The Breakaway


In AD 439, a short time before the Hunnic invasion, Vandals, had been invited to Northern Africa from Hispania as Foederatii by Bonificus, the Comes for Africa.  Bonificus was in an an internal Roman dispute with Flavius Aetius, triggered by each of them trying to discredit the other in the eyes of Galla Placida. The vandals promptly declared themselves to be a Kingdom, independent of Rome.  The implications of this sequence of events were disastrous for the Western Empire. Without access to the grain from Egypt and Libya which were provinces of the Eastern Empire, the Western Empire was now totally dependent on grain from Africa and Mauritania (now  coastal Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco). The Western Empire was forced to pay a full commercial price for the grain.

In 454, Valentinian III murdered Flavius Aetius and a short time later Valeninian himself was murdered.  His own death was supposed to be a reprisal. It is difficult to believe that the murders were totally separate from Valantinians’s sister Honoria’s proposal to Attila and the fact that Aetus had an enduring alliance with the Huns. Certainly Flavius Aetius’ death co-incided with Honoria vanishing from the record.

After the deaths, Petronius Maximus, assumed the purple and insisted that Eudoxia Licinia Valentinians’ wife and therefore Galla Placida’s daughter in law should marry him, something so did not want to do. Maximus lasted only seventy days.  Lucinia asked Gerseric, King of the Vandals to rescue herself and her daughters from the clutches of Maximus and his son.  Subsequently she married Gerseric and her daughter, Eudoxia Valentina, Galla Placida’s grand-daughter married Hunneric, Gerseric’s son from a previous union.

To the North, all three of the major groups of foedaterii payed attention to the Vandals successful declaration of independance and commenced a process of expansion sometimes allowed by the magister militorum, but sometimes resisted.


The Visigoths had the most success, quite probably as a result of support from Galla Placida but in any case aways making their expansion seem to be in the service of Rome, hence their move into Hispania to control The Sueves and Alans.

In AD 455 on the death of Maximus it was the Visigoths who nominated his successor Avitus. Avitus was not a Visigoth.  Clearly up to that point they were operating at least nominally within the Roman System.   Considering the reputation this period has for instability it is rather surprising to find that Honorius ruled for twenty-six years and Valentinian III for twenty five.

When Avitus was declared Emperor by the Visigoths. He returned the complement by appointing Riccimar, who was half Visigoth, to the post of Magister Militorum Praesentalis. It took less than a year for Ricimar to take advantage of his new position to drive Avitus from office.  It was possibly from this point in time that the Visigoths made the decision to seek full independence.


One of the surprises in the period immediately after the period of the Hunnish invasions was the prescence of the British in Gaul. After the time of Macsen Weldeg a considerable flow of Romano Britsh immigrants into Brittany.The subtleties of the Celtic languages indicate that the later wave of refugees, fleeing from the Saxon advance, had a significant impact. Many of the place names in Brittany have their origins in this later event.

However in 457, The Angles, Saxons and Jutes were firmly pinned in the south east corner of britain  and all the signs were that Ambrosius, still in the service of Aegidus and nominated as governor of Britain, would completely subjugate them.  Ambiosius was however voted to be high King of the British in a parallel initiative to that of the Franks who voted for Aegidus as their High King.

There then followed seventeen years in which Ricimar decided who should be Emperor, including two years in which he exerted direct personal rule without the formality of declaring himself, or anyone else, Emperor. It was in this period that his one time colleague Aegidus placed himself safely behind the barrier presented by the Allamandii, Burgundians and Visigoths to set up an alternative Roman State.  Aegidus died in 464 and the area he controlled was taken over by his son Sygonius.


When Ricimar dismissed Avitus and appointed Majorian as Emporer, Marcian took a dislike to the idea of Romans being High Kings. He summoned both  Aegidus and Ambrosius to come to Rome. Aegidus ignored Majorian but Ambrosius ,now known in Gaul as Riothemus “The High King” went to Rome to plead his case. it is possible that marcian was making an appeal for him to accept roman authority. He ended up for a short period in prison and in England Caswallan made himself an alternative High King. Caswellan had little perhaps no Roman heritage. His was a rebellion inside a rebellion.

When Majorian was in turn dismissed, Ambrosius was released by the next emporer ,Libius Severus and hurrying back to Britain, sent Caswallan into exile, whereupon Caswellan took refuge with the Visigoths.

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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.