The Shroud Of Night

When Darkness Falls On Rome

A Glimpse Back In Time

 

The Ancient World

After the Second City's destruction, many vampires chose to scatter, finding their own ways and making their own destinies. The Kindred walked in ancient Britain, Greece and Rome as gods, inspiring poets and warriors much as they would for the next 2000 and some years, and those poets and warriors would remember those they had encountered in stories of lamia and the occasional lycanthrope.

However, wherever the Kindred laired, rivalries flared up. In Greece, it was the Kindred of Athens against their enemies in Sparta. They goaded the Peloponnesian Wars and left both cities as near-husks when the dust settled; Sparta humbled, and Athens' resources mostly exhausted. When the Kindred of Macedonia poured in, the invasions drove the combatants out. Of particular note is the rivalry between the Kindred of Rome and Carthage. Indeed, Carthage deserves special mention for the role it played in Kindred history, both as a whole and for the vampires involved.

 

 

Carthage

 

Depending on whom you ask, the vampire colony of Carthage is either one of the Kindred's greatest achievements or a stunning example of hubris. In the end that's for history to decide. But one thing is certain - Carthage has cast a long shadow down through the ages. Some Kindred squabble and fight with each other to this night because of what happened there over two millennia ago.

Carthage, the capital of Phoenicia, was something to see in the mortal world. Phoenician traders crossed the Mediterranean, bartering for riches to adorn their city and others. Phoenician sailors were some of the finest in the Greco-Roman world, and their ships plied the waters from the Fertile Crescent to Iberia. For many years, Carthage even surpassed Rome for beauty, something Rome didn't take very well. But while the mortals quarreled over trading rights, and Rome's heart burned with envy to see Carthage so prosperous, there was more going on in the shadows of both cities. For Carthage had been set up by the vampires of Clan Brujah to be a grand experiment, an attempt both to re-create Enoch and to prove once and for all that mortals and Kindred could live openly together.

I've heard so many differing stories about the success of this that I'm not sure which is true. By all accounts, Carthage's vampire inhabitants managed to make things work for at least a little while. Those mortals who lived beside vampires apparently understood their neighbors' "differences," and allowances were made for them. For instance, the blood in the slaughterhouses was given to them, plus there were servants designated for feeding. In spite of the Brujah propensity for temper, there are no records of the city being turned into an abattoir because someone insulted a vampire's descendant or the like. Of course, right beside these accounts are stories that blood sacrifices and devil-worship were rampant - whom do you want to believe tonight? At any rate, there was at least a facade of order, and Carthage seemed to be holding its own among both vampires and mortals.

Yes, there's a "but" in there. The "but" was in Rome - Rome's vampires, primarily Malkavians and Ventrue if the records are true, apparently coveted the wealth of Carthage, and found the Brujah's "experiment" to be outrageous. Perhaps for the superstitious Malkavians, Carthage directly flouted Caine's law that the Children of Caine and the Children of Seth should have nothing but enmity for each other. If nothing else, the thought that others of their kind could enjoy greater success and happiness than they was intolerable to them. In the end, they demanded to see Carthage destroyed.

Two Punic Wars and a lot of elephants later, the Kindred of Rome had their wish. The city was razed and burned, killing those vampires who didn't get out of the city. In the fields, the earth was salted, and those who had hidden in the ground to escape the flames were shriveled into husks, the blood leached from their bodies. The vampires who escaped carried their tale (and their bitterness) with them for years afterward. To this night, many Brujah despise the Ventrue for their role in destroying what some call "The Greatest Society."

~ Quoted from - Vampire the Masquerade - Core Rule Book 3rd Edition ~

The Real Story

Through the years, Rome has been through it's highs and lows just like every city across the planet. Though for the most part, Rome has been the leader of the worlds largest empire for the longest time running. Though Carthage at one point was envied by Rome for it's massive merchant system. It was a constantly bustling port for trading the of goods to as far as Africa, places in the Middle East and Egypt. But that would not stop Rome, instead it would only fuel the fire of jealously that would end in not one, but three punic wars.

Rome was founded by the great first mythological king, Romulus. There were six more mythological kings to follow in his wake, all of which left an imprint on Rome some of which are still visable today. During the reign of the seven kings of Rome, Rome's land holdings more than tripled through the various wars waged on outlanding cities. Though there were times of peace, it is most known for being the blood thirsty and land mongering empire that captured tribes of people and descimated small civilizations.

Meanwhile, Carthage was building up, to become the trade city of the world. Barbaric in nature compared to Rome, they worshiped various deities that would be later named pagan by the up and growing Catholic church. The Carthaginians were thought to have given blood sacrifices to ensure that their crops would be good and that trade would remain abundant. These sacrifices were generally the blood of innocents, first born sons and daughters. Though many young children were used between the ages of unborn fetus to the two years of age. Recent archeological digs have turned up numerous child cemetaries containing only the remains, or ashes of children that were believed to have been used for the purpose of sustaining Carthages deities.

But even the blood of the most innocent would not aid the formidible army of Carthage in protecting against a flanking Roman Empire. They were bombarded by Rome's greed and envy as the great empire waged war on the barbaric trade city. The Carthaginians fought back hard and well, using an almost impenetrable calvary of elephants whose tusks and limbs were armored with throngs of leather lined with spikes. The merchant ships of Carthage were transformed into naval ships that attacked without mercy and guarded her port from invasion.

Though in the third of the Punic Wars... Rome sacked Carthage and took the port all the while flanking the city with a slew of soldiers that held ground to slaughter any that fled the fallen cities walls. Carthage was burned to the ground and the earth salted to keep crops from growing for the next hundred years, leaving the port city... useless and barren, the conditions of the land unlivable. Many of those that survived fled and assembled themselves in small tribes of people, most of which were eventually disbursed but one group rose up under the leadership of a Carthaginian decendant tired of the Roman Empires need for control.

The Goths

The Goths land had been taken, their people enslaved by the Roman Army all of which would lead to a rebellion led by a man named Aleric. Aleric took back the land that the Romans had stollen, and was the only leader either stupid enough... or in his case... brave enough to march a trail of rebellion straight to the heart of the Roman Empire. When the Goth led armies, a mismatched group of surviors from various tribes, marched into the city streets of Rome and beat down the doors of Rome's great council... it was a triumphant day for the underdog. One that would leave a mark on Rome for a long time to come.