Gallic Sensitivities

The sack of Rome.

sack-of-rome In the early years the Celts certainly treated Rome as just another gallic tribe.

In 387 BC, A single celtic tribe, the Senones were in negotiation to purchase land to  the south of the alps, from the etruscans, who a short time earlier had controlled Rome.

The Romans took the role of mediators and were accepted as such by the Senones. There were Celtic rules for such mediation which the Romans promptly broke by taking up arms against the Senones.

As a result the Senones marched on Rome and sacked the city.

It took another 150 years before Rome felt strong enough to challenge the Celts again, but in 220 BC they won a major victory against the combined forces of Samnites, Etruscans and Celts. Che celts then allied with the Carthaginians at the time of Hannibal’s invasion of Italy Rome finally defeated Carthage in 202 BC and commenced the process of expanding outside Italy.

The Celts were however formidable opponents.


the-high-kings It was in Hispania that the means of dealing with Celtic tribes was slowly but surely identified. The Celts demanded self government.

They cared nothing for the Roman preoccupation in distinguishing other states as “allies” (related by treaty), “subjugates” (Fought and surrendered to Rome) or “Enemies” no surrender but conquered. They knew that the end result was always the same, Roman colonies created within their territory, taxation and forced service in the Roman army.

High Kings

If a Roman Consul, General or Governor beat them in the field or even if one of them could put a bigger army in the field than they could themselves, then they were prepared to submit and accept the victor as their “High King”

What they could not understand was that the High King they had accepted as a result of his prowess was replaced, often no more than twelve months later. In the eyes of the Celts the role of High King was personal not institutional so the new appointee had to re-establish the right to the role of High King.

It was also difficult for them to understand the total change in character, ethics and strategy from one governor to the next. One governor might be considerate in his treatment of those he vanquished, others murdered indiscriminately even those who sought treaties with the Romans.


High Kings/179/hispania-100bc//1771 The fragmented nature of the Roman conquest of Hispania and GaulThe inconsistencies of the Roman system led to nearly two centuries ( BC 219 – BC19) of the most vicious fighting with a great loss of life on both sides. It was slow but steady progress; fight a tribe, capture some as slaves, offer them peace, make them Foederatii (relationship governed by treaty), let them self govern, capitalise on their natural resources, get them to accept overall Roman government, pay Roman taxes.

Though over time the Romans advanced from the southest corner towards the northwest there was never a frontier as such. Almost any part of the territory they nominally controlled could rise in rebellion against their rule. Not surprisingly, because of the concept of High King, the rule of every new Govenor or general was challenged and the Celts frequently won.

The Celts never gave up their concept of High Kings and slowly, painfully, Rome learned from this. The painful process was eventually resolved by an accomodation rather than an outright victory.

Despite many reverses and great loss of life, Rome eventually won in Hispania.  They then believed that they had the abilty to win, where ever they went, whatever circumstances they found themselves.

Quintus Sertorius

High Kings/179/Quintus Sertorius/1765 Quintus explains that though it is imossible to pull out a horses tail it is possible to pull out individual hairs. He invented guerilla warfare.The Romans were made aware of what the concept of High Kings really in the context of Roman governance when in BC 83, at a time when Hispania was still in frequent revolt against Roman rule, Quintus Sertorius took over as governor. He was a member of the Populares faction which had been defeated, but not destroyed in a civil war.

The Celts of Hispania were interested in the Populares cause, which included in its objectives to bring Roman citizenship to everyone under Roman rule, even those outside of Italy.
The Optimates, the opposing faction in the civil war, sent an army to pursue Quintus and he was obliged to withdraw to North Africa but not before he had made a good impression.In Africa he defeated the Optimate army and captured Tingis (modern Tangier). The Lusitanian peoples in Hispania then invited Quintus to become, under their sponsorship, High King of all Hispania.
His army grew in size and he was joined by other Populares factions from Rome.
In BC 72 when Quintus was on the verge of declaring an independent republic of Hispania, Pompey brought an army to Hispania to carry out a re-invasion of the peninsula. Pompey was twice defeated but the Romans amongst Quintus’ supporters wanted to march on Rome which he declined to do. He had become Hispanic. He was murdered by these same Roman “supporters” during a banquet supposedly in his honour.

Pompey the Great

High Kings/179/pompey in the temple/1764 The Celts  under roman rule may have been disappointed but in their world this “victory” now made Pompey their new High King.Pompey remained in Hispania long enough to consolidate his position and before he left in BC 71 he had raised four hispanic legions.

Pompey’s legions travelled with him on his subsequent conquests of Bithnia, Pontus, Syria and Judah Some senior officers may have been with Pompey when he entered the holy of holies in Jerusalem. He recognised the differences between celts and the greco persian states of the east however and the eastern states were allowed to continue be governed through client Kingdoms, something which was never again utilised in the celtic world,

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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.