The Kingdom of Upper Secundus
Roman Bust of Decimus Rex
– Great Decimus Rex (Formal)
Divus Decimus Geminus Rex
Geminus Marius Alethius
Palace Tutors, Scholars, Philosophers
Cultus Deorum Romanorum
"Behold! A King by right, with nay a Kingdom to rule!" - Decimus Rex
More quotes may be found here.
Born into the world almost 2700 years ago, in the twilight years of the Upper Secundian kingdom, Decimus Rex of the Dynasty of Anaxus was the legendary final King of Upper Secundus, reigning for one year in 650 BCE until the destruction of Upper Secundus by the rival Roman Kingdom. Born into a noble family that claimed to descend from King Anaxus of Upper Secundus, Decimus Rex overthrew the penultimate King and assumed the throne in an attempt to stop the decline of Upper Secundus and it's inevitable conquering by Rome. Witness to the fall of Upper Secundus and it's capture by the Roman King Tullus Hostilius, legend says that the Gods took pity on Decimus and granted him immortality, while King Tullus granted him residency in Rome and all the dignities befitting a proper King. Though dignified and regal,with a sense of pride befitting that of a King, ancient historians and detractors also described him as arrogant, aloof, and deceitful. Without any family or spouse, chroniclers at the time attributed that Decimus travelled extensively across the lands and waters of the known world in his royal attire. Although historical sources and legends will always have some bias, the general consensus is that Decimus Rex was a tough but fair King, respected during his brief reign but ultimately unable to stem the tide of invasion and collapse.
Decimus Geminus Rex was born in 672 BCE, the son of Geminus Octavius Anaxus, a noted Upper Secundian noble and Pontifex Maximus, and Cordia Vela. On his mother Cordia's side, Decimus had a lineage that could be traced back to the early years of the Roman Kingdom. Geminus claimed to be descended from the mythical King Anaxus of Upper Secundus and by extension, the King of the Gods Jupiter. Cordia had engineered her husband's succession to the Pontificate on the death of the previous Pontifex Maximus under suspicious circumstances. Decimus was favoured by the King at the time, Aristæus Magnus, and as a result was educated in the King's palace by tutors, noted philosophers and other scholars. All of these factors seemed to add up to an inescapable truth that Decimus Rex would one day have his part to play in the grand scheme of history. When King Aristæus was murdered on the orders of his son Proteus, Decimus was banished from the Royal Palace due to his association with the former King being a perceived threat to the consolidation of the new King's rule. Resentful towards King Proteus, according to the writings of the historian Opiter Sepunius Gratian, at the age of thirteen Decimus supposedly decreed to his father and all those present in the Upper Secundian Forum that "By the Grace of the Gods, I shall advance a terrible right arm, to scatter that infant thunderer, rebel Proteus off his ill-earned solium."
Perhaps as a result of this decree, or tensions between King Proteus and his father, Geminus Octavius Anaxus was stripped of his Pontificate in disgrace and placed under arrest in his villa, causing much outcry among the general public against Proteus at his treatment of respected priests and the uppermost echelons of Upper Secundian society. Despite this, the family wealth still meant that Geminus Octavius was able to afford his son an education of the highest degree, calling in noted scholars from Greece as well as Rome. The teenage Decimus took a particular interest in politics. A way to remove Proteus from power, or simply a natural curiosity...it is not known. What can be said is that Decimus had a natural affinity for politics and rhetoric, possessing "a tongue of silver and a masterful command of the Latin language" according to Opiter Sepunius. Despite all of this, Decimus seemed to have a generally happy childhood, with wide-ranging interests and hobbies. The chronicler and close friend of Decimus, Cassius Linus, says in his 'Life of the King' that "the young Decimus Rex maintained a vested interest in such a wide range of pursuits as there are drops of water in a lake." Noted hobbies and interests as recorded by Cassius Linus include reading, astronomy, watching chariot races and a strong devotion to the gods and goddesses.
Decimus' time came when he was studying and undergoing military training in Greece, news reached him of a massacre in the streets of Upper Secundus on the orders of none other than King Proteus himself, in response to a protest demanding the release of Decimus' father and other members of the Upper Secundian priesthood. Sensing the time was right, Decimus sailed back to Italy and reached Upper Secundus in late 651 BCE. Upon arriving in the city after his long period away, he was petitioned by numerous members of the public to take action against the supposedly tyrannical rule of King Proteus. Perhaps it was a strong moral conviction to do right, or political opportunism, but what happened next can't be disputed. Decimus Rex called upon the city guard as well as a large mob numbering in the thousands, and marched upon the Royal Palace where King Proteus was holed up with the rest of his family. When the Royal Guard saw the size of the mob and the man who was leading it, they "cast down their swords as quick as Mercury sprinting across the Elysian Fields", in the words of the Senator Gallio Ateius. After allowing them into the palace, the mob with Decimus at the lead stormed into the throne room, where supposedly Proteus cowered behind the throne. According to legend, Decimus dragged King Proteus out of the palace with only his right arm and threw him down the palace steps, just as he had promised in the Upper Secundian Forum years earlier. Furthermore, the peasant known as Marcus Cæso, removed the golden laurels on the corpse of the late King and placed them on the head of Decimus Rex, proclaiming to the crowd, "Your King, if it pleases you." According to Opiter Sepunius, the crowd loudly acclaimed the name of Decimus as their new King, while they threw the corpse of the disgraced King Proteus outside of the city limits.
While it seemed that the Kingdom of Upper Secundus would rebound under the reign of Decimus Rex, in fact his brief rule only forestalled the inevitable for a very short time. While Decimus was popular among the general populace and a handful people of a more aristocratic nature, most members of the Senate and aristocrats were less than impressed by the reforms that Decimus proposed to cut down corruption and excess. Reforms such as the ability to hold trials for Senators by Magistrates or the King himself instead of by only the corrupt and broken Senate, were mocked and ridiculed as infringing upon the ancient rights that Senators had held since time immemorial. While Decimus Rex made a valiant effort to pass reforms for the Senate and for the Kingdom at large, a King is only as good as his advisors. In this case, Decimus Rex's advisors were in the pockets of the very same corrupt Senators that their liege was trying to eliminate, hindering the reforms of Decimus at every turn through obfuscation, deceit and trickery. Attempts to enact reforms for the Army were met with heavy resistance, supposedly due to a shortage of money in the Royal Treasury, while currency reforms were blocked outright. Agitated, Decimus Rex lambasted the Senators for "neglecting to ready for a conflict of the age, against our once proud ally to the north." While the governing elite of Upper Secundus saw Rome as a perpetual ally, Decimus Rex saw how King Tullus Hostilius of Rome was preparing his mighty armies for war, though it seems not many other people did. Incursions into Upper Secundian territory had increased over the years, yes, though this was just attributed to simply an increase in bandits roaming the countryside. One Senator in particular, whose name and memory was condemned to oblivion and who goes unnamed by Cassius Linus, apparently even stood in the Senate chamber and criticised Decimus' apparent paranoia. Yet it was Decimus Rex who was vindicated by the declaration of war on Upper Secundus by the Roman Kingdom, the warmongering King Tullus Hostilius anxious to conquer new lands and territories. Angered at the failures of the Senate to let him carry out the necessary reforms to form a credible defense against the inevitable Roman onslaught, the King ordered the entire Senate to be arrested and perceived "traitors to Upper Secundus and her King" among the Senate to be executed. According to Cassius Linus, when a disgraced and soon to be executed pleaded for mercy, he stated that Decimus Rex needed the help of the Senate to successfully prosecute the war and enable the political stability of the Kingdom. Decimus responded; "Better to have a once great Kingdom fall in glory with it's King, than to have it's desires and inclinations governed by the rot of corruption for eternity." Immediately afterwards, the offending Senators were executed while the rest were exiled from the Kingdom of Upper Secundus. In this atmosphere of decay and decline, Decimus Rex prepared for war.
The war, known to many as the Roman Aggression, and referred to by Decimus Rex after the event simply as the Last War, was fought over the period of several months in 650 BCE. Not much is known about the nature of the conflict except the final battle of the war and what little that can be gathered from the remaining memoirs of Decimus Rex and his chronicler Cassius Linus. Supposedly, in the opening months of the war Upper Secundus maintained a very narrow strategic advantage due to better knowledge of the terrain, though this advantage was negated by the end of the war with the deployment of Roman scouts and other elements of reconnaissance. With Upper Secundian territory narrowed down to just outside of the city limits and a siege of the capital imminent, Decimus made the decision, for better or for worse, to launch one final assault against the main Roman army led by Tullus Hostilius. The final battle, what is now known as the Battle of the Hills of Jupiter, was the decisive battle of the Roman-Upper Secundian War. The Roman Army under King Tullus Hostilius and the remnants of the Upper Secundian Army under Decimus Rex clashed violently at the foot of the hills. Cassius Linus noted in his writings that "the armies of Lord Decimus were arrayed in such a way as to grant a slight supremacy of height over that of the Romans. Due to the height supremacy the King's archers were able to reign down their volleys and rend the foot soldiers of Tullus asunder." As the day of the battle wore on and night fell upon the land, it seemed that Decimus may have been able to prevail against the Romans, the odds seemed to have been stacked in the Upper Secundian King's favour. The battle continued into the night and only ended the next morning, as Decimus was alerted to the fact that the undermanned city of Upper Secundus had been breached by a large contingent of Roman infantry. The young King was hesitant to continue the prosecution of the battle, mindful of the fact that it may give cause to King Tullus to hold the city as Upper Secundus as a hostage. According to Cassius Linus, "the young King rode out into the neutral centre ground under a flag of truce to meet Tullus Hostilius, the two venerable rulers discussed terms at a length of time for Apollo to ride his chariot across the sky." The subsequent surrender of Decimus Rex led to the dissolution of the Kingdom of Upper Secundus, as well as the incorporation of the Upper Secundian territories and it's peoples into the Roman Kingdom. After only a brief yet tumultuous year, the reign of Decimus Rex was over.
Upon entering the great city of Rome, Decimus Rex was hailed by King Tullus Hostilius as a so-called "paragon of the mos maiorum", the ancient Roman ancestral customs, with his brief reign deemed by the general populace to have been virtuous and just. In light of his until recently, regal position in life, Decimus was accorded the rights, privileges and status of a King within Rome, being accorded the use of a palace fit for a monarch in the heart of the city, with extensive private gardens to ponder deeply upon his circumstances and the great philosophical questions of his time. As is inevitable with the destinies of great men however, fate rarely lets one rest and live out the rest of his life in peace. Decimus' life and times were changing, the wheels of time and fate always moving, never idle. According to legend, after a long and joyful life in that great city of Rome, an old and frail Decimus Rex was on his deathbed when he was visited by Jupiter himself, King of the gods of Rome. Jupiter himself took pity on the plight of a once great and good King on the precipice of death, granting immortality and godhood unto Decimus. The poet and historian Lucius Cælistis stated in his 'Life of Decimus Rex' that the former King; "ascended to the next realm, such that many a mortal King has endeavored to reach, the realm of immortality and that of the immortal gods." In accordance with this legend, Decimus Rex was granted the title of Divus and came to be known by the antonomasia "The god who was once a man". Decimus Rex would continue to reside in the city of Rome until the ascension to the throne of Rome's seventh and final King, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, in 535 BCE. The proud and vain King Tarquinius, seeing Decimus as a threat to his rule and a false god, expelled Decimus from Rome and threw him out of the city. Enraged, the god invoked a curse upon King Tarquinius, stating that a terrible blunder by one of his family members would lead to the King's overthrow by his own subjects. With that, Decimus Rex departed the lands of the Roman Kingdom to travel the lands and the seas, discovering the dominion that he lorded over by his right as a divine being. True to the word of Decimus Rex, Tarquinius was overthrown by the people of Rome in 509 BCE after his son Sextus Tarquinius raped Lucretia, putting into motion the foundation of the Roman Republic.
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