Nag Hammadi

We ought to know less about Gnosticism than any other religion. In fact there was not religion as such as each person was free to come to different conclusions.

Essentially it picked up the Zorastran philosopy that the battle between good and evil lies within each member of the human race and it is up to each one of us to learn as much as we can about good and evil and live our lives accordingly. as this was essentially a private activity we ought to know little about it. However Gnostics had extensive libraries to help them gain the necessary knowledge and apparently once they had discovered their own version of the truth they sought out other Gnostics with whom to discuss their findings.

Thanks to the discovery at Nag Hammadi there is knowledge of what they read and that many of them wrote about their beliefs.


We know from this library that Gnostics were interested in Jesus but did not limit themselves to his teachings alone.

Gnostics combined elements taken from Asian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek and Syrian pagan religions, from astrology, and from Judaism and Christianity. They claimed to have secret knowledge about God, humanity, and the rest of the universe of which the general population was unaware. They believed that the Jehovah of the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament) was the god of evil.

They were notable for their tolerance of different beliefs within and outside of Gnosticism. and their respect for the equality of women. It follows that some prominent thinkers must have been women.


Valentinus was still a young man, studying in the city of Alexandria, when an insurrection by Egyptian Jewry had been answered by savage Roman reprisals. With their urban and religious organisation shattered, remnants of Egyptian Jewry sought religious salvation anew. Within three years Valentinus was able to present them with his “Christianity.” Following his supposed ‘vision’, Valentinus began a career as teacher/shaman – first at Alexandria, around 120, and later in Rome.

Totally different

Yet there is little of the familiar Christ myth in the Valentinus system – indeed, we might even suspect a Buddhist influence. No nativity, no virgin birth, no Calvary, no inescapable original sin. Jesus  is the human son of Mary, enlightened by the Spirit at baptism which is a precursor to Manichaecist  beliefs.

The role of a human Jesus was to reveal to man an awareness of his own divinity. There was no kneed for divine intervention, all the good gods were indeed one god.

The Election

For all his esoterics, Valentinus struck a chord with displaced Jews and pagans searching for the ‘truth.’ During a 15 year career in the east he attracted a large following in Egypt, Cyprus and Syria.

Soon after the ruin of the Bar Kochba war, in 136, Valentinus sought his fortune in Rome. He almost became its bishop, losing out to Hyginus (138-142). He continued to teach in Rome for at least ten more years. He probably died there around 155. The Valentinian ‘school’, however, continued and elaborated still further its theology.


God itself was said to be androgynous (with the feminine aspects of the deity identified as ‘Silence’, ‘Grace’ and ‘Thought’). Reflecting this gender-parity women held positions of authority within the Valentinian church. Unlike the master/slave relationship of later Christianity, for the Valentinians, Christ was like a brother, and the Holy Spirit like a consort. There was no need for the Church to acquire earthly riches and temporal power.

Another Gospel

All of which, of course, was most alarming for the State/Church hierarchs of Catholicism. Branded ‘heretics’ the Valentinians were expelled from the Church and hunted down. By 350 AD, the Valentinian ‘intellectuals’ were dead and monks in Egypt were hiding the ‘heretical’ writings. Valentinus’s major work The Gospel of Truth provoked its own response from the ecclesiasta: the Gospel of St John.


Basilidians postulated  that Jesus had not been crucified, but had swapped places with “Simon of Cyrene”! Simon had been put on the cross instead – a notion which re-surfaced centuries later in the Koran.

Basilides, like many later Gnostics, had difficulty accepting the pernicious Jewish tribal god Yahweh as the supreme deity. Instead he introduced a higher god with the magical name “Abraxas” derived from Pythagorean mathematics. Christ was the latest of a whole series of spiritual agents from this higher god, whilst Yahweh, something of a fallen angel, remained none the less creator of the baser, material world.


Bodily resurrection was not part of Basilides’ system. Christ’s purpose was not to “die for our sins” (a revamped Jewish scapegoat notion) but, by suffering as we ourselves suffer, to remind us that we have forgotten “we are also from God and are also divine.”


In the 2nd century  Bishop Marcion was a wealthy ship owner from Sinope (modern Sinop, on the Turkish Black Sea coast) who for a time funded the Church in Rome. The loser in a power struggle Marcion withdrew to Asia Minor to establish his own church hierarchy. Marcionites were soon to be found throughout the Roman Empire, particularly in Italy, Egypt, Arabia, and Armenia. The sect maintained an existence until the 4th century crackdown. Some recalcitrants joined the Manichaeans.

In Marcionite theology there was no holy family, no nativity, no baptism for Jesus. Marcion threw out Jewish old testament scripture completely.

The Mission

Marcion has his Christ descend fully grown from heaven, just like a Greek god. He simply ‘appeared’ in a synagogue in Capernaum with a mission is to bring the ‘Grace’ of a loving god to replace “The Law ” of the harsh Jewish god Yahweh. The God of salvation has nothing to do with the old God of righteousness and revenge. As a divine Jesus only appeared to suffer on the cross, again precursor of Manichaeist teaching.

The Evangelicon

Marcion’s gospel, the ‘Evangelicon’ (or ‘Gospel of the Lord’ ), a slim, single volume, compelled the Catholic hierarchy to respond in kind by publishing their own gospels, an onerous task which involved the destrucion of every text which did not support their dogma

In the east, Marcionite Christianity thrived for centuries. It influenced Manichaeism in the 3rd century and survived into the early Middle Ages.


The world of freethinking gnosticism came increasingly into conflict within a Roman Church which demanded and implemented dogma. The result was that until very recently Gnostics stopped publishing their thoughts but they Gnostics still exist working to their own salvation. They can be distinguished by their sympathy and tolerance for every shade of belief.

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.