Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Britannia (June)


"Chronicles of Britannia”

It has pleased Almighty God to inspire Abbot Steven of St Thomas's Monastery, close by Seidler House that A Chronicle of the Kings and Conquests of Britain since the time of the Romans be compiled. I, Brother Lawrence, head of the Scriptorium have therefore undertaken this great task.  I have asked other monasteries to send copies or at least Summaries of their histories of Britain.  I have tried to work out what has happened, but it not been easy.  Some stories contradict each other; some are vague or unclear as to details.  Still, trusting in St Jerome, the Saint of Scholars to intercede on my behalf and before God to grant me wisdom, in fulfilling this great and noble task.
In Gaul
In Britain

In about the 45th year of the Incarnation, Roman forces of at least Four Legions invaded Southern Britain.  They were led by the Emperor Claudius, in hope of gaining military glory, and conquests.  In Wessex, Sussex, Mercia and the Lowlands, the Belgae submitted, some gladly some not.  But in Essex, there were heavy casualties on both sides, with the Romans repulsed there.  This spurred the Romans to further advances as far as York, where the fierce Brigante clashed with Rome.  There after almost ten years after the Roman invasion King Nathan of the Belgae submitted to Rome.  
The Brigante also attacked the peaceful Welshman and shortly after stormed York.  Inspired by this the Belgae of Norfolk rose against the Romans under their Red headed Queen Boadicea.  She led her forces against the Romans, defeating and driving them back.  The Brigante promised her aid, but decided the Roman forts in Mercia were too strong to attack!  Instead they attacked their northern neighbours the Picts at Dunedin.  After much fighting Brigante retreated, and both the Picts and Brigante decided "It is not good for matched hounds to fight" so concluded a peace between each other.  
Pictish Kingdoms

By the 60th year of the Incarnation,
Queen of the Iceni Boudicca
Boadicea had died and her eldest daughter Sia now ruled.  She made peace with Rome by offering tribute, but paid no taxes, and let but few Romans live in Norfolk.  When the Romans attempted to invade, Sia lead them to the Marsh Country and then attacked, destroying the IX Legion.  There after, a boundary was made, and peaceful trade replaced hard blows.  From time to time Sia and all those who succeeded her would send gifts of gold and slaves to Rome as presents to the Emperor.

Romans attacked and beat the Welsh at Hwice and Avalon.  The Romans fell back and also fought with the Brigante as the Province of March changed hands twice, finally going to the Brigante after they won a great victory over the Welsh.  Thus matters stood in Britain in about the year 100 since the Incarnation.

Small bands of Irish raiders attacked the Welsh, plundering and kidnapping.  The rich would be ransomed and the poor enslaved.  The Irish did make a major attack on the Welsh at Cornwell, with twenty keels carrying fifty Warriors each.  That day there was a feast for the seagulls and ravens, for only five keels were needed to take back the raiders to Ireland.
The Romans fought the Welsh at Hwice, and clashed with the Brigante in Cheshire.  There was a major siege of York which was raised by the Romans with much slaughter among the people of The Blue War Shield.

Then for a long time, peace reigned, with trade replacing war among the Peoples of Britain.  A man could sow and reap a crop, and live to hand on his steading to his sons.
But at about 250 years since the Incarnation, fierce pagans from across the bitter sea attacked the East Coast of Britain.
The Scots from across the North Irish Sea came raiding as well.  But rather unite against these threats Roman and Briton fought against each other!  The Romans and Brigante fought fierce battles in Mercia, both loosing more Warriors than they could afford.  The Welsh retook Hwice and burned the Roman Citadel.  The Irish successfully invaded the land of the Welsh, taking the Province of Dyad.  Seeing the Romans weakened, the heirs of Boadicea attacked and took Suffolk.  But alas for them, they were overwhelmed by attacks from the sea by the Angles!  The people of the Ash tree Lances captured Norfolk and put the Belgae to flight.  But the Saxons were not successful in their attempts to get a foothold in Sussex, as Roman Galleys fought them at Sea.  But there was anarchy, with people leaving the cities for the country side, and warlords setting themselves up and offering protection, but often fighting and plundering each other.
In the 320th year of the Incarnation, the Jutes seized Kent.  How is worth telling in some detail, as Jute and Briton accounts differ.  Both agree that Vortigern offered Jute mercenaries land and treasure to fight against his enemies.  They were successful but then Vortigerns council persuaded him to offer treasure only, not land.  Some Jutes murmured at this, but their leader Lawrentuis said that half a pig was better than no bacon.  The Britons say that Lady Dyonisa pleaded with Vortigern to have a fare well feast, and because of her charm he could refuse her nothing.  The Jutes were invited to a farewell feast before they set sail.  Now Lawrentuis had a sister, some say a daughter, Dyonisa, who travelled with him.  She was as comely as a flower garden in early Spring.  She was slim as a new willow, with dark hair, dark eyes and dark skin. Some said her Mother or Grand Mother came from Afric’s' shores.  An admirer among Vortigerns Guards warned her against attending the feast, for the Jutes would all be slain at the end of it, thus Vortigern would end paying nothing at all.
Jutes (Eudoses)

Lady Dyonisa went hare foot to Lawrentuis, warning him.  Lawrentuis was furious at such treachery, and plotted with his Thegn’s that when Lady Dyonisa toasted "Long Live Vortigern"  The Jutes came prepared with long daggers concealed, to murder their British hosts with great treachery.  Each man was to stab the Briton next to him, and thus repay treachery.  Lady Dyonisa was dallying with the Captain of the Guard, getting him drunk so he would respond quickly to the Jutes Coup. Some say one thing and some another, and I leave it to He Who knows the hearts of men to know what happened.  When this murdering was done the Jutes seized Kent.  Vortigern escaped and died in Wales were his tomb is to be seen.  His son Vortimer raised an army against the Jutes, but was defeated and killed in battle.
Jutes (Eudoses)
In 340 years since The Incarnation the Roman Consul Stephanos Maximus visited Britain. When he toured Britain he saw the task of imposing order he said "Rome should send five Legions, not one Man!"  Maximus had experience with victories on the Danube, and in the Atlas Mountains in Maroochy raised and trained the British as auxiliaries, mostly light infantry and Cavalry.  He left after two years, and alas!  Things did not improve for the Romans.  The Welsh attacked and burnt the Citadel at Avalon, and the Romans were defeated by the Brigante at Cumbrae.  The Romans did turn back a raid from the Jutes into Essex. The Irish continued there invasion of the Welsh, taking the Province of Gwynd.  The Scots were defeated in a raid on the Picts at Strathclyde; also the Angles raided and plundered their neighbours.
In 430 since the Incarnation, the last Regular forces of Rome left Britain, leaving the Roman British Levy to hold back the tide of murder, plunder and rapine!  Truly, April 25 was a dark day, and many weeping lost hope and despaired of Britain.  Now Aelle, leader of the People of the War Axe, called Seax, thus Saxons invaded the East Coast of Britain with a mighty host.  
Northern Mercia fell to them, nor was the Angles in Norfolk spared.  They had to flee for their lives as the Saxons slayed both sexes and any age, without mercy.  The Angles attacked the Brigante at Bernica, the Brigante falling back to the mountains of the Pennines.  The Scots too had a major victory over the Brigante, with the People of the Yellow war shield victors at Strathclyde.  The Caledonians of the Farthest North attacked and were defeated by the Picts in Daladria, a deed that was to bring them much woe.  Thus things in Britain stood, before King Urien, and the Rise of Lord Artos, the Bear.
The Angles

In the 485th year of the Incarnation King Urien of the Brigante rallied his people and attacked the Angles at Bernica.  Great was the slaughter of the bearers of the Ash Wood Lance, and many of the Brigante slaves were freed by the Kings efforts.  He held his lands against Fergus MacMerc king of the Scots as well.  Fergus was a tall man and no man could lift Fergus's sword, so mighty was he.  Fergus was defeated by Urien at Galloway after such a day of battle that Fergus said he had never sees before. For the First time in His life, Fergus ordered the Scots to withdraw. About that time Arthuros, known by many as Lord Artos appeared as a leader of a War band fighting against Britons Invaders.  He was not a King, but would work for those who would support him.  Artos delighted in tricks like a decoy force to fool the Pagans, using Woodsmen to ambush those lying in wait in the Forests, and falling on the Saxons and Angles while they were unprepared for battle.  His enemies decried him as using Stratagems not worth of a warrior, but he would say” The Proof of the Sword is in the Fighting.” He beat in Single Combat a Saxon Champion known for his Hardness and strength the "Rock" or the "Stone” and took his sword, thus taking the sword from the Stone. Artos was his nick name, meaning Bear in the common tongue, for though not tall he was stocky and strong, like a bear. He used big men on big horses as his main striking force and few could stand against him. The Romano Britons reconquered Wessex this way. I asked Brother Thorin why not more could fight this way if it was so successful. Brother Thorin was a man of the Sword before he heard the Call and had much experience in these matters. He said a trained man on horse was worth three trained men on foot, but training man and beast took much time, even years. Also such big horses took much care and were costly to buy. The People of the War Axe fell on upon the Jutes of Kent, but the Saxons were defeated.  They had more success against the Belgae in Suffolk and took over that unhappy province.  The Picts attacked the Caledonians with great fury, slaying the entire all they encountered in the Orkneys.  The Caledonians repulsed them in the Hebrides Islands.

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