“Boy, do you still consider yourself a brave Samnite?! Show some bravery! Even though the Greeks wear thick iron armour, a single Samnite warrior can defeat three or four Greek soldiers!” Konteruk shouted.
“Old man!” Badani, who got scolded by Konteruk, angrily taunted, “You’ve been in the mountains for a long time, so you have no idea of the situation outside. Unlike the common Greek soldiers, the Theonian soldiers didn’t rely on their numbers to become the strongest force in Italia in just ten years!”
Konteruk became so angry hearing that, “You are just a coward! You are not worthy of being Pentri’s great chieftain!”
“Whether I am worthy as Pentri’s great chieftain is for the Pentri to decide! We don’t need outsiders who don’t know anything talking nonsense!”
“Everyone, calm down! Did we gather here today just to argue?!” Lesguk immediately stopped Konteruk, who was about to stand up and curse back. He then said sincerely to him, “Chieftain, what Badani said is the truth. I had witnessed the Theonian army’s strength more than ten years ago, and I fear they only became much stronger after so many years of development. But we really can no longer retreat! We must rise and resist!”
Satisfied at Lesguk’s words, Konteruk snorted and stopped making a scene.
“However, we still need to think about how to face the powerful Theonia.” Lesguk continued, “Firstly, it would be best to deceive the Theonians into releasing the thousands of captured Caudini, which not only bolster our strength but also relieve us from any worry during the war. Thus we should pretend to agree to some of Theonia’s conditions to make them relax their vigilance.”
Usibek nodded his head repeatedly when he heard that.
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Although Konteruk snorted, he didn’t say anything.
“Secondly, we shouldn’t fight the Theonians on the plains since it would make it difficult for us to defeat them due to their number, heavily armoured and having cavalries. Instead, we should use our warriors’ expertise by luring them into the mountains that would cause the Theonians a lot of trouble.”
“Yes, we should fight the Theonians in the mountains that we are familiar with!” Badani agreed loudly.
“But how do we lure the Theonians? The Greeks aren’t fools and hate fighting in the mountains.” Konteruk finally asks a question.
“We can discuss this problem slowly, allowing us to come up with a good solution.” Although Lesguk said that, he had a confident expression, as he had already considered the matter. Then, he said cautiously, “Rather, there is a much more important problem we need to solve! Although we can gather tens of thousands of warriors to fight Theonia, we don’t have enough food for a long campaign. And with Theonia’s vast territory, we will obviously be unable to defeat them quickly.”
After saying that, everyone began to think about Samnite’s barren land, so they definitely didn’t have enough food for a long war!
Badani then looked at Konteruk and the high priest and then at Lesguk before interjecting, “We had managed to gather more than forty thousand warriors to attack Potentia, but that was due to Dionysius’, the tyrant of Syracuse, aid.”
“That’s why we need allies that could provide us the food we badly need and help us share the pressure.” Lesguk took the opportunity to say those words aloud.
“Allies? Who wants to ally with us Samnites?!” Konteruk subconsciously muttered. The Samnites would bully others for decades when they were strong in south-central Italia and didn’t need allies, let alone have the habit of forming alliances. Thus the disastrous defeat that forced them to become Theonia’s ally for more than a decade haunted Konteruk to this day.
Lesguk smiled and said, “Yesterday, a delegation from Carthage came to Meloentum…”
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Circeii is a Volscian town, surrounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea to the south, a mountain to its west and a plain to the east. The Volscians had developed the place into a large area of farmlands. And since the coastal area to the north is a series of marshes formed by the convergence of several rivers that made Circeii’s topography peculiar, it became easy to defend and difficult to attack, making it an important town for the Volscians.
With the mountain race’s development, they often shared common characteristics. Once their population increased, they had to expand into the lowlands to acquire more land to support their people. As a result, the Volscians own more land in the lowlands than in the mountains, and they began regarding Circeii and Terracina, another coastal town not far away, as the centre of Volsci.
At the beginning of the tenth month, a massive fleet sailed in the sea south of Circeii. At the forefront of the fleet were thirty triremes, followed by more than two hundred transport ships, followed by more triremes. In addition, dozens of small and medium-sized warships surrounded the fleet on the outside.
Pointing to the vague outline of the town on the distant coast, Matepola, the Volscian envoy, said loudly to Amintas, “Strategos, look! That’s Circeii!”
Amintas looked tired after being tossed around on the sea for nearly two days. But upon hearing that, he suddenly felt refreshed as he turned around and said, “Blow the salpinx quickly to remind our brothers of the First Legion and navarch Mithridates of the Third Fleet that we are about to enter the port!”
After giving his order, Amintas said to Matepola, “It’s unfortunate that you Volscians do not have a military port. Otherwise, we could have directly stationed our fleet in the port of Circeii. With the warships’ cooperation, attacking the Romans would be much more convenient.”
Matepola said, “General Amintas, we can immediately start building a military port under your guidance.”
Although the Volscians owned the coastal towns for decades, they were, after all, still a mountainous race. Thus not only are they not good at navigation, but they are also not interested in it. As a result, they lacked shipbuilding skills, and the number of warships they possessed was relatively small. Since Rome was also like that, there was no naval power among these forces in central Italia.
“We would’ve already defeated the Romans by the time you built your military port!” Amintas laughed confidently.
Matepola could only smile apologetically.
“Legatus, the ships are turning around.” Amintas’ adjutant, Hippocles, pointed ahead and reminded.
“Although the Third Fleet had already worked hard escorting us for the past two days, I won’t thank Mithridates for now since I believe we will have another opportunity to work together again.” Then after watching the departing ships, Amintas ordered, “Prepare to enter the port.”
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Naturally, the port of Circeii couldn’t compare with the port of Neapolis as, apart from its small size, it has less labour and low efficiency. Thus the soldiers could only leave the ship slowly once the Theonian fleet entered the port and docked.
Suddenly, quite a few high-ranking members of the Volscians came to welcome the First Legion, with almost all Volscian towns sending important personnel to arrive.
Besides them, there were also representatives from Aurunci and Sidixi, the two small races living between the Volsci and Campanian league, to join the war under the persuasion of the Volsci.
For now, Matepola was the one who did the introduction, resulting in Amintas’ interpreter being useless.
In fact, ever since the Volscians forged a good relationship with the Campanians and traded from time to time, most of these high-ranking Volscians could speak Greek. Albeit with odd pronunciations that made it difficult for Amintas to understand.
“Esteemed lord Amintas, this is the consul of Circeii – Toulus!”
“This is Fundi’s consul – Brelius!”
“And this is the consul of Privernu, ”
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Most Volscian towns adopted a sole consulship, with the consul getting elected once a year. In truth, the Volsci alliance is much looser than the Campania league as each Volsci town is equal in the alliance, without any rule on who should be the leader. But the rapid attack of the Romans forced them to unite more closely and placed Circeii and Terracina as their centre to jointly fight against the Romans. Hence the gratitude they showed in welcoming Amintas was sincere.
And to Amintas’ surprise, he saw two Theonians.
The first was Phryntor, the staff officer of the Army Staff of the Ministry of Military. As soon as he received the orders from the Ministry of Military, Phryntor immediately headed to Circeii from Neapolis and waited for the First Legion.
“Legatus Amintas, I have received an order to join the First Legion and listen to your command!” The uniformed Phryntor came forward and gave a solemn salute.
After saluting back, Amintas laughed and said, “What do you mean by commanding you? I only know that his majesty sent you to help me win the war, so you should give me much greater advice, just like how you help Alexius and Litom!”
Phryntor quickly replied, “That’s not a problem, as long as you, legatus, are willing to listen!”
“Great! We’ll have a nice chat later!” Amintas grinned and slapped him hard on the shoulder before looking at the other Theonian.
“Lord Amintas, I am Tapirus of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I receive an order to come and provide you with some information about Rome.” Davos had ordered Tapirus to head directly to Circeii alone after leaving the Port of Ostia.
“His majesty is really considerate of our First Legion!” Amintas immediately welcomed Tapirus.
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