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Safineim was a nation in southern Italy between the years 485 BC and 13 AD. During the time it existed, it was often in conflict with Etrusca and on one occasion a deadly conflict with Carthage over trade routes. While it lost all of the wars it fought, Safineim was able to cut the losses to a minimum in almost all their conflicts. Despite the many failed wars Safineim fought, its territory only shrunk twice, once at the end of the Fifty Years War, and the second time when it was absorbed by the Second Etruscan Republic.
In addition to war, Safineim was a very influential nation during peace time as well. Before its war with Carthage, Safineim had built up a powerful trading empire, mostly focused on Greek city states, the near east and Spain. in addition to trade, Safinei culture spread, especially to Etrusca, where some elements of the culture survive to the present day. Overall, both military and culturally, Safineim was a major influence on the Italian peninsula and the world around it.
The population of Samnium were called Samnites by the Romans. Their own endonyms were Safineim for the country (attested in one inscription and one coin legend) and Safineis for the people. Etymologically, the name Samnium is generally recognized to be a form of the name of the Sabines, who were Umbrians. From Safineim, Sabinus, Sabellus and Samnis, an Indo-European root can be extracted, *sabh-, which becomes Sab- in Latino-Faliscan and Saf- in Osco-Umbrian: Sabini and *Safineis. The eponymous god of the Sabines, Sabus, seems to support this view. The Greek terms, Saunitai and Saunitis, remain outside the group. Nothing is known of their origin.
At some point in prehistory, a population speaking a common language extended over both Samnium and Umbria. Salmon conjectures that it was common Italic and puts forward a date of 600 BC, after which the common language began to dialectize. This date does not necessarily correspond to any historical or archaeological evidence; developing a synthetic view of the ethnology of proto-historic Italy is an incomplete and ongoing task.
After the Fifty Years War, Gaius III decided to create a flag for the newly-formed nation. The end design was simple, a green field with a blue three pointed star in the upper right corner. The green represented farming and farmers, who made up most of the population. The blue star represented both the Mediterranean and the Adriatic Seas. The three points of the star, meanwhile, represented courage, honor and prosperity, the morals Gaius III had declared central to the Safinei society. The two additional five pointed stars were added later, and represented the military and government of the nation.
Fifty Years War
Once the Italian Peninsula was split between two nations, conflict was essentially inevitable. After several years of standoff, it finally erupted in the Fifty Years War. The war started as little more than a border conflict, but quickly evolved into a full scale war, with each side raising an army of about 20,000. Quickly, the focus of combat became The former border between the Roman Republic and the Etruscans, with the Etruscans trying to take Veii, and hopefully Rome as well. However, the war soon devolved into a series of raids battles along the border, neither side gaining an advantage.
After the fighting on the border, the war finally switched gears and the fighting intensified. Because of new leadership on both sides, the Etruscans were able to gain the advantage and take land from Safinei. However, The Safinei were quickly able to stop the Etruscan advance, and the war returned to its previous state of stalemate. However, the Stalemate ended when the Etruscans launched their final campaign and took Veii and then Rome from the Safinei, as well as other parts of the former Roman Republic. The Fifty Years War ultimately marked the beginning of a long series of wars between the two nations, which would eventually lead to the collapse of Safineim.
Spreading of Influence
After the fifty years war, the Safinei economy was in ruins, and the nation needed a way to recoup. Their chosen method was to expand trade across the Mediterranean and try to become a trade based nation. After this project attracted significant investment, the Safinei government began constructing ships for trading as well a small navy to defend this fleet. The first few trading voyages were directed at the rich lands of Greece, but were only moderately successful. However, as their trading reputation grew, their missions began to turn large profits, and many began to be directed at Egypt or less often, Turkey. This trade proved successful, and soon the Safinei economy became much more prosperous, and continued to grow.
Of course, such major steps in trade hardly went unnoticed by Carthage, the current dominator of Mediterranean trade. Worried about a new competitor, Carthage's leaders began to discuss what to do. Eventually it was decided that Carthage would force a 5% tax on Safinei trading ships, and in exchange, Safineim could continue trading across the region. This of course adversely affected the formerly booming Safinei economy, which immediately fell badly. However, despite this set back, the Safinei economy quickly reverted back to growth, albeit slower than before. This caused animosity between Safineim and Carthage, which would eventually cause the Mediterranean war.
The Mediterranean War
After the deal between Safineim and Carthage was finalized, tensions went down, and the two nations were at relative peace. However this ended when several Safinei traders tried to avoid Carthage's taxes, but were caught, setting off a war, after destroying the Safinei navy, and invading the mainland, Carthage won, and put harsh penalties of the Safinei economy. This quickly led to a severe economic decline, hurting Safineim a lot. Though the nation did get back on its feet, its growth was much slower and more sporadic, making for a truly terrible economy.
Second Etruscan War
Following the massive amount of trade lose after the Macedonian War, the Safinei felt they needed to attack Etrusca to regain their wealth. Massing 18,000 troops, the marched north to cross into Etrusca, which was relatively unprepared for such an attack. However, the Etruscans managed to rally 11,000 troops to push back against the advance. The fighting was intense, but Etrusca managed to inflict mush higher casualties and forced the Safinei back. After several weeks of fighting, the Safinei caved and sued for peace, once again utterly destroyed by a failed war. It only increased tensions between Etrusca and Safineim, and effectively cut Safineim off in terms of trade.
Political Chaos and Uprisings
In the years after the second Safieni war, Safineim went into a total downward spiral. While this downward trend mostly reflected the economic status of the nation, the lack of economic power also meant that the government lost power. This created a terrible situation for the citizens of the nation. By 100 AD, there was a major political upheaval - the king died with no successor. Surprisingly, this did not throw the nation into civil war. However, instead of focusing on fixing the economy, the nobles instead squabbled among themselves. While they did occasionally manage to cobble together some semblene of a functioning economy, anything they put forward barely worked at best.
In the fall of 87 BC, this whole thing came crashing down on Safineim. A bad harvest, combined with a terrible year for trade, left their economic and political system in tatters. Within days of this happening, large groups of thugs began to roam across the nation, in some places becoming the de facto government. This terrible situation continued into the winter and the following spring. If Etrusca hadn't also been hit by the shock waves of the crash, they might have chosen to invade. Finally, during the beginning of the second summer, a new king of unknown origin manages to take power in Safineim.
Immediately, the new king, whose name remains unknown, began to make it his duty to restore Safienim as much as he could. He gathered what remained of the Safienim army and cracked down on the outlaws that roamed around the nation. After getting them under control, he began to implement several large - and arguably unnecessary - infrastructure projects. This was an effective tactic: It put more money in the system, employed people, and improved economic Growth. However, as the unnamed king grew in popularity with the peasantry, he as disposed of by the nobles, and another took his place. Despite his early death, he was able to at least partially restore Safineim.
Third Etruscan War
The Third Etruscan War (known as The Third Safinei War to the Etruscans) was the last and most devastating conflict Safineim would ever engage in. It would start after the Etruscan king Decius came to power, massing a huge army. Safineim would mass far less troops, putting them at an immediate and terrifying disadvantage. However, they were able to bottle up the Etruscan force, balancing the whole situation precariously. This destroyed the Safineim economy, and shock waves continued to exist for years afterwards. Meanwhile both sides were taking massive casualties, making the war appear unsustainable. By 1 AD The war was well on its way to destroying the economies of both nations.
However, in 2 AD, an Etruscan prince called Radarca would change the balance. He gathered a huge army, and attacked on the opposite coast of all the combat. This would devastate Safineim completely. After this two year period, coherent combat pretty much fell apart on both sides. This was a massive blow for both sides, but a worse one for Safineim. What little resistance there was completely unorganized, and often did more harm for Safineim than good. A majority of the civilians lived in terror, as much because of their own forces as because of the Etruscan army. Finally, in 13 AD, Safineim, collapsed, perhaps mercifully. It was followed by Etrusca, and both would be revived into Dardanian Etrusca.
Safineim was one of the most autocratic states of its time, roughly comparable to Locudula under Swedarc I for most of its existence. While there was little corruption, that was because there was little to be corrupted - the king was in charge of literally everything. While the king's command could be avoided on smaller projects, this proved inefficient for larger issues, but despite this, was still carried out. This Political model is often blamed for many of Safineim's historical failures, and probably rightly so.
Most of Safeni society was based on avoiding the attention of both corrupt soldiers and politicians and avoid extortion. This created a common element of fear of the government, and this often resulted in citizens evading taxes or trying other ways of avoiding government influence in their lives. Because of the government's strict control on economics, people generally looked for employment in established industries rather than starting their own. This lead to a very slow growing economy, a problem that would stay with Safineim until the very end.