The High Kings

Julius Caesar

  High Kings/179/aeneus/1757 In BC 61 Julius Caesar, at that time part of a triumvirate with Pompey and Crassus, became governor of South Eastern Hispania and had the opportunity to observe the Celtic cultural preferencers first hand. Caesar’s tribe, the Julii (gens, family) claimed direct decendance from Anenaus, the founder of Rome and therefore the goddess Aphrodyte . He realised that although he was Governor, Pompey was in  celtic eyes High King. There was little he could do in Hispania but he became focussed on the other Celtic territories, Gaul and Britain. If he could become high king there  then he could return to Hispania later.

The human side of Aeneas parentage was a Trojan who had fled to the west after the fall of Troy. According to the Celts the founder of their race was also a Trojan, Brutus who had also spent time on the Italian peninsula but had then visited the northern slopes of the Pyrenees (occitan)before settling in the British isles. These stories were documented much later by Virgil (the Aeneid) and later again by Geoffrey of Monmouth(Historia Regnum Britanniae). Both books much must have been part of the oral tradition. Many historians discredit  completely the story of Aeneus and Brutus but what is important is what the Celts and Romans at the time believed in it.

Provincia Nostra

Accidental empire/178/emerging rome/2141 In BC 61 Julius Caesar, at that time part of the first triumvirate with Pompey and Crassus, became governor of South Eastern Hispania and had the opportunity to observe the Celtic cultural preferences first hand. He realised that although he was Govenor, Pompey was in Celtic eyes still High King. There was little he could do at that time in Hispania but he became focussed on the another Celtic territory, Gaul

Partly to facilitate the continual struggle in Hispania, Rome had established a province on the southern coast of France.

It was initially known to the Romans as Provincia Nostra, Our Province, or simply Provincia, The Province. Provincia was based on the Greek cities of Messalia and Empurion. The takeover followed the, by now familiar, fashion of converting an alliance , by inserting a colony and then converting the whole area into a province. It was regarded as and governed as, another part of Italy. There was no room for self rule in Provencia Nostra, “Our Province”

Accidental empire/178/emerging rome/2141 As Caesar moved north, he initially opted for an extension of Provincia Nostra, but encountered dozens of Gallic clans all of who saw themselves as independent.

Caesar used the legends about his ancestry to legitimise himself as the Gallic High King. One of the reasons for Caesars rapid conquest of Gaul was his understanding of the gallic psyche.  It resolved itself into a conflict with other  potential high kings, particularly Vercingetorix, which concentrated the action.

Another reason was that Eastern Gaul was suffering from Germanic invasions across the Rhine. Caesar promised to put a stop to these disturbances, which is exactly the kind of “protection” a high king would offer.  In 55 and 54 BC Casar invaded Britain, the last remaining Celtic territory.  Though he did little more than present his credentials as High King, that was probably enough. In Gaulish eyes Caesar became their “High King”.

The Helvetii

Accidental empire/178/under the yoke/2147 The first clancaesar encountered (or sought out?),were the Helvetii, the sometime inhabitants of what is now Switzerland. The Helvetii had made several expeditions towards the Atlantic cost and possibly intended to move there permanently. During these exploratory visits to the west the Helvetii had defeated Roman armies in the isolated Garronne valley and reached as far west as Agen.
According to Caesar, after defeating the Romans the Helvetii forced them to pass under a yoke. Caesar saw this as great dishonour, requiring revenge.

Caesar forced them back to their homeland as foederati, allies of the Romans. He wanted to use them as a buffer state against the Germanic peoples, who themselves were moving west.

After this initial battle Caesar’s advance took the form of a tour of Gaul. He moved fast displaying himself and his army to as many tribes as possible. The only battles he fought were when he was attacked. The Roman victory was aided by the fact that the Gallic clans were independent of each other. We can learn from the Gaelic culture much later in Scotland and Ireland that there was probably constant inter clan warfare, certainly fierce inter clan competition.


Accidental empire/178/morbihan/2151  He did seek out one other battle, agains the Veneti, who from their stronghold in the Golfe de Morbihan dominated shipping along the atlantic coast. They were skilled sailors and a continual threat to the Romans. Caesar build a specially designed fleet of ships to defeat the Veneti and the entire tribe was sold into slavery elsewhere in the empire.


High Kings/179/vercingetorix/1770

Helvetii then became the first example of a foederati who rejected the status they were given and revolted against Roman Rule. After only six years later they supported Vercingetorix in a general uprising.

There is no specific evidence that Vercingetorix was recognised as High King but he eventually led a unified Gallic army against Caesar and came close to defeating the might of Rome. Vercingetorix utlimately surrendered.

This event is recorded in the famous painting in the museum at Le Puy en Velay.
The picture is itself an illustration of how difficult the detail of history can be. The depiction of Gauls with long hair and moustaches is somewhat of a cliche. The horse is a breed which was not in Gaul at that time. Gauls rode bareback, they did not use saddles. Roman shields at the time were round not rectangular, The rectangular shield came much later.

In the longer term there proved to be great compatibility between Rome and the Gauls .
The Celts were allowed to retain the major features of their culture and to worship their own gods in their own way.

It was so different from the East where order was exerted from Rome through a hierachical structure of governors and client kings.

The Dictatorship

Roman Administration/109/Dictator/1731 Supposedly in times of great difficulty the senate could delegate all of it’s powers to one man.  Caesar’s position was slightly different, some said that the main danger to the roman state was Caesar himself. Nevertheless The senate gave him a dictatorship, believing perhaps that he was still responsible to the senate for what he did and therefore was under some sort of control.

Caesar as high king

  High Kings/179/vercingetorix/1770 Of the three members of the triumvirate Crassus now was the only one not to have military success. He sought to achieve this success success against the Parthians in the East but had a contrasting  experience, failure which ended in his death.

Ceasar now was in a position to challenge Pompey as high king of the total celtic world. Pompey declared his opposition to Caesar’s ambition but was defeated and was murdered after a flight to Egypt. Only days later Caesar met Cleopatra and eagerly formed a relationship with her.


High Kings/179/cleopatra/1761 Cleopatra was not the first Egyptian princess to form a relationship with Rome’s patrician families, but what was unusual was that Caesar made the relationship so public. Clearly super confident because of the vast resources, both financial and military at his disposal Caesar ignored the sensitivities of Roman Society.

Pompey’s two sons and the survivors of Pompeys legions made their way back to Hispania where in 45 BC Caesar finally defeated them.  Briefly Caesar, High King of the Celts became dictator of Rome. He was assassinated in 44 BC because he now represented the interests of the Celtic world not the interests of the Patrician families.

The Plebeians

  High Kings/179/anthony-and-octavian/1758 By the time of Julius Caesar (70 BC) wealthly plebians could also follow the Cursus Honorium  but would usually include an appointment as “Tribune of the Plebs” a position not open to patricians.Mark Anthony held this position and therefore was, in the eyes of Rome, a plebian.


anthony-and-cleopatra-4 Anthony did not have a high profile in Celtic eyes. Though he had been in Gaul with Caesar he had been mainly concerned with defending the eastern frontier, an important but subsidiary role.

It is difficult to understand why Cleopatra chose Anthony as her second roman partner, perhaps she did not realise how important the Gallic world had become,  perhaps at that point in time she believed all Anthony had to do was become Roman Emperor to control the whole empire. In the short term, it seemed that they were content to consolidate in the east, even to go so far as to redistribute the eastern half of the empire amongst Cleopatra’s children.

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The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.