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.

Cartimandua part 2

Here is a little more about Cartimandua, Qyeen of the Brigantes.

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Cartimandua and her husband fell out over her handing Caratacus to the Romans, of course. But it was not the only bone of contention. For a while, it seems, Cartimandua had been having an affair with Venutius’s armour bearer. After the betrayal of Caratacus, she decided to divorce Venutius and marry her lover, whose name was Vellocatus.

It wasn’t long before Venutius led a rebellion. Only to be expected. He was much more popular than Cartimandua, especially after the betrayal of Caratacus and the divorce of Venutius. He started to make alliances with other of our tribes, and was all ready to invade Brigantia.

Cartimandua went to the Romans then, andthey sent troops to defend her. A battle was fought, and both sides seemed to be evenly matched until the arrival of the IX legion Hispanica from Eberacum.

This was a lucky break for Cartimandua. She very narrowly escaped being captured by the rebels, but the rebels were defeated and Venutius once more had to leave Brigantia.

It seems he hadn’t given up his rebellious ideas, though. He bided his time until Emperor Nero died in Rome. At his death, the Roman Empire fell into chaos. There were several emperors in quick succession, and many of the Roman troops had to go back to defend Rome and the empire. Other groups of people took advantage of this, and so did Venutius.

He attacked Brigantia once again, and this time, the Romans could only send auxilliary troops to defend Cartimandua.

She was forced to flee to Deva and abandoned the Brigantes to Ventuvius. No-one heard any more of her after this.

In spite of his success, once the Romans had settled their problems they attacked him and ousted him form the kingship, thus Brigantia became completely under Roman rule.

That is the end of the tale of Cartimandua and the Brigantes.

This story is not integral to Vengeance of a Slave, but is briefly mentioned, just as Boudicca’s rebellion is mentioned.

If you are interested in reading historical novels, and like this period of history, you can get a copy of Vengeance of a Slave from Amazon, either as a paperback or ebook. Follow this link: http://mybook.to.vengeanceofaslave/

A Queen in Britain in Roman Times

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In Vengeance of a Slave, although she does not appear, there is mention of the Queen of the Brigantes, Cartimandua. Here is her story.

You are certain to have heard of Queen Boudicca. She was the queen of the Iceni who raised a revolt against the Romans. She almost won, too. I don’t suppose so many of you have heard of Queen Cartimandua, though. She is the queen of the Brigantes, the biggest tribe in Brittania Her story is very different from that of Boudicca.

She inherited her throne at around the same time as the Romans came to Brittania. She was married to a man called Venutius, and when the Romans came north, they made a treaty with them in order to retain their power. Of course, this was only nominal. The Romans really held the power. Still, she kept something, which was more than Boudicca did, in the end.

Then the people in the west, the Catuvellauni, rose up under the leadership of a man called Caratacus. They led a hit and run kind of resistance against the Romans and were quite successful for a time. Of course, the inevitable happened and they were defeated. By a man called Osotorius Scapula, I believe. Caratacus managed to escape and came to Cartimandua for refuge.

Of course, our queen was none too pleased. This might affect her relationship with Rome, and thus her position on the throne. What did she do to this man asking for her help? She put him in chains and took him to the Romans in Eberacum. The Romans were delighted and heaped great wealth on her, but her husband was not so pleased, nor were the people.

What will happen to Cartimandua? Will her people revolt and will the Romans protect her?

If you enjoyed this and other tales of Ancient Britain, please leave a comment, and sign up for notification of further book releases and blog posts.

If you like to read about this period, here is a link to my novel, Vengeance of a Slave. http://mybook.to/vengeanceofaslave/

Boudicca’s Revolt Part 3

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While Boudicca and her allies were slaughtering and burning, Suetonius was busy. He regrouped his army and he called on his own force, the Legio XIV Gemina, and some vexillationes from the XX Valeria Victrix. Although the Legio II Augusta di not come to Suetonius’s call, nevertheless he managed to amass around ten thousand men. Then they marched to meet our army.

Suetonius took a stand somewhere along Watling Street, in a small valley with a wood behind him. He was still heavily outnumberd by Boudicca’s forces, though. Our army, I was told, numbered about 230,000.

Boudicca made a speech from her chariot and fired up her army. She pointed out that the gods were with them because they had already routed one legion, She did not, of course, mention that it was not the full legion.

Well, a number of things were against our army that day. The terrain was narrow, being in a valley, and so we could not put any more men forward at a time than the Romans could. Then, in that valley, our chariots proved to be not very manoeverable.

At first, when we attacked, the Romans threw heavy pila at us. These were a kind of javelin, and they killed thousands of our men, rushing forward to engage battle.

Then they formed a wedge and forced our men back. They were highly disciplined, and our troops were not. We fought as every man for himself and all rushed forward as individuals, with no thought for co-operation with each other.

Then the men were forced back against the wagons where the women and children waited. That was another thing. The Romans did not bring their families to battle.

The long and short of it is that we were defeated, and heavily. Boudicca poisoned herself rather than submit to the Romans, no one knows what happened to her daughers. Perhaps they were taken as slaves, perhaps they, too, committed suicide, or perhaps, just perhaps, they might have escaped.

They say that after this battle, Nero was ready to abandon Britannia. Unfortunately, though, he didn’t. After the uprising, Suetonius started to conduct punitive operations, but Nero feared he would trigger a new uprising so replaced him. He replaced Suetonius with our current governor, Publius Petronius Turpilianus.

So that is where we are today. Under the rule of Rome. They, the Romans, say it’s good. We are at peace. They’ve stopped the inter-tribal wars and brought us what they say is culture. But we had culture before. It was just not the same as the Romans.

Book Offer

Don’t forget that Vengeance of a Slave is on countdown offer from Monday for 1 week. The price will rise during the week, so get your copy early.

It’s the tale of a boy taken as a slave in 70AD and how he manages to take revenge on the Roman Army and ultimately overcome his hatred.

Here’s a link, http://mybook.to/vengeanceofaslave

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

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