Mediterranean Hegemon of Ancient Greece

Chapter 609: Davos True Purpose

Chapter 609: Davos True Purpose

Davos immediately asked once Hielos sat down, “What’s your thought on today’s Senate meeting?”

After hesitating for a moment, Hielos didn’t immediately answer. Instead, he sincerely said, “Your majesty, Lord Antonios had done an excellent job managing the Ministry of Military as its chief. I could instead replace him temporarily and have him come back to serve after he recovers. After all, we are currently in wartime, so to ensure that no problem would arise in the Ministry of Military, I suggest…to not replace the Chief of Military.”

Davos only stared at the frank Hielos.

But a moment later, Davos waved his left hand lightly and said, “Antonios voluntarily resigned. Hence even if I wanted him to stay, he definitely wouldn’t return. Look at this-”

Davos flipped through the list of officers for promotion on the table to the page of the Eighth Legion and gave it to him.

Hielos took the list with suspicion, but his expression changed slightly after taking a closer look at it. Hielos had heard about the arrest of Phragres, the son of Ladician, for murder as it was gradually spread in the port of Thurii (mainly due to the Naxos merchants). ‘With Antonios still promoting this troublemaker at this time, it would just give others a reason to criticise him!’

After considering his words, Hielos softly said, “Your majesty, I don’t think Lord Antonios would make such a mistake of promoting such unqualified soldiers…”

“It is still a dereliction of duty. Moreover, that just shows that there are many problems in the Ministry of Military, which is why I want to establish a military court and, at the same time, have the inspectors join the army as we need to rectify the whole military! Hence you, the Chief of Military, would have a great responsibility once you take over. Besides helping the military courts and inspectors with your best, you should also maintain the stability of the Ministry of Military so that the officers and soldiers could feel at ease…” Davos added in a serious tone, “I believe you can grasp the balance between the two!”

Davos’ high expectations just made Hielos feel a great responsibility. But before he could respond, Davos continued, “Take this list back and check how many unqualified officers and soldiers have been promoted and find out all those officers in the Ministry of Military who have violated the law and neglected their duty. Afterwards, hand them over to the inspectors and the Military court to deal with because we will not allow incompetent people in the kingdom’s army! Hence we must deal with this problem seriously to sound a warning!”

Davos’ deafening voice shocked Hielos, who then vigorously replied, “Your majesty, I will do my best!”

“Good!” Davos nodded with satisfaction. Afterwards, he drew out a letter and handed it to Hielos. He said, “There is another thing you must know as the Chief of Military.”

Hielos turned grave after he read the letter, “Your majesty, are all these things written in the letter true?!”

“I had sent someone to investigate it. But from the current situation, I am afraid it is more than that…” said Davos while he walked towards the large map on the wall. He then pointed at the western part of Mount Etna and said with seriousness, “After the South Italian War, we had taken the Catanian plain, Naxos, Sikuri, Tauromenium, and Messina, and we also have the assistance of our allied city-states such as Leontinoi and Taunis. With Syracuse isolated in the southeast corner of Sicily, our kingdom’s strength now occupies an absolute advantage in eastern Sicily. That is also why the Sikeloi were afraid of us and took the initiative to form an alliance with us and become a part of the Theonian Alliance. And the reason we treat every Sikeloi town and tribe equally and always adopt the policy of supporting the weak and weakening the strong when they ask for help was to stop a force from dominating other forces. In addition, it is to prevent the reformation of the Sikeloi kingdom so that we could assimilate them in the future…

But from the current situation, we couldn’t execute this political strategy as the Tanikaan tribe had quietly annexed and expanded over the years with the help of those statesmen from Sicily! Unfortunately, I don’t have much detailed information about this tribe’s current situation yet as they were far away in Centurippe. Although it is the closest Sikeloi town and far away from Catania and Naxos, our hounds* in Sicily won’t neglect it to this extent. That just shows that they have consciously blocked the news, which arouses our vigilance!” (referring to the intelligence department of Aristias)

When he felt something from Davos’ tone, Hielos straightened up and asked with doubt, “Your majesty, do you mean war?!”

Davos swept a glance at the map again, then slammed his fist into Sicily and decisively said,

“As soon as we confirm Ladician and the other Sicilian statesmen’s collusion, we will have a reason to launch a war against the Tanikaans and destroy their chance of trying to rise to power. At the same time, it would deter other Sikeloi and strengthen our Grip on them! Hence you should have the Ministry of Military prepare in advance, especially the Eighth Legion, which will be the main force against the Tanikaans.”

Hielos didn’t immediately oppose his decision because of his understanding of Davos. Instead, he put forward his proposal, “Your majesty, the Ministry of Military should covertly make preparations before declaring war on the Sikeloi to avoid them finding out about it and prepare for our attack. Moreover, now that we are still in the middle of the war against the Daunians, the pressure on the army’s logistics will be greater if we also start a war in Sicily at the same time. Hence it is better to start it after we end the war with the Daunians, which will also benefit the smooth passage of the war resolution in the Senate.

Furthermore, since we will launch another war, it is better to maintain the army’s stability, so regarding the investigation and dealing with those officers who made illegal matters…I hope we don’t expand it too much, and…it is best not to punish them too heavily. After all, they are all first-time offenders, so I hope your majesty can give them a chance to reform while not damaging the soldiers’ respect for you!”

Davos pondered as he listened attentively.

On the other hand, Hielos just quietly sat while waiting.

In the end, Davos slowly said, “I will leave the handling of the Ministry of Military to you. Also, you and the military judge and inspectors can decide the specific investigation and punishment measures and then hand it over for me to review and sign. As for when to launch the war against the Tanikaans, it will depend on the situation.”

Although Davos didn’t explicitly agree, Hielos knew the king had made a concession, so he immediately said gratefully, “Thank you, your majesty!”

Davos look at Hielos. Over the years, as his authority increases, his relationship with his former mercenary comrades has unknowingly become more and more distant…but fortunately, there are still people like Hielos, Kapus and Alexius who can constantly raise questions and give suggestions to his decision, which is actually a good thing.

Thinking of that, he eased his tone and said, “Do you have any other suggestions?”

Seeing Davos’ calm expression, Hielos added, “The legatus of the Eighth Legion is Prosous*, who has never commanded a legion before. But you, your majesty, just said earlier that the Eighth Legion will be the main force in the attack on the Tanikaans, so for safety’s sake, should we transfer a legatus with more experience in commanding legions to take over as the head of the Eighth Legion?” (Author uses Leotychides’ real name, but it should be Prosous)

With his mouth curled slightly, Davos said, “Who else among the legatus knows the terrain of Sicily better than Prosous? Who else knows more about the local customs there? Who else can make the Sicilian citizens obey the commander?”

Davos’ words caused Hielos’ to be unable to say more since Leotychides had stayed in Sicily for six years, so it is only natural that the other legatus who were unfamiliar with Sicily could not compare to him. Per Theonia’s Military Law, one of the several required conditions that a senior officer must have in commanding a battle is to be familiar with the battlefield environment and understand its people and customs. Of course, this does not mean that other legatus couldn’t go to Sicily to command, but this will only lengthen the time to end the war and increase the war consumption…

Hielos then thought of Antonios, but once it was proven that Ladician and the others violated the law, Antonios, who was his relative and was deeply involved with the Sicilian statesmen, was bound to be condemned by the other statesmen. Although the Senate couldn’t interfere with the choice of commander responsible for attacking the Sicilians, their accusations would inevitably cause the kingdom’s people to criticise Antonios, which is the same as roasting Antonios on fire! Then Hielos realised why Davos had let Antonios resign and made him stay at home, which was actually to protect him.

Seeing Hielos didn’t speak, Davos continued,

“Many people say Prosous is antisocial, strict and serious, so they don’t like associating with him. But I think he just spent most of his time thinking about military matters and training the soldiers instead of socialising, a natural-born warrior. So I believe he could command this war well!”

Davos’ affirmation stopped Hielos from objecting because he believed in Davos’ understanding of people, which was proven many times before.

Just as Hielos was about to leave after their discussion, Davos called out to him, “It’s now past noon; you haven’t had lunch yet while I happen to be hungry. It’s been a long time since we’ve sat down and had a relaxing drink and chat. So why don’t you stay for now and have a few drinks while I’ll ask the chef to cook some good dishes for us?!”

“Yes, your majesty.”

. . . . . . . . . . . .

The western mountain road in Thurii is an important channel connecting Thurii with Lucania and the northern region, completed ten years ago. Now, it was no longer the deserted place it was a dozen years ago and had instead become one of the busiest roads in the kingdom of Theonia, with hundreds of people passing through it every day.

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