Art by Steve Ellis
Titus Venturus Camillus
5th (through diablerie)
Titus Venturus Camillus, more commonly known by the epithet Camilla, was the Prince of Rome during the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire – a period of time that includes the Punic Wars that destroyed Carthage.
Ascent to powerEdit
The Ventrue methuselah Collat, the Prince of Rome at the time, saw potential in the young mortal Camilla and made him a ghoul, educating him in the ways of rulership among both Cainites and kine. Camilla was Embraced by Collat in the 4th century BCE. (One source suggests that Camilla may have instead been sired by Collat's own sire, the Etruscan methuselah Tinia.) When Rome fought the Pyrrhic War, Camilla met his renowned clanmates Lysander and Artemis.
Camilla knew little of what lay beyond the Roman Empire and the tutelage of his sire; Lysander educated him in debates that went on over the course of years, and Artemis educated him by example rather than through dialogue. Through these two, Camilla saw an alternative to his sire's desire for Cainites (Ventrue or otherwise) to remain in the shadows, reacting to mortal history instead of shaping it. Soon after, Camilla returned to his sire in Rome and explained his new vision for the future of Cainites and of Rome. With Lysander's aid, Camilla slew Collat and claimed his domain as the Prince of Rome, although both Camilla and Lysander would maintain that Collat merely stepped down and vanished into history upon hearing Camilla's message.
At some point in the century that followed, the adventurer and philosopher Tanitbaal-Sahar (supposedly a Brujah, but actually a Baali) arrived in Rome. The pair became lovers, and Sahar taught Camilla the ways of the Road of Desire, which would soon be known as the Road of Sin. Camilla became a prolific scholar of this Road, and authored texts that would survive among adherents of the Road for millennia. This relationship was cut short when Tanitbaal-Sahar was called to join his sire Tanit in Tyre. Sahar's ship vanished during the journey, and he was never seen again.
The Punic Wars with CarthageEdit
A few decades after Sahar's disappearance, relations between the Cainites of Rome and Carthage reached a tipping point. Tales spread of infernal deeds committed by the Brujah of Carthage and their allies, the Baali, under the leadership of the Brujah Antediluvian Troile and its Baali consort, Moloch. Camilla was urged to make war against these corrupt Carthaginian Cainites not only by his Malkavian and Toreador allies, but also by the counsel of the renegade Baali Cybele. Camilla pushed the Eternal Senate (the Roman equivalent of the primogen) to declare war; they did so, granting him even greater status in the process.
Roman Cainites and mortals soon sailed to Carthage in the Third Punic War. As word of the corruption in Carthage spread, Camilla's alliance was joined by the Lasombra, Cappadocians, and Gangrel, among others. The deciding factor was the assistance of the Toreador, who had previously supported both parties until Camilla offered them influence in both Rome and Carthage; as part of this exchange, the Romans received crucial information on Carthage's undead from the Methuselah Helena. By the war's end, Carthage was destroyed at Lysander's behest, and the Brujah dream of a Third City lay in ruin at the feet of the Ventrue-led invaders. As for Troile and Moloch, they were bound in torpor beneath its salted fields thanks to Cybele's blood sorcery.
Ironically, Camilla's success in uniting the clans during the Punic Wars weakened his clan in Rome, as many disparate Cainites took the opportunity to travel to Rome. Following the example of the mortal Roman Emperor Augustus (formerly Octavian), Camilla codified the authority of the Ventrue over their domains, ensuring that his clanmates ruling elsewhere in the Roman Empire would have the same control over their own domains that he held over Rome. The gatherings of the empire's Ventrue Senators are often cited as the forebears of the Conclaves of the Camarilla, but are more similar to the localized Ventrue institution of the Gerousia (the Board of Directors in modern nights). Camilla also attempted, with less success, to restrict the influence of other clans over the Eternal Senate.
Decline and fallEdit
Over the centuries, Camilla grew increasingly detached from the affairs of state. He vanished during the Great Fire that devastated Rome in 64 CE, and was presumed to have met his Final Death in the blaze. Some believe that Camilla was in fact slain during the fire by Petronius; this is unlikely, however, since Petronius was not Embraced by the Toreador methuselah Beshter until the following year. In Camilla's absence, the Eternal Senate fell into obscurity, and some believe that its body of membership became the foundation of the Inconnu.
In actuality, Camilla simply let himself fall into torpor without the companionship of Tanitbaal-Sahar to sustain his existence. More than a millennium later, he was reawakened by an earthquake in 1229 – one that, coincidentally enough, had caused the destruction of the then-current Prince of Rome, Constantius. Immediately seeing the decline that had befallen Romans and Cainites alike, Camilla sought out the lost lore of the Road of Sin, and within a year had gathered a number of wayward Sinners to himself.
As of 1242, Camilla had styled his court to counter the court of the pope, proclaiming himself the Pontifex Maximus of the Damned or Pontiff of Sin. He left Cainites to do as they pleased, intervening only in crises. The system worked because Roman traditions lend stability to resident vampires, but Camilla chafed against Christianity and the dominant morals of restraint. He supported challenges to the Papacy, and in doing so risked attracting the attention of Faith's soldiers and followers of the Road of Heaven. Unbeknownst to him, his actions were backed by Cretheus, who sought to use the depravity of the prince to incite a reckoning of the Church against the city's Cainites, hoping that some that had remained steadfast would find their way to Golconda. Camilla's activities following the Dark Ages era are unknown.
Beckett's Jyhad Diary implies that Camilla eventually fell into torpor again and rose in the beginning of the 21th century. He clashed with the Malkavian Lados, who has made it his goal to track him down.
|Embrace: 4th century BCE|
|Apparent Age: Mid-20s|
|Morality: Road of Sin|