A New Governor, Same Problems
Contributed by David Verne
Marcus Camillus' term as governor of North Africa has ended, and he has been replaced by Lucius Apronius. The new governor immediately has to deal with an old problem. Tacfarinas has rebuilt part of his army and has returned to his old hit and run tactics. The 3rd Augusta legion spends the year chasing off one raiding party after another, but Tacfarinas isn't risking another open fight.
My Take by David Verne
The Roman legions were very good at fighting in open battle being comprised mostly of disciplined infantry. There was only a small number of cavalry in each legion; any significant cavalry force had to be levied from Roman allies. Tacfarinas could simply turn and disappear into the desert whenever Roman soldiers were spotted. North Africa may seem like barren desert, but during this time it was called the breadbasket of the Empire, one estimate has the province producing 1 million tons of grain each year. The constant raiding was a serious disruption to this supply, and was causing prices to rise in Italy.
Attack of the Red Eyebrows
Contributed by Southpaw Ben
This year the flooding of the Yellow River proves especially disaterous due to Wang Mang's attempts at agrarian reform. Between the flood and the laws, those affected by the flood could no longer grow enough food to survive, so they took the only other recourse they could see, rebellion. This rebellion would prove draining to the Wang Mang dynasty and will be a key part in it's eventual demise.
My Take by Southpaw Ben
Don't f with farmer's livelihoods with laws that will "help" them, or by giving preference to companies that exploit them. This will inevitably lead to either famine or rebellion. We see this in the USSR, in communist China and in the modern US. Wait, the modern US? Yeah. While not a true famine, we are causing malnourishment and possibly eventual actual famine by abusing our soils and by making farming seem like a career path only taken by those too dumb to get a "real job" from a college degree. While there are still intelligent farmers, there is definitely a rural brain drain. Also, do you really want the least capable among us producing the very food we rely upon to be safe and nutritious? Cause I sure don't.
- Disclaimer* Southpaw Ben is working this summer as a milker on a 200 milking cow family owbed farm run by an intelligent friend (unfortunately it's conventional not organic or regenerative) and writes this segments most days while mixing heifer feed.
Dando-Collins, Stephen (2010). Legions of Rome. St. Martin's Press.