Update on my writing

I’ve been busy recently, so no new blogs, apologies. My daughter got married just over a week ago, and so we were very busy with that after returning from holiday. Anyway, here we are again. Back to the work of writing.

I had an email from CreateSpace who said the cover for Vengeance of a Slave was not high enough quality for the print version, so I had to sort that out. The cover is now slightly different. It still has the same picture as the ebook version, but the layout is a bit different. The colour is the same, too.

Then I went through the proofing again, and there were some things not coming out as they appeared in the manuscript. Most odd. I eventually got it sorted and they now say it’s OK by them, and it’s OK by me, so that should be available in the next couple of days.

The next book, which takes Adelbehrt’s descendants into the age of the Vikings, is nearing completion of the first draft. I’m not at all satisfied with it, so I think it will need quite a lot of work done, but I’m getting it finished first, then I’ll go back and sort it. This book has, as yet, got no title. It’s about a young girl who falls in love with a Danish jarl, but is not of his class, so cannot marry him. She becomes his lover and has two of his children, but he has to marry for political reasons, and the jealousy between her and his wife leads to serious problems.

So if anyone has ideas for a title, I would be most grateful to hear them.

I think I’m going to have to curtail my blog posts to one a month for a while. One a week is rather much, I’m finding. Not enough time to write, and that’s what I’m all about.

I’ll try to get my next post out on November 1 and from then on, on the first of each month, so look out for them.

 

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On Holiday

I apologise for there being no post today. I am away on holiday.

 

I am working on the next book in the history of Adelbehrt’s family. I hope to follow his descendants down through history. The next book will be about a young girl during the time of Danelaw when the Vikings held much of Britain.

 

 

The Disappearance of the IX Legion

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The IX Legion left Britain to go to the Lower Rhine. There is evidence of it in Noviomagus Batavorum, (Nijmegan, Netherlands). Tile stamps have been found dating to 104-20 AD and a silver-plated bronze pendant that was part of a phalera (military medal) with the inscription ‘Leg IX Hisp’ on the reverse.

The indicatios are that the IX left Britain to go to Nijmegan sometime after 104 AD when the previous legion, XXX Germana. was transferred to the Danube. There is evidence that the IX was itself replaced by a detachment of XXX Ulpia Victrix in or soon after 120AD.

It seems that the IX no longer existed after 197AD and there is much debate as to what happened to it.

One suggestion was that the legion was destroyed in Britain. Certainly they had severe losses in the uprising of Boudicca, but were still around to fight Caradoc and also the Brigantes.

The Caledonian campaign was not completely successful, and suggestions have been made that they were wiped out then, or that the Brigantes rose up and attacked Eberacum (York) and wiped them out, but this does not square with the evidence found in the Netherlands.

In 132AD. the Jews revolted in Judea. Some scholars suggested that the IX was sent from Nijmegan to help pit down the revolt, and was wiiped out there. Certainly, the date coincides with their departure from the Netherlands. The Romans, also, suffered heavy casualties in this war, too. The IX might have been sent to reinforce the local legions. It could have received such a high level of casualties that it was disbanded.

Another legion, XXII Deiotariana, is documented as having been sent from Egypt, and was wiped out. but surely the defeat and annihilation of two legions would have been such a great disaster that records would have been made of it. All records of IX cease in 120AD.

Then again, an unnamed legion was surrounded and wiped out by Pathian army in Armenia. This legion was not named. Could it have been the IX? However, there is no evidence that it was in the east at this time.

The fate of Legio IX Hispania continues to cause debate among scholars.

I would like to say a big Thank You to Wikipedia for all the help I got for research for this and the previous posts about the IX.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the mysterious disappearance of the legion that was in Eberacum at the time of Adelbehrt. If you want to learn about Adelbehrt and his life, read Vengeance of a Slave. It can be bought from Amazon in paperback and ebook formats by following this link.

http://mybook.to/vengeanceofaslave

The IX Legion in Britain.

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In 43 AD, the 9th legion came to Britain with the invasion forces of Emperor Claudius and Aulus Plautius.

They met with resistance from Caractacus, otherwise known as Caradoc, and were one of the two legions that defeated him at Caer Caradoc, a hill fort in Shropshire in 50 AD. (see previous blog posts about Caradoc.)

In the same year they had defeated Caractacus, they were part of the construction of a fort at Lincoln.

Between 52 and 57AD, Venutius and the Brigantes rebelled and the IX legion took part in his defeat. (See the posts about Cartimandua.)

After this came probably the most famous revolt of all against the Romans in Britain. That of Boudicca. (see the posts about this as well.) This revolt was the one that most nearly succeeded.

The IX Legion was defeated at the Battle of Camulodium. (Colchester.) They had gone to attempt to relieve the siege, and during the battle most of the Roman foot soldiers were killed. Only the cavalry escaped.

The legion was reinforced with legionaires from Germania, and were back to full strength. They campaigned, in 71 AD, against the Brigantes, the tribe from what is now Yorkshire, and where Venutius and Cartimandua came from.

At around this time, they founded Eberacum, known nowadays as York.

When Agricola became Governor of Britannia, most of the country had been pacified, but in the land we now know as Scotland, there were wild tribes. Agricola decided he must subdue these Calidonia peoples and the IX Legion was one of those he took to do so.

At this time, the legion narrowly escaped destruction. The Caledonians attacked by night, unexpectedly from beyond the Forth.#

The historian, Tacitus says: ‘The Caledonians burst upon them as they were terrified in their sleep.’

Desperate hand to hand fighting ensued as the Caledonians entered the camp. Agricola sent the cavalry to relieve the legion and when they arrived, it put new heart into the legion, and they fought harder, causing the Caledonians to flee.

The Legion also took part in the Battle of Mons Grampius in AD 83. Agricola had sent his fleet around to try to panic the Caledonians. He reached the site of the battle with light infantry and British auxilliaries to find it occupied by the enemy.

Now, the Caledonians did not often fight the Romans in open battle, even though they outnumbered the Romans, and so Agricola marched on the granaries in an attempt to starve them into giving battle.

This worked and at Mons Grampius, the two sides met.

After an exchange of missile fire, the infantry launced an attack. They cut down many Caledonians. those of the enemy on the top of the hill attempted to outflank the Romans, but the Cavalry prevented this, in turn, outflanking them.

The Caledonians were routed and fled into the surrounding woods and hills, pursued by the Romans soldiers.

Although Agricola was recalled to Rome and given battle honours, the Caledonian tribes were never really subdued. He was offered the governorship of another part of the empire.

This was the last evidence of the IX Legion in Britannia.

Next time, find out where the legion went after Britannia and about the mystery of its disappearance.

If you enjoyed this bit of history, please leave a comment. Even if you didn’t, I’ll be pleased to hear from you.

The Story of the Legio IX Hispana. Part 1

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Pompey is said to have founded Legio IX in Hispania, (Spain) in 65BC along with the VI, VII and VIII legions. They did not, however, stay in Hispania. They were transferred to Northern Italy, the region known as Cisalpine Gaul. Here, Julius Caesar gained the command of the IX, along with the VII, VIII and X, when he became governor of this region in 59BC.

In 49BC a dispute between Caesar and some members of the Senate led to Caesar leading his legions on Rome. Here, his old friend, Pompey, and much of the Senate fled to Greece. In Greece, Pompey thought he could more easily recruit an army to face Caesar.

Caesar could not pursue them because he had no fleet and so he set about solidifying his hold on the western Mediterranean, especially Spain, where the IX had originated. Only then did he assemble a fleet to pursue Pompey and the Senate.

Pompey’s fleet commander put up a blockade, knowing that Ceasar would pursue. However, Caesar crossed the Adriatic in the winter, against all convention, and managed to get half his fleet onto Greek shores. whether the IX was among this early landfall, I do not know.

The blockade, was successful in preventing not only the rest of the fleet from crossing, but also prevented supplies reaching Caesar from Italy. Since most of the Greek population supported the Senate, Caesar’s troops soon became hungry.

Pompey decided to let hunger defeat him, and did not attack. Realising this, Caesar tried to pursue peace with Pompey, but Pompey would not agree to talk. Because of this failure, Caesar decided to go back for the rest of his army, but his plans were disrupted by an immense storm in the Adriatic.

In the meantime. Mark Antony had been rallying troops in Italy and fought through the blockade. He eventually met up with Caesar. Still, Caesar had only half the man that Pompey had.

A battle became inevitable, but Pompey had set up camp in an impregnable position with the sea at his back and hills surrounding his position, near to the town of Dyrrhachium.

Caesar tried to cut off Pompey’s water and pasture for the horses by building a wall around Pompey’s position. Pompey responded by building a parallel wall. This left a kind of no-man’s land between the walls.

Thus a stand-off ensued that was only broken when a traitor from Caesar’s army told Pompey where Caesar’s wall was weakest. Pompey exploited this and Caesar then retreated.

Caesar was famous for his varied traps, and so Pompey decided not to pursue him. He still thought he could starve Caesar out, and so did not set up a pitched battle, but after pressure from the Senators and his commanders, he gave in.

He set up near the town of Pharsalus. He deployed the traditional 3 lines of 10 men with cavalry on the wings. They stood and waited for Caesar to charge.

Caesar did not set up in the traditional way, though. He set up 4 lines of 6 men. Seeing that Pompey was not charging, they began to advance. As the infantry fought, Pompey’s cavalry on the left flank attacked Caesar’s cavalry and forced them back. Caesar then brought forward his 4th line of infantry who harried the cavalry with their pila, a kind of javelin around 2 metres long. They used them to stab rather than throw.

Pompey’s cavalry panicked at this unusual and unexpected turn of events and fled, but not until they had suffered hundreds of casualties. The rest of the cavalry then retreated to the hills.

The left wing of Pompey’s army was now exposed . Caesar’s men broke the left wing, and Pompey lost the will to fight.

He and his wife and family fled the scene dressed as civilians and fled to Egypt, where he was assassinated shortly afterwards, and his head sent to Caesar in the hope of winning Caesar’s favour. Instead it gained a furious enemy.

The IX legion was known to have taken part in this battle. I will continue with more about it in another post.

An Update on my work.

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Here is an update on what I’m working on at the moment. It is a story following a descendant of Ailbert from Vengeance of a Slave. It begins in the 9th century. RomeĀ  left Britain 400 years previously, and the country was subjected to a series of invasions, First it was the Saxons and the Angles, then followed the people we know as the Vikings.

The story is set in the same area as Vengeance of a Slave. In fact, much of the action takes place in what was Eberacum, but is now Jorvik. It tells of a young girl who meets and falls in love with the son of a jarl from Jorvik. Of course, things don’t go smoothly, but I don’t want to say much more at the moment.

It is at the time of King Alfred, although that monarch does not appear in the tale. Most of it is in the Danish lands, known as the Danelaw, which split the country diagonally.

I am nearing the end of the first draft. I am also trying to design a cover, Not an easy task, I’m finding. Vengeance was much easier.

 

A Hero of Ancient Britain 2

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Our men met the Roman attack with missiles. Many of the Roman soldiers died, but still they pressed forwards. They approached the walls we had set up and then formed their famous testudo. They raised their shields over their heads and those men on the outside held theirs to the side, thus making an impenetrable shield. They advanced in this manner, and our spears and arrows could not penetrate.

They had done their work well, and when they reached our walls, they tore them down. We could do nothing against their testudos. Our missiles just bounced off.

The Romans kept on advancing. They dismantled our walls and soon they were amongst our men. Our men fought bravely, but the Romans had armour and we had none. It was a massacre.

Caradoc’s wife and daughter fell into the Romans’ hands, and his brother surrendered. Caradocs himself managed to escape. He fled to the lands of the Brigantes, hoping to get aid from Cartimandua.

That queen had betrayed her people to the Romans, though. She thought more of herself and her power than her people. When Caradoc arrived in Brigantia, the queen put him in chains and took him to Eberacum where she surrendered him to the Romans.

Caradoc was a famous hero. Even the Romans admired him, to some extent, at least. He had, after all, held out against them for nine years. not a small feat. Because of his fame, the commander in Eberacum sent him to Rome.

Caradoc’s fame had reached even in Rome. Emperor Claudius arranged a great spectacle. He summoned the Praetorian Guard to draw up under arms outside their camp. Then he displayed the royal vassals, ornaments, neck chains and other spoils of war.

Next, Caradoc’s brother, and his wife and daughter were displayed, and finally, Caradoc himself.
When brought before the Emperor, he said, “Had my moderation in prosperity been equal to my noble birth and fortune, I should have entered this city as your friend rather than as your captive; and you would not have disdained to receive, under a treaty of peace, a king descended from illustrious ancestors and ruling many nations. My present lot is as glorious to you as it is degrading to myself. I had men and horses, arms and wealth. What wonder if I parted with them reluctantly? If you Romans choose to lord it over the world, does it follow that the world is to accept slavery? Were I to have been at once delivered up as a prisoner, neither my fall nor your triumph would have become famous. My punishment would be followed by oblivion, whereas, if you save my life, I shall be an everlasting memorial of your clemency.”

This speech impressed Claudius and he granted Caradoc his wife, daughter and brother a pardon. They were all freed from their bonds.

Caractacus died in Rome, a free man.

A Hero of Ancient Britain

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Caractacus. We, in Britannia knew him as Caradoc. He was a great hero to us. You have heard a little of him in my previous tale of Cartimandua, but you should hear his true story.

Caradoc was the son of Cunobellius and he became king after his father died. He was born to the Catuvelauni tribe, but ruled over others too. He ruled most of southern Britannia, in fact.

When Emperor Claudius decided to invade Britannia, Caradoc was none too pleased, as you can imagine. Being in the south of Britannia, his lands were the first the Romans entered. He fought campaigns against Aulus Plautius, but he did not have much success., so he decided to move west where the territory would help him better.

He moved into the lands of the Silures. These lands have hills and mountains. He knew he had fewer men than the Romans and so he conducted battles of the hit and run type. His men could hit the Romans hard and then disappear into the mountains. (This is the kind of battle that Ailbert conducted in his pursuit of revenge.)

Of course, this did not defeat the Romans and so Caradoc decided to move north to find a suitable place for a battle. One where he and his men could defend, attack or retreat from easily, but the Romans would have difficulty. To find such a site he moved north into the lands of the Ordovici.

Our men found a place where the river ran at varying depth. Behind this, on the hills, they built ramparts of stone.

When the Romans arrived, and lined up for battle, our commanders went from position to position encouraging the men. Caradoc, himself, made a speech in which he appealed. buy name, to their forefathers who had driven Julius Caesar back when he had thought to invade our lands. He told them that this battle would be the beginning of freedom or they would be in everlasting bondage, paying tribute to Rome.

The men cheered and whooped at this speech and began to call warcries and insults at the enemy.
When the Romans heard all this, they became a little daunted. The river, hills and ramparts. too gave them thought, but their own leaders did the same thing.

The Romans surveyed the position, the crossing points on the river, the assailable points and the inaccessible before they mounted their attack.

Will Caradoc succeed? Find out next week.

History is being made all the time, and writing about it is a pleasure.

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