To the South of France

So what form of Christianity did the Goths find in their new state and how had it been propagated independent of the Roman Church?

The legends, and they are only legends, are very strong. Mary Magdalene travelled from Judea with the help of Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor. She came to either Languedoc or Provence( there is some disagreement on this point because there were two “Lugdiniums “). She travelled via Egypt  “in a boat without oars” i.e. a sailing ship and recommenced the ministry, which had stated in Judea.

Joseph of Aramathea

Several disciples accompanied her, chief amongst whom was Joseph of Aramathea. Together they quickly established a ministry through the Western Romano-Celtic lands. This included the British Isles, where Joseph had extensive contacts due to his position as a Roman Decurion, a trader in precious metals.

Joseph was Jesus’ great uncle and had taken Jesus to Britain on one of his trading trips when he was very young. Hence the “Walk upon England’s mountains green” The Celtic Rite developed independent of the Jewish Rite, which spread through the Eastern Empire. The first Bishop of Rome was not Peter but Linus, a Royal Celt practicing and promoting Magdalene’s teaching.

The Gospel of Mary

Torment/14/Mary Magdelane/88 In her darkest moments Ximene seeks inspiration from Mary Magdelane, whom she believes was more than an apostle. She was an equal partner and shared Jesus bloodlines. She helped Jesus formulate his teaching.Magdalene’s role as an apostle is perhaps supported by the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library and specifically what is known as the Gospel of Mary. It is interesting this Gospel is included with a great many Gnostic Texts.

Saint or Sinner?

The legend of Mary Magdelene’s Presence in the South of France was supported by the Church of Rome. The legend was twisted however to make her a repentant sinner rather than an Apostle. The legend is still celebrated today. The most famous celebration is that at
Saintes Maries de la Mer where statues of not one but three Marys are carried through the streets, representations of Mary Magdalene, Mary Salome (wife of Clopas) and Mary Jacobe (the mother of James the less) all mentioned in the gospels as being present after Jesus’ death when all the other apostles had “run Away”. The festival also celebrates the involvement of Sarah the Egyptian, who is considered to be a servant to the Marys , but perhaps not.

Tolerance and Consideration

What Magdalene’s teaching might have been we really do not know, but it must have continued to promote Jesus as the source and authority for the teaching. The teaching itself must have been similar to the blend of Arian faith, Manichaeism and Gnosticism espoused by the Goths.  What we do know is that the faith accepted both Arian and Trinitarian believers with generosity and consideration at least five hundred years before the Trinitarian church of Rome felt powerful enough to condemn it at the Synod of Whitby and a full thousand years before the Albigensian crusade made it impossible to practice the faith openly.

The Black Madonnas

Torment/14/The Black Madonnas/417 The veneration of the Madonna is of Mary Magdalene not of Mary, Jesus' mother. She has given dark skin because she was dark skinned. Jesus’ choice of her as a partner symbolises that the final part of Jesus message was that racial differences are as unimportant as religion or nationality. His message is for all peoples and races. For a magical moment in time Magdelene won the support or at least the tolerance of the Roman Emperors. She was the fount of grace, love and mercy, she is the example Ximene vows to follow. There is however another possibility.

When the Goths arrived in what is now Southern France they would have encountered another phenomenon, the reverence for the Black Madonna. Although Black Madonna’s can be found in most european countries the greatest concentration is in the very area where Mary Magdalene is reputed to have carried out he ministry.

One explanation is that she had dark skin and therefore it is only natural that statutes of her would be depicted with dark skin,but once again there is another possibility.

In parallel with the growth of Roman Christianity another faith was growing strongly in the Roman Empire. The godhead in this faith was not a man, but a woman – Isis the God of Egypt. At the time of Jesus’ teaching, Isis had been worshipped in Egypt for well over 4000 years. Isis was well known outside of Egypt. Her temples were found all over the known world.


jesus message/32/The images of god - Isis/61 In the early years of christianity the Ankh, an Egyptian symbol was used as a Christian symbol, particularly in the celtic nations.

There then followed three hundred years when the Christianity and the worship of Isis continued. Co-existence is perhaps too strong a word to use! Constantine attempted to control conflict, by declaring freedom of religious belief.

He was horrified at how quickly beliefs fragmented and became a source of civic disruption. Disturbed by increasing conflict and convinced that the Capital of his Empire should move east to Byzantium, Constantine decided in 310 that the Eastern Version of Christianity should be the Religion of the Empire.

Despite this decision Isis was still venerated in public ceremonies until the 6th century It was as late as 490AD when the worship of Isis was finally stamped out by an ever more powerful Roman Church. A special point was made of establishing churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary in or on the site of temples to Isis.

Isis was also often depicted as having dark skin.

There is no record of which ministry promoted the cult of Isis during the intervening period, but obviously it was promoted and the promotion lasted for a significant period.

Mother and Child

J, M and J /13 /the-holy-mother/59 Setting aside images of the Crucifixion, one of the most enduring images of the Christian era has been the image of mother and child.

The imagery is strikingly similar to the images of Isis is nursing Horus, the first Pharaoh.  Despite the similarity it must be emphasized that Isis was not only Horus’ mother but also the godhead of the Egyptian religion, superior all the other gods.

Terms of reverence

J, M and J /13 /in-the-name-of-mary/62 Both Isis mother of Horus and Mary Mother of Jesus had other titles of adoration.

There is a significant overlap. The use of Star of the Sea for both is very surprising, as Jesus mother has no discernable contact with the sea

Messalina and Britannicus, son of Claudius

There is another almost identical image to be found in the Louvre. This statue was apparently previously the property of Henry IV and was probably brought by him from Languedoc when he assumed the Throne of France. This is not considered to be either Iris nor Mary but the Empress Messalina holding her son Britannicus.

J, M and J /13 /messalina/60 Messalina’s husband and Britannicus’ father was the Emperor Claudius. She lived at a time when there was a great competition between the religion of Isis and Christianity for adherents within the Roman Empire.

We can assume that she played an important part in the politics of her time as she was dismissed by later Christian writers as a prostitute. It requires great inventiveness to label an empress as a prostitute. She apparently volunteered to work in a brothel in secret as a hobby!

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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.