arrogant man who has ever lived.

Do chuid
 

Ross N

New member
Banned
#5
Re: Re: Re: Great rulers of the ancient world?

AJFixer said:
But Hellenic Egypt lasted for many, many generations. Cleopatra was, IIRC, Greek, and wasn't she about 400 years after Alexander?
About 280 or so, for which it was crumbling for about the last 100 (Cleopatra herself was placed on the throne by our old friend Caesar - she was busy losing a civil war until he arrived). Hellenic Egypt was a basket case - a giant Greek/Macedonian leech in the form of Alexandria stuck on an Egypt they despised and kept at arms length (hardly a good model for a newly liberated country ;)) and ruled over by a degenerate dynasty. It should have passed to Rome in 80 BC, except Rome was distracted by internal troubles themselves.

AJFixer said:
But wasn't the Roman culture already the predominant culture in the ancient world by the time Ceaser became emporer? And didn't the Romans incorporate a lot of the Greek's culture into their own? And wasn't Greek the most common language throughout the Mediterranean during the time of Ceaser? Other than Egypt, what else did Ceaser add to the Roman empire after he became emporer? I'm not arguing with you, mind you, I'm just a little fuzzy on the historical facts here.
Ok, firstly Caesar didn't become Emperor - his son (Augustus Caesar) did. Yes Rome was the leading force in the Med but it wasn't the only power. During his career (for most of which he was not head of state - in other words he had extra resources than those he could beg from the Senate) Caesar conquered: Belgium, Northern and Western France, Algeria (Numidia), the Black Sea coast of Turkey (Pontus) (re-conquered) and made Britain and Egypt Client Kingdoms. He millitarily crushed the Helvetia (Swiss) and the Germans and was about to invade the Parthian Empire when he was murdered.

Of course he was also kept busy fighting other Romans for several years.

Do chuid
 
#6
Marcus Aurelius and Sargon II. Both could kick the living shit out of Ozymandias anyday.

I hold a warm place in my heart for William the Conqueror; though if that's too English for you there's always Charles the Great, aka Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor.
 

AJFixer

Writer
Validated User
#7
Re: Re: Great rulers of the ancient world?

Ross N said:
:eek: That bit just registered. Can you imagine the bloodshed required to force out the British in the 19th Century? Before she went she'd pump every possible resource into the Subcontinent, bribe every malcontent. There would have been risings by those Indian groups who though not British would suspect the Liberation movement (perhaps rightly!) against them.
Well, most of it was done by cutting India off from Britain. Nemo owned the seas with a fleet of subs, and he trashed the Suez canal and blockaded all the major Indian ports. The British troops had no way to resupply, and the Indian rebels whittled them down for over a year with guerrilla warfare. In three bold surprise attacks, the rebels took Bombay, the main British garrison and railhub on the Deccan Plateau, and, finally, Calcutta. It helpped that Tazmaia had gained the power of invisibility earlier in the campaign, thus allowing her to assassinate many of the important officers in the British army and poison most of the food supply of the British soldiers. After those three crushing defeats, British left India rather than face a unified resistance led by the charasmatic and extremely popular Nemo.

Oversimplified? You bettcha. But this is an RPG campaign we're talking about here (and one set in an alternate timeline, no less), not a historical simulation.

So an India free at some enormous cost (millions dead at least, economy in ruins), hated by the rest of the world (unless you somehow avoided massacares of European civilians...) and under constant blockade with some unknown proportion of dissaffected. And Emerson wants to name an heir to this burning wreck of a country after a 'great ruler'?
Ah, but none of this came about. Only tens of thousands were killed, and most of them were British troops (we rolled really well during the mass combat portions ;) ) and the rest rebel soldiers. Very few civillians were involved, European or Indian, and Nemo instituted a modern, civilized government. Most of the Europeans were asked to leave, and they were allowed to leave unmollested.

India was left with a strong government, a united populace, good realtions with the rest of the world, a very powerful navy, and a healthy economy. I imagine it will soon become a world power in this timeline, which is one of the things I look forward to seeing in the upcoming campaign set in the 1920s.
 
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AJFixer

Writer
Validated User
#8
Ancient History said:
Marcus Aurelius and Sargon II. Both could kick the living shit out of Ozymandias anyday.

I hold a warm place in my heart for William the Conqueror; though if that's too English for you there's always Charles the Great, aka Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor.
I actually thought of both William and Charles, but Emerson had a bit of a tiff with the British government, so he's not too keen on naming the future heir of India after a Brit. ;) He ain't too terribly fond of the French or Germans, either (yes, Emerson is a bit difficult), so that doubly rules out Charles. Besides, both of them are a little to Medieval for Emerson's tastes.
 
#9
I know you said you wanted Mediterranean rulers, but you may still want to have a look at Ashoka, who is often regarded as India's greatest emperor (even more so than the Mughals -- admittedly for Nationalist purposes by Indian scholars, but still, that only makes him better for naming a prince of the new India after).

Ashoka inherited a large kingdom and turned it into an Empire. He killed thousands, enslaved thousands more. He had chariots and war elephants. He kicked ass. Then he got tired of the slaughter, became Buddhist, and set up a state based on Buddhist/Hindu ideals of Dharma, and turned it into the most centrally administrated nation India would see until the British. He also helped turn Buddhism into an international religion and started the image of peaceful rule that would influence rulers from the Guptas to the Sage Kings to Guru Nanak and Mahatma Gandhi. (Who knows, he may even have influenced Snake Gandhi.) He was also fairly close to contemporary with Alexander (his Grandfather may or may not have fought against said general).

Anyway, more is here: http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~malaiya/ashoka.html
 

AJFixer

Writer
Validated User
#10
Re: Re: Re: Re: Great rulers of the ancient world?

Ross N said:
Ok, firstly Caesar didn't become Emperor - his son (Augustus Caesar) did.
So Julius Ceaser was not a great ruler, but a great general. Interesting. For some reason, I thought he was briefly emporer before he was murdered. Must go back and re-read my Roman history, methinks. ;)

And Ancient History's nomination of Marcus Aurelius may fit the need for a strong Roman emporer. IIRC, Aurelius was one of the better emporers, and he did have some significan military victories. (I have never heard of Sargon II, however.)
 
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