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Aeternit Imperi: Origins, Culture, and Reach of Caesar’s Legion

Tags: #Valentine Detective Agency Article 
  • Member
    May 27

    This case file serves as a cursory introduction to Caesar, his Legion, and their Roman-inspired culture.


    Edward Sallow

                Founded in the year 2277 by Edward Sallow and Joshua Graham, later known respectively as Caesar and the disgraced “Burned Man”, Caesar’s Legion rose to power through the violent assimilation or destruction of the native tribes of Arizona.

                Caesar was raised by the Followers of the Apocalypse, a humanist organization with the stated goal of rebuilding the wasteland, reeducating its inhabitants, ending poverty and war, and promoting the free exchange of ideas. As Caesar puts it himself:

    "Ironically, I was born a Profligate myself, a citizen of the NCR. My family lived not far from the great Boneyard. After Raiders killed my father, my mother sought the Followers' protection. I was two years old. She found work at their Library, cooking and cleaning. I learned how to read and soon I was taking courses, free of charge." [1]

    Latin and Imperial Rome

                Caesar was a gifted child, though unpopular amongst his peers for his temper. He resented the Followers, viewing their goals as naïve. On one of his early expeditions as a learned anthropologist and linguist, he discovered a cache of well-preserved historical books. Among them were the two most significant books to the philosophy and rise of Caesar’s Legion: "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", and "Commentarii", an account of the military campaigns of Gaius Julius Caesar. Additionally, Caesar chose the imperial Roman aesthetic for its unfamiliar nature:

     “I used imperial Rome as the model for my Legion precisely because it was so foreign, so alien. I'd seen what had become of the NCR's attempts to emulate the culture of Pre-War America - the in-fighting, the corruption. Rome was a highly militarized autocracy that effectively integrated the foreign cultures it conquered. It dedicated its citizens to something higher than themselves - to the idea of Rome itself. In Rome I found a template for a society equal to the challenges of the post-apocalyptic world - a society that could and would survive. A society that could prevent mankind from fracturing and destroying itself in this new world, by establishing a new Pax Romana." [1]

                One of the most notable features of Caesar’s Legion is their use of Latin phrases. According to J.E. Sawyer, the project director of Fallout: New Vegas, modern academic textbooks on Latin follow classical rules of the language, and since Caesar learned Latin from academic textbooks, he passed on those traditions to his Legion.

    If you find an academic textbook on Latin pronunciation these days, it's going to follow classical rules. If you're taught Latin through your local church, you may very well learn Italianate/ecclesiastic rules. Caesar learned from academic textbooks, so he passed on that tradition. [2]

    All it takes is the first chapter of Wheelock's (or equivalent) and you've got pretty much all the rules for pronouncing classical Latin.

    How the Legion pronounces "Caesar" is how Edward Sallow told them to pronounce it. [3]

    File:Legion Massive Black 1.jpg

    First Conquests and Reach of the Legion

                In 2246, Caesar was sent out on an expedition by the Followers to study the dialects of tribes in the Grand Canyon region, accompanied by a Followers physician by the name of Bill Calhoun, and Joshua Graham, whom they met on the way. This was the same expedition where Caesar found "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" and "Commentarii", and Graham had intended to teach Sallow about the local languages of the Grand Canyon tribes, but their plans were interrupted when all three were captured and held for random by the Blackfoot tribe.

                The Blackfoot tribe was warring with seven other tribes at the time and Caesar knew their defeat was inevitable. Rather than die with them, Caesar taught the Blackfoot tribe small unit drilling tactics, as well as how to properly shoot, maintain their firearms, reload, and make explosives. This set the stage for Caesar’s first conquest.  

    "Divide et impera - divide and conquer. I led the Blackfoot against the Ridgers, their weakest enemy. When they refused to surrender, I ordered every man, woman, and child killed. When next we surrounded the Kaibabs and they likewise refused... I took one of their envoys to the Ridgers' village and showed him the corpse piles. This was new for the tribes, you see. They played at war, raiding each other, a little rape and pillage here, a little ransoming there. I showed them total warfare. Like I said, there's a lot you can learn from old books." [1]

    One year later, in 2247, the rest of the Grand Canyon tribes had surrendered to Caesar who crowned himself the leader of the Legion. As of 2281, the Legion occupies much of Colorado and Utah with operations in parts of New Mexico and Arizona, though their operations are carried out largely east of the Colorado River. Ultimately, Caesar seeks to destroy the NCR and occupy California, claiming his stake on the west. However, the ability of Caesar's Legion to effectively continue its conquests and remain a capable unified force without Caesar leading remains to be seen. In time, the Legion could occupy the entire west under the leadership of Legate Lanius. Or, the Legion could fracture without its originator and strategic mastermind sitting atop its throne. How far the hand of Caesar reaches ultimately depends on the victor of the second battle of Hoover Dam. 

  • May 27

    A quick glance looks great. I'll read it in more detail soon though.

  • Member
    May 27

    This great man, and I love it. I do find it funny that he modeled it after the Roman Empire when it was failing, there is proof of this in a way. Also, I will give this tip the way Lanius speak in true Roman Latin, and judging from I what read here, and elsewhere, Caesar learned Chruch/Medieval Latin, which are completely different in pronunciations. 

  • Member
    May 27

    This is amazing Legion. Ceasar's Legion is my third favorite faction in the Fallout series, second being BoS, and first being the NCR. this is a great way to learn a bit more about them.


  • Member
    May 27

    Man this makes me wish I would've played New Vegas! Excellent presentation and great information, especially to a person like me who doesn't know squat about it. Is the last sentence about Hoover Dam a reference to your character's in game decision? 

  • May 28

    Alright, I finally got a chance to read it in depth and it's awesome! Short, to the point, but also very informative. I had no idea about those books before. Do we know if, besides those books, there were any others that he also found/used?

  • Member
    May 29

    Thanks all. Madd, the last sentence is a reference to whatever the canon ending is. As far as I know, there isn't yet a canon ending. I'm pretty sure Caesar canonically dies due to his brain tumor, so if the Legion does officially win the second battle of Hoover Dam, I believe Legate Lanius would take over. What chance the NCR stands at that point, I can't say. And Probs, I'm not positive. Those were the two named books, though it's implied he's extremely well-read. I imagine there are others that contributed to the Caesar we know now, but no two as strongly as The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and Commentarii.