There's No Place Like Rome
In the year 113 AD, Emperor Trajan of Rome began his war on Parthia. His health started declining during the course of the campaign and in 117 AD, he began the journey back to Italy, having left Hadrian in command of his forces to the east. He died of edema on August 9, in Selinus in Cilicia.
The Legio II Dacica, after suffering heavy losses while seiging the city of Hatra, including the death of Legate Quintus Aentius Pompo, was combined with Trajan’s Praetorian Guard under the leadership of Legate Titus Rhodius Achilleus. The legion, originally accompanying the Emperor back to Italy, now had the heavy task of bringing his remains to Rome.
While sailing towards the island of Crete, a particularly violent storm broke out, lasting two days and three nights. When at last the clouds cleared, the ship’s navigators were surprised to find that they could not recognize the stars above them. Their surprise was nothing compared to that of an unlucky seasick Cornicen (horn blower), who managed to tumble from the side of the ship and found himself in fresh water.
After making land, it was not long before Rhodius and his officers realized that they had left the Mediterranean. The legion found itself surrounded by unfamiliar flora and fauna, including monsters and savages. The men fought to exhaustion, hoping to protect the noncombatants that had followed them through the storm.
Seeing that the monsters attacked relentlessly, Legate Rhodius decided to build a more permanent fortified structure than a camp to house and protect his men.
The priests disagreed, saying that the first priority should go to building a temple. They sought to pray and sacrifice men in hopes that the gods would take the survivors home. Rhodius had them rounded up and executed for treason, declaring that the gods had abandoned them. More on religion can be found here.
Rhodius and his men built a stronghold at the center of what would become the vast city of Rhodaga. Upon completion of the stronghold, the men named their legate Rhodius Rex, King of Rhodaga. Surprisingly, he named his centurions and camp prefect as his Senate, seemingly looking over the tribunes whom he bestowed with the title of patricians.